"back" | monday | august 7, 2006 | 11:45 pm
'M BACK IN SEATTLE. My trip out East was good,
relaxing, casual, simple, fun, different, messy, interesting, conflicted, weird, surprising,
anxious, and a little bit sad. It was also definitely hot -- and humid -- and did I say
hot? Of course the couple of weeks I decide to visit are the hottest of the year. Crazy.
I'm glad to be back in the cool, cool northwest. But, getting off the plane and getting
back to my (new) apartment, I did miss Maryland a little bit.
More soon, though. (A big update to follow.)
read footnotes |
• • •
"don't go back to rockville" | monday | august 8, 2006 | 11:01 am
What follows is just a sketch of my jaunt back East to visit family and friends in Maryland.
It was good to go back and hang out. Really. A year away from familiar things, places, and
people is a long time. I know I need to make an effort to make sure that distance does not
dilute the connections and relationships in my life and world. The hope is that it's a two-way
street. Mutual and all that.
• A week before my trip, I moved out of The Kahala and to my new place in The Victoria Courts.
Fancy, eh? Well, it's definitely a step in the right direction. I rented a moving truck
from the local
which was just a few blocks away. My friend Jay met up with me. Now, keep in mind that
I have not driven a car (much less a big ass truck) in nearly a year. It was a little nerve
wracking. I couldn't pick up the truck till 9:30 AM, which was later than I wanted to get
started. We got their early and the PS people were nice enough to let us in before they officially
opened. They even gave me a deal on insurance. It was really cool of them. We got the truck.
I drove it just fine (kind of fun actually). Then Jay and I and later my friend Emily C. loaded
up the truck. We moved a majority of my things. Very efficient. I attribute it in part to
me having everything packed and ready to go (something that is a must in any move) and to
really tenacious friends. More people were supposed to help me out but couldn't last minute,
which was sad and disappointing. But Jay, Emily, and I managed to get everything moved in
about two and a half hours. Speedy. Then I returned the truck (and brought doughnuts to the
PS people as a thank you). Later, my friend Jason came by to help me with some leftover
stuff. Many thanks to Jay, Emily (even though she broke one of my Pyrex baking dishes),
and Jason for lending me a hand.
• I managed to get out of my old place almost two weeks before the end of my lease. But I
had to get everything done before my trip. Unfortunately, my previous landlords decided to
be completely persnickety and irksome in getting me checked out. They called me every day
to remind me about something or to complain about something. But after a bit of a harangue,
I turned in my keys. I still have no idea if I am going to get my deposit back from the
old place. Whatever.
• I unpacked as much as I could. I have entirely way too much stuff. And the new place is
nice, but it's also a little smaller than my old place. And I have to make sure that I don't
take over the entire apartment because I want my imminent roommate Jane to have space to put
• I flew out to Maryland on July 20, a Thursday, a week after my move. It was the flight
that would not end. My friend Jason picked me up early Thursday morning and was nice
enough to shuttle me to the airport. I got the airport in plenty of time. Security and
check-in was fine. We boarded the plane. And then they announced that there were bad
storms over Chicago (which is a hub for
Southwest) and the flight would
be delayed up to three hours or more. We waited an hour for more information. Then
they announced that anyone just flying through Chicago to points beyond should see a
ticket agent to get rerouted. So that's what I did. I ended up on a flight from Seattle
to Nashville to Baltimore. A couple of hours later, I was on a plane. Finally. Get into
Nashville to find out my connecting flight from Nashville to Baltimore was delayed (by the
storms over Chicago) and would not arrive for hours. I get rebooked again on an earlier
flight. A couple of hours later, I fly to Baltimore arriving in Maryland only six hours
later than planned. It was exhausting.
• My friend Cate picked me up from the airport. Just stepping off the plane, I could feel
the heat and humidity of the East Coast. It was midnight and it was still eighty degrees
and high, high humidity. It was gross. I crashed at Cate and Skinner's house the first
night. My friend Rob was actually there, too, up from North Carolina. But he was leaving
early to drive back down to NC. We actually overlapped only a couple of hours. I got in
at 1 AM and he was asleep on the couch. At 3 AM, he got up to leave. We hugged and said
hello and goodbye. So sad.
• The next day, Friday, in the morning, my father came to pick me up from the Maynards.
He drove me over to the Calverton house to pick up my car. It is still in pretty good
condition (and surprisingly clean). It was a little strange to be driving again, but
it all came back to me pretty quickly.
