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Catching Up
April 25, 2001


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April 24, 2001
As you can see from the different site-work, we're working on updating things all over the ol' Annotations site. The work we do here on the journal is just part of that. That being said, I'm working on updating considerably more often -- every day right for the moment, with perhaps a three day a week schedule to follow. At the same time, the work I do on the journal is work I'm not doing elsewhere on the site, so the easiest thing to do is link to the Annotations Home Page and check out what's new. I'll mention on there whenever a journal entry goes up, along with everything else.

Of course, in addition to the official 'dated' page of the journal, I'll also always have the current page at http://www.annotations.com/journal/current.html for easy reference. So, linking or subscribing to that should give you my latest "life ramblings" on any given day.

So far, people like the look of the site -- especially it's 'slender' appearance. I like nice, clean sites that are easy to read, Lynx friendly and not too overly complicated. Which, as you can guess, fits this site to a T. By adding some additional color, I'm hoping to add to the site's overall visual appeal without making it any harder to read (which is why the text itself is on white.)

It's odd. The journals I always read are themselves a dying breed. We're all getting new lives, it seems. Some are resurrected, usually as weblogs (which you could make a case that I've done myself), but for the most part they're fading away. Sometimes, it happens for a reason. Bill both had a bad automotive (well, scooter) accident (which was my excuse too, recall) and is getting married. Sara moved to New York City (her old stomping grounds) and got buried with life. Gary shut down his journal because he ran out of things to say, started a weblog, and also got engaged. John put a bullet in his journal's brain and then also started a weblog. Kate retired the field entirely. And so on and so on....

Weblogging is fine, don't get me wrong. But a weblog isn't a journal. Well, usually. Usually, a weblog is more immediate, and far more likely to follow the "hey, I think this is cool" school of posting. It really is a log, in that it's a place you can swiftly annotate the course corrections of life. A journal takes something more... consistent, I think. The best of the weblogs I read is Robotgirl's, and she doesn't update often any more.

I wonder why I'm ramping this back up, when my homies are drifting away. Maybe because it's April, and April is when this started. When many things started for me. My anniversary date at the Academy is in April, for instance, and I've reached a point where I can separate my life between "before I worked at Brewster Academy" and "the rest."

One interesting thing -- a good number of folks read the site yesterday, so I assume my long absence hasn't destroyed my reader-base. That's a good thing, but one I can't count on. I figure I'd better become very consistent for quite a while if I want the hit-count going up.


On the following lines, you'll see an entry I wrote while recently in Ithaca, New York for yet another wedding. Enjoy!

29 March 2001 - 2:14 PM
The Moosewood Restaurant
Ithaca, New York

I am in Ithaca for the wedding of an old friend, Kevin Pelletier, who first introduced me to Relay on BITNET, which in turn introduced me to Frank, Karen, Christy, Rebecca, Bill, John (B.), John (G.) and everyone else who used to populate the Pink Iguana Tavern on Channel 125 of Relay, best known for Wednesday night revels. This predated IRC, chatservers, chatrooms, AOL Instant Messangers and Heaven knows what else, and ended up being the place where we all connected.

Kevin also introduced me to the CSSERVE bulletin board system on the CSNOTICE disk on the University of Maine's VM/CMS mainframe, which in turn introduced me to SFSTORY and Superguy, which indirectly introduced me to Gary, Bill (P.), Bill (D., for the second time), Evan, John (B., again), Dominic, Mason, Chris (A.), Jon (R.), Jon (L.), Amy, Phil, Ben, Rob, Matt, Kate, Russ and all the other folks who populate my writing and free time lives.

Kevin was therefore responsible for my moving to Ithaca, my later moving to Seattle, and in most significant ways the course of my life. I returned the favor by being responsible for his moving to Syracuse and later Ithaca himself. So, he asked me to come back to Ithaca to be the best man at his wedding -- on the theory that without me, there wouldn't be a wedding to begin with.

So, apparently it's my fault. I can cope with this.

So here I am, and I'm in the odd situation of being back in a city I loved -- in every way the city of my youth, where love and passion and idiocy and ridiculousness and folly and theater and poverty combined to form my life, along with occasional alcoholic binges and common bagel eating. To avoid some bad weather, I drove up yesterday, meaning I really don't have much to do today. Which is perfectly fine with me. It gives me a chance to see the city on my own for a bit, without Frank (who is my best friend and brother, and who I am going to spend huge amounts of time with over the weekend, which is the important thing) and without itinerary.

In that spirit, I am here at the most famous restaurant in Ithaca -- a true cultural icon -- the Moosewood Restaurant.

I have never been here before. Despite years of living in Ithaca, of referring to the Moosewood, of seeing its world famous cookbooks in bookstores all over the United States displayed prominently, and even writing about it in stories, I have never actually eaten at the Moosewood Restaurant.

When I asked Frank, he admitted he'd never eaten there either. When I said that was strange, he said "yeah, but I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Philadelphia, and didn't see the Liberty Bell until the week I moved away." And his point is valid -- you don't feel pressure to go to the cultural icons of a city you live in.

But I don't live here any more, so I felt it was time to come.

The Moosewood Restaurant is a Vegetarian Restaurant, famous because its founder wrote a cookbook that made the New York Times Bestseller list, before she left, leaving the Moosewood in the hands of the Moosewood Collective. The Collective has released several bestselling cookbooks since. I came in about 2. There was a full coffee bar and lots of tables here, laid out in a café. There's also a couple of couches for sitting. This may be the most famous restaurant in Ithaca, but it's meant to be a place for hanging and chatting. A sign told me to proceed to the rear of the cafe, where I could wait to be seated in the restaurant. I did so, waiting a couple of minutes before a relaxed man with a beard walked up and said "oh, we've stopped serving lunch. If you want to have a light lunch, please sit anywhere in the cafe and someone will serve you."

So, I did this, sitting a few tables off the coffee bar. A man walked over and said, cheerfully, "what can I do for you?"

"Could I see a menu?" I asked.

"Oh -- you're here for the light lunch?"

"Yup."

"Well, I'll ask you to sit on that side of the café. That's where we serve food. 'kay? And it'll be a minute -- we haven't made up the menu yet.", I moved to the other side of the room, watching three or four members of the collective running through. The uniform seems to be black shirts (tee shirts okay), black aprons, and generally khaki pants. But it varies -- a girl in blue jeans just walked past, in fact.

They handed me the freshly written menu, and I ordered a cup of tomato garlic soup and an Eggplant entree that promised to be savory, served over coos-coos. I also ordered a coffee drink (double lattˇ with a shot of vanilla) only to be told the machine was broken. I ordered English Breakfast tea -- with some trepidation, as so few know how to brew tea in American restaurants and I'm a horrible tea snob -- and waited, wondering if the hype had gone to the collective's collective heads.

I shouldn't have worried. The soup was excellent -- a perfect blend of tomatoes and spices. The eggplant was among the best I've had. And for dessert I had a slice of flaxseed banana peach bread which still sits next to me, perfect for what it is. And they knew how to brew the tea, which also is good.

Had I known they could brew tea, I'd have been here a lot when I lived here.

So now, I'm going to read for a while (I'm buried in A Liar's Autobiography by Graham Chapman, ordered from amazon.co.uk as it's out of print in the United States, and yes I'm glad for that service). I'll let the food and tea warm me before I go wander the Ithaca Commons for a while, and soak myself in memories of a youth increasingly left behind me.

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