Montecristo Captain Quixote

montecristo

The World Line of the Horizon Star

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world


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Montecristo Captain Quixote
montecristo

The grass is always greener on the other side -- the urge to cut work and play hooky

I wanted to play hooky so much Thursday morning. I was already running later than usual to work in the first place. Fortunately, I have a job that is pretty understanding about office hours and my job is not hour-critical, as long as the work gets done in a timely fashion. The temptation was the great weather and the beautiful San Francisco skyline. I have written before about how San Francisco is a fascinating city and the Bay Area geography is such that as you drive around here the skyline seems to play peek-a-boo with you, popping up between hills or from behind rows of buildings as you drive along and then ducking back under cover. There is one such place to be found in Oakland/Alameda on 880, in the far right northbound lane, just before one reaches the Fruitvale exit. As you are driving, there is a rise in the road as the highway overpasses the light rail (I think) and some of the streets below. Up the road and to the left of the highway there is a tall white industrial-looking building which looks similar to a small grain elevator. To the right of this building, across the Bay, the San Francisco skyline can be seen, if you're looking for it and the weather is clear. The skyline can be seen for about 20 meters or so and then it disappears again as you approach the exit.

Thursday morning I saw the skyline backed by a stark purple sky of approaching rain (potentially) and the air was crystal clear and the city itself was brilliantly illuminated by the morning sun, making the buildings appear to be almost glowing white. I was seized by the urge to drive over to the west side of Alameda and snap a few pictures of it with the digital camera with which my parents recently gifted me. I've been carrying the thing around with me in the car, looking for opportunities to use it. I intended to still go over there on my lunch hour, in about an hour or so after I had first written these words, but I was sure the light would have been lost.

My conscience vetoed the hooky idea though. I would have had to have called work and invented a plausible reason for being as late as that would have made me and I didn't want to lie. Besides that, I'm working on a fairly important project and getting close to releasing it and people (customers) are eager to have the software upgrade with all of the new features that they have been promised.

After lunch...


I went over to the north west side of the island at lunch. Sure enough, the light was screwed up. There was a mist over the city so that the skyline was barely visible. I resolved to try again tomorrow. I'm still figuring this camera out. This morning was gray and rainy as well and hadn't cleared enough by lunch time to get any shots. Perhaps next week.

Later, at home...


I came home late Thursday evening after working until about 7:00 and then stopping at a Mexican food place, Baja Fresh, when I got back into town. Gee, for what you get that place is expensive. It's good stuff though. When I got home I found that my internet connection was down. I suspected that my old Motorola Surfboard cable modem has decided to give up the ghost. It's about seven years old or so. It's long past the time to get another one, I think. I suppose that it was possible that there was a physical problem with the cable outside the house but I didn't want to go prowling around out there at nearly midnight trying to diagnose potential cabling problems. I resolved to check it tomorrow morning before I headed to work. If it's not the cable, I've got to go buy a new modem tomorrow, which means a trip to Fry's Electronics in Walnut Creek.

Later in the evening I called Comcast to ask whether they were having problems with the service that would have kept me from connecting. It looked like a modem problem, and the guy on their end was certainly of that opinion and claimed that everything was up and running okay on their part. Some time after the call though, my modem and the connection mysteriously restored themselves. Checking the cable connections to the house this morning I discovered that they were all tight and in good shape.

I spoke to Mom on the phone in the evening yesterday as well. I mentioned that I had recently been rummaging around in an old trunk of mine in which I keep old paper notebook journals from the time when I was an adolescent and various other memorabilia such as old letters from friends, relations, and girlfriends. She asked me why I keep all of that stuff and old correspondence and why I didn't throw it away as I had already read it. I told her that it was fun to re-read it after several years and see if any new insights occurred to me. At this point she brought up an encounter with an old friend of mine from elementary school which happened a couple of months ago.

