Friday, May 23, 2003

okay. no more seeing crazies in concert. as much as i loved cat power last month, as much as i enjoyed elliott smith last night, it's just too nerve-wracking to worry constantly that a performer will suddenly get stage fright and forget a song. i do feel fortunate, though, because elliott's completed-song rate was about 70% -- higher than i fretted it would be after hearing some foreboding tales of his on-stage caliber.

it's a lot easier to forgive a performer for their mistakes when you're standing six feet away. mostly i wanted to give him a big hug and say, "don't mind these screaming drunkards telling you what to play. i realize you don't remember 'condor avenue', you've said so several times, and it's okay. just play whatever you're able." because i was so close, i could see his eyes dart around in panic when he made mistakes, and i could see his hand start to shake as he tried to rescue a song from error. so there was a tendency for me to let things slide -- a forgiveness i might not have had if i'd been standing in the thankless back of the bar, unable to see the guy, in all his brilliance and intoxication and fright.

all in all, i really enjoyed the show, even though the audience proved to be one of those groups of people you wish you could punch in the collective face with one swing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

a friend of mine directed me to the poll on the american idol website which asks the following question:

do you know who the next american idol will be? [ y / n ]

presumably, the brains behind american idol are interested in the prescient abilities of its targeted audience. in effect, voters are asked to choose between two options:

"yes, i can predict the future." OR
"no, i cannot predict the future."

i found this infinitely amusing. but that's not all.

as of the time of this posting, the results for the poll are as follows:

14% NO
86% YES
number of voters: 205,987

the implications of these findings are staggering. apparently, when clay or ruben is crowned with this year's honor, only 14% of the show's fans will be surprised.

and, even more notably, this means american idol has identified 177,148 telepathic people.


my building sits on the edge of the torrey pines golf course. today, as i strolled there from the deli where i bought my lunch, i paused for a moment to take in the cool mist that had just rolled in, and watched the golfers on the other side of the fence.

i was thinking. and you know, i wish i were interested in golf. because then, when events like the buick invitational are played here or people like tiger woods are across the way, i'd be more able to appreciate them. as things are, the most i can say is, "hey, there's the goodyear blimp! that thing looks like it's going to land!"

i can't help feeling that the blimp is the last thing i'm supposed to ogle.

but in my defense, it really was flying low. i half-expected it to waltz into my building.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

about a year ago, our office hired a temp. i never knew why. but one day, the computer in the conference area was out of use, and the next day, suddenly, it was powered on, with a picture of bob dylan's face tiled across the desktop and an eccentric kid staring calmly at it. the kid had longish, dirty blond hair and crooked, spacey teeth. he dressed entirely in black and wore black boots with pointy heels and pointy toes.

sam worked in our office for a month or two, sometimes wandering into our cubicles to talk or hear us talk or collect our dirty work. his last week there was a week i spent in spokane, and before i left, knowing he'd be gone when i returned, he gave me a note written in thick gold ink on thick red paper. in it, he told me how much he liked me and how special he thought i was and how wonderful it would be if i ever wanted to call him -- though if not, of course, no problem -- and how no matter what, i should "just keep smiling that gorgeous smile of" mine.

i was busy with other things when i got home from spokane, like being in love and sunning on the beach and pretending that this strange young man had never professed his weirdly tender interest in me. he came to visit us several times, when i was coincidentally out of the office, and i never saw him again.

until last week. he's back, hired as an assistant to someone whose office door is immediately adjacent to ours, meaning that sam's desk is directly outside of -- practically obscuring -- our office suite door. i wasn't notified of his return to the department and when i saw him the first time i did a classic double-take.

"hi!..." and, upon the empty pause, "...sam?"

he looked up at me, expressionless. "yeah," he replied after a moment, with the tone of someone pointing out the dreadfully obvious, "hi."

he so clearly didn't want to talk. i ended the conversation and left quickly. i'd assumed he had forgotten the note he gave me a year ago, especially given his eager admission that no call from me would be fine (with the condition that i continue smiling). had he been more upset than i imagined, and was he still upset after all this time? i don't understand his sudden remarkable unfriendliness. it's profoundly awkward and unnatural to ignore someone i see by necessity every time i enter or leave my office, but he ignores me so intently that i see little other choice for me other than to reciprocate.

he comes into our cubicles, like he used to, though less often, and now he doesn't speak to me --only to the other analysts. once he came in while i was away from my desk. when i returned he'd lain down a wrapped korean cracker by my keyboard. i forgot to take it home that day and the next day it was gone.

Monday, May 19, 2003

a weekend with dad.

my father never ceases to surprise me. this is a man who makes me wish i'd brought a tape recorder to our discussions so that i could publish his comments and experiences in a best-selling memoir. a man who begins sentences with, "i read four books this morning...". a man who already impresses me with his full scholarships to princeton and yale and his fullbright scholarship and all his degrees in political science and who then decides to add to all that with the offhand comment, "did i tell you i got a masters degree in counseling psychology some years ago?"

i never leave our conversations without feeling supremely interested and quietly thoughtful and somehow enlightened. i truly believe that some of the beauty that spills so effortlessly from his lips belongs on paper. i nearly came to tears when he told me about the summer he spent in london as an undergraduate, falling for a french girl, feeling profoundly rejected by her distanced manner, being unable to cope with the divergence between his injured emotions and his reasonable mind, perceiving the world of feeling tear painfully apart from the world of rationality, realizing now, forty years later, that the darkest period of the summer and one of the most difficult times of his life was so dimmed by the unavailable affection of this extraordinary girl.

though, it still turns my stomach a little when he makes mention of "intercourse."


seriously. tell me what is better than an afternoon off spent in a cute bikini by the pool.

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