Wednesday, April 30, 2003

with bad moods, at least the ones that i have, you can point at a thing, the origin of your foul temper, something external, like a lover or a car repair bill. these things happen to me infrequently. i guess, i'm lucky. the funny thing about good moods, though, is that they cover you completely. it isn't so easy to point and say yes, that is why i'm in a good mood. it seems to have no catalyst. instead, you just become aware that you're in one, like when a baby's head lolls around, his eyes coming to rest upon his hand, then he gets that look of hey, i have a hand. a simple awareness.

still, the good mood has its instances and moments and specific things that i can point to because they make me smile. things like the couple who just came into the library holding hands. they looked like extras from the set of cocoon. the woman had on a stripey sundress and those big black shades which fit over prescription eyeglasses. you know, the kind that bus drivers wear or that you sometimes get after your appointment to have your pupils dilated. her beau walked apprehensively, shifting his weight from foot to foot, clutching the canvas bag that held the books they'd just returned. they were smiling at each other and, i thought, i want that.

last seen: sullivan's travels ["yes, i'll follow you, and i'll holler 'this guy's a phony, ladies and gentlemen. this is sullivan, the big director from hollywood, a phonus bolonus, a faker, a heel.'"- the girl (veronica lake)]
last heard: roy ayers evolution
last read: "some things you know all your life. they are so simple and true. they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme...they must be naked and alone, they must stand for themselves."- philip levine

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

confession: the boy scout handbook has lots of useful information about knots and ecosystems. i still have a copy sitting on my bookshelf. it has drawings of scouts from around the world in their various uniforms. because they are from other countries, the boys are usually drawn brown. the book also teaches you how to cook outdoors. one day, while sitting by the base pool in hawaii, i started reading about the honor medal which you could win for saving someone's life. it's kind of embarrassing, but, at that moment, i remember wishing that one of the little kids splashing around in front of me would start to drown, so that i could dive in and save them. they wouldn't have to flatline or even become unconscious, just kind of flail around so that everyone would know they were in distress. that's when i would rescue them and, more importantly, be awarded the medal.

last heard: the gentle waves 'dirty snow for the broken ground'
last read: "the institute of adaptive reuse initiates detailed studies to identify, document, and interpret second-hand phenomena."
bonus: changing of the avant-garde [via dooce]

Monday, April 28, 2003

seeing a photo this afternoon reminded me of a story. when i was in grad school, i had an assistantship at one of the campus libraries. there were, naturally, undergraduates who held work study jobs at this same library. sometimes i'd get to talking to this one particular kid, nate, who happened to be from chapel hill. i should point out that the number of kids who grew up in chapel hill and then went on to attend carolina was extremely small, so this kid was an anomaly. he was my insider and the stories i loved most, whether they proved true or exaggerated, were the ones he spun about town lore. one day, the topic of james taylor, another hometown boy, came up and, after a long pause, all nate said was: "james taylor, the first kid at chapel hill high school to try opium."

last seen: to catch a thief ["you know i have about the same interest in jewelry that i have in politics, horse racing, modern poetry, or women who need weird excitement...none."- john robie (cary grant)]
last heard: the spells 'the age of backwards'
last read: "After being tied to Elektra since, like, forever, 4AD's contracts with the major label are slowly expiring...the label is currently planning two final Pixies releases for September...and an as-yet-untitled DVD featuring multiple concerts in their entirety, along with all the band's videos, and exclusive interview footage."

Sunday, April 27, 2003

a co-worker of mine is turning forty tomorrow and last night was her party. we were told to bring booze in lieu of gifts. i purchased some beer and wine, but then decided to keep the wine for myself, because i'm a punk that way. since i don't know her very well and wasn't sure who else would attend, i bought newcastle thinking it would seem more bourgeois than my usual high life, even though it is the champagne of beers.

it was a tough decision whether to attend the party or not, because, in doing so, i missed the first game night at christine and michael's new house. i even heard that they played cranium. i've never been into board games, but, after an introduction to cranium by the jen(n)s, i discovered an innate ability to kick people's asses at it. the first hint was when i guessed the game winning movie question before mark even started any charades. more recently, a bunch of us played four rounds of cranium after dinner at juicy fruit's house. we shuffled into every permutation of two person team between matches, but my team was victorious every time.

it is wrong to brag. perhaps my mind is simply wired for this game.

complex math or conversations with women? not so much.
sculptorades or humming the tune to smoke on the water? aw, yeah.

last heard: kittycraft 'san fran'
last read: "Snow. Snowman? Shoes, outside."

