This past weekend was my 25th high school graduating class reunion (Kelso High School, Class of 1978) down in Longview. I haven't kept all that close contact with anyone whith whom I went to school, with the exception of a couple of people via sporadic email correspondence, and frankly was one of those kids who couldn't wait to get out of town at the earliest possible opportunity. I didn't move to Longview until I was 10, while most of these kids grew up together. Even though I managed to make some inroads into their long-established social circles by the time of graduation, I never really fit into the insular, provincial small town culture on which they had been nurtured. So, it wasn't exactly like I felt an overwhelming desire to relive past glories or try to play catch up, but I do admit to a sense of curiosity about what had happened to some of these people, and how had my life turned out in comparison.
I suppose the result should have been pretty much as expected. A lot of my class still lives in the Longview/Kelso area, most having never left, while a few others seem to have be inexorably drawn back to the place. I have a lot of relatives who still live in the area, including my mom, maternal grandmother, two brothers, and assorted aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., but I only get down a few times a year for visits. And during those infrequent and brief sojourns I probably haven't run into anyone from my high school class in well over a decade. So, there's that contingent, along with a relatively equal number of people who, like myself either deliberately or through happenstance scattered themselves across the map.
Considering that 25 years is sort of a milestone, it was surprising and a little disappointing how light the turnout was. We had a fairly large graduating class (about 330) for our location, and yet between the two days of the reunion, there were perhaps roughly 100 or so attendees. And of those, I would have been hard pressed to identify half of them as people I actually went to school with. With that large a group of kids, it's inevitable that some of them would never cross paths, but it was a bit of a shock to realize just how many that entailed for me personally. So, basically you end up chatting with people with whom the only thing you have in common is the fact that you went to the same school for the same three years, and that's pretty much it. Otherwise, you have no context on which to relate, short of resorting to reliving common experiences from a quarter century in the past: the football stadium burning down, the school flooding, things like that. While this may be helpful in terms of dusting the cobwebs off old, nearly forgotten memories, it felt a bit discomfiting to have to go that far back just in order to have a topic for light conversation.
Fortunately, there were a fair number of people with whom I had had closer, more sustained relationships (for the time at least), and they were the ones I most enjoyed seeing. Some amazingly still look very much like their graduation photos (which the organizers either thoughtfully or maliciously -- depending on your viewpoint -- provided for identification purposes), with only a change of hairstyle to show the passage of the intervening years. These are the people who were just lucky enough to have extremely resilient genes, and one can't help but feel a tiny bit of niggling jealousy at their good fortune in that regard. Then there are the others (like me for example) who don't look anything like our younger selves; we've lost hair and gained weight, we went from svelt to paunchy, whippet-thin to jowly, parts of our bodies that once were taut and firm now sag and droop and show obvious effects of gravity. In short, we look 25 years older, which is sort of what you'd expect.
I was particularly pleased to run into one of my best friends from high school, Arni May, part of a small cabal of artists-cum-intellectual-rabble-rousers who were about as close as our class ever came to having some sort of avant-garde movement. We were the ones who were into music and drama, punk rock (sans the piercings, mohawks and fashions) and philosophy, a band of pranksters who created our own religious cult, tried to write subversive articles for the school paper, and shocked the librarians by actually checking out Ayn Rand novels -- and then reading them. As an aesthetic movement it was shamefully naive and timid, but for a small town that was known more for turning out millworkers and loggers than pedants and artists, it was the best we could manage on our own. And I was pleased to see that, like myself he's continued to pursue his artistic interests, now running a major recording studio in Portland and doing occasional session gigs. Our shared interest in art and music was the foundation of our relationship, and it was nice to know both of us still hold those things in high regard.
As for the rest of the people who showed up, my responses ran the gamut from being mildly pleased to see them to "Uh, did we have any classes together?" I did manage to exchange a few phone numbers and emails, particularly with a couple of folks who it turns out live in Seattle and are avid sailors themselves. But for most of the rest, while it was certainly nice to see them again however briefly, I realized after a few hours of chit-chatting, that there is simply no way to reconnect with their lives, if such a thing is even ultimately desireable. Everyone has moved away from that common center of experience that is High School; some have moved further away than others, and unlike the complex interconnections of say a spiderweb, what you really have is something more akin to the radial arms of an old-fashioned wagon wheel. Trying to send out some thin connector from your spoke to theirs just seems so hard. There are too many obsticals, too much time, so many unshared experiences that get in the way. You aren't the same person you were 25 years ago, and neither are they, nor would you wish to be.
