Monday, January 26, 2009

Rock Band

Our friend Christine had a birthday party Saturday night, so we went. There were 9 people total, and we spent a significant part of the evening playing Rock Band 2 on (I'm guessing) their PS3. (It might have been the Wii. They have everything.) And it was...awesome. I've never played Rock Band before and I just had a fabulous time.

The way the game works is that you and up to three of your friends play fake plastic instruments or sing into a microphone. (You can do one each of guitar, bass, vocals, and drums.) There is a huge list of real songs, such that almost anyone would know many of them. When you choose a song to play, each person gets to choose a difficulty level for their own effort, and then the song starts. Each instrument gets a track that shows what notes to play when - shown in a style similar to how Dance Dance Revolution or a similar game shows it. The vocalist gets lyrics and a line representing the pitch, and when you sing it shows a little arrow showing where your pitch is, so you can adjust if desired.

For the instruments, how many keys are involved and how complicated and fast the passages are is determined by what difficulty level you choose (easy, medium, hard, expert). For the vocals, all that changes is how strictly you are graded.

I got to sing a fair amount, and found that singing songs that I've sung many many times in the car went very well. I think I got 99% on Expert on Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up In Blue" and a similarly high score on songs by Blondie and Fleetwood Mac.

In a funny moment late in the evening, I chose to sing "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden (since I know it and have enjoyed dancing to it a couple of times over the decades), and was then shocked to find out how nonsensical the lyrics are. (You don't get to see all of the lyrics at one time - you pretty much just sing whatever comes up on the screen - so it can be a bit of a surprise. Snakes? What?)

So, the singing part is like karaoke, I guess, which I've never tried. I also played guitar a couple of times, and bass (same plastic instrument) a whole bunch of times. Once I got decent at handling the necessary keys for the medium level of difficulty, I started to get into the rhythms and really understand what I was playing on a broader level. (I guess I mean I was playing phrases and not just individual notes.)

One nice thing you might not expect is that the music for the songs is the real music from the real recordings, so it's not like a cheesy elevator-music version or anything. And, while you can hear yourself play well or make mistakes, you can still hear the whole song even if all of your bandmates suck. I'm not sure how they integrate that, but mostly it does just work.

Anyway, I thought it was just about the funnest thing ever, and I may have to buy it. Fortunately I already own a PS2, and there is a PS2 version, so I would not have to buy an entire game console in order to play this one game. Buying the game, guitars, microphone, drums, etc., is bad enough.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Classes

Since my new classes started yesterday, here is a brief overview.

Higher Geometry II

This course covers affine and projective geometry. Last night we went over groups, abelian groups, and fields, which are abstract algebra concepts. (A field, which is the highest level of this particular hierarchy, is something like the real numbers - a set with two operators comparable to addition and multiplication, with associativity, commutativity, distributivity, identities, and reciprocals.) The prof (a grad student) told us not to worry if we felt like we were drinking from a firehose. He called this "Abstract Algebra in an hour."

15% of our class grade will be based on problems that we individually present in class, 15% on problems that we turn in, 25% on a paper that we have to write (15% for the paper, 10% for a presentation based on the paper), and the remainder on the three exams (no cumulative final). For the exams, we have a choice of take-home (several new problems) or oral (problems from the book or handed out in class), and we have to choose an oral exam for at least one of them.

Oral exams and all of the presentations are graded as Perfect (100%), Good (95%), Fair (75%), or Poor (35%). He suggested that he will not be very harsh with the grading and if you do a decent job you will probably get the 95%.

Principles of Programming Languages

This is an upper-division CS course, pretty standard at most schools, that discusses the different paradigms of programming languages, their features, and something about their implementation. The professor was funny and charming.

There will be 7 coding assignments that will take about 2 weeks each. These are graded pass/fail, and at the deadline we must have turned in a "serious effort." He'll give it back and if he requests additional work or fixes on it, we have a week to turn it back in with the fixes. These coding assignments are worth 7 points each for the total course grade. The remainder of the points come from 3 exams (again no cumulative final) that are worth 17 points each.

Apparently the professor used to let people turn in their assignments whenever, but he discovered (unsurprisingly) that this just encouraged students to prioritize classes that did have deadlines. So now, barring "both of your grandparents dying in a horrible blimp accident [and if anyone's grandparents have died in a horrible blimp accident I'm sorry, didn't mean to be insensitive]" he'll only accept one assignment up to a week late per student.

