Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, June 19, 2000 7:32 AM

A Three Dayer

The events of the three day weekend start with the EOS Aura Delta-CDA. As we break for lunch, with me to present first thing in the afternoon, our multimedia guru Tim puts our teleconferencing facility on to the NASA channel. We observe prior shuttle mission footage of the Atlantic ocean. Except that just as people start gathering at 1pm for my presentation, the NASA channel switches to a NASA awards ceremony. Prior to the awards ceremony is the marching out of the color guard and the playing of the national anthem. As GSFC and TRW people arrive back into our conference room for my presentation, they are greeted with the national anthem. And most think that this is MY doing (seeing that I tend to give colorful presentations). Both GSFC and TRW people, after the playing of the national anthem, laugh with me and ask I how pulled this off. I don't bother to explain that it was NOT my doing.

During my presentation we play EOSOPOLY - a variation of MONOPOLY. Except that the die that I roll always falls on one and I am only able to move the game piece one property at a time. The presentation goes okay - it was not my best presentation but it was not my worst.

Going home on Thursday, I am struck by PDCDALS - Post Delta Critical Design Audit Letdown Syndrome. As I make my way home, I feel liking heading towards the liquor store, but I do not - thinking that I'll check messages at home before buying supplies to get plastered. But one of the messages is a request to play an ice hockey game as a substitute player for a former team (that is to be short-handed tonight). I accept the invitation and maintain my three weeks of sobriety in the process. (We win the game 5-2.)

Friday, a day away from TRW, finds a busy day of bicycle riding, washing the truck, getting a haircut (and not getting any invitations to cut-a-thons in downtown Long Beach - but I do give my barber, no, stylist an invitation to an ice skating party fundraiser that some of my friends are having at 10pm on Saturday night), waxing the truck, cleaning the house, and going through a number of videotapes and either titling them or labeling them as available to record over. I keep the two hour digital presentation of the 1998 Rolling Stones concert and play through a number of songs. And admire Keith Richards. When they play "Gimme Shelter", an old heroin song of mine, I start rifling through a number of CDs trying to find which good heroin songs I have. I do not have Cream's "White Room", but I have Tone Loc's "Funky Cold Medina", Grand Funk's "People, Let's Stop the War", the Rolling Stones' "Undercover", Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized", a number of Fear songs, a number of Ramones songs, the Germs' "Richie Dagger's Crime", and Deep Purples' "Space Trucking". I don't even look at the vinyl stuff because 1) my turntable doesn't work anymore, and 2) most of the albums were psychedelic or psychedelic resurgence stuff.

I go to the Frat House on Friday night - repeating my pattern of decadence and moral decay. Or at least listening to music and getting out of the house. Near midnight, Sabrina, the HVAC, shows up. She pulls me aside and asks to use my phone because she has locked her keys in her car. I oblige (as anybody would). It takes two calls to reach the towing service, but eventually they come. (I, unfortunately, was not around when the tow man - probably a 250 lb beer drinking man who likes to watch wrestling and lumberjack competitions - comes to help Sabrina open her car.) I later ask Sabrina for an introduction to an acquaintance of hers. After a private conversation between Sabrina and the acquaintance, no introduction occurs. Sabrina yells something into my ear regarding a current relationship. Later an x-ray technician and I strike up a conversation about various topics. Though she seems nice, there is something weird about the situation that makes me pause for thought (other than the fact that she smokes). I eventually excuse myself and head for home. And, of course, why did I think otherwise, it starts to drizzle. Ruining all of the washing, polishing, waxing, and detailing work that I did on the truck. I get to sleep near 2am only to be buzzed awake by a mosquito that has found its way into my bedroom and near my exposed ear. In the middle of the night, half asleep and emotionally distraught, I'm chasing a mosquito around my bedroom trying to swat it with a shirt pulled out of the laundry basket.

Saturday is a good day! Well, except for the call at home from the Boss wanting some typical EOS jitter plots within the hour. (I need to change AND unlist my home telephone number.) I manage to ftp some data from TRW and please the Boss with some data. I get out for a decent bicycle ride. (I'm physically hung over from recent ice hockey games and bicycle rides.) My neighbor, the older German lady, comes over and wants me to purchase airline tickets for her over the Internet again because if she buys three tickets over the Internet, she gets the fourth free. I have become the neighborhood source for Internet connectivity.

