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sunday, 31 july

overheard: 'you taste like a burger. i don't like you anymore' -alh's away message

how on god's green earth is july over already? i want my summer back!

brandon i swear to god i'll mail you and laura's wedding gift to you before i leave the country a month from today.

as i was biking up to the gym today, i thought a lot about modernity. the world i live in is largely a creation of the past sixty years. from interstate highways to commercial jet travel to cable television and laptop computers, my day-to-day life is dominated by modern conveniences. there are massive exceptions. my saturday strolls through the oxford botanical gardens, founded 1621, are a good example. and i suppose my college, 1525 vintage, is more than 60 years old, as is the bodleian library.

my point (if i can be said to have one) is this: the twentieth century changed the way a lot of us do a lot of things. the first decades of the century witnessed the conclusive demographic shift toward urbanisation when, for the first time in human history, more than half the world's peopele lived in cities. our culture is still trying to catch up to our demographic reality. the creation of viable sub-communities among the whirl and toil of hundreds of thousands (let alone millions) of people is no small feat, especially when urban sprawl, car culture, and ipods allow us to coexist without having to interact. i think there's some book about urban villages i should probably read.

back to the point: the twentieth century shoved us together. it also allowed us to do things faster--travel, communicate, trade, heal. what i wonder is how this will change the ways in which we approach problems. the 24 hour news cycle has clearly made its impact on politics, and diplomacy has been affected by the speed with which information travels. terrorism has changed the way we think of war, but i'm not sure appropriately. terrorism has existed throughout human history. that a suicide bomber can now kill dozens with a single blow may frighten is, but perhaps it should not change the fundamental ways in which we approach foreign policy.

just brain vomit. don't mind me.

saturday, 30 july

overheard: 'i wanted to be a vet for a while. then i realized i'd have to stick my hand up a horse's ass.' -becky

my toe is doing a bit better today. i'm not mowing, but i think i'm going to head up to the gym. get buff. then come home and eat a banana. and take a shower.

i went to see must love dogs with katie last night. i was the only dude in the theater, i think. but it was funny. really. and i'm not a big john cusack fan. it was refreshing to see a large, functional and loving family portrayed on the big screen. reminded me of my family.

after the film, we had dinner with allison d at ella's supper club. but jeff wasn't there. and then we went back to the cute little house allison just bought and watched two episodes of what not to wear on TLC. and drank fresca and vodka. cuz we're just that cool.

friday, 29 july

overheard: 'we could make a long list' -katie, on the ways in which spokane is like a military academy

first things first: brandon remind me, that in addition to my other rants about yellow ribbons, it's really a pretty stingy way to offer support to our troops. he's right. much better to make care packages. with snickerdoodles. blessed snickerdoodles. and he promised me a pizza.

i haven yet to read the note, the nytimes or bbc news today. so i really don't know what's going on in the world. and therefore i don't have nearly enough opinions.

i do, however, have an opinion on my toe situation. it's going to fall off, i think. it hurts real bad. kinda swollen. the excedrin i've taken doesn't seem to be helping all that much, either. might go soak the darn thing. maybe that will make it better. or i'll amputate it with a tea spoon. either way.

thursday, 28 july

overheard: 'what now?' -old hungarian woman who, trying to put on her life jacket, put her head through the arm hole.

brandon says i have to update even when i'm in a rush. so here goes

rafting: a success. talking to rob: thus far, not a success. i just got back from lunch with my grandma. now i'm sitting down to type up some quotes and hopefully increase the word count on this darn chapter. today is the halfway point of my time at home, and i've written 500 of the 15,000 words i need. oh my.

i felt rather like satchel pooch this morning on my bike ride up to the gym. so many smells. on manito boulevard, there was the smell of the wet pavement where sprinklers were spraying out onto the street. that's a very spokane in the summer smell. and then up by the country club, it smelled like my uncle phil and aunt toni's street. don't know why that is. but it made me smile nonetheless.

i have decided that, while i used to accord those yellow ribbon "support our troops" car magnets less than a glance or a thought, i now find them fairly offensive. not only for aesthetic reasons, either. primarily, i think it's a form of patriotic bandstanding: i am a good american because i have one of these. where's your magnet, communist? it also simultaneously politicises support for the brave men and women in our armed services by conflating it with support for the bush administration. its a brilliant rovesque use of rhetoric. "i support our troops" is code for "i support the president's incompetent use of our armed services", but who can argue with that little yellow ribbon?

i'm proud as dickens of america. i think that the values that our society embodies are noble and worth fighting for. but i also think that the bush administration's iraq campaign has made us appear throughout the world like a belligerent drunk who insists on fighting the obvious battle, regardless of whether it's the right one. i support our troops and i support our country, but i do not support this useless war, which has not made us safer from acts of petty terrorism and has not made it any more difficult for terrorists to procure weapons of mass destruction. it has, on the other hand, cost us the lives of nearly 1800 young american men and women. and the lives of more than ten times that many iraqi civilians. so i don't have a yellow ribbon on the back of my car; i don't want one.

tuesday, 26 july

overheard: 'back to the gross hotel' -jack

i'm in a rush just now, so there's no real update today.

