Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

23 Sep 2001, 4:25 a.m.

It's been a quiet weekend in Lake Wobegon

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I'm listening to the Dar Williams CD that Seth gave me for my birthday. Mortal City is the title. This weekend: regrets and fun. I missed the birthday party of a special friend of mine, and I wish I hadn't, and only part of the reason isn't my fault. I'm sick, cough sniffle sneeze. Read on, fair K5er!

So, on Saturday, something like five things were supposed to happen.

  1. Steve's birthday party, whose theme was rockclimbing, about 11am-2pmish
  2. Laura's equinox barbecue, 3ish to 7ish
  3. Hanging out with Leonard, time variable
  4. Listening to "A Prairie Home Companion", six to eight pm
  5. Watching The Big Lebowski, late night

But what happened? I got sick. I started coming down with something Friday morning -- I knew I should have gotten more than six or seven hours of sleep -- with the sneezing and the sniffling and the stuffy nose and the slight headache. And then on Friday night I felt myself getting worse, and on Saturday I knew I wouldn't be able to race around that day.

And Friday afternoon I learned -- this is one of the two or three times that the Daily Californian's Daily Calendar has ever been useful -- that West Coast Live, Saturday 10am-noon, would be hosting Garrison Keillor and Douglas Coupland! And I could go to the taping at the Julia Morgan Center on College Avenue! I mean, cool! Garrison Keillor, of whose "A Prarie Home Companion" I'm a fan. Douglas Coupland, about whom I've heard only good things, expecially from Anirvan. And I wouldn't have to do too much walking around and stressful socializing with new people and physical activity! Problems:

  • I would be late to Steve's rockclimbing party.
  • No one would be able, I presumed, to give me a ride to the rockclimbing party.
  • I wouldn't, therefore, be able to go at all to the rockclimbing party.
Argh! Well, partly out of sickness (I felt that I was too sick to go to a physically oriented event but not too sick to sit in a theater for two hours), and partly out of selfish calculation (how often do I get to see Keillor OR Coupland, much less the both of them?), and a tiny bit out of Leonard's wish that I go with him to the taping, I chose the taping over the party. I'm sorry, Steve. I have presents & a card for ya, and I'd love to treat you to dinner sometime, and I'm really sorry especially because I know that you're really busy these days, with research and other friends and your growing interest in political movements. I hope you forgive me.

So Leonard and I went (his account) to WCL. (We are still laughing over his fundamental attribution error joke.) I enjoyed Keillor's insistence during the interview that we should have specific phrases and terms to refer to the events of September eleventh (e.g., "the terrorist attacks" or "the hijackings and bombings" rather than "all of this" or "the recent events" or even, maybe, "the national tragedy," I infer). I got my copy of Lake Wobegon Days signed, and am quite pleased that someone whose work I so enjoy is such a gentleman when it comes to his fans. He takes the time to make every fan feel as though he cares about her.

Anirvan was supposed to be with us, since he's a huge Coupland fan, but he instead went to the March Against War and Racism in San Francisco. Leonard and I speculated -- at his suggestion -- as to whether a war against war and for racism would work, and vice versa. Leonard suggested that perhaps, to stay on message, War and Racism marches should be separate, so as to stay on-message. I wrote it up as an Audience True Story, and Sedge Thomson (the host) read it on the air! Whooppee! Not counting Segfault, this is the first time I've been published in years. And, after the show, not only did I receive a balloon half-filled with water as a souvenir, AND get my book signed, but I also introduced myself to Mr. Thomson, and he remembered my name from the story, and said that he had liked it. Oh, approval from others, how sweet.

Leonard and I went to Laura's barbecue next. My sister, who lives with Laura, was unavailable to attend, so I was her ambassador. The grilled portobello mushrooms were fantastic, with the green-and-wax bean salad and the roasted peppers tied for a close second. Fun people, too. I wish I could have stayed longer.

The PHC was a rerun from 1985. Boy, they were wacky back in those days. But I'm usually on the side of more skits and less music, and this particular show didn't sketch enough for my taste. Oh well.

I rested in between all this excitement, by the way. I was sick. I took naps.

And, late at night, I went to see The Big Lebowski. Leonard's regard for the film -- well, do I really need to say much except that I felt such praise oddly compelled me to see the movie on the big screen? And yes, I enjoyed it. Recommended. Maybe not for my parents, what with the potsmoking and the 200+ f-words and the complicated plot, but it's an exuberant and nonsensible media experience.

I feel better today. Russian homework, coming up, but not before a list of weirdness I saw in the classified ads of the East Bay Express earlier today:

  • Alexander Pope Salon. Yes, a hairdresser's.
  • Night Photo Workshop. What the heck is this?
  • Icarus Bungee ("Shouldn't it be Daedalus, not Icarus?" "It shouldn't be either.")

Originally published by Sumana Harihareswara at

One more thing

Sun Sep 23rd, 2001 at 04:31:16 PM PST

On Friday night, I had a terrific conversation with Seth, but had to stop because I was tired and needed to sleep. I'm glad we talked.

Originally published by Sumana Harihareswara at