Friday, September 30, 2005


Since my brain has been going through some kind of weird emotion-chemical binge since I came home from my trip, it's been hard to write here. When I was there, I felt on the cusp of Creation, with a capital Creation. As though what was inside me had Worth. With a capital Worth. I was in a physical place that fit like fascia. Fascia: a sheet of connective tissue covering or binding together body structures. Sealike prairie grass like fascia between my fleshlayers. Opensky cloudveins. Home.

And now, I don't know what's happened. I've been manic. I've been depressed. I've been maniacally depressed and on the edge of my seat and exhausted with red wiry eyes. With a few moments of calm bluesky tranquility. With a few moments of streetwalking with music. With a few moments of drinking. With a few moments of terror. With the knowledge of how big it is. And how small I am.

I open the window, and the words don't come. Or they come and they feel Wrong and Hollow and Trite and Individual, and I erase them because erasing them feels Right and Full and Meaningful and Global.

I think, it is pretty ridiculous how it never gets easier. I think, always, it will get easier to deal with. It doesn't. It's just old things wearing new clothes, fooling me again with newfreshness. And ambiguity. So I think, I have never done this. I have never felt this. This is a New Situation.

But it's not. It's the same parts of me.

If it keeps on raining, the levee's gonna break.

It's a big if.


So, now that I've filled your eyes and mind with todo el bien, todo el mal, I have a question. A question that is one of the questions I think about in that space between consciousnesses. I know my answer to my question, but I don't know yours.

What do you want done with your body when you die?

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Too tired and wired to write a post right now; a short time ago, some drunk kid smashed his car into the phone pole in my front yard (twenty-five feet from where I'm sitting as I write this) at about forty miles an hour and there was lots of ensuing drama.

Such strangeness.

In lieu of words, here are my pictures from the Badlands. There are about 40 of them, which is but a small sampling of the hundreds I took. They have shitty titles. Please leave me suggestions for better titles. I will take your suggestions.

It's a good thing that phone pole was there. A Buick going 40 miles an hour could really fuck up a house.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


When I walk through the city at lunchtime I put singles in my pockets so that when I pass homeless people holding change-cups, I can easily give them money without opening my wallet on the downtown streets--something I'm loathe to do, even in the best of sunny blue-sky afternoontimes.

But I don't always give them the money.

Maybe I am a hypocrite. Some homeless people scare me.

Cincinnati is a fairly large town. We have a decently diverse body of homeless people. It's no Chicago or New York, but there are a good-sized number of them here. Ever since Katrina, I've seen more diversity in the homeless population. I rather doubt that any of the people I'm seeing are evacuees, because frankly, most of them could not possibly have gotten their shit together enough to have made the trip from Looziana to Cincinnati without being arrested, shot, or accidentally killed from walking in front of a bus. I don't know if the hurricane has a direct correlation with the numbers and weirdness of the people on the street or not. Probably not. I'm probably just imagining it.

My building is in an area downtown that's sort of the arse-end before you get into the warehouse district where no homeless people hang out because there's nothing there except old buildings and broken glass and twisted metal. There's no one to panhandle from there. Homeless people are more rare in the area where my building is than in the northeast part of town, up near the jail, where they live on the streets in clusters. When I see a homeless person on the street where my building is, they're in dire, dire straits. They've usually been forcibly shunted down thataway by the rest of the homeless people who congregate in the more populated areas. Last winter, there was a woman out on the streetcorner in the bitterest cold, walking in circles and picking her feet up and shaking her hands and crying. I gave her money on numerous occasions and it always made her cry and say "thank you" in a slurred-with-cold voice. Once I gave her a pair of gloves and I thought she was going to evaporate with gratitude. I asked M if he could ask his cop buddies to look out for her. I saw her yelling at some people in a van once who offered to take her to a shelter. She was yelling "I can't go back there" and getting ready to cry some more.

Sometimes I crossed the street to avoid her teary face and her torn clothes and her utter and complete desperation. It's not that it scared me so much as that it hurt me because seeing it on her face made me feel just a fraction of it and I didn't have a capable way to handle it.

Now and then I see her up in the park near our old office, in the more populated part of town. She's always eating lunch out of a plastic bag. She looks a lot better than last winter. I hope she's not back down on the corner again this year.

Other homeless people I have seen regularly:
  • There was an elderly Asian woman wandering around in a pink jumpsuit for a few weeks last summer. She looked shellshocked, as if she had no idea who she was or what she was doing or where she was or anything.
  • A middle-aged, very thin black woman wearing a torn t-shirt and jeans walking through throngs of lunching businesspeople on the streets, pleading in a hopeless way for money. A homeless person who is walking through crowds holding her hands out asking for money is much more desperate than one who sits on the sidewalk with a cardboard sign and a cup. This woman had very obviously lost all hope and was only walking around asking people for money to keep herself moving and alive. I gave her money last year. I haven't seen her this year.
  • The autistic guy and the woman with him. They always have a little milk carton full of snacks and gum that they're trying to sell from their sidewalk seat in the sun. They're older, probably in their sixties. The man is always rocking back and forth, twisting his fingers together. He always wears shorts and his thighs are burned from the sun. The woman is always smiling. I haven't bought anything from them, but today I planned to. I walked by their space where they always sit outside the Skyline Chili, but there was a scaffolding there and I couldn't find them.
  • The guy with one leg, perpetually leaning on his crutches outside the Federal Reserve bar. I'm pretty sure he's a veteran.
  • The dude who sits outside the Walgreens and talks to you about the weather and doesn't ask for money. He just swirls around the change in his white plastic cup. He calls all the blessings of Allah down on your head if you give him money.
I wonder what that's like. To be so very homeless that you do something to get arrested so you can sleep in a heated building at night, even if you're in a cage.

One of these days I ought to write a post about M's job. About the people he tells me about. The faces he sees on the news and says, I know that person. I found a bag of crack on him last year, or she's been arrested more times than any other woman in the county, or that guy was brought in on child-rape charges, or that woman beat her son with a dinner plate.


I know this isn't very cheery. I'm having some adjustment difficulties coming back to essentially meaningless, trite stuff-I-do-for-a-living after a really nice vacation during which I felt more in touch with who I am when I'm not dealing with all this shit than I have in a long time. I have a good job. It pays decently. My coworkers are great. But when I get home from there, I know that I haven't done anything to make the world better. And I don't know how much longer I can do this. It's putting a hole in me.

My pictures from the Black Hills are now up on Flickr. In that set you'll see some buffalo, some donkies, and a turkey, and also the moon, one of our campsites, and some poison ivy. If you're bored, you can wander outside that photoset and into some recently posted but not sorted stuff, where you'll find a picture of yours truly. I hope to get the Badlands pictures up some time tomorrow.

Monday, September 26, 2005

South Dakota: A Few Reflections

I have better hiking speed, but M has better endurance.

You get drunker quicker at higher altitudes than those you're accustomed to.

Tent campers are mostly liberals. Those driving RVs are mostly conservatives. The word "conservative"” is the wrong word for them because they don't want to conserve the environment if they're driving around in those big fat gas guzzlers running their generators so they can watch satellite TV in the Badlands instead of going outside and looking at the sweet sweet sky. I have many thoughts on the subject of RV drivers, most of which I will keep to myself because they are not nice thoughts.

Lots of people from Minnesota go to South Dakota for vacation. After about two days of listening to the Minnesota accent, M and I picked it up without realizing it. Then we sounded like dopes when we came back home.

(Oh wait, we already sound like dopes)

Taco John's is manna from heaven when you've been eating a lot of camp food.

Bison are big and intimidating up close. They don't smell that great either.

It's very cold at the top of Harney Peak, which is the highest peak east of the Rockies and west of the Pyrenees. It is also very windy. And, there are chipmunks up there who want to eat your granola bars.

