Sweet. Event data recorders in cars. Eventually it will occur to industry and government that it should be illegal for the car owner to download the data, though everyone else can have it, because American law protects the corporation from the consumer, and not the other way around.

    <friend> well, look at that, it turns out that when you have a
                  bunch of deer hunters with guns and they get into a
                  fight, they *shoot* each other.

Busy week coming up, of interviews and job connections and visiting family and running errands and and and and...I dunno, stuff. I'm certain there are several things lurking about that I've forgotten to put on my calendar.

Today's used CDs: 10,000 Maniacs, In My Tribe; The Orb, the orb's adventures beyond the ultraworld; Camper Van Beethoven, Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart; Live, Throwing Copper. I'm think I may return those last two for other ones (I bought them from the local independent place that will give me store credit): I know I'm currently spoiled by Guster's Lost and Gone Forever and Lemon Jelly's Lost Horizons (don't worry, Mom and Dad, you'll get to hear them both), but I think the new ones are not my thing.

I went to a party last night and talked again to this really cute, hot girl I'd talked to at a similar party a long time ago, maybe February, thrown by the same people. We had some nice conversation, though it wasn't at all clear to me that she any interest in me at all. So I was leaving last night, and said goodbye, and stopped myself and thought, "This is stupid, I'm just going to see her again in another nine months, and I'll still think she's really cute, and she's clearly not going to ask me out". It's gratifying to look a woman in the eyes and ask if she wants to have coffee sometime, and receive an unflinching, unhesitant "Yes" in return. No idea what on earth we might want from each other, besides the obvious first guess, but at least we can get in touch now.

Hey, when it rains, it pours.

There's this fascinating set of gender roles around this sort of thing, the asking-out and what not, even with strong, powerful men and women together. I'm not sure I'd call it an expectation as much as a comfort zone, maybe, or just a comfortable set of roles. It's like a power game, but it's one of those chosen power games that help express our ranges of emotion and sexuality. On the whole, I'm finding that my romantic world works most smoothly when I, as the man in the equation, take the initiative. The most iron-willed women in my life (some of whom are more iron-willed than I am) find it really hot when I (or some other guy) want to kiss the girl, understand the girl wants me to kiss her, and I just do it. I don't really understand it: the subtext is something like this:

Girl: Kiss me, dammit!
Boy: RAR! I'm going to kiss you and you're not going to stop me!
Girl: Yay!
Boy: Ook ook! [triumphant monkey noises]
The thing making this civilized is that if Girl says "bugger off", Boy respects that, but otherwise, the roles carry powerful strains of traditionalism. I meet so many women--strong, intelligent, thoughtful, modern women--who have realized they don't want a "sensitive" man, as such. They want a man, one who can be honest and open and communicative, but not effete or metrosexual or anything--guys who just are themselves, and don't try to apologize for it, or fix thousands of years of oppressive patriarchy by trying to be agreeable.

This all works out well for me, as I grow older (I'm still struggling to apply to myself the label "man", but here I am and there it is), because I had my stretch of being agreeable and overly sensitive for its own sake, and I'm done, and I'm now pretty good about being unapologetic. I'm also large, somewhat furry, and well-muscled, which seems to ring a lot of bells for women as well.

I find the whole thing incredibly difficult to articulate, because all the roles are fluid, and yet not; and men and women need to be equal partners in the human endeavor, but we're so undeniably different. It's like we're all stuck at the junior high school dance, and the girls are waiting for one or two of the boys to unstick themselves from the wall and come over to talk; but this time we're all aware of what's going on, and the girls have their own kind of initiative and power, much more subtle and deep than our just having to ask them to dance.

Well, whatever. It's fun, and for my part I am overjoyed to develop and spread a meaning to masculinity that doesn't involve sports, cars, and pretending women mean less to us than they do.