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[March 2002]

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March 2002

interesting parties, but still pretty uneventful

Best thing that happened
My Bedroom Warming Party
Worst thing that happened
Being Sick and Missing Java One

Last month I said that it was an uneventful month, and that this was a nice change. This month was also pretty uneventful, but this time I'm bored. That's not to say that nothing at all happened; March 2002 is just not a month that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

Solar Projects

... well, maybe that's not quite true. Helping install solar panels at the Rabbit Warren so they could warm their spa without blowing their electric bill was definitely memorable—those things were heavy! We helped them out with various other projects as well. It was fun, as is often the case when you're working on something with a bunch of friends, but it was a bit frustrating that the Rabbits hadn't really prepared either day, despite both days being planned well in advance.

Bedroom warming party

But even if the month wasn't memorable, this party certainly was!

After living here for three months, you'd think I'd finally have my room set up the way I like it. Not so. But to push me to do so, I arranged a "bedroom warming party" for the 9th. I managed to get all my furniture in place and all of my lighting set up in time, but there were still a few walls bare of the photos I like to put up. Oh well, I thought, I can do that later this month.

The party was excellent—it turned out just how I wanted it to. There was a diverse range of beautiful people, not enough to overcrowd my large room, but enough for there to be enough fun and variety. Although I planned to confine it to my bedroom, there were naked people running around the rest of the house, but my housemates that were home didn't seem to mind. Some people even ventured out onto my balcony, despite it still being a bit cold.

No, I'm not going to say who was there, and I'm definitely not posting any photos here! In case you haven't already guessed, it was one of "those sorts of parties". But trust me, I appreciated every single attendee, and a good time was had by all... especially me. ;)

A Soldering Party

A what? A soldering party! Quite unlike the party I just mentioned but still fun! This happened on the 3rd, when the people at Cool Neon were teaching how to solder their product to wires. I already knew how to solder it, but it was handy to get some extra tips, and the main reason I went was that they were giving discounts on their products if you came in to buy them. The biggest impact for me, however, was the space. It was just a warehouse somewhere in an industrial part of West Oakland, but it contained the most positive, happy energy that I'd ever experienced at a place of business. And no wonder! They were Burning Man people after all! They had that mellow, laid-back feel, but they were serious about the business they were doing... but only as long as they were enjoying themselves. Between transactions they'd play with the dogs, fiddle with some of the Cool Neon art that was on display, or just hang out and socialise with the clients. And since nobody was really in a hurry, this was fine.

Bad Day, Worse Healthcare System

Monday the 11th was the worst day of the month, as far as my friends were concerned. This e-mail explains it all:

".. two got sacked, one got a $7000 tax bill, and one broke both of her arms while trying to swat a mosquito! The really bad thing is that one of the ones that lost their job lost her primary partner at the World Trade Centre, and she got sacked on the six-month anniversary of that day."

A bad day indeed. I suppose one thing that wasn't explained is how somebody can break both of her arms swatting a mosquito. Well, she was standing on a chair with casters while she was trying to do it, and the chair slipped out from under her. It gets worse, though: she has no health insurance, so she couldn't call for an ambulance—she had to drive to the hospital with two broken arms! So just in case you had any idea that the American healthcare system wasn't an absolute joke, there's the punchline you need.

I too experienced the disrepair of the healthcare system that day because I started looking for a physiotherapist. My health insurance company's web site didn't list any at all. Briana suggested I look under "physical therapist" instead, and my insurance company's web site indeed listed four in my area. One of them was never a physiotherapist, one was no longer working there, the third was just a wrong number, and the other was dead.

Then she suggested I ring the advice number for a nearby hospital. I did this, and they were really sympathetic, and put me through to the person that they had listed... which was the same one I'd spoken to that morning who wasn't a physiotherapist.

I ended up going to see a friend of a friend of somebody at work, who was a qualified physio. She wasn't fully qualified by my insurance, but I got tired of dealing with health insurance company bullshit, and quite frankly, I was in pain! My hands and wrists and arms were hurting, and fiddling with the positions of my keyboard and monitor and track ball and chair just moved the pain, rather than making it go away. I've always been pretty clued in on ergonomics, but somehow the problem was just getting worse, no matter what I did. Even the "workstation assessment" done by my employer didn't change much. The solution? A series of stretches to add to my morning stretching routine, focusing on my hands and arms and wrists. They left my arms feeling tingly for a day or two, but after a week, the pain had pretty much gone completely away.

