I went down to an art opening today. First I called around to find someone to go with me, but no one was home. Upon entering the gallery/cafe, I said hello to Kristina, the curator – a friend from Amazon. I paced around and eyed the paintings, pretty nice from the quick look – a series of heads repeated with three different themes. But I always forget that gallery openings are more a social occasion than they are a venue for viewing art, and I need to have an ally with me in case I have too few entry points for the networking that’s involved.

Still, I was a bit rude. I slipped out – it would’ve been better and more satisfying if I’d found a place to stand and have a drink for a few minutes, given myself and the room a chance to rub elbows or not. But I fled instead, defeated.

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A Self-Depreciative Post

The most eloquent piece I’ve written this year:

XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a portable and efficient means to define and manage data of any level of complexity.

Because databases, web-browsers, and Java applications are being designed with the ability to interact with XML directly, it can be used as a universal language for tightly integrating internal applications and as a format for exchanging data with clients.

XML formats are more robust and less complicated than the structures of classic EDI formats like X12 and EDIFACT. In sharp relief to EDIFACT’s and X12’s over-architectured syntax rules, XML syntax requirements are only as complicated as is necessary to maintain data integrity. XML document structures are explicitly defined in schemas that are more manageable than the technical specifications and industry guidelines used to describe classic EDI standards. (2/21/01)

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Sunday continued – The Concert

The David Byrne concert was great.

The Commodore Ballroom is a pretty classy setup – a big stage, dance floor resting on ball bearings (for extra bounce), lots of tables and easy bar access. So, after being ushered inside, Justin and I found a table in a corner and waited.

The opener was Joe Henry. He and his band played some nice bluesy rock stuff. I really liked it and after a bit went down to the floor to enjoy it.

He finished his set and as I turned around to walk back to the table, I immediately spotted Justin sitting there, somehow not really blending into the crowd. And it seemed like he spotted me right away, my t-shirt was loud enough that it could be picked out of the audience.

It’s funny how you can identify some people from a distance based just on their posture or based on some gesture. I can’t think of what it is, but it seems like I’ve witnessed some noteable example of this somewhere recently.

After a little time, I wanted to go back to the floor to find a good spot, Justin wasn’t ready to go down. I took off, but first took a detour to the restroom. When I found a good spot on the floor, I looked up to the table and Justin wasn’t there. I craned my neck around, trying to spot him on the floor, but no luck.

A couple of guys behind me were talking about how crowded it was, speculating on the effect this would have on the bouncing dance floor, and how Byrne was hiding out in the tour bus or something. They talked about these things as if they weren’t there, as if they were watching it on television.

So I eventually spotted Justin and worked my way over to him. I said we should get closer, but he was skeptical about whether or not we’d be able to. Strength in numbers, I said, and followed closely behind a girl who was weaving her way closer to the stage, Justin followed behind me.

We found a good spot and Byrne started playing pretty soon after. He strolled out on stage in his messy grey hair. They did some tunes from the new album, and a few Talking Heads classics. (Little side-note: The bass player had 5 strings on his bass, which I thought was interesting. Is this very common?) I glanced over at Justin a few times and he was raising his arms at some key points and lip-synching to some hooks, which I interpreted as meaning that he was having a good time.

After the first handful of songs, Byrne brought out a six-piece orchestral string section. And they filled out the sound pretty nicely. He set aside the guitar for a couple of pieces (there wasn’t a second guitar player) for some violin-driven songs. At one point he played a few oddball songs from soundtracks and such and included a song from The Forest, which was kind of an ambient piece. A little out of place in a rock show, but not quite a show-stopper and it kind of showcased the string section, I liked it.

They played a pretty broad mix of his songs, which was pretty nice.

Near the end, Byrne and the bass player were getting kind of giddy in response to something that was happening at the far right in front of the stage. I’m not sure what was happening.

