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September 8, 1998
a year ago

Ugh, Early

Ugh. It's really early this morning, as John had to get into work before 7 a.m. in order to finish off some things he had to do before a meeting around 9. So, we got up really early, loaded the car with all of our recyclable stuff, as John was going to drop by the recycling station for lunch, and then headed directly to Victor's for coffee. The ladies there were surprised to see us that early, and commented on it. It's kinda cool to know that people know us that well.

I've invited the other local journalers to Fezzik's birthday party, we'll see how many actually show up. Knowing how introverted I am, it'll be interesting to see if anyone actually shows up for a party with lots of people they don't know.

He smelled spicy, clean, almost as fresh as the winds coming from the West, bringing with them grey clouds, damp-laden breezes, and the promise of rain. There was just a hint of cigarette smoke, when we first met him, as he waited in the doorway of a restaurant we had planned to meet at. It was a scent that reminded me of various entries he had made, erst-memories from another life. The restaurant was closed, as it was Labor Day. There was, however, a Mexican restaurant nearby that he liked, so we went there instead.

John's summary of the evening: a really great dinner, I didn't have to talk much at all, and it was good having you drive. He was pretty exhausted from the day, as he had been digging a hole for the hot tub and hauling around 6x6'es around to build a platform under the tub that would remain stable when the tub was put on it and filled with water.

The food really was excellent, fresh chips, good, fresh salsa, and the burrito I had was really good. It was filled with tender chunks of pork cooked in a green sauce, topped with a red burrito sauce and cheese was melted on top in perfusion.

But what was fascinating was the emotional play in my head going on with the conversation. John thought the conversation was good, that I was enjoying myself. On the other hand, my internal questions were coming fast and furious. I really have no idea how I came off, whether I was too pushy, too quiet, too smart, or just too superficial. It's not a state I get into often anymore, all that internal questioning was something I used to do a lot, but after a decade with John I've gotten better about it. But those internal questions were things I used ask all the time, and is one of the things that fascinates me about his journal. It also didn't help knowing that he often makes snap judgments from external appearances. I did my best to not dress in any special way.

The conversation itself was very interesting, covering quite a lot of bases, and started, surprisingly, with several questions from him about my life. I never expect people to read my journal. In fact, my sister surprised me significantly by saying she reads it. For the past several months, I've been equating my journal to the old grocery list style of journals, where everything is just listed for the day. I'm trying to change that, but I would never know if it were any better.

In some ways, the conversation was, very much, the conversation of two introverts trying to communicate, neither all that comfortable with starting, and neither all that good at keeping it going until common interests were touched on, or each of us got some time to go off on our own interests. One thing that surprised both of us was when I started going into the fact that I code, actually design code objects, by feel. That what an object should know about itself, communicate about itself, and how it interacts with other objects is something that I do more by feel than by routine, formula, or rigid process.

What was great about the conversation was that it made me think. Think about things I wouldn't on my own, and look into some of the depths of subjects I don't normally pursue. For all that he sometimes makes snap judgments of people, he also has a good sense of the possibilities within people; a visceral feeling for all the differences each individual carries with them. I hadn't really expected that, but it was good to know.

All in all it was a good evening, though, afterwards, I did wonder how well I did. If I had 'passed' his criterion of what was an interesting person or not. It was odd to have those questions reawakened in my head, and they kept me up for several hours, just wondering. Then, I realized it didn't really matter, and went to sleep.

Most of the rest of the day was an exercise in diplomacy. An engineer using some of our software was complaining about a bug that I couldn't find. He was actually taking the time to press the debug button over 300 times in order to see if it crashed. It turned out that it was actually a case of him having old versions of the libraries and executables that we provided. So, after I gave him the newest stuff he couldn't get it to crash. The problem was that it took most of the day to figure that out, and in the process he accused me of just not working hard enough. I have to admit, on my side, I was thinking he didn't have enough to do if he could sit there and try and bring up and take down a single executable a 1000 times when the normal user of our software normally brings it up maybe twice a day. He also noted that if there was any pause between opening and closing the application it wouldn't crash. So, basically all he was testing was bringing up and taking down the software a thousand times in a row, quickly.

Now, we are not in the business of mission-critical software. My priorities are entirely on how much the software can do, not that it run no matter what happens. I guess it angered me. After I gave him the new stuff he hasn't bothered me. I imagine he's run it a few thousand times, which is actually a good thing, as it now proves to me that it really is bulletproof.

It also turns out that the meeting with the author of Heinovision actually went very well on his side as well. He enjoyed it, and wrote to say so. That was very keen, and made very clear that my fears were all mine.

I stayed late work because John had soccer practice, and he picked me up around 7 p.m.. We then headed off to the church and picked up a bunch of Emergency Feeding Program bags that were all packed. We were just a bit too late to help, but just in time to help load all the bags into our car. We get to drop the bags off at the feeding center tomorrow.

I didn't really want to cook, so we stopped by the grocery store bought food we could just eat, and went home. While at the grocery store I saw a canister of the Republic of Teas' All Day Breakfast tea. It's a special "orchid" Keemun blended with an oolong. It was something I wanted to try, and I was feeling bad from most of the day. It also hit me just how much money I spent on the J. Petermen's suit. Money than I could probably spend on many other things, if I didn't get the suit. So, that ran around my head for a while, but when I spoke with John about it, I realized that it really was something I wanted. There aren't that many more things I really want to get that aren't at the price level of a new BMW or laser surgery on my eyes, and I would enjoy the clothing, most likely.

Basically, I was pretty depressed about random things. That's about when I realized that was likely a hormonal thing. Actually spent a good half hour being depressed about not finding my old Dungeons and Dragons books, yet again, which was stupid and emotional. This may also explain the odd internal feelings about the conversation last night.

Trying to simply not dwell, John and I took Fezzik on a walk. Fezzik is now in great shape, bouncing and bounding everywhere, and running circles around John and I as we walked out. There was rustling in the underbrush near the driveway, and Fezzik crashed into the underbrush to find out what it was. We called him several times, told him to leave it alone, and then waved a piece of dog biscuit. He came for the biscuit. He then ran circles around us as we did our usual route around the neighborhood. He had no limp, all the hot spots have healed up well, and his ear is now dry and clear. He's in very good shape, has much more energy than two weeks ago, and may just be in good enough shape for his party.

It was fun to see him so happy. The walk probably helped me as well, getting the circulation moving, giving me a chance to stretch my knee, and basically moving around some after a day at my desk. It's been a while since I've done my exercises, and I have to admit I got down on myself about that. I really haven't had the time, or made the time, and tomorrow night there should be some time for me to do them.

Also, at the last minute, I called my sister to wish her a happy birthday. Yes, it was her birthday today, and I forgot until just before going to sleep. We had a great conversation, as always, and I'm looking forward to seeing her this coming weekend. She's actually flying up for Fezzik's birthday party, and it should be a very good visit. Also, looking at the calendar, I have the a few more days of this kind of attitude to look forward to, but not many. I should be back in normal shape for the party and the aftermath. I can, at least, hope

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

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