This has been a great week. Starting with Thursday, I saw the wonderful psychedelia of the Circulatory System, William Cullen Hart post-Olivia Tremor Control band. They were tremendous live and I got to meet John Fernandez and Wil. I've been admiring these guys for quite some time so I was stoked. The ruminations on time, causality, and the universe seemed even more interlocked live than I had interpreted so far, and I've spent some time with their album. It is a rich reality, a work of genius.

I have also recentlly recieved my financial aid, which has provided a financial basis to keep the light turned on inside my head, the rent paid, and the means to install a wireless network within my home and on my iBook. I can now browse e2 while I'm skipping class on campus. This is a good thing.

Last night I saw the very incredible Sigur Ros. I've seen them twice before, the first time being the single best concert I've ever attended. There is this direct communication that they are able to produce, using seemingly biochemical reactions by the deep resonance and reverberations of thier music. They played some wonderful new songs, reworked some old ones, and in general held up to my expectations. I was disappointed with the gestapo venue, though. When I had seen them the 2nd time in San Francisco I had taken a mild dose of psilocybe cubensis, which only accentuated the communicative qualities of their special kind of music. Last night my familiarity with their live performance tone ddown the incredible awe-inspiring nature of the music, and instead I sat semi-comfortably, lost within thoughts inside thoughts inside thoughts, guided by the pulsing and sonic tidal wave ocean I had come to drown myself in.

And then today I get a very special present for the house. A homeless kitten! She is beautiful and extra-sweet. She licked my face for twenty minutes, and I have nothing but love for that. We will slowly be integrating her into our house, what with my cat, She-Ra being two years old now. I think this will all work out well, a playmate to trigger her motherly response system, and a companion in feline hijinks.

I would also like to point out that Portland's fall and winter season has begun, and it is tremendously beautiful. For the last several weeks I have watched the leaves fall from trees, after turning radical shades of red and orange. The sky has been an animated canvas of adventure of technicolor. The moss breathes, and I want to speak with it. These are our days.

No philisophical ruminations today. Just love and happiness.

It's a sad, sad day my friends. I have just returned from surveying the damage to my bike. I am somewhat shocked that I am still here. My trusty stead, The Beast, Rosinante, has gone to God.

The front end is a mess - the headlight, and upper faring - missing. The front wheel rim was _dented_. The forks slightly bent, but both of the fork seals blown. There was an ugly stain of fluids on the ground under the bike. The frame itself was twisted, which you could see with the naked eye. scary.

I guess all this damage is what saved me, and I should consider myself lucky, but there's a lot of milestones and memories in/with that 'bike:
The morning my daughter was born, and I went to the hospital. Even though I had promised myself to never speed, I vividly recall looking at the speedo and thinking, "250 (Kms/hr) !! Wow.. that's a quarter the speed of sound!"
The laps around Philip Island where I almost got under a 2 minute lap.
The jaunts through the hills with friends. Blasting around on hot summer days, free as birds, and not having to be home till the street lights came on.
The daily commute to and from work, and a variety of jobs (not to mention girlfriends), that came and went whilst the one steady thing in life was knowing my bike would be there in the morning.
The time I was so broke and I couldn't afford a new battery and I had to push start it up and down the road, in the middle of winter...

Ahhhhhhhh it brings a tear to my eye right now.

/me misses my ZX-6R, The Beast, Rosinante... now the question is what so I replace it with??? ;)

Sitting in the jamesway at Lake Fryxell. The limno team has gone out to try to extricate one of their sensors from the ice. The thing got warm, an Antarctic sin. It melted through the top layers of eighteen feet of ice. They’ve got chippers and steam. All four of them out there hacking and chopping.

I helo’ed in with Barry and Jennifer, whom I met last year. We first set down at the polar haven on the lake itself. Then Barry brought me over to the beach and let me out. I’m to try to get the network up. Then I’m hiking back to Lake Hoare. In theory, I was to stay here the night and hike with the limnologists over the glacier tomorrow. But that doesn’t seem to be.

