Coming Out for Christmas

On Christmas Eve, I had my handbell playing debut. It was only my 4th time holding them. They’re heavy percussion instruments, like a disassembled marimba or something. They’re exactly what the name implies: bells you ring by hand. I had some big ones, F4 and D#4. I feel like I’m ahead of the curve for only my 4th attempt. So far ahead, I finished the piece several bars ahead of everybody else. (It’s hard to come up with page turns that work when everybody reads the same score.)
My third time playing them was the day before, the 23rd. Since the bells were in Palo Alto, I stayed over the whole holiday in the South Bay. I came down for rehearsal and then had lunch with my dad. The rehearsal foreshadowed the performance for me. My mind wasn’t on the bells, but on coming out to dad.
I met my dad at a chinese restaurant. Sarah gave me a lift and my dad invited her to lunch also, much to my relief. After we started eating, I said that I had been thinking about things a long time and I was very happy to say that I was taking T.
My dad chewed on his noodles.
Finally he said something about how it might change my attitudes.
I said I didn’t think I would become a conservative, and then immediately regretted the way I’d said it.
No, my dad explained, I might start eating like my brother and want to consume vast amounts of meat!
I have been kind of craving protein lately . . .. (This kind of seals it for me in my research of the cultural equation where meat is masculinity. I need no more evidence.)
So he more or less didn’t really react. Sarah said it’s what she had expected. I hadn’t known what to expect. I felt weird about it and stressed for the next few hours.
After lunch, Sarah and I went up to the San Francisco zoo for Daniella’s birthday party. There’s an ice rink there and it was open into the night, even though the rest fo the zoo was closed. Sarah and I were super late, so Daniella’s friends passed the time looking for the lions, until they finally started skating and we joined them. Sarah wanted to look at sleeping animals in violation of zoo rules, but all we saw were gigantic sleeping reindeer and some chilly looking flamingoes.
(About 48 hours later, some zoo visitors got a very close look at one of the lions. Some poor kid was mauled last night by an escaped lion, right next to where we were hanging out two days previous. Sarah was perturbed to learn this on the news, but I don’t feel like we just had a brush with danger.)
The next day, Christmas eve, I was sitting in Sarah’s living room, trying to get a p5 glove to work with SuperCollider when my dad called with a question. He said I sounded terribly depressed. I said I wasn’t. He said he had a question for me. I said ok. He decided he shouldn’t ask me over the phone. I said ok. He hung up.
I spent the rest of the day worrying about what he might have wanted to ask. So when I played handbells, my mind wasn’t totally on it.
After services, Sarah, Daniella and I went to the house of Sarah’s mother and grandmother. They made Swedish pancakes for dinner. It was fantastically tasty, but extremely sugary. I got into a punchy, post-sugar mood and then we went to another xmas party and then another with a glass of wine or so for me at each.
I woke up on Christmas at the crack of noon. Oh crap, I was supposed to go to Brother Bob’s early to help with cooking. Instead my holiday threesome (Sarah, Daniella and I) rolled into Bob’s house at the same time as my dad. My brother and his wife showed up shortly thereafter. We all chatted and then Bob put me to work cooking. My dad came into the kitchen and asked to talk to me. We went out into Bob’s garage.
My dad looked me seriously in the eyes. I have a question, he said. “Are you suicidal?”
“What?” This was not what I was expecting.
“I spent some time on the internet reading about what you’re doing. I want to make sure you’re not suicidal.”
Oh!! He read statistics about unhappy closetted, non-transitioning people. My dad was worried about me. My heart felt slightly warmed and relieved. No, no, no, don’t worry about that, I said.
Ok, he said, In that case . . . “have you ever contemplated a cue ball?”
“What?” I asked. He repeated himself. I had no idea where he was going with this. “No, I can’t say I have.”
“You should ask your uncle about his grandfather.”