The sky is so clear at night in the Badlands that you can watch satellites orbiting Earth, and see the full band of the Milky Way.

M knows a lot about the cosmos. And about guns. We talked a lot about the cosmos, and about guns, and wars. He told me about theories about Red Dwarves and Black Holes and I thought about that book Hyperion.

There are some gnarsty biting flies on the shores of Lake Michigan. Also, Lake Michigan is so cold it hurts, but it's mighty purdy.

It feels awfully strange to be pulled sideways by gravity. It's kinda hard to walk. You can feel it at Cosmos Mystery Area near Rapid City.

There are no ramps between primary divided highways in Michigan. You must stop, and turn right, to go from one to the other. This is rendered more difficult when you don't know this information, and you don't know the area, and it has rained just enough to make the oil on the concrete road float on top of the water and things are all very slippery and there is an invisible patch of sand on the road blending in with the concrete. However, when you inevitably bang into the curb and go up over it and hit a metal pole at a high rate of speed, it's good to have a sheriff who can change a tire in about three minutes for a traveling partner. That M. He's a keeper.

School busses pass you when you drive at 52 mph all the way from Michigan to Cincinnati because you have a little donut of a spare tire on your car.

The bees are much more interested in water than in stinging you in the Badlands. They are thirsty bees.

It takes a forest a long time to recover from a fire.

I felt like there was a Badlands-shaped hole in my heart that was filled by the Badlands. I could live there. I could do that. I could forget all this, and I could go live there. I dropped everything there. I just put it all down and said fuck it and I existed, and that's where I was, and that's all there was. There wasn't any of this running around shit. God, that was good.

Yes, so, the trip was quite good, and I took more than 1200 pictures. Somewhere between 1200 and 1400. I lost count. It's taking an age and a day to pick which ones to put on Flickr, but I've got a few up: Here's our spontaneous side trip to Michigan, and the giddy Ben-Gay giggliness that is Mt. Rushmore.

Today I went back to work. It didn't feel that great. It reminded me why we take vacations. Why we can't let a job become who we are.

I want to hold onto this feeling just a little longer. We listened to a lot of NPR out there in South Dakota. There seem to be about five radio stations in the state. They all have NPR and South Dakota Public Radio on them. South Dakota Public Radio suits me just fine. I felt like I was taking a step back to some more innocent phase of me. Where I know less and am wide open. Like some of the dirty-soulness is going away. That's the feeling I want to hold. I don't need that back.

Get it? A few reflections. Ha ha!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I'm back!

And I only wrecked the car once! Ha ha!

More to come, after I sleep this off...

Friday, September 23, 2005

A movie list

It's great to finally be able to post here again. Without anything of substance to write about, I turned to my favorite subject outside of music, letters, and moonshine: movies. In keeping with the tradition of blog lists, here are ten movies Suley loves (and you should love too):

1. “Touch of Evil” (1958). Orson Welles (who also directs) plays a crooked, racist American detective investigating a murder across the Mexican border. Heston, a by-the-book Mexican narcotics officer and Janet Leigh, his wife, get caught in between Welles and a local drug lord. “Touch of Evil” is just a gritty flick. From the opening scene where a car is blown to bits, to when Janet Leigh is assailed by strung-out toughs in a desert motel room (which seems to be where she always shines), “Touch of Evil” is just that – evil. It will make you fear the very real lawlessness of our southern border (which has always been a reality, right up to this day) and adds a whole new creepy element to the 1950s that is absent in other films from the period.

2. “The Wages of Fear” (1953). Henri-Georges Clouzot directs and Yves Montand stars in what is probably the most high-tension movie ever made. A band of jobless losers inhabiting a one-horse town in South America are called upon by the local U.S. oil company to transport crates of nitroglycerine over bumpy mountain roads in large military trucks. Four men, including the scarf-wearing Montand, volunteer for the job that is their ticket out of the mosquito infested backwater. On the mountain roads the machismo that the men have displayed throughout the film rapidly begins to melt away as the vials of nitroglycerine begin to shake. It’s white knuckle all the way, and the ending will shock you.

3. “The Third Man” (1949). Hunted by men...Sought by WOMEN! Set in post-World War II Vienna, “The Third Man” is another dark, brooding Orson Welles film (the last on this list). Welles plays Harry Lime, a mysterious man who invites his friend, Holly Martins, to Vienna for a job. When Lime is supposedly killed in a car accident, Martins discovers from talking to Lime’s friends that the stories are inconsistent, and sets out to determine what really happened. It’s an East vs. West spy story with a great zither soundtrack by Anton Karas. Almost otherworldly at times, “The Third Man” sets the standard for cloak and dagger mystery flicks.

4. “The Treasure of The Sierra Madre” (1948). “Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges.” A gritty, greedy, sweaty, five o’clock shadow of a film, “The Treasure of Sierra Madre” stars Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt as down-on-their-luck drifters in search of work in a Mexican town. They team up with Walter Huston (father of director John Huston), a grizzled gold prospector who “knows what gold does to men’s souls.” The trio set out for a mother load of gold deep in the mountains of Mexico. As they dig and the gold begins to accumulate, Bogart’s Dobbs begins to suspect the other two of seeking to do him in and make off with his share. It’s Bogart at his crazy best.

5. “High and Low” (1963). A non-samurai Akira Kurosawa/Toshiro Mifune film. When a kidnapper mistakes Mifune’s chauffeur’s son for Mifune’s and kidnaps him, Mifune is forced to choose between giving away his fortune to set him free or letting the son of his chauffeur die. When the police are brought into the investigation, we are given a rare glimpse into the seedy underbelly of Japanese society during the 1960s – drugs, class division, and racism (careful viewers will note that the bad side of town is inhabited largely by Korean émigrés). The hunt for the kidnapped boy easily outperforms any more recent crime thriller in terms of pacing and urgency. Kurosawa’s artful cinematography, employed brilliantly on bullet trains and night clubs, heightens the fear and desperation. Look for a surprising scene that employs color as well, which is a touch of Kurosawa brilliance.

6. “Love and Death” (1975). Woody Allen’s comedic tale of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Allen plays Boris, the son of a Russian landowner who is sent off to fight against the invading French. He and his wife Sonja, who is played by Diane Keaton, set out to assassinate Napoleon and end the war. Much of what makes this film great is the over the top absurdity and the totally inappropriate philosophical discourse between the characters. There are so many great lines here that it would be impossible to list them all. Here is just a sample:

Napoleon: If this pastry is to bear my name, it must be richer. More cream.
Boris: I can't shower with other men.
Sonja: Judgment of any system, or a priori relationship, or phenomenon, exists in an irrational, or metaphysical, or at least epistemological contradiction to an abstract empirical concept such as being, or to be, or to occur in the thing itself, or of the thing itself.
Boris: Yes, I've said that many times.
Sergeant: Imagine your loved ones conquered by Napoleon and forced to live under French rule. Do you want them to eat that rich food and those heavy sauces? Soldiers:
No...! Sergeant: Do you want them to have soufflé every meal and croissant?

It’s a fun movie

7. “Good Morning” (1959). Yasujiro Ozo’s look at suburbanized late 1950s Japan. The story of two children who take a vow of silence until their parents will buy them a television, “Good Morning” (Ohayo) is laced with interesting subplots and endearing characters that leave viewers wishing they could see more. Filmed in color, “Good Morning” is also wonderful in that it presents a true-to-life look at how post-war Japan looked fifty years ago. For those who lived during the late fifties and early sixties, as well as those who enjoy 1950s ephemera, “Good Morning” is a nostalgic treat.

8. “M” (1931). Director Fritz Lang tells the story of a man (played here by the super creepy Peter Lorre) who is a child murderer. When the police investigation gets intense and no leads turn up, the criminals of the city join forces to hunt the child killer down and bring him to justice. Like many of Lang’s films, “M” feels ahead of its time in terms of cinematography, dialogue, and pacing. Some have argued that this film points out the growing specter of Nazism, two years before Hitler was able to seize power. “M” is a powerful film filled with suspense, humor, and horror. A masterpiece of world cinema.

