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June 30 1998, Tuesday



hey sure know how to make it hard on a would-be web jockey here at UVA's Cocke Hall. Would you believe there is no software on this PowerMacintosh with the ability to change the contrast of a JPEG? I even tried to install GraphicConverter, but of course that was impossible due to the paranoiaware installed on this machine. Lucky for me, though, there's a web site which will do graphic alterations for me, although it seems ridiculous to resort to the processing capabilities of a server when I have a fairly powerful machine right here.

I soon had to give up on that idea, though. The web-based image filters were slow and seemed to bring out all the ugly artifacts of the original JPEG. I decided to walk all the way across the middle of UVA Grounds to the library, and make use of the far-better equipped machines in the Electronic Text Center. There you don't have to fuck around; obviously somebody smart is in charge and Adobe Photoshop is installed on all the machines.

All this running around was just so I could make the poster advertising my musings for the road trip. For some reason I had it in my head that I wanted to add the text part using Claris Works, but that was a big mistake, since Claris Works is unable to save drawings in any widely-translatable file format. The best it can do is save drawings as non-rasterized PICTs, a format that I proved incapable of reading on a PC. So I had to return back to the Electronic Text Center to open the PICT file in Photoshop on a Macintosh. The drudgery has left me feeling frazzled. But I eventually got the flyer finished and surreptitiously printed out dozens of copies.

But there is good news in amongst this. I called Godfrey Property Management today and pointed out the overpayment of May's rent, and I've been assured that I'll be receiving a $121 check in the mail.

Right now here in Cocke Hall, there are a bunch of annoying frat boys clustered in a knot around a diminutive Asian girl, gabbing away about one of their collegiate projects. There's also several middle aged women who keep asking me for help. I frequently find myself serving the role of computer consultant, which in this case is only karmic justice, since I've run off several dollars worth of musings flyers today already.

Deya is also here, working on on her resumé. She has a little paperback manual to guide her, and last night Wacky Jen and I thought it was kind of cute to see her looking over the chapter entitled "For Those With Few Skills and Little Experience." The book is definitely geared toward the lowest common denominator; in the back there's a whole appendix devoted to English verb conjugations.

As I was preparing to leave Cocke Hall with my impressive haul of flyers, I noted that about a half dozen UVA custodians were gathered on the steps about a hundred feet away, taking an evening break. Like most of UVA's custodians, they were all Afro-American. One of their number is a familiar sight at that particular set of steps. He evidently has an unusual fondness for animals, calling out to them by name and offering them pieces of food. And the animals all seem to know and trust him. I once saw a squirrel come up to him and take an offering of bread. And today a crow circled low overhead and landed on a nearby building, cawing amiably in interest. The charitable custodian and shouted words of encouragement, as did some of his female colleagues. "Come on, beauty!" they urged. It was an unusual and touching thing to see.


ack at the Wertland Mansion, Deya announced that she'd left her wallet at Nathan VanHooser's house last night and that she was going over there to get it. I did the right thing and came along. As Deya drove, I spent the time snipping the fringes in the tear-off-URLs at the bottom of the musings promotional flyers I'd made today.

After securing the wallet, we hung out and chatted with Nathan about various things.

    Where's Jessika?
    She's in Philadelphia attending the Shira memorial, but she'll be back soon. You remember Shira?
    Yeah, that's the strange thing, I knew her. She died of heroin, right?
    No, cocaine. She had it injected in her neck.
    Eahhh, that's one thing I could never do. Needles.
    Well, it's a gradual thing. You start out smoking it and snorting it, and then your friends tell you that you'd use it more efficiently if you'd just shoot it. Suddenly you start shooting it, and you find your heroin goes much farther. But eventually you're buying as much as you ever were. You start looking to shoot it closer and closer to your brain to maximize its power. That's what happened to Shira.
    What about the drunk boys?
    They're coming back too and will live on Senna's porch.
    Who's Senna?
    Senna is this girl who has two kids but likes to go to bars and get messed-up every night.
    What are you guys doing tonight?
    We're probably going to a housewarming party at Senna's. Quiet Andy moved in there, you know.

Nathan VanHooser and Harvey the Elderly Dog.


athan took Harvey the Elderly Dog for a walk, and Deya and I returned to the Wertland Mansion. We sat on the balcony, illuminated by the diffuse glow of the Christmas lights, drinking Mickeys Big Mouths out of 12 ounce grenade-shaped bottles. I've been drinking more malt liquor in this heat.

I eventually fell asleep inside, in front of the television set, though it was off. I thought Deya slipped off to go to Senna's housewarming party for a little while, but she didn't. I guess it was just as well that we missed it.





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