“He was a pool shark?!” One of them was a dentist in San Francisco about a hundred years ago. Maybe he played pool on the side? Here was some new family history.
“No” my dad said and paused in the way he does when he’s about to make a clever point. All this setup is the clearest part of the day in my mind. But the punchline? I can’t remember how he delivered it. My great grandfather was apparently very bald. That could happen to me. I can’t say I haven’t worried about going bald, but um. at least we were in familiar territory. My dad was trying to talk me out of something. He does that a lot. This had become just another mundane scheme to be discouraged. I felt great relief and my heart warmed even further. I might have smiled.
He turned serious again, bringing up health risks. He repeated a few times that he didn’t want to bury me. I assured him that we were in agreement there as I don’t especially want to be buried. He told me that no surgery was without risks, which is true. Then he told me that he thought my mom got her brain tumor from her last surgery, which was for a stomach problem. I expressed doubt on this, but he started talking about how her brain tumor was so agressive it could have dated from a time so recent to it’s discovery. He said that 90 percent of all brain tumors come from the lung getting punctured.
I was losing the thread again. Mom’s stomach thing didn’t go near her lungs . . .. Maybe he’s confused about top surgery? I told him that I didn’t think my lungs were going to get punctured. He just wanted me to be careful, he didn’t want me to die before him.
I told him that I was moving into male risk categories and that I would possibly live shorter, but not that much. I looked at the corner of the garage. “I’d rather live shorter and be happier.” I said. Then I smiled and put my hand on his shoulder. “Dad, you told me something really smart a few years ago. You said that if I put off dealing with my troubles now, they would just be worse later. And I didn’t want to hear it because of this. But now I’m doing it and I feel really good about it.”
He awkwardly turned to leave the garage. I felt profound relief at the termination of the conversation. And then I drank moderate amounts of alcohol for the rest of the evening.
While waiting for the train back to Berkeley this afternoon, I noticed that I was feeling kind of anxious and wondered if maybe I should have not decreased my zoloft. But man, if all I have from that is mild anxiousness the next day, well, I think I can manage.
I am so tired right now. Daniella asked me today how my mom would have reacted to my transitioning. She would have been extremely upset. But the brain tumor changed everything, didn’t it? I want to think that if she could possibly think anything now, that she would think that I did the best I could when she was sick. I think that makes up for a lot of things that happened before. And precludes any afterwards. So what’s there to think about what my mom might think other than that I did my best and if it wasn’t good enough, well, it was my best. She sent me an email months and months before she got really sick, before the surgery my dad blames, about how she was having memory problems. And I didn’t write back for some reason, I don’t know. (It wasn’t good enough, but it was my best.) And my dad struggles with that too. How could a quarter of somebody’s brain go bad without me noticing? It must have been sudden. It must not have been noticeable. It’s not my fault. Of course it’s not. She followed a very typical trajectory for people with brain cancer. Nobody notices until it’s really bad and then she lives for maybe six more months. What causes it? Well, what causes a tiger to escape from the zoo one day but another? Our very existence is so improbable, what’s a few near misses along the way? What’s a fluke when our whole existence is a fluke? I might have been anyone, prior to the moment of conception.
I imagine my parents, my dad in grad school, my mom no longer working, holding their baby. This impossible thing they just made, in their arms. And them, with money tight, dreaming dreams. Of what I would be. Their little girl. Only god could know what lay ahead. No mortal would ever do anything if they knew. And so I didn’t go according to plan, but what did?
Happy Holidays.