9. “Ran” (1985). Akira Kurosawa’s overlooked epic masterpiece. “Ran” is a samurai adaptation of Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” It is the story of three sons vying for control of their ailing father’s kingdom. The descent of Lear into insanity, here known as Hidetora (played by the capable Tetsuya Nakadai), is portrayed so wonderfully that the sorrow and loss are just palpable. Kurosawa gives the viewer a vision of hell on earth. Blood flows like a river as revenge, greed, and old hatreds play themselves out in a sort of Noh Theater. For this film, Kurosawa spent ten years painting the storyboards, collected 1400 specially-made suits of armor over two years, brought in 200 horses, built a full-size fortress on the slopes of Mt. Fuji (only to burn it completely to the ground), and hired a cast of thousands of extras. During production, Kurosawa’s vision failed and his wife of 39 years, Yoko Yaguchi, died. He stopped filming for just one day to mourn. And that sadness is highly evident throughout the film, which ends on a dark note. Kurosawa makes Shakespeare’s tragedy more than just tragic – it’s a story of complete despair and loss like no other I have ever seen. And it’s probably my favorite film of all time. This film easily makes Akira Kurosawa the greatest director of them all.

10. “Strangers on a Train” (1951). “My theory is that everyone is a potential murderer.” When psychopath Bruno Anthony and tennis star Guy Haines meet on a train, Bruno proposes that they exchange murders. Bruno suggests that Guy should kill his hated father, while he will kill Guy’s estranged wife (whom is seeking a divorce). Since the only connection between them is this anonymous meeting, no one would suspect them. Guy thinks it’s a joke until his estranged wife is found dead, strangled in a park. Bruno is serious and expects Guy to now carry out his half of the bargain: kill Bruno’s father. Hitchcockian suspense ensues. The ending scene will forever make you terrified of carousels.

That’s my list. If anyone has the inclination, I would love to see a list of ten movies you enjoy and why. They don’t have to necessarily be your favorites, just movies you have seen and love.

Peace out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I'm your ice cream man, baby, stop me when I'm passin' by

What a day this has been. Suley is still engaged in the process of studying for a test which will determine the course of the rest of his life, so you'll have to excuse him for not writing a post for today. Instead, I have enlisted Jen-ayelle (that's how I pronounce it) to perform that task. So, without further ado-doo, I offer you yet another installment from The Jenelle Files:

Last time we left off I was explaining how close my little brother and I used to be, but today I would like to tell you a story about how mischievous I was.

Every day, the ice cream man would come around at the same time, and every day without fail, I would ask my mom for money. Most days she would hand me a dollar if just to shut me up. It got to a point that I began to expect her to give me money. Finally she declared a new rule: only once a week was I entitled to money for the ice cream man. I, of course, did not like this rule. I began looting her change jar every day. I would replace quarters with pennies from my own piggy bank in the hopes that if there was the same volume of change she would not notice the silver coins missing. I pulled this trick successfully for about 2 months before she caught on to my little game. Then the change got dispersed through out the house and hidden. Often I would find little handfuls here and there, but I was lucky if I could scrape together a whole dollar.

Then our school had a fund raiser. We were selling chocolate bars. Only a dollar a piece. Those were the easiest things to sell, the chocolates. I had sold two big box kits within a week, the two I had been sent home with. I had to have at least $50 bucks, which to a twelve year old was like a million dollars.

A few days later I heard the siren call of the ice cream man. I had already used up my weekly allowance and was completely broke. Then an idea hit me. I could just borrow five bucks from the school money and replace it when I got my next week's allowance. It was a fool proof plan. So I borrowed the five dollars and spent every dollar on candy.

The next day, the truck came around at it's usual time, 3:15 on the dot. And once again, I thought..."what the heck?" and proceeded to take another five dollars. This pattern continued for the whole next week, all the time my tab going up. I was digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole. It finally got to the point that only 20 dollars was left. I was feeling nervous about not being able to replace the money and thought that the only way out was to spend it essence, hide the evidence. My strategy was that I would claim that I never received chocolates. So I took my friends and brother out for a nice lunch at the pizza place around the corner.

All of the money and chocolates were gone and due to be handed in the very next day. I rehearsed my story and expressions of surprise. I will say this: it didn't work very well. I got one week of in- school suspension where I had to sit in the rectory alone for a week, which in my opinion was not much of a punishment at all since I could read books all day.
Needless to say, I was extremely embarrassed as the whole school knew what I had done, and from that time on I was not allowed to participate in school fundraisers.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Just a good ol' boy, never meaning no harm

Here is a picture of Yellowstone National Park from earlier this summer. No one in blogland has seen this little gem yet. It's fresh off the digital camera, direct to your irises.

It makes me wanna go back so bad. If you haven't been to Yellowstone, it's something you must see before you cross into the empyrean. Essential viewing in this thing called life.

The sheer untouchedness of it just plum amazes me. I struck a few things off my "to do before I die list" this year. I went across country this August - for the second time - and got to see a lot of truly amazing scenery and meet some really nice people, too.

While thinking of how huge my "to do" list is and how much I still have left to do and see, I got to thinking about all of the crazy things that have happened to me. These are things that weren't part of any list until now.

23 crazy things Suley has experienced in his 23 years on this planet:

1. Shot in the face by a paintball gun, sans mask.
2. Reenacted the Spanish-American War with firecrackers.
3. Shot in the side by a dart gun, fired by my father.
4. Made a moonshine still from a crockpot – and drank the moonshine.
5. Chased by park rangers on ATVs.
6. Shot in the ass by a BB gun – twice.
7. Directed and acted in a pro-wrestling version of Beowulf.
8. Built Potato cannons.
9. Fired at by a Potato cannon.
10. Bought a friend’s soul for a nickel.
11. Voted “most likely to take over the world” in high school.
12. Visited the future birthplace of James T. Kirk.
13. Filled an empty waterbed with car exhaust and then used it as a trampoline.
14. Gone completely naked in the woods.
15. Chased by a bear.
16. Rode a Great Dane.
17. Drank my own blood.
18. Went dumpster diving in the dumpster where they caught Eric Rudolf.
19. Stabbed myself with an exacto knife.
20. Clotheslined someone riding a dirt bike.
21.Have seen William Jefferson Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Robert Dole in person (I even shook Bob’s good Viagra hand).
22. Almost died from hyponatremia at the Grand Canyon.
23. Went cross-country, from North Carolina to the west coast and back – twice.

And that's just the PG-13 stuff.

"Boss Blog" Suley out.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Number Three

Hello once again, oh nonexistent readers! Since I have the GRE exam coming up in a couple o' days and need to at least pretend to study, I've handed the blog over to Jenelle for the night. If you are coprophobic (and if you don't know what that means, you most likely aren't) then continue at your own risk:

Ahem, may I have your attention please? .....(long pause) Ok then, I would like to start off by introducing myself. My name is Jenelle and I have been asked by Suley to write a post in J. Star's absence.

A few things I'd like you to know about me: I live in Arizona, but am a New York native, Long Island to be more specific. I have a strange sense of humor, you either get me, or you don't. I am a pathological not really. Or am I?

I have decided to continue with Suley's theme. Unfortunately, I don't have any fun stories about trampolines or tricks preformed on I had to settle on a couple of stories from my childhood instead. I think I will break them up into mini episodes, starting from early on in my childhood and progressing into the monsters we children became..

