Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hot all night

Cold all day.
She is supposed to be at the museum taking notes.
They have to dress up and go to a wedding reception.
Snow is falling.
Need more clothes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Too lazy to photograph the pie

And you know what pies look like. There is nothing special about this one, except that it lacks ginger and has compensating cloves. My fingers touched the crust-dough, of course. We are all used to consuming skin cells. We breathe them all the time. Dust motes nothing.

I must be the most under-informed voter of all time.

(Since you know I watched all the debates, did a bunch of fact-checking and article-reading … even heard plenty 'o other side on the radio, you know that's irony and such.) Still there are always surprises.

Last night, we flipped by Barbara Walter's interview with Barack Obama, and I was surprised (but not that surprised) to learn that he is a smoker.

"Ohmigod! Obama smokes?!?!"

I always wished I liked cigarettes and then am always happy I do not have to worry about their health-effects — they seem so wonderful in the movies and then they stink so terribly and make me feel nauseous and wheezy. I avoid bars and other venues where people smoke. I cringe when I see people younger than I am smoking … in other words, smoking is gross, and I hate smokers.

Knowing Obama smokes would not have changed my vote.

It actually makes him seem even cooler.

And then he will be ever cooler when he quits. Except it's probably fine to have a relatively non-destructive vice; drinking and other things make your brain fuzzy; and philandering and gambling just waste time and family.

I will presume that no one has actually smoked in the White House for some time now.

Can't you just picture Obama coming out at 8 p.m. and having a smoke while looking out on the back lawns towards the security fence?

I can also picture one of those famous posters of him but transformed with him taking a drag and squinting like the Marlboro Man.

One last thing: if Barack smokes, I totally want to know what witchcraft he's using on those crazy-white teeth of his every night.

Silly games with pages

(Called a meme) from Fate's Thoughts:

Mr. Quincy P. Morris found me alone.

— Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897

"From planet gnome:

Grab the nearest book.
Open it to page 56.
Find the fifth [full] sentence.
Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST"


He seemed to be taking refuge in some other time, while his father and the gypsy with shouts interrupted the predictions of Nostradamus amidst a noise of flasks and trays and the disaster of spilled acids and silver bromide that was lost in the twists and turns it gave every instant.

— Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, 1967; English trans. 1970

I know the instructions do not say whether it is the fifth sentence overall or fifth complete one; I presume complete.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pressing buttons

La la la, the Web site said "unable to process your request online," and it gave me an 800-number; of course, calling that brought me to the wrong sector of their financial empire, so I was transferred (and given the number printed on the statement, yes, I have that, yes, it's by the Web address that hands out the other number) and then entered loan number and such again but got over-confident and decided to try the online method once more just in case (to avoid talking to another person), and I hung up before it told me indeed it was still unable to process.

So, I call the 866-number, enter all my information again and endure the "would you like to take a brief customer survey" (the kind that calls you back in 15 minutes after you finish with the customer service representative — no, thank you) delay and finally get whomever, who asks for my name and something else before telling me to please call back in an hour as they are having trouble with their computer system and can't access anything.

A quick message at the beginning of the experience would have been appreciated.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shuffle inside

Stop all this weeping, swallow your pride;
You will not die, it's not poison.

le Travail

This list.
In my head.
Stayed all week.
Taking up residence.
Waiting for evacuation.
The trucks are not here.
Boats have been moored.
Airspace closed.
Blue bottle bangs its head.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008



I think it's funny that speeches in political battles cite our workers as the hardest-working in the world.  Well, I guess the French way proved to be noncompetitive.  But, of course, the Japanese work a ton.  Can  you find anything more recent than this:  my goodness, of course, the Chinese people work their asses off.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


No one knows what this means anymore:

1) These are the first eight lines of a Shakespearian sonnet, which serve to ridicule Petrarchan norms of conceit by contradicting them. Shakespeare's sonnets generally tended to be more progressive than either those of Sidney or Spenser, embracing a wider range of emotions beyond pure praise and love. Although this sonnet does address itself to praising a lady, it does so in an obvious irony - it tells all the things this lady is not.

And this is quite circuitous:

This passage takes place in Enrour's Den of Spenser's "The Faerie Queen" and describes evil Enrour when she had finally gotten a strong hold around the Red Cross Knight. He came to this cave out of curiosity and because of his pride, did not listen to Una's warnings to avoid it. "God help the man" is exactly what Spenser makes to happen: the quote in the second stanza comes from Una, who is faith and unity, representing how God's grace can save man from the evils he falls into when he sins.


