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Weekend Report - December 14-16, 2012

"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone."
"I should think so — in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!"
--The Hobbit


(And for the record, no, I haven't seen the movie yet but I figure I will soon, one way or another.)

I've been pulling my way out of a tailspin of depression (one of the reasons my updates have been so intermittent) and one of the signs I'm definitely getting better is that I decided to spend a proper weekend going out and having adventures instead of curling up in my little hobbit hole.

I got home from work on Friday and checked the local music listings to discover that The Lizardmen were playing at the Star Bar. I needed little more persuasion than that. I went from Business Casual to a few notches more casual and stopped at a crowded but pleasant Mexican restaurant for some sopa de pollo and a margarita. A guy at the table behind me was explaining to an older woman how an AK-47 assault rifle worked and the difference between that an a fully automatic weapon.

I arrived at the Star Bar at what I thought was an early hour but in fact I had missed the very first band by then. It was a Toys For Tots benefit with a long list of bands on the roster, and I found my friend Captain B setting up on the stage. I was about halfway to the stage to chide him for not telling me he had a gig coming up but before I made it there, someone else came out of the backstage area. Mod Boy.

For those of you fine people who have witnessed the way I am in the presence of a certain blond keyboardist for a certain band with a repetitive name, pause a moment and picture my reaction if that very gentleman had shown up in a place I wasn't entirely expecting him.

Yeah, it was even worse than that. I shrieked "OH MY GOD!" at the top of my lungs. Mod Boy just smiled and said hello. He had a guitar in his hand so he couldn't say much; I just stepped aside and let him get to the stage and do his thing. Then I ragged on Captain B for not telling me about the show. He apologized for forgetting that I no longer do the Facebook thing and thus would have missed the announcement there.

Captain B and Mod Boy were doing their guitar duties in what was basically the same line-up as Mr. Jay's Bowie cover band, only they did Kinks songs instead. They'd done it one time earlier, but I missed the show because I was out of town attending my goddaughter's first communion. I found a decent seat with a perfect view of the side of the stage of most interest to me and enjoyed a set of Kinks songs played raw.

Between sets, I went downstairs to find a quiet corner to curl up and write in but instead found myself catching up with Mod Boy for a bit. He told me that they hadn't played that Kinks set since 2011 and I said "Oh, you mean the time you made me cuss in front of my niece?"

(Permit me to digress while I explain that one. As I've mentioned before, Mod Boy is shouldered with the peculiar burden of being the son of a deceased musician who I will not name lest the Google find me but whom I shall refer to here as Daddy Mod. When I was up in New York for my niece-and-goddaughter's first communion, I was still on Facebook at the time so at the little social gathering after the communion proper I was doing a quick iPhone app check of how everybody I knew was doing. There was a post by Mod Boy about how he was feeling a little under the weather for the gig that night. One of his Facebook friends--whether or not he was an actual friend, I can't be sure--posted something useless like "You're Daddy Mod's son! You can do it!" or words to that effect. Mod Boy snarked that he could always try the Daddy Mod technique of getting shit-faced drunk before going onstage. And thus I dropped an F-bomb out loud in front of my niece. Thankfully, she was too absorbed in the book she was reading to have noticed.)

I told him about the work situation and apparently he doesn't do well in cubicles, either. (Then again, does anybody?) We grumped about Facebook, talked about car accidents and eventually he excused himself, as he does, to go mingle with the rest of the crowd. I went upstairs, saw The Lizardmen play some of my favorite songs and decided that I didn't need to hang around until Saturday to prove that I was cool, so I said my goodnights. Captain B said we should get together for drinks and crap movies again sometime. Mod Boy told me to email him and I told him that emailing him was like dropping a stone in a well and waiting for a splash, an accusation he didn't deny but instead affirmed, complete with stone-throwing hand gesture.

The past several Saturdays I've been in the habit of walking to the library (about a mile and a half from where I live) and availing myself of the labyrinth in the reading garden just next to it. It's a single winding path defined by bricks and laid with gravel that leads to a stone bench facing a white post that declares "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in several languages. Unfortunately, after the initial creation of the labyrinth, not much seems to have been done in the way of maintaining it, so I show up with a backpack containing gardening gloves and a few tools and spend about fifteen minutes pulling up weeds and sweeping away debris before walking the path and having a seat on the bench to contemplate the riddles of my existence. Once I'm done, I go into the library, swap out or renew my books and go home.

Today, I had a haircut appointment so I gave up and drove so I could at least renew the DVD of Rashomon that I still have yet to watch. But I did get some time with the labyrinth, and that felt good.

Once my hair had been chemically enhanced, trimmed and styled to a perfection it only sees the day I get my hair cut and never knows again until I return, I gave my friend Lake a call and asked her if she was still up for going to the High Museum. She was, but she was in mid-artwork from the sound of it, so I stopped for lunch at Fat Matt's to give her time to clean up.

Lake's schedule was such that we only had enough time to check out the main exhibit, which is an interesting sort of walk through modern art history which pauses to look at five different years--1913, 1929, 1950, 1961 and 1988. (They also commissioned a few new works so they claim to have added 2013 to the bunch. Okay.) I was able to spot the Matisse from across the room, though I was a wee bit disappointed that it was a 1913 Matisse and not a 1950 one. (If I go back and look again, I'll check, but I didn't seem to see any artists crop up in more than one year, which is a shame because the continuity and contrast between say, 1913 Picasso and 1961 Picasso would have been fascinating.)

The room before the gift shop had one of the commissioned installations--an intricate and slightly dreamlike network of shelves with odd objects and lights and plants. I got there first and waited for Lake to catch up and watched her as she looked it over.

"It looks like my studio," she said.

I convulsed with suppressed laughter--if I'd laughed as loudly as I'd wanted to, I would have frightened half the gallery--and said "Yes! Exactly!"

I carted Lake home so she would have time to get ready for a housewarming party she'd been invited to. I opted to head home and collapse for a bit.

Sunday was the O'Shea Family Christmas Cookie Party, whereby my mother shares the bounty of the thousand-odd cookies she bakes every Christmas season. Various friends, relatives and neighbors dropped by at my parents' house and it was rather nice to tell them "I have a job now" instead of "yeah, still looking."

Work is work--I'm still floundering a bit at times but getting better at figuring things out. I've started to pick back up on things I used to do that, hey, just because I have a job doesn't mean I can't still do them.

Like, for example, writing here.

Today I took pleasure in tidying up loose financial ends.

Today I learned that the Data Collection section of Form I-129 used to need a signature. (Wow, I bet you found that fascinating.)