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2008-01-21 - 10:21 a.m.

I really like taking photos with my new camera. It's a fancy camera, a real one, so when you press the shutter-release button, it makes something mechanical happen. The mirror flips down and then flips back up. The only thing missing is the click and whir and click of the film advancing. It is, after going from film to little digital camera to this current full-on photographic device, a welcome sound. It feels like an accomplishment to take a photo with this thing, a stamp on the present, a kick to concrete, a clap in an empty gymnasium.

A friend is moving to Portland, so on Friday we stayed late at her going-away party, dancing to Justin Timberlake songs and drinking beer we kept out on the patio because it was very cold out. Because we stayed so late, after we came home and parked, we got to see some of Mount Vernon's underbelly. You hear about Mount Vernon's seedy past--I've heard it called the Gay Ghetto--but it's always felt cleaned up to me. Not so at 3:45 in the morning on winter Friday nights. On the way home, we passed a transvestite hooker offering up all six feet three inches of her stuff on Calvert Street, which is normally a pretty genteel street. We parked and on Guilford (meter expired), we walked past a woman or maybe a man with long hair blowing a dude sitting in his driver's seat. My girlfriend said, "He looked relaxed." As we turned a corner, we saw a white guy, driving an older Ford Thunderbird, stop at the green light in front of the 7-Eleven and open his door for the transvestite. They drove off. And then, two blocks away, we saw a sixty-year-old guy huffing something from a paper towel, leaning on a lightpost and barely standing up.

We're going to New York for a weekend trip. There's a conference I try to go to every year, and this year they decided to make it as crowded as possible. As a result, they sold out of the registrations, whatever that means. But I like New York in doses and we're going anyway. And a little school in Pennsylvania wants to interview me for a job, and so I'll bring my suit and wrap my head and neck in fabric and eat slices of pizza and get lost in a museum and get expensively drunk.

I try to get excited about my job. Not true. I try to get excited about other things while at my job, but even that's hard sometimes. Secret: I spend a lot of time in the stalls in the men's room, reading.

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