html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

If you have someone, be nice to her tonight.

I haven’t been dating much recently because, truth told, I do not want to date. Dating is hard and requires talking to strangers, which is hit or miss for me. It also requires making plans, which is hard to do when I usually have plans with my already friends, plans that I already know will be fun. I really want to be already dating someone, settled and trusting. I’m so much better in that mode.

When I miss having a boyfriend, I usually miss having someone to do for. I like having someone to cook for; it makes me a better cook. I want to make my home comfortable and pretty for someone, ‘cause I’ll never get around to hanging art for myself. I want to slip notes into a lunch I pack for him, or send him a card to the address we live at, or leave a gardenia on his pillow. That is my natural mode; right now that energy just slides away wasted or fixates desperately on boys who aren’t interested enough to call me but don’t mind being spoiled sometimes. That’s no good.

The fieldwork last week meant thirteen hour days. For the first time in a very long time I missed having someone to take care of me. I came home Wednesday with a headache so vicious that glancing at text brought tears of pain. What if the house had been warm and lit, with someone who would take one look at me and immediately tuck me into bed? What if someone had murmured that he would feed me first, then the cat, and he’ll be right back with some aspirin? Or on Friday, when I came home so thrilled from the rice mill tour. What if some sweet dorky boy wanted to hear all about it, and asked me questions because he really wanted to know how it all worked or just ‘cause he wanted to watch me be excited about well-thought-out details? From here, being taken care of like that seems like a barely imaginable luxury, as remote and fundamentally life-changing as being spectacularly wealthy or being able to breathe underwater.

I will have to keep meeting men. I know I can’t skip that step. But I can at least hope that when I meet him we fall hard and fast and gracefully. When I think even a little about wanting to be with someone, I get ragingly greedy. It feels awful, like starving. Please let it happen soon, or please let me stop wanting it so much.

L.A. get-together this weekend?

I'll be in LA this weekend; wanna hang out? The group last time was super-cool. I would love to meet more of you. Lemme know, 'cause we don't have a lot of time to make plans.

Saturday evening?
Sunday evening?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Will no one think of the goslings?

Driving along a canal today, we flushed three pheasants. They were gorgeous, flying wild, in browns and rich russets and iridescent greens. Naturally, the conversation turned to the opening day of pheasant season. Next week, they thought, ‘cause ducks a’ been open for a week now. “You know,” said one, “I just don’t care for duck. I do like a nice goose.”

“I never eat goose,” said the district engineer. “They mate for life, you know. Why, I drive by the same canal on the way to work, so I see it every day. Like a snapshot. One spring, I drove by and some coyote killed a goose. Big batch of feathers down the bank, and the carcass just had a bite out of it. That afternoon, when I drove by, there was just one goose, sitting on the bank near the body. Next morning, the goose was still there. Next afternoon, more of the carcass was gone, but that goose was still there. Well, this went on for a week and still that goose stayed on that bank. Happened I was there when that goose went back to the flock. They was all on the water, you know, then the whole flock rose up like they do. The whole flock rose up and turned north, started flying. They got up there, and that one goose broke off and came back. Landed right on that bank, where the body was. Chose to stay and die right there.”

“I can’t eat goose no more,” he said, his voice still heavy. “And ‘sides that, I just think of them goose children. Why, they gotta be latchkey geese. Running loose, getting’ into drugs, bustin’ things up. It just ain’t right.”

A friend brought his camera.

People often come in, look around and ask me if I'll help them choose colors for their houses. I absolutely would, but when they get home they come to their senses. I've probably heard that a couple dozen times, and no one has ever followed through.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

See you in a couple hours! Soup's on.

My crew came by while I was out. When I left, my porch had three pumpkins. When I got back, seven. I love that.

I was out getting boughs of fall leaves to decorate my house. My ex-best friend used to call that "theft". Maybe I should have taken that as a warning signal; why would two good friends use such ugly words between them? I prefer more lovely words, like "harvesting". What could be more natural in this season, I ask you? The political among us might enjoy another phrase I sometimes use; I was 'liberating' those branches. I know my economist readers, and the branches themselves, appreciate the great leap in utility they've just enjoyed. Before, they were just another branch on a city tree, blending with the other reds and yellows and greens. Tonight, they'll be displayed and admired. I do it for them, really.

And I don't renege.

I said this to him; now I declare before you and all the world:

On the day Anand moves to California, I will get a cell phone.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Right now, I am entirely happy.

I can’t even tell you all the ways I had such a great day. In October the light gets clearer, so all the colors were stronger today. I was in rice fields near the Sutter Buttes, and I love the Sutter Buttes because they are the smallest mountain range in the world. They are so close and self-contained, and I know they must be beautiful, but no one can go in them, so I just look at them and think they are perfect. They’re harvesting rice now; all is golden straw under a very pure blue sky. Tractor treads weave patterns in the rice checks; egrets watch from nearly every berm. I saw huge old walnut trees and John Deere tractors and pheasants and dirt roads and clear cold water running in canals.

I was with a district manager and a senior engineer. We went to dozens of structures and turnouts and they never once got tired of my questions. They wanted to talk about moving water as much as I wanted to hear about it, and that never happens. They explained how each thing worked, were never condescending or impatient when I asked them to please say the explanation again. But! There were more times when the first explanation confirmed my silent understanding than there were times that I couldn’t follow an explanation. I am getting there.

We finished early, and I figured I would never have a better opportunity to fulfill a dream I’ve had for probably ten years. On the district manager’s advice, I drove over to a rice mill. I’ve driven past these for years; they’re ornate factory-looking places, surrounded by fields and nothing. From the road they stand out for miles; every time I’ve driven past one, I’ve wondered how they worked. So I walked in, wearing my CalPoly shirt, which is the secret handshake that gets you into every last place in the Central Valley, and I asked nicely, and I got an hourlong tour of a wild rice mill. Today I saw where your bag of Trader Joe’s wild rice was born. I love bored foremen.

He explained every machine to me, every sorter and dryer and sifter and grader. He showed me the instrumentation and control panels, and I already knew how they worked because water districts stole the ideas for SCADA systems from factory control systems. The neatest things?

  • They can sell every single byproduct from milling, including the dust they sweep off the floor. (It goes to bulk composters to make your potting soil.)

  • Farmers fire so much buckshot at redwing blackbirds that rice mills have a special machine, explicitly for getting buckshot out of harvested rice. I saw five gallon buckets, full of chaff and buckshot.

