Sunday, October 30, 2005

I hate you, html.

I am frustrated. My template will not look how I want it to look. It looks just fine in Firefox, but for some reason in Explorer the background image won't even show up. If I fiddle with it and get it looking right in Explorer, the sidebar gets all messed up in Firefox. So, it's still this same old one, which I have grown tired of. Poop on you, html. And Explorer. Poop on you both.

This weekend, I cleaned the house for about seven hours yesterday, including rearranging some furniture, vacuuming entire dogs worth of shed dog hair into the vacuum cleaner, going through the books and making piles to get rid of, and cleaning the stupid garage. Because M is getting a bike. And last night we installed a bunch more insulation. Nobody came through the ceiling this time at least. Today I worked in the yard for about four hours. And went to the Asian market and got a load of foodstuffs.

I'm really mad at M right now, but I'm not going to bitch about it here. But damn.

Tonight I watched a movie that Nathan sent me. It was...weird. The art was neat.

Nancy ate a bell pepper today. A whole one. I was ripping out the garden so I could mow it down and she snagged it and ran off with it and ate it. I keep waiting for her to vomit. Dogs aren't supposed to eat peppers. No vomit yet.

I ordered about ninety dollars worth of camera crud yesterday, an adaptor and some filters, and a lenscap that will hopefully stay on. Unlike the piece o' crap that's on there now.

The down arrow on the keyboard is broken. So is the number two on the number pad. Since these two keys serve a similar function, I'm curious as to why they've both stopped working.

It's pretty safe to say, I feel like shit right now.

Friday, October 28, 2005

It's not perfect but

at least it's up there. Jukebox Two has a new (not entirely polished) look to it, as well as a re-edited story I had up on my writing repository (which is about to be defunct). If you have the time or inclination, read the new version here. It's long, but it has some juicy bits.

New look in the works for Melodrama as well. Gotta play with it a little longer. Thanks, S, for having a look-see at html issues and for listening to my death-threats to IE. (Get Firefox if you haven't already...)

Lots of you use Safari. I was surprised. I forgot to include that in the survey...which is still open if you want to take it, below.

Okay. That's all for now. I'm drunk enough that it took me three times as long as it should have to do up this post.

Stupid stress

that i unfortunately cannot write about.

So instead a survey:

Are you using Firefox or IE right now?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I don't even know how much I want to write about this.

What a day.

As I write this right now, I'm still at work. 7:20. I haven't gone home on time yet once this week...but as things to bitch about go, that's pretty lame. I'm waiting to get back some designs so I can check the changes on them. Again. And I really want to be home with M right now.

M is having a rough week. Yesterday, he and a coworker were dealing with some guy who went nuts in PES (psychiatric emergency services) and while they were dealing with him, the coworker had a heart attack. M got him over to the ER (which, if you're going to have a heart attack, two rooms over from the ER is the place to do it I guess) and took his gun belt off him and they did the EKG or whatever they do...the guy is ok, going to be ok they think, but M was shook up about it. He said the guy just went gray. I don't know, he wasn't very clear on the details, but obviously upset.

Then today, around 3, he called me at work to tell me what happened this morning. He was so amped I could hardly get the story straight, which is saying something since he was still so cranked a whole six or seven hours after this happened. He explained how some inmate had been in one of the day use rooms and had managed to pry off a couple of the metal table legs at the tables (which are bolted to the concrete floor) where inmates and their attorneys meet, set up outside the control room. Then the guy went apeshit (M's word) with them, busting up all the bullet-proof glass of the windows of the control room that look out onto the pods (where the cells and day-use rooms are). The sheriffs working the floor (including M) managed to seal the guy off in the hallway that goes between the control room and the separate pods, so he was just in there busting up glass, which being bulletproof shattered but didn't fall out of its frames. M is on backup for this thing called CERT, which is the team that deals with quote-unquote "emergencies" in corrections (when someone goes nuts in a cell or wherever and you have to go in there with either guns or biohazard gear to get him/her out so he/she stops trying to kill someone else or him/herself). They called in CERT and M was handed a shotgun and stationed outside the sliding metal door that quardons off part of the hallway that runs around the control room. The sergeant next to him who was wearing full riot gear by this point had the sliding metal door partway open and was shooting peppergun pellets into the hallway and trying to fill it with mace to subdue the guy so they could go in and restrain him.

Somehow though, the sergeant was shooting and using the key to control how far the door opens at the same time. And the door opened all the way while he was shooting. And the man with the metal pole threw the pole, and it hit the sergeant above his chest plate and below his face shield, flying up at such an angle that it laid his whole chin and part of his throat open. Blood went everywhere, all over the sergeant, the floor, and all over M. He said the sergeant's face just went blank and that his eyes were zeroes, and he heard the captain behind him authorizing him to use lethal force. The man came at M with another metal table leg, raised up. M raised his shotgun and aimed it at the man's chest but the man kept coming. Behind M were the elevators that the man was trying to get to. The way he explained this to me...he says he went into some sort of zone, where everything was calm, and he recognized that he had to kill the man before the man killed him. He pulled the trigger.

And the round didn't fire. The shell was bad. M pumped the chamber and the shell popped out and fell onto the floor. It had a dent in it. But it hadn't fired. The man with the pole looked at it and looked at M who had another round loaded and his finger on the trigger, and he put his pole down and he laid down face down on the floor. While M held the shotgun on him the rest of the CERT guys restrained the man. Further violence was averted. The sergeant who the guy hit with the table leg was taken to the hospital where he had his throat sewn back together with fourteen internal stitches and twenty-eight external ones. M spent the rest of the day filling out paperwork.

