It is now officially the middle of January - so why is it 65 degrees Farenheit and why are there people walking around in shorts and t-shirts? No, seriously, what gives? I'm sitting here in khakis and a polo shirt in downtown DC (wishing that I was working from home because it is, apparently, a holiday and as such 90% of the city has the day off) in a building that's so empty that most of the hallway and office lights weren't even turned on to conserve power. It's a little creepy, actually. Friday night I wound up staying up late to finish a veritable cornucopia of laundry in preparation for the gather on Saturday, and consequently wound up catching up on all of my sleep in one go, and got up around 1100 EST/EDT on Saturday morning. Much to my chagrin, Lyssa had been cleaning since 0900 and had scarcely stopped for a break. Once I was operational, I set about picking up around the apartment as fast as I could: The living room didn't take much work, or at least I didn't think that it did. We had to run a couple of errands to pick up stuff for dinner and then head back to finish cleaning and start cooking. Seeing as how the first thing we did was take the Yule tree down we have a lot more space to work with in the living room.
As it turns out, we had a couple of cancellations, so we had a much smaller crowd than expected. The Lost Boys are on the shelf with a bug picked up at work last week; Hummingwolf wasn't feeling up to travelling on Saturday; Jarin and Orthaeveleve also had other plans, which left Mika and Hasufin, Butterfly and Mark, and later on Kash arrived to complete the set. We sat around for a while catching up and relaxing (Lyssa and I had not really had a chance to rest all day) so this was a welcome break from running around). After we'd all had a chance to partake of the yummy gumbo that Lyssa had cooked up for everyone, we put the last couple episodes of Hellsing into the DVD player and sat back to watch the remainder of the series.
Update: They don't turn on the environment control systems at work on federal holidays, so I said "screw it" and went home to work remotely. I don't fancy case of heatstroke in a high security building.
We nibbled off and on all evening as we watched television, and later on switched over to Adult Swim to watch Bleach. I spent most of the evening multitasking as I worked on a project that I'm almost ready to release. We wound up parting ways around 0200 EST/EDT: Most everyone went home, Kash sacked out in the living room, and I crashed for the evening not long after that.
The next day I went out a bit to pick up a few things for work, namely a portable, flexible USB keyboard and a mouse with a retractable cable to use with my laptop, in an attempt to save my wrists. I also did some driving around to stretch my legs and clear my head a little because I'd been coding for much of the night in some capacity or another. I finally had a chance to visit the Unique Thrift Store in northern Virginia, which is one of the nicer thrift shops that I've visited in recent years. Lyssa and I will be paying them a visit shortly to drop off a couple of crates of stuff that we are getting rid of to free up more space in the apartment.. we've gone on something of an inventory purge recently, and this is the best way, I think, to get rid of stuff.
So far, we've thrown out about two storage boxes' worth of stuff we haven't looked at since undergrad and have three boxes of books to donate. I'm still inthe process of going through my shelves, so this number will no doubt climb shortly.
Later in the afternoon we got it in our heads to go out for Greek for dinner, but because our usual haunt was closed (it was Sunday), we decided to try a new restaurant called Skorpios' Grille (703-398-7777; 421 Maple Avenue East; Vienna, VA 22180)... and wound up walking out because the food there, in a word, sucks. The spanakopita was frozen and not fully cooked through; the hummus had no flavour whatsoever, and was drowned in olive oil to make up for that; the gyros were oily and just didn't sit well in our stomachs. The guy behind the counter refused to refund our money when we complained and he even charged us for water. When I paid for it in cash he didn't put it into the till to balance things but threw it into the tipjar, which strikes me as shady.
That place is pants - five flareguns. Avoid at all costs.
We wound up having dinner at the Tyson's Corner food court, and were quite surprised to find that the kebabs we'd gotten were at the far end of the bell curve as mall food goes - very tasty, well-priced for what we got (which was a bit more than regular mall food would ordinarily cost), and filling.