Continuing From Where I Left Off

When last I typed, I was sitting on an airplane which I had been placed on by British immigration agents. I wondered if the cabin crew was aware of my situation. They didn’t act like it. They offered me wine when they offered everybody else wine and did not treat me differently than other passengers. When I asked if they had any extra vegetarian meals, the woman handing them out found me one and then started to give me a form to request one for my next flight. So perhaps she didn’t know.

When we landed, I hit the call button. The airplane aisle was was jammed with people. One of the cabin crew caught my eye and made hand symbols to ask if I was asking about my passport. He told me to go to the front of the plane. So I guess they did know.
I got off and there was a man there holding the envelope that I knew to contain my passport. I asked for it back, but instead he brusquely told me to follow him. The people working in detention in Britain had all been fairly friendly and scrupulously polite. They explained what was going on and what was about to happen. Nobody got cagey until I asked who was paying for my ticket home. This man, however, did not explain anything, but walked ahead with his lips slightly pursed. He wore an airline uniform, but seemed to consider himself some sort of diplomatic, immigration agent. He took me to American immigration, and gave the border agent my passport. He spoke about me to the agent as if I was not present. I began to detest him. Some people are just doing their jobs and some people see themselves as above you. He was the latter. Since he treated me as invisible burden, I will do the same to him for the rest of this story as a sort of a petty revenge for having to spend time following his wordless, brisk-walking arrogance.
I had to go to a secondary interview to get back in the US. I had hoped that I would just get back my passport and be on my way, but alas. I was told to sit in a big room with many chairs and two or three american immigration agents, seated behind tall desks. There were only a few people in the room. I looked at them and guessed they were foreign. I wondered what would happen if the US wouldn’t take me either. Didn’t they have to? After a short wait, I was called forward. A sympathetic agent said, “so what happened?” I explained about how the NYC British consulate’s web page gives incorrect information as to how they accept visa applications and my mistaken belief that I could get in with a tourist visa. She was entirely empathetic, but then pointed out that America would have done the same thing. “I know!” I said, “you have to stop doing that! Well, I guess it’s what you have to do by law, but still.” She blamed George Bush. For being required to hassle foreigners and for my having experienced the same. Damn him.
She stamped my passport and returned it to me. Huzzah. It has a refusal stamp in it, something that will probably cause me problems in the future. Or not. I think Britain has a reputation. From immigration and customs, I went to ticketing. To pay for a last-minute transatlantic fare. Well, that answered that question. The fare was a bit over $1000. My credit card was denied. I called them and they asked, as a security question, for the cell number I had when I was in Connecticut. I failed security. Finally, the officious jerk who had been leading me everywhere, and seemed to think my fare to be far too low, grew impatient and left. The ticket agents didn’t like him either. The guy I was talking to, who was clearly family, said it happened to everybody. The woman next to him said her niece had been sent back when she went to study at the London School of Economics. And she had a visa! The friendly ticket agent said even some cabin crew had been caught up in British immigration. He blamed George Bush. The other agents concurred. Damn that guy!
My credit card company relented and I paid my ticket. The guy I was paying told me to fly west with Jetblue, since they would have the cheapest tickets and the most flights. Then he took me down to the baggage office. He was so nice. “It happens to everybody!” he kept saying. Then he said that he used to live in San Francisco and if I did fly an affiliate airline, he would tell everybody to be nice to me. I gave him a bag of reeces pieces.
The baggage office, also friendly and polite had more bad news. My bike hadn’t made the flight. I explained that I was continuing onward via an out-of-network airline and they took my address. My bike will be arriving via fedex delivery, probably tomorrow.
I went over to the Jetblue terminal at JFK airport and walked up to a customer service agent and purchased a ticket for the next flight to Oakland. “Do you have any bags to check?” “No.” I said ruefully. The last minute ticket was $120 or $130, I forget which. I was amazed at my good fortune. I spend two or three hours waiting in the airport. I called Nicole who empathized and Ellen, who offered me a ride from the Oakland airport and finally my dad my said, “You know what you should do?!” in the tone of voice he gets when he’s got an outside-the-box idea. “You should go see if there’s an Irish consulate in San Francisco.” He left a pause, waiting for my reply.
“But I’m trying to go to England.”
“You should find out how Irish you have to be to get an Irish passport.” He was giggling now, very taken with his suggestion.
“I’ve got just as many British ancestors, but that didn’t seem to help much.” Indeed, I had mentioned them to the immigration agent who interviewed me.
“But Ireland needs labor! You might have to promise to work in Ireland!” he giggled more.
Suddenly, the exhaustion of having gotten so little sleep and then being up for so many hours hit me. I told my dad that I regretted not having his phone number memorized, since I therefore couldn’t have called him from detention. As I type this, I wonder what suggestions he would have had for while I was detained. Mostly, I think I wanted somebody to know where I was. We hung up.
I got on the next airplane. It was a much nicer plane than the last two. I had a row to myself and lay down across it and slept for the entire 5 hour flight. Ellen met me at the airport and took me home, where I now sit. Still tired. I need to contact a consulate, either the one in New York or the one in Los Angeles or both and ask what to do. I need a copy of my Mills College transcript, to send it with my visa application. I need to make copies of my house keys, since, of course, I didn’t bring them, since I wasn’t going to be in Berkeley at all. I need to take a nap.