There is no textbook for this class. He's used several, including (many times) the most popular one, by Sebesta, but he finds that he uses them mostly to make fun of how bad and wrong they are. Also, he said that for us having a textbook just means thinking, "Oh, there's this thing I should be reading, but I don't." And that sounds about right; I haven't actually read a CS textbook yet. He plans to attempt to produce whatever materials he wants us to read, which will be necessarily brief given that he has to produce them.

It's going to be a fun but difficult, I think, semester.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rocks and Sand

When I was in middle school, I saw a demonstration by a Christian group that, though I'm sure it is completely cliched, stuck with me. The leader had a something like a pitcher (your life), some large rocks (god, i.e., the important stuff), and a lot of sand (the unimportant stuff). She proceeded to demonstrate that, if you put the sand in first, the rocks would not fit, but if you put in the rocks first, the sand would still fit. You can get what you want if you put the important things first.

In middle school, that metaphor didn't fit my life particularly well (though I continued to ponder it), but these days it really does. I have found in particular that absolutely nothing happens unless I make a specific plan to do it. And this is true of hobbies as well, especially the ones that I share with Ed.

Having sex. Doing some math together. Watching a movie. Cleaning the house. Exercising. Eating dinner together. None of it will occur if we don't say, "We can do this tonight," or, "Tomorrow let's do that."

Even though I find this phenomenon a little frustrating, it also means that one of the central problems of life (not doing the things I want to do) is largely solvable through this very simple tactic of asking myself, "What do I want to accomplish today?" It doesn't really require a To Do list, because the things I'm talking about are regular things that you don't tend to forget. I know the house needs cleaning on a regular basis. I know I want to spend time with Ed doing math. I just have to be planful so that these things actually occur.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Some people swear by Rhapsody, which is a subscription music service. Rather than (or in addition to) buying specific songs, you can listen to any of their entire (giant) catalog for a flat monthly fee. You can play the songs on your computer or Tivo, or put them on your portable music player (though not an iPod).

I was curious what that was like, so I signed up for a free 14-day trial. Afterwards, two buttons appeared - one to allow me to download the Rhapsody music player, and one that promised I could listen to music on Rhapsody's website. I was at work, so I went to try the website.

The interface is junked up with a million things, including ads (which, I'm subscribing, why should I have to see ads?), but I was able to find where you could look up artists or albums you might want to hear. The songs have buttons next to them - one that allows you to play them, and one that allows you to add them to your playlist.

The play button did nothing. The bottom edge of my browser said it was downloading data, but no sound ever happened. (Pandora is playing just fine, so there's no sound problem on my end.) I tried the playlist button, and then I went to where I could view my playlists. But I have no playlists. I guess that button only works if you start a playlist first?

Honestly I just can't be bothered with this. I was already skeptical once I found out that Rhapsody was related to Real because I remember what a nightmare the Real Player was when I had it installed on my computer in the past. But I just thought it would be a nice, clean service - something like Pandora except with options to listen to exactly what you want - and instead it's, well, like I described.

So before I forgot, I figured I would go cancel my 14-day free trial before I get charged. I went to the page to manage my account, and clicked on "Cancel Membership." Here is a screenshot of where that took me:

So now I'm just fucking pissed. There is absolutely no technical reason that you shouldn't be able to cancel a membership online. They're just purposely making it difficult by requiring me to talk to a real-life human who will probably try to sell me some of the many packages and services that I had to un-check on my way to getting the free trial already. (I also had to un-check the box for "send me a bunch of spam email with crap offers all the time" more than once on different pages.)

So between the non-working interface, the ads, the constant upsells, the opt-out spam bullshit, and now the intentionally difficult membership-cancelling process, I am well and truly done with Rhapsody.

Fuck you, Rhapsody.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Spring 2009

My semester begins Tuesday, and originally I was only scheduled to take one class - Principles of Programming Languages, the last computer science class in my degree plan. It is on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7 PM, and I just couldn't find another class before it to fill in the gap, at least among classes that I need or would like to take. (I only have three classes left after this semester, but I would have been happy to have taken another math.)

