I got to have dinner tonight with Emily.
Earlier this fall I celebrated the fifth anniversary of this online journal; Emily's journal is a few months older than mine... and I've been reading her journal almost from the beginning... so I've sort of known her for years, although we never met in real life until about a year and a half ago.
[Note, Emily is using cascading style sheets so if you are using IE, no problem, but if you are using Netscape it may look weird, although she has a link on her site for a non-css view)
We got together one night last year when I was in Pittsburgh... Emily and her boyfriend (at that time) and I went to an Italian restaurant called (if I recall correctly) the Spaghetti Warehouse (and yes, it was similar to units of the Spaghetti Factory chain that I have been in). Emily and I had a good time discussing online journals, no doubt leaving her companion somewhat confused about all of the online journalers we both knew even though we had never met. (This was prior to JournalCon One, which Emily quite naturally attended, as it was held here in Pittsburgh... this year's edition was in Chicago, which Emily also attended... that gives her a score of two JournalCons attended vs. my zero *sigh* Oh, well, maybe in 2002?)
We had arranged to meet in the lobby of my hotel at six p.m. -- a time which had seemed quite feasible because I had anticipated being finished with work by five o'clock... so naturally the class ran on and on... and didn't really conclude until about quarter to six... and then there were still some last minute questions... and then the elevator stopped at two more floors on the way down... and I dashed to my hotel (my route across a raised plaza, bridging a street, so I covered two long blocks before having to come down to street level and cross a wide street and then into the lobby with five or six minutes to spare -- and there was Emily sitting in the lobby studying.
Once again a torrent of talk -- not just online journals, we also had to talk about what I'm doing here in Pittsburgh and her classes and ethnic food and driving in foreign countries and... well, we found our restaurant, The Lemon Grass Cafe, just a few blocks from my hotel, a Cambodian restaurant (Emily had read a recent review that had given it high marks) -- I had never eaten in a Cambodian restaurant before but I love Chinese food (and, yes, I realize that is like saying that I enjoy European food, uh, and I do...) and Thai food, etc. so I was looking forward to this. We both ordered spring rolls to start -- very tasty although as I was just beginning to bite down on mine I realized that steam was coming from Emily's but it was too late to tell my mouth not to bite -- fortunately I had followed Emily's lead in ordering some very sweet and very cold iced tea -- I should have taken notes because I do not know the names of our entrees -- mine was chicken and various vegetables in a slightly spicy sauce with steamed rice and Emily's entree was steamed fish in a basket made of banana leaves (it looked almost too pretty to eat). And we babbled on about journals and college classes and literature and programming and jobs and piercings (Emily has a nose ring and my daughter has expressed a desire for an eyebrow ring) and New England accents in Rhode Island and on and on until finally we realized that it was now eight o'clock and the waiters seemed anxious to see us leave (there was a party of six or so still eating but otherwise the restaurant was now empty -- downtown Pittsburgh is not exactly a party all night neighborhood).
As we neared the Gateway Center subway stop she spotted a transit bus that would take her back to her university neighborhood and off she dashed. (Hey, Emily, I'll give you a call next time I'm in Pittsburgh, maybe we can do dinner again... and who knows, maybe I'll make it to JournalCon 2002) And thus, back to my hotel room to read a few rousing chapters of an early draft version of something called Access Integration Pattern Using WebSphere Portal Server and then to post this entry.