Archive for February, 2008

The way things have been going, it looks like I’m slated to have one workshop per month. I suppose they’re the antidote to my series of unhealthy reactions to culminating events over which I have no control. So everyone, in the interest of timeliness, please plan future mind-fucks accordingly.

Anyway, here’s #2: Kinda the same, a little rearranged. Let’s do this.

Health
I woke up early and did cardio for about 90 minutes. I’ve been spending about an hour in the gym at least five times a week and I’m already feeling the difference. I recently rebuilt my iPod playlist, which has been the source of many impromptu extended workouts. After the long run, I lifted weights. It’s hard to directly notice how much it helps with my running and overall body composition, but I know it does.

Cleanliness
I took a bath and shaved all my body hair for the first time in I-don’t-know-when. I decided that I need to keep a stricter self-maintenance schedule despite the fact that I’m not going out every night, and most people can’t tell the difference. To my credit, I’ve been taking more care in getting ready for work lately, mostly as a result of frequent morning workouts and not wanting my hair to freeze in the cold morning air. But also, it’s a nice way to remind myself that I’m awesome, even though the only other people around to appreciate it are the people I work with, some of whom haven’t purchased clothes since before I was born.

I gave myself a manicure and went through the gamut of hair and makeup. I wore a red floral sundress with long tube socks and sneakers. (This will matter later.) Coupled with someone’s old homemade laptop bag and some added layers of warmth, I looked and felt like a hipster who thought she might be going to Hawaii later, but wasn’t sure and didn’t care.

Mental Development
I wandered around the block, cell-yakkin’ with an old Texas friend who’s been around the block, and seeking a cafe with free wireless and outdoor seating. I ended up at the Bauhaus, staring at a line of occupied tables lining the sunny side of the building.

I was kindly invited to share a primo table (near the corner, against the wall, in the sun) by a man with a British accent. Another long-haired, goateed hipster promptly sat down on the other side of my new companion, noticed some of his books, and instigated a serious, complex conversation about turn-of-the-century German philosophers.

I pulled out my spiral notebook and selected a writing utensil from my Mickey Mouse pencil case. “I FELL HAPPY 2DAY,” I scrawled across the page in orange crayon. Then I drooled on myself a little.

I did some writing and rested back in my chair, enjoying my perfect view of the distant Space Needle shooting skyward against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. I couldn’t believe how clear the day was, or that I was wearing a sundress in Seattle in February. The wind blew just enough to remind me that my long hair is pretty, and the sun shined just bright enough to keep me warm without burning. I listened to passing conversations with mild interest, pleased with my choice of venue.

The philosophy conversation sounded insanely pretentious, but I was in Capitol Hill, so its presence was almost necessary to establish the uniqueness of my overly self-referencing environment. (Oh crap, it’s rubbing off!) For the non-Seattlites, it’s just like hanging out on South Congress in Austin, or in the East Village in New York, or at Eric’s house in Houston.

Being in good health with a more relaxed spirit, I decided to do some inward-looking. I wrote about rules. Lately, I’ve been breaking rules almost faster than I can make them. Before I blame myself, I think I should re-evaluate my policy-making. I should recognize that I set those rules based on what I thought I knew at the time. Then I had some new experiences and realized that certain rules can’t apply to every case, and I gave myself license to break them. This isn’t out of character for me at all, since I already give myself license to break some societal rules too. There are just too many of them, and they shouldn’t, they can’t apply to everyone.

I haven’t vowed not to set any more rules, but I think I’m going to be more careful about how I go about deciding what I should and shouldn’t do. Tone down the extremes, everything in moderation, and all that.

I decided to fill up my notebook with everything that was bothering me so I wouldn’t write it here, which should be a home for happy/interesting/funny stories. What began as a fun exercise in g00bing ended up being a giant explosion of internet-bile that no one needs to see. Several weeks ago, I wrote the Grand Finale G00b Post, a super-diatribe about how the dating pool in Seattle is entirely fucked. While it may be the truth, it’s not absolute. And in its current state, not sharable.