  • And! Their final sort, after drying and hulling and sifting, once the rice is almost uniform? They run the rice up a conveyor, where an optical scan identifies individual grains of rice that aren’t exactly the hue the machine is set for. In a moving stream of rice, the machine can blow exactly one off-color grain away with a puff of air, so that your bag of long-grain black rice looks flawless.

  • The world is truly magic.


    I'm in the field again today, and also Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I came home and went to bed at 8:15. I hope I'm not that beat today.

    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    I got more, baby. For you.

    You guys are insatiable, ravening beasts, lusting madly for more, more, more of my opinions about water. Billo asked me about flood control in New Orleans. I have no idea. My deep fascination with the physical world pretty much stops at the Sierras. My understanding of how water works definitely ends at the Rockies. Truth is reversed on the far side of the Rockies, nothing I know can be counted on. Water falls from the sky in the summer! Enough to water your crops without irrigation! Foliage is green in the summer, brown in winter! Vegetables are expensive! Water runs uphill! Day is night! Parties aren’t fun!

    Instead, I’ll tell you that we had some flood control engineers from Holland come out and tour our levees. Then they gave a very neat talk on their public participation process for choosing flood control projects. They had this supercool model interface; you could click on each of seven hundred potential modifications to the river and see how it changed the river’s flood heights. Your job was to spend about $2B on about twenty projects and see if you could lower the height of the entire river during floods. They passed out thousands of copies of this model, so that citizens could see for themselves what combinations were effective and how fast you could burn through $2B. Then they held public meetings to jointly select the projects they would build. People got very involved, they said, and resolutions were remarkably not acrimonious.

    I thought the process sounded really neat, although I had a number of critiques*. It is a big step up from how we do things, where we give the public a short time to express themselves in meeting, and no real ability to change policy outcomes. But my favorite part of the meeting came when the Dutch engineers said they thought our economic models should take the indirect benefits of flood control and levee repair into account. Why, they said, if you could count the indirect economic benefits of guaranteeing a water supply to Los Angeles in your models, you could justify any levee repairs you wanted! You could patch them with gold! That was very funny, and a room full of engineers and economists laughed out loud. And this, Justin, is why I don’t tell funny stories on my blog.

    *Well, yeah. If you can get everyone in the room to believe one model, you are two-thirds of the way to agreement. I also didn’t like that their model engine wasn’t transparent; only other sophisticated water modelers could understand it and appreciate the influences of the assumptions the original modelers made. And, it is easy for them to choose projects. Their rivers are stable; the projects could well be useful for decades. Here, there’s a good chance of doing an expensive project and having your river wander away from it in the next few years to threaten somewhere else. Still, I liked what they did, and wish we could adapt it for here.

    Just like I promised you.

    You people have no idea how good you have it. You are so spoiled, in fact, that you cannot even see the luxury you take for granted. If you live in a developed nation, you have likely never considered an alternative to the ways you receive water now. You expect that you should be able to take water any time you want it. You expect it to arrive immediately on opening your tap. You think that you should be able to open your own taps, rather than waiting for a water district employee to open it for you. You do not expect that you should have to notify the water district three days in advance if you want water. You do not think it is reasonable to get water deliveries once every two weeks. You expect water within a very small range of pressure (enough to get to the top of your shower, not so much that it blows your fixtures off the wall) and you think that water pressure should stay constant as long as you keep your tap open. You think you should be able to choose how much water you take. The type of flexibility and reliability you are used to is called on-demand water delivery. On-demand water is the goal of agricultural water district modernization.

    The key to giving growers the ability to take water with the frequency, pressure and duration they want is to keep your canals full, at a constant water level. This is easier said than done, especially if you there are multiple turnouts on a canal reach and growers controlling their own turnouts. A grower opens one and sucks the water level down; three growers close theirs and the canal overtops.

    A common solution is to use canal gates to divide the canal into a series of pools. Then you open and close the canal gates to maintain water levels in each pool. That takes a lot of fiddling, or a lot of (expensive) sensors and gear. But! There is another very neat trick that keeps the water level in canals within a narrow range, which lets growers get a constant water pressure for the duration of the irrigation event. You can install a combination of long-crested weirs and underflow gates, and it works like magic.

    A weir is a structure that water flows over. Fallen tree in a stream, stacking water in a pond above it? That is a weir. Partially submerged dam, water cresting the top? That’s a weir. Here’s the trick. For a long crest length (the weir is diagonal in the canal, the water can fall over a relatively long length), the approximate weir equation for unsubmerged flow is:

    Q = CLeH1.5
    Q = flow (cfs)
    C = discharge coefficient (3.33, for English units)
    Le = effective length (feet)
    H = head over the crest. You can think of this as height of the water over the weir. (feet)

    I know you sharp-eyed people caught the important of that right away. The change in water height over the weir is two cube roots of the change in flow. You can change the flow a lot, and only get a small change in water level height in the canal.

    Even more exciting is that you can pair your long-crested weirs with underflow gates! An underflow gate is essentially a gated hole in the side of the canal that is always underwater. As long as your turnout is taking water out of the canal below the water level, the discharge flow rate response to a change in head is:

    Qnew = Qold * (Hnew/Hold).5

    Did you get that?! The flow changes as a function of the square root of the change in canal water level height. So you have your long-crested weirs making sure the water level in the canal doesn’t change very much for a wide range of flows, and you have your underflow gates making sure that flow through a farmer’s turnout isn’t changing very much for a wide range of water levels in the canal! They work together like magic! And you don’t have to do anything to make it happen! I love canals.

    Maybe, if you ask me very nicely, I’ll tell you all about upstream and downstream canal control. Or, if you would rather, I could tell you about Danaidean Gates. There are canal control gates currently in use in the San Joaquin Valley that use an ancient Roman design. So cool.

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006


    Hey folks,

    I'm in the field all day. If you're lucky, I'll come back all inspired and hyped up, and I'll tell you all about how to control water levels in canals.

    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    Ask the Engineer:

    Slate’s new advice column includes a letter from parents who despair that their son is awake all night. They’ve taken away his login, so he can’t be online all night, looking at who-knows-what*, but can’t figure out a way to “eliminate the videogames and TVs” so that sleeping is a more attractive option. I’ve had this conversation in real life, with a woman who said her teenage daughters were regularly staying up until 4:00am, then slept in class and for hours when they got home from school. “What could she do?” she cried. She had to sleep eventually, and when she did, her daughters got up again.

