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Friday, 2 January 2004

Looking Forward/Looking Backwards

Party Report

At the party were: Esperanto Ed & Sandy (who left before midnight), Sarah Dotie + cousin Kareem and Brother Bob (who had to leave before too late so Sarah could go relocate mating Salamnders to a new pool as part of an abatement program or something), and Polly and Paul. And Ellen and I, of course. It was a small group. I made a mountain of gaucamole. I told Ellen that Californians eat tons of gaucamole and that you couldn't make too much of it for a party. So last night, I ate a bunch of leftover gauc. Anyway, we chatted and ate food and totally missed the countdown. I looked at my watch at 12:02 and ordered Sarah to call popcorn to see it was after midnight. It was. So we toasted the New Year a bit late. One of my resolutions was better time management, alas. I started the New Year late, but at least it was under five minutes late.

We had several six packs of beer for the party. Of which four beers were consumed. Two by Ellen and two by me. Then I switched and had a glass of Compari + OJ, thus making me the heavist drinker at the party. It makes me nervous when I notice that I'm drinking more than everyone else, but fully half of the people there were non-drinkers and some folks who might normally drink were obstaining so they could go do things like interrupt salamander mating.

I thought it was oodles of fun. So did Ellen. She was impressed by the complete nerdiness of my social circle. Yes, I am a nerd. Most of my friends are nerds. I think she was worried that a bunch of really hip people were going to come over. Maybe I seem hip? That would be exciting. Do nerds suspect me of hipness?

I was very releived when Polly started talking about the decline of Santa Cruz. I had been concerned that it had always been uncool and for some reason I hadn't noticed before. But no, Polly verifies that Herland did used to be an extremely hip hangout and the Saturn was awesome, etc. She said that less than five years ago, scruz was colonized by valley yuppies. alas. woe for the world. The homoginization of amerika is spreading even to liberal enclaves.

after the party, I played Ellen some MP3s of Polly's flute playing. Ellen said it was the best, most interresting flute playing that she'd heard in her life. Earlier, she had been talking about how the flute was completely boring and I had argued that cool extended techniques existed. and indeed they do and Polly knows them.

A New Day, A New Year

Woke up early yesterday and full of energy and optimism. Had two cups of coffee and then felt even more energetic and optomistic. Thanks to the hard work of Ellen, I am now addicted to coffee. I woke up yesterday thinking, "If I get up now, I could have coffee!" I'm up to two cups in the morning. I think I will try to stay at that level. coffee makes me so awake and so smart and la la la. anyway.

We went to Half Moon Bay to try beachiness again. the sand there is a lovely yellow color. But it was cold, cold, cold, so I did not walk barefoot in the waves and ran up the beach a few times to keep my feet from getting wet. Ellen, however, got wet feet as she failed to successfully dodge the waves a few times. But she was laughing so much afterwards, I suspect it may have been somewhat on purpose.

the rains caused the streams that run to the ocean to swell. Torrents of muddy freshwater were rushing out to the sea. We walked down a sandy penninsula as deep, fast freshwater raced on our right and the ocean crashed to our left. I feel some sort of mystical connection to the earth and the sea when I'm surrounded by so much water. The ocean makes me feel like I'm part of something bigger than myself. I feel the presence of a mother earth when I feel the salt and hear the crashing waves. It was quite lovely

As we drove further up highway 1, I was reminded of a trip I took there in 2002 with my parents and Christi. Sometime after brain surgery, when my mother could communicate, she indicated that she wanted to go to a restaurant in Moss Landing called the Distillery. She liked fish and the restaurant is purported to be haunted. She loved ghost stories and haunting and so the Distillery was one of her favorite restaurants as far as I know. My dad and her ordered crab cakes. I remember being impressed about the discretion of the waiter. I was worried about things like that then. On the way there, we drove through the farms of Half Moon Bay. We passed the Christmas tree farms, the pumpkin farms and the horses. My mom used to ride and show horses. I had the idea that she might like to do horseback riding and was looking to get her into a program for adults with disabilities. I asked her if she was interesting in having a horse. She said, "oh yeah. Maybe someday. Not now." Her memory wasn't good. We told her she didn't have time left, but she couldn't remember or didn't want to. The word "someday" broke my heart. There was no someday. there is no someday.