The worst thing about g00bing isn’t that I’m bashing a bunch of random dudes who aren’t here to defend themselves. It’s destructive because I’m reminding myself how awful things are when they don’t have to be. My heart is quite capable of radiating endless happiness and love, but at the moment my mouth and fingers can only translate it as, “Fuck you.”

I can do better than that. :-)

Neighborhood Patronage
I went to Bimbos and ate a burrito. Filled in part with green onions and garlic potatoes, it was a far cry from anything I’d find in Texas. Different, but better than most of the Tex-Mex abominations I’ve experienced since I left my heavenly home. As I burped my way up Broadway, I deemed my late lunch “the gift that keeps on giving.”

I went to the Massage Sanctuary and got kneaded for an hour. There are definitely worse ways to spend 70 bucks.

During my appointment, it had gotten super-speedy-Seattle-dark, so I was prepared for my bare legs to freeze when I stepped outside. I imagined myself tearing through Capitol Hill, running to keep warm, screaming, “I’m having an adventure! I’m having an adventure!” But it actually wasn’t so bad. And I’m not actually that crazy. Yet.

Spirituality
I’ve returned to the Betsuin Temple since my first Life Improvement Sunday Workshop, and I may go back again. But I need something different right now. So in my continued search for peace of mind, I went to the Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Ji, aka, “The Listening to the Dharma Zen Temple on Great Plum Mountain,” where “Great Plum Mountain” equals “That Huge Fucking Hill Between Broadway and 20th.”

Not wanting to interrupt with tardiness, I hauled ass up that hill, arriving at 6:29. Just in time for… zazen. I was there for the Dharma Talk, which was slated to begin an hour later. Never missing a good chance to shut up for an hour (as if I have so few!), I figured sitting meditation would be a good idea.

I began removing my shoes and socks when a monk appeared.

“Go on up,” he smiled.

I creeped up the stairs and stepped onto the landing, staring into a familiarly arranged room with several people already meditating cross-legged on mats.

Goddammit, I thought, looking down at my nearly knee-length skirt. (No friends, the irony of a retired Catholic taking the Lord’s name in vain while standing in a zendo is not lost on me.)

My shoes were off. The monk had seen me. I’d been running around like a maniac all day. It was getting cold outside. I needed to sit! I needed to sit there! So I went in.

I chose a mat, then shifted and contorted, attempting to modify the lotus posi
tion so as not to turn this peaceful hour into a would-be gynecologist exam.

“Sit in a kneeling position,” ordered a sitting female monk with succinct precision.

Ah, yes, I fail at Buddhism. For most people, long periods of sitting still and saying nothing is a difficult prospect, but now the hour would go by faster because I’d be spending it crafting the perfect apology for my inappropriate entrance.

The hour did pass quickly, and we had tea before the Dharma Talk. As expected, there’s a whole procedure that I had never experienced, and despite a minor misstep, I received tea and cookie. There’s also a procedure for consuming these items, and since I’m a slow eater, the procedure was punctuated with my rapid chewing and shooting my cup of almost-scalding tea while everyone waited. I try not to beat myself up over this stuff—I’ve been to a bunch of temples now, and no two have done anything the same.

The Dharma Talk was a standard discussion of the emptiness of all that comprises the formless universe. There was some light talk of physics, but the main message was that everything is nothing, we’re nothing, and the universe is already taking care of itself, regardless of what we do. This is the kind of stuff I know and need to hear more often because it applies to all the junk I often overanalyze to no positive end.

After the talk, I had a chance to talk to the monks in passing. Having just finished a profoundly deep meditation on cleverly woven apologies, I gestured toward my skirt and sheepishly said, “Sorry.” One should always consider his audience when advertising his shortcomings. Since the chief M.O. for these guys is quiet serenity, “simple” seemed the way to go.

One of the male monks laughed and said, “Don’t mention it! We’re glad to have you here,” which gave me the chance to say I was glad to be there, because I was. And even though I decided I’m not making anymore rules, I planned to consciously avoid teasing the celibate with any more incidental crotch shots during future visits.

I woke up around 1pm to the sound of my phone ringing.

“Kat, this can’t be happening. I’m going to India in four days and I have pneumonia!”

“Aarrmmppphhhaaaggraaahhh.”