So, you share a drink, and a funny story, and maybe even a brief turn on the dancefloor late in the evening, and then it's all over and the flimsy, gossamer soap-bubble of another time bursts with the harsh light of the apres-party clean up. And maybe you try to reinflate it briefly over an early morning sojourn to an all-night diner, where you manage to keep the illusion of comradarie and undying friendship alive for another hour or so over coffee and Monte Cristo sandwiches. But eventually you have to leave, you have to just let it go and understand that like a dream, it may be pleasant while it's happening, but when you wake up too early the next morning, groggy from a weekend of too much partying and too little sleep, that the simple and unavoidable reality is that as Thomas Wolfe said, "You can't go home again," at least not permanently, although sometimes it's nice to return for a brief visit.
After breakfast I went downtown, cruised through the Market just for fun, then caught a movie at Park Place. "The Italian Job", based on one of my favorite Michael Caine films from the '60's. It's not a remake in the strictest sense of the word, which is fine by me, as they used just enough elements from the original to pay it the proper respect (even going so far as to show a clip from its predecessor with almost subliminal quickness), but still coming up with something original and quirky on its own merits.
After the movie let out, I raced up the hill to the bus, and had just enough time to stop by my storage locker to pick up my tuxedo in preparation for the evening's Duck Dodge theme, "Prom Night". For the first time since I've been helping out on the Committee Boat, I actually got invited to crew on a participating boat, courtesy of my friend Mary, who's boss owns a sailboat and races occasionally. I picked up her boyfriend DJ, and we headed down the back side of Capital Hill to The Queen City Yacht Club in Portage Bay (See Entry Below, "Black Duck" for more on that.)
(Historical Footnote: for much of it's civic history Seattle was known as "The Queen City", an epithet given to it ironically by a Portland-based real-estate firm around 1869 when they described their northern neighbor as, "The Future Queen City Of The Pacific". In 1982 the local Convention Bureau changed it to, "The Emerald City", although the more contemporary epithet never really caught on with the locals.)
Wednesday morning was up early again, shoving off for another try at getting the boat into a yard. The trip was somewhat less eventful than the day before, as I'd made a point of actually checking out the location of CSR on my way back to the marina, thus correcting my neglecting of what must be at least the third or fourth most important rule of seamanship: Always Check The Map. Tied up at the dock, went inside to talk to the manager (a very nice woman by the name of Cindy), got an estimate on the work (significantly more than the other place, but not unreasonable given the circumstances), and made arrangements for an overnight stay. Hopped into my dinghy and made a pleasant, albeit somewhat bumpy return passage to AGC, where I transferred from water to land vehicle.
Had another leisurely breakfast, then some shopping, a bit of laundry and finished up the afternoon with a second movie ("Pirates Of The Carribean" not bad at all, although after viewing the trailers for coming attractions it seems pretty clear Disney has completely run out of new ideas and for the next couple of years will only make films based on their theme-park rides. I predict when "It's A Small World: The Motion Picture" opens sometime in 2009, the day will officially herald the "End Of Western Civilization As We Know It".)
The evening was rounded out by a quick visit to the boatyard to see the results of the cleaning and bottom painting, and resulted in a nice chat with Kathy, one of the yard owners, and a fellow Duck Dodger. This is one of the things I'm really beginning to like about boaters; they're a very tight community, similar in many ways to the local theatre crowd. They help each other out, make new folks feel at home, and generally enjoy each other's company. They're all-around nice folks.
Then it was off to a birthday party, then finally to bed. A bit weird climbing a ladder to get into a boat that's propped up on spindly little jackstands eight feet up in the air. Didn't sleep too well either, as I'm not used to having a bed that doesn't move; usually there's at least a tiny bit of sway from the motion of the water, even on a quiet night, and being on unmoving dry land takes a bit of getting used to.
Spent the past two days working to get the bottom of "Tigers Eye" painted, which resulted in a couple of unexpected adventures. First off, I'd made arrangements to take her to a local boatyard first thing Tuesday morning. So, up at my usual work time of around 6:30 a.m., and after a bit of last-minute off loading of some neccessaries in case I had to overnight in the Bus, I cast off and headed up the lake, cats whining and moaning the whole way. Unfortunately, I missed the boatyard dock and ended up backtracking for a bit before I located them, finally docking about a half hour behind schedule. It was such a pleasant morning that I didn't really mind the delay.
