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So, on Saturday, we took our friend Akiva Fox out to lunch, partially to say thank you to him for getting us the tickets, to the Marlowe plays, partially because Mom gave us money to take Akiva out to lunch, and mainly because we wanted to see him.

He's the literary associate for the Shakespeare Theater Company of Washington DC, which is a fantastic job for someone who's only in his twenties. I mean, the pay -- it's a theater job AND an academic job, so you can imagine just how wealthy he is, but it's a job which is winning him the respect of large chunks of both the academic and theater communities, because He's Just That Good. The whole Marlowe symposium that Lis went to -- and, in fact, the whole idea of opening the new theater building of the Shakespeare Theater Company with Marlowe productions -- that's HIS idea and his baby.

So, anyway, Lis and Akiva and I are at lunch, and Lis and Akiva are talking about how they wish someone would just do the legwork and figure out who ELSE was 21 years old and at Corpus Christi College in 1585. See if you can't get a complete list of how many candidates there are, see if you can't find any information about them. See who else might be the subject of the picture that people like to present as the portrait of Marlowe.

I looked at them, and said, "You realize, of course, that the two of you are both as qualified to do this as anyone else on the planet. And, pretty much the other people on the planet who are qualified to do it -- at least one of you is on a first-name basis with all the other people who could."
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I am thankful that, for all the weirdnesses and problems North America has had over its history, we still managed to develop a holiday dedicated to eating a meal with family (chosen and/or biological) and reflecting on reasons to feel gratitude.
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I can lead off by mentioning Lis. Every day I see her and wonder how I managed to be lucky enough to end up with her.

And I am also thankful for all the rest of my friends -- all of you reading this (those of you I know in person, and those of you I know only through LiveJournal, too) -- those of you I've known for years, either online or meatspace, and those of you I've only met, meatspace or online, recently.

I'm thankful for my family. I'm one of a relatively few people I know without any family-conflict issues. Again, I don't know how I lucked out to be born into my family, but I'm thankful for it. That is why our family tends to adopt people into it -- a few of you are my siblings simply because my mother and father adopted you. My parents are like that -- if you have a rocky relationship with your own parents, or if you have a GOOD relationship with your parents, but they're too far away for you to see very often, or if you have a good relationship with your parents and you see them a lot but you want MORE parents, too, my parents will take you in and give you love.

And the rest of my family is similar. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins: everyone in my family is honorable, caring, clever, and decent. I don't know how I lucked out to be born into this family.

And then, Lis's family, too -- I managed to marry one of the only OTHER people I know whose whole family is honorable, caring, clever, and decent. I am as thankful for my in-laws as for the part of the family into which I was born.

I am thankful that we appear to have found a medication which controls my Depression, and is allowing me to restructure my life to be effective and productive. I am thankful that I am now in the process of making that restructuring, and that I feel like I am making some progress toward it.

I am thankful that we have a house, for which we paid a reasonable price, and which allows us to have rental income. I am thankful that we rent to good people who I like having as neighbors -- [livejournal.com profile] marquisedea and her boyfriend Josh upstairs, and [livejournal.com profile] vonbeck downstairs. I am thankful that our house is warm and dry, and comfortable. I am thankful that I have a kitchen in which I can cook, and that we have bookshelves full of books. I am thankful that we have plenty of warm, comfortable, and reasonably-good looking clothing to wear, warm jackets, shoes that keep our feet dry.

I am thankful that we have a washing machine and dryer so we don't have to go to the laundromat -- it makes life a lot easier. I'm thankful that we have a dishwasher. I'm thankful for our standing mixer, our electric kettle, our rice cooker, our Henkel's and Wusthoff knives. I'm thankful for our refrigerator, and our pantry, full of food.
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So, did we make it on time?
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We were going over to visit a friend, Ben ([livejournal.com profile] vonbeck) and I, and Ben was driving. As we were driving over, we were talking about upgrading the main machine gun in his car, by replacing the projectiles with ones with lifting bodies, to give them longer range. They already had guidance fins, so they were extremely accurate at long-range, since they were steerable. But we weren't sure what the lifting body shape would do to armor penetration, so we were considering using discarding sabot penetrators in them.