    Are they fucking kidding? They have no idea how to resolve this problem? Can’t think of anything? They’ve tried pleading and scolding, and nothing works? I murmured sympathy at her and said nothing, but I would have that problem for exactly one night. Get a flashlight and set your cellphone as an alarm. Flip the breakers off, padlock the fuse box, and sleep sweetly for the rest of the night.

    And I’m telling you missy. You can slam your door at me once. You do it twice and I’m springloading that fucker. Some problems I just won’t have.

    *We all know exactly what.

    Monday, October 23, 2006

    The last names of the boys I had crushes on as a girl.

    Kato - grades 3 - 6. He wore gold wire-rimmed glasses and he was soooo good at dodgeball.
    Chang - Also a cutie-pie, during breaks from Kato.
    Lee - 6th-7th grade - I liked the Van Halen song "Jump" because he liked it.
    Lee - 7th - different one, had pretty kicks.
    Chu - 7th and 8th grade - had huge hops, got very good at volleyball in HS.
    Trinh - 8th grade - just a little. We became good friends; he's now a monk.
    Hwang - 9th grade - he was smart, smart, smart, and was a quarterback for our HS football team. A devout Bapist.
    Kuk - 10th grade - totally a bad boy, sat in the back of the bus.
    Lee - 10th grade - he chose an American first name sometime about then; it was hard to switch.
    Troy - 11th grade - some blond token, also with pretty kicks.
    Flynn - 11th grade - don't be fooled. He's hapa.
    Huynh - 12 grade - one of the few who wasn't mesmerized by my sister.
    Teng - 12th grade - should have dated him.

    I'll keep thinking, but I am shocked that I didn't crush on a Kim until my first year of college.

    Update: I forgot a Yang - high school sometime.

    I used a warm and gentle voice.

    I keep a copy of the Buddha Educational Foundation’s Standards for Being a Good Student and Child at my desk. When people come by, I open the book to any page for advice. I think Margie appreciated being told:

    When your parents do wrong,
    Urge them to change.
    Do it with a kind facial expression
    And a warm gentle voice.
    If they do not accept your advice,
    Wait until they are in a happier mood before you dissuade them again,
    Followed by crying to make them understand why.
    Do not hold a grudge against them if they resort to whipping you.

    Unless she really did want to know if I had the manual for our Total Station.

    Saturday, October 21, 2006

    Go Kings.

    It is an accomplishment, what the Maloofs have done. They have turned even me against their ballot measure raising sales taxes for a downtown arena. I should be their girl. Like everyone here, I love the Kings. I live and work downtown. I would love to get off work, get dinner and catch a game. I would pay a lot of money for that. I would have to pay a lot of money for that, ‘cause Kings tickets are the third most expensive in the league. But I would!

    I know that city-subsidized arenas are a terrible deal for the city, and that we shouldn’t want a downtown arena as an economic engine for the area. But I didn’t want an arena for that anyway. I want a downtown arena for my convenience and I am more than happy to spread the costs of that over my neighbors. In Sacramento at least, a downtown arena is a transfer of wealth from the surrounding areas to downtown; I got no objection to that.

    The Maloofs want to raise the sales tax by a quarter cent for fifteen years. I wouldn’t even notice that. The ballot proposals would split that revenue between a downtown arena and other neat projects. But they won’t tell us what arena we would get for that money. It is likely to be in the railyards, close by downtown, but it might be out in Natomas, too far for me to ride my bike. I had so much goodwill toward the Kings and the idea of the arena that I might have even trusted that it would be in the railyards. I wanted to believe.

    But then I read that the reasons the City and the Maloofs can’t close an arena deal are that the Maloofs want the right to veto restaurants around the arena (so they don’t compete with arena concessions) and that the Maloofs want the entire revenue stream from 8,000 parking spots! Eight thousand parking spots! Arco Arena has two thousand spots, and it is an ugly sea of parking. What the fuck kinda footprint would eight thousand parking spots require?! When I fantasize about meeting my sweetie for dinner and walking across the street to the arena, holding hands, with maybe street musicians playing big band music, there are no eight thousand parking spots in sight. Bike racks at a new light rail station, yes, but not a moat of parking lot. I don’t pretend a downtown arena will be a driver for widespread urban redevelopment, but I can’t accept an arena that would actively gut blocks and blocks of my city.

    The Maloofs did it. They finally said “Fuck you” to the city of Sacramento enough times that we heard them through our Kings-induced swoon. They proposed an arena plan that is worse than taking the Kings away. Much as I wanted to, I won’t be voting for a new arena this November.

    Friday, October 20, 2006

    Tips for a smaller party.

    The requirements for a big party are lots of people, all involved and slightly dissociated; a mellow gathering will work best with one to three dozen people, all involved, all at ease and fully in themselves. When you are preparing the party, you are working to provide for their comfort. There is work involved in being in different place with lots of people; do as much of that work for them as you can, beforehand, so that all they have to do is enjoy themselves.

    I like an activity or theme for any event. Knowing what the evening will be about gives your guests a chance to anticipate and add to the party. It also gives them something to talk about and do the entire time. People are set at ease when they have something in their hands, they are partially carrying that beer bottle so their hands aren’t empty. Lots of people like to create things; an activity can satisfy multiple needs.

    Some people will enjoy watching more than doing; they need a space to be. Something close to the periphery of the action will keep them involved. If you can, people like to watch the front door, and they like to perch, and they like nooks. If you can provide any of those spaces, they’ll be occupied for the entire party. Anticipate traffic and keep lanes to the food and drinks clear; give ‘em a couple different angles to approach and leave the food.

    Label shit. Don’t make your guests wonder which door is the bathroom, tape up a paper that says bathroom. Put a sign that says “Coats here” on the door to the closet or back bedroom. Label the cooler with the beer and the cooler with the soft drinks. Don’t want people on the dangerous back porch? Put up a sign saying “No”. If you put up silly extra labels, people may do silly extra things.

    As always, flattering light, a little dim so that everyone’s pupils dilate and they look interested in the people they are talking to. You probably have lots of thoughts about music; keep it coming smoothly and don’t drown out the conversation. Have lots of food available. Two easy things that worked better than I expected: soup and baked potatoes. I always have a huge pot of soup warm on the stove; it is invariably gone at the end of the evening. It feeds a lot of people; they can eat or drink it out of their cups. I baked a few pounds of new potatoes, put ‘em out with butter and sour cream and they were gone. People also liked tossing them to each other.