monday, 25 july

overheard: 'good sex is very good for singing' -michael palin's himalaya

today is a work day. because i really have to get underway on this chapter business. but i think i might skip the gym today. i'm quite sore, and a day of recovery might be a good idea. and give me extra time to do work.

they're still doing their best to take bits of our road away. so that's loud and stinky. but soon i'll be in the work zone.

monday's always such a slow news day. and i don't care about the democratic leadership conferrence. i just don't.

sunday, 24 july

overheard: 'i'm gonna f--k the s--t right out of bush's hair' -at the bar last night. i have no idea what it means, either.

there's a letter to the editor in today's NYTimes that i rather agree with on the appropriate way to respond to acts of terrorism. yup.

went to the gym again today. i feel great. while i went to a bar last night, i didn't actually drink. well, i had one beer at rob's hosue before we went out. but after friday night, i thought a night of good, sober sleep might do me some good. and it did. it was great to see aaron yesterday and at the elk today, along with a bunch of other people i haven't seen in years. but i'm still very much against this gross smokiness. my eyes get all dried/smoked out. then i put eye drops in and they sting like nobody's business. icky.

i really should go read some more medieval english history. oooh. and maybe i'll drink a cream soda. mmmm.

saturday, 23 july

overheard: 'they're not mentally deficient; they're mentally ill' -2nd cousin

i have no reasonable excuse for having failed to update yesterday. thursday night, a plan was hatched between katie and james (i know!) that we should all go to silverwood on friday. but then the forecast called for thunderstorms, and no one felt like driving an hour each way just to be sent home $30 poorer when they closed the park. so instead katie and i went out to didiers and enjoyed the summer storms while eating large volumes of frozen yogurt.

after dropping katie off, i went and joined a gym. the gold's gym at 57th and regal. which is real far away from my house. but it was 7 weeks for $17. and i was/am getting fat not having a place to work out. today i rode my bike up to said gym, getting my cardio done on the way. it's a bit over 5 miles each way. anyhow, it feels nice to be working out again.

last night, katie and i went to the park inn (you can't go wrong with $6 pitchers of kokanee), where we met mr and mrs ryan, by which i mean ryan and brenna, and then john and brad and kim joined us as well. and a lovely time was had by all. $6 pitchers! that's less than one pays for some pints in oxford. so that's that.

i got to talk to jack this morning, which is always a joy. and that's all i have to say for today. i should probably go take a shower here soon.

thursday, 21 july

if agatha runcible were alive today, i think she would say of these intermittent blasts in london, "how too, too tiresome."

i suppose the terrorists are thinking that if at first one doesn't succeed in striking fear into the hearts of britons, one should try again. but the british seem rather ill-suited to being afraid. and even if they ever did become afraid, i'm sure they'd be far too stubborn to show it.

what is the end goal, though? surely the fear that terrorists attempt to create is supposed to have some further effect. is it supposed to undermine our belief in democracy? in religious tolerance? in the values of equality, freedom, and justice? or is it supposed to make us hesitate to advocate such things on the international stage. whatever the goal, terrorism is self-defeating. in the end, such acts come off not only as horrible, but also as petty and cowardly. they are doomed to fail. they will not make us question the rule of law, or the fundamental value of an open society.

on a mildly related note (that note being fanatical islam), i'd like to point out that any chance of my ever visiting iran has been eliminated by this absolutely heinous incident. i can't even describe my disgust.

wednesday, 20 july

overheard: 'our cheese is so much bigger than our vegetables' -mom

you know, i was pretty darn good at accounting. by which i mean i never really showed up at class or opened a book, but i managed to ace a year of exams on the subject. but balancing my checkbook still befuddles me sometimes. like right now: it's balanced and all, but the balance the bank has for me and the balance i have are rather dissimilar. granted, there are two debits to my account that are clearly never going to clear. do i just remove them, and adjust the balance in my checkbook accordingly? i have no idea.

i'm going for a bike ride now, and later i'm going out to lunch with my grandmother and bo. haven't decided where yet. yesterday i went to maggie's with my mom for lunch and then we had delicious monte cristo sandwiches for dinner at home.

and i know it was predictable, but i'm still disappointed that bush's nomination of john g roberts, a handsome 50-year-old conservative judge to SCOTUS managed to completely swallow the karl rove story. there's not a single mention of rove in today's the note. and the note is ridiculously thorough, as you all know.

tuesday, 19 july

overheard: 'a midget with a broom can get you elected to anything' -becky, of course

went to see cinderella man with katie last night. always a joy to see a movie with her. i also spent upward of 4 hours yesterday at the GU library reading books and sorting data, and generally trying to figure out what on earth is going to be said in this chapter that i'm supposed to be half done writing by now.

on to ethical concerns: tonight the white house will be announcing bush's nominee to replace justice o'connor on the supreme court. all fine and well. just slightly fishy timing. anyway, i'm hoping that it won't drown out the growing furor over rove and libby's conversations with various and sundry columnists. bush yesterday tried a bait-and-switch on the threshold for firing aides involved in the leak. i suppose it's become clear to them that the revelation of mrs wilson's identity was not strictly criminal offense. in any case, i still think the entire episode displays the bush administration's viscious methods of retribution for those who disagree with the official message, however deceitful. yuck.