Anyway, Ben didn't like driving on the roads, so he drove off the side of the elevated highway, plunged ten or twenty stories onto the roof of another building, drove off the building to a lower elevated highway, plunging another five stories, then drove off the edge of THAT highway to a ground level road which was just next to the home we were going to. I told Ben, "This is why your suspension is always shot." But we did save a lot of time.

Anyway, Scooby-Doo and Velma had gotten there before us, and Velma was telling Scooby that he had to break it off with Shaggy's girlfriend. But Scooby argued that Shaggy was totally ignoring her, because he was stoned all the time, and probably didn't even REMEMBER that he had a girlfriend -- certainly, that's how SHE felt about it. Velma said that he had to come clean, because Daphne and Fred were starting to get suspicious that SOMETHING was weird, and it would be better for Scooby to tell Shaggy what was going on, than for Shaggy to hear about it from someone else.

[livejournal.com profile] shanex was there, too.

And soon, [livejournal.com profile] deyo and [livejournal.com profile] mactavish showed up, and Ben showed off the shortcut that he'd taken, what with the driving off the side of the highways, that allowed us to get here before they did. [livejournal.com profile] mactavish didn't want to get sucked into the argument between Scooby and Velma, so she went inside to fix the washing machine that was broken. Unfortunately, although her General Repair skill was perfectly high enough to do this, she didn't have enough points of material to effect the repair. (Your Repair Kit can fix a certain number of hit points of damage, and, once it's used up, it's used up.) She thought, though, that in order to get the washing machine working, she didn't need to fix all the damage, and that really, if she fixed even two or five hit points, it would probably start running.

Now, since you can also loot Spare Parts from broken machinery, and Spare Parts are worth a certain number of Repair Points, just like Repair Kits, we looked around for broken machinery. So we decided to loot the washing machine for Spare Parts, which we'd then use to repair the washing machine, but it didn't work like that -- once you looted a machine, it changed from a Broken [whatever it is] to Junk, which is unrepairable, so that wouldn't work.

We looked around for other things that we could break and then loot, and we ended up smashing a tape measure, which we then looted for Spare Parts worth, like, about two Repair points, which [livejournal.com profile] mactavish used on the washing machine, but it wasn't enough to get the machine working, so we figured we'd have to go out and attack bandits and loot their cars and mecha for spare parts to fix the washing machine, which, frankly, is what we probably should have done in the first place.

Since it was just against bandits, I figured I didn't need to take direct control of the battle, and just sent my lance (that is what we call our team) out to fight the battle without me, which should have worked, but Juanita had turned into a lycanthrope and started attacking our side. We managed to win the battle, but we not only lost Juanita, but, like, two other lance members. Which shouldn't have happened -- really, we shouldn't have even taken a single hit. So I went back to the last save point, and, this time, I answered the door when the door-to-door saleslady came around, and when she tried to bite me, I was able to defeat the were-saleslady, although I eventually had to use my vampire powers to do it. THAT time, the battle went perfectly -- just a couple shots at the bandits' cars, and our lance won, and we managed to loot the cars for Spare Parts worth something like 45 Repair Points each, with which [livejournal.com profile] mactavish was easily able to repair the washing machine.
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For the most part, you shouldn't drink really, really cheap nasty booze, even in mixed drinks. In mixed drinks, you want decent, middlin' booze. And you keep the really, really GOOD stuff for drinking straight. Really, really good stuff shouldn't be mixed.

Bu there are some exceptions to mixing the good stuff. There are a handful of cocktails that you can make with good booze. A martini, for instance -- it's not shameful to take a really good gin and mix some really good vermouth with it.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] fibro_witch, [livejournal.com profile] temima, [livejournal.com profile] vonbeck, and I decided that the mint julep is also in this category. See, the day BEFORE yesterday was Derby Day. So I'd been thinking about juleps. And folks came over yesterday. And I wanted to make mint juleps.

But we didn't have any fair-to-middlin' bourbon. I had Booker's, and Ben had Woodbridge Reserve.

We argued about the proper way to make juleps, of course, and how to best make an approximation, given that we didn't have silver cups or shaved ice. So, naturally, we had to try a few different methods and do taste tests.

In general, what we discovered is that putting crushed mint and sugar in bourbon doesn't drown out the bourbon -- you can still taste the complex flavor profiles -- and it is therefore perfectly reasonable to use good bourbon in mint juleps.

