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Name: Robey Pointer
Member since: 2000-10-01 08:05:40
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I keep writing these extremely long journal entries and then waiting a month to write the next one.

Post-Halloween: Helix and friends held a really cool Halloween party about two weeks after Halloween (around mid-November) at an American Legion meeting house or something. It was a nice clash of realities, because you had to drive to this clubhouse that looked like it would be the Royal Order of the Water Buffalo, but when we got closer, it was definitely a Halloween party, with cool lights, DJs, the whole nine yards.

I wore my "salesman" costume again, but this time powdered up my face and wore black lipstick: Death of a Salesman! (pause for big laffs) Josh went way futuro, with plastic clothing and glo-sticks and glo-stars glues all over him. I played Yatsura's "Glo-stars" song while he was gluing them on, natch. Andrew, Jay, and Gary just went as themselves, happening people that they are. I met up with a bunch of people I hadn't seen in a long time, including Doron, and I met a bunch of new people I have no hope of remembering.

Life: I have no life. Andrew is really getting into cooking lately, and not just things like mac & cheese or ravioli. He's cooking ambitious things like pot roast, pepper steak, and leg of lamb. Things that cause vegetarians to recoil in horror. But the strange thing is that most of them turn out great! Since he stays at Rob's a lot, frequently we will go over there on weekend mornings and cook breakfast: pancakes, bacon, biscuits & gravy, egg scrambles, and coffee. This is practically the definition of a weekend morning for me.

Rabbit flew in on Saturday morning and we spent most of the past weekend practicing, with a few breaks for food and to go up to the Red Vic to watch Hedwig and the Angry Inch again. We actually practiced 21 songs, which is far more than we could do in a single set, but since we're playing two shows (Friday and Saturday), we'll probably just do different songs on different nights. We're sounding a lot better, I think, and this time I'm playing bass a lot more, so I'm trying to do that more competently.

Strick came in a week or so ago, but he's been pretty busy catching up with everyone since he got here -- I think this is his first visit since the spring! Somehow he and Commie have gotten on bad terms, so Commie's been peeing on Strick's stuff and scratching him when he's around. I don't know why, but I wonder if maybe Commie can sense that Strick always forgets he's a boy-cat and calls him "she". ;)

After @Home died, Andrew got fed up with cable modem service entirely, so I hooked him and Strick together and he joined the LLIC. It was the first time I'd been to it since it moved to Brat's basement, and it reminded me that I should join, as soon as I build a new scrap machine.

I can't believe it's almost Christmas.

Was the defining change of the 90s... the internet? It sounds so trite and oversold, but maybe because there's a kernel of truth in it. Maybe that really was the most important change of the decade.

I was talking to a friend who said he thought the 90s was the decade that had the most change of the past half century, and I was pretty surprised: to me, the 90s seemed very static and stable. The 80s, on the other hand, seem like a time of constant change and turmoil. Maybe perception about this is biased by what decade you grew up in?

Something that's been floating around for so long that I can't really attribute it is the idea that decades begin on defining moments that change everything. For example, right now it seems like the zeros definitively began on 11 Sep 2001: everything that happened in 2000 and the first half of 2001 was really just the trailing end of the 90s. The people I've discussed this with have generally agreed that the 90s began in Nov 1989 with the fall of the Berlin wall, and that the 80s began in Jan 1981 with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan.

Most people also agree that 22 Nov 1963 started the 60s, but there's not a lot of agreement on when the 70s started. My personal opinion is that they began when Nixon resigned, in Aug 1974. That means that some decades begin and end a few years before or after a strictly mathematical decade would, but since we're describing cultural shifts, I think that's okay. Non-Americans right now are grumbling that 3 of the 5 decade-changing events I mentioned were of interest only to Americans (all 3 involving presidents): global citizens are free to pick their own dates, but I think a lot of these events (especially Reagan's presidency) directly affected the entire world.

To me, the 80s changed everything: the personal computer, the huge resurgence of conservativism, drab earth colors replaced by bright primary colors. Tons of things got built. The global political climate changed dramatically. Music exploded from 2-3 genres to about 20. Space travel became so commonplace that most people weren't watching the Challenger launch until after it exploded. We were told we'd have a space station by 1991, no problem. The US and Japan were feeding off each other's rampant technological growth and it would never end. The government went from fiscal responsibility to near bankruptcy.