    Fire helps any get together. People can’t help it, they want to be near fire. I don’t know many smokers, but with or without smokers, a group will want to be outside the whole evening. Make them comfortable around a fire. I like a chimineas, if any other fire would be unsafe.

    Good guests will do the work of introducing themselves and making conversation. The activity or theme will make that easier. Watch that your party doesn’t devolve into stable cliques; intervene to mix those up. Bring lone people into circles or ask them to help you or introduce them to each other.

    Last thing. Enjoy the party yourself. People will follow the host’s lead; relax and celebrate having your friends together. I know a fantastic host who waits until a few friends arrive, then he quietly goes outside and walks in the front door as a guest, ready to have a great time.

    You are invited to my:
    7th Annual Pumpkin Carving Party
    7pm, Sunday October 29th
    My house (email for address and directions)
    BYOP and carving equipment, and your friends and sweethearts.
    I’ll provide candles and some food.
    Hope to see you there!

    You're going to make me put this on the side bar, aren't you?

    My commenting policy towards your fellow commenters:
    I require ACTIVE KINDNESS toward your co-commenters. By that I mean, be AFFIRMATIVELY NICE when you address other people here. This is a higher standard than "not mean". When you have a relationship with the other commenters here, you may write to tease them goodnaturedly. Before you have established yourself, you may write them with respect and affection. You may never make ad homimen attacks against a fellow commenter. If you cannot find respect and affection in your words and heart, saying nothing is always an option*.

    Look, people. I write to you most days. Lots of you write back, and I enjoy talking with you. I know some of you personally, from here or from before. I email with some of you on the side. I consider you friends. When you write mean things to each other, you are hurting friends of mine and that makes me sad. I feel responsible for the feelings of everyone here, and I want to apologize directly to anyone who has read anything bad about themselves in the comments. Don't make me do that. Also, it reminds me of inane junior high school drama and I HATE drama. Worse, I have to scold you, which is boring.

    I know some of you are writing to defend me. I need no defense here. This is my space; I have almost all the voice and control. If I feel I am not getting heard, I can harp on something for days, browbeating the lot of you. I've never done this, but if a comment bothers me? I can delete it. I have more power here than anywhere else in the world; here may be the only place I don't need to be defended. (That said, I do love to get comments agreeing with content, especially when I'm getting the feeling that I am a crazy woman for my esoteric views.)

    My commenting policy towards me:
    It is open season on me. You may critique or criticize any aspect of me or my thoughts. I've put myself on the internets; that makes me fair game. Again, if it really bothers me, I have options for addressing it.

    Otherwise contentless compliments to me are boring. Email them to me, if you must, so that the community doesn't have to wait for them to be done.

    *If you absolutely must say something catty, you can email it directly to me. I don't want to host mean comments for people to return to and dwell on.


    Thursday, October 19, 2006

    You must have been bad, in the dream.

    Justin said:
    But, my g/f actually does this. She gets mad at me for things she dreams I do. And, not even like, the dream was so real she wasn't sure if it really happened. No, she'll actually KNOW it was a dream, then get mad at me for it.

    When my sister and I were about two and four, my Mom woke up from a dream, crying and hitting my Dad. She dreamt that my Dad had taken the two of us to the pound and left us there, to be adopted. Mom wasn't upset about that; they had talked it over and agreed to give us up at the pound. No, Mom was wrecked because it cost fifty cents per day to feed each of us. Dad had only left three dollars, so my sister and I only had three days to get adopted before they put us down.

    Anand, will you never save me from myself?

    It is ridiculous that I am the poster child for fun over at Unfogged. Compared to co-opers, I am reserved and prude. Compared to people at Ultimate tournaments, I am uptight and anxious and straightlaced. Last February, in Hawaii, the tournament party was held on the fields under a giant tent. A torrential rainfall started at about ten at night; within half an hour the water was shin deep. We were camping a distance away, so there was no way to tell if the campground was submerged, if our tents were drowned, if we had a place to sleep that night. I started thinking hard about our options; where could 150 Ultimate players bunk down if the rain kept up for another four hours? Did we need to get a high school gym opened? How do you arrange that? Call the sheriff?

    I was working on a contingency plan for a tournament I wasn’t even organizing, but that wasn’t what most people were doing. Most people had gathered round the deepest mud. I should have guessed that mud wrestling was the obvious reaction to a warm torrential rain. I didn’t, however, expect that they would strap plastic chairs to each foot and have relay races through the pond. The crowd was cheering, deliriously happy. There was still lots of food and drink; they were young and senseless and people chasing each other on chairs is funny.

    Do you know what happened to them for choosing fun in the middle of stormy chaos? NOTHING. Nothing bad happened to them that didn’t also happen to me. Their crap was soaked through and when they went to bed, they spent an uncomfortable night in a wet sleeping bag; just like them, I spent an uncomfortable night in a wet sleeping bag. There was exactly no profit in not joining the cheering crowd. They at least had fun before they slept.

    That is very often true. Most times, there is no penalty for added fun. Why not sneak into empty buildings to throw a TV off the roof (with someone stationed below for safety)? Why not run giggling to Safeway, buy two cases of the cheapest soda they have, boil them, shake them, and throw them at a wall to watch them explode? Why not? Clean up the next day and there is no downside, and there was additional fun in the world. Why not throw a party that makes your guests alive and joyous and involved with their whole selves and bodies, especially if you are going to be throwing a party anyway?*

    Look, gatherings to talk, on a good day with good company, can be engrossing and delightful**. I host evenings and weekends like that a fair amount. But I am going to reach higher for a real nighttime hundred-person party, because I’ve seen it work, and that mixture of moving and doing and laughing and being giddy in love with all your friends is what I live for.

    *Some of you will say that standing and talking is the fun you want out of an evening; nothing gives you greater pleasure. I believe some of the people who say that, and welcome them to my smaller gatherings or to a quiet corner of my bigger parties. Others, I believe, prefer to stay detached and in control and maybe also disdainful. I am wary of remove, but when it crosses into disdain for fun, I lose all respect for that person.

    **When they fall flat, they are pure drudgery.

    Wednesday, October 18, 2006

    More Wall of Shame

    Another for the Wall of Shame:
    No truce, no mercy, no surrender, no rest, no more. This is war.

    Megan, don't worry about us not having a good Mid October Party. I have no idea who you are, but you are officially banned from the Heart of Dupont.

    Sadly, this one I earned.

    Also, there's a lot of disagreement with my notion of a fun party at Unfogged. I would still hope I could set those people at ease within my parties.