It’s five miles over ancient beaches, frozen lakes, and fields of ice fallen from glacier faces. Nothing else to do today. I guess.

Despite what they told me at the Puzzle Palace, the network isn’t working. My access point is not associating with Mt. Hjorth and I’m sitting here listening to tunes, typing into Microsoft Word, trying to figure out how to get the antenna to the top of the jamesway.

Maybe it would work if I had the thing on a tower. A pole.

Temps outside about 10F. No wind. No clouds. Brilliant sun. I’m slathered with sunscreen. Writing this with a nearly dead battery, generator humming in the background. Soon it runs out of gas and I start hiking back.

They say the weather will be bad tomorrow. Tomorrow the camp manager has her official Thanksgiving—the actual Thursday of Thanksgiving in the U.S. McMurdo will celebrate on Saturday, which is actually Friday in the States.

This morning I woke up in a bit of a funk. When I crawled into my sleeping bag I was warm, so I didn’t put on a hat. When I woke up I had a sore throat and was just on the brink of shivering cold. That triggered an emotion similar to panic—sort of what you get when you step into a totally frigid shower. Only this shower was the size of a continent.

I kept myself calm. Got dressed. Hiked over to the hut and had a warm cup of tea. The world looked better immediately.

I thought of myself as a kid, getting out of a swimming pool in the summer after having stayed in too long, lips blue, shivering, a towel wrapped around me, standing on warm pavement.

My surroundings. The jamesway is that Korean War-era Quonset-hut of a building. The walls are made of canvas stuffed with something like kapok, the stuff they used to fill life preservers with. It’s draped on wooden arches and spars painted olive drab. The flooring is sanded plywood. It’s elevated about 4” above the ground.

There are a number of folding tables in here—a bench someone made from plywood and a piece of rubberized foam about 1-inch thick that serves as padding. Metal folding chairs. About 30 bottles of liquor and Margarita mix. Shelving made from plywood holding some food supplies, private items like post cards and personalized coffee mugs. A refrigerator. Aluminum pots. Some fruit. Random cold weather gear. Christmas decorations. Radio equipment.

My handie-talkie is on a table in front of me. Barry flew back to Hoare to retrieve it for me when mine stopped working.

That is—Barry dropped me off in the A-star, flew back over the glacier to Hoare, picked up another radio, and then flew back here to give it to me.

This is how helicopter pilots wind up the most popular people in Antarctica. Basically, they save your life when things go wrong. Should I go out and get in trouble on this three-hour walk home, that radio is my lifeline. Barry couldn’t leave me here without it, and he wasn’t going to insist I go back home.

So now I owe him a big favor.

I’m wearing three layers of capilene. A “The North Face’ fleece vest, long underwear, and the famous McMurdo many-pockets pants. My new hiking boots. I have my red parka, fleece hat, thick gloves, and camera. Plus I’m carrying all this network gear. Brought two of those really tasty Cadbury bars for the walk back to Lake Hoare.

Getting cold sitting here typing. The radio is still not associating, the generator seems to be dying, and everyone is still out on the lake.

Right now, my biggest concern is that I slip on the ice crossing Lake Hoare and land right on this very laptop.


Got the network stuff running at the last minute. Huzzah! (As they said on the Terra Nova.) Then Tim called from the “stream team” (the folks who read glacier outflow—there isn’t any now, it’s too damned cold) and said he’d meet me at Green Stream, also known as F9. They gave me a GPS point, but as I didn’t have a GPS it did no good. I left the jamesway and started walking south west.

The temps was about 0F with a light breeze, thankfully to my back. After about an hour I realized I had to cross Lake Fryxell, so I put on my stabalcers (sic), which are basically beach shoes with screws in them so the heads are exposed. They give you additional grip on the ice.

I velcroed them to my boots and walked across the lake.