We also discovered that muddling the mint with sugar and bourbon, then adding ice and water and stirring, keeps the color amber and bright, while muddling the mint with water and sugar, and then adding the bourbon and ice, leaves it muddy-looking. Still tastes good, though.
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Lesse. Saturday night, I got to meet [livejournal.com profile] theferrett; Lis's comment to me was, "He's much cuter than his userpic. . ."

We got introduced to Eric Burns, who writes a well-respected column-thingy about webcomics, and his now-fiancee Wednesday White. As you probably already know if you're the kind of person to whom this would be interesting, Mr Burns asked Ms White to marry him with a little help from his friends.

So, when we were introduced, I said, "Congratulations", and then turned to his fiancee, and said "Congratulations" to her, too. And she looked at my badge, and said, "It's nice to finally meet you."

My face went blank. Lis says she WISHES she had a camera. I presume that my jaw dropped. It's one of those things that people use as a cliche, but it actually happens. Basically, you're startled enough that every muscle in your face suddenly relaxes, including the ones holding your mouth closed, except for the muscles which keep your eyes open, which tense, and widen your eyes.

". . . . You're THAT Wednesday??" I finally managed.

See, there was this person I'd known online since, like 1992 or something like that. Someone who I really even considered an online friends. And her name was Wednesday.

I'd, obviously, not emailed her for, well, nearly a decade. Neither of us was still posting in the same Usenet groups. And we'd clearly lost touch. Since that point, y'know, I'd flunked out of school, gotten married, become a bartender, bought a house, and stuff. And, apparently, she's done stuff since that time, too, like, including getting engaged earlier that day.

I love fandom. I love cons, and Arisia.
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Lis and I attended the marriage of [livejournal.com profile] deyo and [livejournal.com profile] mactavish tonight. They had their wedding a while back, but this was their marriage. (There are a number of cases I've seen where the wedding and marriage were separated: someone goes off to war or something, and they get a quick courthouse ceremony before they leave, and then have the big wedding later; this may be the first time I've seen the legal marriage after the wedding, but it's cool, too.)

This is actually the first time I've met Mary, Casey, and Andy in person, and they're pretty much like the comic, except Casey's hair is somewhat less pointy, and Mary claims not to actually have Wolverine claws, but I don't believe her.

Anyway, I figured I'd go embarrass Casey and Andy by posting the drabble they wrote.

[We were discussing the fact that Casey, Andy, and I all want a US Subs Phoenix submarine (price $75,000,000, which I think is a discount, because I remember it being $80,000,000, so if you buy now, you save five million dollars! Then we were discussing that you'd have to have your cats with you, so we were discussing "I want these motherf*cking cats off of my motherf*cking submarine!"]

CASEY: So, someone on my friends list had a poll, with two text boxes you could fill in, for __________ on a ___________. Me being who I am, I suggested Snape's On A Jayne.
ME: Wow. Every female you know would line up to see that movie.
ANDY [In a Adam Baldwin Jayne voice]: I'll be in my bunk.
CASEY: [In an Alan Rickman Snape voice]: I'll be in his bunk.
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So, the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are for dealing with open issues interpersonally.

The biggest part of this is apologizing for things that you've done wrong, and trying to make amends.

But, it's really more general than that, I think. I think it's a time to work on any relationship that is having problems and imbalances.

Right now, I know of one relationship which I have with someone with big, glaring open issues. And it's been open for YEARS. And I'm STILL not figuring out how to fix this and make it work. To you, Kiralee, I say that I'm still not doing well at working towards making things work, but I haven't stopped trying to stumble towards some sort of resolution. I don't know how to fix things, and things are awkward, and I'm sorry about that. And this is not going to be fixed before Yom Kippur. And I'm sorry about that. But I'm going to continue to try to figure out ways to stumble haltingly in the right direction.

That one relationship, I know about. And it's precisely the sort of thing that one is SUPPOSED to work on in these ten days, and I can't. I'm sorry.

There are other relationships which are changing and growing and figuring out their place -- those are fine. As far as I can see, they don't need to be pushed or resolved or anything like that -- if we are becoming friends, or figuring out what kind of friends we are, or anything like that, and you are comfortable with how the relationship is growing, then so am I.