    Someone in Glasgow (post 731) would come to my parties, sorta:
    This guy sounds like a bit of a tosser, but he's not wrong.

    I don't know if I am ready for Glaswegians at my parties.

    Ms. Passey's best efforts couldn't convince one of her commenters to date me:
    Wow, that woman creeps me the fuck out; just reading her post on her pumpkin carving party convinces me she is a control freak.

    Real quick.

    Right before I woke up, I dreamt I was watching television. It was some horrible show, where a little girl was singing about how the Peace Corps would bring the world together. I can't hate television extra because the shows in my dreams are bad, can I?


    You guys know that the third Be Good Tanyas album is out, right? Sounds just like 'em.

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    Maybe it isn't Californians in general. Maybe it is Ultimate players and co-opers who know what a party means.

    I went to DC this weekend, to go to two very pleasant parties. The second one was an afternoon gathering, with interesting people and great conversation. The first one was a nighttime party, super smart nice people in their twenties, clumped into groups, talking away. I liked meeting and talking to people at the nighttime party, but I kept close watch until I was sure of what I was seeing. Then I went home and confirmed with the friend I was staying with. “Good party, neat people” I said, “But…” I paused and he filled in: “Not fun.” I asked how he knew and he said “That’s how parties are here.” Naturally, I have always pitied people who don’t live in California. But now that I’m worried that East Coast people don’t know what a party should be, my heart just breaks for them.

    Chris and I think a lot about how to throw parties, although we have different goals. For Chris, a successful party ends in group debauch. I don’t aspire to inducing orgies, but there is a very specific feeling I want my parties to build toward, a sense of group exhilaration and abandon. At the apex of my parties, I want people dancing and lively groups talking, and maybe a project about to be finished that everyone will cheer for. There should be a lot of intermingling, with hugs getting passed along; since men can’t do that, they’ll be roughhousing, manly style. Maybe the group will jump in the pool or make an impromptu bonfire or throw things off the roof; I want everyone giddy enough that they will do something outrageous just for the fun. People should be cheering, chanting or howling at the moon.

    It takes a lot of work to get people to that state. After critiquing a lot of parties, Chris and I have resolved some basics; you need enough people; they must be involved; and they must be slightly dissociated, out of their safe selves.

    You need enough people:
    I now believe that parties must be co-hosted. A party needs at least 70-80 people in a small house to ignite. Even with a large group of friends and a reputation for throwing parties, I can only draw 40 guests by myself. I need two more hosts to get us up into the right range; with multiple hosts, invitees will hear about the party from different sources. Also, multiple hosts will invite different social circles, meaning handsome strangers and new friends to make. Getting people to a party is work. I expect to invite people once and remind them twice if I want a decent turnout.

    They must be involved:
    You can’t force people to get involved (and that isn’t fun), but you can give them lots of ways to participate. First, the party should have a theme. I’m going to an Ugly Shirt party this weekend; just by thinking about what shirt to wear, I’m invested in the party. A theme gives people a chance to be clever, and you never know what you’ll get. When we said the dress code was “Dress to make Prince proud of you” we thought we’d get a lot of skank, but we never thought that Jack would wear Courtney’s tight red pants and frilly pink blouse. Three years later, we still talk about how incredible he looked. I put out romance novels for a Valentine’s Day party; I didn’t expect people to do readings and act out scenes. Lots of people won’t arrive in theme dress, so help them out. Have silly thrift store clothes at the party so they can join the fun.

    People are scared to talk to strangers, but they want to join the animated circles. Give them a way to break in. At our OH! party, Roxie gave everyone half a picture; they had to find the person with the other half. Very easy, very helpful, a reason to approach people. At Greg’s parties, you draw a question out of the question box to ask strangers. (I’ve heard the questions range from “what do you think of abortion?” to “have you taken it up the ass?”. Foolproof.) I no longer do much anxious hostessing, where I make introductions and pull people into groups, largely because we build self-introductions into the party.

    Have a collective project ready to go (like destroying the carpet before I took it up or feeding each other fondue), so that people can move between talking and doing something.

    They must be slightly dissociated:
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, booze. Whatever. Booze is necessary, but by itself it is only a crutch for a weak party. You can do better. Mood lighting is another minimal requirement; please remember to use colors that flatter your guests (reds, yellows, pinks, oranges) and to change the light up. Good music and beats are another basic requirement.

    Even slight costume elements, like boas or glitter will help people out of their self-consciousness and give them a way to be silly. Half-naked people always improve a party, but I find that happens on its own.

    You should arrange the space to slightly disorient people. Chris builds an arch or tunnel to his door, so that you physically move into party space. We both create mini-rooms and places to be. I’ve had good luck with pushing two couches together face to face; people like to clamber into them. Decorate the whole space in accordance with the theme; you can use labels to instruct people. Half the chairs in my house still have pink “lap dance” signs from the last party. Hang things from the ceiling, so you have to duck around them, or play with them, or set them swinging. Movies projected onto one wall of the house set the room in motion; Russ Meyer movies work well for that.

    Parties like these are crafted and they take a good deal of preparatory work. They are worth it though. The fun starts with people’s surprised reactions to the space of the party and builds through a night of watching people relax into dancing and doing and laughing. On special occasions, a rhythm and momentum will gather and the party will make new fun, fun you never expected. If you are prepared and lucky, you can throw a party that becomes infamous. But you have to expect more of your party than standing around talking or raging drunkenness. Neither of those are fun or ambitious enough to be worth the work.

    Tomorrow I'll go over throwing a smaller gathering.

    Saturday, October 14, 2006

    I can do this all night long.

    Because I'm waiting for my clothes to dry so I can finish packing. I hate packing more than anything, and also, my OCD requires that I come home to a very clean house, no matter what that might mean in terms of lost sleep. I don't know how much good it will do to clean my house, on account of how "seven to nine people", which I understand as a dozen or so, of the Modesto crew is staying at my house while I am gone. Can I tell you? Modesto and Stockton freakin' bring the party. They come to league games every week, and win the bar after every game. They are always the last to leave and they have an hour ride home, not including stopping for pancakes at the trucker restaurant. You probably think even less of Modesto and Stockton than you do of Sacramento, but you are wrong. They call themselves Tony Modesto and Ricky Modesto and like that; Tony Modesto and I were laughing so hard at league on Thursday that my cheeks hurt today. That's why I had fun at league, even though I played for crap.