Stepping onto ten feet of solid, transparent ice is an interesting experience for a northerner. I’m used to having the ice groan and crack under my weight. This did no such thing. It was as clear and as hard as the ice cube in a rocks glass, and I could see all the way to the bottom.

In places, the ice was bright blue.

I crossed the lake and climbed the nearest hill. From there I took out my radio and called my friends. They could see my red parka from a distance, but I couldn’t see them.

After about a half an hour I saw them crossing the lake. We met up and found their “stream gauge” which was in an arroyo, now completely dry because there is no liquid water on the surface.

It took them an hour to service the gauge, during which time I was reminded that standing still in a small breeze at 0 degrees farenheit is freaking cold no matter what you wear. And I was wearing three layers of capaline, my fleece vest, and my big red parka.

I figured it would be better to stay with them than to trek on alone so I crouched down in the lee of the big wooden crate that encloses their gauge, and ate a couple of candy bars.

At about the point I would have started shivering, they announced they were done and we started walking. I warmed up immediately, so much so that I started sweating and actually had to take off my hat and open my parka.

So let this be a lesson to all us who need to warm up in cold weather. Sometimes walking is enough.

There is no hike through the Taylor Valley that isn’t dramatic. You simultaneously feel you’re on another planet and reminded of the grandeur of our own earth. We checked in with camp (if we didn’t return in two hours, they’d send the helo’s out for us), and hiked the remaining five miles.

We returned to a full house at Lake Hoare. There are 18 people here now, and bound to be more for our official Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Once upon a time...

...there was a boy. This boy was feeling blue so he called up to talk to his friend to see if she could cheer him up. Now this friend lives in a far away country filled with snow and trolls and affordable yet stylish furniture. So the boy is talking to his friend and he says, "Friend, is it not sad that I am here and you are so far away." and his friend agreed. "If only we could see each other", said the friend. "Then we would not feel so blue."

Now the boy was sad and wished that he could find a way to see his friend in the far away land of ice and trolls and reliable cars and make the blues go away. By a stroke of good fortune, a little Irish man heard his wish. "Never fear, disconcertingly tall boy", said the man. "I can fly you to see your friend across the sea in the land of snow and trolls and raw fish." The boy smiled at the man, but then looked crestfallen. "I am but a poor boy, so cannot spare much in the way of payment for your kind offer." But the man smiled a knowing smile, "Never fear, o shaven-headed one, for I will fly you to see your friend and I will not charge you a penny. Sadly the queen demands a payment from all who fly, but that will not be onerous."

So the boy skipped with joy and called up his friend in the far off land of ice and trolls and nude swimming. "My wish was granted dear friend", he said. "I can fly to see you!". The friend laughed with joy and said, "I have a special plan. In two months I shall travel to the big city where our other friends live. If you also fly to that city we can all be together and no one will feel blue." The boy agreed that this was an excellent plan, so he called up and told the Irish man the news.

The boy was excited, but a little sad that he had such a time to wait before he could see his friends. He was overcome with a melancholia, but took some comfort in the thought that he would soon be reunited with his dear friends who now lived so far away.

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months and before he knew it the time had come for him to fly with the little Irish man to see his friend in the land of snow and trolls and overpriced alcohol. The day before his travel, the boy went to gather his possessions to carry with him to see his friend. He made sure to pack the special warm clothes he had bought, as well as his books of foreign tongues. He took his letter from the Irish man and stowed it safe. He packed everything safe, then went to his special box to get his passport.