Yesterday, Ellen and I drove past the distillery and stopped at a second beach a bit north of there. We looked at the sandy cliffs and more water rushing to finally again meet the ocean. I thought of the future. There is no someday. There is no control of fate. Take things as they come. Look for opportunities. Do my best. I might die tomorrow as my life rushes back towards the sea and the earth, but I cannot know. this is a kind of optimism. I will do my best. I will accept things as they happen. I will change what I can. I will accept what I cannot change. I am a part of the universe and I belong to the world.

Jean's ritual

We came back to the East Bay and went to Jean's New Year Ritual. there I discovered that my attempts at serentiy and new age hippy-dippy spirituality do not extend to political discussions. I cannot change some people's minds, but damnit, I'll try anyway. someone there thought that Kucinich was a Nader-like spoiler who must be stopped. For the record, Nader did not lose Gore's election. Gore lost it. Because he's as uncompelling as Gray Davis and because of massive voting fraud in Florida and probably other states with electronic ballotting systems, the same systems that are now all over the country. Made by Diebold, the completely partison republican voting machine company who does not release their source code and runs our elections for profit.

Simply, I would not have voted for Gore. I will not vote for anyone that wants to throw queer or poor folks or people of color or the third world to the wolves to protect corporate profits. The excuse cited is that a progressive would be unacceptable to middle america. but let's pause for a minute and think of the massive role that corporate money plays in campaigns. Are candidates that think the country ought to be run for the benfit of the people rather than profits really unacceptable to middle america or are they unacceptable to the plutocrats that pay for campaigns? Kucinich has major labor support. the majority of americans agree with his platform. If you think that that you can't vote you're conscience because it will lose, then you've already lost. there's no hope. You might was well go to work for Haliburton.

Jean's ritual consists of list making. this year it was three lists. This ritual is a prayer more than it is making resolutions. the first list is things you want to leave behind in the passing year. I listed angst, procrastination and war. The second list is things you want to draw to yourself in the new year. I listed self-reliance, confidence, widsom, knowledge and skills. The third list is new this year and it is things that you are grateful for. Jean says that if she focusses on what she's grateful for, she feels better about the world.

Jean passed out envelopes, which we self addressed and then sealed in our lists of things to draw in and things we're grateful for. In the middle of next December, she will stamp the envelopes and mail them to us. For the list of things to leave behind, we went out to a small fire pit in the back yard and burned the lists. In years past, there's been singing at this point, but this year there was only a little singing by a few people. I am guilty of non-participation. Jean asked me to hum the MIDI thingee I posted to my blog in mid-December, but I couldn't remember it. I had forgotten about the pice, thinking it wasn't worth working on.

For the last few months, I've been noticing a dearth of music. My stereo was mostly silent in Middletown and I noticed most other people's were as well. I was thinking this was because I was at music school. We spend all day studying music and listening to pieces to analyze them and write papers or whatever and so don't put on background music. But now I'm wondering if this is everywhere. Have people stopped wanting to sing? If we don't have music in our lives, if we don't listen, if we don't sing, how can we live? How can we resist evil? How can we fight for good? How can we remember what is beautiful? How can we call for justice if we cannot sing?

So I'm adding a resolution to sing more. My voice is out of practice. Some Californians may recall my willingness to start singing at the drop of a hat, but lately, I've been more restrained. This restaint is not a good thing. (well, moderation is a good thing.)

One of the things that I like Ellen is that she sings. she sings to the cats. She sings to me. We should all sing to each other.

I saw Danica at the ritual. I asked what pronoun to use and the reply was "they." It makes me feel silly to use it, but silliness is a good thing. they seemed very together and happy. I hope to see them again while I'm in town.

We came home from the ritual and I played the MIDI file that Jean liked for Ellen. Ellen liked it too. So I'll work on it when I get back to my desktop computer where my notation software lives.

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