Monthly Archives: December 2005

And just when I thought I was over the Christmas Funk…

…New Years comes around, and I realise it’s about to be Two Thousand Freaking Six already. And my Christmas Drama is about to go into Round Two. Remind me to tell ya’all about that when I’m feeling better.

PEMCO is offering $600 in compensation for my car being totalled — tightfisted cheapskates. The value of a car to its driver cannot be counted in dollars (certainly not a mere six hundred of them.) A car is opportunity and freedom. Those six hundred dollars will not give me the same freedom or opportunity as a fully functional 1985 Dodge Colt — and that is what I demand of them. I will settle for nothing less.

Just because it’s old and kinda beat-up looking doesn’t mean I don’t need it to get places, and it doesn’t mean they’re any less liable.
Remember this, folks, if you’re going to hit a car anyway, hit the CHEAPER one…

The Reason for the Season

Since it’s now officially after Christmas, I can post this without being a humbug. I am bothered by people that go around with bumper-stickers, buttons, signs, what have you that say “remember the reason for the season.”

Well, I do remember the reason for the season, and it’s not what they think. The reason for the season is this: Earth wobbles.

The planet is tilted between 21.5 and 24.5 degrees off the plane of its orbit, with the end result that, as the earth moves around the sun, the sun’s relation to the planet’s equator changes. From our earthly perspective, the sun would seem to cross north or south of the equator. When it crosses north, the northern hemisphere gets hotter and the days grow longer there. When it crosses south, the northern hemisphere gets colder and the days grow shorter there.

The shortest day of the year is called “Winter Solstice,” and it ushers in the cold season we temperate-zone types call “Winter.” All evidence suggests that even primitive people were aware of the Solstice, and a lot of them thought it was pretty darned neat.

In fact, the pre-Christian peoples of Northern Europe celebrated the Winter Solstice as “Yule,” a word still used to describe Christmas.

Enter the Catholic Church. Going forth to convert the Germanic peoples of Northern Europe, they found it easier to reinterpret the old feasts than to stop them. They coopted the Winter Solstice Holiday as a celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. (And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a tad odd, mind you, but it seems to work well enough.)

Centuries later, I get people telling me to Remember the Reason for the Season (because they’re too ignorant or misinformed to know what it really is — how ironic,) but the fact is that Jesus Christ, while he surely did live, almost certainly wasn’t born on December 25th, and that Christmas had no existence before Yule was converted, so I submit to you that Yule has been corrupted, first by Christian missionaries and then by corporate interests. But you know what? It’s still a hell of a party. Stop trying to convert me and have some eggnog.

A lot of thoughts tonight.

First, the evening’s entertainment. My dad and I went out to Karaoke at the Paradise Lounge last night (we dragged Alison along, which proved to be a bit of a mistake. I’ll get to that, read on.) It was nice to be able to BREATHE (it definately helps when you want to sing) and while the place has really gone downhill, it has nothing to do with I-901. They’re under new management, and the new management has gotten rid of their pizza and cheesy bread (which were really good) and replaced them with an only so-so (if huge) pizza. The bartender says its killing the business, and I believe him: Everytime I’ve been in there before, the karaoke singers had been the minority, but today they dominated. Noone seemed to be there just to eat and/or drink. Rather, they were there for Karaoke.

In fact, the Karaoke rotation was so long that I only got in a handful of songs (between 9 and 2:) Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (first attempt, not too bad, but it’s out of my normal vocal range. With practice, I might be able to do it.) The Night Santa Went Crazy (think it was a first time for some of the audience, I was hearing audible shock amidst the laughter. Quite a bit of fun) and Kryptonite.

Now, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, Alison is violently allergic to cigarette smoke, and even the slightest trace can send her scurrying for an exit. Just as we hit about one AM, we noticed a faint smell of smoke in the air, which we found baffling. Noone was smoking. We even looked around all the entrances and could find noone.

We eventually discovered that, in defiance of Washington’s (new) Clean Indoor Air Act, a group of smokers had been covertly smoking by a (normally locked and barred) side door, well within the 25 foot distance required by the law. In fact, if they were more than two feet away, I would be shocked. It wouldn’t have been a problem, but every once in a while, someone would open the door, sending a wave of smoke wafting through the bar. Repeated attempts to prevail on the smokers to cease their illicit behavior or to prevail on the hosts to intervene failed, and in any case, the remainder of the evening was ruined.

It’s really too bad. I like Janna’s show and had become a regular there before schedule changes forced me to go to another venue during Fall Quarter. I may never go again, I’m not sure.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been really depressed lately, between a situation that’s been going too long and I don’t know how to escape, my accident and the earlier speeding ticket that I still need to go to court over, regular Christmas blues (when everything is right with your relationships, Christmas is a time of warmth and light. When everything is wrong, Christmas is every bit as bitterly cold as this winter is looking to be.) It’s a mess of things. I’m even missing my older brother, who just moved out into his own apartment.

And to add to that, we have JadeHellBringer and Strawberry Fairy’s drama. This is silly, but JHB & SBF and their public relationship has been a constant in my life for some time, a rock of sorts that, despite admittedly knowing neither of them well, I had grown to depend upon. Make of that what you will, but seeing seemingly normaly, seemingly stable relationships of people you can at least confirm being real just makes the world seem so much more hopeful.

