...the Journal

Refrigerator Door

Well, I've come to the end of my refrigerator magnets. But people have offered to lend me their refrigerator doors to keep the feature going. So for the next week, and until I run out of doors, we'll have guest refrigerators. If anyone wants to donate magnet pictures, feel free to e-mail them to me, along with any explanation you think appropriate!

Household Hints


A Medieval Home Companion:
Housekeeping in the 14th Century

Going out in public:

When you go to town or to church, you should be accompanied by companions suitable to your social position, and especially by respectable women. Avoid questionable associates and never go near a suspicious woman or allow one in your company. Keep your head straight, your eyes decently lowered and motionless, and your gaze eight feet directly in front of you and on the ground without looking around at any man or woman to the right or left or looking up or shifting your gaze unsteadily from place to place, or laughing, or stopping to talk to anyone in the street.

Here are some of my theatre reviews, if you're interested.

Updated 3/10/01


In a Sunburned Country
by Bill Bryson


Erin Brockovich

That's it for today!


31 March 2001

The guy needed a piano.

I went to a speech tonight to hear a guy whose book Iíd read, whom Steve had met and whom I was interested to see up close and personal. His book is about his experience proving the afterlife and I have, ya know, kind of a vested interest in the subject these days.

But really I didnít expect to hear anything that wasnít in his book--and I wasnít disappointed. He has a compelling story--a very long-term AIDS survivor (he claims to be the oldest living AIDS patient...or rather, the guy who has lived longest with the disease), whose partner committed suicide. Following the suicide he received a series of miraculous "messages" which have convinced him, and many others, in a real afterlife.

The message is far greater than that, but letís just start there.

I suppose I was in the proper mood for this guyís presentation. Coming out of my flu-state, I took some time this afternoon to fill a big garbage bag with useless clutter. When I straightened up my office last week and filled a garbage bag with junk, Peggy pointed out that if IĎd fill a bag a day, Iíd have this place cleaned up in no time.

Well, I thought that was a tad overambitious, but I did indicate that I thought I could manage a bag a week. Heck, without leaving my desk chair, I managed to fill a bag and I hardly made a dent in what I can reach from here.

But around here, when you start delving too deeply into dusty corners that havenít been touched for years, you invariably find old photos. And they are usually big smiley photos, Ďcause thatís what we always did around here--smile and laugh lots. And there they were. The big happy smiles, the great pictures that I hadnít thought about in awhile. The smiles weíll never see again. The innocent, happy times that will never be quite the same again.

I wasnít going to the talk hoping for answers, or hoping for hope, or hoping for anything, really. I have a belief in an afterlife and didnít need anyone to prove it to me. But I did want to see what this guy, who seems to have touched it in a real tangible way, was like. Heís become quite famous in some circles and has spoken all over the world. I just felt the need to see what he was like.

I had a hint of promise when he arrived at the hall. He chatted briefly with some musicians who were also going to be playing after his speech and when he walked away, the woman in the group turned to another guy and said "whatís his story? whatís his deal? Because I could just feel something very special with him..." I was encouraged.

Unfortunately he had a very small crowd, which he complained about a couple of times, pointing out that he would be speaking to a crowd of 3,000 the next night. But then he also said that if one person was there who needed his message, it was good that heíd come. He pointed out that he accepts no money for his talks, but then also pointed out how he runs several enterprises and doesnít want for money now (so Iím not quite sure how those two statements correlate).

I had the same reaction to him that I had to his book--a combination of earnestness and humility combined with an off-putting self-centeredness. And his presentation was abominable. For someone who has spoken to groups all over the world, been the darling of TV shows, and seems to be on the road most of the time, I thought he would have honed his presentation a bit. He was awkward and disorganized. He sat and read long passages from his book, he read bits off of his computer (which we had to wait awhile for him to find).

I think his story is an amazing one. And obviously he has his acolytes. But I compared the experience of seeing him for the first (and last) time with seeing Steve for the first time. They are both men, once near death, now living a "bonus round," who are using their remaining time constructively to help other people. Both have an earnestness and an intensity. Neither knows why he is alive when so many peers are dead. Both have found a meaning in life by bringing a message to other people.

But where I find an endearing humility in Steveís approach to his "bonus round" and to his dedication to sharing with people the reality of living with AIDS, in the hope of making people realize the necessity for safety, for precautions, and in showing the medical community what an effect they have on the lives of their patients, I found an arrogance in this guyís presentation...there was a lot of "I have," "Iíve been," "I am," etc., a lot of self-aggrandizing. It was the same thing that gave me a little uneasy feeling about his book.

Maybe it was that he was jet-lagged (he told us several times how he had just flown in from London and how he needed to fly back to LA as soon as he finished his presentation). And maybe he really is a very special person.

Maybe he just needed a piano and a bit of charisma.

One Year Ago:
Hey, Buddy, Can you Spare a Dime?

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 3/31/01 by Bev Sykes