Back in October, Mom was up late and getting a drink out of the refrigerator when she took a really bad fall. She landed on her left hip and shoulder and broke both of them. She was in a physical therapy center through November and most of December after surgeries to fix her hip and shoulder sockets. Sometime in December I was talking to Mom on the phone and she mentioned talking to a lady named Heather M., who is a nurse there. Heather was one of my elementary school classmates from the first through fifth (I think) grades and recognized Mom's name and asked her if she were my mother. Mom asked if I remembered Heather and I told her that of course I did. Heather was quite a memorable individual. She was always cracking jokes and saying the damnedest things and was basically a lot of fun, not to mention being a cute girl. I remember that when we were in first grade and talking one day, on impulse she plucked a couple of strands of long blond hair from her head and handed them to me, telling me that now I could tell people that I have a blond girlfriend. Of course, at that age I would have told nobody any such thing, but I remembered being fascinated by the idea just the same and flabbergasted that she actually would do what she'd said and done.

It was at this point in the conversation that Mom mentioned that Heather had just come into the room and asked me if I wanted to say hi to her. Being amused and intrigued I said yes. Heather and I said hi and exchanged some small talk reminiscing about the old school, which has since been torn down and we exchanged a bit of trivia on the people we had become since we had last known one another. It was one of those things that is strange and fun at the same time. It feels so strange to have contact with someone across a distance of thirty some years, the gap between childhood and adulthood, and twenty five hundred miles. I was talking to Mom about the exchange and how we had updated each other on the people we had become since we had known one another. The courses that lives take is endlessly varied and fascinating. I mentioned that Heather hadn't mentioned and I didn't ask whether she was married with children, had become a nun, discovered that she was gay, or a lot of other things and Mom helpfully informed me that Heather is divorced. Leave it to my gregarious mother to discover all sorts of info about the people with whom she interacts. I decided to tug Mom's chain at that point and mentioned that I'd have to look Heather up if I ever moved back to Ohio. Heh.

Adolescent Accute Amateur Ambush Analysts...


The conversation with Mom reminded me of a conversation I had last weekend on the road back to Sacramento with my daughter Shannon. We were discussing such things as attraction and what attracts people to one another, and how the criteria that we use to evaluate people evolves and where it originates, some things being nature, perhaps even genetic, and other things being environment, philosophy and personal experience. Out of the blue, she casually pointed out that I am attracted to short women. What? From where did that come? I can imagine that, having sons, I would find myself critiqued on other issues, hearing such things as: "Gee, Dad, your batting average sucks worse than that of my friend, Freddie the Couch Potato!" Those who have daughters come to find that it is their interpersonal lives that are evaluated and critiqued. It's a hazard of the job. I pointed out that she had met or known about only four women that I have ever been out with or dated since Crystal and I divorced and five hardly constitutes a statistically significant sample. Heck, even if she had known of the women to whom I had been attracted before I met her mother even that would not be what one could call a statistically significant sample, which really undermines any potential "cred" I'd ever have for being a "playah," incidentally. At any rate, I was surprised to hear that assessment. Shannon does tend to be The Daughter of Surprises though. Where in the hell had she gotten that idea? I thought about things for a bit. Out of maybe two dozen women to whom I have ever felt some measure of personal attraction, maybe two or three have been above average in height. Most of the rest have been average height but a surprising number, given the ideal expectation of a bell curve distribution, seem to be a bit on the short side. Naturally, the small sample size precludes the reasonable expectation of bell distribution, but given a random opportunity of meeting people out of the general human population... It makes me wonder, and I haven't really thought of it before. Just the idea that I haven't thought of it before surprises me. I like to think that I have a pretty broad appreciation for the female form in all of its variety and that character and other non-physical attributes have a major or at least significant contribution in whether or not I am attracted to someone ... I have what I consider to be good reasons for understanding that human beings are not entirely prisoners of some problematically defined combination of genetics and overt and incidental environmental conditioning ... but I have noticed certain influences in my tastes, such as an admitted small bias toward women with dark hair and dark eyes. Is height an influence with me, and if so then how much, and why is it so hard to decide yes or no? Does everyone have "a type" to one extent or another? At the time Shannon noticed my preoccupation and observed: "Can't think of more than one or two tall girlfriends?" We underestimate the youth at our peril.