But when he opened the box, the passport was nowhere to be seen. "What a silly person I am", said the boy. "It must be in my bedroom in the other box." But it was not. The boy searched high and low throughout the house for many hours, but the passport was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, a spark of a memory hit him. His sister had been looking at it and laughing at how tired and angry he looked in the photograph. So he called his sister up to ask her if she still had it, but there was no reply. He called her friends but no one knew where she might be, until finally someone was able to say. "She is at the cinema.", said the woman. "She is watching a film. The film started at 10." It was late now, for the boy had been searching for many hours. He decided he must wait until his sister returned from the cinema, which should not be long." Minutes turned into hours and still no call came, so he once more tried one of her friends and struck lucky. Yes, she was there. Yes, she did remember looking at the passport when they were out one day, but no, she did not remember keeping it. Soon the sister returned and they searched high and low once more for the passport, but to no avail.

By now the hands of the clock were pointing to the new day and his luck showed no sign of improving, when he was struck by another memory. He could remember having the passport with him when he went with another friend to listen to music play. Had he given it to her to look after? His memory was vague, for at the time he had been much troubled with a fever, but there was a distinct recollection of entrusting it to her safekeeping. The hour was late now, so he sent a message to his friend to call him upon waking, and went to try for the fitful sleep of the guilty.

Three short hours later and he awoke. Had his friend found the precious passport? He spoke to her but his hopes were in vain. "Not me", she said. "You did not entrust you passport to my keeping". The boy was sad, but did not lose heart. "If I cannot find this one I shall secure myself another!", he exclaimed. He had done this before when a similar misfortune had befallen him, so called up the queen's servants for their counsel. But no! His luck was gone! "Times have changed, o absent-minded one", said the queen's servant. "As your passport is mislaid, we must now required seven whole days to present you will a replacement."

The boy was now more than downhearted. He could no longer travel to the land across the sea filled with ice and snow and trolls and dear friends. The hour was too late to call the Irish man and ask for another time. The time was long gone when he could obtain refund for his lodgings. And even if he could, this was to be the only time when he could hope to see all his friends together. "Fuck this", he said. "I don't know why I even bother to try for anything good. It always goes wrong." and he cursed himself loudly for being such a fucking idiot to lose his passport in the first place. He then took pen to paper to write the sorry tale, and to try and express quite how much he was hating his own stupid disorganised self at this moment. His only talent is to ruin any hopes of happiness.

And with that he went off to wallow in self hatred and self pity for the foreseeable future.

...The End


Yes, I'm an idiot for losing my passport. Why was I carrying it around, you may ask. Well, in one of my other bits of absent-minded stupidity, I managed to get my debit card stolen, so I had needed the passport as ID to get some money. Don't ask why it took until the night before my flight before I'd noticed it was gone. IDDBID


Update! 9th March, 2003

I've found the bloody thing. I'm currently moving house, and found it under the box in which I'd first looked. How the fuck I managed to not see it when I spent 12 hours turning the house upside down I don't know. At least I don't have to fork out £33 for a new one now. I feel like even more of an idiot now.

SNOW!

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

It was snowing.

Whether you choose to believe me or not, I don't care, but the first snow of the season is magic.

Magic.

You wouldn't know that if you listened to the fools on television. Local news people were busy telling everyone to stock up, buy shovels, batteries, candles and so on. A news station in New York was going on the air at 4 am with "storm updates". You would think we were getting a nor'easter. I said to the foolish newsperson on the screen, "It's snow. It's New England. It's November. Get over it!"

There was no response.

The cats looked mildly amused at the sight of me talking to the box, then curled themselves up and went back to sleep.

The magic hadn't happened yet, when I went to bed. But I awoke this morning to a beautiful winter wonderland of soft, wet, white fluffy snow. The cats were waiting outside my bedroom door as usual. They didn't seem to know the magic had occurred. Before I even flicked on the coffee pot, I took them to the big living room window to see the new world. They weren't interested. Because of the snow their enemies were no where to be seen, so the window wasn't much fun for them.

I sat in the dining room with my first cup of coffee, watching as tiny snowflakes fell, adding to the two or more inches already piled there on the back porch. I thought about the expression "silence is golden" and thought no, it's white. Part of the magic of snow is the silence it brings. It becomes so quiet you can hear the snowflakes fall. The world slows to the speed of falling snow and fills the soul with peace.

