October '96 Journal


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October 5, 1996

I went for a walk after work at my favorite place (across the pedestrian bridge over the gorge at Seneca Park, then across the bridge on Rt. 104.)  It was a very nice day.  There were spider webs glittering on the bridge, billowing in the breeze.  A monarch butterfly flitted along with me at one point (which was unusual--you don't see butterflies this time of year, eh?)  This time, I decided not to cross Rt. 104 because there were signs announcing the Genessee Trail. Oh, a trail, I thought, let's follow it and see what happens.  There was a row of sailboats lined up across the river under the bridge.  That was new, and I wondered what was up with that.  I continued on--the trail had trees on both sides, and where the sun peered through the trees, I saw strands of spider webs streamed across the path--hundreds of them.  People walked through them, oblivious to their presence, but I felt a slight chill, because I knew I didn't see ALL the strands, just the few catching the sun the right way. Visions of the movie Archnopobia filled my head.  But I got over it and continued on. I came upon Rosewood Park (which I visited in the spring with my friend, Jackie—when there was a lot of beautiful roses in the gardens), and further on some ruins. I don't understand what it was, but now it's just two sets of waist high walls, one inner wall, and one surrounding inner wall.

What do you think I saw next?  The Lower Falls!  How many times had I walked my walk and never continued this far--to find this treasure!  I was pretty excited, and actually went over and walked up across part of the top of the falls, which was actually a breakwall so was fairly tame. I saw fishermen at the bottom of the falls, and wondered how I could get down there two, but left that for another adventure.  This time I wanted to continue on.

I went across Driving Park Bridge which overlooked the falls, turned onto St. Paul St. and continued towards downtown.  I decided to get to Comics Etc. at Village Gate to pick up my comics and continue on home, then worry about how I'd get my car back.  :-)

St. Paul Street is a reputably bad neighborhood especially towards downtown, but didn't seem like it that time of day.  At one point, I walked between two five story red-brick buildings across the street from each other, obviously abandoned--the lower floors boarded up or barred, the upper floors with no windows, and obvious ruin and decay within. (Would be interesting to explore, I thought, but not this time. :-) These buildings reminded me of a nightmare I had when I was young, and I had it a few times.  I was lost in a maze of tall, abandoned buildings and had a gripping fear that around the corner, there was a gang ready and waiting to attack me.  But I had to get out of the maze, back home. Well, this was only two buildings across the street from each other, so it wasn't like the nightmare.

I continued past the Genesee brewery.  You could probably get drunk just breathing here--the smell of beer hanging in the air. :-)  I didn't bother making a stop at the High Falls.  My feet were starting to get tired, and Now I just wanted to finish my trip, not really knowing how much longer it'll take.  I came upon St. Joseph's Church.  It is a park now, having burned down leaving the stone shell--three walls, and the bell tower.  Unfortunately, it was barred up, so I couldn't get in, though I could see a lovely maintained garden within.  I've heard there are services there occasionally, and wondered what it would be like to attend mass in a church exposed to the stars.

I walked past the Auditorium Center where Phantom of the Opera would begin playing for a month later this month.  Past Corpus Christi Church- hosting a Roman Catholic congregation that seems fairly liberal, and that seems to occasionally be a source of controversy.

I finally reached Village Gate and picked up my subscription for the week--Cerebus, Impulse, and Dark Horse Presents.  Cerebus follows the adventures of an aardvark, and the comic is in the spirit of Conan the Barbarian, and Howard the Duck.  It is one of the few successful black and white comics and is beautifully done--the characters expressive, and the backgrounds realistic. The author set an ambitious goal--tracing the life of Cerebus through to the end of his life--ending at issue 300. This would be the longest continuous comic storyline done by one person. Impulse follows the adventures of a teen from the future who has super- speed and tries to adjust to a normal life in the present.  It's funny, and the artwork is appropriately exaggerated.  Dark Horse Presents is a collection of stories showcasing different artists.  This time, there was one by Frank Miller--an artist I appreciate because of his striking, dramatic, unique black and white artwork.

Then I continued home, and arrived exhausted--four hours after starting the trip.  I called my friend, Jackie, and we met for dinner before driving me back to my car.

I feel like a whole new set of adventures have opened up to me right here in Rochester!

October 13, 1996

I went white-water rafting.  It was a beautiful day for it--the sun was out, the leaves turning color.  While we were waiting for things to start, a swarm of lady bugs flew around the building.  Each time I shooed one away, another one landed on me.  They’re harmless enough, but annoying in those numbers.  My friend, Jackie, hosted the trip, and there were 21 people.  I was in a raft with my friend Mark, Jackie, her co-worker, Misty, and Misty's husband, Tim.  A high point of the trip: were looking up from the bottom of the gorge, a new perspective--at the fiery trees and tiny people looking down at us.  Another high point is being at the bottom of a falls off to the side of the gorge--a place one wouldn't see if not for the white-water trip.  At the bottom of the falls is a small dip that Jackie says in the summer, if you jumped into

it, you would spin around and get spit back out. The water flow wasn't as fast this time of year, so the effect wasn't the same, though Jackie tried it and a few teens, not to be shown up, tried it afterwards.