“And it’s a beautiful day and I can’t go outside and this suuuuucks!”

The light shining through my window was blinding me. There was no way I was getting back to sleep.

“I’m getting breakfast somewhere and coming over. AAARRGGHH I FEEL LIKE SHIT!”

I feel like shit!!”

(In unison) “AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!”

“Okay-see-you-later-bye.”

The beautiful day made it worth dragging my ass out of bed. I lay in the grass near Pike Place Market and looked at Puget Sound. I bought discounted Valentine’s Day candy. (I knew this made-up holiday served a purpose other than to make me miserable!) As I headed toward Pioneer Square, I saw a somewhat plain, slightly ugly girl with a hideous face tattoo and decided things could be a lot worse.

I had spent Friday night with some friends at Cafe Metropolitan, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite places. Or maybe I’ve just had really good luck snagging the comfortable seats in the back every time I go. I arrived early and spent over an hour sipping a single glass of wine. Some people made idle chat with me, but I mostly did work on my laptop and felt semi-productive.

Then everyone showed up, we got tipsy, and they took me to the Satellite to play dominoes. I don’t know how it came up, but I love dominoes, and I’m always up for a live game. I learned how to play on Yahoo Dominoes when I was in college. I found out as the night passed by that most of my opponents had learned the game in jail. I find it amusing that in my short time here, I’ve met an oddly large number of guys who have been to jail, and in many cases, they share more of my interests than non-criminals. More amusing still is that the high amount of shit-talking combined with drinking did not result in violent ass-kicking.

After last call, my friends and I got more booze and went to some Irish guy’s house. He was cool, but kind of off his rocker like most older men who have been single too long (e.g., Creepy Noel). He gave us all black t-shirts that read, “Drunken Chess Masters” and had a picture of a white rook.

Then he repeatedly asked me to tell him about myself, but didn’t ask any specific questions. I finally told him a little about my background, that I had traveled a lot, and that I’ve worked in tech for awhile. I don’t know what set him off, but the next thing I knew, he was screaming and swearing at me. Most people would assume I’d retaliate with guns blazing, never being one to hold my tongue when sober and threatened. But when I’m drunk and someone else instigates a real battle (beyond shit-talking among friends), I always search for ways to leave silently. It was really. Really. Weird.

Anyway, my people walked me home, where I drank more, fell asleep, and naturally, was in a shitty mood all day Saturday. I send an open apology to anyone who had to serve, pass by, talk to, or look at me. I probably appeared very scary, but I’m over it now.

Enter: Life Improvement Sunday Workshop #2.

Suffering from periodic depression is just like going camping. The same laws of hygiene apply, you eat a lot of stuff you wouldn’t normally eat, and you feel the strong urge to constantly light stuff on fire for no reason. So yeah, I may have been wearing this t-shirt for the last three days, that entire jar of peanut butter might also be considered “dinner,” and I have no idea how that bridge behind me burst into flames. Yes, I live in a major metropolitan area, but when I go camping, I do it with the best of ’em.

(Thanks, April and Andrew. I needed an alibi.)

I’ve Got Something to Say!

In light of this small milestone in my post-apocalyptic saga (fleeing NY = apocalypse in my world), I’ve learned something. Broken-heart stories are like bad-beat stories: Everyone playing the game has at least one, and no one wants to hear it.

Still, when it’s your story, it’s totally epic and life-changing. You were holding a full house on the flop and your opponent was a complete idiot for calling your all-in raise with Ax-offsuit. But then he got runner-runner Aces to make the higher full house, and now you’re outside smoking a cigarette, bitching about it to anyone who will listen.

Similarly, you can think someone’s a sure bet before all the cards are on the table. You back them completely with everything you’ve got and sit back to watch the magic happen. But then suddenly you find yourself alone, empty-handed… and once again, bitching about it to anyone who will listen.

You can argue that you played your hand correctly, given your chipstack, that of your opponent, the stage of the game you were in, and (to a degree) your opponent’s expected behavior based on previous decisions you’ve watched him make thusfar. You can justify your actions based on all those points and more, and be totally right.

It doesn’t matter. You still lost.

