What’s up with me

The past few weeks have been kinda rough, though with some very good spots.

Three weeks ago at work, for example, was pretty bad.

I can't really talk about the details of why, but the short version is that I volunteered to help out with a project on a much tighter than usual schedule, and there were a large number of substantial changes that I had to implement in the docs (and, in one major case, later unimplement) on short notice, and I had big cultural and philosophical differences with the engineering team I was working with. And then instead of getting thanked, I got criticized for not going far enough in my willingness to help. (There's a lot more to it than that, but I think this is as much as I can say publicly.) There was a moment early that week when I thought to myself, "Y'know, you don't really need this job; you could just quit."

But that moment passed, and I'll try and talk with various relevant people soon, to try to ensure that the things that went wrong on this project don't happen again.

The weekend at the end of that week was better, but was very social.

That Friday evening, Kam and I drove and then BARTed up to SF to see the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco's "Autumnal OUTing" show, which I should've posted about here in time for locals to go see, but I forgot.

The first half was mostly a series of individuals performing solo songs, which was a little disappointing 'cause I was hoping for more choral stuff, but I mostly liked the songs and the performances anyway. Highlight for me was a campy rendition of Liza Minnelli's "Ring Them Bells" (badly edited lyrics); I also particularly enjoyed a performance of "Out Here on My Own," but the rest of the audience didn't seem to like that as much. (Though there was enthusiastic applause for every song.) Oh, and I liked a gay-themed filk of "California Dreamin'." And the guy providing keyboard accompaniment for the whole show was particularly cute, even before he took his shirt off for the second half of the show.

At the end of the first half came a full-chorus piece about Gilbert & Sullivan choruses; I loved the idea, but the song didn't work so well for me. To me, the music didn't sound very Sullivany and the lyrics were a little too repetitive (and used the word "existential" a little too much) even for a Gilbert pastiche. But I think Kam particularly enjoyed that piece, and the rest of the audience seemed to as well.

The second half was a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's minor one-act "Trial by Jury," set in a gay bar. Fun, and fluffy, with some great moments. I especially liked the drag-queen judge, tottering around on tall and completely transparent heels.

Afterward, I chatted briefly with another audience member who was wearing a Swarthmore sweatshirt (she turned out to be class of '82ish, I think). Then Kam and I and the people we were there with adjourned to a café on Mission which, miraculously, was nearly empty on a Friday night; we sat and chatted for a couple hours, mostly being regaled with entertaining stories by the people we were with.

Saturday the 3rd, I ended up doing a fair bit of blogging-related stuff, though details are hazy at this remove. Saturday evening, Kam had a party; I had a good time, and actually got to have real live conversations with people for the first time (at a party) in a while, and played with various kids, and helped make Lego stuff, and listened to music, and got hugs, and it was all good.

Sunday, Kam and I went down to Los Gatos to take photos of Mary Anne & Kevin & Kavya & Ellie, as described at the time. Afterward, K and I continued down to Santa Cruz, where we hung out and chatted a bit with Lola (who was sick) and Jay G (not to be confused with Jay H or Jay L or Jae B or any of the other Jays I know). Jay and K and I (among other letters) went out and walked along West Cliff a little ways, and visited the monarch butterfly migration spot; none of the butterflies were sitting within easy visibility of the viewing platform, but the people in charge had set up a telescope, so we got a nice (though brief) glimpse of a profusion of color hidden among the branches 30 or 40 feet up. We dropped Jay back at home, and Kam and I stopped to see a couple of blue whale skeletons at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center before heading home.

So, yeah, social weekend. And I also had two lunches with colleagues/friends at work around then.

The week of the 4th to the 10th was pretty mellow; much better than the preceding week.

Sunday the 11th was okay, as described at the time. Sad in places, but manageable, and I had some nice distractions to help.

But this past week has featured some big mood swings.

I found myself suddenly and briefly crying on a friend's shoulder on Monday night, iIrc, when something she said made me think of Alex.

And then Saturday I visited Mary Anne in Los Gatos and she played me Trout Fishing in America's "Lullaby," which is pretty and nice but I think it obliquely reminded me of Uncle Bonsai's song "Silent Night," and Mary Anne took my hand, and I suddenly got all weepy. (There was other stuff mixed up in that too, and any analysis of what was going on my head was after-the-fact rationalization; I didn't and don't know why, I just started crying.) We talked for a while, and then we had dinner and I cheered up quite a bit, and I figured it had been partly low blood sugar, and we watched an episode of Smallville (I've now seen maybe half a dozen episodes spread out over several seasons; some day I'll get around to writing about it).

And then I drove home, and was listening to the radio, and a Brad Paisley song came on: "Letter to Me," in which he talks about what he would write in a letter to his 17-year-old self. And I got a little misty at the first couple verses, because I hear a lot of people talk about how awful they were when they were younger, and I liked that he was being kind of gentle to his teen self. A sweet song. And then in the last verse, in a list of advice to his younger self, came the line "P.S.: Go hug Aunt Rita every chance you can," and I was suddenly just sobbing.

Stopped by Kam's for hugs on the way home, and I've been more or less okay since then. Today was Catie & Beth's baby shower, which was nice; afterward, did some assorted computery stuff.

