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Thoughts on a Train - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Sep. 19th, 2003

10:18 am - Thoughts on a Train

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(This was written Thursday night somewhere in Montana during my second day on the train.)

Let me just say that having a cell phone that lets me get (SLOWLY) on the internet from THE TRAIN is pretty awesome. If this were a normal LJ entry I'd hyperlink all this shit. But actually I just lost my (already SLOW) net connection so I'm just gonna type and hit the submit button when I get back in range of the cell network (somewhere around Spokane I bet).

I can't believe I forgot my GPS unit. I could totally be posting location information with my LJ entries. The whole point of having such a completely worthless and silly toy is to take it on vacation!

I had a million things to do before I left so I didn't sleep before I left on Wednesday morning. Trying to stay awake during the 5 hour layover in Chicago so I didn't miss my train was quite the feat. Around 11am I went and found a bench by the river and took a little nap. It was kind of surreal to be napping in public in center of the The Big City. I mean I felt completely safe, it was broad daylight and there were lots of people around (mostly antmen1 eating lunch). But I got the impression that this was the kind of thing a city person wouldn't do, or maybe the kind of thing a frightened tourist from the suburbs definitely wouldn't do. I mean you really surrender your security to the trust of those around you when you sleep. No one stole my stuff and I felt better when I woke up 45 minutes later. There's a similar kind of surrendering of security on the train. Everyone puts their luggage in a pile on some shelves at the bottom of the car. And I just leave my laptop sitting in the lounge car where the one outlet is for 5-10 minutes at a time when I go to the bathroom or get stuff from my bags. I have other valuables sitting in my bags by my seat (which I am rarely at since I spend so much time in the lounge). I don't worry that anyone is going to steal my stuff. I occasionally think "maybe I should worry" but then I don't. It's a really good liberating vacationy kind of feeling to just decide not to worry about people stealing your shit.

When riding in coach, there are no showers. I hadn't realized this. I hadn't showered during the day of chaos before I left, so I have learned to wash up with papertowels and handsoap in a tiny little train bathroom.

I am coordinating the IMC membership meeting from the train. No one has given me feedback on the email I sent yesterday, it took me an hour to send that email and I got snubbed. I hope people take this meeting seriously and come to it! There's nothing more depressing than having the big biannual membership meeting and having only 6 people show up. You just can't make democratic decisions or do visioning and FEEL like it means anything when there's only 6 people out of hundreds of members. I hope that we can have a good and satisfying discussion about integrating Girlzone2 stuff into IMC stuff. I spent much of today stuffing envelopes and putting little address labels on them. 275 envelopes. Whee.

I finally saw Moulin Rouge (stole my roomate's (revjack) DVDs before I left, watched it on the laptop last night. Sorry Jon, I'll take good care of them.). Holy crap that was an awesome movie. When it first started I thought maybe it was too over the top and silly and that I wouldn't like it but then it rocked my ass. Sooo pretty, such good tunes, such great silly acting, SO FUCKING SILLY. Did I mention that this movie took silliness to the tip top? And who knew that Nicole Kidman could convincingly play the twentysomething love interest.

The in-train movies so far that I've seen have been The Core and Holes. My god both of those movies sucked. The Core REALLY REALLY sucked. Oh my god. It's been a long time since I've watched bad scifi, I know it comes out several times every year, but wow. Who watches that crap? I mean I figure actual scifi fans have some significantly more sophisticated taste and I thought that non-scifi geeks hated scifi? Ugh. Crap. As for Holes...I laughed here and there but mostly it was a silly (not Moulin Rouge silly, more like Bill Cosby silly) kid's movie and it kinda dragged.

I've been re-watching Lord of the Rings (the extended version!) on and off all day. It's good envelope stuffing material.

Today I ate lunch in the dining car with a rich couple and one of their moms from suburban Seattle who had gotten 2 family delux bedrooms (I'm thinking that set them back a few thousand dollars) for them and their parents. They were coming home from Seattle. We made small talk. I told them about the IMC in mainstream rich people terms, they told me about how wonderfully affluent their home town was. They talked a lot about how arty their town was an how many festivals it had, but I kind of got the impression they didn't actually go to the festivals. They seemed nice enough.

We must be climbing the mountains (no wonder my cell phone died) my ears are popping like crazy.

That's about it so far. I'll see you tomorrow night herbivorous and Rose!

1 - antmen is a word that a friend of my parents gave to the Chicago businessmen years ago. I've always loved that term and decided I want to make it common usage. They really are just like ants if you sit on the wall by the Sears Tower at 4:30pm-5pm and watch them streaming out. At lunch it's funny to see all these people in yellow coats everywhere, I think I gathered that they are traders.

