December 15th, 2001


On Fogeyism

I often sign myself as "net.fogey" because I've been on The Net longer than most folks I know. I can name most of the folks who've been on it longer than I have. I was invited to four things today, but only hit one of them. OTOH, I could hardly miss my friend Paul's 40th birthday party. I've known him ever since he was 18 -- longer than anyone else we know of living in California. He and I are both from the east coast; Paul from New York, me from south Jersey. We met in the computer rooms at Columbia University, where we were classmates. The group of us who hung around those rooms were pretty tight. We're still connected in one form or another. I see Paul frequently because even out here we run in the same circles. Our friend Mike died of an obscure form of stomach cancer a couple of years ago; that sucked. I got to watch the two of them look each other over at ConAdian in Winnipeg after they hadn't seen each other in around ten years.

Some of the others I fall in and out of touch with. Last I heard, my friend Dani was living in Alabama. When my friend Lee announced she was bringing him to Chambanacon with her and included the phrase, "none of you know him," I had fun countering with, "Honey, I've known Dani longer than I've known you!" There's Peter, whose mother lives in Redwood City. He shows up every once in a while. From him I sometimes hear about how some of the other folks from our crowd are doing. I came across Victor when I was looking for something else on the web. He fell out of touch with all of us. He's now married and has a son. Wow. I bet he's going out of his way to see to it his son doesn't turn out to be a nerd; he and Steve were always going out of there way to remind the rest of us that there was a world outside of the computer room. As for Steve, last I heard he was back in Switzerland. We always used to call him "Swiss Steve" because even though he was an American citizen, he'd picked up a heavy Swiss/French accent from having lived there so long.

Anyhow, I digress....

I was awoken when the cable guy rang the doorbell and insisted he needed to get into my back yard to access some kind of pole. There are no poles in my back yard. Warren let him into the back yard anyway as I was throwing something on. I then saw the guy wandering and immediately told him the cable hookup was in front of the house. He thought I didn't know what I was talking about because his instructions said "aerial hookup."

We walked in front of my house, and I led him to the little rectangle in the sidewalk that said "CABLE TV." He opened it up, saw the hookups, then went down one house to the next "CABLE TV" rectangle. He opened that one up and saw someone had put a filter on my line to prevent me from getting cable channels. Idiots. He took the filter off, then sent me into the house to check the channels, which were of course back. The kicker is I was never supposed to have been disconnected in the first place. I'd paid my bill on time, but I can only guess AT&T was trying to squeeze a few extra bucks out of me.

It was nice having cable back, if nothing else, just to have the broadcast channels back. My satellite dish worked (yeah, I know, I'm spoiled :-) ), but satellites suck for local news, and I like to wake up to "Meet the Press" Sundays when I'm getting ready to go to the radio station. Watching that show makes me feel like I've got an edge on the day because everyone else quotes whatever was said on that show.

After the cable was back, I went to shower, and Warren went to fetch some money to loan me for a week or two. I'm behind in my bills because Fuzzball was a cashectomy, and because I'd been out of work (day job-wise) since late June. I'm both grateful for and uncomfortable with Warren's loan because now I am obligated to be extra tight-wadded until I pay him back.

After I showered I was immediately on the phone with my friend Diana, who called as I was drying off. She and I were discussing plans for the day, and it was clear neither Warren nor I were terribly coherent. I then returned the call Mom made while I was in the shower. She told me my Aunt Charlotte's face looks really taut from her recent face-lift. Aunt Charlotte reacted badly to the topical ointment they used and is still recovering. Poor thing. She told Mom had she known it was going to feel so awful she wouldn't have bothered. (I thought she looked okay before the face lift, but that's another matter.)

While I was on the phone with Mom my friends Bruce and Shirl called to discuss brunch. After I got off the phone with Mom I *69'ed Bruce and Shirl and three-wayed them and Diana. We don't always know where we want to eat. In fact, we've got computer software to decide for us if we're not up to the task. This time, however, Bruce and Shirl knew they wanted to eat at Flames, a local chain similar to east coast diners, and it fit well with going to Paul's party.