Last night, I decided to do a search through the online schedule for all classes that are around 5 on M/W. And I found that UCD (University of Colorado at Denver) has a cross-listed math class at 5:30. This one:
MATH 4220-3. Higher Geometry II. Studies affine and projective geometries. Coordinates are introduced in this framework. Planes and higher dimensional spaces are examined. Prereq:MATH3191.
The prereq is for linear algebra, which I started but didn't finish (and will retake next year). I feel relatively confident that I can remember and/or pick up whatever linear algebra it will require. I have also taken the Metro class that is equivalent to their Higher Geometry I, although that is not a prereq.

I am excited about this on several levels. One: math! Two: scary geometry! Three: it's at UCD, where I want to get my master's, so it's possible it could help me. Four: it's another 400-level math class, which I could use.

I was looking forward to a kind of laid-back semester with only the one class, but now I'm very excited about the geometry addition. It will make my semester difficult but enjoyable and rewarding. I can't wait.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Digital Piracy

I have a friend who as far as I know is a capitalist/libertarian, yet who believes that digital piracy is ethically all right if not outright desirable. I find this position somewhat bizarre, and I personally try to avoid copyright-violating theft.

I am not at all opposed to open source. I think it's great to make your work available for free if you can and wish to, and I see a lot of benefits (in software and elsewhere) to doing so.

But, subject to certain limitations (the time limits of patents, fair use, etc.), I think that if you make something, you own it, and have the right to control its use. If I make a CD of the most awesome music ever and I am only willing to sell it for $10,000 per copy, that's my right, even if the price is outrageous.

But what if the record companies are screwing over the musicians such that the musicians hardly see a dime of record sales anyway? Well, frankly, that's not my problem. If Walmart negotiated an unfair deal with a Chinese manufacturer, that doesn't give me the right to steal cheap Chineses goods at Walmart, and I don't see this situation as being any different. Somehow or other, the musicians decided that signing with the label was a good move for them, and until I see evidence that they were coerced or that, for instance, the record labels have some means of preventing you from publishing your own music, it's all kosher as far as property rights go, and I can either buy the CD or do without.

I'm not an absolutist on this issue. I think comp CDs distributed between friends are great and mostly fall within fair use. And I don't have a huge ethical problem with someone copying something they could never afford, like a college student having an illegal copy of Windows. (It's technically wrong in my book, but causes minimal, if any, harm and is completely understandable.)

There is a difference between digital data and physical products, in that the former can be reproduced without cost. If I would never buy a Shania Twain CD but want to pirate one, then I'm not actually costing anyone anything - I'm unfairly using other people's labor, but at no cost to them. If I would never buy an axe but steal one from Home Depot instead, then I am costing them - they have one fewer axe. That difference is why I feel fairly lenient towards small, mild piracy. But it's not enough to make me decide that people who produce digital products shouldn't have the right to charge for their work.

NFL Playoffs

I didn't watch much football this season, but I've been following the playoffs fairly avidly. And although there are a few NFL teams that I tend to really like (the Broncos of course, the Colts, the Eagles), it's not usually obvious to me who I will root for in a particular game. I didn't go into the playoffs this year with any particular favorites. Nevertheless, I have rooted for the winning team in 7 out of 8 playoff games so far, and more often than not I was rooting for the underdog, so it's been an interesting season.

In the first ("Wildcard") round, the games (with winners in bold) were

Chargers at Colts:
I rooted for the Chargers because I was honestly impressed by how they came back in their season and eventually won over Denver in the final game of the regular season to make the playoffs (after Denver led the division all season).

Ravens at Dolphins:
I rooted for the Ravens even though defense-heavy teams are not my style just because ravens are one of my very favorite birds and I like the purple uniforms. Also, Sally hates Florida teams.

Falcons at Cardinals:
I hate all Atlanta teams, so it was Cards for me all the way.

Eagles at Vikings:
I didn't watch this one, but would have gone for the Eagles because I love them.

In the second ("Divisional") round, we had (again with winners in bold):

Chargers at Steelers:
I rooted for the Chargers, but it was evident pretty early on that the Steelers were going to kick them all up and down the field.

Ravens at Titans:
I was still a Ravens fan.

Cardinals at Panthers:
I like both of these teams, but by now I'd noticed that I was picking all of the bird teams, and indeed I found myself continuing to root for the Cards.

Eagles at Giants:
I was still Eagles all the way.

So it's been a pretty good run, and I've supported a bird team every time I got the chance. I don't know if that's a general pattern or just happenstance. (I wouldn't have supported the Atlanta Falcons against anyone.)