My mother was a single mom raising 2 kids. Funny thing about my mom is that she didn't like acting like a mom. So often we were left alone to fend for ourselves. Despite the lack of supervision we were good kids. Don't get me wrong...We were the kids on the block your momma warned you about, but considering the freedom we had I think we did pretty damn ok.
My brother is only 13 months younger than me. As a result we were very close. We did everything together ever since I could remember walking. My mom tells a story at every family gathering that proves just how close we were...

Flashback to me at the age of about two and my brother just one year old. We would not go to sleep for a nap unless we were in the same crib, and my mother obliged us, if only to keep me from screaming. Apparently I had a set of lungs....Anyway, One day , like every other, nap time came. My mother put both of us down and left. About an hour later, she poked her head into the bedroom to check up on us only to find me, standing in the crib smiling as big as I possibly could. In my hand was a dirty diaper. My brother Dennis was sitting up looking at me, naked as the day he was born. For whatever reason I had decided to paint the walls with poop. She said she wasn't sure what hit her first, the horrible stench, or the doodie smeared walls, but she claims that she was so grossed out that she immediately closed the door. Instantly, I began to cry and she poked her head back in and once again I smiled as huge as I possibly could...Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "shit eating grin" now doesn't it?

That was only the beginning of our great friendship. I remember as we were a bit older that we had the same friends. We hung out everyday after school and were inseparable. There was a lot of perks to having my brother around all the time. He would not let anyone bully me around, he always took my side if I had a fight with one of my friends and he also was sorta my little monkey boy, meaning anything I asked him to do... whether he wanted to or not, I could persuade him.

Along with perks of being so close to your best friend also come the negative aspects. Every time I had to go potty, he would sit just outside the door and wait. If he was feeling particularly anxious to go out and play, he would ask me "Jenelle, what are you doing?" To which I replied "Going to the bathroom, you dork!" If this answer didn't satisfy him he would continue, "Jenelle, what are you doing in there, number one or number two?"

I'll give you a second here to picture this...Yeah pretty funny huh?

I was usually pissed by this point because he had been sitting outside the door waiting for me and harassing me. I knew the one answer would get him running. "Dennis, I'm doing Number Three!" He always went off running and screaming "GROSS!!!"

Heeheehee. You will just have to excuse me. I love bathroom humor and there was a whole lot of that going on in my childhood. Well I hoped you enjoyed your stay here. Please come again. I intend to post other shenanigans from my childhood with my sidekick Dennis. Now he was a funny kid....

(to be continued)

Super Trampoline School Kid

First things first: I'm Suley. I usually roll over here, but in J.Star's absence I have been granted the position of (echo-y voice:) "almighty guest blogger." This means that, for the coming week, I control this blog. I plan on having a few other guest potato-mashers post on this and that during the coming week, so keep your ears open for the inevitable sucking noise. ;) Here are a few things about me:
  • I am a Southerner.
  • I wear Converse.
  • People tell me I look a lot like Doogie Howser.
  • My favorite alcoholic beverage is Guinness served at room temperature.
Now that you know me, let us begin with a tale of trampolinery:

Way back in the dizays when I was in elementary school, my next door neighbor had a huge red trampoline in their backyard with a zip-line that ran over it. They had two dogs, both boxers (with normal ears), and two boys more or less my age. Their backyard was the largest in the neighborhood and sat on a gentle incline. You could ride the zip-line from the top of the yard, down to the bottom, and let go just as you were over the trampoline. If other kids were jumping on it there was always the chance that you'd catch this super bounce that would launch you about 15 feet up into the air. It took a certain measure of chutzpah to pull that. Well, one day I was bounced too high and fell ass-first onto the padded metal rim on the outside of the trampoline. Hurt like the devil. That’s my first vivid memory of a trampoline trick. A trampoline trick that went wrong, but a trampoline trick nonetheless.

Every day after school I'd go over there and flop around on that trampoline until my skin got trampoline burns. Sometimes those big boxers would get up onto the mat (which wasn’t good for it) and we’d bounce them as high as their doggie constitution could handle, which usually wasn’t very high. We had wrestling matches, too. One of my favorite memories of that first trampoline is the neighborhood girls vs. boys backyard brawl. Looking back on it, trying to push eleven-year-old girls off the side of a five-foot-high trampoline seems awfully cruel, but then it was what they deserved for being icky and having cooties. It was war. Cooties had to be stamped out.

Despite a hard fight, the eleven-year-old girls easily defeated us.

I also remember that red trampoline ‘cause it was the first time I attempted yogic flight – and failed (I was a weird kid, and now a weird adult).

When my family moved out to the country after living some 12 years in the city, I thought I’d left the trampoline behind. But one day while riding around on my bike, I noticed a trampoline in a neighbor’s backyard. The girl that was jumping saw me looking and invited me over to flail around. I was only 12 then, but when a gal invited me up onto her trampoline it was like a religious experience. I’m tempted to say something here about the aesthetics of women jumping up and down on trampolines, but I’ll leave it alone. Why alienate all of the readers who aren’t going to read this? It soon became apparent how prevalent trampolines were in the country. Practically every other house had one. Round ones, rectangular ones, round ones with steel-cage style netting, and water trampolines, too. Today, my friends and I call them “White Trash Flytraps” because honkies like me are attracted to them like, well, flies.

I bounced on that trampoline often until my family moved once again (yeah, we moved often. I suppose that’s what kinda makes me a gypsy at heart), this time even further out into the boonies. In middle school I had another good friend who had a trampoline, a really honkin’ large one. When I went over to his house we either listened to grunge, metal, or jumped on the trampoline (sometimes grunge, metal, and trampoline all at once, which can be dangerous). I may have even listened to the song “Spoonman” by Soundgarden while doing so. I remember on one occasion nearly coming to blows with his sister, when, not watching what I was doing, I accidentally knocked her off the trampoline.

Then one day he moved away and the trampoline went with him. I wonder what happened to that kid?

In high school, I and my friends organized a backyard wrestling league. Lacking a ring, we turned to the next best thing: a trampoline. I and a friend, both avid fans of pro wrestling were the announcers, while everyone else invented various wrestling personae and created feuds and stilted attitudes for the camera. During lunch hour we would write and discuss story lines, determine who would wrestle who, and develop the personae of various characters such as the absurdly named “Blizzard” – who was in reality a wispy kid roughly five feet in height.

When it came down to the day of combat, everything fell apart. The equipment sucked, no one wore decent costumes, and people seemed more interested in engaging in a general battle royale rather than a planned series of matches. The announcers also couldn’t resist getting in on the action. During the course of the all-out-hardcore-trampoline-death-match I was: faceplanted, hit in the face with a metal trash can, hit again in the face with a metal trashcan lid, smacked by a metal folding chair, sprayed with a chemical fire extinguisher, and generally abused. And for those of you who think it’s fake. It ain’t. It hurts like all hell. The least painful was probably the trashcan. I bought that trashcan. I was also able to administer a “Walls of Jericho” to a friend of mine (Sweet, I know you’re reading this).

And I still have all of my teeth.

After the fire extinguisher was unleashed, everyone fled for the safety of the house. I don’t know whose idea it was to bring a fire extinguisher, but when you see them on wrestling shows they tend to just spray this innocuous-looking white smoke. Well, this fire extinguisher wasn’t like that. It sprayed a greenish smoke that hung heavy in the air and settled on everything like mustard gas. The trampoline was covered in the stuff. We really laid waste to that backyard.

Since then I haven’t set foot on a trampoline. In five years I haven’t bounced on one. I was eighteen when I last touched a trampoline and now I’m 23 and don’t have any trampolines in the foreseeable future. No woman has invited me up onto her trampoline. No one has asked me to join their backyard wrestling league (although lord knows I would love to perfect my trademark “Gucci Kick” in the ring, or rather, trampoline). I want to go back to those Southern summer days when I ran around in my stocking feet – white socks stained by freshly cut grass – and felt the burning sensation of trampoline mat against my arms and legs. The feeling of free-falling for just a moment, and the way your stomach kinda rises up into your body as you apex, and then gravity pulls you back down. At the risk of sound like a tool, it’s like jumping up to God and saying, see me?