Saturday, April 26, 2003

when i was a kid and would visit the dentist, they made me chew a chalky pill that tasted like a flintstones vitamin and covered my mouth in a red film. i was told to rinse and spit. i held my paper bib against my chest, leaned over the tiny porcelain bowl, and watched the red-colored water swirl around and down the drain. the lady held a mirror in front of my mouth and i saw red splotches on my teeth that hadn't washed away in the rinse, especially on the ones in the way back. she said that's where i was missing when i brushed my teeth and that i should be more careful. even as an adult, i've never felt as ashamed or guilty as i did when i chewed the red dentist pill.

last seen: irma vep, the transporter
last heard: heavenly 'shallow'
last read: "There was a time when "lift the sanctions now" would only have been heard from marchers at a lefty rally, or from activists with groups such as Voices in the Wilderness. These days, its favored by dozens of conservative pundits...the administration has grabbed another left-wing baton, and they're running with it. Every conservative in America is suddenly and vociferously anti-sanctions, and the left is strangely silent on the topic."

Friday, April 25, 2003

are you one of those people who sometimes makes things more complicated than they have to be? hey, me too! would you like a for instance? well, for instance, this morning i woke up at 6am and was at the DMV by 7, a full hour before they were to open. three people were already waiting in line, so i joined them and decided to study the sign identification section of the driver's manual. in north carolina, you need only take a sign identification test to renew your license.

i learned that there are three types of signs: regulatory, warning, and guide signs. i learned that you 'should not endanger other drivers by stopping in the middle of the road to read a sign.' i learned that people really do buy those bikini patrol t-shirts, because there was a guy standing near me who was wearing one, but i digress.

after we were allowed in the building, a mere ten minutes had passed before it was my turn at bat, then the following exchange occurred.

officer dubose: 'you see those rows of 12 signs? identify them for me.'

james: 'the first is a downhill grade. the second is a merge sign. the third...'

[it is here that i was confronted by a white sign with the words 'NO PARKING' printed in it. surely, it couldn't be this easy, i thought. maybe, it was trick.]

james: 'um, that is a regulatory sign.'

officer dubose: 'yes, but what kind of regulatory sign?'

james: 'um, i don't know what you want, sir, but that is a no parking sign.'

officer dubose: 'sounds good to me.'

***i passed the test and i don't have to do that again until 2008.

last seen: the background vocal stylings of...myself [editor's note: for those who don't know me, i am the tiniest matryoshka at left.]
last heard: mirah 'pollen'
last read: "In 1983, PBS aired Style Wars, a documentary chronicling the early days of hip hop, when young graffiti "taggers" used to spray their names on subway trains for fame..."

Thursday, April 24, 2003

sorry i've been away, kids. i've missed you. after catching michael's cold, i spent the last two days on my threadbare couch, watching movies and drinking tea. between features, i would sit on the front porch and read, sometimes walk around a bit, so the blood could remember how to circulate.

the trees in my neighborhood are gigantic and the canopy is full now, only a few weeks into spring. the ones on my block stand patiently along the curb in straight green rows like the miniature ones they used to glue on electric train sets. a tree company is slowly working their way down my block, pruning, i guess, and trimming the large dead branches that have hung precariously over our sidewalks since december's ice storm. i watched their slow progress as they inched their way from tree to tree, getting closer to my house.

one man, near the top of the tree, had ropes jutting off of him, each one tethered to a man on the ground. the man in the tree would yell CLEAR!, then the three men on the ground would yell back in unison, CLEAR! sometimes you couldn't see the tree man, covered as he was by a blanket of leaves. he would then yell BREAK. an idling chainsaw would suddenly rev. the sound of it varying in pitch as it worked its way through the wood. you could hear popping and cracking as the heavy branch began to splinter away from the body and, even though i watched this scene repeated many times, i'd still tense up, waiting for it to hit the ground.