We'd gone to Tyson's Corner to take in a movie, vis a vis Children of Men, which is now showing in theatres. It's a hell of a movie, make no mistake. Set in a world in which no children have been born for a generation, despair has set in and the planet, in short, has gone to hell out of despair and longing. It's an incredibly grim movie - it isn't from the States originally, or at least it didn't seem that way to me because the cinematography didn't feel like it was from Hollywood. The music was understated and from an older time - late sixties, early seventies, with a lot of anti-war anthems, and it was barely noticable behind what you could see on screen. It was also a very violent movie - gunshots were gunshots, and you didn't have the luxury of knowing what happened because it was offscreen because they showed it to you, full screen, in brutal technicolor, without any of the auditory cues (like over-amplified gunshots or screaming industrial music) that American movies used to both highlight the violence as well as dull its impact through distraction.
I had a hell of a time dealing with that movie. It hit hard on many levels, most of all the violence. While it was a well-written movie, with a style of cinematography that I find myself liking in its lack of ornamentaiton, it is also amazingly depressing.
If you like movies that make the future world of The Terminator or Neuromancer look cheerful, you're probably going to like Children of Men. If you don't have a high tolerance for simulated violence, you'll probably want to give this movie a pass. If you like complex cinema, regardless of what's in it, chances are you'll enjoy this movie.
I've just closed an entire era of my history off to make room to grow. As I've written before, Lyssa and I have been in the process of picking stuff in the apartment to either throw out entirely or donate to the local thrift store to not only clear room for new stuff (cough) but also to clear room out, period. There are, at this time, approximately three boxes of books that will be hauled to the thrift store for donation sometime this week. I've also gone through and discarded six garbage bags of miscellaneous cruft that has accumulated in my collection over the past ten years; fifteen years, if you count all of the stuff from the last major purge that I couldn't bear to part with.
Much of said stuff I haven't looked at since I decided that it was too precious to throw in the trash.
Paperback pre- and young teens' books from grade school? Going to a good cause.
Fifteen three-ring binders of notes and handouts from undergrad, documentation from yesterdecade, and whitepapers that are now obsolete as the eight track? Headed back to the ecosystem by way of the garbage truck that will visit the apartment complex sometime this week.
Flyers from a couple of raves that I spun at, more parties that I didn't spin at, and skillions of other that I never even attended? Adios.
A couple of thousand miscellaneous stickynotes with cryptic one and two line notes in different languages? Bunking with Wash.
That's not what gets me, though. While picking through everything on my bookshelves and deciding what to keep and what to ditch, I found a handful of messages from my BBS days that brought tears to my eyes and shaking hands. Most of them wouldn't make most people sentimental but they mean worlds to me. Thank you notes for BBS parties (like Triumvirpalooza 95.5) that I attended. Atta-boy posts from when I graduated from high school. Pontification on the nature of cyberpunk, which at the time was so cutting edge that it had already gotten into a warm bath, slit its wrists, and bled out until it became but a dessicated skeleton of what it started out as. First, second, and third drafts of short stories, most of which are largely based upon the weird shit that tends to happen around me whenever I set foot outside and the rest of the universe decides to alpha test something on.. everyone else around me.
I came to a realisation tonight: I miss those people deeply. I love most of them, too, in the way that twins can only bond. There are the people I grew up with, the people who were with me when I got out of the hospital, when I graduated from school, when I got my first 'real' professional job, the people whose have lent me shoulders to cry upon (and occasionally, the reverse) when needed.
People tend to be around when you need them, or when they need you. This is not to say that people as a whole are fair-weather friends. Far from it. What I mean to say is that lives are apart, meet up and join together for a time, and at some point in the future part ways once again. We run into one another to connect for a variety of reasons and learn our lessons, have our fun, and otherwise do our respective things. But when we evolve into different people, as Time and the reconciliation with History force all living things to do, sometimes we go our separate ways.
Chances are, at least some of those folks will stumble across this post in their travels. If any of you guys happen to read this, drop me a line, okay? Even if it's only to say that you're still alive.
I'm going to nibble on more mochi and then go to bed, I think.
Good night, users of the Internet. I'll be dreaming about you.