I remember constantly feeling that all rational thought had died and been replaced by gut reactions and responses based on religion or ideology. (Has this changed, or have I just become more used to it?) Religious movements flourished and everyone expected the world to end in a nuclear holocaust tomorrow. You can see it in the way houses from the 80s are already falling apart: people back then did not expect the world as we know it to still exist in 2001. (R.E.M. summed it up in 1987.)

The image that represents the end of the 80s to me is when, on the night of 9 Nov 1989, the TV in my bedroom stopped showing partying Germans for a few moments to jump to the White House to get President Bush's reaction. He actually didn't know what had happened, so he was being told while the cameras were on him, and his reaction summed up the 80s perfectly to me: confusion! He wasn't happy, he was confused, and possibly a bit troubled! It was one of those moments where the mask is pulled off and you see the true meaning of everything, and his face said it all: "We didn't mean for this to happen! This isn't a war we were supposed to win! It was just a distraction!"

I feel like a person from 1980 who jumped in a time machine and arrived in 1991 would be completely lost and without bearings -- that much had changed. But someone who jumped from 1990 to 2001 would probably only need to adjust to minor cultural shifts in entertainment. Except -- my friends who grew up in the 90s are probably right: the internet which is now so ever-present that most people don't bother to mention it was barely even heard of by most people. And so maybe that change alone is dramatic enough to mark a decade.

Hallowe'en was much cooler this year than last year.

On Tuesday (30th), Arlo invited a bunch of friends and Eazelites to Riace's pre-Halloween dinner. Andrew and I patched things up and I invited him along, and we just kinda enjoyed the spectacle. It was pretty surreal: many people were dressed up, and the wine was flowing very freely. There was a DJ station set up at the back, which would play classical music for a while, then Arlo would take over and play dancy stuff, and then when he left it would revert again. One night segue was Front 242 going into Van Halen's "Jump". It was very much like we were in a movie, but we couldn't figure out what kind of movie.

Then yesterday, Gary announced that he was going up to SF to see the Halloween festivities, since he'd never been before. I hadn't been in a few years, so I tagged along. Arlo promised to go with us, in drag, if he didn't have to drive, but when I took him up on this offer he bailed. :) Feeling uninspired, I decided to go as a salesman: I never dress up for anything anyway, so it seemed like a fun idea. I skipped out of work after lunch and Andrew & I went shopping at Target and Walmart and Ross -- all the k00l places. Ross was simply amazing! I think we stayed in the tchotchke aisle for a half hour until finally even I had had enough and had to drag Andrew away from cuckoo-clock candle holders kicking and screaming.

I was somewhat amused to find out that I had a functional tie, but no decent dress shirt.

Gary was dressed as a punk, with a sleeveless shirt, leather vest, studded collar, and gelled-white spikey hair. His friend Josh*e was a raverboy, with patched jeans, white fur, white hair (with 2 little cat ears), and blue/white makeup. Sharon was a dark princess, with a poofy/lacey black dress and this neet glittery makeup that only twinkled randomly in certain light. There were a bunch of other people, too, whose names I can't possibly remember: One was the Memento guy, one was a Soggy Bottom Boy (from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"), etc etc. The Memento guy was well done and even sorta looked like him in the face a little. He walked around with a polaroid, taking pictures of people in the crowd and then writing on the polaroid things like "They have lost someone too."

Parking was miraculously easy (someone has good karma) but the crowds were incredibly dense and booze was hard to come by, so I took my leave of Gary's friends briefly to trot my corporate-tool self over to a party Eskil's ex-neighbors were having. As I got close, I realized that having a Hallowe'en party 2 blocks from Castro @ Market is clearly an invitation for civic unrest. There were way more people than could possibly fit in the tiny livingroom, and random drunkards and homeless people (ready for Hallowe'en without costume) joined in.

