Monday, January 31, 2005

I'm grateful for your interest in this blog and I want to thank you for dropping by. I wouldn't expect much new posting over the next few weeks and I am considering scrapping the blog altogether so I thought I would put that out there.-k-


All weekend I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Gary’s sanity hearing started today & his lawyer had alluded last week that additional information would be revealed in his opening remarks that would shed light on the motivation for the murder. His lawyer is claiming that Gary had a homosexual crises that caused temporary insanity. When your client has confessed and the evidence of premeditated murder is incontrovertible you take the pulse of the nation, and rural Wisconsin in particular, and blame homosexuality. One more layer of illness added and four days of trial to go.


Interested in meeting over 100 Arkansas school districts in one day? ...attend
the TeachArkansas 2005 Teacher Job Fair!

All teacher candidates and anyone interested in teaching in Arkansas are invited
to attend.

WHEN: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2005 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

(Just Off Of I-430)

This is your chance to meet with over 100 Arkansas school districts. We are
especially looking for candidates in the fields of mathematics, science,
Spanish, French, and special education.

There will be booths providing information on licensure requirements,
Non-Traditional Licensure, National Board Certification, the first-year
mentoring program, administrator licensure, and special endorsements.

The Arkansas State Police will be on site to do fingerprinting and provide forms
for criminal background checks. The cost of fingerprinting and a state
background check is $20; the FBI background check costs $24. Payments may be
made by check.


Saturday, January 29, 2005

Has anyone used that chat room yet?


It’s 1:51 a.m. on a Friday night/Saturday morning and I am thinking about blogging. Sad really. I went to see Million Dollar Baby with Angela, Vick, and my nephew T. We were leaving the theater afterwards and noticed that Hotel Rwanda started in ten minutes so we ducked into the theater. So, two films for the price of one and much food for thought. You don’t need my review – they are both worth your time –nuff said.

After the flicks there was the always-exciting drive home in an ice storm. St. Louis recently bought another plow so that brings the grand total for the metro up to three. I opted for the highway, over the city streets, as the heavier traffic makes the highway more passable. Delmar is a sheet of ice and I parked in the garage so here’s to hoping I can get up the steep driveway tomorrow – not that I have anywhere to go.

I had dinner with Liz last night – fabulous roast – and we watched Robin William’s last comedy special – the one with the routine about the origins of golf. We went up the street to rent Eddie Izzard, but apparently transvestite historical comedians are a tough sell in her neighborhood.

Liz, “They aren’t going to have it. This is not the Loop.”

Karl, “They seemed pissed off for video store employees.”

Liz, “Again, this is not the loop. They are pissed off. Everyone in this neighborhood is pissed off.”

Liz played an album for me that Ann played for me the other night – Jeff Buckley. Always odd to have two unrelated people point you to the same musician in a week’s time.

I tried to quit the book deal today, but they like my work so far to such a degree that they are cutting me enough rope to hang myself with. Yet again we are renegotiating. I think Jo is going on retreat to India so we’ll deal with it when he gets back in a couple of months. In the meantime I am off the proverbial deadline hook and I might get some side work from Lynn.

I got an email from Mike, who I worked with on the hotel press kits and web pages last year - so maybe I can make a freelance go of it after all. Nah, I’d rather get a gig at this point in time. Elsevier is not out of the picture yet and they fly their employees to Europe for trainings so that would not suck. I got sub packets today from Maplewood and Parkway, so it’s all onwards and upwards here at the old Fulcrum HQ. Right – my martini is dry in the empty way - so it’s off to the sack kids. Hope you’re all well.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Happy anniversary Jen!!!


I have done two silly things today because I am a ridiculous person. In honor of our one-year blogging anniversaries Jen and I have each added chat rooms to our blogs. It's over there on top of the links if you want to talk with each other.

Our nerd scores go up every day.

Then I discovered Hero Machine

And I generated a superhero version of Fulcrum Monkey

I also did my taxes and I am getting a big refund check – not a bad day!!!!


