wild mood swings.

I went and took a screening test for a job today, at an office about 1.6 miles from my house, and hence someplace I would really like to interview. It was entertaining, as expected: the range of skills they were testing on almost never combines in a single person. Java, Enterprise JavaBeans (a very powerful and complex way of developing huge Java server applications), XML, and HTML/JavaScript. People with experience doing really hardcore server applications are rarely experts on the presentation end of things. I ended up answering "I don't know" or guessing quite a few things; to the final obscure web development question, something about the <DIV> tag, which I've never used and don't understand, I answered "I like cheese". If they're serious about all of those skills, I won't get an interview anyway, so if nothing else maybe I can be slightly memorable.

Had a pretty nice day today, overall. Mona came over this afternoon and got caught up on Buffy and Angel from the past few weeks. Then there was dinner: Jon wanted to make Ma-Po, "Numb Mouth" tofu, so he and Rachel and Laura spent a couple of hours mixing seemingly endless ingredients together, and the end result was a really good but somewhat disturbing dish that leaves your lips and tongue numb except for a single taste that I can't really describe. I didn't eat a lot of it, though.

At the moment I'm somehow stuck in between optimism and apathy. Since Friday night, continuing through Saturday and Monday, good things have happened. I'm finding that I'm physically a lot more sensitive somehow, like last night when I threw the big guy in aikido. I'm not quite accustomed to that feeling yet, but I will be. On the other hand, my body is cranky. Low energy, joints aching, rushing in my ears when my head it gets below my heart. I feel like somehow I haven't gotten enough sleep over the past month or so, although that hardly seems possible.

When I was little, I learned how to ski. At first it was cross-country skiing, starting about when I could walk, and I don't think I ever liked it. It feels like exercise to me, and I was never very good at it, but I did enjoy coming inside to a fire after a freezing day up in the hills in Western Massachusetts, where it's substantially colder than places out of the hills, like where we lived. Eventually my big brother started downhill skiing, and the rest of us followed suit a year later. That, I enjoyed, and still do from time to time.

The thing about both kinds of skiing is that, if your ski area is an hour or two away, you get up damned early, because the ski area opens around eight in the morning, and if you need to assemble your stuff and eat breakfast and get in the car and drive, you're looking at five in the morning. I'm really, really not a morning person, and what would happen when I got up at 0530 and stumbled to the shower is that I would stand in the bathroom and the shower and feel like crying (but not actually doing it) because I was so tired and groggy I couldn't handle anything, and it was cold and I just wanted to crawl back into bed.

This is roughly how I feel this week. I'm not rested and I just want to stop feeling tired.

I don't really like Thanksgiving. My parents could correct me on this, but I don't think I ever have, at least since I was very young and my grandmother moved out here, so we ended up elsewhere. So my most powerful memories of Thanksgiving are of having to wear semi-nice clothes all day at my other grandmother's, eating a lot of good food (which was fine once I finally got the point across that I REALLY DON'T LIKE SWEET POTATOES (I still don't), and melting marshmallows on top does not stop them from inducing my gag reflex). (I don't think I ever threw up, but came damn close many times.) Then I would get drafted to help clean up--it's fairly recent that I've become much good at helping out around the house, really--and the women would have boring conversations about grown-up women stuff, and all the males except me would watch football. For the next six hours.

I hate football. I could probably watch it, now: it takes skill and strategy, I'm sure it can be a marvelous test of character. Whatever. I still find it boring. But back then I didn't have that perspective. At the time the only cousins on that side of the family were the ones out by Seattle, so there just wasn't anyone to play with. And there was random stuff to do, I guess, running around or playing with knick-knacks off the shelves or what have you, but it wasn't interesting. The last Thanksgiving I was at, in 1998, I ended up somewhat good-naturedly playing referee for some extended family that were acting like obnoxious twits, which was fine (it could have been hugely worse), but it's not like my Thanksgiving dial is set to "Woo hoo!" to start with. It almost feels like Thanksgiving gets in the way of spending time with my family in a meaningful way, so I've never been motivated to overcome the expense and travel-to-visiting-time ratio of flying out to be there with the gang.

God, I hate football. It may be great for the players (at least the ones who aren't snorting cocaine or abusing or killing or raping their girlfriends), but in the fans it just brings out so much of the most meat-headed behavior available. As I think about it now it boggles my mind that everyone would drive a few hours to get together, eat a metric buttload of food, and then...watch football. I'm pretty sure it's one of the male bonding rituals I missed growing up.

This all comes to mind both because I'm attending my first Thanksgiving dinner since 1998, and with family, no less (grandmother plus second cousins and their parents, but still), and because I bought plane tickets to visit the Motherland over Christmas. I'm looking forward to it, even more so because Ben actually lives in the area now and isn't off meandering through Northwest Buttfuck, Mexico, or Northern Buttfuck, Alberta, or the wilds of Nepal. (Well, it was the Sonoran Desert and Athabasca, but I like my names better.) I'll get to train at another dojo for a couple weeks, and, best of all, I will be in easy striking distance of Atkins Farms, hands down the best farmstand-on-growth-hormones ever. I remember the farmstand days, and the cider and cider donuts are just as good as they were, and they've added baked stuff (mmm, cupcakes) and meat (mmmmmmmmmmmmm, meat). So I plan to constantly feed myself cider.

And how are you?