But -- if you and I have some sort of relationship which has a breach, or a roughness, or a disharmony of some sort, these days are a time to try to work on it. If I have hurt you, that is a disharmony, and please tell me, so we can try to figure out a way that we can fix it. If I have insulted you, please tell me, so I can try to apologize.

If I have unhonored commitments to you, remind me of them. That is a disharmony. And if it is not too late to honor them, I can try to. And if it is. . . I can see if there is a way to make amends.

If we have unanswered questions, confusions, or unclearness in our relationship, these days are a chance to clarify them, to define them, to understand them.

So, please. If there is a disharmony in our relationship, let me know. You can comment here, or email me at ian@io.com. If you know me in the flesh, you can talk to me face-to-face, or telephone me. I can't promise that I can fix things. But I'd like to try.
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John M. Ford died early this morning.

He was the beloved of [livejournal.com profile] elisem. And beloved of, well, pretty much everyone else, too.

Um. Some of you on my friends list knew -- and, really, know -- him really well. And some of you have no clue who I'm talking about.
Well, if you've got the INWO card "Evil Geniuses For A Better Tomorrow", he's one of the people on the card.

He wrote the best Star Trek novel ever written, after which Paramount wouldn't let him write any more of 'em (How Much for Just the Planet?). I may be making up that second part, but, if so, I don't care. I'm quite willing to tell amusing lies about him.

He wrote the Discworld GURPS supplement. He wrote several of the really GOOD Paranoia supplements (Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues, Double Paranoia). GURPS Time Travel is his.

He would, at cons, have a thing called "Ask Dr. Mike", where he would answer questions on Evil Geniusery from the audience. Leila, I got advice from him on suggestions for your career -- I said that you were an Evil Genius and were considering a career as a either Criminal Mastermind or a Mad Scientist, and asked for advice on which one you should do.

I really only met him in the flesh a couple times. And I'm going to miss the hell out of him, anyway. I think everyone who ever met him is going to miss the hell out of him. I think a hell of a lot of people who have NEVER met him are going to miss the hell out of him.

All I'm saying is, if you never met him, you really OUGHT to miss the hell out of him. If you have met him, you don't need me to tell you so.
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[livejournal.com profile] vonbeck and I were reminiscing about elementary school this evening -- we've been friends since I was in fourth grade and he was in fifth -- and we recalled that, back then, his nickname was Psycho and mine was Junkyard.

It brings forth an interesting observation: the amount of toughness you need to be one of the toughest kids on a middle-class whitebread suburban elementary school playground is really not a very large amount of toughness. . .
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This one was at Temple Beth Avodah in Newton -- which is a GORGEOUS building -- well, actually, it's a nice building but GORGEOUS grounds. It's also off a maze of twisty little streets, all alike, so I was fifteen minutes late, but it all worked out okay anyway.

I've been working for Bruce Silverlieb for these parties, and I think he's fantastic. The parties all go off without a hitch, everyone has a good time, the staff is competent and totally together, and Bruce feeds us and is an AMAZING cook.

For this one, I was working with another bartender, and we were just serving mimosas, bloody marys, and soft drinks. But the parents of the bat mitzvah were old friends of Bruce's, so he wanted to make sure that everything was absolutely PERFECT.

Not that I've ever been anything less than absolutely perfect while working for him. Um, except for showing up fifteen minutes late today. Oh, and that time that I'm pretty sure that I served a kid with a fake ID. But other than that.

So, we were absolutely perfect. A bunch of people came up to us to compliment us on how nice the bar looked, and how smoothly we were making things run. My general answer to that is, "I know. That's just how good we are."

I got to chat with people during slow points. I talked to the, um, beadle, or maybe Shabbes Goy, or maybe custodian -- I don't know what his title is, but every Temple has one, and the whole place would fall apart without him (they're invariably male). He's from Peru, and looking at him, you can tell -- he looks mostly Peruvian Indian, with a little Hispanic mixed in. I really liked him. He rowed competitively back in Peru, at a yacht club he was a member of, he is planning to spend all day tomorrow swimming, because the place he lives has a pool and, "if you have a weekend like this, you don't waste it -- you know next Sunday is going to be cold, or raining, or something." Smart man.

I was also amused by one of his turns of phrase -- tomorrow, his plans are to get up early, "go and drop off my sins, and spend the rest of the day in the pool, before I go to work in the evening."