one last thing: spokane's mayor got a mention in the nytimes magazine on sunday. read the column here.

monday, 18 july

overheard: 'if i looked like you i'd be naked all the time' -al roker

just now coming out of my harry potter fog. it took me a shocking 36 hours to read the new book. very very dark. very very sad. and now a two year wait. oh well.

i need to pack a lunch and get to the GU library so i can do some work. yes, i have work to do. i need to write these 15,000 words, after all. i thought there were some interesting anecdotes from the weekend, but perhaps i was wrong. more later.

friday, 15 july

overheard: 'there's no more cheese. quit crying' -cafe nero

so cleaning my room is proving to be quite a task. i found around 60 lbs of recycleable office paper yesterday. yeah. i still had all my notes from high school and college. and all my day planners. i thought they might have come in useful. but they're all being dispose of. i'm not in a sentimental mood right now, so it's the best time to clear out the useless stuff. i also sorted my palanca (for the first time in 2,637 days) into "form letters" and "personal letters" and threw away the former. yes. i'm ruthless right now. and i'm okay with that.

yesterday was full of good news: katie came home. then when i talked to her, she said bekah was coming home. and then julie marie called me to say that she's adopting an eight-month-old wheaten terrier called oliver. last night, becky, rachel, bo and i went to the free carillon concert at the cathedral of st john. it was beautiful. and we had a qdoba picnic. i'm definitely going next week again. hurrah.

today is the first day of the nordstrom anniversary sale. i'm going to visit marie with katie, and then the new harry potter comes out tomorrow. must...not...have...hangover.

and by the bye, trevor immelman, the south africa-born current co-leader of the british open, is scrumptious. just so you know.

thursday, 14 july

happy bastille day!
happy one-day-late birthday to tom!
overheard: 'there's cocaine on my shorts' -beckers (not really. it was bisquik)

while there are many things that would be worth saying about my JVC reunion in san francisco, including all the wonderful food and the fact that i spent all of saturday puking up my internal organs. i could also comment at length on how sickened i am by this karl rove business. blech.

but really, the most important thing ever right now: katie is in spokane this afternoon. i can't even say how excited i am. hurrah! HURRAH!

wednesday, 6 july

overheard: 'dad, you're plain curves. mom, yours has holes in it' -beckers

mac house reunion starts tomorrow. i can hardly say how excited i am. i've already had a very productive day today. went to the elk with rob last night. it was great to catch up with him, but i swear he knew at least one person at every table there. at least there were some fitties on the patio. it was definitely the perfect evening to spend drinking good beer outdoors.

i'm gonna go run some pre-san fran errands now, but i wanted to direct y'all to a column that i neglected to mention from yesterday's NYTimes on recent developments in the institution of marriage which have made it possible for gay people to want in on it. very interesting, i thought. and well-written.

tuesday, 5 july

overheard: 'you're not supposed to use your teeth when you're kissing' -julie, but not advice to me

the 2012 olympics host city will be announced tomorrow, which is pretty exciting. apparently paris is the front-runner. i'm not sure whom i want to win, mostly because i suppose there's rather a good chance that i could be living in london or new york when 2012 rolls around, and it seems rather a bother to live in the city hosting the olympics. i hate tourists in regular numbers: the prospect of hundreds of thousands of extra ones is enough to make me move to the oregon coast.

today, in addition to transcribing my notes on the repertories of the court of aldernmen into an excel file, i plan to write myself a summer allowance check, go for a bike ride, tidy up my room, and contemplate packing for san francisco.

finally, i hope you all had a chance to look at this article on male bisexuality in today's NYTimes. it mostly confirms what i've always said: bi is just gay minus two years. NB: this doesn't affect female bisexuality, which may actually exist.

monday, 4 july

overheard: 'the least you can do is get on your knees and blow' -i'm not allowed to say

further evidence that i'm a total reprobate: i took another two week break from this bad boy. what can i say? i was at the beach, reading and developing a wicked addiction to su doku. mea culpa. as advance warning, even if i manage to update tomorrow and wednesday, i'll be leaving thursday for 6 days in san francisco with my JVC housemates. so there won't be any updates until at least next wednesday. like i said me=reprobate.

there's an article in today's NYTimes about the developing opinions toward his holiness the pope. now, i don't think i've ever tried to hide my grave reservations about benedict/joseph cardinal ratzinger. but i have also always believed that him to be a man of integrity, and therefore susceptible to be changed for the better by the awesome responsibility of being the spiritual leader of over a billion people. and that's all i have to say about that.

i've been reading a series of novels about self-destructive london hedonists. first there was the enchanting becky sharp in vanity fair, then decline and fall's paul pennyfeather and the bright young things in vile bodies. i followed waugh with the soul-crushing tale of nick guest in alan hollinghurst's überdepressing line of beauty and finishing up with wilde's macabre story of dorian gray. so now i need some slightly less depressing before the new harry potter comes out. hurrah.

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