But that’s how life is sometimes, right? Things went poorly this time, but there will be other tournaments. There’s nothing that anyone could have done to change the outcome. Sometimes you’re a victim of circumstance.

E-mail from Security: A suspicious substance has been received in the mail room of Building XXX. Security personnel have been dispatched to the location or may already be on location to respond to and investigate the package. You may have observed Security personnel arriving onsite, and performing their work, a few minutes in advance of receiving an initial communication.

Oh noes! Everybody PANIC!

E-mail from da boss: If you are feeling uncomfortable about the situation in bldg. XXX, please feel free to leave (if you can). I hope it is resolved quickly and everything is OK.

SWEET! Three-hour lunch break!

See, I get e-mails every day. But send me some anthrax, and I’ll know you’re serious.

This is Kat:

This is Kat on Valentine’s Day:

Any questions?

I’ve been advised to hold off on G00bing for the time being and spend one day not being a snarky asshole. I should cheer up, enjoy the nice day and the free candy, and all that…

Inconsistent with what I said a week ago, this is a user-dictated blog, and apparently some people can tell me what to do.

Humorous Pictures

See? Valentine’s Day spirit. I have it in my heart.

“Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds.” -David Deida

I’m a little behind (real surprising, isn’t it?), but here are two quick stories about g00bs who have attempted to court me over the internet only to meet massive amounts of FAIL. I know I said I’d keep it local, and these are, in a way. The phone I was texting on was in Seattle the whole time.

Old G00b
I briefly dated this guy before I met Gus. A West Point graduate, he was a very young First Lieutenant stationed in Killeen. Despite our astronomically huge differences, we had a good time together. He ended up fighting in some war or something, so I hadn’t heard from him in a long time until recently.

Instead of messaging me on AIM, where we normally chatted, and awaiting my response, he pulled the g00b move of messaging me, waiting two seconds for a response, and logging off right away. He did this about five times over the course of a week, getting angrier and more defensive with each message. The last one I received was four lines. It went something like:

>Hey
>Look, I understand if you don’t want to talk to me anymore
>I know it’s been a long time
>If you want me to stop messaging you, just type “Stop” and I’ll leave you alone

If he’d given me half a second to tell him, I would have let him know that I only receive AIM on my phone right now, and since I’m not an annoying cocksucker, I don’t set it to audibly alert me when I have a new message. Had he waited for my response or sent me an email, I would have been happy to deliver the latest news of the PlatKat Empire.

But really, that much hostility over an unriquited message? Grow up, g00b.

New G00b
This morning’s g00b, who inspired this internet-centric post, is from Oakland. I have not met this person, nor do I care to. He found my old profile on Yahoo and happened to catch me at the right time (as I was getting on the bus to work), so I figured I’d take a break from my sci-fi novel and see what was crackin’ with this asshole.

I know other people’s chat logs are boring, so I’ll try to stick to the highlights. Most of them just show what a bitch I am, but it’s the only way I know how to deal with g00bs…

he: hot pic
[This is how every conversation on Yahoo begins ever.]
me: thanks
he: I am 34, 6’2 dark blond/blue
me: want a cookie?
he: depends what kind
[Here, I tell him my profile is at least a year old and that I live in Seattle to see if he’ll prowl somewhere closer to home]
he: i was born in spokane
me: I wouldn’t advertise that
[Boring convo about Seattle and sculpture ensues]
he: do you still have a long term relationship?
me: no, it ended
he: still 26?
me: no, as time moves in a linear fashion, I have since aged a year
[More senseless garbage]
he: you write?
me: I have a website, but if that’s too complicated and you’d rather just stare at one picture in my profile, that’s fine
he: I can handle more, send me the link
me: it’s on my profile page. are you new to the internet?
he: nearly
me: I wouldn’t advertise that either
he: new to scrolling down at least
me: pretty lame. take a class and get back to me

The conversation continued to go downhill as he read and commented on my site, and then told me about how he gave a rimjob to some chick at the top of a building. It was “interesting” and “totally improvised,” he informed me. Right, because most people schedule rimjobs well in advance using their Outlook calendars.