8:20. I'm writing this between rounds of design changes...a lot of hurry-up-and-wait.

Many thoughts in my head now. I wish I could go home. Soon, I think.


Later. I'm home now. M is in bed, having spent the evening sitting at home drinking whiskey. I don't blame him one bit. He told me the story again, more coherently. His face when he was telling it...I've only seen his face look like that a couple times, only at the most grim of times. He is on the other side of some hurdle within himself now. He knows that man would be dead if the round had fired properly. He had every intention of killing the man. He pulled the trigger intending to kill the man. I can see him so clearly standing there holding it with the sergeant's blood all over him. M has been gun-obsessed all his life, has fired a shotgun thousands and thousands of times, and this is the first time a round has ever failed to fire.

It makes me think about God. Why this time? Why this round? This man M was zeroed in on killing is 23 years old. He has racked up 23 felony charges since he was 18 years old, mostly for very violent offenses, including domestic violence charges (read: beating women and children). The man's brother, who had five rape convictions, was killed just a couple months ago. And the older brother in the family was killed in gang violence (I think) several years ago. It isn't that this man ceasing to exist would be such a bad thing. It's that because of these actions, M almost killed another human being. A terrible human being, but a human being. He came as close as you can come to killing. Next-door neighbors with killing.

I keep turning over the what if in my head. How can I not? How can I not think of how that scenario would have turned out differently if chance had not intervened? I mean, what are the odds?

I knew when I met M that if I got involved with him it was going to take some certain hardening inside me to be able to be with him, knowing what he does for a living. There have been a few instances here and there that have caused that hardening to happen. Nothing between M and I--just me dealing with the stories he brings home, of horrible, horrible atrocities, scenarios I wouldn't believe reading them in fiction but that are real. I have this hardness inside me already, but it's been honed by knowing M, by loving someone who is exposed to this particular kind of risk, who works among men who frequently want to kill him and sometimes try to. I have come to an understanding, in my head, that there are humans out there who want to kill the man I love. And that there are people who have *tried* to kill him. The man who followed him with a gun once. The man who shattered M's wrist in a massive fight. That terrorist he got into an altercation with a couple months back. The guy who assaulted him in the ER and went for his gunbelt and whose skull M fractured with his CD-21. The kid who pulled a gun on him during the Cincy riots in 2001. These things...I mean you just live with them, because you have to. Rejecting dealing with that would mean rejecting M. And, you know, that's not going to happen. I choose to stay with him because I love him. Even when that love causes me to be turned inside out with fear.

An interesting side note--the sergeant who was hit with the pole in the throat is someone I knew before I met M. I used to train with him back when I was all into the martial arts thing. The guy was good--very good. And hardcore. He used to work for a landscaping company before he became a sheriff, and instead of cutting down dead trees he was supposed to cut down with a saw, he used to Thai-kick them until they came out of the ground. Thai kicking is basically slamming stuff with your lower shins. This guy had shins of solid rock. I never liked to train Thai with him because he rattled my fucking brains out when I was holding the pads and he laid a solid roundhouse on me. I'd go home with awful headaches, and bruises all up and down my forearms. I had respect for that guy. He was good. That he got so fucked up today--that sucks. That sucks hard.

And, of course I have guilt for thinking it, but I'm glad it was him that got laid open instead of M.

Fuck. I feel dirty for writing that.

All right, so this is way more honest and open than I intended to get with this. But if I was going to tackle this I, well, I hate to do a thing half-assed.

I'll tell you, you think you got problems one day, just wait till the next one...

So. Anyway. That's all I got for now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Of two minds

A lil' too sleepy to post anything of substance.

Before I begin thtubbing out some bumbley words that don't mean much, here is a link to an excellent post Suley wrote about Haibane Renmei (the anime stuff I was glumphing about in my last post). I am too tired to think of the right words so I'm making some up. Oh also Suley's post has good pictures.

Today I had an experience that highlighted my rambling-on interior monologue about what to do for NaNoWriMo. Half of me wants to use the month of November to revise my current novel and get it into better shape and myself into a mindset where I can send it out for agent search round two. (Yes my ego is still battered from agent search round one, even though I am telling myself that the fact that I got as far as I did on my first try is pretty good. Rejection is still a steel-toed boot in the crotch, no matter.) The other half of me wants to strike out into new writerly territory and do something completely different, just for the sheer utopian joy and agony of writing again as opposed to editing.

It is like work vs. play.

The experience I had today was a flash of green fear. It's been a while since I was so scared I saw green, but today I was so scared I saw green--just for a fraction of a second, green like encroaching flowerpetals making a frame around my vision. It was precipitated by a Nathan email in which he mentioned killing himself. This has actually been in the past a thing of regularity that, after the first terrifying times, ceased to cause me fear. Every once in a while though he means it and these synesthetic flashes of fear I have always correspond to him giggling and reeling desperately and drunkenly on the edge of some real or imaginary cliff somewhere, teetering and deciding whether to let whoever's around him at the time pull him back by the shirt. It's just a silly thing that shouldn't scare me anymore, because after all, as he said today, "you have to want to die. Anne Sexton used to attempt to kill herself pretty much weekly. But she only died once." Every once in a while though. Every once in a while I get scared about the once. It only takes once. Especially I get scared when his tone wanders for more than a few days into the more esoteric realms of pontificating on pointlessness, as it has done since last week when a job thingie of his went into territory that means more than it maybe should.

