ah, the humanity.

I spent the past few days up in a nice house in the hills, practically trapped with a hot tub, a wood stove, a nice girl, and some of her friends. It was pure torture.

Among other things, I saw Jesus Christ Superstar for the first time ever. After all the hype I've heard over the years, I was underwhelmed: it's a good show (though I think you'd have to be either stupid or at Juilliard to put it on with high school students), but not stellar. I can see where, in its time, both the musical and the movie would have been groundbreaking.

So I ask my nice girl. "Am I just a jaded ex-theater geek, that I'm underwhelmed?". Silence. Pause. She searches for words. "I know I'm crotchety, is that it?".

"Well, you're certainly crotchety, no doubt about that. So I'm generally not really surprised to see you decidedly underwhelmed by anything."

I love my friends.

Now, see, why should we leave the Middle Ages behind when religion gives us such great wisdom?

Hey, shout out to the United States State Department, who have once again replaced my passport in 2-3 weeks from the day I mailed the application (even though this time it was lost and not just expired). I get even better turnaround for renewing my California driver's license (though replacing a lost one took months). Good work, guys.

After spending some time at someone's lovely second home up north, and with the prospect of a diagonally-upward career move and some cash coming with being laid off at the end of the year, buying a place of my own, alone or with friends, looks more reasonable than it has in the past. A few of us have talked about buying a chunk of land up north a ways in my favorite non-city part of California, and using it for construction experiments and having outdoor parties and stuff (lacking an actual coherent idea, and having a sense of humor, we refer to it as "the commune"). It's a scary idea, for a host of reasons, but with a lot of potential for goodness. I'm realizing I myself don't have a clear vision for that kind of property, except to do something other than subdivide and sell it off: build five different kinds of log house and tear them all down for firewood? Finally build my giant laser and complete my quest for world domination? I find the money aspect terrifying, as well, and among other things, I'm afraid I may get my hopes up and find out that I just can't afford it, even going in with friends (which is disgusting, considering I'm well over the 90th percentile for earnings in the US--my saving habits aside, if there were any justice in the world, people making 80% of what I do should be able to afford a mortgage payment on their monthly earnings). Well, okay, it's also embarassing to get my friends' hopes up and discover I can't afford it. But what the hell. My friends will still love me, and I'll have learned stuff in the process.