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Monday, August 12, 2002

Nervous as a cat. That was me all day today, hoping the delivery truck would pull up with my new computer. I was up, I was down, I was flinching at every sound. I made the fastest trip to the post office and back in the two years I've lived here, and while I was gone I left two notes on the door pleading with the driver to leave all packages.

When I saw an actual FedEx truck parked in a driveway down the street just after I left this morning, I almost made a U-turn. I might have done it, too, if there had been a place where I wouldn't have been endangering my own life and that of anyone else who happened along. By the time I found a likely spot to turn around, I was halfway to the post office, so I decided to keep going. I might have exceeded the posted speed limits, but I was only a smidgen above the de facto limits.

Zip! Zip! I was back in a flash, and the delivery truck was still in the same place. Harumph! A decoy!

Still, I held out hope that it would eventually find my own driveway. As the afternoon went on, I convinced myself that the driver had left my computer with someone else. I checked the tracking site and there was no update since the package was loaded in Dallas last Thursday night.

The scheduled delivery date is this Wednesday, but that doesn't keep me from expecting it to happen today. It's now 8:30 and getting dark, though, so I think the chances of having it show up are dwindling. So, first thing in the morning for sure, right? Right!

After a run of bad luck with some of the movies I've rented from Netflix lately, I struck emotional gold with I Am Sam. This is one of the sweetest, most heartbreaking, and at the same time most uplifting movies I've seen in a long time. It's about parenting, friendship and acceptance of the kinds of differences I was talking about a few days back.

And, I cried great big flowing buckets. What makes me cry in a movie isn't the sad part, though. I like to cry but I don't watch a picture to be brought down by a tragedy befalling a character I've come to care about. When I cry, it's usually because someone has surprised me by turning out to be better than I thought they were, or more compassionate.

I'll never forget the gasping sob that escaped from me at the end of Pollyanna, when the surly maid finally smiled. Of all the tragic events, and all the ups and downs that the movie took me through, that's what made me weep.

Sean Penn is brilliant in I Am Sam. He plays a developmentally disabled father, but he's also a whole human being with strengths that surmount his weaknesses, and a wise heart that helps close the gaps in his brain. But it was Michelle Pfeiffer, as the officious attorney who gradually comes to know and appreciate Sam, who made me cry, in two very different scenes, one with a highly charged emotional speech and the other with no dialogue at all.

The heaviest tears were saved for the end of the film, though, and that's as it should be. I wasn't eager to sit through over two hours of cinema, no matter how terrific the writing and acting were, without a big time payoff, and I Am Sam came through for me. After trying so hard to like Dragonfly, and Blow Dry, and The Million Dollar Hotel, and The Anniversary Party, and having them all come up a little short, I was ready for a punch in the gut like this.

Plus, I Am Sam makes such incredible use of covers of Beatle songs on its soundtrack that I can't imagine it having been done any other way.

looking southeast

Clouds in the evening sky.

I've been leaning this way since the primary election, but Jon Carroll pushed me over the edge with his column today. I already knew I wasn't going to vote to reelect our current governor, the odious Gray Davis, or his major opponent, the befuddled lightweight Bill Simon. We have a half dozen or so conservative fringe parties here in California, and there was never a chance I'd consider any of their candidates.

When I started doing research on the other possibilities (and there aren't many), I came across a site called Politics 1, with links to some of the more obscure parties and candidates. The only one who attracted my interest was Peter Miguel Camejo, of the Green Party. I don't know if I agree with all his positions, but I'm hard pressed to find anything in the party's "Ten Key Values" that I can't live with.

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Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Sunday At Home
"It's all about rationalizing, a wonderful talent if it's not abused."

Two years ago: Brazzle Dazzle Day
"It's mostly when I forget that I have a big gaping hole in the back of my head that the pain shoots out through my eyeballs."

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