The reason I bring all this up if only to myself is that for that moment when the green crept over and through me in a creepy flash, I was back where I was when I was writing the book in the first place, letting all that synesthesia madness be me, trying to get that one character out onto the page in the most honest way I could, and I felt all...whole again, like I was the conduit through which this actual person, not some figment, this actual person had to have his story told.

It's a heady feeling.

It made me think November should be given back to him. To his story. To trying to get it right again and to pursuing the goal of letting light fall on it.

On the other hand the darkness has been gone for going on three weeks now which is starting to feel like some kind of record and I don't know if I can just go back into it like that. I mean how many times can you do that to yourself.

I am soooooooo tired. Hence the lack of commas here, probably. And the improper punctuation to make a point.

Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A few random shades of blue

Our dog Nancy has recently become a hellion. We don't know what's wrong with her. Just in the past couple days she has developed some heinously bad behavoirs when in proximity to food and our dog Steve at the same time, or when we're touching her while Steve is around. There have been knockdown dragout dogfights in which she has been headed for Steve's jugular. Though she is only half his size, she does have that Staffordshire locking jaw of almighty doom, so this is somewhat worrisome, as the dogs are alone in the house for a good seven or so hours every day, and I don't want there to be some bloody incident like the Kiva ear incident while we're not here to yank the little bastiches apart. Tonight while I had her in my lap for a recently rare moment of dog-snuggling-time, I noticed that both her eyes have become foggier, as though they're clouded by cataracts. I wonder if she is losing her vision, and that's what's causing her to become so broilingly defensive lately.


Hot spiced tea is just wonderful when it's 38 degrees and raining outside.


When you come to me with your hair on fire about a work project at 4:55 and I'm gathering my stuff to leave to go home, please do not expect me to treat your project enthusiastically.


I have been watching an anime series called Haibane Renmei. I try not to geek out with the anime stuff on this blog too much, because I don't know that it's as interesting to anyone else (except Suley) as it is to me, and I'm hesitant to begin to write about how awed I am by the creativity and beauty I find in so much anime art (notably Miyazaki's work and the Ghost in the Shell stuff). But this series I'm watching now, is just, it's...phenomenal, and I can't not mention it. My days have been spent looking forward to evenings in which I will watch DVD episodes of this series. If you want to know about the characters and the story and all that, you can click the link, which goes to the official site. What I like about it so much is this: It chronicles the move from the blank slate of innocence to the chaotic palette of knowledge in the simplest, most beautifully effective way I've seen in a very long time. A few words from one character can make my heart constrict like a lemon slice gripped by an alcoholic in a vodka-tonic stupor. The music is quiet but effective. The backdrops are gorgeously rendered, the characters as complex as any people you'd meet in your life. I feel like a better person for having watched this series. I would encourage anyone to purchase it (here) or rent it (here). Maybe I can even convince Suley (wink wink, nudge nudge) to sing its praises.


I still have no earthly idea what I'm going to write about for NaNoWriMo (which is a cool concept with a mighty silly name). While part of me wants to sit down and plan shit out, the rest of me is like, bah, the tar with it, spackle it up on the fly.


I posted a little photo story I made here. It's about a pumpkin.


I wonder why the Blogger dictionary does not recognize the word "blog."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Surreptitious with the camera

The Renaissance Festival was pretty fun, and it didn't rain--which was a nice surprise. (Silly weather forecasters.) At times, the sun was even out. It was darned cold though and even with four layers I was chilly the entire day. Since my camera has a nifty little flip-screen, I can sometimes easily take pictures of people without their knowledge, since I can aim the camera without looking in the direction of the aiming, which allowed me to take some fun shots, such as the one of the baby eating the pretzel at right. He was so into his pretzel. I actually took about five pictures of him. He cracked me up.

I also took this shot of a man singing loudly. It was loud all around when he was singing, so I couldn't hear the words to his song, but he was pretty into it, whatever it was. This, kids, is where a degree in liberal arts will land you if you don't watch it. Riding around wearing a scarf under a toga and singing a song at the top of you voice with only one random person with a camera paying any attention to you...

Sad, really. But funny.

I didn't get to see much of the belly dancers, sadly, due to our little group always being in the wrong place at the wrong time and them being on the other side of the festival grounds. Maybe they were avoiding us. I did briefly get to see the chick balancing a sword on top of her head and gyrating and sliding and sexying her way across the mud (and there was a lot of mud), but it was over all too briefly. Alas.

Speaking of mud, this guy was having himself a jolly old time. At this Renaissance festival they have what's called a theater in the ground, and there are "mud shows" on and off throughout the day. We were treated to a very sloppy, slippery, sloopy goodgey messy rendition of Beowulf, in which many audience members were covered in mud. Thankfully our group was far enough back in the seats that we didn't get any on us, but this also meant that we were unable to see a lot of the action in the actual mud pit. Which was a sacrifice I was willing enough to make. At one point this dude to the right here walked out into the audience and sat down next to a teenaged girl and slopped his arm around her shoulders and covered her back and her very long black hair with goops of globby mud. Fortunately for her, she was a good sport about it, and the other girls she was with made lots of fun of her even as they were very glad they weren't the ones with blurbs of cold mud running down their Renaissance festival finery.

We also saw some neat trampoline tricks--they had one of those nifty whatsits that you hook into and jump about twenty feet into the air with, and you can flip all around and fling and fly about in the cold air. I didn't do it because it cost extra dollars and they only let you do it for about two minutes. While I was there I also purchased this nifty-o chalice to the left here, which has a nice big bowl to it so I can drink oodles of hot tea, which I have been doing nonstop for about two weeks now. I like my tea out of a big-ass cup, because it always seems to concentrated to me in a regular-sized mug, and this thing is perfect--it holds about two mugs' worth of hot water. Got it for a bargain, too--marked down to $10 from $16, so I was pleased. I drank two tumblers of orange spice herbal tea out of it last night. Delicous.