I know that for some people today will not be magic. This is the busiest travel day of the year in the United States. Snow means travel delays if you're trying to get in or out of New England or New York, and it will delay travel all over the country. But as you're waiting to get to your final Thanksgiving destination, remember when snow was still magic for you. When it meant snow angels, sleding, snowball fights and hot chocolate. Remember waiting with anticipation for the radio to announce your school had closed for the day and the joy that news brought you. Take a moment, as you wait in frustration, and remember. Remember the magic.

I love daylogs. I don't generally daylog, (but I'm daylogging) but I nearly always read them. One of the very very many things I have learnt from the site is the relativity of human emotions. In a typical daylog you might find one noder complaining about hir boss, another about hir partner who's left em, and perhaps yet another noder who's house has been repossessed. They are each as unhappy as the others, but the plight of the least fortunate throws the others into perspective. Camus says that Sisyphus must have been happy, and perhaps he's right. I suppose that I like daylogs for their very ordinariness. They're so human. In a shrine to intellectualism such as this, the presence of real, mediocre humanity is reassuring and ... (shudder) ... life-affirming. This is a community packed with monoliths of intelligence, knowledge and understanding. It's easy to forget beneath all this that there are real, bleeding hearts. Call me morbid or voyeuristic or just plain odd, but after a hard session trying to get my head round people people people like like like people or ariels' latest piece of math theory I find it refreshing to read these enchantingly simple and even banal contributions. It's easy to forget sometimes that E2 is people, and daylogs remind me of this. So, thank you, dayloggers.



You want this daylog to have content about my life? What kind of unreasonable request is that? Well, since my last daylog, I've had my results changed to straight As and a Distinction, been to a memorial service, had a job at a publishers, had my first medium-term girlfriend, read a lot of books, eaten a lot of pasta, recieved unconditional offers from two universities, and become a lot more wilfuly rarified. Was that so interesting? It's the minutiae that count, let's not dwell on such important things.


Anyway, today is my little sister's birthday: she's a charming five. She's desperately cute, and she knows it. She's prone to making knowingly sweet declarations on mankind, as kids can be. Obviously, I had to buy her presents, but being 200 miles away I had to send them to her. So, not being overly pecuniate I bought her some Lemony Snickett - at that age it's also important that the parent enjoys the gift too. Straight books in a package, I thought? How excited could any kid be about that? Part of the whole experience of getting presents is the opening of them, the excitment and anticipation. Right? So. I bought little edible gold sugar stars and wrapped them up with the books. Then I put that on a sheet of wrapping paper and scattered it with gold and silver glitter and little gold stars and ballons saying 'I am five today!' on them and wrapped it up again. Then I found a card with a badge on it - badges are important - and wrote in it and filled it with glitter and stars as well, and put it in its envelope. Then I put all that in a big Jiffy bag, poured all the rest of the glitter and stars in - that's about 4 (little) tubs of glitter alone now - and sealed it. All I can say is, I hope they open it outside. Opening the damn thing'll be like being a giant caught in a blizzard of light. A technicolour snowstorm, speeded up. Must be one hundred grams of glitter in there: it's going to be messy. But that's the point, isn't it? This is why siblings are fun.

I'm just tired of myself. Being introspective isn't exactly fun when there isn't much of one's self to examine.

I'm also tired of pretty much everyone I know. Exhausted is a better word, fatigued beyond words, infected with an unending lassitude derived from my interactions with the world. However, it's not the /WORLD'S/ fault. I'm cursed with a broken lens, my interpertations are skewed. (Notice how I completely distance myself from blame by writing 'cursed'? Fuck my pseudo-religious explanations for my problems. It's my fault. MINE. Just as it's my fault that I'm going to post this and expose everythingites to my insipid ramblings. Everyone has problems, and most worthwhile people do not use inappropriate internet forums to complain about them).