Stuff

Wedding Photos are finally online. These pictures taken last August by the staff of London, Ontario’s Crystal Wedding Chapel. Note that we weren’t lying about getting Elvis to sing.

Only one person has written to say that she’ll be coming to my New Years Eve shindig. Are the rest of you (are there more of you?) just silent? I won’t be buying much beer, I guess. (No, it’s not in danger of being cancelled. Many of Ellen’s friends are coming.)

Christmas

Ellen and I went down to San Jose for xmas with my family. She went willingly, god bless her. Ellen is really nifty.
We went to Brother Bob’s house. Also in attendance were: my brother Paul, my Uncle Chuck, friends of my late mother: Bunny and Seymore, my Dad (Ed) and my Dad’s um friend Danielle.
I hardly talked to my uncle. He’s doing some car racing this year, but not much and I don’t know when. Talked to my brother some. He’s not dating anybody, gave up his consulting buisiness due to a shortage of clients. He re-wried the electricity on his house.
Bunny and Seymore report (ok, mostly Bunny reporting) that they’re not well and that they haven’t done anything fun lately and have no hobbies. Seymore has a wound on his foot, which is healing. Bunny says I look so much like my mother and went on at length how angelic my mom looked on her deathbed.
the assertion of an angelic appearance is true. The progression of her ilness was such that worries and pain ceased. not that I enjoy being reminded of such things. Nor are the holidays entirely stress-free to start out with.
My dad smiled a lot. More than I’ve seen him smile for maybe . . . ever. He told several amusing stories about when he was in the army. Ellen said, “I like your dad. He’s really cool. He smiles a lot.” It was pretty cool to see him seem so happy.
Brother Bob says he attended three funerals in the last week. Distressed, but otherwise doing well, I guess. He seemed happy to have everyone over and made outstandingly good food.
the person with whom I spoke most was Danielle, who I had never met before. She is a former “Volunteer of the Year” with the Women’s Philharmonic. She goes to the SF symphony regularly with my Dad. My Dad has season tickets. She is also Yoyo Ma’s Masseuse, something she talked about at length, relating how she sent tapes of farm animal sounds to his children. And in what circumstances the farm animal sounds were listened to. If you need the dirt on farm animal sounds in the Ma household, she’s got it.
she’s a new music fan, which is certainly a good thing. the world needs more fans of new music. Especially ones that buy CDs. I got her a CD of Meredith Monk and was worried that she would already have it, but she wasn’t familiar with Monk, so I was safe.
She also talked for a long long time about how her deceased husband was a Southern Baptist minister and how fundamentalists are spiritually awesome, even if polically bad. She’s a catholic and a fundie. She doesn’t like progressive churches because in those churches god is like Santa Claus: always good. She helped out with Billy Graham’s crusade and helped organize three of his local stops. I asked her, “what does spirituality mean if it’s working for evil?”
My brother stood up suddenly. My dad asked him why he was standing up. My brother said, “it’s 9:00.”
Danielle considered the evidence against Graham and conceeded that he was indeed working for evil. She then started talking about the bad way the Southern Baptists treated women and started talking a lot about how some women in the 70’s were so committed to feminism that they actually came out as lesbians but, even though they tried, they just couldn’t bring themselves to . . .
My Dad stood up. It’s a bit after 9:00.
I said. “Indeed. some people are bisexual and some people are not.” And thought, “I can’t beleive I just said ‘bisexual’ in front of my Dad.'”
Danielle started explaining that queer issues (she didn’t say “queer” she said “homosexual” as some would-be liberals are wont to do) were even more important to her than women’s issues with the Baptists.
I stood up, explaining that while I did tend to run later than the rest of my family, it was time for the 9:00 standing.
She went on further to me about women who just couldn’t bring them selves to. First talking to me (when I suddenly got very interested in the pomegranites that were out around Bro Bob’s house) and then at length to Ellen who very politely nodded.
Ellen is so cool
And so, Danielle seems very nice and certainly has interesting things to say. Plus she’s a maseusse and my Dad seems happy, which is very good. I’m happy to see him smile so much.