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I think that most people do have a "type". But some of the qualities that constitute our desired type may be subconscious. So tall or short may be oversimplifying. Maybe it is something pheremonal.

The subconscious vault

Did you ever notice how difficult it can sometimes be to pull those subconscious criteria into your conscious mind so that they can be identified and evaluated? Sheesh. It certainly doesn't help that there are so many, either!

My attraction factor is apparently based on audio cues, because nobody I've ever dated seriously has ever failed to have a previously unbeknownst-to-me radio career.

Oh I have to admit that a nice female voice, employed by a woman who is intelligent, imaginative, and unafraid to use it is definitely a thing that will turn my head.

That's a clever kid you've got there.

Someone mentioned to me in high school that I had a thing for Asian guys, to which I reacted similarly until, as you did, I thought about it. (At the time, two of the three boyfriends I'd had were of Asian ancestry.) Lately I've noticed a wholly separate inclination, which is for scruffy Jewish computer scientists. Seriously, I can think of four off the top of my head I've been attracted to in the last couple of years. It's a little unnerving and more than a little annoying to keep winding up with fellows that remind me so much of my ex.

Only because it's been rolling around in my head recently anyway, bits of this remind me of blueful.com/lacunastory.com, which you might like if you've got the time to check 'em out. (The first one is a short story, all online but very cleverly delivered, and the second is an interactive novel which requires a download.)

Oh Great Hod, what a piece of concept art...

I visited Blueful... Marshall McLuhan is rolling in his grave. I liked the story. I'm not sure I want to give out my snail mail address to whomever wrote it in order to see an ending to it. It's hard to believe that the writer will spend money sending out postcards to everyone who asks. Which end did you choose? Did you stay or go?

More curiosity about Blueful

It's rather haunting. I think the author's use of the second person gets in the way a bit, but then, the media-hopping can be a little distracting as well. Do you know who wrote it? I saw some names, ages, sexes, etc. in various contexts along the way, but I wasn't sure if any of these designated the author.

The story is interesting and strange. It is also a bit self-contradictory or of clouded meaning in a couple of places. This passage, for example:

But you must have still been young, before the worm rules of possible-or-not had burrowed through your mind, weakening and crumbling till only the familiar and mundane remained standing.

How does this apply to the protagonist, when clearly she has not been ravaged by "the worm rules of possible-or-not" given that she has been wandering through what amounts to infinite possibilities...

Re: More curiosity about Blueful

Y'know if you'd read all the information given you'd know the answer to a lot of these questions. :) Blueful was written by Aaron Reed, an author in general and in particular of interactive fiction. It's a promotion for Blue Lacuna (lacunastory.com), his latest work and one of the most ambitious pieces of IF in existence (at least, if you believe its own copy, which I know no better than).

He's a friend of a friend, which is even more indirectly than that how I heard about it.

I do recommend giving Blue Lacuna a shot. If you choose story mode to reduce the challenge of the puzzles, you can read/play through it in an afternoon. The story is quite compelling, especially if you liked where Blueful was going.

On a completely separate matter, Connie and I were having some conversations with a friend yesterday. We all agreed that children are far more perceptive in areas we don't expect than we might believe. It doesn't surprise me at all that Shannon saw a pattern, noted it and mentioned it.

I shall withhold my own observation that many short women tend to look bustier.
:-)

Shannon is always full of surprises and tends to notice surprising things.

With regard to short women and bustiness, there can be too much of a good thing.

Re: Insight and breasts.

One of the most delightful things about children is the fact that they can surprise us in so many ways.

As for your second sentence, I must respectfully disagree. "Too much" of that particular thing doesn't parse for me.
:-)

Re: Insight and breasts.

Yes, the more-to-love theory also has its exponents. To each his own. I suppose what matters most is that the woman herself is comfortable with her own anatomy.

Re: Insight and breasts.

Double-taked (took?) at "exponents." lol.

Re: Insight and breasts.

I couldn't resist the double entendre.

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