Isn't that a great phrase? I mean, it almost made me want to be Catholic for a second -- you can go and drop off your sins, like you take the garbage to the dump, and then, once the chore of emptying out all the ick in your soul is done, you can spend the rest of the day swimming. It's like, y'know, a maintenance chore -- one of those things that you have to do every week or so, so that your soul doesn't become stinky and attract flies and stuff.

I bet it works, too.

I also spent a few minutes chatting with a woman who works for an ambulance service, as a driver. I don't think she's a paramedic -- what she does is pick up and drive around people who are in wheelchairs. She was cool, too. She was going to spend tomorrow fishing with her father.

Um, I guess that's the most interesting folks I talked to, and now we're going to go off to [livejournal.com profile] roozle and [livejournal.com profile] sunspiral's beginning of summer party.
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Met [livejournal.com profile] shadesong for the first time. And a whole bunch of other people whose LJ names I don't remember, although I do, more-or-less, remember their meat-names.

Discovered that the Rte. 1 miniature golf course was closed because of the rain, which was disappointing, because it looks like a really cool course.

Went bowling instead, with the aforementioned folks, and had a great time. It was the first time I'd ever bowled ten-pin --I bowled candlepin a few times when I was a kid, and enjoyed it, but haven't in decades.

Bowling is a whole lot of fun. I had a great time. I want to go bowling more often. And if I get reasonably good at ten-pin, I wanna switch up to candlepin. Because it's such a fun sport, at least when you're with a group of people who are just having fun and not worrying about if you're doing really well or not.

Then I tended bar for Reunion Week at Boston College. There were five bartenders at the event I worked, the Class of 1976. It was a WHOLE lot of fun -- all five of us were more-or-less in the weeds from 7 pm to 11:30 pm, and people were tipping. We pooled tips, and all five of us walked out of there with an extra $120. That's the second-best one-shift tip total I've EVER made.

And today was the last day of Hebrew school. Each class put together a little something to show what we've learned. My class put together a play. Although there were roles for all the kids in the class, Sam didn't show up, so Max ended up taking both the role of Narrator 2 and Narrator 3. (I always do that -- write roles for everyone, with some roles collapsible in case some people don't show up.)
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So, we had a seder at our house.

I've got to say, we had a WONDERFUL group of people. I had such a great time, because we had such wonderful guests.

The seder was very simple -- we led out of the Maxwell House haggadah, with occasional snippets from other haggadot. The plan was to start at 7 and finish at 10; we actually started closer to 7:30 and went until 11:30. Which, for Jews, is pretty good.

We would have gone later if people didn't have to do things like sleep and go to work in the morning and stuff like that. I would have loved to keep that whole group of people at our house until 4 in the morning hanging out and singing songs and stuff. But I think several of them would have had their eyeballs explode from lack of sleep if we'd done that. And that would have been bad.

We rushed the post-eating part of the seder, as is all-but traditional, but we actually managed to DO it. Okay, so we did Birkat through Nirtzah in about five minutes flat -- but we DID it.

The food was pretty good. I SUCK at timing things, ("Well, Lis said that the roast would take about three hours, so I should put it in at about five. I put it in at three, to cook for five hours.") but the roast turned out fine, anyway -- I cooked it by thermometer, and turned the oven down to keep-warm once it was to temp. And I guess I didn't dry it out too much, since juices were SQUIRTING out of it when it was cut.

Here's what went wrong with the cooking:
1. With the chicken soup, I used white pepper instead of black pepper. I discovered that I don't like white pepper.
2. I forgot to make soup carrots.
3. The matzah balls were tough enough to require knife and fork to cut -- I don't actually know HOW I made them that dense, but they had a measurable gravitational field.
4. I screwed up the timing on the veal roast. However, I don't know if I can really count this one as a problem, since the roast came out fine, anyway.
5. Again, because of timing, the spinach pie was VERY dried-out.
6. The torte I made for dessert was kind of lopsided and looked weird.

Here's what went right with the cooking:
1. Everything else.

There were a few dishes I'd intended to make but didn't get around to -- sauteed green peppers and garlic, a stuffing for the turkey. But given that we (as anticipated) have more than 50% leftovers (this is deliberate: the plan was to cook for the seder and not have to cook again for the rest of the week), I don't suppose that anyone went TOO hungry.
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Lis and I, having had two people mention that they were looking for seders, have decided that, what the heck, we're gonna have a seder this year, for first night.