Born on the Fourth of July

History

My cat, Roz, was born on the fourth of July. Christi says that the cat is six years old. Where have all those years gone? It seems like yesterday that she escaped from the carboard box I brought her home in, to under the seat of my truck. I think I had to take the seat out of my truck to retrieve her. Or maybe this story grows with the telling. But somehow, I had the idea that the cat would be a cat for Christi and not for me. When I got home, she disabused me and thus the cat was mine. I don’t know what practical effects this has had, except that ourn cats are listed seperately at the vet and that I’m expected to take Roz with me to Connecticut, but not right away.

thursday

So Thursday was flute band practice. We spent a couple of hours trying out an acoustic guitarist who revealed at the end of his audition that he couldn’t make the gig. If you know an acoustic guitarist, or better yet, you are an acoustic guitarist, I’ve got a gig for you!

Friday

And speaking of gigs, on Friday, we drove to the fourth of July party that Tennis Roberts was booked to play at. The original word was that it was in Santa Cruz and that there would be a large, permitted fireworks display. Then it was revealed that the party was near Gilroy, but a lot of Santa Cruz people would be there. So Mitch, Ed, Christi, Tiffany and I drove and drove and drove and got lost and got unlost and finally met up with Chand. when we showed up, everyone there was wearing black wifebeaters (note to my grown up relatives: this is a type of tank top shirt) covered with white images of bones, skulls and bats (mammals, not baseball). The men had shaved heads and tatoo “sleeves” up their arms and were muscular. The women also had tatoos, but fewer of them and were not so muscular. Many of the shirts said, “South Bay Hardcore.”
Hardcore is a genre of music somewhat related to Norweigan Black Metal. It is charecterized by loudness, speed, virtuosic drumming, practically abusively fast and hard guitar strumming and sometimes also bass strumming. The guitar chords are typically dissonant and may include notes like the 6th. I know this because somebody in my History of Music Past 1850 class did a report on hardcore. I can’t remember a darn thing about what constitutes a reciciative or what the fuge form looks like, but hardcore I got. Anyway, hardcore lyrics are usually angry and often mysogonistic and the followers like to be tough all the time. It’s very hardcore.
Tennis Roberts is not hardcore. We’re wusses. Ack hardcore fans! They’re going to hate us! They’re going to assault us! So we started drinking beer and the organizer started hosing down the hillside of dry grass, in between his eucalyptus groves, so that fires would not start from his fireworks. The first band began to set up. Fortunately, it turned out that all the hardcore people were in the band, Sad Boy Sinister. They started playing as it was getting dark and people at the party started setting off explosions. I put in my earplugs, more for the bombs than the band and was happy that I didn’t bring Xena, since she would have run all the way to Hollister. The band was ok. The singer explained that they were back together after a breakup, which made sence cuz some of their songs were kind of rough. During one song, he stopped the band and said, “I f—ed up, let’s start over.” So the band started the song over again and the singer sang it exactly the same way the second time and then said at the end “I f–ed it up again.” Most of there songs contained the word “bitch.” One of them was titled “The Bitches are Getting Me Down,” apparently complaining about their girlfriends who were sitting up front cheering enthusiastically. Another song had the refrain, “Die bitch, die!” Around that time, somebody launched a firework up over the crowd, but not towards the wet hillside. It landed in the Eucalyptus trees that were next to the long driveway and started a fire. It looked to be about campfire size. A large number of people got up and started running around, trying to figure out what to do because the hose was way too short to reach the fire. I asked Christi, “How do you put out a fire with a shovel?” She became very alarmed (how many people really know how to put out forest fires?) and ran towards the fire. I was looking for a shovel, but couldn’t find one because someone had already grabbed all of them and dragged them to the fire. It was extinguished. The band on stage was confused, “What’s going on?” they asked, and then, “Should we stop or keep playing?” The sound guy told them to keep playing and they did, but apoligizing because the next song in there set was entitiled “Now it’s Time for You to Die.”
Later it was overheard that “had permits for fireworks” meant that the sherrif’s wife was at the party and thus the sherrif wasn’t going to arrest us. Also, apparently, there was a seperate party going on down in the strip mine bellow where folks were watching our fireworks.
So our band was on next. During the setup, there was a massive explosion up on the grassy hill. Apparently whoever had brought the fireworks decided that launching them up into the air might be dangerous, so he had ignited them pointed at the ground. Fortunately, that was the last of them, I think. This was our first gig with amentiies like monitor speakers. Hearing your sound at high volume coming at you is way different than practicing in a basement. The levels were screwy, not because the sound guy wasn’t great, but because we weren’t sure what to tell him. Next time, I think I’ll ask for the monitors to have same mix as the audience hears. I mean, it’s not like there are acoustics dums sounds that we could rely on. It was nice to hear Ed turned up to high volume. Whenever we would play loud dissonant angry things, the hardcore folks would cheer. Halfway through our set, half the audience got up and left. It turned out that they were in the next band. Just about everyone at the party was in a band or came with a band. But it was cool
the soundguy played in the third band. I started making up for my relative sobriety. But, we wanted to go home because it was late and long drive, but we stayed to hear several songs, since we may split a future engagement at 21 Grand with them. They played some coveres and some original tunes. Their songs had some intense, complicated parts that must have taken a lot of practice. They were pretty good.