The guy at the next table over from us was dressed as Santa Claus, but his hair, beard, and moustache were real, making the whole thing surreal. People, including the Flames staff, were coming up to him and asking to have their picture taken with him. It was rather entertaining. Last night the "Hot Bunch" went to our favorite Indonesian place, Ori Deli, where we learned from the owner about Holland's tradition of "Saint Niklaus" who sails there from Spain and, instead of elves, has little black men all named "Pete." (They're rather embarassed about the "Black Petes," as they're called, because Holland was the first country to enslave Africans. It was also one of the first to free the slaves, but somehow they forgot that.) We did the usual "beaming around the table" that happens when four Palm device owners get together.

After brunch I went to Albertson's to buy the potatoes, zucchini (was trying a new recipe), and olive oil I needed to make latkes; I already had the eggs, onions, and Cuisinart in the car. While there I picked up a couple of extra Luna Bars and some low-sugar Power Bar minis (or whatever they're called) to help me get through the next couple of days. I have an 8am meeting Monday followed by a potluck, so there's no guarantee I'll have any real food before dinner. Sundays I sometimes eat a Luna Bar or something similar to hold me over when I'm really busy. Albertson's has ATMs for my bank, so I also deposited my Chanukah gift, Warren's loan, and a check from my E*Trade account so I could pay my mortgage Monday. I was hoping to find more badly-translated food items for my gift for the potluck, but it was not to be. I decided to put off further looking until after my radio shift Sunday.

Paul's birthday was fun. Turnout was smaller than usual; I suspect folks were swamped with either family maintenance or volunteering at the local PBS station, which was having Yet Another Begathon today. My friend Kiri and her SO Dave showed up. Kiri pointed Diana at this site; we hope to have her on here soon! They stuck around for a few hours, but had to leave to catch a 9pm showing of Spike and Mike's Animation Festival.

We played several card games I hadn't played as I slowly assembled and made the latkes. They were, thankfully, a hit. I also cleaned up after myself. Paul's wife, Stephanie, is six months pregnant with their second child, and I felt really ucky having a pregnant woman do extra work. Stephanie is in good shape and all that and doesn't carry herself like a pregnant woman, but you can tell she feels bloated.

Their son, Brendan, just turned two last Saturday. He's very bright. He knows his numbers and letters, and he's getting good at imitating Paul counting to ten in French and Spanish. Paul thought ten in Spanish was "day-ees," and we wound up in a minor debate over whether it was "day-ees" or "dee-ehs." (I looked it up; I was right. It's "diez.") Brendan also knows how to imitate the OB/GYN by putting a microphone to Stephanie's tummy to amplify the baby-to-be's sounds the way the OB/GYN does to hear its heartbeat. (They've chosen to find out the child's gender at birth.)

My potato-zucchini latkes went over well. I used red-skinned potatoes and red onion in hopes of having "red and green" latkes, but they were more green than red. Oh well. They went over well. Despite my best efforts, I suck at making greasy food. These cooked best when the pan was barely oiled. Oh well.

During one of the card games Paul dubbed Diana and me, who are both older than he and Stephanie, first the "Fogeyettes" and then the "Geezerettes." At first we liked "Geezerettes" better, but after a while "Fogeyettes" started sounding better. It was funny, but I kind of hope we don't get saddled with that monicker.

Eventually I noticed it was 11pm. Paul and Stephanie were warming up the VCR to show Diana "Weird Al" Yankovic's version of Star Wars I, but I've already seen it, so I didn't need to stick around. I got home lit my menorah, then prepared for bed. My hands smell like a mixture of onions and vanilla, the latter from a cream I used on them to cut their dryness from my having washed so much by hand today.

I'm now barely holding my eyes open as I type this. Some days I feel grumpy. Other than being bloated in my legs I feel pretty lucky. I've got a job. I've got a boyfriend, and an amazing one at that. I've got really good-quality friends.
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