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Here's my first blog from a year ago:

Ahh well, here it is, the end result of my "mental health day" from my primary job - the unlikely position of being an administrator at a school for massage therapy. I took the day off - after going in and working until 10:30 or so, with the intent of getting caught up on my freelance work as a copy writer, but instead I went to the St. Louis Art Museum and the library - they've moved the big Kabalistic art sculpture of the tree of life down from the Modern Art Gallery and I have to wonder what lengths did they go through to ensure that all the chaotic broken glass ended up in the same arrangement it had upstairs - and why didn't they dust the glass - or did they move it long enough ago that new dust has accrued?

I spent some time with a new Fredrick Church painting - a late work in large scale with small figures in the foreground. Joyce, the old assistant curator told me to watch for that. A guard told me he was blessed, a workman felt embarrassed when I surprised him in a moment of slacking. He was gazing out a second story window at the children sliding down Art Hill post snowstorm. We talked about what the hill was like when we were kids, no hay bales to stop you shooting off into the lake, no fancy fountains running even in the dead of winter. After the Museum I made soup and walked the dog. I did yoga in an effort to gain ground on my expanding waist - yes I did yoga - I guess I'm a metro sexual.

So, what have we learned in a year? Atkins worked better than yoga and in general I am done with The New Age or The New Age is done with me. The Kabalist Kristallnacht piece at The Art Museum is still quite dusty and I still think about it from time to time. I still procrastinate my freelance work by blogging - as I am doing right now.

Soon I'll be thirty two. I've gone from being underemployed to being unemployed. My father continues to wonder when I'll stop treading water in life and actually commit to something. My mother continues to wonder if I'll ever commit to someone. I continue to wonder if I'll ever be committed. At twenty five Orson Wells had already made Citizen Kane. I'm in my thirties and rarely make my bed.

That's a year in the life of one brachiating Fulcrum Monkey adrift on the seas of providence.


For the lawyer boys - thanks to Death for the hook-up


and go to mewing.net.

Does this sound like Brad to anyone?

Alas, it is true of me - just last night when the cat was fucking around with the loud metal blinds at four a.m. I chucked B.J.'s Superman hat at Bozo thus endangering both his hat and M.B.'s cat (neither of which were harmed in the incident).


Meme: /meem/ [coined on analogy with `gene' by Richard Dawkins] n. An idea considered as a {replicator}, esp. with the connotation that memes parasitize people into propagating them much as viruses do. Used esp. in the phrase `meme complex' denoting a group of mutually supporting memes that form an organized belief system, such as a religion. This lexicon is an (epidemiological) vector of the `hacker subculture' meme complex; each entry might be considered a meme. However, `meme' is often misused to mean `meme complex'. Use of the term connotes acceptance of the idea that in humans (and presumably other tool- and language-using sophonts) cultural evolution by selection of adaptive ideas has superseded biological evolution by selection of hereditary traits. Hackers find this idea congenial for tolerably obvious reasons.

From The Hacker's Dictionary of Computer Jargon

My brother first explained memes to me a few years ago in a conversation we were having about how belief systems function like viruses. We were raised in a house infected by the Missouri Synod Lutheran meme. It’s a powerful idea to step back from ideas and view them not as truths, but as contagion - with the silly corollary of the manifold Quizilla memes bouncing around our blogs to illustrate this in the microcosm.

For reasons that are unclear to me in the grand scheme, there’s been a recent rash of “why I blog” posts from lots of people that I read. Most of these people do not read each other’s blogs so I’m puzzled by the reflexive wave that is washing in on the shared unconscious right now. I can only conclude that a cultural meme of why do they/we do that has Asian Flu-d itself into the national discourse at this moment – and I suppose I am about to demonstrate that I have caught it. But before I get into that I thought I’d add a personal wrinkle to the meme: it’s oddly timed.

Jen recently wrote that it had been about a year since she started blogging and I realized that I too have been at this for one ride around the solar system. I looked at the misspelled and un-paragraphed archives and it turns out tomorrow, the 28th of January, is my one-year anniversary as a blogger. So the big meme washes in for me around the time of a personal watermark – synchronicity in action I suppose.

Why do I, or why does anyone, blog? I caught the blogging meme from Jen who caught it from Selina. I’ve spread it to Angela, Beth, Brad, Jason, briefly BJ, Vanessa and Chris (though Chris may have had multiple exposures from Jes, Kat, Fuzzy and others). I didn’t tell anyone I was blogging for some time. I wrote more freely about my current personal life – which I now generally avoid. I used this blog as an outlet for some of that emotion – not to just put it on a shelf in a journal, but to get it out. Somehow blogging then was like taking out the psychic trash and having the wind blow it away.