Saturday

finally got to bed around 3:00 AM. Chand called at 9:30, very chipper, saying, “Hi! I just got home! I could totally do the gas station gig!” So I got out of bed at 9:30 and started trying to call Yakayo Biofuels. There is a new biodiesel buy-at-the-pump gas station open in Fairfax. Yakayo sais they were going to have some sort of party (originally a bbq, but changed for obvious reasons) at the gas station on the opening day to celebrate, but they didn’t get very much advance notice and put out a call at the last possible second for music, in the form of a stereo and some summertime tunes. I had volunteered the band to play, but the Chand said he couldn’t do it, but now he could, so I was awake and on the phone. When I finally reached everyone that I needed to reach, the gas station guy said that nobody had shown up so far, so we probably shouldn’t bother. But I was already awake. bleah. So we drove down to palo alto. Christi explained that she was unable to hear through her left ear.
We picked up Mitch and went to starving Musician. Ever since Peter told me that professional bassist don’t play out of combo amps, I’ve been feeling sheepish about my bass amp. The bassists in the other two bands had large, much more powerful looking bass rigs. Mine was too little and didn’t sound good. So I tried out bass heads and speaker cabinets, finally settling on a peavy 160 watt head and and 300 watt cabinet. The cabinet gives me room to grow… There were two identical cabinets, both the same brand and both 300 watt. they sounded the same. I wanted to get the bigger one, but Christi said it would be too hard to move, and she one. Size does matter, though, you know.
Bought more stuff in the south bay. Then went to dinner with my dad at a vegitarian restaurant in Palo Alto, named after the place in ancient Greece where the philosphers used to gather and discuss, uh.. philosophy.” our waiter helpfullly explained in quiet yet enthusiastic tones. The food was ok, but not great. Christi and my dad report that the non vegan dishes were very very good. You’d think that a veggie restaurant would have more than one vegan thing on the menu. But it was ok. My dad seemed to be doing ok. Apparently, he never wrote any haiku, which is too bad.

sunday

Got home late. And then up the next morning again to go watch a soccer match at Mitch’s house. Christi still can’t hear though her left ear and her throat is sore. But she wants to go out anyway, so we do. I have no idea who won the soccer matches. We brought paper and crayons so folks could draw drawing which will be the inserts to go with CDs that we’re going to sell one off. We have many drawings now. And we learned that Chand fell asleep right after calling me on Saturday and slept for the rest of the day.
Juraj was making apricot dumplings. They seemed pretty complicated. The dough was made out of taters and wheat flour and soft, german cheese and eggs and other things. then it had to be rolled out and then stuffed with apricots that had been halved, stuffed with a sugar cube abd some things. The whole thing had to be sealed, water-tight and then boiled until it floated. He made a ton of these things, switching to strawberries when he ran out of apricots. I didn’t try one cuz they weren’t vegan, but everyone who had one said they were really good. Juraj explained that he wouldn’t normally make so many of them, but there were a lot of people over. For some reason, people responded to this by making fun of him and calling him gay for the rest of the day. Euphamistically, of course. Apparently cooking desserts for your friends isn’t masculine enough? I don’t understand het boys at all.
Then many of us went for food, then I offered Mitch unwanted advice, put my foot in my mouth and made him feel bad. Ooops. So I stole my DX7 back and went home. This morning, Christi awoke with a full-scale cold, which explains her hearing problems and stuff. She’s in bed right now, a place she normally avoid when she’s sick. She’d rather run around until she gets pnemonia, than sit still for a minute to get over a minor cold.