    I always forget to pack something to sleep in, because who the fuck sleeps in clothing?

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    Well, thank god !

    When an injustice is done to a white girl in Sacramento, attention must be paid. I came home to a response to my email about cop cars buzzing me on my bike:

    Ms. [Lastname],
    I have been assigned to look into this incident. I would like to
    attempt to identify the officer to determine why this occurred. Could you
    please let me know the following information.

    Time of day, officer race and gender, one or two officer car, did you
    happen to get the car's ID # and any other identifying information would
    be appreciated.

    Thank You.

    Acting Sergeant B---

    I answered Officer B---, but I have no useful information for her. If there is a next time, I'll try to get the unit number.

    A happy ending.

    My ex's cousin was super high-maintenance and label conscious. Her family was rich and encouraged that. She got herself a very nice boyfriend who couldn't keep up with her; her family always looked down on him. In an effort to get her to break up with him, they would always give her an identical gift right after he had, only more expensive and nicer. He gave her diamond earrings? They gave her bigger diamond earrings. He saved up for a watch for her? They got her the next model up. She always wore the nicer one.

    For some reason, he really loved her and finally proposed. She looked him in the eye and asked "Can you afford me?" He said "No" and so did she.

    Thursday, October 12, 2006

    See you in a few days.

    I just found out that I'm in training (surveying culverts) all day tomorrow. I already knew I'd be away for the weekend. So you probably won't hear from me until Tuesday.

    Have a fun weekend!

    We were twitchy and jumpy by the end of that summer.

    My Dad always yells at me for not carrying cash. Then he acts grumpy and hands me $100 in twenties, so I can’t see how that is teaching me the right lesson. I have always resented that trying to do the right thing led to the Summer of Remarkably Bad Luck in 1998. I was working in the Sac Valley that summer, living in Willows, which is already bad news. Late Sunday night, on my way back from visiting my ex in Berkeley, I stopped at the ATM at University and San Pablo. In the forty seconds it took me to get cash money, someone stole my bike off the rack on my car. That was the start.

    Sunday night: Bike stolen off my car.
    Thursday: Ex gets into serious car crash. Not injured, but car is wrecked.
    Saturday: Ex and I take his rental car around to local swap meets. When we get home, my car had been stolen out of his garage.

    You got that so far? In six days, we had lost two cars and a bike. I don’t remember the timing of the rest of it as clearly, but in order:

    My car was found with everything stolen out of it. According to the police report, the engine was fine, though, which was not still the case when I got to the impound lot three days later.
    The impound lot bent me over and used me roughly; considering what they billed me, I think they could have afforded some lube.
    My ex’s rental car was broken into and his jacket, boots, CDs stolen out of it.
    Once my car was fixed, someone broke into the mechanic’s car lot and tried to steal it again, but instead just messed up the ignition.
    My ex got his own car back. Within the week, it was broken into and his rims stolen.
    The streak ended on his birthday. We stopped by the bike store to look at new bikes for me. I tried one, fell and broke my arm.

    As far as I am concerned, all that happened because I was trying to do the right thing and have more than two cash dollars in my wallet that week. It speaks well of my friends that recently I have started carrying cash money again. I wouldn’t bother, except that I find that they will often reach for the bill real fast. If splitting the bill ‘causes more hassle than handing over a twenty, they’ll wave me off. I find that I have to carry cash to contribute fairly. It is a nice problem to have.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Small things that make me disproportionately happy.

    I love my pretty blue housekey with the flowers on it. I thought I'd get tired of it, but two years later, I still admire it when I unlock my door.

    I love sampler packs of anything, but right now my tea sampler of eight flavors gives me six whole choices (once I've given away the disgusting lemon-ginger and taken the chamomile home because I can't be falling asleep at work). I like to carefully consider which tea matches my mood throughout the day. I also loved the Insects and Spiders stamps, and very carefully assigned stamps to recipient. I'm sure I would have sent you the shiny iridescent green beetle. My favorite stamps so far have been the 1995 Peaches and Pears, although the recent Clouds and Crops of the Americas have been solid choices. My sister and I will interrupt a busy day to call each other about stamps.

    I buy expensive mushrooms at the Farmers' Market on Sunday, and every single time I am grateful that I am not poor any more (only relatively expensive - not as much as meat or anything). I can afford oyster mushrooms, even when it isn't a special occasion, just for me to sauté and eat on walnut bread.

    The change counting machine at our bank branch is perfect. You take all your change to the machine, you swipe your ATM card, and your change gets deposited in your bank account! Tracy and Margie and I love it so much, because it suits that need so perfectly. It is a treat and a thrill when one of us has enough change to deposit; we arrange it like a special date for the three of us.

    I love him more than he'll ever know. (Found him through eDubin!)

    In the comments at Unfogged, Steve reminded me of Chick Tracts. Awww man, Chick Tracts. Angels was my first Chick Tract, which set the bar pretty high. But, Birds and the Bees is wonderful, and he is not afraid to show you the ugly truths about prison or child rape either. Chick Tracts will never let you down.

    More! The song Packet Man, by Digital Underground! In the first place, it has horns. I already love any song with a horns section. Second, it is a very funny song. Whenever I am in a meeting where there are information packets, I ask the person handing them out if s/he is the Packet Man. Then, inside, I crack up, because that joke will never get old. If I am passing out handouts, I always ask if they'll be needing any packets today. I've yet to get the answer I'm looking for, but I'm entertained, which is enough.

    I'll post more things I love beyond all reason as I think of them. Soon, my pretty, pretty bike chain will be on the list.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Good luck with that, Part the Second.

    I was talking to that guy from the beginning of the summer; he brought up the possibility of meeting the girl he went back to. That sounded familiar, so I went back to check an old email. Then I made a little table:

    Two weeks off-pace? Better make that permanent, buddy.


    I am, naturally, ashamed to be basing conclusions on such a small data set. My apologies to all of you. I take heart from Seth Roberts, who is a real professor and everything; some of his research has an N of 1. Also, my friend Teddy got a study with an N of 1 published in Nature; he has had no respect for that journal ever since.

    A E I O U and sometimes W

    I love any song where the performers crack themselves up. I don't imagine that Afroman's 'Cause I Got High song is honestly meant as an anti-drug polemic, but they have no hope of convincing anyone when they are laughing their way through the chorus. The D12 song My Band is funnier on every listen. They barely hold it together until the end, when the final teary-voiced "Fuck Marshall" breaks them all up.