I missed Eskil and his date, but Dan was there (dressed as a devil, with electric glowing pitchfork and red tail) and I accompanied him to the corner store to fetch more alcohol for the party. I've never seen drinks go so fast: after all the plastic cups and coffee mugs were used up, people were sipping mixed drinks out of cereal bowls. Ian soon re-appeared, dressed as the crocodile hunter. Fearing his costume wasn't obvious enough, he also brought along an inflatable kangaroo, which was a hit with the women. After I'd had some drinks, said hi to people, and sized up the barely controlled chaos, I took leave and re-entered the larger, uncontrolled chaos.

No fewer than three people were dressed as DuffMan. I was incredulous at the first one and then just stunned by the time I saw the third. At least two letters of anthrax (one with a cute Osama bin-Laden stamp), and one bottle of Cipro. Four guys dressed in foam outfits of Pac-man, Ms. Pac-man, and two of the ghosts. A he and she robot that were absolutely amazing (little lights and "danger" meters and everything!), a shy Andy Warhol, a giant Vanilla car air freshener, some Tron characters, and way too many drag queens.

Once it was deemed to be "over", a solid line of police with clubs started wedging open the street and telling everyone to go home. I dunno where they came from because there had been almost no cops up till that point, but I felt kinda sorry for them because closing down the party is probably the least enjoyable part of their work, and they were being really good about doing it in a way that didn't piss people off.

I didn't get back home till about 3.30, and today I started to feel bad about how little work I got done yesterday, until I realized that Hallowe'en really should be a holiday anyway. I mean who cares about Columbus Day anyway?

I'd like to offer the following links as a moderate alternative to the loud left/right babbling I have to listen to all the time from many of my friends:

Salon: There is no alternative to war
Why We Must Reject the Notion That America Shares in Guilt

You may assume that I agree with the meat of these articles and that debating me on them is a waste of your time and mine.

I don't want to write anything about the WTC because I'm sick of hearing about it. It's all anyone's talked about in the past two days. I'm also sick of hearing some people get really nationalistic and haughty in reaction, and others saying the US deserves it because the US government does not always make 100% perfect decisions. You all suck, argument over.

At the end of August, I went to Washington DC to visit my friends Nathan and Rabbit, and I had a really great time. I never go clubbing out here (because I hate the people and the music), but they took me out on each of the 3 nights I was there. It wasn't so bad: I still hated the music, but Nathan and Rabbit's friends were fun so I still had a good time. One night they dressed me up in A&F clubwear and put gel in my hair just to see what I'd look like if I was an aging club kid. It wasn't very pretty. Also we went to a Popeye's and had fried chicken and biscuits and gravy!

Shows I saw recently: American Analog Set: Excellent. I recognized most of the songs they played (even though I only got into them recently, through mfleming) and they played all the songs of the new album (which I like best) that I wanted to hear, except "Aaron & Maria". They had a t-shirt stand but apparently hid it in the back in an unusual place, so I missed it. No t-shirt for Robey.

Belle & Sebastian: Not too bad. The first half of the show didn't do much for me, maybe because I was behind two very annoying fans. I think I decided that I don't like B&S fans very much and that I needed to see B&S exactly once -- these guys had taken something special & chemical before the show and were pleading with everyone around to do "funny dances" to the songs and "show love" for B&S. And they wouldn't shut up! Finally I scooted away from them and enjoyed the 2nd half much more. Having never been to the Warfield before, I didn't realize that the main floor would be intensely packed, so I tried not to let all the cramming and jostling get to me, but I realized that I really have gotten spoiled by going to mostly smaller shows, and enjoy those much more.

My ex appeared at the show unexpectedly, so I tried to deal with it. For most of the night, we seemed to be getting along just fine, and I thought things would be okay. We even talked a little bit one-on-one about new CDs and Blaxploitation movies. But then on the ride back to my car, he just snapped and started yelling. My friends called (trying to meet at a bar after the show) and I had to call back because he wouldn't stop yelling at me. We've been broken up for over 2 months -- I thought the bullshit would be over. I was kinda bummed the rest of the night. I guess with some people there is never a reconciliation (you'd think from his behavior that I dumped him instead of vice-versa) and you just have to cut them out and move on. It still makes me sad, though.

Just to end this on a positive note, our water heater broke Monday night. I went without a decent shower (except for a quickie at a friend's house yesterday night) and it looked like a new one was being installed this morning, so I'm looking forward to going home tonight and taking a nice hot shower.

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