They finished up the set. Byrne, the bass player, and the two percussion players made a gracious exit and the stage was darkened. The string section stayed on the darkened stage between two staged encores. The requisite cover-song was Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

At their final exit, Someone from the audience gave Byrne a sunflower and a plate of shots for the band.

Great show. Lots of fun.

We headed back to the hostel and crashed. Got up early and headed south of the border.

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I will clean up this post later.

More walking around Vancouver today. Sat and drank a little tea. Nice city. I like it.

In a rocky part of the beach, someone has piled rocks into impossibly precarious towers. I go down to investigate, thinking that they’re permanent sculptures held together with a rod, I touch one and it crumbles. A handful of others have gathered to admire the rock sculptures, so I’m shamed in front of a small audience.

Strange, occassional whiffs of pot smoke on random street corners.

Justin mumbles under his breath, what do you think?, no answer – no complaints, I guess that means he’s having an okay time.

We’re just going to relax for the rest of the day, until the concert.

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Loony Two-ny

Justin & I picked up the rental car & headed up to BC today. Two hour drive & three hours waiting in the mile long line at the border. The sun coming in through the window & only tanning my left arm.

We found the hostel, parked and everything. Then hunted down a couple of burgers, famished. We walked down to Stanley Park & walked around on the beach – low tide. We walked until we were ready to drop – went around in the woods a bit & down to the beach on the north side of the park. Miles & miles, or km & km.

Exhausted, we stop somewhere for some ice cream & tea, make our way back. And here I am.

Tomorrow evening it’s the David Byrne concert.

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My brother’s outgoing voicemail message is a guy named Joaquin explaining that this isn’t his phone number.

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Reading the Funnies

82 °F
Mostly Cloudy (cynics)
Feels Like 84 °F
Barometer: 29.95 in; falling
Wind: NA/7 mph
Humidity: 53%
Visibility: 10 mi

[From weather.com]

The little strip of park by the reservoir is filled with hipsters, sunbathers, and transients lounging in the sun. A goth girl walks by, hiding from the sun under a big black umbrella.

At Vivace, a girl my age sits with a large 64 piece box of crayons (not Crayola) in front of her – the size box that makes little kids jealous of each other. I keep turning to look at her, she looks like an acquaintance, but I have more of a back view than a profile view, so I can’t tell if it’s her. When I get up to leave, I take a good look, & it’s not my friend. But it is a 20sish person sitting in a coffee shop, drinking hot cocoa & eating a banana (or at least carrying a banana around), filling in her coloring book. And that’s within the range of eccentricity that I find admiral.

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Bees’ Wax

Continuing with the theme of public displays of social or anti-social behavior and creative bicycling witnessed while at, on my way to, or on my way from the grocery store on Sunday evening between the 9:00 X-Files and the 11:00 X-Files: Three people riding one bicycle.

I know, it would be more effective if I had pictures.

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A Frog Plucking a Banjo

Last night, Mari and I headed up to Ballard, the Tractor Tavern, for Sara’s birthday. The doorman didn’t find our names on the guest list, but was sufficiently convinced when we invoked Sara’s name that he let us in without paying a cover.

Sara was nowhere in sight and, come to think of it, there were no familiar faces – just the staff and the band setting up. “Are we early?” I said. “Do we have the wrong night?” Mari said. When we were ordering our drinks a guy came up to us and told us, “Sara’s birthday is in two weeks.”

Mari and I sat in a booth and talked about her wedding, days past, and the Red Elvises. The bar filled up and we listened to the country music.

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Highest Court

I just ran into Steve, a former housemate. Yesterday I ran into Jim, my boss at the twice-since merged out of existence cell phone company. A couple of weeks ago Leslie, another former housemate, suddenly remembered who I was, though I’ve seen around town a bit in the last few years and never responded to waves hello.

These are all people I was around pre-Amazon. And somehow the weather the last couple of days has put me in a 1995-ish mood (though I’ve lived under a sporadic drizzle every year since then).

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