Next week are the AFC and NFC champions, with Steelers at Ravens and Eagles at Cardinals, respectively. I'll be rooting for the Ravens and the Eagles, and, if things go according to plan, for the Eagles in the Superbowl. Not that anyone should care.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


My money situation is pretty good lately, so it seems like a nice time for another update.

If you look at my last debt snowball (from November '07), you will see that I should have owed about $9000 by this month. In truth, I've not done as well at paying off debts as I should have. I've spent money pretty profligately this year, partly because of dating Ed. (Ed isn't expensive or anything; it's mostly just that dating him has kind of made me loose and happy and carefree in a way that isn't helpful for budgeting, healthy eating, or other discipline-requiring endeavors.)

However, in May I changed jobs. As a result of doing so, instead of working for a company that is going out of business any day now, I'm working for a company that is doing very well. And although I have the same salary as before, I got a large bonus last month, nearly all of which I applied to debts.

As a result, my total debt this month is about $5,000. This is wonderful and unexpected and I should be completely out of debt by May. The only money I owe now is on my car, which is worth more than I owe on it. So I am feeling really good about that.

Meanwhile, the delightful Mosch moved out in May, and the differently delightful Ed moved in in September. Unlike Mosch, Ed pays me rent, so I have more money on a monthly basis. Ed has also graduated and is now looking for a job; when he gets one, he'll start paying half of the rent and utilities instead of the slightly smaller amount he pays now.

I recently became eligible for my company's 401K, and I am now putting in 15% of my income. I believe there is some matching or company donations of some kind, though I haven't been able to figure it out exactly.

In addition, I am now once again covered by a health insurance plan with a high deductible and associated HSA account. Unlike some people's flexible spending accounts, mine keeps the money in it forever; you can always use the money for medical expenses (including eyeglasses, OTC drugs, vitamins used to treat a condition, etc.), and at retirement age you can withdraw it freely. My current health plan is even more excellent in that regular preventive care is not subject to the deductible, and my company pays half of it every year - the first half! They just put that money directly into my HSA account, so I don't really need to fund it myself at all.

Anyway, things are looking good all the way around.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Food Attitude

I've been doing some thinking about my relationship to food, particularly in reference to this "let's eat dinner together" initiative that Ed and I have been working on. One of my reasons for trying this is that I did not come into adulthood with the basic skill of going home and eating dinner that someone makes.

It's not that I can't make food, nor that I am a picky eater. I was a pretty easy kid in terms of eating and I like even more things as an adult, including most vegetables. (Even the ones I don't particularly like, like carrots or squashes, I will eat.) I am not one of those people who will only eat hamburgers or whatever.

But I do have an aversion to feeling out of control about what I'm eating, to eating at a table, and to eating food at home. I visited my aunt and cousins for Christmas, and we ate many communal meals at my aunt's table. The meals were homemade, varied, and generally very good, but after a few days I found it difficult and started to feel whiny, with a feeling of a lack of indulgence and control in my eating. And I got tired of the rhythm of having these meals at a table.

My childhood was somewhat strange in terms of food. When I was young, my mom cooked for us (of course), but around middle school, she became a vegetarian and started on an arduous diet and I think after that we mostly ate separately - I would make meals and freeze them for myself, or eat frozen dinners or prepared foods like soups. After age 10 or so, I have almost no memories of sitting down at a table at home to eat together.

Our household also had no snacks - no chips, pretzels, crackers, cookies, candy, or things like that in the pantry. There was food in the house, but generally it was healthy food available in limited (though adequate) quantities. We usually only had the specific foods that we normally ate. I didn't snack very much in the ordinary course of events, though I could have eaten fruit or cereal or something like that.

Relatively frequently, my mom would bring home a snack like chips or malted milk balls. We would then consume the entire package of whatever it was. It would have been bought for that purpose - things were almost never partly eaten and then stored for later use. (There were exceptions, like girl scout cookies - you just can't eat a whole box of thin mints in one sitting.) Sometimes we would have restaurant food or fast food for dinner (as people do), but the "normal" food at home was never decadent at all. (Desserts were the same way as snacks - purchased and consumed immediately, never bought in advance and served later in small quantities like I think many people do.)