Since that time I’ve taken down lots of those posts. I didn’t realize initially how easily people who were following the story in the media could find my page. I didn’t have comments as a feature back then and a women in Seattle wrote me a very nice email sharing her sympathy for our family – all of the emails I got then were like that – but it was clear to me that I didn’t want to become part of the story - just another reporter with an inside look at an American tragedy.

In an ongoing way I’ve told other people and myself that I blog to force myself to write everyday, but that’s more a rationalization or a pretension than a reason. I did it and I continue to do it because I enjoy it. Now it’s a kind of therapy and it’s another way to relate to people – to build communities and to maintain communities – friendships and connections. It also wastes a great deal of my time, so as a hobby it certainly comes through on that front. Just think of all the things I could have accomplished while writing this. Ah well, it’s all just grist for the mill – my grist, your mill, thanks for grinding.

You can leave any resultant loaves of meme bread in the comment space.


If I went to a metaphysical doctor and told him all my symptoms and their causes and that doctor put his finger on my psychic pulse, listened, said hmmmm a lot and looked over his horn rimmed spectacles at me, he might come wisely to the conclusion that I should read Island. Having done so, having just finished it, I have swallowed quite the psychic horse pill and I can already feel it working through all my sympathetic systems. Now I need coffee.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Spent the day with T. He's fine. Didn’t get any Halo in, but watched Apollo 13 and did some cooking so that was fun. Good just to hang out with family. Honestly, I don’t do that enough. Then in the early evening I hung out with Erica and we went to see House of Flying Daggers at the Tivoli. Reviews were mixed – she preferred Hero and I thought Hero was a pale shadow of House of Flying Daggers.

Let me make that more concrete. Hero seemed to be a disconnected series of disparate scenes whereas HOFD held together which much more of a continuous flow. Hero seemed detached from the brilliance of Crouching Tiger, it had a stitched together quality, but tonight’s film seemed to share a rhythm with Crouching Tiger and yet go beyond that film – progress a “new” aesthetic.

In particular, the romance and betrayal in HOFD was far more erotic than either of the other two films. This is going to sound silly, but I have never seen a film with so much smelling – the protagonists inhale each other at every embrace – very hot. I really wilt in a good way over an attractive smell so perhaps that accounts for much of my identification with the flick, but there is no denying that the visuals on a big screen are gasp worthy – don’t wait for video on this one – get thee to a theater.

On a strictly Freudian read the bamboo is thicker and the pointy sticks are sharper, so if you like Crouching Tiger – You’ll love HOFD.


Karl, "Is it redemptive to be clever?"

Sock Puppet, "Almost never."


I forgot to mention that when John and I went out on Monday to see Madahoochi, Beetle Bob was there. One does not dance with Beetle Bob, as Bob dances alone. I did, however, spend many songs dancing next to Bob.

I measure some part of my life in relation to Bob. I see it as a given that if he is there at that show with you, then you are at the best show for that given day in the St. Louis area. I don’t go out much, so I don’t see him like I used to. The last time was over the summer at the Schlafley Art Festival in front of the main stage. The time before that I nearly walked into him rounding a corner when Angela and I went to see a Bach performance to raise money for a charter school.

I first danced next to Bob when I started going to shows in the late eighties. I’d seen him before a particular Toasters show at The Alley which is now The Galaxy, but that show was the first time I saw him skank and I’ve always respected a good skanker. Anyway, to see Bob for me is to get a kind of mini blessing from a mini saint. This bodes well kids. It bodes well.


Ugly morning wake up: I can’t shake this winter cold. It could be worse though; my sister V called and she had to take my nephew into the hospital this a.m. with pneumonia. He’s all pumped full of steroids and she’s pumped full of guilt as she made him go to school for the last two days. So I’m going to go play Halo II with sick boy later and get him some drugs.

M.B. and I did a budget for me last night to figure out how much I need to be making. I know at this point that you are sick to death of hearing about my work situation – you’re not alone. The thing is that I have a great deal of debt and I need to make enough to cover my expensive life. Any part time work I do is deducted from my unemployment benefits – yeah that’s a good system – so I can’t just take any job, I have to take the right job.

