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December 31, 1999
two years ago

Quiet Eve of Many Zeros Rolling Over

Somehow the last day of the year should be so much more different, but it is very much the same as any other day. It feels like any other day, though, perhaps one of the days that I have off from work. It is a mostly clear day, though clouds drift across the sun and render the choirs that are playing on the radio as faint as if angels of my imagination were the ones singing. Ghostly and gorgeous, pitches no human could reach at volume so faint it takes faith to make out what the melody should be.

It does help that it's Mozart's Requiem. Surprises me that I actually recognize it.

I rode the exercise bike first thing, even before putting my contacts in, so my eyes wouldn't be bothered by the hair conditioner. I now have four different kinds of hair conditioner, each with their own properties, but nearly all of them require at least two minutes of sitting in my hair and if you do much better with 15. So I've taken to putting the conditioner on, wrapping my hair up in a plastic shower cap, and then getting on the rest of my shower. With the new salt rub, which is a very nice blend of sea salts, citrus oils, and almond oil, it does take a while to apply and then rinse off. So there's plenty of time for the hair conditioners to work. The only problem is with it on top of my head sometimes drips and drabs of the stuff gets into my eyes. Not a particularly good thing for contact lenses.

During my ride, John and I were watching the TV. I think it's the first New Year's Eve where I've actually seen hour by hour coverage. There are several channels which are actually showing the change to 2000 for every single time zone. John said that this morning there was even a section on Antarctica, since it has every single time zone they celebrated with the first. They also had a special ceremony for moving the South Pole a few inches it needs to be moved every so often to accurately reflect the center of spin for the earth. He said it was really funny seeing them dance around in parkas on the snow. It's interesting to realize we can watch the whole world change over. Perhaps I should've ended that sentence at change.

There's been so much speculation as to what will happen immediately after this day, and it seems both mundane and spectacular in comparison to all the speculation. So interesting to watch the entire world, when for so many years the even delayed the broadcast of other time zones in the U.S. to synchronize with only the local changeover. Spectacular to know the entire world's in sync on this day. Even though the Chinese calendar has an entirely different year and even a different new year, there still celebrating ours. Perhaps even compensation for the folks here who celebrate the Chinese new year as well. It was interesting to watch Taiwan, Milan and Hong Kong celebrate with music, fireworks, and in Taiwan the traditional fire lanterns floating up into the air.

Yet my day seems to be like any other day.

I even made biscuits and gravy, trying some of the things that Ray showed me when we were over there that one morning for breakfast. The biscuits turned out as wonderful as ever, and this time I made the gravy correctly and it turned out thick and rich with nice chunks of caramelized sausage studded through. It went very well with the biscuits.

While we were eating, Phil and his crew arrived and the thudding began in the basement. After breakfast John went down to help them out, in I went upstairs to play with computers and dictate the journal entries for the last week.

Cera had mentioned that she has been playing Angband during the last few weeks, and I made the mistake of getting the newest version of the game on our home computer. Playing it isn't quite like typing, as the right hand actually does most of the directional control. I have to remember to slide my left hand over somewhat, so I don't abuse my pinky by holding onto the shift key so that all the motion continues through hallway. It is a very addictive game, and I played far too much of it. I didn't quite get all the entries done that I wanted to finish before John said it was time to go and get the groceries.

The sun had set by the time I actually walked out of the house, the western sky was burning with the colors of fire. The night sky to the east was deepening to the velvet indigo past twilight. On the radio we were hearing stories about the fact that Y2K was pretty much a non-story. Though the thing that struck me the most was the fact that there are Russians in Cheyenne Mountain, maintaining watch with the U.S. military over all the nuclear armaments of the world. Twenty years ago that would've been an unbelievable thought, and here it is, reality. Here we are actually working together in order to maintain peace and worldwide stability.

Safeway was very crowded. On Friday night, there usually aren't that many people in the parking lot of a grocery store. Tonight, however, there seemed to be inordinate number of people stocking up on a whole lot of things. Though, I guess it isn't all that different from most New Year's Eves, where everyone is getting the last minute items for their parties.

We got steaks, a couple of russet potatoes, and all the ingredients I need to make Hopping John tomorrow. It seems to be the traditional dish, and I always liked the explanation of not eating chicken because it scratches backwards and eating pork because it always roots forward for its food. The explanation just appeals to some strange side of me, there is no logic to it, but it seems an amusing way to determine ones diet on the first day of the new year. I also got a small carton of whipping cream in order to top a couple of my chocolate thingys. The whipping cream might actually cut the richness of the chocolate.

We got home, we made dinner, and it was good. While the potatoes were baking I made the chocolate thingys while John biked in front of the TV. The rest of the meal came together very quickly after that. We also opened one of the bottles of champagne that we've gotten from work, and it turned out to be a delicious, dry, sparkling brut with a fruity aftertaste and crisp, small bubbles that tickled the nose the way it always ought to. It was the most excellent way to ring in the new year for New York. I was amused to watch as on the hour the new year was rung in on TV all across the nation, just as it had been celebrated all across the rest of the world during the day. In between celebrations, we stopped and played Crash Team Racing for a few cup rounds. That was really funny.

When time ticked through midnight, we toasted suriving the last year, taking the risks that had needed taking and all the great luck of the last year and hopes for the next. Then Fezzik started barking his head off because there were fireworks in all directions. There's a race track not too far from our house and they were exploding a good display of fireworks so we scampered out of the house to look at them and let Fezzik out with us. Lights came on next door and the neighbors came out. I thought, at first, that they were coming out to see the fireworks, but instead of going to that side of the house, the mom and daughter sat on the porch while dad and the boys scampered about and a moment later little shells lit the sky in day-glo green. Whomp! Boom! Wooofwoofwoofwoof! Fezzik danced around barking his fool head off at the noise. I sometimes think he thinks it's little thunder and he has to talk back to that, too.

Then the funniest thing happened, the roosters they have started to crow like crazy. They seem to have two hens and two roosters and the roosters are completely confused about 'crowing with the dawn', they crow all the time, any time they want to or feel like it. Dawn has nothing to do with it. And here they were, crowing in the New Year.

After midnight here, we played one more round as the first thing we'd do in the new year. It isn't a bad way to begin, by having fun and enjoying ourselves at home. It still doesn't quite feel real yet. John and I had a good laugh at all the reporters that were trying to make the non-event of the year rolling over into a "does this mean it was typed too much" kind of thing. It was the media that hyped it so much, and here they were trying to point fingers at the very people who addressed the real problems rather than making more problems out of thin air. I wonder if they can see what fools they look to be to everyone else when they were the ones trying to tell me that electronic systems of any type would fail when such a small percentage of them are really tied to any date structure, much less dependent on them for functioning.

Sometimes I think for all that today's society has become so much more productive with computers, it is still regarded by the majority as magic. Anything that is too technically advanced to understand easily becomes magic, and any change in any incantation may break the spell the one who doesn't understand what really makes it work. I really wonder how long it'll take before people actually understand enough not to be afraid, but then I remember that media people don't really seem to understand anything in depth. It's just the flash and sparkle of what's interesting today. Maybe this would teach people something about what their daily News and media do not know.

We'll see.

Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.

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