After consulting with the manager for a few minutes, we came to a somewhat disturbing conclusion; their boat lift (basically a sort of forklift-on-steroids contraption) wouldn't be able to deal with my boat. Essentially, my keel design (the heavy, wing-like structure on the bottom of the boat) was such that they didn't think they could properly block up the boat on the lift, and they were concerned that the second it came out of the water it would tip forward, causing moderate-to-severe damage to the hull. Naturally, this put me in a bit of a pickle; I'd already scheduled to take two vacation days from work to deal with this, and since I was already into Day 1, it would be next to impossible to reschedule them. Plus, I'd have to find another boatyard, get another estimate, schedule an appointment, and start the whole process all over again. Fortunately, the manager was willing to make a few phone calls on my behalf, and got lucky on the first try. CSR boatyard, straight across the cut from where I was had a crane lift that could easily accomodate me and would try to squeeze me onto their schedule, but not until Wednesday morning. The down side was that because they were already working on a number of other projects, they couldn't guarantee getting me back in the water until possibly as late as Monday. On the other hand, they would let me stay aboard if I needed to until then. So, I had an appointment at least, which made the situation somewhat more salvageable.
Back to AGC (my marina) I go, stopping first for a bit of gas on the way. At which point it was only about 10:00 a.m. and me with the rest of the day free and no plans.
First order of business of course was breakfast, as I hadn't even had so much as a cup of coffee at this point, which means I was barely functional -- it's amazing I was able to maneuver a 28 foot-long boat around under the circumstances. My first choice, The Mecca was closed for repairs, so I headed across the street to Sorry Charlies as a Plan B.
Sorry Charlies, for those of you who haven't been around Seattle much is one of the last of those divey restaurants that harken back to the '50's or '60's, when diner food was simple, unpretentious and loaded with all the things your doctor keeps telling you to avoid. It also has the distinction of being at times one of the most surreal nightspots in the city, a place where you walk in and either feel like you've suddenly been transported to the set of a David Lynch film, or at least get the impression that he walked in once and gathered inspiration from it. Sadly, it's also destined for closure in the very near future, due to the bad economy and the gradual dying off of its core patrons, those elderly retired folks of modest means who seem to be slowly disappearing from our urban landscape like some sort of endangered species.
In the rather bright light of mid-morning, however, it looked much more prosaic, and there was a palpable atmosphere of lingering dread in the air. The handful of customers were pretty much avoiding contact with anyone but the lone waitress, who made a point of repeating the sad tale of impending closure to every new person who walked in the door. But then again, it may very well be the last time I actually set foot in the place, so the funereal mood seemed appropriate.
It's too bad really. Sorry Charlie's is one of those places that reminds people of what Seattle used to be like not so many years ago, before the rise of Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks, before the dotcom boom-and-bust cycle those multi-national behemoths helped in large part to spawn, when it was just a small-sized city of modest means and amibtion, peopled by blue-collar working types, unpretentious, pragmatic, stoic, with grit under their fingernails and nicotine stains on their teeth. A place where coffee was black sludge poured from a big stainless steel urn, and where you were as likely to hear Norwegan spoken as English. A city of airplane builders, fishermen, lumberjacks and longshoremen. A city that left you alone to be as quirky or eccentric as you pleased, so long as you didn't disturb your neighbors. A city that rolled up the sidewalks at 9:00 p.m., was fast asleep by 10:00 and up at 6:00. A city that in the not-too-distant future will only be a vague memory, doomed to be almost entirely forgotten except for a few old souls who will carry the memories of those times and that place around inside them like a tattered remnant of a newspaper photograph inside a fat, battered leather wallet permanently warped to the shape of the owner's hip. A ghost walking unnoticed among the living masses who don't have time to remember.
In the continuing saga of my Duck Dodge experiences, last night I had the chance to crew on my first boat. I use this term relatively loosely, as there were about 20 people total aboard, however, I was one of the handful who actually worked, and wasn't just along merely for the ride.
A friend's boss co-owns a 40 foot sailboat "Beluga", and we all arrived at Queen City Yacht Club (for you Seattle newbies, before the Chamber Of Commerce went all gaga on us in the late '80's and started referring to Seattle as "The Emerald City", for most of the 20th century the city had the monniker, "The Queen City" -- albeit the origin of this seems to be somewhat shrouded in mystery) at around 6:00 p.m. dressed in our finest formal wear, as the theme this week was "Prom Night".