last seen: it's a mad, mad, mad, mad world, this is nowhere, casino royale, barfly, the apartment
last heard: belle and sebastian 'ease your feet in the sea'
last read: rick marin cad: confessions of a toxic bachelor [editor's note: this was light and quick. file under- guilty pleasure]

Monday, April 21, 2003

dear girl who was working at the restaurant that we went to on sunday,

granted, it was our fault that we stayed up until three in the morning singing barbershop-quartet-style. it was also our fault that we began our search for a suitable breakfast solution after eleven AM on easter morning. we also realize that walking in like that, unwashed and unshaven, amidst the just-getting-out-of-church crowd probably put you off of your guard. still, when mark simply asked, "can we still order breakfast?", there was no reason to act the way you did. we felt that your response, "no. you could go eat somewhere else," was completely uncalled for.

put yourself in our shoes for a moment. the shoes of men forced to eat gyros for breakfast when all they really wanted was a nice rooty tooty fresh and fruity or, perhaps, pancakes presented as a smiley face wherein the lips are made of bacon and whipped cream is present in some fashion. maybe then you can begin to understand what we were feeling. maybe then you won't be such a little miss smart-aleck!

james, the boy who had to eat lamb shank for breakfast yesterday

ps- your nails were tacky.

last seen: bottle rocket, the two towers
last heard: violent femmes 'country death song'
last read: When he withdrew from the race, he began his announcement speech by joking, "I want to begin this morning with a discussion of my favorite books."

Friday, April 18, 2003

there is a man who comes into the library everyday, i just signed him up for the internet, and he is orange. it's troubling. we spent part of monday's reference staff meeting discussing him and his fake tan. i think it was before we patted ourselves on the back for successful weeding, but after we talked about the new interlibrary loan procedures. we librarians believe that he is a newly transplanted yankee, possibly from new jersey by way of florida, though we aren't sure. here is what we do know:

-reeks of CK-1
-penchant for bike shorts
-also likes running suits and ostentatious gold jewlery
-born in 1959
-drives a convertible corvette
-hair = pompadour
-frequently seen conversing with another regular*

*this other regular is a patron known to sell tanning products; however, he only uses them on his face, so his neck is bright white and his face is orange...just thought you should know.

last heard: the zombies 'the way i feel inside'
last read: "Built in 1977, the three-story National Library building housed all books published in Iraq, including copies of all doctoral theses. It preserved rare old books on Baghdad and the region, historically important books on Arabic linguistics, and antique handwritten manuscripts in Arabic that were gradually being transformed into printed versions. The Library was known to also house manuscripts from the Ottoman and Abbasid periods of Middle Eastern history." [editor's note: additional resources can be found here and here]

Thursday, April 17, 2003

two guys were sitting in front of kev's kuts today. i saw them when i was waiting in traffic on monroe road. they were stationed in front of the barber shop on a couple of white chairs. the guy on the left owned his chair. you could just tell. it was in the way his lumbering bulk hung over the sides but didn't instantly splinter the cheap plastic into shards. it was like the chair knew what to expect. he held a paperback. it looked tiny in his plump hands. the half he'd already read was folded around to the back. the second guy sat there, cracking jokes i guessed, because the first guy, the one with the book, started rocking back and forth from the force of his own laughter. all of a sudden i thought of keith's.

i doubt if keith's afro barber still exists. it sat on a side street in franklin, louisiana, in a little cement building. derrick would sometimes talk about owning a shop like that, a place where he and i and his cousins could all sit and turn into old men, making each other laugh and staring at young girls as they passed. franklin wasn't that big and, on weekend trips to see his family, we'd always end up driving by keith's.

sometimes, back in new orleans, derrick would talk about keith's while he was cutting my hair. classes would let out on a friday afternoon and haircuts were part of our weekly routine. our dorm had a bathroom with a row of showers. the showers faced a row of sinks and a mirror ran the length of the wall. i'd be sitting on an up-turned garbage can, staring at my own reflection in the mirror. derrick would maneuver from side to side behind me, clippers in hand, making sure that the sides matched up. the black guys called it a fade and the white guys called it a taper, but it is still the same thing, a guy jumping back and forth behind you making sure that the sides matched up. and, even though derrick and i were at school, accumulating piles of student debt, that is when he would dream about having a place like keith's.