April 4th 2003

We were supossed to leave for Portland this morning, but I needed to see the tax guy, since we’re returning on the 15th. the earliest I could get was today at 9:00 AM. So I stayed up last night late making Mitch’s singing quieter on the Aelita soundtrack. He sang La Internationale into my voice mail a few days ago. I got a recording of it (and Xena scratching like crazy) by holding a microphone up to the phone. Anyway, I fixed that, then went to bed late. Then got up to drive to Los Gatod by 9:00 AM. I thought it would take at least 1.5 hours, but it only took one. New freeways in the last ten years.
We went over to my dad’s house to burn a DVD of Aelita. He had no blank media so we went to Elite Computers to buy some blanks. Christi saw a DVD burner there and was surprised by the lowness of the price and bought it. But no software. So we went back to my dad’s house and used his software + burner. iDVD is cool. My dad and I got into a disagreement about the government. I said it was being run by defense contractors. He said it was being run by the media. Later, Christi pointed out that the defense contractors own the media. She said, “It’s rediculous to argue about whether the oil companies or the media or arms dealers are running things. They’re all the same people.”
My dad repeated his oft-stated theory that the US hasn’t won a war since WWII (because 5 years later the places are always worse off than we arrived as far as our interests go) and hasn’t had a government since the 60’s. Presumably, he means since Kennedy was shot. When I was a youngun’, I had no idea what he was talking about. We have a court system, elections, etc. Now I think he means than an elite oligarchy is running the show for it’s own, immediate interests instead of longer range national interests. He says that Rome didn’t have a government either for a while, until Ceaser crossed the Rubicon. Conservatives alwatys like to compare the US to Rome right before Ceaser or the Weimar Republic, that is Germany right before Hitler. During the Clinton years, Rush Limbaugh was always talking about how Clinton was like the last president of the Weimar Republic. Great. So what does that make Bush?
The NRA always fights gun control measures by pointing out that Hitler confiscated handguns. They say that they should be able to all have handguns without any sort of tracking or registration in case a future Hitler comes to power, they would all be armed. But the NRA would have supported Hitler. . ..
After burning a DVD, which is inexplicably titled “South Pacific,” we went home and packed and got the rest of the music together. I needed to put My Mom on an ADAT tape. I’d never used the optical output of my DIGI001 before. All of the final edits and dumps to take took a couple of horus at least. Then, we decided that we needed to get gas. Rather than look up the address of the Richmond Biodiesel station (which Christi insists will only sell biodiesel to boats) or put petroleum in the car, we drove to the 3rd street station in the City at 3:00 in the afternoon. By the time we got back across the Bay Bridge, it was 4:00. We got to Portland at 2:00 AM.

April 5th 2003

I got email from Wesleyan asking if I was going to go to school there. I wrote back and said that I anted to visit first and that I could come anytime after April 15th. Then I looked at my calendar and saw that I had to reply in writing with “yes” or “no” by April 15th. I wrote back explaining that I wouldn’t be home until the 15th and asking what to do. I’m worried that I will be precieved as flaky, but I am flaky, so I guess they would figure it out anyway.
Christi’s mom is sick. I called up my favorite Protland Digital Audio store (no sales tax) and asked about a pro-level minidisc recorder. They told me that they don’t have any with digital outs. I surfed around for a while. The cheapest pro-level sony has digital outs. I called back and asked if they hads them, they said no but the would order it. I’m not sure if they are actually planning on ordering one. Whatever. Minidiscs are cool. They don’t sound quite as good as DATs but are a whole lto cheaper and more robust and portable. My collection of recording gear continues to slowly grow. Yesterday, Elana, our 11 year old neighbor came over and was wandering around while we packed. She said we had too much cool stuff and had spoiled ourselves. prolly.