After a leisurely motor through Portage Bay and into Lake Union, we hoisted sail and did a bit of simple maneouvering to get those of us more interested in racing than drinking (although, this being Duck Dodge, this was no crew of teetotalers), used to the skipper's commands and the characteristics of the boat itself. I was assigned the position of Starboard Jib Grinder, which essentially means I was responsible for winding the windlass on the right side of the cockpit, which controls the tension of the jib (forward) sail on the boat. In racing, even an informal one like this, it's not a particularly glamorous position as it entails actually doing physical labor. Still, it's a good location to observe both how the skipper handles the boat in general, as well as how the sails are adjusted for maximum performance.
Unfortunately, we didn't get a very good start, being somewhat behind the main pack of boats, and although we did manage to gain on and overtake several, ultimately our size worked against us in the light air, as did the fact that we were somewhat overloaded with extra weight. Still, even though we finished fifth overall, we did manage to snag the coveted "Black Duck" for having the most people in costume. The awards for placing in Duck Dodge heats are a small duck decal, which most skippers apply to either their masts or to their aft transom (in case you've been out on the water and wondered why that boat had all those little ducky decals on it, well now you know). However, this particular skipper has a different tradition; since the majority of his "crew" consists of his employees, instead of taking the full credit by applying the Duck to his boat, he takes them into his office, where they are framed and put on display as a reminder to everyone that winning it required a team effort, and thus everyone gets to share in the sense of accomplishment.
There's nothing quite like having your car broken into twice in less than two months to make one seriously reconsider one's attachment to personal possessions. Americans in particular tend to regard our automobiles as an extension of our personal property to a degree to which many other cultures simply don't ascribe. For us it's more than just a conveyance, a convenient method for getting from one place to another. If, as they say, "a man's home is his castle", then certainly his automobile is more like a tiny, mobile piece of his personal fiefdom, in much the same way that a foreign embassy is considered a small enclave of native soil in a foreign land. So, when that space is violated, we tend to think of it in much more personal terms than an unwanted and inconvenient violation of property; it's an affront to our personal sovereignty.
This time, however, the theft was doubly troubling to me, first of all because it happened in broad daylight, in the relative security of a grocery store parking lot, but also because this time instead of just swiping a bunch of CD's (which, while certainly no small loss in monetary terms can always be replaced), they also made off with my dayplanner, which among other things contained my PDA (which itself contains records of bank transactions, phone contacts, and other personal information), as well as my Social Security Card, Voter's Registration, a couple of department store charge cards, bank account numbers, checks, health insurance cards, and a lot of other personal information, which could very easily leave me open to Identity Theft.
That's what's more troubling to me than the loss of the physical possessions; the fact that with this information someone with sufficient knowledge and access could literally take over my life. Of course, I've closed the bank accounts, cancelled the charge cards, notified the police, Social Security Admin., Federal Trade Commission, credit agencies, et al, so there is a relatively small likelihood of this actually occuring. But still, it's a little disconcerting to realize that in order to prevent someone else from impersonating you and ruining your financial standing, you basically have to completely delete your own identity and start anew.
Yet, all the while I'm making the phone calls, sending the emails and downloading the appropriate forms, there's a tiny little voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to just STAY deleted. After all, they say that every problem is also an opportunity in disguise. What if one just decided to disengage from The Grid completely; no bank accounts, no credit cards, no known address, phone number or place of residence? No way to be tracked through the myriad of intricately connected electronic spiderwebs that in the modern world represent who we are, that define our physical, as well as our financial, national and cultural identities with more exactitude in many ways than our corporeal beings. Is such a thing even possible today? Oh sure, there are probably millions of people in third world countries, say in sub-Saharan Africa, on the Mongolian steppes, or on tiny islands in the South Pacific, who can actually travel the entire arc of their lives from cradle-to-grave without ever once registering so much as a blip in a database or without even so much as a birth certificate to indicate they were ever a living, breathing member of the human species occupying space on planet Earth. But can such a thing be done in a modern technological society without suffering severe negative consequences?