In the evening last night M and I went over to my parents' place. My dad was gone for the weekend at his deacon class thingie, but my mom and their three dogs were there. My middle brother, the one who married the crazy girl, was there with his wife and their two dogs, so between all them and our three, there were eight dogs in the yard. We had a fire out in the back and the dogs ran about working out their dominance issues. My other brother stopped by to show us his latest purchase. This brother is more into Halloween than anyone I know, so look forward to some cool pictures the day after Halloween. He goes over to my parents' house every year and turns the backyard into a haunted yard and terrorizes small children and even punkish teenagers. He has this giant rat thing on a string that he yanks to make it move, and rigs up this man made out of stuffed overalls and a jack-o-lantern to fall out of a tree, and builds all these enormous scarecrows modeled after the ones from that Sleepy Hollow movie with Johnny Depp, and a fog machine and strobe lights and black lights and all sorts of stuff.

Okay. On that note...this post has become large and unwieldy, and so I shall leave you with a large and unwieldy picture I took yesterday of SuperNippleBoy doing God knows what. Enjoy!

Friday, October 21, 2005

What I am doing vs what I should be doing

Playing with photos. Cleaning the house.

Tomorrow I'm going to this fabulous outdoor event with friends. Check out that great flash! Ha ha ha!

It's supposed to be cold and rainy all day. Maybe I shouldn't bring my camera.


On that note, I'm going to bed.

Do you see what I have to put up with here

-----Original Message-----
From: Nathan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 1:47 PM
To: J
Subject: J,

I appear to have won some money in the lottery just now.


From: J
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 10:50 AM
To: Nathan
Subject: RE: J,

How many dollars did you win? At work a bunch of people pooled their money and won 12 dollars, which had to be split among 125 purchased tickets. Everyone got like seven cents.


From: Nathan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 1:52 PM
To: J
Subject: RE: J,

No, it's not seven cents.


From: J
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:00 AM
To: Nathan
Subject: RE: J,


From: J
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:09 AM
To: Nathan
Subject: RE: J,

Are you not answering me because you are embroiled in a media circus because you just won a bajillion dollars? No, you’re probably just winding me up again... like you like to do...


From: Nathan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 2:10 PM
To: J
Subject: RE: J,



From: J
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:11 AM
To: Nathan
Subject: RE: J,

I can’t take this. My heart can’t take it.


From: Nathan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 2:13 PM
To: J
Subject: RE: J,

You know, until I *sign* the ticket, and I go *claim* the prize, which I guess is in salem, nobody knows, right. I mean I know. and you sort of know. But beyond that nobody knows. So right now we are the only two people that knows. Right now. and none of these people here in the HF3 cafe knows. I love that. I'm lovin that.

From: J
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:16 AM
To: Nathan
Subject: RE: J,

Are you just going to stay at work all day then, savouring your secret? I like to put a “u” in savouring. It makes it sound so much more *savoury.*


From: Nathan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 2:17 PM
To: J
Subject: RE: J,

oh j dears, I can't do it anymore I won 3 dollars


From: J
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:18 AM
To: Nathan
Subject: RE: J,

Oh HELL YEAH! Congratulations, that is *so awesome*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



From: Nathan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 2:20 PM
To: J
Subject: RE: J,

oh the category 5 laughter I am experiencing right now is so worth it


From: J
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:24 AM
To: Nathan
Subject: RE: J,

You know you owe me at least one dollar of that three. I earned it with my angst.

From: Nathan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 2:27 PM
To: J
Subject: RE: J,

J, I gave you something worth more than a dollar. You had hope there j. hope of the highest order. for like, several minutes. a brilliant white hope that your ol' bud nathan had just won all the money. that is priceless, my friend. priceless. and if I had won 112 million dollars or whatever it is after taxes, I would've given you a nice big suitcase full of money. totally nathan style. a big suitcase full of money in a new car. with a bow on the car. and a little card on the driver's seat. you know, because I'm like that.


From: J
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:46 AM
To: Nathan
Subject: RE: J,

Would you tell me I could only have it if I moved out of my crappy state?


From: Nathan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 3:16 PM
To: J
Subject: RE: J,


From: J
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 12:18 PM
To: Nathan
Subject: RE: J,

I thought so


From: Nathan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 3:24 PM
To: J
Subject: RE: J,

alright now it is poetry time. time to write a poem. this poem is called "you mother, you doctor" and it is so sylvia plath style that I could just slit my heart and bleed black.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Heat and the art of ladybugs

Each night exists as a piece of a season. By itself it isn't anything, it's just a link in a chain, but you bring to each night what you have in yourself and turn it into more than a piece in a chain. You make it something. You take the darkness outside the rooms you light up, the darkness you go outside to look at, and you turn it into something that's yours.

