December 15th, 2011

Flavored Calories.

Quick food

Monday, 3/30/1998. Hermiston, Oregon. Late. Driving, after work. I needed to eat quickly. I'd gone to a store and bought various snack food. In the car, I grabbed a bag of lunch meat, opened the bag, and ate it straight from the bag.

I've tried not to be that desperate to get calories ever again.
Blow My Mind

A Slip of Memory

Oh, so that happened then...

Going through my old day planners so I can recycle and otherwise throw out unneeded paper has meant that I'm getting reminded of when I did stuff. And memory? You're slippery.

Plenty of times when I lived in Hermiston, Oregon, 190 miles east of Portland, I'd go into Portland. I had family and things I wanted to do there. (This is still true in 2011, but both are easier to reach because I'm here.) Turns out one relatively early such trip -- just to do stuff, not going back for a holiday or a major event -- was in April 1998. My big goal, which I accomplished, was seeing Brazil in a movie theater for the first time. It wasn't a big screen, it was the Clinton Street Theater, not too far from where I live now. (It's also a theater I now generally avoid, as I have issues with the place, issues I didn't have in April 1998 so I won't detail them here.)

That may have been my first time in one of Portland's smaller movie theaters: I didn't go to the Bagdad until March 2000 (when I nearly screwed myself out of ever being able to go back to the Bagdad, and boy am I glad I got myself unscrewed, but again, digression); I don't think the Laurelhurst was open at the time (it became a theater-pub in, if I read this correctly, 1999 or 2000); and I didn't first go to Cinema 21 until the first weekend of 1999, when I saw Gods and Monsters there. I liked that a movie theater could be on a human scale, in a neighborhood, within sight of homes. Had I lived in the Thirties, Forties, Fifties, or Sixties, this wouldn't have been surprising, but I'm a product of my time. And I probably would've been a lousy fit in those eras, too.

But here's the thing. I knew I'd gone from Hermiston to Portland one time to see Brazil, but I'd gotten to thinking that I'd done that in early 2000, not spring '98. My memory that I'd seen the film in 2000 was very clear. It was also wrong. I have notes to tell me. And now I have this blog entry to remind me.

There's a quote Harlan Ellison likes, from Olin Miller: "Of all liars, the smoothest and most convincing is memory." (Miller supposedly also said "Writing is the single hardest way to make a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators.") I really, really want to be sure my memory keeps up with me. It's a legitimate worry; I'm at some risk for dementia. I've had at least two family members who've had it. All of this writing is a needed way to keep notes. I've been looking back at a lot of such things lately: I dug out my printout of the personal journal I was keeping on a laptop computer in 1993 and 1994, and I've been dipping into that. It includes stuff I wrote when living through my bout with chicken pox, which I got as a college freshman. Oy. Photos from that time don't exist, thank goodness, but some of my thoughts do. So my 18-years-older self (whoa) can double-check and say "Oh, so that happened then..."

P.S. Guess what? I've thought about this before. (You'll like that link. A Queen video's in it.)
Me 3

A smart-aleck is me, May 2001 Edition

Grandma Jean -- born Jean McConaghy, and temperamentally kind of the Leonard "Bones" McCoy of the family, not to mention possessing a pain tolerance that a wrestler would admire -- passed away in January 2004. Before that, the first big hit to Grandma Jean's health was a stroke that hit her in May 2001. Many of us in the family, including me, got together to be there for her, Grandpa Irv, and each other.

I saw Grandma Jean the next day, Tuesday, May 29th, 2001. Written in my day planner after I saw her: "She looks even smaller than she is." She'd seemed to shrink. That was part of what scared me about her stroke.

And I dealt with the scare by joking. Maybe with Grandma; but I know I joked other times because I wrote them down. When Shirley, the discharge specialist, suggested ways to get Grandma to a rehab center, I added "And there's always FedEx." Shirley chuckled, at least.

I hope I joked with Grandma Jean too, when I could.
Good Omens

An abandoned, never-finished Chinese amusement park

NCC-1701 Nebula 2

Notes from work, Nov. 16th, 2001

What follows are notes from the period starting in February 2001 and ending in January 2004 when I was a customer service representative (CSR) at a Portland call center, adding minutes to AT&T long-distance phone cards.

People today:

  • An Army man based in Greenland.
  • A woman from Hines, Oregon [where my family members Uncle Bill Weare, Aunt Nancy Weare, and their sons Walter and Neil had once lived] -- "small town, we all know each other" -- who remembered Uncle Bill!
  • A woman stuck in Atlanta's Hartsfield because of a security breach and an evacuation. [I shared with her the line "If you're going to Hell, you'll have to change planes in Atlanta." She did laugh.]
  • A woman worked up over [technical] delays, and who I got on the phone twice. She remembered me, too. Annoyed and annoying: asks for an explanation, then doesn't let you give it. "You are avoiding my question!" she said.
  • Another CSR yesterday had an irate customer, mad about something, demanding to know where she was and (apparently) claiming she was lying, and that she'd go to... well, I heard the CSR say "Ma'am, I am NOT going to jail!"

    And you can't even blame a full moon for this. It's now.
  • Flavored Calories.

    Poetry from the depths of my day planners

    And this time it's, um, body-related:

    Untitled -- Sept. 6th, 2001

    Beguiling bile buoys up through your bod
    Burning, bilious belches that ravage your throat
    Bubbling inside where bubbling doesn't belong
    -- Your body turned against itself.
    Stress eats you. Ulcers open new holes
    In what should be a perfect design
    To ingest and digest and divest from your bum
    And get energy by methods benign.

    © Christopher Walsh, 2001. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christopher Walsh (chris_walsh) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
    Oregon Coast 1

    My town, my people

    Me getting my hair cut by Gina, a stylist in a Hawthorne Blvd. barber shop, June 7th 2001. We got on the subject of hair color.

    Gina: My son's a dishwater blonde now. But before that, his hair was so light it was almost clear.

    Me: Clear hair.

    Gina: Clear hair. You'd have to somehow suck the pigment out without hurting the structure. That's impossible.

    Me: But it would look cool.

    Gina: Yeah, it would. [pause] OK, now we've said it, someone will do it.

    Me: That's a very science-fictional thought you had.

    Gina: Yeah. I think kind of sci-fi.