I've known a few people who've actually tried to pull this off, primarily survivalist-fundie types who were convinced the world was just one big conspiracy to enslave them, or who at the very least seemed to be of the opinion that they shouldn't have to actually work in order to live, evidentally derived from some perverted Thoreau-ian sense of individual self-sufficiency. They got by without Social Security numbers, bank accounts, permanent addresses, and most of the other physical manefestations of identity, but it always seemed to me they sacrificed far more than they actually gained in terms of any true sense of "independence". In the modern world it is almost completely impossible for one to provide all the basic necessities of existence through one's own efforts, even at what would be considered the barest subsistence level. We're an interdependent society, we need others to provide those things for us that we cannot provide by ourselves, and they in turn are equally dependent upon us. The idea that one can be completely free and independent of the influence, effort or needs of others is simply a mythology of our forefathers that has no bearing or relevence in today's world. And even, if it could be accomplished with even a modicum of success, it would require such a degree of separation from humanity that few, including those proponents of the concept in principle, would be willing or even able to endure that kind of physical, cultural and emotional isolation. Human beings are at our roots social creatures, and despite the American Mythos of the solitary trapper/explorer/gunslinger/whathaveyou, most of us would crumble in a matter of weeks, if not days if faced with the prospect of having to spend the greater part of our existence separated from the world of our fellow Homo Sapiens. Sure, there are probably a handful of amoral, anti-social, or just plain nutcases for whom such self-imposed exile would probably be mutually beneficial, but such cases would be rare in the extreme.
Still, it's a nice fantasy to play Robinson Crusoe or Natty Bumpo or even Edward Lyle (Gene Hackman's character from "Enemy Of The State"), but that's all it really can be for me -- a fantasy.
Now, I just have to get my bank account reactivated and a new ATM card sent to me. Then I suppose I can start buying CD's again. No doubt the RIAA with take notice and approve of my actions.
I've come to a realization: consuming approximately one pound of Peco's pulled pork (with medium sauce, unspiked & no beans) in a single sitting does not ensure a high level of afternoon work-related motivation on a hot, sunny Seattle day, especially when you were up until 1:00 a.m. watching bands in Pioneer Square.
Yeah, yeah I know. I'm waxing overly enthusiastic about this band (and probably disturbing those of you not used to seeing me wax particularly enthusiastically about anything! Hey, I can't maintain that sanguine personality ALL the time!), but if you want to hear what all the fuss is about they'll be on KUOW's "The Beat" today starting at 14:00 (that's 2:00 p.m. to you civvies) PDT or a little over an hour from now. If you're not in the Seattle area or not close to a radio, you can listen-in online by going to: www.kuow.org and clicking the "Listen Live Now" link at the top of the page.
If you've never seen them, you really, really must go give a listen to Fruit at The Fenix Underground tomorrow night. Individually and collectively they've won a whole slew of awards (all well-deserved), and by all rights are probably one of the most kick-ass bands I've heard in a long time -- imagine a Southern Hemisphere love child of The Pretenders, The Indigo Girls Ani DeFranco and NRBQ, with three -- count 'em THREE -- exceptional female singer/musician/songwriters, any of whom could easily front a rocking band on their own.
I first ran into Fruit at the 2000 Womad Festival, and have been lucky enough to see them twice again since then, including a very bizarre gig at the 2001 Fourth Of JulIvers at Myrtle Edwards Park -- bizarre only in the sense that I had no idea they'd be playing there, and was probably only one of perhaps a half dozen of the 40 or 50 listeners who'd even heard of them before. Their set last October at The Century Ballroom revealed a level of musical maturity that, albeit a welcome surprise, was no less impressive, given their earlier punk-rock-meets-warm-jazz ouvre.
I'm telling you, these are some styling women, and you would be hard pressed to encounter better musicians or better showmanship. Considering that it's only a measley $5, I guarantee you will NOT be disappointed. Experiencing the musical genius that is Mel Watson alone would be worth four or five times the price of admission -- I'd love to see her and Kenny G do a battle of the circular-breathers; she'd wipe his lame-ass all over the stage without breaking a sweat.
And if for some reason you simply cannot do the show tomorrow, I've got an even BETTER deal for you -- you can catch them FOR FREE at
The Kent Summer Concert Series. Okay, I hear what you're saying, but really this might be the one time when it's actually worth taking a trek to Kent
The Fourth of July party at my Uncle Mike and Aunt Barbara's down in Portland turned out to be a rather sizeable (even by Comte & McMenamin standards) mini family reunion, unbeknownst to me (although everyone else seemed to have been clued-in). In addition to my aunt & uncle, those in attendance included my Dad's other sisters, PJ and Carolyn, Grandma Justine, my cousins Kim, Christie & Kelly, my niece Jessica, and a whole passel of second cousins, grand nieces & nephews, friends, neighbors & significant others -- about 50 all total. At one point there were five generations of The Comte/McMenamin/McMann Clan in the same room. Pretty remarkable.