Today was the last day of the warm part of fall. It was in the low 80s today. Cold enough in the morning to turn on the heat in my car, and hot enough driving home to turn on the air conditioning. It's warm in the room where I'm sitting right now, writing this. I've opened the window behind me and turned the fan on, to pull the outside air in. I went outside just a few minutes ago, to look at the moon. Even on the nights I haven't meant to or wanted to this week, I've gone outside to look at the moon, like it's pulling me out by the teeth. The picture I posted yesterday, I took that two nights ago, or maybe three--it's blurred together lately--after I had changed into sweats and a t-shirt and was walking through the kitchen to get into bed with M and the dogs, and I saw the vividness of the silverwhite light on the lawn where the brightness of the moon fell through the maple trees onto the dying grass. And I went outside and looked up at the moon through the leaves and the thin patina of clouds like plaque covering the earth. The moon was so bright. Last night we took the dogs for a walk and the moon was low and orange in the sky. Tonight, just now, when I went outside to look, I searched the sky behind the house across the street, where I expected to see it, where it usually is, but it was to the left, hanging quietly above the house next to ours, looking through the tunnel of moisture in the air, down at me in my driveway looking up at it. The moon is just the moon, but I've just finished a good book and I felt that it was looking at me the way someone you used to love looks at you just before they look away. The moon was what I brought to it. Not just plain, unadorned rock in the sky reflecting the light of the sun, which has set on this part of the planet. Something else. Like it has been all week. Something else.

This time of year.

Tonight I was sitting at my desk after everyone had gone, finishing up a project, after the air conditioner had shut off and others' phones had stopped ringing and the man who cleans had come around and emptied the trash cans. It was quiet except for the sound of the pen I kept flipping around in my fingers and the occasional sounds my keyboard made when I typed IM exchanges with Nathan. My typing sounded clattery and loud in the quiet. Outside, the sun was sliding down the side of the sky, getting ready to set, and there were ladybugs on the window. This time of year, in this particular place, there are ladybugs. And I was typing to Nathan on IM about the ladybugs and I had such a strong memory come over me, of school, my senior year, when I was so in love with a boy who was not in love with me. I remember standing outside the hall where our Japanese class was. It was late afternoon, this same time of year, and I was standing outside the hall with my bicycle. The class had ended. I remember how the grips on the bike handlebars felt under my palms. The weather was still warm. The oak trees were orangey-brown. Squirrels everywhere. A girl from our class sat outside on the steps of the hall; I can remember even the peeling paint on the doorframe behind her. She reminded me slightly of an ex-girlfriend. She was trying to keep the ladybugs out of her long blonde hair. In my mind now I confuse her slightly with a girl I met since I knew this girl, so she warps and ripples like she's underwater when I try to bring her face into my mind's focus. She was angry at the ladybugs. There were so many. In the rooms of the residence halls, you could scoop the dead ones from the windowsills and fling the dried husks of their lightweight bodies out into the air like confetti. If you had a poster on the wall, and you took down the poster, you would find ladybugs behind it, hugging the wall as if the humps of their bodies might disappear into the pale-colored paint.

The boy I was in love with who wasn't in love with me came out of the building and he walked alongside me as I walked my bike. The leaves crunched under the tires. And when I ran over acorns, they shot out to the left or to the right. The boy had told me he'd transferred into the section of the class I was in because I was in it. He would come close to me, and go away from me, on and on, that whole semester. He wasn't toying with me. We were both too straightforward for that. We slept together for a while. He didn't know what he wanted. In the end, it wasn't me. He wanted my body enough, but not...he didn't want me. It took a long time and a lot of alcohol and some other drugs and sex with other people for that to be okay.

Nathan, the friend I was IMing, went to the same school I did. That's where we met. I told him about the ladybugs on the window. He remembered them too. Remembered throwing handfuls of them. We talked about the ladybugs for a while as I finished up my project, and about that boy, and then Nathan said some things that made me uneasy. There may be more posts about Nathan in the future. For now, I'm keeping hold on Nathan and not bringing him too much into the light here. I don't want the thing that could bring him into the light to happen.

Okay. My hands are hot. I should go to bed. Stop listening to this moon...

I haven't fallen off, yet

Apologies for a) not reading y'all's blogs as religiously as I usually do, and b) only posting silly posts about dreams and the moon lately. My body is doing some sort of annoying thing where it can't decide whether or not it's coming down with the plague, meaning I am not sick enough to stay home but not well enough to do much of anything. And, crap has been busy at work lately, so I haven't had time to go looking at blogs...sad, really. I have been so tired too, going to bed at ridiculously reasonable times instead of the usual 1 or 2 a.m., so,


I will be more securely back on the blogwagon soon, I hope.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A long night full of dreams

I fell asleep on the couch at 7 last night and stayed in a sleep daze the rest of the night...dreaming so many different dreams I've forgotten ninety percent of them, but the ones I remember are vivid and clear like memories instead of imaginary dreams. I remember a city, a crowded city, so full that cars were stacked like piles of pancakes in parking lots, and to get yours out from the bottom of the heap required acrobatic skill, and to leave the city you had to sit on crowded highways. I dreamed about a hurricane so large it cut a swath over the surface of the globe, every continent, spinning through every ocean and finally sputtering out in Greenland, of all places. I dreamed about a woman who had grown up in grinding poverty and now insisted her baby sleep in a warm bed every night, even though she had to overextend her finances to do it. I dreamed about hiking to a festival in the rain, and waiting for friends who never came, called instead offering lame excuses like a waiter offering sad, sorry-looking appetizers on a gilded tray. I dreamed a man operated on my body while I was awake.

Is it the moon, do you think? I wonder. The full moon.

I'm winding up to start writing again. Every one of these dreams is a story, a long story full of twisted characters and plots and subtext and emotion.

The moon in the night like that gives me goosebumps.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A nice night for a walk

We took the dogs for a walk at Glenwood Gardens tonight. We got there around 7, when the sun was setting. The moon rose higher in the sky as we walked, and began to cast shadows with its brightness. By the end of the walk we were following the gravel path only by the light of the moon, the luminescent gray and white rocks beneath our feet leading us through the woods...