last heard: johnny cash 'big river'
last read: ", she had discovered, occupied a narrow band. Ugliness, on the other hand, had infinite variation." from McEwan's Atonement

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

twenty-four hours of gabo. that is what i'm calling yesterday and this morning. after many days of procrastination, the deadline was upon me. i had to devote the whole of yesterday evening to finishing one hundred years of solitude in time for my book club this evening. i barrelled through the last 100 pages, holed up with an iced chai as my only companion. after turning the last page, i watched a short film about garcia marquez which included excerpts of his nobel lecture, then read criticism until the wee hours. it felt like i was in school again.

atonement is next month's book. tonight, we have to decide what we are reading for the summer months. have you read anything good lately?

last seen: tales beyond solitude
last heard: elizabeth cotten 'when i get home'
last read: gabriel garcia marquez one hundred years of solitude
bonus: "Long live democracy, free speech and the '69 Mets; all improbable glorious miracles that I have always believed in."

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

i got a pressed penny at graceland during my trip to memphis a few years ago. for the uninitiated, you put two quarters and a penny into this penny pressing machine and, for the really uninitiated, memphis is a medium-sized city in the american state of tennessee, but i digress. the two quarters pay for your use of the penny pressing machine and the penny, itself, will be returned to you. so, you put all of the coins into this machine and turn this crank-type deal and, after a few turns, you hear your penny drop into this little metal cup near the bottom of the machine. it will come out bearing some touristy design, so that, when you go home, you can always look at that penny and remind yourself, for instance, that you visited elvis' house.

my collection started on that fall day in memphis, however, if you happen to live by/pass one of these machines, spend the fifty one cents for your old uncle james and mail me the result. i promise to send you something back.

some notes about the pressed penny:
-if you grab the penny out of the cup as soon as it drops down, sometimes it will be hot.
-pressing does not affect the color of the penny (it's just pressing, not alchemy); however, it always seems shinier, even if you put in a really dirty penny.
-there is a museum, but i haven't been there yet.

last seen: fishing with john [editor's note: go rent this, all of it will make you laugh...the narrator's deadpan tangents (e.g. lon had wooden legs, but real feet.), when tom waits says that he won't put another red snapper in his shorts because he doesn't want the two fish to fight, dennis hopper telling john lurie that even though his character gets shot in easy rider, you never really see him die, so he could come back with a sequel all by himself.]
last heard: mirah 'archipelago'
last read: the tale of a man who journeys to the great kansas plains to learn life lessons about love and loss, then, realizing that you can, in fact, go home again, triumphantly returns to carolina...and, best of all, this time the story isn't about me.

Monday, April 14, 2003

there was this guy named john. he grew orchids and was really tall and had a pretty wife and two small daughters. he also had a greyhound which he adopted from a race track, but that isn't relevant to this story. john was a librarian that i met seven years ago. in those days, i was, what we call in the library business, a para-professional; that means i checked books out, checked books in, and shelved. it also meant that i hadn't been to grad school yet. that didn't matter to john though. he still spoke to me and didn't treat me like three-fifths of a man. sometimes we spoke about frank zappa or morphine or the knicks, but, mostly, we talked about books.

he'd always ask me, did you read it yet? he was talking about big bad love. i'd make up some lame excuse about how i was reading another book or just hadn't gotten around to it. i finally read it one day and larry brown floored me. i went back and read all of his other books. as forthcoming titles were announced, i'd get anxious like a little kid waiting for christmas.

last night, after watching the film version of the book which was ok but not as good, i pulled my own yellowed copy of big bad love from the bookcase and sat on the cool wooden floor reading parts of it. from where i was sprawled, i reached out for joe and father and son. i randomly flipped them open and just read a few pages and, after an hour had passed, i got up to brush my teeth for bed.

last seen: the salton sea, heaven, big bad love
last heard: the white stripes 'the hardest button to button'
last read: "The neo-con theory behind the Iraq campaign is that a democratized Middle East will be a safer place, because democracies don't make unprovoked attacks on other countries. It's an attractive idea. But when the world's most powerful democracy launched its invasion of Iraq last month, that theory failed its first test."