No one will let me flail like a vertically challenged white boy on their trampoline.

All but J.Star, who has invited me to bounce on the trampoline that is this potato (or blog) which is aptly named “Trampoline Tricks.” ‘Cause a trampoline trick is something not just any ninny can do; it takes years of bouncing experience and the willingness to get hurt or look stupid – or even worse, to lose face in front of the ladies.

Thank you J., for giving me the opportunity to make a fool of myself on your trampoline.

“Boss Blog” Suley, over and out.

Friday, September 16, 2005

100 Things About Me, broken down into bite-sized pieces

Ten things I stink at

1. Math

2. Coloring inside the lines

3. Knowing what day it is

4. Telling a joke

5. Talking rationally to someone when I’m angry at them

6. Dealing with unexpected change

7. Staying out of poison ivy

8. Writing music

9. Telling the difference between blue and purple

10. Accepting a compliment

Ten things I’m more or less okay at

11. Skating

12. Kayaking

13. Writing stories

14. Proofreading

15. Working with kids, handicapped people, and animals

16. Trampoline tricks

17. Cutting a rug

18. Cooking

19. Folding origami flowers

20. Spackling

Ten Things About My Body

21. I’m short.

22. My hair is blonde, but sometimes I dye it unnatural colors, even though I should have grown out of that.

23. My eyes are blue.

24. My arms can each rotate 540 degrees. It’s gross to behold.

25. My BMI is 21.3. Find yours here.

26. I have asthma and scarring in my lungs from histoplasmosis.

27. I wear a size 8 shoe, and I’m left-foot dominant (but right-handed).

28. I can span an octave and a note on a piano with my hand. This is useful when playing Tori Amos songs.

29. I can’t run for shit, but I’m not a bad skater.

30. When I was in grade school, I won a contest for picking up marbles out of a bucket of water with my toes. I picked up 21 in one minute. I can also play the piano with my toes, but not well.

Ten Things About My Mind

31. It keeps me up very late at night.

32. I used to take antidepressants, but I don’t anymore, and I’d like to sue the pants off Pfizer for lying about the withdrawal symptoms of that shit.

33. I’m right-brained to a fault.

34. My IQ is somewhere in the 130s or so.

35. I type 89 words per minute with a 1% error margin. Sometimes when I’m typing very fast, and writing something original, my hands will type a synonym for the word I’m thinking of in my head, without my conscious mind thinking of the synonym. It’s very weird.

36. I’m synesthetic, and it’s enhanced when I’m in pain. For instance, when I had a terrible headache a couple months ago, I tasted the shape of the sound the door made when it bumped into its frame. I frequently see things when I hear sounds; the sound of my dog Kiva’s bark is shaped like the inside of a funnel, with stripes running through it. The sound of some ringing phones is a purple and yellow checkerboard.

37. I have a hard time maintaining superficial real-life friendships. Unless I fucking love your guts, I more or less can’t be bothered. I am friends with a number of people at work, but when they ask me to go drinking with them, I mostly decline. There are about three people outside my immediate family who I consider real friends, as in, I’d give them access to my bank account without asking twice if they needed it or put them up or fly across the country to counsel them through a breakdown.

38. I need to create stuff in order to stay sane. If you take away my ability to write, take photographs, draw, play music, all that, you might as well take away my will to live.

39. I wish I found the first tenet of Buddhism easier to accept. That suffering exists is a bitter, spiky pill to swallow. I can’t get it down. It hinders my compassion.

40. I am not patient.

Ten things I hate

41. Jackasses who lock their dogs in cars with the windows up in the summer

42. Jackasses who beat their dogs

43. Jackasses who train their dogs to fight

44. Jackasses who drive drunk

45. Jackasses who cover up for jackass clergymen who sexually abuse children

46. George Bush

47. Jackasses who think gays should burn in hell

48. Nuclear weapons

49. High humidity

50. Poison ivy

Ten favorites

51. My favorite color is anything that fades into another color well, right at the point where you can’t tell if it’s one color or the other.

52. My favorite food is saag paneer.

53. My favorite beers are Mackeson and Leinenkugel Creamy Dark.

54. My favorite animals are dogs and bugs. (link to flickr photosets) I like simians too.

55. My favorite movie is Ghost in the Shell.

56. My favorite authors are Martin Amis, Barbara Kingsolver, and Arundhati Roy, but I like a whole shitload of others a whole lot too.

57. My favorite musical artists are Moby, Modest Mouse, and anybody who can kick some good blues around like an old tin can in a dirty alley that leads straight to the afterlife.

58. My favorite spots on this earth that I’ve seen so far are Big Bend National Park in Texas (particularly the Chisos Basin, but all of it’ll do), that gorgeous pub with the hardwood tables and floors that I almost burned down playing with the candle on the table and a book of matches when I was really drunk in Galway, Ireland, and the ski slopes of Mt. Hood. I’m expecting the Badlands will make this list too; full report upon my return.

59. My favorite traits in another person are their humor, wit, intelligence, and compassion.

60. My favorite way to spend my free time is by creating something.

Ten things that make me laugh

61. Jon Stewart. He’s always good for a giggle.

62. Harold on Red Green.

63. That movie Super Troopers. It’s so stupid. But it’s funny every time.

64. This shirt M has that says “Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian” in really big letters.

65. My brothers when they try to hit golf balls at the driving range. They suck real bad. Funny things frequently happen, such as the head flies off their golf club because they hit the ground instead of the ball, or they miraculously hit the ball but it ricochets and whacks the rent-a-cop.

66. SpongeBob.

67. My friend Nathan’s writing. The best unpublished I’ve ever read.

68. What Kiva does when you put a sweatshirt on her.

69. Monkey shitfights.

70. The word spackle.

Ten interesting things I’ve seen or done

71. I got stuck on a roller coaster once when a tornado ripped out the power to the amusement park. No one would come rescue us because they were afraid the tornado would kill them. We had to wait 37 very long minutes locked into our roller-coaster seats listening to the tornado but unable to see it behind the trees before anyone came.

72. Once when I was riding a horse the horse went under a branch and scraped me off, then stepped on my shirt and pinned me to the ground. I didn’t get hurt but how many people can say they’ve been clotheslined by a horse?

73. I got stung on the leg by a Portuguese man-o-war, which I hear is pretty rare. It left this sort of weird dotted tattoo halfway around my ankle that took six months to fade.

74. I once bartered a trunk full of clothes for a cockatiel.

75. I got knocked out at a homecoming dance in high school when one of the kids I was moshing with (to Spoonman by Soundgarden) slammed into me and sent me flying through the air. My head hit the gym floor and I woke up in an ambulance when they popped one of those nitrogen capsules in my nose (or whatever they are; they stink and burn).

76. I got fired from my first job.

77. I was stopped and waiting for traffic to pass so I could turn left onto my street when a sixteen-year-old kid in a Chevy rear-ended my car at about forty miles an hour. I didn’t realize I was wearing a backward, inside-out T-shirt and rainbow knee socks until after the tow truck hauled my ruined car away and I limped home and looked in the mirror to make sure my head was still attached to my body.

78. I know a lot more about BDSM than most people would ever suspect knowing me on a superficial level.

79. I’ve bungee-jumped and parasailed.

80. I snuck into a museum in Szeged, Hungary.

Ten injuries I have sustained

81. When I was very small my dad picked me up by the arms to spin me in a circle and my arm came out of the socket. It came out twice more before I was four years old.

82. When I was twelve I was skating down a hill in a campground on our first day of family vacation. I was wearing Umbros, per the style of the times. I fell and skidded about twenty feet down the asphalt on my ass. My shorts ripped and I left a bunch of ass-skin on the road. It hurt a lot. I also broke my hand and ripped a patch of skin off the inside of my elbow, somehow.