I went to Riddle’s Penultimate last night by myself to have a pint of Guinness and listen to the Tuesday night jazz trio. I should figure out audio blogging as this kid on the vibes was astounding. The bar is hiring, but they want proof of hepatitis vaccination. What’s with all the needles? TB to teach, hep to bartend – I’m going to feel like a pincushion by the time I land a gig.

I am on the razor’s edge about my hair, I have said in the past that I would never have short hair again, but we all say silly things and if it’s standing between me and a job then I guess it might have to go.

I’ve been making lots of changes in my life, but I am not trilled about making a radical change to my appearance. I don’t know, maybe it would be a good thing to get into some new psychic space. Blah.

Can’t deal. Going back to bed.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I was getting over my cold and then I went out last night. John and I caught Madahoochi and Friends at Cicero’s.

I’ve seen them five or six times now and they are quite a good little jam band. They pull my nostalgia chain as they remind me of my friend Mike’s band from back in high school. The keyboard player is a dead ringer for Becky C – also a high school friend. It’s good music for a three-buck cover on a Monday night. If I had the money I’d catch the Grateful Dead cover band – The Dark Star Orchestra - at The Pageant Wednesday night. I saw them a few years ago at The Blue Note in Columbia and they were astounding – better than the last few Dead shows I saw in California. Yup, I twer a hippie once.

Vanessa has observed that I know a lot of people. It seems whenever we hang out we are running into folks that I know somehow. I helped Chris and her move some furniture with my van on Sunday. Bethany’s grandmother Alice is getting ready to move to KC so we took a large chair, a treadmill, and a table of some sort off her hands. We then ran by Chris’s mom’s house to get the worlds largest and heaviest television. It’s a high definition TV and weighs three hundred thousand pounds. We had to use hot pads to lift the front end as the waffle-like plastic was cutting off circulation in our digits. It’s a good thing we pulled the backseat out before we went over there or it never would have fit.

So Chris decides to buy us all Starbucks at the drive through and who is working but an old friend Kim from undergraduate – we quickly summarized our lives and I gave her my email – so that’s cool. Then I am in Cicero’s and I look at the bartender and say, “Kirksville, right?” Sure enough, Nicole grew up the ville and is a Friend of Arnie’s daughter Amy. I live in a ville vortext - it's not just the ville though. Coming out of the movie at the Tivoli the other day I ran into one these twins that were part of the Mike's band circle of friends. Betsy and her new husband. What was her sister's name? The one with the husky voice. Glenn had such a crush on those girls. Ah well, time marches on and I blther on - so there you have it.


Are these job search sites useful? I have spent much of the day getting my resume spread far and wide. So far my only emails have come from additional job searches that found me via Monster. So now I am up on “teacher to teacher” and several other similar sites. I’ve been contacted by HR at Elsevier and they are reviewing my resume – googling me – finding this blog and deciding not to hire me based on content. Ha. Googling me and deciding to hire me based on content, as I would be an entertaining coworker. Blah.

Joseph also called – he is not happy with my progress so I need to kick the freelance work up a notch and hope these websites get me working.

BJ is pushing for me to move to Springfield and there is an open lectureship at the university there for next fall – now accepting applications. Teaching there would be a good springboard back into the academic life. I suppose Truman for next fall might be just as possible.

BJ and I do the shoot pool & meet people thing fairly well, so we could establish a new Springfield tribe. What did ever happen to the volleyball girls? The shorter brunet was a good swing dancer – but they all thought that Beth & I were a couple. Ruthann and I were a couple, but of course she never went out with us during that phase of the doom parade.

BJ and Jason were telling me to embrace my Bandito side and write a book on how to be a bandito. Chapter one – how to find a cool pad that becomes party central and allows dogs. Chapter two….. suggestions?


Burns' Night at The Tap Room

Robert BurnsAn Extraordinary Evening For those of you who wonder what Robert Burns is most famous for, think about that song everyone sings on New Year's Eve. That's correct!

Burns' Night is our annual, extraordinary celebration of the life, works and spirit of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). Celebrated on, or about, the Bard's birthday, January 25th, the event is ideal for brightening up the cold, wet and dark St. Louis winter evenings. Just before Tom Schlafly reads his poem, our Scotch Ale is escorted in by a fancy procession of pipers and drummers. Naturally, we cook up some extraordinarily delicious Scottish food, and round out the festivities with the best Celtic musicians in St. Louis.