The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of 'heav'n
What matter where, if I still be the same?

That sums up my feelings about my life, although Satan means the opposite in his self delusion. Poor guy.

Amusingly, that I'm actually writing this is one of the reasons that I'm so exhausted by the thought of a continuation of 'me'. I'm so painfully self conscious it's sickening. I'm sick of myself, and sick of myself for being sick of myself. It's a knot that can only be undone by a conscious decision to snip the entirety. I'm such a whiny little fuck for writing that. And a self conscious little fuck for writing /that/. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me.

If I actually post this, I'm a pathetic fuck who's looking for a justification for his existence. I want to be told I'm special and wonderful and loved by complete strangers over the internet so I can live a few more weeks of my miserable life without sticking a pair of gardening shears through my temples. Yeah, that's it. Actually, compliments and reassurances just make me nauseous. Because secretly, or not so secretly, I /wish/ they were true.

Oh yeah. This is a daylog, isn't it?

Yesterday, I couldn't think. I bungled painfully easy material in French class because of three factors, a) my stupidity, b) my insomnia, and c) my poor concentration, which is tied to factor a. Then I waited a few hours, attended my guitar class, and shared dead baby jokes with acquaintances--in the process learning depressing news about another aquaintance, which I won't be able to verify until next tuesday. Fuck that.

My next destination was home, where I found its other occupants watching television as usual. I ate a tub of Ben and Jerrys, read my e-mail--which had the expected soporific effect--and entered into a blissful slumber. Living is worthwhile, if only for sleep.

Hypnos and I are close friends. I'd leave myself for him any day. (Notice the odd expression, 'I'd leave myself'. I denotes the self, being a first person personal pronoun, as does 'myself'. If 'I' left 'myself', would 'I' be 'I'? I wouldn't be 'me', I'd be another 'I', right?)

There. I'll post this fucking thing, and then probably immediately remove it. My conscience will kick in, for pretty much everything on E2 is read at some point, even if it's not on new write-ups. If I'm callous enough to allow someone to read this, then that's just one more reason to hate myself.

Update, like ten seconds later

I find these mood swings of mine hilarious. A moment ago I felt as if I was being strangled by my own stupidity. Now I'm comfortable with it. In an hour I may revert to crushing depression, but for now I am sane, or insane--depending on which mood is which. My brain chemicals must have some serious imbalance.

Oh well. I will allow this daylog to exist as a monument to my mercurial temperament. I'm such an asshole when I'm in a good mood.

I have been finding strange things in the classifieds. Lately I have been obsessively poring over the listings to see if there are any new ads. When I find one I get a feeling like getting a present or falling in love or putting Visine in your eye when you have those kinda allergies that hurt and make your eyes red. I want to share the feeling with you.

Misanthropic Bastard selling Integrity -- Cheap - $25000

Hi. No one wants to be plagued by guilt and over ridden with self loathing.

So, if you possess an ounce of human compassion, read on:

Ok... so I started stalking Vincent Gallo as a way to distract myself from my own destructive nature. I don't know why I thought it would work. Except I think he was born on the same date as my crazy-ass dog. Anyway, it seems to have worked. I'm focused, spiteful, and ready to leave San Francisco. Why? Because the city and the creeps in it are suffocating me. New York is my next move because I'm self-centered and I hate people. Because of this I tend to get lonely and need to have easy access to others. That said. I am going to have to hustle my ass off and temporarily abandon my morals. I'll succeed because I have to, plus manipulation is in my blood. It's not as vile as it sounds. It will be fun and I'll get to go to Cuba. Not to mention my asshole dad deserves it. In the end it will probably be cathartic. But that's a whole other story and I don't feel like sharing now. Anyway, the aforemention diabolical plan is going to be rough because I am ethical and honest to a fault. These are not necessarily admirable traits and I will do everything I can to keep them at bay. I have to learn how to lie. I hear the audio book "Never Be Lied To Again" is a great guide. I’m checking it out of the library tomorrow.

