Thursday, January 31, 2008

Miscellaneous Annecdotes

My friend B had his birthday last Friday. Being a good friend and a fan of partying, I naturally accompanied him on an evening out to celebrate. It was intended to be a pretty laid-back evening: we went to a local lounge, and we were just going to hang out, have a few drinks, and chat for the evening. And that's how it started out. Met some neat people, had a ridiculously overpriced bottle of Arrogant Bastard (boo for LA beer prices!), and caught up with my friends.

And then the DJ started setting up. Cool! Music is good. He starts playing some standard (I assume) house music (my friend J, a tiny little white girl is ecstatic about the Snoop Dog and west coast rap). At which point two Indian guys get out in the middle of the lounge and start dancing -- and they're good! Really good. It's impressive. I'm used to women being the ones who are into dancing at clubs, and men just sort of gamely shuffling along to the music. But these guys are going all out, and it's great.

The DJ starts mixing in some Hindi dance beats with the music, which is pretty cool -- it's a neat fusion. At some point, it stops being a fusion, though, and he just flat out starts playing Hindi dance tunes. And the dance floor goes wild. Apparently, we had unwittingly crashed an Indian dance party.

Which, of course, is awesome. We all had a blast. I danced a bit (!), but was more than a little bit outclassed. I don't think I've ever been anywhere before where an evening out would unexpectedly develop this way, which is just one reason I love living in such a deliciously multi-cultural city.

I also love Venice. For those unfamiliar (and unwilling to follow that last link), Venice is an eccentric district of LA, about two miles south of where I live. I go there a lot on the weekends, since it's an easy bikeride and a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. It's full of all sorts of wonderful alternaculture, which I've been missing more than a little bit since I left Eugene. It's just nice to find a place where people dress weird and participate in strange hobbies for no damn good reason. Hell, I was ecstatic to come across an impromptu 200-person on the beach last week -- and I hate drum circles!

Also, every Sunday night, there's rollerdancing. Someone sets up a sounds system in the roller park, and several people (some of them very good) dance on rollerblades. For no real reason, so far as I can tell (although some of them are working on routines). I'm enthralled.


Monday, January 21, 2008


Occasionally, there's a weekend where I don't have much to do and I spend a day at home. I wake up late, spend the morning in my pajamas before taking a shower sometime early in the afternoon, and eat a late breakfast. I do some homework, or maybe go for a short bikeride. I'll think about calling a friend and seeing if they want to do something that evening, but usually decide that I'm happy to have the time to catch up on doing things by myself. Sometimes I read.

Every day this happens, there's a brief moment where I look around me and realize that the sun has gone down. And then I realize that it's no longer afternoon, that evening has started, and the day is starting to come to a close. And every time this happens, I suffer a short, profound feeling of loneliness and loss; a feeling that the day has been needlessly wasted and is forever gone.

And then something catches my attention, and I forget, and it's evening, and everything's fine.

Friday, January 18, 2008


My mother, correcting my grammar: "It's 'who killed whom', Joseph, not 'who killed who'".

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Les vacances

My first Christmas in the US since I was but a wee three months old! How exciting! But I never want to hear another Christmas jingle again in my life. Ever. Good lord.

As per family standards, we didn't do much in the way of decoration or, really, celebration. In lieu of a tree, this year we had a Christmas Samovar, topped by the traditional Imam of the Season. Truly, a wondrous and inspiring symbol of the sacrifices made for us by our Lord and Savior.

Other stuff. My 10-mile, daily bike commute, aside from being the most convenient way to commute to campus, has had the nice beneficial effect of my becoming much fitter and losing a fair amount of weight. Hooray! It has also had the effect of reducing my alcohol tolerance to mortal levels and vastly increasing my propensity to hangovers. Boo! Being a good and diligent scientist, though, I had to perform several experiments before accepting that conclusion. It seems as though my only course of action now is to perform extensive experiments to determine exactly what my new levels must be.

On a more serious note, it's been really amazing to realize as I grow up how much more solid my friendships have become. There were so many times when, as a kid, I would meet up with friends I hadn't seen in a while (sometimes only over summer break), and whatever it was that brought us together as friends just wasn't there anymore. It's been amazing (and gratifying!) to realize that none of my friendships are like that anymore. I've met up with friends that I haven't seen for a while, sometimes for years, and it's like we've barely been apart. Maybe it's just because I'm more solidified as a person now, and there's less of me that changes, or I've just gotten better about picking my friends as I grow up. Regardless, I love all you guys. You rock.

Also, holy crap! Moose!