3) In Marlowe's "Dr. Faustus," the central idea is the conflict between faith and reason. Faustus himself was a scientist-turned-magician, who sought to gain power using supernatural forces Marlowe reserves for God's use. This particular scene occurs about three-quarters of the way through the play and gives this conflict names and voices. The evil angel and Lucifer mean to convince Faustus that his contract is binding and that since he has turned away from God, he cannot, of course, be saved. However, Faustus does not see (as the Good Angel tries to explain) that this logical arguement [sic] does not apply — Christ is ever-merciful and can save the repentant man if he is asked to.


There are six more pages of this, two 12-point questions and two 30-point ones.  My goodness.  This is the person who eschewed in fear the GRE subject test.  Indeed.  And once had a lover who got a doctorate of poetry.  He wanted children.  Even a decade's-worth of attraction and dance can't change that difference.

Subjects in rest of "blue book" include:  Ptolemaic cosmology, metaphysical conceit, transformation and exchange of viewpoints in "A Mid-Summer Night's Dream," and Milton's portrayal of Satan as non-heroic (an argument against the Romantics).

More Wharton

It was usual for ladies who received in the evening to wear what were called "simple dinner-dresses"; a close-fitting armor of whale-boned silk, slightly open in the neck, with lace ruffles filling in the crack, and tight sleeves with a flounce uncovering just enough wrist to show an Etruscan gold bracelet or a velvet band. But Madame Olenska, heedless of tradition, was attired in a long robe of red velvet bordered about the chin and down the front with glossy black fur.

Can't Bring

Portage, what one does with a canoe or other watercraft at points where the water's depth or flow becomes inadequate.

If you could have one book on that deserted island, what would you bring?

In the drifty river of what we characterize as the economy*, I can't bring myself to finish that IRS application (for jobs in February, due by the end of the year) nor to press "interested" at (I can't move to D.C., of course, unlike Carol Kennicott).

Main Street is not the book I would take along. I grew very tired of hearing about Wall Street versus Main Street during ye olde election. Enough with the street-talk; the world is plunging along with layoffs, we get it. Even if I did have a sense of what market regulations were or could be — well, I just don't see any of us knowing enough about any of it to know what terms to use in a letter to one's elected officials that would have stopped it all.

Speaking of that, what does any first-time homebuyer know, anyway? I spent years relaying information about the process; I went to seminars and worked out charts. Lots o' logic goes out the window when one chooses a neighborhood, however. We did do that refinance last month, despite the credit crunch. I wanted it to help more, but something is better than nothing.

I think one of those tedious "how to survive such-and-such" books would be the thing to have if one could anticipate an existence like those folks on LOST.

Because, I almost have sections like this from Edith Wharton memorized:

She sang, of course, "M'ama!" and not "he loves me," since an unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.

*It is all very vague to me without some sort of Japanese manga character acting as mascot; remember, I attended school in the USA, where finance and science seem not to exist — my liberal arts should have included economics, but the professor was reputedly a Keynesian who either yelled or dozed off; he was very old at any rate, and ranked as an emeritus, I believe … perhaps it was just the macro- portion of a two-part necessity.

Ergo, I did not take the class(es). I once took one summer semester and about three days of the second of Latin — so much for my attempt at brilliance John Milton-style. I did take an extra five hours of a laboratory science, botany, after biology and geology. You will note my avoidance of chemistry and physics. High school chemistry was fun enough, and though I was fascinated by how orderly and amazing the sub-level of life is and enjoyed playing in the lab, on paper, the mathematics of rings and reductions was too baffling.  I could not face that again.  Algebra in college was painful enough.

I could "totally stand" running through the English 2600 and 3200 books from freshman year (HS), which is sad, considering I had it all once like the back of my hand, the one thing that seemed transparent to me — that linguistics class was strange, science plus language plus random anthropology. I only remember being happy to know, if only for a second, a phonetic alphabet that can represent any sounds, transcribing accent, for example, along with this kind of über-diagraming of sentences we performed on a favorite author and on a work of our own. The professor told me I should write at least a page a day and end up with a book at the end of the year. Let me say that I share with a friend the inability to consider plot. We think in dialogue or, in my case, perhaps hers too, in visual step-by-step frames.