As kids, "the cuzzes" were all pretty close, since for most of our early years we all lived within a few tens of miles of each other. Being a big ole' Irish Catholic Family, we of course spent many holidays at my grandparent's house in NE Portland, plus the seemingly incessant annual birthdays, summer picnics, etc., etc. Unfortunately, over the course of our adult lives, we've all pretty much scattered to the winds, so we've only been able to see each other very infrequently. I think the last time all four of us were together was about eight years ago at my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary party, and that was such a huge event that we didn't really spend all that much time WITH each other. Still, it always feels like one of those situations where, regardless of how long it's been, we seem to be able to just pick up the thread, and the familial bonding kicks in almost as if those intervening years didn't actually occur. This is what it's like to have a real family, something most people probably take for granted (as I know I do to a large extent with the other side of my family, whom for whatever reason, I've never felt as strongly connected to as I do my father's side -- probably due primarily to those early bonding experiences).
Some highlights of the day include:
My complete surprise at seeing the cuzzes when I walked in (they knew I was coming, but I didn't know they'd be there).
Watching Grandma Justine hold court just like the old days.
Being able to see four mountains (Hood, St. Helens, Adams & Rainier) in one view.
Placing bets on how long the afternoon slumbering child would manage to stay conked out, sprawled across the comfy chair (four hours plus as it turns out).
Remembering all the crazy stuff we used to do as kids.
The GIANT Leggo pile.
The Chocolate Cake Incident.
The 40 foot ketch with the 30 foot long American Flag.
The unexpected arrival of the fire trucks.
BUTTERED CINNAMON TOAST!
The grand fireworks display that happened right in front of us, on a decidedly non-rickety deck. (Added Bonus: being able to see the fireworks displays of about a half dozen small cities to the north).
Playing cards with the cuzzes until 2:00 a.m.
Being awakened at 6:00 a.m. by the afore-mentioned slumbering child, passing her Acting 101 class by coming up with 23 distinctly different inflections on the word "daddy".
Actually arriving on-time to my 10:30 a.m. tech rehearsal in Seattle.
Needless to say, a good time was had by all. Just wish we could do it more often.
My slip-neighbor (No, dirty, dirty-minded people that's NOT what it means!) Kaye still hasn't quite given up the life of a landlubber. This morning (which ranked about an 11 on the scale for Early Summer In The Pacific Northwest) the sun was bright and the sky was a brilliant Paul Newman blue, and Kaye was on the aft deck of her 40' Tollycraft "Jazzy Lady" pruning her rose bush tree. Yes, this woman, who caught the liveaboard bug at around the same time as myself, has a six foot high rose tree on her boat. That, and about a dozen planters with a wide assortment of flowering plants (I'm no good with flowers, so don't ask me the names -- I think some are peonies though), scattered across the back of her boat and spilling over onto the dock. It does allow for a bit of color in an otherwise monochromatic pallet (gelcoat whites, weathered wood greys and Lake Union greens predominate), and I admit it is kind of nice to have a bit of actual ground around. But, even Kaye admits a lot of it is due to the fact that she just can't completely let go of the idea of having a garden in what is essentially an aquatic environment.
So, let this be a lesson to those of you with green thumbs -- unless you can satisfy yourself with occasionally harvesting the lake fuzz that grows on the bottom of your boat beneath the waterline, a liveaboard lifestyle is probably not one you should consider.
My friend Matt had a little Birthday soiree last night at The Elysian on CapHill to celebrate his 28th. His GF Mary went way ABOVE and BEYOND the call of duty, going so far as to phone Matt's mom back east to enquire about his favorite childhood dessert, so she could make it for him (these two are so cute together, we've already started naming their children).
Turns out the preferred delicacy is something called a Chocolate Twinkie Torte, a concoction that could only have originated in the mind of some inventive housewife somewhere in White Trash Rural America, and which has a combined caloric, carbohydrate and sugar content guaranteed to knock off at least a dozen diabetics in a single serving. Mary did make a slight substitution to the recipe, using CoolWhip (tm) instead of the recommended whipping cream, which of course only served to increase the preservatives content of the confection. Given the Twinkies' almost mythological reputation for shelf-life stability, we estimated that if properly stored, this dessert could easily outlast a significant portion of humanity itself.
I have to admit it was pretty tasty, although the inevitable blood-sugar crash that occured about an hour after consumption was sufficient to make me cut short my participation in the festivities. They were just digging into CTT #2 (out of a heart-clogging 4 on the table) when I left. I can only hope the rest of the celebrants made it out alive.