Always a fun, loose evening, the event encompasses the whole of life's emotions in one evening. There is the serious thought provoking speech (of course laced with humour) along with song, nostalgia, merriment, satire, wit, happiness and sadness.

Our next celebration takes place at The Tap Room on Tuesday, January 25, 2005.

5:00 p.m. – Begin with tasty Scottish food
We’ll be serving Scotch eggs (they sell like hotcakes), Shepherd’s Pie, Cock-a-leekie Soup, and other Scottish favorites, each of which is a perfect match with delicious Schlafly Scotch Ale.

6:00 p.m. – Tapping of the Scotch Ale and presentation of the haggis
Like pipers? We’ve got ‘em! Followed by poems and songs from the bar.

8:00 p.m. – Dance the night away
Or, just listen. Duddybreeks perform traditional music in The Club Room until 11:00 p.m.

Should we?


It's the birthday of Robert Burns, (books by this author) born in Alloway, Scotland (1759). He's the man who wrote the lines: "Oh, my luve's like a red, red rose, / That's newly sprung in June; / Oh, my luve's like the melodie / That's sweetly played in tune."

He only published one book in his lifetime, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1786), but many of the poems were set to music and are still sung today in Scotland and around the world. A few years after his death, friends began to gather on his birthday to celebrate his life, and the event slowly grew in size and became a Scottish tradition. This day is now a Scottish national holiday.


Monday, January 24, 2005

I’m in the zone – I applied for an editorial position with Elsavier at Seth’s and Chris’ prompting, I have application packets to substitute teach in route from several school districts and I need to complete a TB shot and a FBI background check as part their process. I don’t have a doctor so I’m not sure where to go for the shot. I guess there’s a free clinic up the street but I’m waiting for the packets so I can be sure what I need.

I finally tried to epoxy my passenger side door handle back into place, the one that got ripped out Halloween night over at Hannah’s. I am currently re-seasoning my cast iron in the oven and I have two loads of wash in process. I am going to take a break here in a minute and wash the car. I ordered a new social security card to replace my wallet worn one as the temp agency I called requires one for the daily send out. I revised my job search criteria at Great Hires – which is a Missouri career placement service. So that’s not a bad morning is it?

I read the bios of the staff at the Christian radio station and decided I would rather suffer an untimely death than work with these people – so that’s out of the picture. When I finally get moving it tends to a radical shift like this – build up pressure and then let it out.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

I just applied for a position as a writer on a Christian Radio program. Yeah, that's just what I need in my life, more hypocrisy.

Just to clarify, the hypocrisy in question would be mine not theirs in that I could play the part of Christian writer, but it would be a lie just as my life at the HAC was a new age lie.


I mentioned going to Third Degree the other night and I just thought I would do a little plug so follow the link. Chris' friend Jes teaches classes there and does managerial stuff as well.



This is Nate sitting on the porch of an unoccupied house next door to the house where he lived with his father. This neighborhood is behind the High Point Theatre and is composed mostly of varying styles of two bedroom cracker-box homes. I like the symmetry of this house, and the rare white house among the browns and bricks of the city gives it an out of place quality. I should go photograph what it looks like now. Last time I went by it someone had painted flowers in the front porch, long imaginary green stems curling up out of the foundation and sunflowers blooming on either side of the stairs.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

A groggy good evening:

I had one of those time whoops moments just now. You sit down to read a book in the early afternoon and you had a good nights sleep, but you might just catch a little nap and boom it’s almost six p.m. and dark out. Your day is gone. Then it’s insanely windy and cold today, so windy that the heavy, heavy basement door to the outside blew open and was open all through that nap, so now the contents of said basement are frozen. What will that do to the heat bill I wonder?


I am having Beck for breakfast. I’ve been on a Beck kick lately, not sure why. Maybe I am questing musically, sliding out into new sonic comfort zones. Hang on. I have to turn it down. Apparently I can surf to Odelay, but not write to it.

We are in the midst of a Wisconsin style north woods winter wind-whipping gale. It’s odd to have blizzard conditions with only a light flurry of snow. The trees are playing the power lines like twelve string guitars. It’s a “don’t go outside” day.