Oddly, I've received something like five compliments on various aspects of my appearance (including haircut, clothing, and accoutrements) in the past week. Not something I'm used to. Perhaps there's an unusual spring in my step.

Anyway, so a lot of ups and downs lately. (Including some very nice parts I'm leaving out.) The thing that keeps surprising me about the tears, much as happened back in 2005, is their gustiness--sudden and unexpected onset from seemingly ordinary triggers, briefly intense, and then over, all with no clear idea of why I'm having the reaction I'm having.

I certainly can't blame the weather; there've been several days of "Yup, it's another sunny November day here in California." Today was a lot greyer, though, and it's getting dark much too early for my tastes. (And yes, I know the weather is much worse elsewhere. What can I say? I'm a native Californian, not bred to endure the rigors of real weather.) I'm counting the weeks (about five now) 'til solstice, and getting a little glum about the fact that after solstice it'll be the same number of weeks again 'til there's more daylight than there is now.

Let's see, what else? I have a new toy: a shiny new iMac! I've been wanting to have a guest-room computer for a while, and this'll give me a way to send in my MacBook for fan repairs but still have a computer while it's gone. I've barely had a chance to play with it (or with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, which is now installed on it), but hope to do so more soon.

I've been watching Wii Tracker assiduously, trying to find a Wii in stock somewhere that isn't ridiculously overpriced and doesn't come with five or more games that I don't want. I had been thinking that six weeks before Xmas there might be some in stock, but any time any of them appear, they're out of stock within ten minutes. There've been three or four times in the past week when I've missed my chance by less than twenty minutes. Given that the demand will only intensify in the coming weeks, I'll probably just give up sometime soon and get some other console; the main thing I want it for is Dance Dance Revolution (which is widely available on other platforms), though I've been kind of enjoying occasionally playing the Wii sports games (tennis, bowling, etc) on the machine at work.

I think that's about all I have time or brain for tonight. Hoping y'all are well. I've been feeling oddly isolated/distanced lately, despite all the social stuff. I'm sorry to have been so out of touch with y'all.

. . . This is five weeks early, but it's been on my mind, so I'm going to go ahead with it anyway: my annual quote of my favorite lines from Susan Cooper's poem "The Shortest Day":

As promise wakens in the sleeping land:

They carol, feast, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends,

And hope for peace.

6 Responses to “What’s up with me”

  1. silk_noir

    My dear! *lots of hugs*

  2. Wayman

    *hugs* all ’round, consolatory, sympathetically, and in celebration of the good times too!

    Let’s see, what else? I have a new toy: a shiny new iMac! I’ve been wanting to have a guest-room computer for a while, and this’ll give me a way to send in my
    MacBook for fan repairs but still have a computer while it’s gone. I’ve barely had a chance to play with it (or with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, which is now installed on it), but hope to do so more soon.

    I’ve been thinking about getting a low-end iMac to augment my PowerBook. It’d be my first non-laptop in over five years, and I’m not sure I’d actually switch my primary computing over to it in any way, though. I’m not sure how that’d work out as far as some projects here, some there, some logs here, some there, etc… It sounds like a potential nightmare as much as a potential good thing.

    Meanwhile, I’ve also been toying with getting a One Laptop Per Geeky Adult, though I’m honestly not sure where or how I’d use it (and haven’t really looked into it much–just going by [chat]’s enthusiasm for the thing), and I really shouldn’t get both right now.

    And yet I might really need to do something and soonish if my PowerBook really does need to be shipped off to Apple for some period of time for a bum memory slot…. The iMac makes the most sense for that, but the OLPGA is so darn nifty-sounding and such a limited-time offer…. I hate choices!

    I guess that’s all to ask “how do you manage the multiple computers thing”. (For me, I’ve relegated the older PowerBook to the closet where it acts purely as a music server with 40 GB of MP3s, iTunes, and nothing else. But that’s not relevant to any future acquisitions.)

    And also to point out that as of today, you get to play with 10.5.1!

  3. Aliette de Bodard


    Hope you find a Wii (I just got one, and I’m having lots of fun with the tennis game).

  4. Tom Galloway

    If you want to work vent to someone who knows the general background, I’m available (was mildly surprised by how many folk did venting to me during my last few days onsite).

  5. Eliza B.

    Ooh, get a PS2. They’re $80 or less now and there’s like twelve different DDRs for it.

  6. Colin


    We’ve got both a PS2 and a Wii. Margaret and I originally bought the PS2 specifically for DDR. While we have yet to pick up DDR for the Wii (too many years of sports have made my knees suspect at best and DDR tends to bring out the worst in them,) I will say that the Wii gets infinitely more play in the house than the PS2 and with the upcoming balance board (Wii Fit) we expect even more usage will ensue.

    What I would suggest, granted my experience being colored by being in Reno instead of the Bay Area, is try Costco first thing Saturday morning as well as Target (both restock Friday night post close here in Reno). You might try going after work someday to Costco (granted this is all going under the presumption you have a costco membership) and chat up one of the stock folks. They can probably tell you when their bundles usually come in and are placed on the floor.



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