It was a class I rafting trip (class II in some parts) so it was easy- going.  It was about a two hour trip. (Though, in the spring, it's about a half-hour considering the spring run-off.)

My right arm ached after the trip.  I wish I stretched out first.  That night, I was restless trying to sleep, stretching, twisting and turning my arm, hoping to get the pain out that way.  I finally decided my arm needed a rest, so I lay down and tried not to move.  I eventually fell asleep and felt better in the morning.

I'm looking forward to trying this in the spring.  My friend, Colleen, and I already said we'd do that, and now Mark is interested in getting our gaming group together for it.  Perhaps I'll get to try a higher class river next time!

October 18-20, 1996

I went to Colleen's parents' wedding over the weekend.  (Her mother re- married.)  I had the most wonderful time there!  I sat at a table with Colleen's friends and really hit it off with them.  Pretty remarkable if you could have seen me at my friend, Paul’s, wedding four years ago. I was totally shy and introverted then.  But, you know, I felt like I was with people who have the same mindset as me, and I was totally at ease.

I met her dog, Dakota--a rottwieller-german shepherd mix.  He was very friendly, and Colleen was pleased that he took to me so well.  Dakota typically doesn't take to men in black leather jackets, Colleen said, but apparently THAT wasn't the problem.  :-)  Dakota is in a nipping stage, and gently bit at my hand. That was OK, after all, dogs and cats play like that--but it was pretty darn shocking to see his gaping jaws up close as he tried to nip my nose!  (I pulled back VERY quickly when he did that :-)

I get along so well with Colleen.  We talk about the adventures we'll share in the future, and our values and philosophies are so similar-- it's easy to talk to her about my experiences and beliefs.  I haven't felt such ease since my first love.  She's going to travel across the country next year in a trailer with her parents and step-uncle.  She's asked me to join her.  You know, I've thought about doing that before, but didn't find it worthwhile to do it alone.  Now, Colleen conjures images of traveling across the country--hiking, camping, whitewater rafting, and doing other things I know we'd both enjoy.

Sigh.  Can I do it?  You know what kind of time it would take to do such a thing--I don't have it.  Questra typically doesn't give leave of absences, I don't have that much vacation time, and I would have to quit work and get either re-hired, or get a new job after this trip.  Such a risk.  Yet, I keep thinking what I'd tell someone else in the same position (and was something a friend of Colleen's told her talking about his adventures.)

This is the best time of your life to do the things you really want to do. If something is really important to you, go for it!  Colleen's friend had said, quit your job if you have to, live off your credit card, then get a job after the trip to pay it off.

Now, I've been pretty cocky about my skills as a programmer, so I won't have a problem getting a job if the need is there.  Heck, I could end up with a bigger salary, than if I just wait for my raises.  Then again, what if the need isn't there when I need a job again?  Hmmm...

Also, something I need to consider is that the contract I'm working on at the time may overlap this trip, and I definitely don't want to blow off that kind of obligation.

Yet, here is a woman who likes to do the same things I do--a real adventurer! I have the opportunity to, not only go on an extended adventure, but also to share it with a woman who'll enjoy it as much as I will.  And sharing an adventure is more rewarding than just having it!

October 26, 1996

I went to Letchworth State Park with my friend, Frank.  People tend to cross the train tressle high above the high falls, so we went up there.  I guess people have done this often enough that a pedestrian walkway was built along the tracks--there were a lot of people there when we went.  It's pretty amazing how tiny the falls look from up there.  While we were there, a train crossed the bridge. I looked at the train getting bigger and bigger behind Frank until it loomed over us as it passed.  I could've hopped aboard if I so felt! :-)  The whole bridge swayed and shook as the huge mass of steel passed, which made me feel uneasy and thrilled.  I saw people sitting on a concrete barrier by the falls and wanted to get down there myself.  Frank wasn't up for the exertion, so I tried going down there alone.  After searching for a path leading down and only finding big drops, I decided it'd take me a while to get to the falss, and I didn't want to leave my friend twiddling his thumbs for so long--I left that adventure for another trip.

We went down past the lower falls where there's an island that we could easily get to by hopping rocks.  We sat by the flowing river and I marvelled at the experience of going to a place that few people go to.  This is where the whitewater rafting trip is launched, but is otherwise away from the general park trails.


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