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Friday through Sunday, I went to see Jenan in Pittsburgh. I learned that she inherited her figurine-collecting mania from her parents, who collect small ceramic shoes (her mom) and flags (her dad).

Jenan is much more concerned about my lactose intolerance than I ever am. I feel kind of bad about it. She had her Mom buy me soymilk, but I forgot it was there and didn’t even drink any.

We carefully examined the stock of a comics shop and a gaming shop, and deemed both sadly unsatisfactory, though she had a very serious conversation with the proprietor of the latter in which he swore to rectify the situation.

We went to the Carnegie Museum, and I made her stand around while I tried once again to get a good picture of Gustav Dore’s The Forest at Twilight. She mocked the modern art, and then tried to show me some stained glass she really liked, but they were remodeling and we couldn’t figure out where it was.

We also watched Death to Smoochy with her Mom. We were largely unimpressed. John Stewart’s character was only baaaarely in there most of the time, so it was kind of a problem when he abruptly became really important at the end. When we watched the deleted scenes, it turned out they’d cut out two or three scenes explaining his importance for “pacing reasons.” There’s probably a problem when something with the basic plot of Death to Smoochy meanders so much you start cutting out plot for pacing reasons. (The movie was also pretty sexist. Just throwing that out there.)

I also obstructed her efforts to roll a Star Wars RPG character over Skype with [people for whom I haven’t made up Secret Blog Names]. This was achieved via comments like, “So you could be an Ewok Noble!” and “What did many Bothans die for?” She eventually decided on a S–an (I completely don’t remember the name) rogue-type. I realized that it’s really easy to cheat on your rolls when you RP over Skype! Not that Jenan did. Of course.

I read an abridged version of The Dream of the Red Chamber\The Story of the Stone on the bus. It’s a Georgette Heyer novel where everyone dies. I approve of this, though I acknowledge that I was slightly disappointed when I realized it wasn’t really going to have much in common with Barry Hughart’s The Story of the Stone past the prologue.

There are a couple of practicum students at my workplace. One of them tends to make really offensive statements with an air of expectation that no one will ever disagree with her, like week-before-last’s, “She’s dating this Chinese boy, and, you know – no one ever thinks of their daughter marrying a Ching. No one thinks of their daughter becoming a Ching.”

Today’s, pronounced with massive vitriol, was, “His sexual orientation being what it is, I don’t think he has got any business sitting on the Family Court.” Her hatred for the judge was due, she said, to his order that she alert the court should she choose to get married again. (I assume there was more context to this; I don’t recall her saying why she was in court.) If I have the timeline right, she had just gone through either her fifth or sixth divorce when this happened.

She speaks of her teenage daughter’s physical development as if it were a particularly regrettable decision the girl had made – “a D-cup! Now do you believe that?! I have never been a D-cup in my life!” – and her seven-or-eight-year-old son’s ignorance as though it were a deliberate attempt to shame her – “So, be-cause he thinks the kids in Special Ed don’t have to do any work, he goes up to his teacher and is saying, “Well, I want to be in Special Ed so I don’t have to do any work!” My son saying he wants to be in Special Ed! It’s about enough to break my heart.” Her descriptions of her present husband might as easily be references to a puppy with diarrhea.

This woman is studying to be a social worker.

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