Friday, April 11, 2003

no, a pony is not a baby horse.

last seen: rosemary's baby
last heard: go sailor 'fine day for sailing'
last read: follow the money...Those who dreamt of a flowering of democracy in Iraq are advised to consider the skepticism of Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to the first President Bush. He asked: "What's going to happen the first time we hold an election in Iraq and it turns out the radicals win? What do you do? We're surely not going to let them take over."

Thursday, April 10, 2003

you probably want a break from the longish posts of late which is perfect because i'm too busy to write or think. so, here's a list of random thoughts. now everyone wins.

it has rained for almost seven days straight in charlotte. roads are flooding. i have to look at pictures to remind myself what a blue sky looks like. i don't care how cool portland or olympia are; if it is this unsunny in the daytime, then i can't live there. three days off starting tomorrow. wow, an under $300 direct flight to san francisco. please, boss, approve my june vacation. saturday = heaven with the jen(n)s and lazily browsing the used bins at manifest. it would be great if i could find copies of this and this while i'm there. i'm organizing a team...want to join? to do list: mail birthday gifts to lisa and erin, finish reading one hundred years of solitude for book club, mop and clean a thick grey layer of construction dust off of every stick of furniture or plastic toy in my apartment. there are 37 holds on the library's 33 copies of atonement, our book club selection for next month. maybe my book club is about to explode.

last heard: dj shadow 'giving up the ghost'
last read: "Perle's fate was sealed when the New York Times reported that he was also taking money from Global Crossing to lobby the Pentagon to approve his clients' dealings with Hong Kong and mainland China. Some Democrats now argue that Perle's conflicts of interest are so serious that he should quit the board altogether. But according to the Center for Public Integrity, such an ethical threshold would force almost one-third of Rumsfeld's board off the panel. Nine of the board's thirty members, CPI found in a new report have ties to defense and security-related companies that collectively won more than $76 billion in US defense contracts over the past two years. "

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

my memories of cub scouts are limited to one pinewood derby at fort benning, georgia. you've never heard of a pinewood derby? why, here's one now.

a few years later, i had an equally short-lived tour of duty in the boy scouts. this stint was a bit longer, probably close to a year. the memories from boy scouts are a little more vivid, perhaps because i was older. mostly, i recall the games we'd play like capture the flag, british bulldog, and the pre-PC/horribly-named smear the queer. this game involved getting a big group of boys together in a field, throwing them a football, and then everyone tackling the boy with the ball. once he was sacked, and likely injured, he'd stagger to his feet, throw the ball into the air, and the fun would begin again. i never really understood how smear the queer helped us to 'do our duty to god and our country' but, then again, there's lots i don't understand.

another thing that i remember were the camping trips. these usually involved the older boys lugging coolers full of dr. pepper into the woods and bossing the rest of us around. when i got older, i realized that this was the only way these types of boys got to feel any sense of power, since most of them weren't accepted by girls their own age and still played with transformers even though they were in high school.

i remember one time we camped out at a barracks near kilauea. one day the older boys got tired of setting plastic bags on fire and holding lighters up to cans of right guard and decided to explore the facility. imagine their delight when they happened upon two sets of boxing gloves and set about having sparring matches with us younger kids. the rest of the day is a blur but i do remember getting punched in the eye by a chubby older boy with glasses.

last seen: run lola run (4th viewing. fall in love again, for the first time)
last heard: great lakes 'a little touched'
last read: "I tend to think local community-building matters more than electoral politics. But at this point in history there is no room for neutrality, nor for ideological purity. In less than 19 months, Americans will get our only serious opportunity to prevent George Bush from running this country for eight years. We'd better unite behind someone else, soon, and get busy."

