The rumors of my death are gr…oh shut up, Michael.

How have I spent this unintended vacation?

Filling several pages with writing inspired largely by a chronic case of heartache, writing which is too self-indulgent to show to anyone.

Falling far behind on my e-mails. All apologies.

Watching a numbing array of scary movies on cable during the week of Halloween.

Enjoying the crisp weather that has come to San Francisco, weather that justified a new jacket and a couple of thermal shirts.

Working with a new sponsee/mentee in AA. I don’t know why the good-looking guys ask me to sponsor them, it’s God’s form of punishment. Fortunately, as the weeks pass I come to realize that they’re even more insane than I am, which kind of dulls their sex appeal.

Leaving an AA meeting and wandering through the closed-off streets of the Castro on Halloween evening, in the few minutes before the hordes arrived. It was only seven p.m., and there was a girl sitting on the steps of a house on 18th Street, puking her guts out. At first I thought she was an amateur, then I realized she probably drank like I did. Which means that if the party started at 8pm, I started just a little bit earlier. Like at noon.

Breaking out of my funk by finally working my ass off on the grad school applications. Selecting and polishing the pieces for my writing portfolio, writing why-I-want-to-go-to-your-school essays, tracking down transcripts and letters of recommendation and daydreaming a little about the future.

Planning a couple of short trips to New York to attend information sessions at two of the schools, looking forward to imposing on Jennie and dressing up her dog Malcom in that big furry hat of hers.

Cracking open my window last night so that I could hear the rain pouring down through trees on the side of the hill.

And finally, enduring my second root canal of the last two years, which has required endless hours in the dentist’s chair with my mouth propped open. Hours made more bearable by my new iPod, which I bought from Jonno when he upgraded to a newer model. The celebrity patina that lingers from J-no’s touch is worth the price alone. After today’s dental marathon I treated myself to a white chocolate mocha from Peet’s, which I sip while I write this, savoring the warm flavor on the unanesthetized portion of my tongue.

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