This is where you come in! Do you want to be responsible for my lost integrity? No way! So buy my honesty. I figure 25k is a fair price.

Last night I had the privilege of seeing a live performance by the Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós.

In attempting to describe it, words will no doubt fail me many times:

I was completely and utterly blown away.

All the hype surrounding Sigur Rós' live show is true. Jonsi þor Birgisson, Georg Holm, Kjartan Sveinsson, Orri Páll Dýrason, and the string quartet Amina project a superhuman burst of emotional energy in the waves of sound they conjure forth from their instruments. For the short hours of the concert, I believed in solipsism—but they were the only people in the universe who existed, and I was a figment of their imagination.

Sigur Rós' performing style could at times be likened to shoegazing. Jonsi once curled up on the floor of the stage to manipulate his guitar, rocking back and forth, and Kjartan Sveinsson, especially, spent most of the show hunched over keyboards or with his back to the audience as he played his guitar. But no—Sigur Rós plays stargazer music. There was something so incredibly transcendent about the experience... I felt myself moved as music has never moved me before.

Their set begins with the first track of ( ), with a laptop contributing many of the computerized sounds. Our anticipation builds as we wait for the first taste of Jonsi's vocals, a piercingly beautiful wailing. They continue into track two of ( ), but of course I lose track of where they go next; I know they played most of the first half of ( ), but it doesn't matter. They eventually flow into Ágætis Byrjun, and even, I think, play some tracks from their first release, Von, before returning to the epic closing track of ( ).

At several points, the concert is marred by the only less than perfect aspect of the evening: a fire alarm. Their music drowns it out, and the flashing of its lights only adds to the spectacle: none of us in the audience even think about leaving. I learn something:
WE WOULD RATHER RISK DEATH THAN BREAK THIS MOMENT

Sigur Rós' musicianship is incredible. Of course, it must be heard, but some aspects stand alone: Jonsi singing, Modest Mouse-style, into the pickups of his electric-acoustic guitar. Georg Holm playing his bass with a drumstick, and later FULLY ROCKING OUT, whaling on his axe, so to speak, during the closing song. Jonsi first revealing what a cello bow and a guitar can do, his elbow at first drawing the bow slowly, creating a surprising amount of sound with that subtle movement, then faster, rhythmically, glowing red and green in the stage lighting, summoning a massive wall of noise. Orri Páll Dýrason, drumming like a madman, smashing his drums, sillhouetted by a million beams of white fire, all alone, like furious waves bashing the shore. Kjartan Sveinsson playing an a-melodic frill on a small flute in the middle of a storm of reverb, and during the song Olson Olson, playing that heart-rending flute melody that brought tears to my eyes, and if repeated, would have sent them streaming down my face. I found myself out of breath after intense passages and gasped in astonishment with the rest of the audience when the stage's twin disco balls (which I initially thought were hopelessly tacky) were illuminated and sent tendrils of bright white light throughout the room. A video accompanied the entire performance: slowed, blurry images of children playing and dancing, snow falling, random color patterns, and obligatory post-rock images of electrical towers. The lightshow itself was fantastic, changing with the mood of the music.

I don't know what else to say. Go listen to Sigur Rós. And drop everything if you ever get a chance to hear them live.

(dtaylorsingletary and I didn't get to meet up at the show, really, but we did glimpse eachother. Maybe some other time.)

Jennifer wanted Ruth Anne to go with her to some fancy aerobics class this morning. Ruth Anne wimped out, and Jen said things about how she wouldn't want to go alone, so I volunteered. It was a pretty intense class; an hour and a half with lots of steps and weights. A few years ago, I would have joined such a class, done everything at a higher level than everyone around me, and scoffed at their weakness. This time I mostly held my own, and managed a "woo hoo" whenever the teacher asked "how's everybody doing" but that's about it. I'm really getting out of shape.