I think my feeling of deprivation when I contemplate eating food that is already in the house comes from this high contrast, in my childhood, between food that we had at home (healthy, limited quantities, no obvious snacks) and the food that was bought on impulse (restaurant food, fast food, or snacks to be consumed immediately in their entirety). This jibes with the pattern of my eating - I am more likely to be willing to consume even something healthy if I've bought it that very day with the express purpose of preparing it immediately.

When I shop for groceries, I am always torn between wanting to buy things that are healthy, so that I have a healthy diet, but wanting to make sure I will eat the things that I buy later. If I buy things that are not appealing enough, I will simply never, ever eat them (whether they are perishable or not). Even a food that I'd eat if someone served it to me, like a pretty good soup, can be something I will never choose to eat at a particular time. Yet I don't want to buy only total crap and subsist on a diet of nachos and pizza either. (I don't see much point in buying that type of stuff as "groceries" when you can just eat out if you want.) So I try to get a middle ground.

I've cooked twice this week and Ed has cooked once. On both of my nights, I went to the store that night and got ingredients for dinner, and then went home and made it. By doing that I ensured that I had energy towards the foods I was going to make, so that I found it easy to go ahead and carry through with making them. Shopping for meals in advance is a whole different challenge that I will have to tackle.

I want to develop a more wholesome and "normal" relationship to food. It's not so much that I want to become a super-healthy eater as that I want to become a person who can shop in advance for normal, reasonably healthy foods, and then later, even days later, cook and eat that food without feeling like I'm being deprived. I have already become (since college) a person who can keep snacks in the house without compulsively eating them, and I just want to keep moving along this path towards relative normalcy.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

All You Can Eat Pancakes?

I recently saw a TV ad proclaiming that all-you-can-eat pancakes are back at IHOP. Apparently this is a promotion they occasionally have, and now is one of those times.

But what I'm wondering is, are there people who really like that many pancakes? When I go to IHOP and get something that comes with the usual short stack, that is plenty for me - usually more than plenty.

I guess I can see how this might work as a promotion, reminding people of their love of pancakes and making them go to IHOP. But I seriously wonder if very many people at all - even people attracted to the idea of all-you-can-eat pancakes - actually want more than a normal-sized order.


The author of this post is not responsible for any pancake cravings you may experience after reading it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Must. Have. Tivo.

A few months ago, I cancelled my home phone service, transferring the number to my (far cheaper) cell phone service. At the same time, I cancelled Tivo. I figured I could up my Netflix allowance to make up for the difference, and who needs Tivo, and anyway it uses the phone line.

Months later, it turns out I really do miss Tivo. Even though my Tivo box can still be used to record and pause television (you can pause live TV for up to half an hour, or program it to record manually like a very nice VCR), I really miss having the live program listings and the ability to just say, "Record every episode of The Amazing Race this season."

So I got an adapter so that the Tivo can use the wireless network, and it is now set up, and I restarted my account. For $12.95/month it is extremely worth it.

Long live Tivo.

Date Confusion

A conversation from yesterday:

Me: [talking about an economic run we did for a client] The capital costs didn't show up in 2009 because the well was scheduled for January '09 and the cap costs happen a month before that.

Joan: Well, they just completed the well yesterday, so the costs should be in 2009.

Me: How can the costs be next year if they just completed the well?!?

Joan: It's January already.

Me: Oh.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Apple Thing

As part of cooking, I'm trying to work more fruit into our diets. Ed tends to be wary of fruit (has never really enjoyed it) and, while I like fruit, I don't tend to snack, and it's just never convenient to eat somehow.

A few nights ago, I made swordfish steaks, brussels sprouts, and brown rice with sauteed onions and shiitake mushrooms. It was all great, and for dessert we had blackberries. Well, to be more precise, I had picked up the berries for dessert, and ended up serving them with some ice cream, which made them extra delicious, of course.

Tonight for dinner I made tilapia, hobo-style potatoes*, broccoli and carrots. While at the store, I picked up a couple of apples for dessert. I was hoping to make some kind of baked apple "thing" that would be tastier than raw apples but not as unhealthy as an apple pie or crumble (which I don't know how to make in any case, though no doubt one can find recipes or something).

I ended up doing this. I sliced the apples up and put them into a small square casserole (like a brownie dish). Then I mixed oatmeal, cinnamon, brown sugar, and melted butter and put that on top of the apples. (I don't know a recipe like this, but it seemed like it would work.) It wasn't enough to completely make a top layer, so it was kind of just mixed in with the apples, but mostly on top. And then I baked that in the oven for about half an hour.