83. I fell off a swingset in my Grandma’s backyard when I was six. It left a three-inch gash just above my knee. It wasn’t a deep wound but it bled a lot and I still have a scar.

84. I took a faceplant while skiing down the side of a mountain in New York last year and dislocated my shoulder.

85. Some dude busted up my toes when we were doing jujitsu once. He pinned my naked toes to the mat with his knee as he was taking me down. I heard and felt them crunch.

86. I tried to dive off a ten-meter platform once and spun around in the air and hit the water pretty much flat on my back. It took three weeks for the bruises to stop blooming all down my legs. It looked gnarsty.

87. When I was about ten, I was fishing in my uncle’s creek, and my uncle’s girlfriend’s daughter tripped over a fishing pole that was right next to me and the lure on the fishing pole was one of those triple-hooked ones. I had my arm bent and one of the hooks hooked into my upper arm and one hooked into my forearm, so my arm was stuck bent shut. My dad took out the fish hooks with a pliers. I had to get a tetanus shot.

88. Also when I was ten I got such a raging case of poison ivy that both eyes swelled shut and my face oozed nastiness. I had to miss a lot of school and I couldn’t see anything. I went to the doctor to make sure it hadn’t gotten into my eyes. To test that, the doctor had to pry my eyes open and put some gunk into them that would show up under a black light, and then hold open my swollen eyes to look in there with the light. It didn’t really hurt, but it sure did itch like a motherfucker.

89. When the doctors were trying to discover what was growing in my lungs, they biopsied them, which meant they stuck a real big needle through my ribs and punctured my lung and schlepped out some of the offending mass (luckily I was out cold for that part). They told me the risk of lung collapse following the biopsy was low. My lung collapsed. That’s probably the most enduring pain I’ve been in. Other stuff has hurt more, but not stayed at a high level of “ow fuck” for a long time like that. It was only partially collapsed at first, so they sent me home and told me to come back to the hospital in the morning for an x-ray to see if it was still collapsed. In the morning, I could hardly draw in breath, I couldn’t sit up or lay down on my own. I could hardly walk. M took me back to the hospital and they put a chest tube in and reinflated my lung. It sucked a whole, whole lot.

90. When I was nineteen I was at the same campground where my brother broke his neck. I was on the swings at night, swinging next to some kid my family knew. It was one of those old-school swingsets, the tall metal ones with the heavy rubber swings that weigh about eight pounds and have the heavy chains that leave rust all over your hands. He jumped off his swing and it was flying wildly through the air. I shouted that he should grab it and he did, but then he flung it back up. It came down…right on my face. I felt the impact but not any real pain. I dragged my feet to stop myself and put my hand up to my mouth. In the darkness I couldn’t really see well, could just see that my hand was covered in something dark and wet that for some inexplicable reason I thought was oil from the swing. It took me a minute to realize it was blood. Lots of blood. I started to walk away from the swings and then I just sort of fell over. A park ranger showed up and shone a light in my face and said “Oh my God.” Then he shone it on the puddle of blood all over the ground in front of me. I mumbled something about my teeth, I couldn’t find my teeth. I could tell with my tongue that they were missing. After a while an ambulance showed up. One of the EMTs who put me in it was very young and he got very pale looking at me and said something like, “don’t even worry about plastic surgery yet, we’ll just get you to the hospital and clean you up.” I was all, oh great, I wasn’t worried about it until you said that…I did wind up needing plastic surgery. When we got to the hospital the doctor I saw was very brusque and acted like we were wasting his time. He gave me a wet cloth and told me to clean it myself because he didn’t want to hurt me, got the nurse to give me a tetanus shot and sent me on my way. When I was at the dentist a week and a half later getting my teeth reconstructed, the dentist asked what was inside my lip. I kind of moaned because we’d never found my teeth…I had to have surgery to get the teeth taken out of my lip. There was also a bunch of rust and dirt sealed in there with them. We went to a lawyer to see if we could sue the doctor who told me to clean it up myself at least for the cost of the surgery to get the teeth out, but we were told we didn’t have a case.

Ten sins I have committed, and why I don’t think I’ll go to hell for them

91. I squashed a caterpillar to death when I was about six. I don’t know if I knew what I was doing or not; it seems, in my memory, that I might have had the idea that it was bad to put a caterpillar in the bottom of a bucket, fill the bucket with dirt, and then squish the dirt down, but I’m not sure. It might be retrospective guilt.

Now, I rescue bugs. Inside my house, in swimming pools, in my car, wherever.

92. I cheated on a spelling test in the fifth grade.

It was the only test I ever cheated on. The class “bad boy” caught me at it and smiled and didn’t tell on me. I never cheated again.

93. I claim to despise television, but I watch “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” every week.

The only other television I watch is the news, and I mute the commercials.

94. In my last year of college, I slept with a professor (not while I was taking her class), three marines, my best friend, his girlfriend, two creative writing majors, some dude from New Zealand who has the same last name as me, and a Filipino guy I met in marital arts class.

Since the minute I met M, there has been no one else, and there will be no one else. Only M.

95. I sometimes used to rush my dog through her morning walk when I was running late for work and may not have given her enough time to do all her business.

I made sure that when we could afford a house, I bought one with a really big yard for her and the other dogs to run in. She’s never rushed now.

96. Though I’m a vegetarian, I own leather items of clothing/accessories, such as belts, shoes, and backpacks.

I’ve made it a policy to never buy leather again. It’s difficult but I’m determined. I don’t want to be a vegetard.

97. I broke a boy’s heart. Bad.

I got my heart broken by someone else. What went around came around.

98. I went to Las Vegas for a funeral and had a great time.

I’ve felt guilty about the circumstances surrounding that funeral ever since.

99. I wished that the girl I loved for four years would be unhappy in South Carolina and come back home to Ohio and be with me.

She got married recently, and looks happy in the photos from her wedding, and I feel good about that. I want her to be happy.

100. I was too ashamed to tell the priest my real sins when I went to confession as a child, so I made some up.

Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell for that one.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Beagles with email addresses

And the winner is...Mr. H.K., who had a whopping 15(!) email addresses last month, but says he is now down to five.

Looks like about four is the average. That's a lot more than I would have expected most people to have. Y'all are emailin' fools...okay, so am I.

So, miraculously, I think I've managed to get all my shit together, and in approximately seventeen hours, I'll be on the road to South Dakota. I get a lot of "you're going where for your vacation?" I can't imagine why. I hear there are buffalo in South Dakota. That seems as good a place to go as any.

Here is a picture of a beagle eating a pepper for your amusement.

I'm planning on one more post before I leave, a good juicy long one that I've been working on for a while, and after that, Suleyman will be manning the helm here at the Melodrama Jukebox while I'm away. I have no idea what kind of revolutionary jive he's planning to toss up in here for your daily potato reading, but I'm sure it will be good, so be sure to come by.

Over n' out for now. More packing to finish up...

A few quick thoughts

I woke up this morning shaking like crazy. I don't know why. I was so exhausted last night after all this not sleeping, I got in bed at 9:00. At 11:00, I was still awake, lying in bed seething at the dog, who would not stop LICKING. Man. It was driving me NUTS. She licked for TWO HOURS. How do you even DO that without your tongue falling off?

And then of course I woke up extra early this morning, for added fun. Sheesh.

Went to dinner with some of my family last night. My brother and his wife (the crazy one) bought me an orchid. I was kinda touched. He said she picked it out. Which surprised me; I thought the feeling of hatred I have toward her was mutual. So I thawed a little, but am still greatly upset by the things she said and did to my parents. Time will...I don't know, do something. I don't care to think about it just at the moment. The orchid is nice. It's yellow-ish, with a purple center. I'm sure there's a name for the center thingie on an orchid that sticks out but I don't know what it is and don't have time to look it up...