Later in the afternoon I drive up to West Hollywood to see the movie "Groove". A Sundance film festival award winner, I would recommend it. (A story about setting up and attending a rave. Not a significant amount of harsh language. No sex. A moderate amount of drug usage - but responsible usage. Decent rave-type and trance music. But I'm glad I took my ear plugs because it was loud - at least to a person with a history of concussions.) I wander aimlessly around West Hollywood and, later, Hollywood Blvd as I kill time prior to the 10pm ice skating fundraiser. Hollywood Blvd is fairly quiet though it is early for a Saturday night.)

At 10 pm I arrive at the skate party fund raiser in Burbank. I enjoy these fundraisers because I always go around and help the people who are beginners on the ice. You know the ones - the ones clinging with all of their might to the side boards for fear of falling! For the most part, I sneak up behind them, lock my right arm around their left arm, and pull them away from the boards before they know what is happening. And there isn't a real fear of them falling because I'm a strong skater. And we go around the ice a few times as I give them verbal and visual pointers to enjoy themselves and not break any bones. And I'll check back with them later in the evening as they're skating around the ice getting more confident. Usually, towards the end of the evenings, the people that I have helped enjoy themselves come up to me and thank me for helping them. Tonight, a guy named David who just can't seem to get the hang of it even after I've spent much of the time with him, comes over and gives me a hug and tells me that he enjoyed himself a lot even if he didn't do so well. And he won't let go. Even as he makes formal introductions of me to his friends (as opposed to the informal ones that occurred on the ice) he still has his arms around my neck and shoulders. One of his friends appears to be getting upset that he is being so friendly with me. And, after trying a few times, I finally excuse myself from the group because "I'm due in downtown LA at 1". (Even though I didn't want him to let go, I didn't want to cause a fight between David and his friend - not that I know what relationship they have.)

Well, I've let the cat out of the bag here. A friend has called and begged me to meet him at 6th and Spring in downtown LA. After pushing him off until after the fundraiser, I agree to meet him at 1. So now, at 12:40am on Sunday morning, I'm flying south from Burbank towards downtown LA. (Actually, flying isn't the right term. I'm in the truck and I'm only going 85mph. But it is a small truck and has to last me for a long time so I don't want to push it real hard. The motorcycle would have been a different story!) And I'm passing, in order, Atwater Village, the Police Academy, Chavez Ravine, the Pacific Stock Exchange, the Historic Core District (as I'm now off the freeway), the Toy District, Skid Row, the King Eddy Saloon, and finally the Fashion (or Garment) District. The street driving was probably not the most direct because I've forgotten which streets are one way in which direction. I see my acquaintance Bill, the only neatly- dressed person in the city limits right now, standing at 6th and Spring. He gets in the truck and says that the party has moved over to the warehouse district. We start driving and I let him navigate as he explains that he gave his car to his other friends just now so that they could go ahead while he waited for me. He doesn't seem to be concerned that he was the only non- junkie within 12 blocks of 6th and Spring, but then he is fairly adventurous. As are all of the people that I know who are in some way connected with the entire artificial life thing.

We find the correct warehouse and park. At 1:20am on a Sunday morning, as we're walking up to a usually-abandoned warehouse, a grungy-looking dude asks me if I want to buy a vowel. (This may sound silly to the uniformed, but he's asking if I want to buy either Acid - which obviously starts with the vowel A - or Ecstasy - which obviously starts with the vowel E.) Without missing beat, I respond "Can I buy an H?"

The grungy dude takes offense and is ready to start something. But Bill pulls me along and we enter the warehouse. The grungy dude takes offense and is ready to start something. But Bill pulls me along and we enter the warehouse. He later asks what that was all about and I explain it to him. He is taken aback that I would know this.

The party is okay. A combination of electronics freaks, computer geeks, and druggies have put their minds together to build a decent sound and light show.

I eventually leave and head for home. No more stops this time. As I'm pulling into my driveway I notice that the Sunday morning paper has already been delivered to some of my neighbors.

Sunday is a low key day of ice hockey, watching motorsports, and catching up on reading.