Dopey stuff I have done this week

  • I got another flat tire, driving in to work on Tuesday. On the highway. In morning rush hour. Genius! I decided that I'd rather bend the rim and pay to replace it than try to change the tire in the gutter of I-75 in traffic, so I kept going to an exit and pulled into a Speedway, where I managed to change the tire. Sadly, I had to call M (and it was his day off! Doh!) to give me a hand, and he, being bigger and stronger than I, was able to get the tire off the car (it had rusted on and wouldn't be convinced with my feeble kicks and shoves and yanks to come off). We swapped vehicles and I drove his truck the rest of the way downtown, and he drove my spare-tired car home. M's truck, I should note, has a bumper sticker that says "I love explosives" on it.
  • I had to park in a different lot than the one I usually park in due to my rather late arrival at work that day. When I left for the day, I got into M's truck, which is old and has no power steering, and promptly backed it into a post. For a giant billboard that says "Abortion stops a beating heart." I put a sizeable dent in the bumper, but luckily it was not on the bumper-sticker side.
  • I accidentally said "motherfucker" at work. Oops.
  • I woke up with my face in the dog's ass. The perils of letting the dogs share the bed with you...
  • Yesterday at work, we had a picnic thing, and sumo wrestling. You know, with the big dopey costumes, like this. I was up against a dude who is, no kidding, 6'7". He is the tallest dude at the company. I am, let's just say, shorter than that. By a lot. I wriggled my way into the sumo suit. I was wearing a hoodie with Cookie Monster on it (shut up) and my sunglasses were in the pouch of the hoodie, which I forgot. The nice metal sunglasses, not the cheap plastic sunglasses. In the course of sumo wrestling enormous dude, my sunglasses came out of the pouch and rotated around behind me, and when enormous dude knocked me down, I landed right on the sunglasses, right in the middle of my back.
  • Let us just pause for a moment here to say, owfuckthathurtalot.

And--oh!--the week's not over yet! I have a full, glorious, sunshiney day in which to do dopey stuff to add to this list! Assuming I can move around, since today I am in more than a little pain from the sumo sunglasses incident...

Thursday, October 13, 2005


What is this that I feel? Am I tapping into something bigger than me? Though I only know my own feelings, my own sensations spreading through me when I hear these sounds, see these sights, I know the universality of this silent sadness...not a painful sadness but a quiet one. I don't experience this sadness. This sadness experiences me. And then it goes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I'm yellow! Pay attention to me!

I've been working on this project for a while now, and I finally had enough down time this week to finish here to see "Yellow means please."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A dog's mind

There's a really good article on Slate about how dogs think. It questions the assumption most people make that dogs think even remotely similarly to humans, pointing out that dogs are existential beings. It tells the story of a woman who went back to work after being at home for several years, and the troubles she experienced when her dog started destroying her home after she went back to work.

"Everybody says the dog was reacting to her going back to work," I suggested.

"Everybody is probably wrong," was his blunt comeback. "It's 'theory of mind.' This is what often happens when humans assume that dogs think the way we do."

His analysis: "Being angry at the human and behaving punitively--that's not a thought sequence even remotely possible, given a dog's brain. The likely scenario is that the dog is simply frightened." When Heather was home, she was there to explain and enforce the rules. With her gone, the dog literally didn't know how to behave. The dog should have been acclimated to a crate or room and confined more, not less, until she got used to her new independence.

Lots of dogs get nervous when they don't know what's expected of them, and when they get anxious, they can also grow restless. Blue hadn't had to occupy time alone before. Dogs can get unnerved by this. They bark, chew, scratch, destroy. Getting yelled at and punished later doesn't help: The dog probably knows it's doing something wrong, but it has no idea what. Since there's nobody around to correct behaviors when the dog is alone, how could the dog know which behavior is the problem? Which action was wrong?

He made sense to me. Dogs are not aware of time, even as a concept, so Blue couldn't know whether she was being left for five minutes or five hours, or how that compared to being left for a movie two weeks earlier. Since she had no conscious notion that Heather's work life had changed, how could she get angry, let alone plot vengeance?

The rest of the article can be found here.

I think the recently-beginning shift in the way we think about our pets is an important one. So many animals are needlessly subjected to punishments that are simply inappropriate, because they're based on assumptions that dogs have a much more complex understanding of time and motivation than they actually do. It's not to say that dogs are stupid, or incapable of reason--far from it--just that they don't experience time the way we do, and are much more likely to respond to immediate operant or classical conditioning than to training that nebulously rewards good behaviors and punishes bad ones.

It's something I have a lot of strong feelings and opinions about.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Earthquakes, love, food, and dreams

It's cold again.

In February, three days in the mid-fifties will be a heat wave. Now, it' awakening, of sorts. Right up to Thursday of the past week, it was in the mid-eighties and humid. Summer weather. I went skating at lunch on Thursday and I got all sweaty. Today, I don't think it got above 57. The sun hasn't been out since Thursday, either. Friday it rained some, downtown, but not where I live. It's sprinkled in a misty sort of way a few times since then but no real rain.

This weather is like me. It runs hot and cold.