This same brother told us last night that he's leaving today to go down to New Orleans with a group of dudes from his work to help clean up crap. That's awesome. He works construction and they're basically going down there with a shitload of chainsaws to clear downed trees, which are still a huge problem blocking roads and covering peoples' houses so they can't get in them and stuff. He said he'll take lots of pictures. If I can get my hands on them, I'll post them on the bloginator.

Have I expressed my dislike for the word "blog" before? It's such a clunky, ugly word. There's got to be something better. I mean I might as well call this my "potato" or something, for all the heavy starchiness the word "blog" implies. Ick.

John Roberts, I see what you're trying to do and all, but answer the fucking questions already. Christ almighty.

Welcome lurkers! There are a spate of you making appearances. It makes me feel all...I don't know, validated and stuff. Thanks for leaving comments. By all means, please continue. :)

A continued call to those who want postcards: I have about five or six requests so far, and of course am eager for more. Believe me when I say I love to write postcards on trips. Email me your snail mail at j_star_katamari at yahoo dot com. As long as I get your address before, say, tomorrow at noon or so, I'll be sure to mail you a postcard of Badlands joy.

A quick survey: I was showering this morning and realized that I have four email addresses, each of which I use frequently. (These are the things I think about while I shower.) Is that a lot? It seems excessive to me. My survey question is this: How many email addresses do y'all have, and do you use them all a lot?

Geek out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Try not to sneeze while you pee

What my headboard would see if it had eyes. I think I maintained at least some level of consciousness the entire night last night. It edged around to full when Steve had himself a good hearty (noisy) drink from the toilet bowl. One of us forgot to close the lid last night. D'oh!

Yeah, so, I sneezed while I was taking a whiz at work today. Baaaaad idea. Um. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Oh, and the bathroom. It is beginning to look like a real bathroom in there. With walls that are flat, and everything. We primered it all tonight. I had no idea there was that much ammonia in the primer we bought. I believe that I lost at least 17 1/2% of my brain cells tonight. But, at least I was listening to the blues while I was doing it.

I came out of the bathroom and sort of fell over onto the carpet panting for fresh air. That was a lot of ammonia. And I had my camera handy and there was this desk lamp and I thought in my haze, why don't I photograph my eye. So I did. I didn't know my eyelashes were that long. I think the supermacro distorted them. While I was taking pictures of my eye so close that my eyelashes were hitting the lens I thought, I will get in my head the way it is when I wake all up in the night not knowing wtf. So I did and I took a picture of it. That is what it feels like to wake up in the night and not know wtf.

Except, I think there are less eyelashes, in the middle of the night.

I can't believe how utterly fried I feel right now. I was only in the ammonia box huffing fumes for like an hour. I bet I wake up tomorrow with an ammonia hangover.

Plans are coming together for the trip. I am slowly oozing into that relaxed, -if we forget the matches the world won't end and we'll still have fun- mode. Oh vacation. Oh, make sweet love to me, vacation. I need you. I thirst for you. VaCAtion. Mmmmm

Here is a picture of the campsite I reserved in the Black Hills for days three and four of the trip. Man is that looking nice right about now.

Reminder for open call for postcards. If you want one, email your address to me at j_star_katamari at

I can't believe it's just Tuesday night. It ought to be at least Thursday right now.

I think this is the crappiest post I've ever written. Ha ha! That's funny! Ha ha!

Hoo, boy. No more ammonia for J.

Monday, September 12, 2005

DogBlog...what is this, Monday?

Just because.

Those are M's fingertips. Wouldn't it be cool if Steve's ears did that on their own? When he was a puppy he had so much loose skin around his noggin region that you could do this and stretch his ears about two feet in either direction. You could grab fistfuls of skin on his back and pick him up and rock him around. He even liked it. (Freak dog.) He's grown into his skin some finally though.

I think we're going to start calling him scarface. One of the girls put that nice dent in his face right between his eyes there. He probably did something to deserve it. Knowing him. The charmer.

Here's Nancy looking all cute and happy and smiley. She pretty much just walks around smiling all the time, except when she's trying to kick something's ass. Then her mouth makes this "o" shape of doom and you'd better not touch her because she makes a sound that warns of her unsafeness for man and beast alike. I don't know what her previous owners did to her; both her eyes are scarred on their surfaces right in the centers, so when she wants to see something she kind of looks at it sideways, as she's demonstrating here. She's definitely got some pit bull in her, a lot of Staffordshire terrier. It's possible she might have been used for fighting. She came from a shelter that had her labeled as an Australian cattle dog, I'm guessing since Cincinnati has lots of mean nasty laws about bully breeds (because stupid fuckers like to fight their dogs and train them to attack people) and someone wanted to save her from immediate euthanization. She had been living in a cage at the shelter for five months when we went there looking for another dog to rescue and found her. M always wanted a Staffordshire and Nancy fits the bill pretty well. She seems happy to have made her way to us.

Deeper in my bag of's Kiva in a contemplative moment, staking her claim on M's chest. Her paw looks really dirty and her nails need cut. But she's happy, and that's what matters. Her ear seems to have made a good recovery from the claw incident; it's still doesn't stay perked when she's running around being a hooligan, or when she swims and it gets wet, but at least it doesn't seem to hurt her. That's good enough for me. I sure do hate it when my dawgs have any problems. They all come from the shelter, they've had enough suffering.

Four days till I turn 28 and we leave for our vacation. I slept through last night without having the wake-up-and-think-oh-shit-I'm-scared thing, which was a nice change. Maybe writing about it scared it off.

There are some uber-interesting comments on my last post, so if you haven't read them or if you left one early, they're worth going back and reading. You all sure have some interesting things to say about death. I meant to answer my own question tonight, about what I think happens to you after your body dies, but it seemed a heaver subject than I wanted to take on at the moment. I'll write about it soon though--maybe before vacation, maybe after, depending on how much of my honkin' to-do-before-we-leave list gets done. Also, E wrote a fascinating post today about her son's former life, which is more than worth the read. Luckily I got to pick her brain via IM about it, after leaving a mostly incoherent and overexcited comment on her blog. Thanks to all who responded; I feel honored as well that so many of you complimented me on my writing. I am frequently humbled by the number of people who identify with what I have to's so good to have such great readers as y'all...

When I go on trips, I really like to write postcards, and so I'm extending an offer to anyone who wants one. If you'd like a postcard from the wilds of the wicked-cool South Dakota Badlands, email me your snail mail address and I'll make every effort to send you one. Email is j_star_katamari at yahoo dot com. I'll post this again in the next couple days before I leave on my trip.

Time for bed. A big tall sleeping dude and a pile of dogs awaits me.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

We've got to stop thinking we're better than each other

When something happens like the thing that happened four years ago today, or what happened thirteen days ago today, you have to adjust to a new reality. Some things you thought you knew, you have to un-know, and that's hard to do. You have to replace them with new ideas about what your take is like. You can't go along thinking anymore the way you did.

I'm young, but I feel so cynical sometimes. I don't want to know the difference between innocence and ignorance, but I do.

When I was a kid and rode in cars I always watched the windshield to see how bugs got smashed on it. I was told at an early age by one of my many crazy uncles the stupid joke that goes, "Q: What's the last thing that goes through a bug's mind before he hits a windshield? A: His ass." (Yes, my uncles said "ass" around me when I was a small child. They also taught me how to hit a target with a crossbow, how to piss people off, and what not to say to your mother when she buys you a Christmas gift you don't like, all by example. It explains a lot about why I am who I am today.)

Tree-hugging hippie that I was, even at a young age, I was always offended at the wording of the joke, which never changed: "...before he hits a windshield." The bug doesn't hit the windshield. The windshield hits the bug. For God's sake. The bug is just minding his own business, and then he's obliterated. What really does go through a bug's mind? What is it like to go from conscious being to dead. ended. in the blink of an eye? It would take a microsecond for the bug to make that transition.