I didn't have anything to cover the casserole with (we were out of foil and I had already used my lidded dish for the potatoes), so some of the apples came out a bit dry. When the dish came out I wasn't sure that it would be good at all, but it was awesome. It definitely met my intention of being halfway between plain apples and something like a pie or crumble. And it was by far the tastiest part of the meal (which I had remarked, earlier, met the "dinner at home" criteria of "I would only eat this if someone told me 'here's dinner, now eat' - I wouldn't seek it out").

So that worked out well!

(* Hobo potatoes is where you cut up potatoes and onions and stick them in a foil pouch with some butter, and then cook them in the oven - or over your campfire. I was, as previously mentioned, unexpectedly out of foil, so in fact we had pseudo-hobo potatoes that were baked in a casserole dish.)

Home Cookin'

Ed and I rarely eat dinner together at home. We either eat out together, or we eat separately. Given that neither of us is a very good "everyday" cook and the usual difficulties of managing schedules and so on, we eat homemade meals together about once a month or so, usually at my whim.

Since exercising together is going so well, I've proposed a new plan for eating together. Starting this week, the plan is for us to eat a home-cooked meal together three times a week. I'm planning to cook twice and have him cook once. I hope to move up to four and possibly even five times a week once we get the basics down.

"Home-cooked" is a bit loosely defined, but I basically mean for us to make a balanced meal (at least a protein and some kind of vegetable, and enough food overall to constitute dinner, which would generally mean some kind of starch or grain would be included) out of grocery store ingredients. A box of macaroni and cheese would thus count as a reasonable side, but a giant bowl of it is not dinner by itself. So, you know, just dinner the way most people would think of it - no fanciness or gourmet preparations required.

I think this will be fun and beneficial.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Once, in middle school, I went to a speech tournament with two other kids who were mildly friends of mine - Gretchen and Doug. Gretchen read the Emily Dickinson poem "I'm Nobody! Who Are You?" Her reading was oddly compelling, as though she really was like Dickinson. I was convinced utterly. And I remembered it for years.

So, I'm on Facebook. And I recently clicked on the "people you may know" application, and Gretchen showed up. I recognized the name instantly and she looked just the same as in middle school (it's uncanny how many people do) and I friended her and told her about the speech tournament. She was amazed, saying that she often recites that poem, but had totally forgotten that she'd originally memorized it for that purpose.

There are so many people I thought lost from my life forever with whom I've reconnected, at least in these shallow ways, on Facebook. I may never meet up with them again, or really have a conversation, but I know that they have a couple of young kids, or that they live in China, or that they had an excellent hot dog for lunch.

Sometimes I remember people and they don't remember me as clearly, as with Gretchen. Other times, people friend me and I barely remember their names, and I can't think of a single thing I ever knew about them. It is strange having all of these very light connections to so many people - in a way it is just like a snapshot of the tapestry of my life.

Before I left New Orleans when I was 9, I had a best friend at my school, named Burke. I've remembered her name for years and as a kid I passionately wished to know her again, but we never kept in touch. I didn't have her address or anything like that, and I'm sure I wouldn't really have written to her anyway. But the other day, I found her on Facebook. Same (unusual) name, still living in New Orleans. Unlike the middle school and high school kids, I couldn't recognize the picture, but I friended her anyway, with a message asking if she was the one I knew.

It was satisfying, but I realized I have no reason to really want to know her again. All I remember of her - and I mean all - is her name and that she had a gray jacket with a wooly white lining. I can't even say anything like "Do you remember that time we...?" because I have absolutely no memories of doing anything with her.

I had another friend, this one in high school, who came out to me as a lesbian back then and then, last I heard, was marrying a man. She just showed up on Facebook recently. She has three kids that are nearly grown, but a picture of herself with a woman who is clearly her partner, and a picture of a tattoo she has that is a rainbow with two female symbols. I guess that worked out all right.

I'm friended with my first boyfriend, Michael. He has a little boy.

I've never been to a reunion, but I guess for me Facebook is kind of like that, if you had a college and high school and junior high and current life reunion all at once, ongoing, for days and days, alongside your normal life. Some of it is meaningful and some is curiousity-satisfying and nearly all of it is nostalgic. Funny life.