We went to the beach around noon (we're still in Jacksonville, Florida), and Amelia totally loved it. Last March, about half her life ago, in Hawaii we tried to interest her in the ocean, and she wanted nothing to do with it. This time she wasn't fazed by the waves crashing over her legs, and kept wanting to go further in -- smiling and laughing the whole time.

Afterward, I joined Jack in grocery shopping, at a place called Publix, which is a chain down here. The employees there were so amazingly polite and helpful it was weird. I was in the produce aisle, looking at the list, and the produce guy asks me what I'm looking for and eventually leads me to about eight different things. At one end of an aisle, I mention to Jack about the evaporated milk that really should be there somewhere, and from the other end of the aisle a voice says "aisle two". That same guy meets us in aisle two with some pumpkin pie spice, in case we needed that too (we didn't). Many more example could follow, but I'm going to stop.

Most of the late afternoon, I entertained Amelia while Ruth Anne made dinner. We had some amazing broiled salmon with hollandaise and a salad that included little squares of pita bread. Quite the delightful meal all around.

While out doing other shopping, somebody rented the DVD of Ice Age, which I hadn't seen, and we watched it this evening. It was fun, but nothing to write home about.

After the movie, when all the kids were asleep, Ruth Anne and I got a jump on the Thanksgiving cooking, peeling and cutting the apples for the pie, preparing the bread for the stuffing, stuff like that. Finally, I was too beat, and headed for bed while Ruth Anne was still puttering. Read a little more The Two Towers and went to sleep.

The other day, while at work at SAAN, I was busy doing my job when one of my co-workers asked me to move the toy guns from out of any children's reach. Apparently the noise annoyed the hell out of her (I was slightly amused at this because I could tolerate it just fine). So I got her the ladder and told her to do it. She told me she was on cash. I said, "No, you just put Liz on cash." She said Liz was actually busy and she'd have to go back right away. She then watched me put the guns up while talking to Gwendle and doing jack all.

Eventually she went away, though I don't think it was back to cash, and I begrudgingly went on with my job. Then, upon trying to fold up the ladder to move it, I got my finger crushed in it. It was so bloody and bloody painful... The ladder dropped and I ran to the back room with my finger over my cupped hand to catch the blood. Passing another co-worker of mine of the same age (who's wanting to quit more than I do), I said "Fucking hell, I fucking slammed my finger in the ladder." She followed me in and found me rinsing my fingertip under cold water (though even at the time I was thinking 'god, the water's still bad from the storms, I hope it won't make this infected' as the water is still pretty yellow and silty). She went to get someone to help me.

Both my hands were shaking. It hurt like a bitch. I felt kind of stupid not being able to handle a split nail... I've never had it happen before and did not know it would hurt so much. This goes farther than just “ow my finger.” I'm a pianist. I'm gearing up for this year's Music Festival. I'm TRYING to learn three grade ten (RCM) pieces. I can't practice (well, at least with my left hand) and I don't know when I can resume normally.

Now my co-worker (my friend, the one who went to get help) knew the whole story because she also thought that I should not have been the one to move the guns. I ended up going home. My boss came into work and asked my friend what had happened. She gave her the scoop. My lazy cashier co-worker was not in at work when I was there next… I don’t know if she will be again.

In this job, everyone’s replaceable. Four or five new people were in today, working stock. We get along ok and help eachother out anyway, but there’s a difference between laziness and helpfulness. Don’t fuck around. If you’re doing a job, do it. Make sure it’s done properly. Don’t let anyone else pull your weight. Do it all yourself unless you really need a hand. And just because you’ve been there less time than someone else has it doesn’t mean they can tell you what to do if you’re both wearing the same title on your nametag.

Don't fuck around.
Do it right the first time.

This has been a message has been brought to you by the frustration of working at SAAN and has been psychically sent to my co-workers. Do it. Do it now!

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