Thursday, June 26, 2003

Twenty Questions

Another story from the mouth of a babe

My friends Aaron and Kristi were hanging out one night, with Kristi's 5-year-old daughter, Miranda. They were at Aaron's, teaching Miranda to play her first-ever game of Twenty Questions.

They'd actually given her a lot more than the usual number--I mean, c'mon, it was her first time, and she's five, fer crissakes!

They were on about question number fifty, and had narrowed the item down to the following characteristics: It was in Aaron's living room, and it was small, round, and flat. At this point, her only options are some form of media disc--a CD, DVD, perhaps a game.

Miranda got that look on her face of the light bulb coming on, and said, "I think I know what it is!!" Aaron & Kristi leaned in, each thinking their own version of "finally!" and asked her what she thought it was.

She guessed, to their amazement, "Is it a duck?"

It was, of course, not a duck, as Aaron had no domestic livestock in his home, much less any that is small, round, and flat.

However, I've been sharing this story with everyone I know, because it's just a classic representation of the "I'm sorry, I've clearly been paying no attention to what's going on around me and I don't understand what you're talking about" feeling we all experience once in a while, and it's slipped rather nicely into my lexicon, and that of friends as well.

Feel free to use it amongst yourselves!

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Fremont Solstice Parade

A Tradition of Streaking

This weekend is the annual Fremont Solstice Parade, a grand tradition of Seattle at its hippiest. You can check out the site for parade participation rules, but basically, anyone can participate by dint of becoming a member of the Fremont Arts Council. Floats are made of recycled materials and no motorized vehicles are allowed. It's always a delightful array of brilliant creativity and, often, scathing political commentary.

Sadly, this year I am unable to attend. I have to help move (Boo!) my friend Michelle into her new (Yea!) house.

But since it's coming up this weekend, I decided to take this opportunity to blog my favorite Solstice Parade experience.

One of the grandest traditions within this grand tradition is that of the Naked Bicyclists. Yep, "naked" as in "without clothing". Well, most of them wear shoes, and some pretense of identity protection--maybe sunglasses and a hat--but aside from that, naked. Nude. Skyclad. Bare-assed. In the buff. Buck nekkid.

Each year the police say they're going to crack down on them and try to arrest the cyclists, and each year--thank god--they do not succeed. Or, at least, do not succeed to the level where the naked cycling has been stopped. Yippee!

It is, natch, one of the primary reasons I attend. Not just for the lewd bonus, but that level of exhibitionism is an astounding thing to witness. It's impressive, and most especially when one considers that some of the participants are, well, not! ;-)

But the ridculous controversy is only part of the reason I'm sharing this story, because really, it's just one of those stories that people don't believe when you tell them, and they make you swear it's true. It is. Cross my heart and hope to die.

I was at the parade a few years ago, with my sisters, some friends, and my Dad, who happened to be in town. A couple of us had gone early to stake our space, and we had a good spot along the main route. Next to us was a guy about my Dad's age (mid-60s), staking his space with his lawn chair, and sitting in front of him on a blanket were three little girls, in that oh-I-don't-know-for-sure-but-probably-between-5-and-8 range.

The parade began, and it was, as always, delightful. We had to explain only a few things to my Dad, so that was pretty good.

And then the Naked Bicyclists arrived, to much applause and appreciation. We were in a good spot, as I said, and a couple of them passed right in front of us, within just a few feet. The guy who passed closest to us was wearing nothing but tennis shoes and sunglasses.

My Dad thought it was funny.

One of the little girls next to us turned around to the older guy and exclaimed in horror, "Grandpa! They're not wearing helmets!!"

There you have it, folks. Kids today are unperturbed by the nudity; safety is their Number One concern.

And a post-script, for anyone who might care: There are often lots of exposed breasts as well...

Friday, June 06, 2003

Are you my Friendster?

A couple of months ago, my friend Ben invited me to join, the Kevin Bacon approach to making friends and finding playmates. The idea behind it is a six-degrees-of-separation sort of thing. You join, invite some friends to join, and they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, ad nauseum. The practical upshot is that it's really only four degress of separation, but it's still kind of a neat idea. I'm connected to everyone Ben is connected to, and vice versa, up to four connections. My Friends and the connections of my Friends are my Personal Network, and via the Gallery, I can search for, say, single men 28-40 within 25 miles of Seattle looking to date women. Not that I have. Ever. At all. Really.

Okay, I have, but I haven't done anything with the info.

Some folks are purists, and will only add as friends those they know in the "Real World". Some folks are what's become known as Friendster Whores, collecting friends like they were going out of style, sending pleas of "Add me as your friend!" to the bulletin board, including their email addresses so all & sundry can add them. It got to be so extreme (800+ Friends) that the Friendster Powers That Be killed those accounts.

I'm of two minds on the issue. I can understand the purist standpoint, but for a true broadness of connectivity (and isn't what this whole internet thing is supposed to do? Make the the world a little smaller?), it seems a silly restriction--or, at the very least, one that shouldn't be enforced from the top.

Another unfortunate change that's taken place since I joined is a revision of the Bulletin Board. Used to be back in the day that you could see posts from everyone in your personal network. It was an amazing frenzy when I first joined, and mostly amusing. Got a little old, though, having to reload the page constantly, and there was a spinoff to an AIM chatroom. But then the FPTB changed the board structure, and the fun died. Instead of seeing posts from your entire network, now you can see only posts from those people on your Friends list. Ironic, no? You can see posts only from those people with whom you already have means to communicate.... Yeah, it's as pointless as it sounds. The chatroom is still going periodically, although it's hard to draw in new folks because of the new BB strictures.

To be continued....

Thursday, June 05, 2003

My Best Friend's Birthday

Sunday, June 1st, was my bestest friend Trina's birthday. We gathered together in our favorite local watering hole (read: bar) for drinks and schnacks and presents. Victoria was there, and she is reknowned for her extraordinary powers of gift giving.

Victoria gave Trina a toy submarine. Called the Kursk. Yep, after that Kursk.

We spent many happy moments engaged in gallows humor, sticking it under the bench and refusing offers of international help in getting it out. Trina lives on a boat, and she planned to take it home and weight it down with rocks, bringing it up on Monday, shouting, "Psych!" and then lowering it back down.

I'm so very pleased that I won't be alone during my eternity in hell.