As you can see, there have been no books (on my part). I spent oodles of time reviewing others' writing; it is harder than it may sound, even without the grammar deficiency, for it takes time to uncover some people's points, conveyance of points, and their conception of facts. Brian Doyle, who edits Portland Magazine, wrote a great piece about the job. My favorite part begins, "there are hundreds of subtle joys and crimes of editing" and ends with the word "lunch." I was going to write to him and request permission to paste it all in here, but why bother a busy man.

Spending my brain on untangling prose I did not write, then writing prose I often would rather not write (just because of my sheer lack of personal writing moments — fiction, poetry, not to mention school work; we're off to analyze the anatomy and artistic choices dictating it in no fewer than six sculptures. Tomorrow may be the last day to return re-writes of the first paper. I have not decided.), leaves, as I said, little if no time for true creativity.  My writing sucks eggs!

And having a unique job situation — hopefully the truly only such situation of its kind anywhere, let's hope, dear me — puts one through a sort of foggy frozen abyss, you know, and one's life begins to take on the characteristics of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Unlike those paperbacks that you could flip ahead in and know all outcomes before picking impulsively to "turn to page 23" and the Rubik's Cube with removable stickers, real life is non-cheatable. I hate guessing.

Look how complicated it all is!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Contrast cleaning


These are not the same mice (as each other).  They died in the same exact location four days apart.  There is another one (at least) still out there.  I hate them.  It's hard to hate the game and not the player(s).  If anyone has an owl I can borrow, I would appreciate it.  A black snake is also acceptable.  I hate killing things, so if I can "recycle" my rodents (who are practically living on air or are eating tree roots or something) I would feel better.  Help a mouse have a purpose!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Much nicer

Birdchick and her rabbit tales.

TMI Vanity Psi

Waking up, pillow feels like someone's been dozing mouth open; turn, same, turn. Neighbor's moped is heard: the unique thump of its being set on the driveway to the alley, and the unmistakable whiney thrumming of its efficient and polluting two-cycle engine. Walk to first floor, get drink of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid. Touch face, find suspicious crustiness above lip. Good gracious, what has she been up to? Ascend and notice face is dripping blood.

Once in college, I woke up from a half-dream about wiping blood from the same side of my face — left, for the deficiencies of my right brain (also the smaller ______-side; not sure about best eye, etc.). That blood vessel was exposing itself from the tip of my nose. I read once in something like Seventeen or Sassy that picking blackheads on sensitive parts of the face can be detrimental … but I had done no such mutilating thing on that section, the outer rim that juts sweetly into space, of my nose. It was very hard to get it to heal decisively; I think I kept removing the "scab" because it was huge. Who knows. It was ages ago.

Likewise, the creepy little tubule, microscopic, in fact, but gigantic to me, of course, which this morning decided to rupture (or was scratched open while I slept), is in a location where no pimples ever inflame. I don't know why it appeared. Has it been there a year? I have wanted to slice it off, the visible capillary in its transparent and minimal layering of dermal cells, but I did not want the incessant bleeding. I'm not crazy. I've grown much more squeamish.

Sometimes, but not lately, mostly when I was young, I would take one of my disappointingly thin first fingernails and use it to remove white and irritated "taste buds." An incisor plane served as a cutting board. I hate the effect of certain foods; something acidic or unidentified, which is found in those round red-and-white peppermint candies, for example, always causes one of the papillae to enlarge and burn, itch and enrage. I can eat limes without a problem.

There is a mole on my shoulder that has offended me my whole life. The Japanese junior high school students even pointed it out once … my pet cockatiel has tried to chew it. At least I do not have those pouchy little flesh-portions around my eye that some people grow like tiny flaps or scales upon aging. (I looked up a tongue Web site, but it was so gross, I am not going to link to it; I did not find my condition, only a spelling confirmation; you've been subjected to enough!) It's too bad that cosmetic surgery (how these things would be classified by Health Care Incorporated) is expensive (and that I can't stand medical procedures of any kind).

I think the bleeding has been staved off for now. It is the brightest and most oxygenated blood, so I suppose, like all "nosebleeds," it is from an arterial path. I wonder if it would ever clot on its own. It will start up again when I take a shower. Oh, the provocative images. It must be Friday.

Here's some late-breaking spam:

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008


No, not a cat. Not a shop window.
A nap. A neighbor who doesn't rev the scooter engine at 6:30 a.m.
A weather pattern that's quiet all night.
An immunity from hearing weird clicks and crashes in the lathe and plaster.

Monday, November 10, 2008