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

[editor's note: this entry is very long.]

i am passive. i take after my mom that way. when confrontations arise, i do like the lamb of god and turn the other cheek. i trick myself into believing that this is taking the high road, but, really, i just don't like to fight. i don't like arguments. this philosophy suits me fine on most days. i float along and the boat don't get too rocky. sometimes though, this means that i have to accept things i don't like. that's fine, too, as my tolerance level for most bullshit is pretty high. i don't expect too much out of people, so i'm not often disappointed by their actions when they turn out to be uncompassionate or not well thought out or, in my opinion, just wrong.

so, when there comes a time that i'm not passive, that i don't turn the other cheek, that i somehow manage to find, in the way-back of my closet or buried in my bag, an actual working spine, it becomes necessary to note those times. this morning was one of them.

as you know the landlord saw fit to work around the realty company, hire his own contractor, and rip my bathroom out without notice. in the interim, i stayed with a couple of very generous friends and the realty company told me that i'd be given $40 per day for the inconvenience. the repairs were completed last thursday and, after doing the math, i discovered that i'd be getting more than a full month's rent for the two weeks that i was out of the apartment. thursday afternoon passed, then friday, the weekend, and monday. i still hadn't heard about this check.

so, i went to their office this morning. the agent and receptionist said hello, then the agent said, 'james, what do you think is a fair amount of money for your trouble?'

naturally, i was taken aback. the figure had already been decided and i sensed that a fight would soon ensue. i told him that, naturally, i would have liked more, because of the shoddy way the situation was handled, the fact that you can't get a hotel for $40 a day, etc. he launched back with all kinds of rebuttals. how the offer was more than generous. how, in cases such as these, the courts have ruled in favor of landlords, if emergency repairs need to be made. how if the landlord hadn't worked around their realty company, they would have handled it differently and probably not offered me any money.

when he started to bring up court cases, that is when i sensed the money slipping from my fingers and found that spine i mentioned earlier and said, 'well, thankfully, all of this is incidental, since we already agreed on $40 a day.' that pretty much shut the realtor up, he retreated to another office to get the checkbook, then the receptionist cut me a check.

so you see kids, sometimes you have to talk to adults in the same rude way that they talk to you. otherwise, they try to give you the shaft.

last seen: autumn sonata
last heard: gillian welch 'paper wings'
last read: "Purdy writes, if the Egyptian government is hopelessly corrupt and we support it, what else can the Egyptians conclude but that our government too is hopelessly corrupt? Perception becomes reality. Who placed the repressive Shah in Iran, and once courted Saddam Hussein, and who supported the mujahideen warriors against Russia in Afghanistan? Us. And who financed the mujahideen? Osama, among other radical Islamic fundamentalists. Yet, at the same time that Americans are perceived as hypocrites and dupes, we are also envied for our liberty and wealth. Admired and resented."

Monday, April 07, 2003

no one told me there was a mexican jesus candle race.

pollen is everywhere. carolina springtimes are among the prettiest but this means i will sneeze until at least summer and possibly fall. you'll recognize me, the boy walking down the road reading a book clutched in one hand and holding a handkerchief in the other. the dealership washed my car after repairs the other morning and, when i left the library that night, my greenish car was already dusted with yellow. but, last night, there were thunderstorms. pollen is no match for the heavy sheets of rain. thick wet drops hurtling toward earth. each one capturing hundreds of tiny yellow pollen-y dots and dragging them, screaming, to the ground. ha! ha! take that, pollen. there were puddles everywhere on the way to work this morning, covered with a thin layer of yellow dust. for an hour at least, i was able to breath deeply the cool, pollenless air and ponder the coughing i will do late this afternoon.

last seen: far from heaven
last heard: tender trap 'emma'
last read: "Would you not date someone who likes music you despise?"

Sunday, April 06, 2003

so, i was at the front of the little cafeteria line this afternoon, placing my order and handing my money across the counter. a mom was standing behind me, patiently waiting for her turn to order, and her six-year-old kid was fluttering around, pressing her face on the glass counters and watching the hot dog cooker roll the dogs up and down on a hot metal plate. first, she was on my right, then, in a blinding flash, she'd run around and i'd see her on my left, all the time running, running, pressing her hands and face on the glass. she was excited because her mom was going to buy her some popcorn. the woman at the counter handed me my food. then, when i turned to walk away, it happened. i didn't see her standing behind me and i elbowed the little girl right in the head. it was an accident, but the collision was really hard. my pointy elbow connecting to her temple. to my surprise, she didn't cry. i looked at her for a second and thought she might. her face was searching mine and then her mother's and then mine again, trying to decide if she should cry. instead, she raised her right hand and rubbed right where i hit her and decided to just be embarrassed but not cry. then her mom asked me a really dumb question, 'did she make you spill any?' food, she meant. i said 'no, but i elbowed her in the head.' i felt really bad, since i don't usually inflict bodily harm on children as a matter of course. i lowered my head and walked to a table. by the time i got there, i looked up to see the little girl holding a huge bag of popcorn, smiling. she had, i guess, already forgotten about the accident.