    Also, an Eminem song will never let you down during a workout.

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Men get the babyhunger too.

    Went out to breakfast with some guy friends this morning.

    D: Since when did the undergraduates start looking too young to be hott?
    C: And when did the young moms at the park start looking so good?
    D,C,S: Mmmmm. Hot moms.

    I was so damn proud of them.

    Saturday, October 07, 2006

    And?!! Also?!! I got twelve hours of sleep!!!!

    I met Ali for coffee today, and we went to the new café and guess what?! They have Casey’s muffin recipes! They’re gonna sell Casey’s apple muffin and my life is complete and I don’t need men or sex or babies. And then?! Ali’s fixed gear has an anodized pink chain. I might just die of jealousy. Before, I wanted to pretend that I wasn’t a follower and trying to be cool like my early twenties friends. I can’t care about that any more. I want a colored bike chain more than anything I’ve seen in a long time. I could just pimp my current bike, ‘cause UnderwearNinja tells me the chain is loose. But as long as I am getting a new $5 chain, I might as well get a fixed gear to wrap it around. I’m gonna do it.

    Two, three years ago, a black hoodie came to me on the Ultimate fields. No one claimed it for a while, so I just started wearing it and I loved it all the time. Then, one evening last winter, Ali was cold so I gave her the black hoodie to wear. She kept it and confessed that she likes it even more ‘cause it was mine once. I am unutterably touched that something of mine could be a comfort object for her. I understand, though, ‘cause when I go down to see my baby siblings in LA, I almost always sneak a ponytail holder from my baby sister. Ponytail holders are better if she wore them first. Anyway, I bought a new hoodie today, so that Ali and I can be twins this winter. And she is moving in with me. Men, why aren’t you like Ali?

    Update, 10/11: Sage is building a fixed gear for me today.

    Friday, October 06, 2006

    Even worse?

    An actual interesting thing, non-dating related, happened last night at our first night of Fall League. Or, separately, Unfogged may be on the verge of doing something really neat. But instead we are talking about stupid, not productive, inaccurate generalities about men and women and dating.

    I can't see writing up another long post, but honestly, much as I meant the post about falling for someone, it is the least interesting thing on my mind today.

    Don't be like that.

    That was the most boring comment section ever. I understand that pretty, stacked engineers going un-laid is such a shocking aberration, such an unnatural violation of the laws of the universe that it requires all of your attention to analyze and fix it. But you guys took a trivial exchange, one that you didn't see and can't have an opinion on, and made up rules about how men and women are. Stupid rules! Rules that go against what I believe of how people, both men and women, should interact. Rules that would require me to act in ways that would be forced and unnatural, and not present my favorite self. Rules that would backfire, because if they worked, they would snag someone who likes a different me.

    Here is what I want, and who I want to be:

    I would like to meet someone, and have a friendly, easy conversation with a natural extension. He asks me out, or I ask him out, or we segue into another activity. It would be delicious if he were funny and caught my references.

    I want us to both show interest the whole time. You know what is not shameful? It is not shameful to have a crush on someone. For one thing, you can't help it and we are not ashamed of the things we can't help. For another thing, it is a gift, a small kindness and flattery when someone has a crush on you. Everyone here, listen up. When you have a crush on someone available to you, gently present it to them as a gift for their benefit. When someone has a crush on you, be definite about whether you want to pursue it, and be grateful either way that someone thought you were amazing and beautiful that day. The last thing I want is to be coy about my feelings.

    In a perfect world, that would move easily into spending increasing amounts of time together, in that intoxicating stage where everything your new honey does is mesmerizing; all you want to do is find out how he or she came to be this person who says and does everything right. The world is kind to couples in that stage, because when you walk down streets holding hands, elm leaves fall on pumpkins just so that you can remember later how beautiful it was to see that together. You can walk into parties together, secretly proud to arrive with such a handsome person. There are impulsive kisses on the sides of his neck, just because it fits so perfectly, because you like the smell of him, because if you press up against the side of his body, there will be an answering pressure that proves he is real.

    Then I want that to settle down, into a routine of coming home to a lit house, and evenings where you don't need plans because you will both be home. I could make soup. I even have a fireplace. And then a rising trust that you would both do what you had to to make this last.

    Jesus, you fuckers. You Writing that made me cry. But the important part is that NONE of that is about gender or strategy. If I am constantly assessing and planning and thinking poorly of men (which I don't) while I am with this imaginary person, I am not listening and watching and smiling and noticing all the things he is. Fuck that shit. All of you! There are so many amazing, marvelous people out there, and so many of them want that same smooth path. Be where they are and be present with them and be willing to give yourself to someone who loved your little gift of a crush and would like even more, please. That is what I want of me. That is what I want for you.

    (Also - Marginal Revolution and Unfogged? You're getting predictable with the automatic linking to the "Megan trying to date" posts. Are you really still getting mileage out of that?)

    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    The entirety of my recent love life.

    I stopped by a café yesterday on my way home. Sitting outside was a guy I've seen at Pub Quiz a number of times. Dave told me that Petra saw that guy's profile on some dating site. He's an English professor* and around our age. So I walked over to his table and introduced myself; we chatted about Pub Quiz for a while. His team wins a lot, but they're a bunch of freaks. They want to win first prize more than porn!

    The chatting went well and he has bluer eyes than I expected. He asked a couple times if I would be at Pub Quiz this weekend. (No, I'll be at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and are you sure you don't want to hang out for dinner one night?) But he didn't ask for my number or anything. I see him around town a fair amount. I'm sure I'll see him again. Should I be even more forward than walking up to his table and introducing myself? Or with that kind of opening, should I expect that he would ask me out if he were single and interested?

    *I know, but I'm trying to be openminded. Even about people with no useful skills. I bet he has a place to live, though.

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    I told you. I can see you guys.

    Like when I get searches like these?

    Then I think that maybe you don't come here for posts about flood fighting techniques. I have a mind, you know. Just because Dan Savage published my letter on how to enjoy giving head (Sept '98, and I can't find archives or I'd give you a link) doesn't mean that that's all I'm good for.

    Update: HAH HAH Hah hah hah hah hah! When I put that search up, I wasn't thinking you would take the opportunity to click through the links.


    Trust responsibility? What trust responsibility?

    The Bureau of Indian Affairs withdrew an objection to the Southern Nevada Water Authority's plan to pump billions of gallons of water in Spring Valley, home to the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, for use in Las Vegas. The BIA withdrew their objection on behalf of the Goshute Tribes, without consulting or notifying them.