So, who needs a first night seder? Replies are screened, so that you can reply without anyone having to know that you're still looking for a spot.

We've got service for eight, there are two of us, two people have already asked, and [livejournal.com profile] vonbeck automatically gets a spot if he wants it, 'cause he shares the dining room with us. So, is there anyone else who's looking?

It's gonna be a) fleish, and b) pretty simple -- a Maxwell House seder, if that makes sense -- bog-standard, real simple.

If you need a place,

1) any dietary restrictions I should know about? (It will be kosher.) Vegetarian is going to be difficult to accommodate, because it will be a meat meal; gluten-free will be tough, too, but I may be willing to give it a shot. (Low-gluten matzah exists, and is AWFUL. It's oat-based. And it doesn't hold together very well, because it's low gluten.) But I'm willing to make the attempt.

2) What time could you be to our house? We're in Melrose; there's a commuter rail station right down the hill from us; the closest T stop is Oak Grove, two and a half miles from our house -- it's walkable, but there are also a couple buses that go from there to pretty much in front of our house. Normally, I'd offer to pick people up at Oak Grove, and I can certainly drive people back, but I'm gonna be busy in the "before" part.

3) What time would you need the seder to be over? It's a Wednesday night, and not everyone can take Thursday off. And, anyway, some people turn into pumpkins at 9 or 10 at night or whatever.

4) Do you have cat allergies? The cat normally doesn't go downstairs much, but she IS allowed to. And if you come upstairs, where I'm going to be cooking, and where the bathroom is, there's cat dander.

5) Wanna come over early and help me cook/set table/whatever else?

Edited to Add: One important caveat. Lis's grandmother is very sick. There is a non-zero chance that she will die right before Pesach. If this happens, the whole thing is off as we are going to go out to Chicago for the funeral.
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Lis and I blew off my cousin [livejournal.com profile] kyshwn's birthday party tonight, because we were just too wiped. We managed to get to [livejournal.com profile] roozle and [livejournal.com profile] sunspiral's party in the afternoon, though, which was good.

The stupid thing is, right now, I'm hungry, and I want GOOD food, and I don't want to cook, and I know I could just go a third of a mile over to their house to the party which is going to have good food and good people. . . but I don't wanna leave the house. Even though I want to see folks. And I want to eat food their food. It's the Hot Foods Party, which is one of those times during the year where everybody makes their best show-off potluck dishes, and it's fantastic. But I'm too wiped to head out.

I met [livejournal.com profile] sinboy for the first time in person at the party, which was fun, since we've known each other for several years online. [livejournal.com profile] rosefox was going to be in Boston, and dragged him along, because, y'know, hot foods. Which is a good reason. [livejournal.com profile] mzkero was there, and I haven't see her in YEARS -- I mean, this is the first time I met her son.

I dragged [livejournal.com profile] vonbeck with us, because he just moved into our downstairs apartment, you know, where [livejournal.com profile] any_contingency used to live. For that matter, [livejournal.com profile] any_contingency was there, and a bunch of our old co-workers from the Harvard Club were going to be there, who I haven't seen since I got fired. They are probably there right now, and it would be great to see them, but, again, tired.

I also dragged another friend with us, and she has an LJ name, too, but she tries to keep her online presence totally separate from her real life, so I'll let her decide whether to decloak and mention who she is on LJ.

[livejournal.com profile] tigerbright, [livejournal.com profile] teddywolf, and [livejournal.com profile] browngirl were walking in as we were leaving, which would be another reason to go back. Although, given that they were traveling with a Small Human themselves, there is a strong possibility that they've already gone home.

Anyway, in conclusion, I am feeling so incredibly lazy that I am giving up an opportunity to track down really, really top-notch free food eaten in the company of hundreds of my favorite people.
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So, I'm babysitting the tigerwolf cub today, and he's now sleeping comfortably in his crib as I type this.

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] jehanna came by to sleep over, as she's got a job interview today. And she was reading, and I was reading, and Lis was logged in, and we were all three of us sitting on the bed, just, y'know, not doing anything in particular except reading, and the cat came up on the bed and curled up among us.