• The first few days, I spent hanging out at the Maynards. There was a lot of hanging out
actually. During the days, I would either be at Cate and Skinner's house or I would be
at my friends Tracy and Chris's new apartment. Tracy and Chris were cool to offer me their
guest bedroom for my stay even though they were in the midst of moving in. Unfortunately,
I really had enough of boxes and moving chaos, so I did not spend a whole lot of time over
there. I would sleep at Tracy and Chris's and then head over to the Maynards' during the
day. Since Cate is a stay-at-home mom, it was nice to keep her and her daughter Antigone
company. I watched entirely too much
Noggin. Anyone for
Jack's Big Music Show or
Pinky Dinky Doo or
Dora the Explorer?
There is some very strange programming for the pre-school set (and some of it is quite
• On the first Monday of my visit, I drove over to the
University of Maryland to visit. I
stopped in to my old job at
Letters and Sciences. They had
completely renovated the office; it's all fancy and corporate looking now. I got to
see some old friends and coworkers. Shout outs to Deonne, Keonna, Dina, Solomen, Bryan,
and John. A lot of folks had quit or left in the past year. They were busy with their
last week of summer orientation. I actually miss working there; I learned a lot and
I really liked advising and working with new students. After L&S, I headed over to
the English building to see who was around. Obviously, very few faculty were in, but I
did manage to see some familiar faces and staff. Afterward, my friend Ranetta picked
me up and we went to lunch at UM's golf course clubhouse.
• Tuesday night, Ranetta and I went down into the city. She picked me up and we drove
down to Dupont Circle. We decided to hang out at
Cobalt. It was
their retro night. It was fun. We had a few drinks, danced, and people-watched.
Cobalt was Cobalt. Still very young. Still very preppy and pretty boy. There
were a lot of cute guys. The best part, though, was running in to friends from
"the scene." I ran into a bunch of guys from
Guerilla Queer Bar DC.
I also ran to my old, old friend Ed A., whom I haven't seen in years. Ed and I
used to hang out at Maryland and at Tracks (back in the day when it was still around).
He looked the same, though a bit bigger and beefier, and was the same Ed. My evil
twin. It was a good night.
• Thursday morning, I met up with my sister, her boyfriend, and my father for breakfast.
Alenda was back from her Europe trip and was only going to be in the area for a few days
before moving out to Berkeley to go back to school. We decided to meet at
in Bethesda. Driving in downtown Bethesda during morning rush hour
is awful. Terrible. Evil. I cannot stress more how much I hate that part of town.
Breakfast was nice, though. It was good to have the 'family' together before
going our separate ways again. Of course, we had to meet up early and during my
father's normal working hours in order to not rouse the ire and suspicion of
my stepmother. Silly, I know. But you do what you have to do and make do. It's
always good (and weird) to see my father. Hopefully, he'll retire after this year
and move to the West Coast, too. Then at least we can all be geographically nearer.
• Thursday night, my friend Jesse came up and hung out with me and the Maynards.
He took a half day off from work to see me. Plus, we had to work on making a
Tellings character for gaming on
• Friday night, I wanted to go out. Plus, it was a GQB night. Plus, it was
my sister and her boyfriend Brian's last night in the DC area (as one of their
friends Jeska's last weekend in the area, too). I decided to make it a group
affair. Cate, Skinner, myself, Tracy, Shawn, and Ryan took the Metro into the
city. We met up with Alenda, Brian, and Jeska at the
Dupont. We had food, drinks, and hung out. Afterward, we stopped in at
Soho Tea & Coffee.
Originally, I was supposed to go to GQB with Shawn and Ryan and whomever else
wanted to go. But GQB was at a weird venue that wasn't easy to get to by
public transportation. Plus, people were a little tired and not wholly into
it. So, I got cranky and disappointed and just decided to call the evening short.
• The second weekend of my trip was spent gaming. One of the biggest things I
miss about life in Seattle is that I haven't been gaming. I really hope to start
a group out West. It is one of my favorite things to do, and it keeps me
creative, entertained, and happy. Saturday night, we played Call of Cthulhu
at Meredith's house; the group was myself, Cate, Meredith, Shawn, Ryan, Jesse,
and Tracy. It was fun, and it was good to see Meredith (who was back from her
jetsetting trip to Europe). Sunday afternoon, we played Tellings at the Maynard
house; the group was myself, Cate, Skinner, Shawn, Jesse, and Tracy. It
was also very fun. I missed gaming a lot. I am a little rusty.
• Most of the following week, my second full week in Maryland, was pretty
uneventful. I hung out a lot. A lot. A lot of it was in front of either the
computer or the TV. Stuff I do normally. But I guess it's the company that
• On Wednesday of my second week, I had lunch with my friend Megan M. (from school).