last heard: the white stripes 'hypnotize' [elephant is so nice]

Saturday, April 05, 2003

by some stroke of luck, i found myself at the blumenthal last night, with a seat on the first mezzanine, where dr. heathcliff "combustible" huxtable made me laugh for almost two hours. dinner with friends and a free ticket to see the cos, live and in person, was a great way to spend friday evening. after the show let out, i tried to think of all the great memories that i owed to this man. there was fat albert/brown hornet/mushmouth, jello pudding pops, picture pages, and a hit TV show that was responsible for one of my first boyhood crushes.

last seen: i am sam
last heard: the beatles 'mother nature's son'
last read: "How much simpler to deny the inhumanity and irrationality of war by denying the obvious fact of slaughter."
bonus: the poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld [thanks jen]

Thursday, April 03, 2003

all waiting rooms are the same. pick up a small styrofoam cup. shake in a bit of non-dairy creamer. put it under the coffee spigot. pull back the orange handle. the first splashes of liquid absorb most of the creamer, but there are always air bubbles floating on top of your coffee. inside the bubbles you can see granular piles of creamer floating around like little bone-dry universes. while they work on your car, you'll spend your time poking at these bubbles with a red plastic stirrer. when you get bored with that, you'll look up and watch the president address some marines, then, after you roll your eyes, you'll start to eavesdrop on the conversation that two old men are having next to you. the younger one will talk about this war and the older one will say how it is different from W.W.Two. then, from down the hall, you'll hear 'mister kelly, you're ready, sir.' you'll walk over and pay $266.71, then you'll leave.

last heard: trachtenburg family slideshow players 'mountain trip to japan, 1959'
last read: "Those patriotic men who saw fit to break into a private home in order to attack the young men and women who live there might, next time, turn their energies upon every cell phone company, every car dealership, a number of clothing manufacturers, every store that sells American flag paper napkins, and all of the myriad businesses from sea to shining sea that whore out the flag to sell their goods..."

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

i had another late night conversation with her. this is terrible. she lives so far away. i don't mean like a long walk or a day's drive. no, i mean thousands of miles away.

more than a year had gone by and the bruise had passed from that dull yellowish-gray color into a spot that only got sore when i pressed on it. certain family circumstances brought her back here for a visit and we spent several days together. we fell back into hand holding and comfortable smiles, reminded of how easy things could be. the week ended and she had to go home. now, emails and telephone conversations have started again. i'm having a really difficult time being rational about all of this, although i understand that i must. there are so many reasons why moving would be great (she's there. i could make way more money. san francisco's pretty and there's a lot to do). there are certainly many reasons why it makes no sense (i have a job here. san francisco is not in the south. my family and friends are east coasters. we didn't date that long, relatively speaking).

these questions won't be answered today or next week, but it is because of them that my brow is furrowed and i'm scratching my head a lot more lately.

last heard: COCO 'move on'
last read: "Smokin' cherub..or is it a smokin' seraphim?"

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

i picked up the phone and a woman was just reading off of a list, random words with no introduction. they sounded like company names to me. she paused to take a breath and said 'sorry, if i'm not getting these exactly right, but my contact lenses are scratched in the middle and that is right where i need to look to read.' she kept reading and there was never a good place to cut in.

finally, i just said 'ma'am. ma'am, i don't know what you want. what are you asking me?'

'are those websites?', she asked.

'well, none of them have domains, ma'am. so, i don't think so.'

'you mean like dot coms at the end'

'yes, ma'am'

'well, then why did i write these down? i know i must have written them down for some reason.'

'maybe they are company names. perhaps we could find you the websites for those companies.'

'oh well, that's ok. goodbye.'


...and to think i almost made it through my morning desk shift without talking to one crazy person.

last heard: all of the great stuff here
last read: "According to The Wall Street Journal, one U.S. intelligence official acknowledged they might authorize a "little bit of smacky-face" during interrogations. Maybe sometimes more."