And, well, that's the right thing to do on a cold winter night. Have a whole bunch of friends, of the two and four legged variety, just all sit together, reading, or knitting, or computing, or whatever, in the warmest room of the house.
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Yesterday was one of those days when I just woke up depressed and unable to do anything. The fact that the cat had pissed on the bed Friday night didn't help -- I'd spent Friday night sleeping on the floor in the first floor bedroom, which is carpeted. Reasonably comfortable, all things considered, but still, not a bed. Anyway, I had tons of chores to do, and they all seemed overwhelming. I needed to buy stuff to de-smoke the bookcases. I needed to de-pissify the bed. I needed to do class prep for Sunday morning. And I couldn't even find my car keys.

I sprinkled de-pissifying baking soda on the mattress, let it sit, and started to vacuum it up. And the vacuum cleaner a splode. All over the mattress and floor.

This sucked. Very, very badly.

Enter [livejournal.com profile] vonbeck to the rescue. He called and asked if I wanted to go out and see the new Zorro movie.

I thought for about an eighth of a second, and realized, "I'm depressed, I'm stuck, and I'm not getting anything useful done. Seeing a friend, and a fun movie, can only help." Besides, it gave me a reason to shower and get dressed. Which is useful for depression.

So, Ben came over, and we caught a 3:40 movie.
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Lis asked that I do a better job of blogging the minutiae of my life while she's in North Carolina, so that she can keep up with stuff while she's away.
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So, it was a wedding. [livejournal.com profile] not_the_angel, who's been a friend of mine since third grade, told me that two friends of his were getting married and needed a bartender. I contacted them, and they said that they would be providing all the liquor and mixers and stuff (making this as easy a job as a bartending gig can be), and that it would be for about four or six hours, and they'd pay a hundred bucks for it.

Better than sixteen bucks an hour is quite a nice rate for tending bar. Heck, if you count the three hours round trip driving (it was on the Cape), and subtract the cost of the gas I needed to burn, it's STILL over nine bucks an hour.

When I got to the campground/function area that they'd rented for the wedding, I found where the wedding was going on, and I kind of peeked over from a ledge overlooking the open area where the wedding was being held, and I saw, among other guests, [livejournal.com profile] lagaz. So that was cool.

In general, the people there were basically My Kind Of People. It was a reception that I would have enjoyed just being at, so being there and being PAID at the same time was even better. Okay, some of the music sucked, because people who appeared to be teenybopper cousins or siblings of the bride and groom got some requests in, but most of the music was very good (if loud -- the bar was set up RIGHT next to the speakers, and I forgot my earplugs. Fortunately, the guy Lagaz was with had a pair he could give me.)

Okay, so, all that, right there, would have probably been enough to make this a really great bartending gig.

But, see -- when I tend bar for a function, I don't consider tips. I consider my services to be part of the entertainment and hosting provided by the hosts -- I'm hired help, and I'm hired by the people hosting the wedding. It's one of the reasons I'm uncomfortable with cash bars at weddings -- I feel that I'm hired by the hosts to be their surrogate, and therefore, if I'm charging for drinks, it's my hospitality failure. So I don't put out a tip jar.

However, many people do want to tip anyway, and I don't have a problem with that. If someone asks me, my general answer is, "Oh, I don't put out a tip jar -- I'm being paid well enough for this. Still, if you want to throw money at me, I'm not going to complain." For me to put out a tip jar would be, I feel, a breach of my role as surrogate host, but since I am hired help, there isn't a problem for me to accept tips. It's a subtle thing, I guess.

That wasn't good enough for these folks. Some of the family decided to set out a bowl for tips for me.

That's cool. If I set up a tip jar, then I'm implying that I'm not being paid well enough. If they do it, then it's not a sign of ingratitude from me.

And, well, it turns out that [livejournal.com profile] not_the_angel's friends are really good tippers.

I made $190 in tips in five hours.

So, to summarize: I got to see two dear friends (I accidentally typed "dear fiends", which is also accurate) who I don't see anywhere near often enough. I got to be at a wedding, which is always a good thing. I got to listen to good music (and dance once). I got dinner out of the gig. And I got $290 for one evening's work.

Just a disclaimer for those considering bartending as a career: this isn't typical. There are places, clubs, busy bars, and so forth where you can regularly make that kind of dough -- but a relatively small and intimate wedding isn't normally one of them.

September 2017

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