Sunday, July 03, 2005

ahm lichen beer

Oh, constant reader. Or sporadic reader. Here's my hodge-podge. I'd like to blame the following randomness on our culture's growing addiction to sound-bytes but that's crap. A flurry of disconnected ideas is the unrefined ore of thought. I don't have the time or inclination to polish the little lumps. Not much of a diamond lover anyway. ANYHOW, here it is.

Did a one-day training at KBR this past week. Doesn't that just itch to be read KGB? And, their website has one translation option: Russian! No kidding. Known once-upon-a-time as Kellogg, Brown & Root, my agent, it seemed, tried to downplay their relationship to the Mother Ship...but that was bogus. Halliburton is everywhere. Their intranet site is called HALWORLD. As in, "Open the pod bay doors, HAL." A questionable choice, at best.

Death or illness among your extended group of friends can be a litmus test for how far you've drifted away. Someone I had a real affection for, regardless of the lack of regular socializing, died this past week. Janet was quirky, efficient and kind to the bone. You know how sweetness can rise to the surface of a person and be so much more endearing because it breaks through their cpa facade? She was critically ill for two months before passing and I had no idea. I mourned and berated myself for failing to keep in contact. But, the fact is, that is the nature of casual friendships. It is foolish to think that she would have known what was going on in my life, though I know her affection for me and my family was sincere. So is goes. I will miss her. The loss feels sharper than I would have guessed it would. My circle of friends has shrunk–partly because people change and relationships evolve/devolve. Partly because our (Barbara's and my) philosophy and practice of non-monogamy has, it seems, greatly increased the expected distance of waning friendships.

Speaking of litmus tests (a terrible segue, I admit), it occurred to me that there is a small subset of all the people I know that I might call, for instance, when I've been drinking. Oh, enough with the euphemisms–when I'm good and drunk. It's a curious group. There's also another category, people you can leave voicemail messages for when you are drunk. You have to choose this group carefully (an oxymoron for enebriated decision-makers) because recordings are made to be played back. Over and over. Read on.

We finally went on a St. Arnold's brewery tour. And, goodgodalmighty, it was a hot day. But the beer was cold and delicious. And free. One should always have some self-descriptors that might blossom into country-western lyrics: "I'm a three-beer woman, a fourth token in my hand...I'd trade it in for pale ale, but I ken har'ly stand," etc.

[FYI, I called one of my best friends and my youngest sister in my besotted state. I resisted leaving voicemail messages at my parents' home or The White House.]

Of course, the sainted name of this place caught my attention. Who knew there was a patron saint of beer? Is that even true? I had to research. But I got waylaid at and never was able to verify if that was, in fact, a "fact." The important thing I did learn at–I can be such an adolescent) was that you can navigate from Saints & Angels to the Saints Index and just go to town. St. Arnold's description wasn't very enlightening (I kill myself) but there was a feedback box that I was utterly taken by:

How reverent is "Rate This Saint"? It's like Star Search for Saints. Vote on your favorite saint. Runners Up get a gift certificate to the Vatican gift shop.

While I was trying to wrap my brain around this concept of a litmus test, I looked up the word.

Litmus test n
  1. a coloring material (obtained from lichens) that turns red in acid solutions and blue in alkaline solutions
  2. a test that relies on a single indicator

Lichen. Another slangy homonym for my entertainment. I'm likin' me some lichen. I had no idea that litmus was made from lichens.

I think the urge to reduce events to a single indicator is natural but naïve. Yet the concept of a litmus test is so appealing to me. A figurative measurement of intangible catalysts.

Also, I was looking up "occurred" to make sure I'd spelled it right and, ironically, I typed the url incorrectly: Up comes a site with the masthead "dictionary". I don't get it. If you register a site about dictionaries and you settle on a misspelled url, isn't that embarrassing? It's not like they are making a statement or being tongue-in-cheek. Crackerheads.

Okay, I must evolve into a walking upright position now and get away from this computer. I'm positively perfecting a cyber slouch.

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