Sunday, November 19 2000
Today was the day that the people behind my company's website decided to release a newly revised form of browser cookies, and this meant that Linda's boyfriend Julian (who still works in web operations) had to report for duty. Evidently Linda didn't want to spend the day alone, so she called me and asked if I wanted to hang out with her. "Sure," I said, so she said she'd be coming over. It was a wonderful sunny day with unusually clear air, the first warm day in about a week, and soon Bathtubgirl was calling wanting me to do a laundry list of things for her. I had no desire to bust my ass for a second day so I said, "When I get to it." This immediately led to a quiz about how I planned to spend the afternoon. And why beat around the bush? "I'm actually hanging out with Linda," I announced. Well, let's just say Bathtubgirl wasn't too happy about this little development. She couldn't conceive why on Earth I could possibly want to spend my afternoon with anyone other than herself.
So Linda came over and we decided to go to Silverlake for coffee and lunch. As we headed down the 10 toward downtown Los Angeles (the first time I'd been this way in months) Linda was overloading my senses with an art book she wanted me to look at.
The moment we walked into the Casbah Café in downtown Silverlake, there was my old Charlottesville buddy Nikolai again. He was putting up posters for his band Moth, which is having a CD release party at the Silverlake Lounge (2906 Sunset Blvd.) on Wednesday, December 6th (I plan to go). That night they'll be the opening act for another band comprised mostly of the members of Sebadoh, including Lou Barlow. Anyway, it turns out that Nikolai is tight with the Lumirova crowd that Linda knows well. They all live together in a big house only a block from the Casbah. On this bright sunny later Sunday morning they were all sitting out front, all affecting their jaded hangover-tinged lofi disaffection, including the lovely Lumirova lead singer Ween (who of course didn't remember who I was but who again lavished me with eye contact). While Ween was telling Linda how to fix her split ends, one of the Mexican Casbah waitresses accidentally dropped an armload of dirty coffee dishes, spraying big brown stains all over Linda's long-sleeved shirt. Nikolai stooped to help pick up the fragments and I looked on with some sunny day Sunday hangover-tinged disaffection of my own.
Linda and I ate lunch at a place called Fred 62 in the nearby community of Los Feliz. The place was an absolute mayhem inside, with loud music blaring above the cacophony of dinner chatter and an overworked hostess doing her best to manage the list of people waiting for tables. After she's sat me at a quiet outside table I said "It's crazy in there, huh?" She said, "Oh, it's a zoo!" Alluding to a conversation I'd just had with Linda, I suggested that she turn up the music a little louder to try to thin out the crowd a bit more. "You really think so?" she asked conspiratorially.
I ordered a strange Thai noodle soup loaded with a botanical garden's worth of mysterious vegetables.
Linda and I spent most of lunch talking about what's wrong with the tech department of my workplace. She seemed to think that the problem was that nobody running the show really knows what they're doing. This is why they've fallen prey to such false hopes as Vignette Story Server. We also talked a little about how quickly I've managed to advance my career in the course of only two short years. I'm a little surprised by how surprised other people are when they learn that all the things I have a knack for doing: web programming, painting, writing, etc., are things for which I've had no formal education. But there is one form of creativity for which I do not seem to have much talent: the ability to compose things that change in a calculated way over time. I can write a paragraph but I cannot write a novel. I can make musical passages but I cannot write songs. I can make video shorts but not movies.
Next stop was Griffith Park, which sits on a steep hill near the famous HOLLYWOOD sign. It has a commanding view of a swath of the megalopolis reaching from east of downtown Los Angeles all the way to the Pacific Ocean. There's an old observatory up there that looks like the Taj Mahal and today it was swarming with people eager to look out across Los Angeles on such a clear day.
Even so, there was brownish yellow smudge of smog stretching along the horizon, darkening to the east. In the context of the clearness of the air, it was the most notable thing in the view and everyone was talking about it. Earlier I'd joked that the yellow rocks comprising the hill were actually a layer of fossilized smog from other ancient polluting civilizations.
Looking down at the flowers at the base of the Observatory, we saw some hummingbirds flitting around and chasing each other. Linda wondered if it could possibly be mating season. I said that it was either that or a territorial conflict. Then, thinking about it further, I realized that anything they might be doing to one another must be directly related to sex. "If they're acting cute together, it's probably about sex," I said.
So we watched the sun set, the air immediately became cold, and we headed down the hill again.
I don't know what the deal is with this, but Linda had a hankering for pie, so we stopped at this cafeterial place in Los Feliz called House of Pies and each of us had a piece of pumpkin pie slathered with whipped cream.
At around six we drove to my workplace to pick up Julian. The poor guy was still running around fixing bugs from the cookie release.
When we finally got out of the office we all went to my house to drink beers and hang out with my housemate John. I showed Linda some of my online satire and the four of us made plans for chemical adventures over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Linda also convinced me to read a few passages from a zany science fiction novel she's reading called Reality Dysfunction.
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