June 5th, 2005

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Active day

I didn't really plan on it, but I was pretty much on the go all day long. This is mainly thanks to Caleb.

Slept pretty late, 'til 9:30 or so, and wasn't really doing all that much until Caleb called me. He wanted to go up to Salvation Army and then maybe have lunch someplace up Marietta Street. I said I needed to clean the house a bit, but an hour later, I met up with him with my bike.

The ride turned out very well. Altogether it was around 7 miles but it was over about four hours because we stopped a lot. Our itinary:

- Up Marietta Street to Salvation Army, for drop-off and browsing
- Octane coffeehouse, for cold drinks
- Up to Howell Mill area to Star Provisions, where I got some yummy but expensive granola
- Through Atlantic Station
- Through Georgia Tech
- Over 5th Street to Barnes & Noble
- Light lunch at Globe on 5th St.
- Up to 10th St. to Caleb's work
- Down Peachtree back home

Except for the last stretch, down Peachtree, I managed to keep up with Caleb very well. This is despite the fact that it was wicked hot. It was like 90 out today and HUMID. I was dripping by the time I got home.

Back at home, I only managed to stay awake like a 1/2 hour before all the sun, biking, and staying up late caught up with me. Took a nap from 5:30 to 7:15 or so.

Then the phone rang and it was Caleb. Want to go get Gelato at Paulo's in Virginia-Highland? I was sleepy still but said OK. Got on shoes, met up with him, and the bus came. We had yummy gelato and we walked around. Caleb plotted a course to the Publix on Ponce and we went grocery shopping. Afterward he wanted us to walk ALL the way home but I convinced him to wait on the bus, which luckily came quick.

Afterward Caleb came over and we watched two segments of the Italian language learning video I'm borrowing from the library. I'm surprised I understand as much as I do, though that's a separate post really.

I'm starting to get a headache (at midnight????) but I'm going to sleep well tonight, I'm pretty sure!
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In preparation for our trip next month, Caleb and I are trying to bone up on some Italian.

Predictably, Caleb is doing very well and learning it without a lot of effort. He got a video and today he got a Rick Steves phrase book, same as I got him for German. I think he's going to be in Italy chatting with everybody in Italian and translating things for me.

While that's rather predictable, as Caleb can pick up just about any language it seems, what surprises me is that I don't find Italian very hard either. I find the pronunciation is not difficult, whether I'm trying to repeat something on a video or reading words out loud. As far as picking up the meaning of things, phrases, etc., I find that's going pretty well too.

My main comment, which Caleb agrees with, is that Italian makes SO much more sense, and is much easier to learn, than French. I've studied three "difficult" languages (Latin, German and Russian) and I swear, when I was in class at UGA, I found French totally frustrating. At the time, I thought maybe I was just too old to learn a new language, but now I think it was the language. I could not stand the fact that French isn't really pronounced how it's written. There were also a lot of sounds I could not hear or make. Italian comes a lot easier; I'm good at doing the R's, which are not unlike Russian. I also find it easy to guess words in Italian, whereas in French I would never guess right. I might also mention that when I speak French I seem to pronounce everything with a German accent, which thank God doens't happen when I speak other languages!

Anyway, don't know if I will really learn more than 50 useful phrases, but for now, I'm feeling more relaxed about the idea of going somewhere where I don't know the language. (This has never happened before, except things like going to my friend Teresa's and being surrounded by Chinese for hours on end.)
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Strange strange dream

I had a very weird dream last night... well, actually this morning, since it between 7 and 9 a.m. I know I woke up at 7, checked the clock and went back to bed, then woke up at 9 again.

Wish I could remember more of it, but alas, here it is:

Caleb and I went to Italy. Well, that's what I thought was happening anyway. Turns out it was just me and instead of visiting Dagmar, I was going to a big family event. So Mom, Dad, Nancy, Carolyn and everybody I saw last weekend were there. In Italy. I think a few other random friends, from present and past, were there too.

I really have no recollection of WHY we were all there in Italy, but I know we settled in to some hotel or other living space and I got very anxious because all our stuff kept mixing together. Like people would borrow my CDs without asking or decide to wear my clothes. It was kind of like a college dorm situation only even more chaotic!

And then came this whole part that seemed to come straight of of The Handmaid's Tale. I remember visiting some special school/institute for women. Before going, I got a little introduction to it and found out the women were all supposed to be very pious. They had some special slogan, like "Blessed Are Those Women Who Do What They're Told," and they had a big placard, printed on purple with gold lettering, hanging from the ceiling on the lobby. You were supposed to gaze up at in reverence. Later on I found myself in a classroom with some women and noticed the same awful slogan hanging up. I pointed it out to the other women, who giggled and said they just *pretended* to "revere" it, but it was all bullshit and nobody believed the rules

Then there was this strange, strange part with a little kid. I was in the hallway of conference center where I guess things were happening, when in comes this man and woman with a little kid. The man immediately strikes me as VERY creepy, the woman is quiet, and there's something weird about the toddler. The guy comes in and insists he's got to make presentation. He's holding the kid like he's a bomb and I worry he's got a little suicide vest on him or something. I get nervous and look for somebody to stop this guy. Finally we convince the man to get permission before barging in and making a speech. The woman goes away too -- but they leave the kid. I go up to the kid and look at him. He's about two but he's got some weird birth defects. He's smart though and starts talking to me. He takes off the felt hat he's wearing and shows me he has a pointy head that's all red and bleeding. His skin is really pale and he tells me he has a blood abnormality. I'm like, "Man, call a hospital..."