This kind of weather makes me feel like cooking. Last weekend I felt so awful, I felt...that everything I tried to do was worthless, that cleaning the garage was a waste of time because it would just get messy again, that finishing painting the bathroom would take more mental energy than I possessed, that I might as well not pay the bills because I'll just go to work and earn more money and pay more bills with it and never, ever get ahead. That all my ambitions were dead. This weekend, I did so much. I finished the bathroom. I did the grocery shopping. Four loads of laundry. Took the dogs for a long trek through farmland. Cleaned the kitchen. Did some drawing. Went through the pile of bills and paperwork that had accumulated while I felt like too much hell to do anything about it. Yesterday, I made a giant steaming pot of chili spaghetti, and today tried something I've never made: crepes. Damn they were good. I didn't have all the exact ingredients I needed, so I made a few things up on the fly. Everything came together. Voila: crepes. Stuffed with mushrooms and rice and all kinds of spice. And some garlicky-herbally spreadbly delicious cheese I bought today. And covered in mozzarella and gooed up with sour cream.

The cold makes me cook. My fridge is full of copious amounts of food. Maybe I will get fatter. I feel prepared for winter, like a squirrel squirreling away acorns. Only I know where all my food is. And my food will not cause oak forests to grow.

I can remember for almost every year stretching back in my memory the first day when the air smelled different, in the fall. This year, that day was today. When touching warm things feels good instead of stifling. When three blankets seem like a good idea. When the air feels clean, all the way to the bottom.

I feel apprehensive in some ways. I can remember how nasty things got last winter. How cooped up I felt. How much I hated the house, the walls, the rooms I lived in that got smaller each day. I want this house to be clean. I remember feeling as though it was never clean enough. That no matter how much scrubbing or vacuuming or mopping or dusting I did, it was never to my standard of what a clean house should feel like. That feeling has gone away somewhat, since I've spent so much time outdoors over the past five or so months, but soon, I'll be back to only going outside to go places, or to walk restless dogs. This house will be a skin again, instead of somewhere to sleep and keep my photos. I don't know if I'm ready for that yet, but I don't have a lot of choice; winter is inevitable.

This year, there will be much more skiing. And, hopefully, no dislocated shoulders.

On to other things--last night, I dreamed a lengthy dream about love. The person with whom I shared this love was younger than me, and able to move the earth with his thoughts. He was not old enough to understand how to control his emotions enough to keep the earth from quaking around him. Sometimes, when he saw me at a distance, the earth would shake underneath him, tumbling rocks away from him, tilting hills into steeper angles. We agreed to meet on a mountain top. I trekked up the steep rock surface of the mountain. He had arrived before me and saw me coming. The buoyancy of his desire cracked the stones underneath his feet, so that chunks of granite (I remember the particular color of this granite, its sharpness when it cracked into brick-sized bits, the way it caught the light) flew up around him. A hunk of rock the size and shape of his left shoulder hit him full in the face, leaving his mouth a wrecked mess of blood, his teeth strewn out over the broken ground beneath him. When I reached him he kissed me with his broken mouth and I tasted bitter iron. I wrapped my hands around his upper arms to hold him steady, to make him settle, to make the earth stop quaking underneath us so we could make it the rest of the way to the summit.

When we made it to the peak, there was a...there was something like a gazebo there, only it was also a chapel. With white pillars, open to the wind tearing through. I held the boy's arms still, and his love was so strong that it was pulling the mountain sideways, so that the lantern-shaped bell emanating light from the ceiling of the chapel tilted, started pushing us harder together, down the side of the mountain. I could still taste his blood in my mouth. He had become tangled up with gravity somehow, so that he was gravity, and along with everything around us, I was being sucked into him. The earth shook and shuddered like it was a dog and we were water it was trying to fling from its body with the force of its shaking. I woke up.

And got online, and read about the earthquake in Pakistan. So many dead. And the number grows. And here I am with my American fridge full of food...

I wonder what exactly it will take to make me stop thinking about it and just do it. To make that decision. To leave this place. To go where help is needed.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A friend in need

I would encourage anyone who stops by here today (or any day), if you don't already, to go visit Jenelle. She is going through an incredibly tough time right now and is handling it pretty damn well, in my opinion, but words of encouragement never hurt. Pump the girl up--or offer her your couch so she can get away from her jackass emotionally-abusive crapheap of a soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Kudos to you, Jenelle, for keeping your head. What you're going through is so hard, and I have lots of respect for you.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Photo Friday: Five

How many times did you count the lights to make sure?

It's the weekend, and the new Katamari game is out! Hooray!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Ha ha!

Microsoft MovieMaker, you are such my bitch.

After struggling angstily with a poor video processor on my home computer, I've managed to conquer video editing with my work (beast)machine. Check out the fruits of my efforts.

Next, film school? The megamediacrud store to get something that will give me a more stable shot than duct-taping my camera to a hiking pole?

I'm reading Descarte.

If anyone has trouble with the video link, please let me know. So far it's worked on three computers and not worked on one computer.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fish scales and rivercrunk

Today is the first day I’ve felt a little less like a visiting alien and a little more like this is the place I belong. Not a hundred percent though—that, I think, will never happen. I’ve been using the temporary fix to get through the day of asking myself about every little thing, will this matter if an asteroid causes planetary obliteration in twenty-four years? Not surprisingly, the answer is usually, ha ha! Of course not!

Which is freeing, but maybe not the best worldview to have, just in case that asteroid misses or Bruce Willis blows it up or some shit. So tonight I’m going to pull off the shelves the dusty philosophy tomes I haven’t read since I was a philosophy major and dropped out of school seven years ago, and have a gander into trying to reconstruct some sort of appropriate way of living that doesn’t involve hoping a meteor will turn Earth into a cosmic cinder.

Hopefully, that also means I’ll get on track enough to start reading others’ blogs again and leaving comments that don’t have to do with resignation to the fickle hands of fate.