2 - girlzone was this awesome organization that existed in Urbana-Champaign for the last seven years. Their mission was to give workshops for girls aged 7-18 to learn skills that the girls want to learn. They focused on skills outside of the girl gender norm but really it was girl directed. They empowered girls to realize that they can learn anything they want to learn. So they taught stuff like skateboarding, power tools, web design, bass guitar, rock ballet, self defense, chemistry, knitting, fashion design, film making, rock instrumentation, etc. The organization was run by the blood sweat and tears of a half a dozen insanely hard working women, with one particularly ass kicking organizer at the center of the storm and after seven years of getting a ton of accolades and awards and getting REJECTED for every single major grant they ever applied for...they decided to throw in the towel. They thought, what kind of role models are we for girls if we tell them that if you want to make a difference you have to do it without compensation, you have to sacrifice the rest of your life to do it? They also thought, no one will ever integrate programming for girls into their organizations as long we're out there doing it for them. So they threw one last AWESOME (the third) Grrrlfest event and ended it. Everyone cried. A major treasure was lost from our community. But now there's some talk of someone else taking up the idea of creating a resource center and empowerment group for girls through the IMC. And I'm thinking of doing a similar group for boys. As long as girlzone existed, it's organizers had put an offer/challenge out to the men in the community to create a similar group for boys and no one took it up. I love girlzone, I love the idea of a boyzone, and if it all gets tied together under a general youth empowerment umbrella at the IMC, then I think I am TOTALLY down with helping to make it happen. Sure I don't have that much time, but I really can't think of any more important group that the IMC should be reaching out to, empowering, and giving space and skills to than high school aged kids. We're already doing it a little bit with our Shows group (keep an eye out for our upcoming, November, All Ages Music Fest). We'll see. It ain't gonna happen unless some people come forward comitted to doing it.

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:aces219
Date:September 19th, 2003 01:23 pm (UTC)

antmen

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The people in yellow coats work in the Mercantile Exchange, so, yes, traders of a sort. Antmen is a good term, even it if does make me weary of the city life.
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[User Picture]
From:superlemming13
Date:September 19th, 2003 02:11 pm (UTC)
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I really don't know why, but I think you should call it 'guyzone' instead of 'boyzone', if that was even a serious name that you tossed out there. :)
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[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:September 20th, 2003 01:31 pm (UTC)
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Yah we probably won't call either one anything-zone because Girlzone is officially over. We'll probably let the kids give it its own name.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:September 20th, 2003 04:26 am (UTC)

trust

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It's cool that you are trusting and that everyone has apparently been trustworthy.

A friend of mine was on Amtrak a few months ago and had stuff stolen while in the bathroom. He thinks it was an employee rather than a passenger.

The northwest is uber-cool, have fun!
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[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:September 20th, 2003 01:32 pm (UTC)

Re: trust

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Oh I know I'm a naive idiot. But also since it is really impossible to watch over all my stuff for 2.5 days without going insane I'm just gonna pretend I can trust everyone and hope for the best.
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From:boannan
Date:September 20th, 2003 09:54 pm (UTC)
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no more Girlzone! I was so very sad when I got that closing letter. :( but it sounds like they made the right choice (man, if Aimee thinks it's time to throw in the towel, it's time to throw in the towel, if you know what I mean!) I hope you all can resurrect Girl/Guy/Boy zone somehow!

ok, back to work, so I can go to the bar. have a blast in the northwest, wave down at us in CA! :)
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[User Picture]
From:aces219
Date:September 20th, 2003 11:17 pm (UTC)

one more thought

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The only people I ever see sleeping on benches downtown are homeless, so maybe that's why no one bothered your stuff. Good to know.

I understand what you mean about how you can go crazy trying to make sure no one takes your stuff. I feel the same way about my bike sometimes. Sure, I can take off the seat and the wheel wherever I go, but at some point you just have to lock it and hope for the best. Don't be stupid, but don't be paranoid either.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 23rd, 2003 02:58 pm (UTC)

Re: one more thought

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You can get a loop to secure the bike seat to your bike -- really, how often do you ever have to take off your bike seat? You really ought to lock your wheels when you lock your bike with a cable. Wheels are expensive, especially the real wheel, and they do get stolen in urban(a) areas.

Kryptonite sells skewer replacements for quick-release wheels which are locked with a special key, sorta like keys for U-Locks. I haven't tried it out, but it seems like it's both reasonably secure and eliminates the hassle of locking the wheels.

I'm far less paranoid about lights and other bike accessories, though, since they're far more cheaper and wouldn't put me out as much if they were stolen.

Arun
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