Seeing those relationships disintegrate is equally disheartening. The simple fact of the matter is that I am a technician by my very nature: When I see problems, I try to figure out what caused them, so I can fix them. Therefore, whenever somthing like this happens, I will unwisely try to go in and figure out what happened and tonight, the Mountain Dew (of which I drank far too much) coursing through my veins, I decided to go see what their Blogs had to say about it.

I come away in something of a shock. The parallels to my parents’ divorce are eerie. I see some of the exact accusations, the exact phrases being used, and it has reopened some old wounds for me. Seeing as I (as I said) know neither of them well, am in no position to be giving anyone relationship advice, and cannot at this point possibly be objective, I left no comment on their blogs.

Just so you guys know, I’m not putting anything on you. You don’t have any kind of responsibility to me, and I acknowledge that. You can consider yourselves guilt-free for the rest of this meandering multi-rant.

But it puts a fine point on how everything you do can ripple throughout the community around you. When a relationship collapses, the community around it feels the event like a punch or a hard slap to the face. It staggers. Sometimes it bleeds. It has to stop to collect its wits.

I’ve taken a few too many of these punches to the face lately. This last I’ve been discussing wasn’t even the trigger event. That was something that happened Monday, before the accident. Something I can’t even explain. I’ve lately been feeling like I’d like to get out of the ring again.

My essential nature is such that when a problem presents itself, I will instantly begin to analyse it and try to find solutions. The process begins unconsciously, and suddenly I have presented to me a laundry list of options for effectively ending my life, which scares the hell out of me. I realise I really don’t want to do it, and I decide to just try to get some sleep, and hope I feel better in the morning, though I know I won’t.

But don’t worry — I’m not in serious danger, gentle readers. I know it will get better. It always does. I’m sorry if this glimpse into my mind terrifies you or disturbs you in any way. I just needed someone to talk to, and you were the only ones handy. I’ll go to sleep now, and I’ll talk to you in the morning.

I am so tired of life.

It’s just been one damn thing after another. First the accident, then my older brother’s car gives out and then I’m driving my dad’s car last night when it dies and won’t restart. I caught the night transit home, but they’re an hour late (the driver got lost.)

Then we got the police report on the accident today. One of the witnesses confirmed I didn’t have my lights on (I have a bit of memory loss surrounding the incident, and in the conditions you wouldn’t necessarily notice if your lights weren’t on — well lit street, good visiblilty, icy road, etc. So I’m not too sure I did have my lights on and I sure as hell have no way of proving it.

On the other hand, the last time I drove at night without my lights on was years ago, and I got a ticket for it. It just doesn’t seem all that likely to me that I would have forgotten. The police cite the fact that my headlight switch was in the off position as evidence — which might make sense, but then they’d also have to contend that I was driving with my parking break on and my engine off. I don’t remember setting the break or shutting the engine off, but I did. Chances are then that I would also have shut the headlights off. It’s part of the shutdown procedure I’ve been following on a regular basis for over two years now. I could have done it in my sleep, and as far as I know, I did.

All of this ignores, of course, the fact that it *was* a well-lit intersection, and my car (while a reasonably subtle shade of blue,) is not actually invisible. The witnesses saw me. The guy who hit me was a whole lot closer. If he didn’t see me, it was because he was blind. Blind people shouldn’t be driving cars.

None of which excuses the fact that he made an illegal left turn (crossing the turn lane) without signalling and failed to yield right of way. Interestingly enough, the police report omits both of these critical facts.

Two more likely theories present themselves:
1) He was looking further down the road and didn’t see me because he wasn’t looking.
2) He saw me, but misjudged the distance between us, and was trying to get across the street before I got to him.

I can’t prove either, but one or the other must have happened, whether I had my lights on or not.

Needless to say, I am meeting with my lawyer to discuss options.

On the positive side, we got the Valiant back (not a thing wrong with it that letting it rest overnight didn’t fix. I don’t pretend to understand it) and Night Transit let me ride for free. Silver lining behind every cloud, but I am still very tired. And sore.

Today’s big news is: I got into a car accident.

Yesterday, about 5:10pm, heading south on Jadwin, minding my own business, BAM! out of nowhere a guy turns in front of me, leaving me no room to evade. Unsurprisingly, my vehicle struck his, sending him careening into a fire hydrant.

Good News: No serious injuries.
Bad News: No car. Plus he’s claiming I didn’t have my lights on (I’m pretty sure I did…) and that might effect a finding of fault.

Well, we got our internet access back today. Charter had apparently had something very important -er- explode or something, and it took the cable modem and, apparently, the router’s ethernet port with it.

Net result is we moved up installation of the new router (as my brother is taking his routers with him on moving out,) got a new cable modem, and everything now works properly.

Of course, this also means that this week’s Warship of the Week is going to be a tad late. :P

YES! I just got my last grade report, and I got my 4.0 for the quarter. In all three classes. I am insanely happy about this. This just rocks. Looks like all my hard work this quarter has paid off — now it’s time for some serious vacationing.

In other news, I was excused from jury duty yesterday on a peremptory challenge. The leading theory is that the prosecutor didn’t like my beard. Well, there’s good points and bad points, but I had really wanted to sit on a jury — just to say I had done it. Oh well. I’ll probably have another chance before my term is up.