It's a bad analogy, but I thought about it on that day. You know, that blue blue day that everyone's posting about today. When the planes hit the towers, judging from the massive fireball, death was instantaneous for the people on board the planes (and on the particular floors of the buildings that the planes hit). Those people must have been vaporized, gone from traveling through the air at a terrifying rate of speed, to nothing. Gone. No trace of their corporeal existence but flames, which you can't pick up and touch and know.

Aside from the anticipatory terror of knowing you're going to die, the actual moment of death--the second your body stops housing your alive self--would that be a bad way to go? To move so fast from being to nothingness? You don't have time to fight for life. You don't have time to notice you're dying. You're just dead. You don't lie in the street dramatically clutching your chest where a bullet-hole wound pumps blood out of you. You don't stare wide-eyed your hospital-room ceiling and gasp for breath. You don't fight off a wretched and terrifying pain-haze of a heart attack. You don't die from giggity-giggity-giggity after looking at a Zhang Ziyi photo. You're just dead.

I've been waking up terrified in the night for the past couple days. I think I'm doing okay, and then I wake up and I am so scared that everything I think I know is wrong. It's scary. It's so scary. It's so solitary. It's like I'm the only one left--and I don't know what that means. The only what?

In the daylight, it seems trivial and meaningless and I forget it and I go on with my day. I went to visit my grandmother today. She's in good spirits, despite her poor bashed-up body. Her left hand is just amazingly gross looking. Lucky for all of you, the card-reader on my computer is temporarily not working, because I took a really disgusting macro shot of it when my ma was cleaning out the wound and putting on a new bandage, and you can bet I wanted to post the image.

Tonight after M went to bed at a reasonable hour like reasonable people do, and the house was dark, I was walking toward the computer to turn it on and I saw my backlit reflection in the framed Mandala print (kind of antithetical to the concept of a sand mandala, but I love to look at it anyway) we have in our living room--my silhouette, a dark shape against a light background that changed as I moved. And I got that feeling again. That terrifying, I am so fucked, oh God make this stop feeling. Luckily it only lasts for a few seconds, but after it goes, I'm left at the center of this pit of dark what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life emotions.

I'm not going to write about those.

Instead I'm going to take a survey:

What do you think happens to you after your body dies?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Weirdness abounds

It's almost like there's something in the air.

So I hurried to work this morning, to get that crud done, and when I got there the crud we needed from the programmers in India so that we could do *our* crud wasn't ready. Rrrr. Got all up outta my bed on a Saturday morning and went to the office and...couldn't do the work. So a friend was there doing some of his work and I dragged him off and we went to Eden Park and took a bunch of fun pictures of ducks and each other jumping off a swing and this weird statue there of Remus and Romulus. Yes, Cincinnati has a big bronze statue of two babies suckling on a wolf. And the babies are anatomically correct. As you no doubt noticed.

I went back to the office and we finally got what we needed around 11:30, and I worked on that until three and then stopped at the conservatory to take some pics and then drove home. On the way home I saw a car smashed up into a bridge piling. It was a pretty decent wreck, had traffic backed up, but there was only one cop there taking care of it. I thought, that's weird...once I got past the wreck I noticed there was a bunch of crap in the road, like a truck had lost its load or something--wood scraps and other random detritus. And then in less than half a mile, I saw a lot of flashing lights and a mess and traffic just slowed waaay down. I was like, wtf, I have to deal with rush hour traffic on Saturday too? I don't get enough of that during the week? I moved with traffic closer to the mess and saw stuff that made my stomach go all off. I think it was the worst wreck I've ever seen.

Here's a pic I snapped while driving by, but it doesn't do it justice. Click it for the larger view. There were people running everywhere, and the semi was involved in the wreck too and behind this flipped-over car, sort of behind that cluster of people the running cop is headed for, were a bunch more smashed-up cars. There was what looked like a corpse on a cot on the side of the road, and a lot of paramedics around someone else on a gurney. The whole highway was shut down and traffic was backed way up going south. As I drove north of it I saw people out of their cars walking around like they'd been there for ages--which made the fact that cops and random dudes were still running all over around the wreck even weirder. I don't know if there was still someone in that car, or trapped in one of the other wrecked cars, or what. I just checked the news and they had 75 South closed for five hours cleaning this up.

Which explains why there was only one cop taking care of the dude who drove himself into the bridge piling.

Saphenous, I'm thinking this right here is a pretty bad way to go. It more or less put my kvetch that I had to go to work on a Saturday right into perspective.

I went home and crawled back into bed for some sleep, which I didn't really get. I kept slipping into this nightmarish state where I was trying to do things in a dream, but my mind was, I don't know, collapsing out from under me and not letting me concentrate enough to do what I was trying to do, and I kept yelling at myself in my sleep. That went on for about two hours. Very restful. (Ha!)

I woke up and cleaned the house just to try to feel normal.

My ma called later in the evening to let me know my grandma had been in a car wreck today too (thankfully not that car wreck). She was driving under a railroad bridge on a part of US 50 that dips low to go under the bridge and then rises back up. She smashed into the back of someone and totaled her car. My grandma is about 73 or 74 and very fat and very frail. She messed herself up, got some cuts and gashes and spent some time in the hospital today but they didn't keep her overnight. I'm going to call her tomorrow and maybe bring her some lunch or something. She's been driving this old K car for years and wrecking it fairly regularly because she is the world's worst driver (I mean it, she's so frail she can't even turn her head to look around her, and frequently drives into grass and mailboxes and on the wrong side of the road and it's one of God's great wonders she hasn't killed herself or someone else yet). I know the AARP would have my head on a platter for saying this, but I believe fully and completely in retesting people for their licenses once they pass age 65. My grandmother would fail and the world would be a safer place.

I'm so tired. Why am I still awake? I don't know. I'm going to bed. What a long, weird day. I'd kind of like tomorrow to be normal, please. That's all. A normal Sunday.

Friday, September 09, 2005

And it's not even a full moon...

My intention was to get to that ten horrible ways to die list that I sorta posted about and Saphenous turned into a meme and poked me in the butt with, but I'm too sleeeepy. I will do it soon, I think...

Before I knock off for some much-needed zzzzs, I must tell this story.

This morning, I was walking in to work from the parking lot. It's a fair walk. To get to my building, I have to cross the intersection of death: Third Street and Central, where eighteen lanes of traffic converge into something that is less organized than a monkey shitfight at the zoo. Third is one-way east of the intersection; Central is two ways north and south, and Third is two ways on the west side of the intersection. Above this intersection, there are three highway overpasses, making it VERY NOISY. Crossing it every day has become a zen ritual. I get to the curb, I take a deep breath, I feel the pattern of the traffic, and I take the plunge. Miraculously, I have not been killed yet, but I feel fairly certain it's only a matter of time.

So I was on the north side of Third, getting ready to cross Central this morning, and I'm watching this dude driving a beige-colored late-nineties Camry. This is all very normal. I am just watching him drive west on Third, and I am trying to decide if he's going to turn right on Central or not, and if I should hurry up and walk or wait for him to see if he'll turn. So. To recap. Dude in Camry, turning right. Me waiting.

The dude gets closer. I notice that there is a woman in his passenger seat. As he gets even closer, I notice that the woman, see, is not wearing a shirt. And I think to myself, am I seeing this? And as the car gets even closer, I notice movement in the back seat. And as the car turns in front of me at a high rate of speed, I notice, in the back seat,

a young mountain lion. Turning its head to watch me step up onto the curb.

I shit you not, y'all. There was a dude, driving a beige Camry, downtown in a large city at morning rush hour, with a topless woman and a mountain lion in his car.

That thing was the size of a large dog.

And, that pretty much set the precedent for the rest of my day.