    According to the Las Vegas Sun:
    Catherine Wilson, acting regional Bureau of Indian Affairs director, predicted that the Water Authority pumping will have few effects on the Indian lands and that in any case, the federal government should go along with what looked to be inevitable.

    Hope that water tastes cool and sweet, Las Vegas.

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    Light reads.

    I was all, blah blah blah, I can give science fiction and mystery recommendations, but I am nearly forced to retract that. I haven’t read much science fiction in a few years. I am still reading some fantasy, especially when I’m looking for an escapist couple hours on my porch. With the warning that they are not new, here are my recommendations; as always, lots of plot, minimum of angst and when I can, a skew toward strong female characters.

    Science fiction/fantasy:

    I bet lots of you have read Ken Grimwood’s Replay. The conceit of going back to relive parts of your life with knowledge from the last times you lived through that period is now one of my standard daydreams. I know so many great guys I would scoop up before their current wives or girlfriends.

    Everything by Dan Simmons. In fact, I should check if he has released anything recently.

    Pat Murphy’s The City, Not Long After is a beautiful story, set in post pandemic San Francisco. It offers a magic realism take on waging war in which the city itself is a combatant.

    The Sword of Mary and Psalms of Herod by Esther Friesner. There’s some strong stuff in these, including executions in Sword of Mary that I have never been able to revisit or forget. Another post-apocalypse setting, Psalms of Herod is set in a rural country governed by an extreme patriarchal religion. Sword of Mary is set in a more recognizable city, but then things go wrong. I picked up some other Friesner on the strength of these two books and it was horrible. I think these are a departure for her, so don’t judge them on any other Friesner you’ve read.

    Mysteries: These are all solid examples of the genre, but I am not claiming more than that I enjoyed them.

    Female protagonists:
    I liked all of Karen Kijewski’s books, and not just because they’re set in Sac.

    I like Linda Barnes’ Carlotta Carlyle series. Set in Boston.

    Rosemary Edghill wrote an odd trilogy about a New York Wiccan who gets dragged into mysterious happenings. She is funny and skeptical about her freak community, while remaining devout in her beliefs. Speak Daggers To Her, Book of Moons, The Bowl of Night.

    Not-female protagonists:
    Bangkok 8 and its follow-up, Bangkok Tattoo, by John Burdett, were fun.

    I also liked Eliot Pattison’s Inspector Shan books, set in Tibet. Starts with The Skull Mantra.

    Young Adult and children’s books:
    All of these are kinda girlie, but I wouldn’t write them up if I didn’t really like them.

    Sarah Dessen, This Lullaby. I’ve found all of Dessen’s books very readable. This one has an especially nice group of female friends and a hot and sweet love interest. Maybe for junior high, high school age readers.

    Patrice Kindl, The Woman in the Wall. This is a peculiar little story about a sister and daughter who decides to live within the walls of her house. It has a couple very funny lines. I re-read it often. Junior high level, I guess.

    Carol Plum-Ucci, The She. Carol Plum-Ucci writes the same story – most people being conventional and nasty, a previously popular protagonist deciding to be a good person, mysterious something that goes unanswered – in all her books. But she does it really well. Mature junior high, high school readers.

    Sharon Shinn, Safe-Keeper’s Secret, Truth-Teller’s Tale, and the upcoming Dream-Maker’s Magic. Everything I like. Nicely done fairy tales, and a romantic resolution. Junior high level.

    Clare Dunkle, The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy. I’ve got real reservations about the gender dynamics in these books, but I very much like the reversal of the usual elves-good, goblins-bad. And they’re funny. I’d recommend these with a follow-up talk about the patriarchy, but definitely recommend them. Junior high level.

    Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. An early chapter book, but such a beautiful book. A toy rabbit goes through a succession of owners.

    Oh! And The Misadventures of Maude March: Or Trouble Rides a Fast Horse by Audrey Couloumbis. A great story about a pair of kick-ass young sisters on the American frontier. Fine for early junior high. Or me.


    My earlier recommendations.

    Your turn, y’all. What should I read? A shameless good story, no whining.

    Monday, October 02, 2006

    Join us at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass this weekend?

    My friends and I are going to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in SF this weekend. I'll be there most of Saturday and Sunday for sure. If you're local, would you want to join us? You can just look for goofy people with good throws hanging out near the stages that open onto fields. I would love to have someone walk up and know me. Or we can set a real time and place to meet. Or, maybe we could go to dinner Saturday night near Golden Gate Park? Or Sunday night for that matter; those of us who work for the state have Indigenous People's Day off on Monday.

    Thankfully, I've got Anand to pick up the slack.

    I’ve been having a hard time coming up with true posts recently. By true, I mean a post that accurately shows how something captured my attention. I’ve given up on any other overarching theme; this isn’t a dating blog or an environmental blog or an engineering blog. To my great surprise, you seem interested in whatever captures my attention, and I couldn’t be more pleased and flattered.

    Still, recently, I’ve had to work to come up with stuff. When I’m trying to date, it is engrossing and easy to write about, but I’ve had almost no interest in dating since the last round with Craigslist. I’ll regain my optimism and try again sometime, but until then one well of inspiration is dry. My daily life? Mostly routine. I’m worried about how much time I spend at Unfogged. It always interests me, but sitting behind a monitor watching smart people be witty doesn’t make my life rich. You hear about it whenever some water story catches my eye. I have several incomplete themes floating around, with some cute phrasing I’m anxious to use, but now I know that those will read better when two of them come together to support a third point.

    So, since I don’t have much, I’m gonna ask about you. Who are you people? I’ve thought for a while that my audience is mostly men; is that right? Would you tell me where you live and what you do, in whatever detail you’re comfortable with? If you have a blog you’re willing to share, would you give me the link? If you want to weigh in on the mix between tawdry dating posts and pedantic environmentalism posts, you’re welcome to, although it won’t change what you get here. If you pose interesting questions, you might get them answered.

    Oh! If you got here some way besides Marginal Revolution, could you please tell me what that was?

    Update: You bunch of slackers. I see your IP addresses. I know you stopped by without telling me about yourself. I can't make you, but I am genuinely curious about who you are. Instead of new information, I'm just chatting with the regulars. You won't tell me anything about yourself?

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    See you at morning track workouts!

    The best thing about being a league captain is that you get to draft your team. I'm looking forward to two full months of never getting looked off.

    Tall Chris, I picked you early. Look for me in the end zone.