News on the relationship front

Dated Blossom

My newest lover is a guy called Blossom, who I met at PantheaCon last month. He's a sweet man, and I love going for walks with him as he tells me all sorts of fascinating facts about botany. He also has a vivid interest in geometry. I really liked geometry as a kid, and he seems to like the fact that I know what he's talking about, and although I'm not as excited about the shapes of paper and the quartz tetrahedrons that he shows off, I honestly agree that they're really cool!

Loving Socialising with Rose...

I've also been getting to know Rose a little better. Rose is the person that Hope and Sinboy are most involved with as a couple. She's intelligent, spunky, and definitely "good people". Since we're both seeing the same couple, it kinda makes sense for us to get to know each other, and it's quite clear that we have a lot of mutual respect and thoroughly enjoy each other's company.

... at Harbin

The four of us went to Harbin Hot Springs at the end of the month. Hope was sick, unfortunately, but we still all had a wonderful time, and agree that we should do something like that with the four of us again soon. I also got a chance to do some hiking alone, something that I was well overdue on doing.

... and at Lara's party

Another thing that the four of us did was go to Lara's party. As usual, the party had scores of vibrant, colourful, progressive and interesting people, a dance space and a hot tub full of naked people, and, still as usual, I went straight for the hot tub. It would be so wonderful to live in a collective like that!

Not sure about velvetandsatin

This month, I only went on one date with velvetandsatin, the woman I met at Sheets last month. I've dated younger women like her before and the age never made a difference, but she seems to lack relationship experience, and she's a lot more attached to me than I am to her. These aren't insurmountable problems; they're just things that that I need to keep in mind.

A couple of incidental things

Richmond T and Richmond A came to visit this month, with about two days' notice. The three of us hung out in the Castro for the evening, and basically caught up with each other's news as we walked around my old neighbourhood. They crashed at my place, but I didn't really see them the next morning since I had to work.

My housemates and I finally managed to all go out for an evening! The four of us went to Jupiter but I was the only one who didn't go clubbing with them afterwards. I really enjoyed the evening, but I think it's funny how we managed that and have never managed to meet for a house meeting.

Expat R arranged a brunch at the Crepe Vine for all of her Aussie friends one Sunday morning. It was originally going to be on the 17th, but it got moved to the 24th, and I somehow didn't get word of that. This was a little embarrassing because I'd taken Hope to it and invited Rochelle. When I rang Expat R and we worked out what had happened, though, she came around to the Crepe Vine and the four of us had brunch. Hope and Expat R only vaguely knew each other and Rochelle had only met Hope once, but the three of them hit it off really well, so it turned out to be a really fun morning.

Seder Sickness

Both my housemate Romijordanna and my friend Dancer D invited me to a Seder this year. Originally they were going to be on subsequent days, but somehow somebody changed the date and they ended up on the same night. A week before, however, I had Deborah over at my place and she hit it off really well with Housemate R, so they ended up doing some of their Seder shopping together, and they worked out a schedule for sharing me on the night.

It didn't work out that way, though, because I ended up being sick on the night, and therefore didn't go to either Seder! Hope and Sinboy went to Housemate R's and said that it was really cool, albeit long, so I was rather bummed. I would have enjoyed Dancer D's Seder as well because it seemed to cater more for people who've never been to a Seder, and I am such a person.

I must admit that I wasn't sure if I would get into the spirituality of it all that much. The whole ritual seems to centre on a very violent event that occurred in mythology thousands of years ago, and given the violence going on between Israel and Palestine today, part of me feels uncomfortable "celebrating" that. I would have kept an open mind, though, and I look forward to maybe having another opportunity for it next year.

Java One

The worst thing about being sick was that I missed out on the best part of Java One, the annual Java conference for the U.S. Work allowed me to go on Wednesday morning and all day Friday. I was excited about going on Wednesday morning, because the pavilion with all the exhibitors and their free T-shirts and geek toys would be there. This wasn't quite as exciting as I was expecting, but it was still pretty cool. It was definitely better than last year because when I arrived then, I found it had just closed and they chased me out with a forklift!

But there were a whole wealth of workshops on the Friday that I wanted to go to, with topics ranging from U.I. design to accessibility. I was extremely disappointed to miss out on that due to sickness. Oh well, at least it didn't end up counting as a sick day.

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Mik Scheper, 19 February 2002
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