I don't remember much else from that part, and then it was time to go home. The airport was very odd, very dreamlike. Instead of boarding the planes the normal way using the normal system, it was done like on amusement park rides, where a guy at the gate allows X number of people on at a time. I ended up in a group with Mom and some other people I knew.

We ended up on a big plane. I was seated next to some black woman. People whispered to me that she was a cult leader. Great! We sat in silence for a long time but somehow she began to tell me about her religion. I figured I wouldn't believe it, so why not? So turns out the woman has created some religion that combines bits of Christianity with some kind of "holy sex" thing. She's there talking to me about how sex is a holy act and sperm are angels, eggs are human souls, and "fucking is a sacred act." I'm like, "Whoah, I can't believe you just said fucking..." She goes on and on and I'm pretty incredulous.

Next came the disaster!

We were flying into Atlanta. It's daylight. Things look pretty normal. In fact the plane has a special monitor that let's everybody see the descent from a camera mounted at the front of the plane -- so we see what the pilot sees. It's all fine and we relax, talking and doing other things, but then we notice that we're flying pretty low over a highway. I don't mean we were over a highway, I mean we were flying like 50 feet over the highway. I wasn't ready to panic yet, because I thought it was like landing in Boston, where you fly directly over the Atlantic before landing.

This is where craziness happened! I got distracted talking to the cult leader woman, but then when I looked back at the monitor, I realized were flying ON the highway. At first I thought it was the runway, but then I saw all the cars and trucks. Shit! The pilot comes on the P.A. and I recognize his voice -- it's Lenny, the chef at the French cafe downstairs. Lenny tells us not to worry, it's just a change in plans. (This is like the bus driver last night who went way, way off route to avoid traffic.) So he's flying this 747 or whatever, just like 10 feet about the highway. Cars and trucks are scrambling to get out of the way. We're all hoping he can just land the damn plane and get it over with, but no, he's like a daredevil.

Finally Lenny makes a mistake. He's flying along and managing to get the plane under bridges, highway exist signs, etc. But then there's this gate or something and he wants to fly over it. We can all see it's a little too narrow for the plane to fit through. He tries to go up but there are power lines in the way. So Lenny decides to be stupid and flies through. Predictably, the left wing gets caught and the tip rips off. We're no longer flying, but spinning out on the highway. Lenny tries to keep it under control. We don't explode but we're not stopping either.

And then somehow the entire plane turned into this nifty clear rubber stuff, like toy spiders are made of, and sort of flopped down around us. We could still breathe and the engine worked. Lenny told us it was going to be OK, since the plane was in protective mode.

I think this is where I woke up. WTF?
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x-posted to guinea_pigs:

I went on a "shooting spree" this morning, taking pictures of my piggies. I'm going to post them here in two groups.

This first one is all Abbie.

Snug inside her little cabin

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Stink, Inception

I know everybody wants to know this, so I'll share: Man do I stink today! LOL. I didn't get my normal shower, since Caleb called about brunch before I had time, and then I had 3 pieces of avocado and garlic toast. So I'm all sweat and garlic today.

Meanwhile, been working on Inception, which is a month overdue :( Jeez, another huge edition! I received so many art submissions I had to make a "no more than 6 per artist" rule and table the extra 'til next edition. Which is a good thing! With luck, I'll be done with the edition by late tonight or tomorrow. What a relief it'll be!
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Sunday fun

Another engrossing day, thanks to Caleb! Daniel's out of town right now, up in Charleston, and Caleb's going to be in LA most of this week, so I guess this weekend was our time to have fun! We got together twice today, once for brunch, then for dinner and an extended evening.

Brunch was downstairs at the French cafe. (No, I didn't tell Lenny I dreamed he was a genial but demented airline pilot.) His ex-boss, former city planning commissioner, was there with his wife and son, plus there were a few of my neighbors. As usual, it was very yummy -- we both had yogurt w/fruit, honey and granola, very good coffee and croissants. Caleb had his Italian book and we had fun going over sections of it, quizzing one another. Caleb showed off the fact that for many common words and phrases, he can give the equivalent in six languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian and French). I showed off the fact that, er... my Italian is better than my French? *g*

Afterward Caleb came over and read the paper, watched TV, played with the piggies. We had particular fun with Abbie, who kept running to hide under the newspaper sections :) Caleb eventually left and I got to work on Inception. (Go me!)

By late afternoon I got a call from Caleb saying he'd left the groceries he bought last night in my fridge and if I brought them to his place, he'd make dinner. It was a done deal! He made delicious basil, mozzarella & tomato pasta, served me a glass of German wine, and put on The Day After Tomorrow -- which was WAY better than I expected. I was completely FREAKING at Manhattan being wrecked like that! Afterward we had a bit of fun by watching a few minutes of it with the French dubbing on, then French with Spanish subtitles, etc. Confusing!

Finally we went over Daniel's place at the William-Oliver, to feed his cat Pugsley. We fed and amused him, then watched a few minutes of Leperachaun, which was on some channel and was is... damn disturbing! Me lucky charms! As we were leaving I suggested we go up to the rooftop deck. The building is 18 storeys high with a rooftop club room & kitchen, deck, grills and a large heated jacuzzi. We took out shoes off and put our legs in the jacuzzi. The view was so nice -- whole city sparkling around us. I wish my building had a deck like that. Would be a great place to work with a laptop!

Anyway, now I'm at home and feel pretty energized. Time to do some Inception work again!