Speaking of which, Sweet, when are you going to start a blog? C’mon. It’s not that hard. You don’t even have to post anything of quote-unquote value. You can write about cat turds and people will read it. See? I just wrote about a cat turd, and you read it.

If anyone has any burningly passionate recommendations of philosophers you think I ought to read to get my head out of God’s ass, please recommend. (If we’re really made in his image, which I have doubts about on around sixteen hundred and two levels, then God poops too.)


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Smash! Crash! Boom!

Yesterday I heard about this meteor that has between a 1-in-60 and a 1-in-300 chance of hitting (and more or less obliterating life on) earth in 2029. The link’s in yesterday’s BoingBoing archives, if you’re interested. I’m too lazy to look it up and link from here. I’ve been pretty happy since I read about that. Boy, that’d be a load off, wouldn’t it?

I was dragged kicking and bitching into the twenty-first century last night. I now have a cell phone. It’s small. I’m probably going to lose it or smash it horribly before the week’s out.

This morning I had a nightmare. I had three sisters. One wanted to kill one of the others. So we traveled a long time away in a car. All of us. When we got to wherever we were going, the one who wanted to kill the other tied her to a bed and began beating her. Red welts showed up all over her body, knuckle-prints, four lines of fingers in a fist, teeth marks, bite wounds. The killing sister unabatedly vented her fury on the killed sister, who was silent, staring at the ceiling, waiting for it to stop so she could quietly die. The third sister wrung her hands, muttered, but didn’t try to stop it. I watched in horrified fascination. It took her a long time to die and when she did, she turned cold. The other two left and the corpse and I lolled lazily in the bed, coldly, waiting for me to wake up.

Now I'm at work, doing stuff that adds a small dose of meaninglessness to my already deliciously meaningless existance. Smile, maybe we'll all be dead in 24 years!

Monday, October 03, 2005

You know, much as we want to be do-it-yourself-ers, we're just not.

Also, I snapped my expensive, speedy 1G camera card in half last night.

Is it the weekend yet?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Fire is pretty.

I got up this morning with the idea that I was going to get a lot of things done, but I got only as far as creating a list of things to do that went something like this:

1) Make a list of all the shit you have to do today.
2) Drink heavily.

I only accomplished number one before I felt so depressed that I had to go back to bed, where I unfortunately did not fall back to sleep, I just sort of laid there for a while feeling marooned. Crappy emotions continued on and off throughout the day, but I started feeling a little better tonight. The jury's still out on whether this is just a temporary chemical glitch or the start of a full-blown episode of suck. Let's hope the former.

I spent some time visiting my parents this evening, which was kind of nice. One of my brothers was there too, the one who likes to burn things. This is the brother who went to the Badlands the week before M and I did. Here are two pictures of him that his wife took while they were out there. Click 'em for the larger view. He enjoys being airborne.

Speaking of fire, I was intrigued by how many of you said you want to be cremated when you die. Coming from a big Catholic family, this isn't an option I had any idea was so popular. Everyone I've known who has died has been buried in a cemetery, usually in a family plot.

My answer to the question: Despite Suley telling me a creepy story about a cadaver, I'm donating my body to the hospital that saved my brother's life. After he got better, everyone in my family started donating blood regularly. Well, my blood is undonatable, for several reasons, and I have enough weird medical issues that it seems there could be some things learned from my corporeal remains when I finally bite the big one that I figure I'll just let the medical students cut me all into bits. So. There you have it.

It's not like I'll be using it, anyway. As Atpanda says, it just holds me. Em gets the prize for the most unusual answer. I'd like to learn how that could work...

At my parents' house this evening, we played Fireball. How's Fireball played, you ask? It goes something like this. You get a rag and soak it in oil, the sort of oil you put in an oil lamp. Then you wad it into a tight ball, and wrap it in copper wiring. Then you light it on fire. Then you put on a thick leather glove, and you throw the fireball at each other. It makes a great whooshing sound as it tears through the air. Fireball is best played in a very large yard, because when you're holding the fireball, you're in this bubble of bright and you can't see where the other person is; you more or less just wing it with all your might at the place you last saw them standing. The object of the game is to move far enough from where you were after you last threw the ball that the person getting ready to wing it back at you doesn't hit you with it, but to not go so far that you can't catch it.

It's quite a rush to catch a ball of fire tearing at you at a high rate of speed. It's also pretty difficult, as my brother demonstrates at right, here. There is a lot of spectacular leaping and contorting of one's body as the ability see and judge accurately where the fireball is going is tested.

Fireball is great exercise. Nothing motivates you to move fast like the threat of taking some flame in the face. I did manage to bounce it off the top of my brother's head at one point, and Nancy was running around like a maniac and tripped M so that he fell on it.

Nancy actually scared us, because we've never played it in front of her before--we can't play it in our yard because the whole thing is covered in silver maple trees, and Fireball requires some open sky--and anyway, Nancy went nuts trying to eat the fireball. She kept barking at it and pouncing on it and running away and coming back and trying to bite whoever was holding it.

Before anyone gets too freaked that we're abusing our dogs by letting them eat fire, it must be said that the fireball itself doesn't get all that hot, since it's just burning oil for the most part; it's hot enough that you need a glove, but not so hot that it's going to do you in if it hits you. If it bounces off your clothes, the only way your clothes will catch fire is if some of the oil gets on you. Here's a picture of Nancy making a heroic leap over the fireball. When we brought her home and turned on the light and had a good look at her, we had to laugh. It doesn't appear that she was burned at all, but all the whiskers on the left side of her face are about half as long as they were before.

Dogs. Sheesh.

Anyway. Guess that's all the news that's fit to print for now. Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.