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December 2, 1996, Monday

My sleeping attempts bottomed out by 2pm, which had yielded me only a couple hours of sleep at most. None of that essential REM that one needs for mental health. This is taking its toll tonight here at Comet. Good thing almost nothing is expected of me here. One thing I really wish I had though was coffee. Maybe tonight I'll actually fix myself some...after all, all the fixin's are here somewhere behind doors the keys to which I've been entrusted.

Issues of trust with regard to employment are astounding when you think about it. At my Mac Tech Temp job at UVA, I was put to work immediately in a room full of uninventoried but expensive computer parts, where I was left unsupervised for periods of time. And here at Comet I was given all manner of special access within a week1 of my employment here, based only on the good word of Jamie Dyer. But for all Jamie knew I had intentions of walking off with all the file servers on my seventh night! I suppose my stability had been demonstrated in other ways, but all of them were informal, and some of them were obviously qualified (witness the Glossary!). In being hired here I was a beneficiary of the good old boy network in the fullest sense of the word. Because my computer skills were unproven, my resumé unseen, and my internetworking skills essentially limited to "yeah, I can work Netscape." At my wages, though, it would have been difficult for them to hire a rocket scientist. And with regard to the Web at least, I have become an expert in the ensuing months. Not that that really means I know much more than I knew then. But I have the glue now that holds my other nuggets of wisdom together in this remarkable new web-aware way that makes the past seem both blind and deaf.

Jen Fariello had wanted me to repaint the Rising Sun Bakery Sign. Thus I searched around my room and tore the place completely apart, leaving devastation, but still could find absolutely none of my brushes. So it seems someone stole them from me or something, which really pretty much sucks, especially since they had never been used. I decided not to do anything about the sign. Instead I rode my bicycle to Nemo's House to visit Jessika.

It was a warm day, thus the bike ride. I'd brought a special ultra-hard saw blade with me, carefully wrapping it in a wet newspaper so I wouldn't lose it. But sure enough it fell out, all $5 worth of it, somewhere on the two mile ride. I wanted to die! Meanwhile, there was Jessika, hanging out with the new tenants in the apartment upstairs from her. The new tenants consist of none other than the famous Crispina and her little sister (named Eliza, it turns out), as well as their father, a well preserved thirty-something guy named Tom. With them and Jessika was Bill, the fifty-something guy who used to be an employee and fixture at the Rising Sun Bakery, and Stephanie, a red headed girl that, along with Crispina's sister, is in what amounts to inner circle of friends. I was so bummed about the loss of my blade that I didn't socialize. In fact, I set off immediately on foot in an ill-fated mission to find my blade. Jessika acted like I was crazy, but she went out to the road and looked around too. Like me, she seems to have a knack for losing things. And when you have Taurus Rising as we both do, losing things is the only real source of angst.

Jessika and I refocused our energy by walking down to the High Street Fisher Auto Parts, passing by her favourite appliance store to examine the vintage refrigerators in the back. She's in the market for a free refrigerator to use as a closet, and she prefers sixties models that resemble Ford Fairlanes in styling. One even had a logo that began with the Ford Fairlane backwards F.

The guy in the Fisher Auto Parts didn't have tungsten carbide blades, but he did have molybdenum blades, which I didn't think were hard enough. He wanted to know what I wanted to cut, and I said I was interested in quartz. So he whipped out a rock, saying, "I always carry a rock." I looked at it and it appeared to be quarts with bands of red iron oxide running through it. I suggested insincerely that it would probably bring him good luck.

Back at Nemo's, Raphæl and Ana were hanging out watching Ren and Stimpy, as was I, while Jessika sewed up a novel satchel or backpack made from sheets of dark grey rubber. The stuff went through a sewing machine okay, but it broke a needle at one point. Jessika was having stomach pains, but still she craved vino, Carlo Rossi Paisano, since it was what she drank during the cold weather last year at Big Fun.

I became so sleepy that at last I was forced to take a nap in Jessika's bed. But the sleep was fitful and not really as substantial as I needed. I awoke to Nemo loudly practicing the hard "Guh" sound while Jessika gleefully and repeatedly suggested he say "Big Fun" instead.

The girls wanted to do big Xerox blow-ups of baby dolls and Nick Cave, so they managed to get Raph to drive them (and myself) out to Kinkos. The employees there would have no part in xeroxing such things on the big poster machines they control, for copyright reasons they said. So Ana and Jessika were forced to use more primitive smaller-scale equipment. Raph and I became bored and ended up mostly entertaining Nemo and occasionally griping about the slowness of the girls. Raphæl wondered what was so great about crappy looking blow-ups of xeroxes, and I egged him on saying it looked like poo to me. He ran with that one, suggesting it would be better to scoop turds out of the toilet and smear them on the wall than to hang such ugly xeroxes. "Right Nemo?" he asked the little guy with the smiley face. I made the most of my boredom by channeling it into Deya-style creativity, making a section of scale-model barbed wire out of some staples. Witnesseth:

Plans to get vino evaporated owing to the lateness of the hour. I had Raph let me off on the Corner at Hot Tomatoes, where I had two $1 slices of cheese with Eddie the Ness. He spoke of a half keg at Jeremey's2 (the place in Wertland Apartments that had the bottle opener the day of Nellie's bringing a bottle of vino to my house), and that was reason enough to follow him there.

The beer was flat and not too cold, but I had two glasses and chatted with Morgan Anarchy, who was part of the all-male scene there. His eyebrow gash had hardened into a thick black scab. I also answered his questions about what had happened. Meanwhile the teevee featured a somewhat interesting documentary about Janis Joplin, who, I have heard, once dated the moralistic arch-conservative William Bennett.

An interesting event that happened while I was there was Eddie the Ness having to go and talk to the father of his suddenly pregnant girlfriend, who is a fifteen year old Nelson County High School student. I left when they started playing video games; it was now time for work anyway.

1It is true, however, that I wasn't given any keys for the first week of work and that my supervisors had a habit of dropping in on me every now and then during my first month of employ at Comet.

2Jeremey is the guy who is missing a tooth and wanted to introduce Jessika to his "imp" on the day Nellie brought vino to my house.

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