We went to Franklin's
in Hyattsville. It was nice to catch up with her.
• Thursday night was "late night" at Franklin's. I had to participate in a favorite
tradition once again. My friend Margaret was nice enough to pick me up. We got a table
in the back. It was incredibly hot in the restaurant, but the beer was good. I got
to hang out with and catch up with Margaret, my friend Amy I., Jess and Dan, Noah,
Scott H, Tracy and Chris. It was a nice night. All friendly-like. Plus I got to
ogle my favorite cute server there: Sean.
• Friday night, we decided to get in one more Tellings session.
• Saturday of my last weekend there, I took Tracy and Chris to lunch at Chef Theo's in White Oak.
Saturday afternoon, I visited with Shawn at his new place (well, new to me since I hadn't
seen it since he moved).
• Saturday night was pretty lonely for me. Most everyone I knew was busy or away. I
was hoping to go into the city but decided that I didn't want to drive in by myself.
So, I just stayed in at Tracy and Chris's (they were at a party). I had a few drinks
and watched a couple of movies, including
Donnie Darko. I
really liked the movie -- Jake, of course, is totally hot -- but it's pretty
depressing. Then I went to sleep.
• Sunday, my last day of my trip, I hung out with Skinner during the day. I made a
Tellings character, too. And Sunday evening, I joined Shawn's gaming table to play
Tellings (rather than game master it). I rarely play, and it was fun. I had a good
time. Shawn's table consists of: Skinner, Ryan, Tina, Jesse, and Scott. Sunday night,
after gaming, I went home to an empty apartment (Tracy and Chris had left for the beach
for a few days). I did laundry, I packed, and I went to sleep.
• Monday morning, I drove down to Potomac to drop off my car with my father. He took
me to National airport. I got on a plane, and no hassles later, I arrived in Seattle.
My friend Justin picked me up from the airport.
All in all, it was a nice trip. Like I said earlier, I really need to make sure that I
visit and encourage people to visit me. I think to let things slide too long isn't a
good thing. But I think I visited for too long without a clear plan of action. Most
of my friends are just too busy, too caught up in the things they have to do to
actually devote a lot of time to me. There's no fault in that. I'm on vacation -- they're
not. So, next year, I think I am going to visit in the fall or winter and for a
shorter period of time. It was good to see the people that I did get a chance to see.
I wish I could've spent a little more time with each person and to full-on catch up and
do the one-on-one. Next time. Or they'll just have to come visit me and catch up here in
Now, it's back to unpacking and getting my life in order. Plus, I have training for
the summer class I'm teaching later in the week. Then the summer teaching starts. And
then the new school year will be upon me before I know it. So little time. More later.
read footnotes |
• • •
"surprises" | wednesday | august 23, 2006 | 7:48 am
OMETIMES YOU HAVE TO BE REMINDED. I got this
'friend request' this morning on
myspace. At first, I did not recognize
who the person was and thought it was just a random joe or spam or something. But
there was also a message alongside the request that read:
I figure if kids who I once taught contacted me, I'd like it. So, I'm adding myself
to the list of your former students who found you on MySpace. My name's Mike
and I was in one of your ENGL101 classes at College Park in Fall 1998...
I just wanted to let you know that I remember and appreciate more from your class
than from any other class I took in college. It was very cool -- from the papers about
gender-bias in children's tv ads and the use of the phallus in Disney movies, to the
interesting discussions about prejudice, Bill Bradley and other topics.
This past year I taught 9th Spanish and French at a local high school. At my interview
one of the questions was "Who was your favorite teacher and why?" Obviously, I
mentioned you. I explained that you used stimulating material (without getting into
specifics) to continually challenge the class and make us draw opinions.
A few months into the school year, I seriously thought about showing them my ID from
high school to provide a twist in the lessons like you had. I decided against it,
though, because they were obnoxious enough already. I didn't want to add fuel to
the fire. As it turns out, teaching kinda sucked! I know they say the first several
years get gradually easier, but I'm going to lay off it for a while.
My point is that I've come to realize that the casual but confident way you taught
my class is not as easy as it looked. But it was very effective.
Awesome. This is on top of the email I got earlier this week from a student from
this past year who got into a computer animation program (in part due to a letter of
recommendation that I wrote for her) and who also got a huge scholarship. She wrote,
"I applied for a scholarship that I technically wasn't eligible for and wrote a
letter to the financial aid department. The CEO...reviewed that letter and, because
of the letter, decided to make a special exception for me. It's a $26,000 scholarship.
I used those tricks you taught us and wrote a killer letter. You're a rockin'
instructor." Again, awesome.
It's cool to stay in school, right?
read footnotes |
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