“Hey Kat, we’re gonna put together a group lunch this Wednesday at noon. You in?”
“Sorry guys, Wednesdays are bad. I have a rimjob at 11 and then a team meeting at 1, so my schedule’s already kinda tight. Better go without me.”

I don’t know if that was supposed to arouse me or prompt me to talk to him again or what, but I can guarantee that none of that is happening. I wish I could say it made my morning a little more interesting, but the sci-fi novel I’m reading right now is really fucking good.

I met this guy at a bar near my house, and later agreed to see him again over dinner. He moved to the US from Jamaica as a teenager sometime when I was in preschool. He’d been in both jail and the army (one in the same, in my opinion), and now he works as a radiologist at a nearby hospital. He made sure I knew under no uncertain terms that he did well for himself, which made me cringe, but his overall intentions and personality seemed genuine.

He was a nice enough guy, but he had a son. I like children fine, but they usually come with an ex-wife, which I got to hear all about in scathing detail. I’d be calling the kettle black (pun?) to say it was totally inappropriate, but he seemed pretty focused on his ex, and of course his son.

This meant he was too preoccupied to choose a place to eat, so despite the fact that I had been in town for barely two months, it was on me to pick the place. Let me just note here that it is a welcome rarity indeed for a man to explicitly ask me out and say, “Let’s go to [place]. I’ll pick you up at [time]. If we’re in the mood, afterward, we’ll go to [other place].” I learned quickly upon becoming single and moving here that the fairytale I just outlined is quite unlikely, so I should plan on doing most of the work.

I picked a sports bar with a reasonably upscale menu in Pioneer Square because I knew it wouldn’t be crowded. He barely ordered anything (one appetizer and no drink) and when my meal came out, he complained about it for me. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with its presentation or portion size, but calmly acknowledged his editorializing and ate my food. He also seemed more interested in talking to the chatty waiter than to me.

When he was talking to me, he spoke mostly of his son. His special snowflake of a third-grader was getting to that age where he needs to be more assertive, he told me. For instance, he should be able to tell his absent-minded, negligent mother that if he has to go pee, he needs to tell her so she can wait for him to go by the side of the car in the parking lot at Walmart.

What??

Let me get this straight: Don’t talk to strangers. Look both ways before you cross the street. And always, always warn mommy when you’re out running errands and have to pee so she can get slapped with a citation for letting her son urinate in public. Got it.

Maybe I’m overly prudent, or perhaps I was just confused by how the conversation had taken such an odd turn. For some reason, I subtly raised the question of why this particular scenario is at the forefront of his mind, during our dinner conversation no less. He went onto explain that the child would just wet his pants if he didn’t say something when his mom was ready to leave a place. But for some reason, going in the parking lot is preferable to going back inside the store. I opted not to press it further.

I was getting really tired of being there, so when the check came, I permitted my dining companion space out as I gracefully whipped out my credit card and handed it to the waiter. The receipt was delivered not a moment too soon and as I signed it, he suddenly returned to reality.

“Did you just pay for that?” he asked incredulously, as if the event had not just taken place in his direct presence.

I gave an affirmative reply, wishing I could add, “One of us had to,” without sounding like a total bitch. He could have at least pulled a chick move and gone to the bathroom when the check came. But I wouldn’t have paid if it was going to bother me; I really just wanted to leave.

I suppose no matter how interesting a person could be, it won’t be too long before you find out what’s really going on in his head, and if there’s room in there for anything else. Having kids (and even talking about them ad nauseum) doesn’t make someone a g00b, but attempting to regale me with all the dumb methods by which he chooses to raise them certainly does.

On the eleventh day of February, my true love sent to me…

80 pounds of granola??

Just to give you a frame of reference for how big this thing is:

And as I stuffed my cheeks like a squirrel at the onset of autumn, I found a card:

You probably can’t make out the handwriting at the top, and I’ll purposely neglect to transcribe it so as to accomodate the cynics. If it was written to anyone but me, I know I’d G-A-G (and maybe L-O-L afterward).

In all seriousness, thank you self-admitted loyal reader Ajeet, for this lovely gift basket. Now that I’m single again, the mere idea of Valentine’s Day makes me want to do something that this granola will surely be able to help along.

(Okay, everyone. Now you can gag.)