Wednesday was the convention of webloggers (long for 'bloggers) meetup at Ralph's Grocery. I went down there after work and sampled one of the new customer-suggested flavors of Kettle Chips (Thai Spice, or something), ate birthday cake (a day late) for a three hundred year old Benjamin Franklin, and occasionally talked to strangers. A reporter from the Post-Intelligencer was there, for reasons unclear. At one point, he introduced himself and recognized the name of my website. Apparently he'd spent the prior week reading hundreds of weblogs. In what seemed like a weirdly backhanded compliment he said something about how my journal wasn't as horrible as 75% of the others, in that at least 1 out of 10 posts were mildly interesting or had some sort of point of view. He also mentioned that the paper had thought about doing something like Sex and the City for (or of) weblogs, which was maybe one of the more hilarious thing I'd heard all week. Eventually, Peter started talking to him about lots of technology-related business news and I drank more beer and mingled with other people.
As the meeting up was dying down, I engaged in a series of text messages to negotiate a place to rendezvous with Samantha. We settled on Two Bells, and Peter, Dylan, and I headed off into the wilds of Belltown. Along the short distance, we passed the onetime heroin park (now with more fences and dogs), a fancy kitchen store, and a pack of mischief-makers. The bar was open despite some plumbing problems: the sale of beer, melted cheese with stacks of vegetables and bread, and other food items not requiring a working set of restrooms.
I have no recollection of Thursday except that it seemed like I accomplished a great deal in the arena of sending e-mail. It's also likely that I did a bit of swimming, after which I had dinner with Carolyn in the U-District. We tried to eat grilled cheese and tomato soup at Solstice, but were thwarted by a soup shortage, forcing us to go across the street to the Big Time. There were a freakish number of people there, possibly in lieu of being at the Husky basketball game.
After a hard day of chart and graph preparation, it was time for third Friday departmental happy hour at McCormick & Schmick in the downtown part of town. Although I caught a ride, we arrived just under the wire for cheap food ordering. It was all very dramatic -- I tried to pre-order through SMS, but they weren't received. As the clock struck six, the waitress took my order for two dollar nachos and all was well in the world. Our crowd expanded and contracted, occupying empty tables and benches on an approximate gradient of time in the program. A hot topic of conversation was the proper order for reading "Brokeback Mountain" and watching Brokeback Mountain. There were no easy answers [I watched, then read, which seemed like a decent disappointment avoidance strategy.], although we assured one reluctant viewer that he wouldn't be obligated to engage in gay sex just to see the movie and that the reviews weren't significantly inflated by the sensitivity of the topic. This seemed to convince the reluctant guy that maybe it would be o.k. to go see the film with his girlfriend over the weekend.
After a while, it was time to walk up to Pacific Place to see the new Woody Allen movie. Did you know that students get a discount there? They do. Of course, I'd heard that Match Point was all sorts of suspenseful and intense, but for the pleasantly entertaining first hour I wasn't sure if it had been oversold. Everyone just looks amazing and talks with great accents for a while, and then all of the sudden things are in motion, the plot thickens, and you're clutching your armrest and jumping at stray noises. By the time the credits roll, a $3.50 house Manhattan and a hour or so of debriefing across street seems like the only sensible option.