Well so much for that idea. Angela just called and needs a ride to work – off into the blizzard do we go.

-time lapse -

That wasn’t so bad. Angela works on some Saturdays at a health place called Passport to Wellness – which is closing by the way. Anyway there’s a huge pet store in the same complex so I spent an hour fish gazing. My tanks are pretty much at capacity right now. I suppose I could add more convicts to the cichlid tank, but our last experiment with adding fish to that tank was a blood bath, so perhaps not.

Yesterday was free food day. Brad has thrown his back out so he bought me lunch in exchange for carrying a heavy bad of dog food around for him. Then Beth stopped by later after work and we made a Schnuck’s run for steaks and movies, she paid I cooked. We watched The Village and I must say I liked it a great deal. I went out later with Chris and Vanessa, first to Third Degree and then Cicero’s, so it was a lively evening.

Sorry for all the here’s what I did posting of late – probably a manifestation of uncertainty about my life. Here’s a passage from a book I’m reading
Will nodded, and there was a silence.
“Do you know what it’s like,” he asked at length, “to feel that nothing is quite real – including yourself?”

Susila nodded. “It sometimes happens when one’s just on the point of discovering that everything, including oneself, is much more real than one ever imagined, It’s like shifting gears: you have to go into neutral before you go into high.”
Karl, “I guess I’m in neutral.”


you suck, and that's sad
you are the "you suck, and that's sad"
happy bunny. your truthful, but can be a bit

which happy bunny are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


Friday, January 21, 2005

Looking for work in the St. Louis market is discouraging to say the least. Then I read this on one of the blogs I’ve been reading,

“Capitalist society doesn't place its highest value in wordsmithery, and that's a bucket of ice water in the face of the arrogant intellectual as he must deal with the post-graduate world's shrug at his linguistic gymnastics. No one cares. He's smart, he can compete, sure, but not at the highest levels. Some see this, put away the Proust and go to law school, after which they often are able to grab that brass ring, but others just spend the rest of their days moaning for Marx.”

Mooooooooooooaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnn. Totally disheartening, but there is truth in that none of the open job descriptions that I am reading fit me. Today I briefly considered working as a courier, but my van has over 200,000 miles on it already and … it’s a van. Gas mileage is not so good. Brad took me lunch at a Chinese buffet place and they were actually hiring. I worked at a Chinese Buffet place for two years so I am certainly qualified. That would net me a few dollars an hour plus tips, and at buffet places people figure that you didn’t really wait on them, so that’s a buck a person in tips if you’re lucky… I am going to end up having to take a shit job like that. This particular restaurant is far enough away that I would spend whatever I made working there on transportation getting there. Shitty.

I may have to face facts here and admit that I am not going to find the job I am looking for in St. Louis. We have one of the worst labor markets in the country. The convention center is empty, the airport has 50% of the traffic it did before TWA died and what flights are still there are completely unaffordable. It is literally cheaper for me to drive to either Kansas City or Milwaukee, pay the gas and to store my car and fly out of those cities than it is to fly out of St. Louis. Of course the only reason I would be flying would be a job interview to leave the city so I suppose the point is moot. Don’t think I am down on St. Louis. I’ve always loved living here and you can’t beat the level of public art and music. I am just having a bit of a rant to vent unemployment frustration. I’m about out of coast and will soon be living in the turn of the century cistern in my parent’s Wisconsin farmhouse.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

I know you love it when I find you good cartoons - caution - do not play in working environment.


There's a parking garage that connects to The St. Louis Center mall where I like to do shoots. Here's Ellie thinking it's perhaps time to leave.

"This way to the egress!"


This is a shot of my friend Nate standing in front of his giant Sinead Oconnor poster and holding an African tribal mask. I used a piece of dark paper on a wire to interfere with the print time around his head, creating on odd halo effect which may or may not show up when I post this. Remember raves? Nate was always going to raves in large poka doted shirts.


Well, dinner with Ann from my former job was nice. It was a little odd to go back to all those old work conversations. Let’s call it a reminder on how glad I am to be out of that place. Turns out a few of my staffers didn’t like the shift in tone after I left and so weren’t far behind me. I am told my replacement is not graced with people skills, but that’s all my former job was, so I can’t fathom. Ah well, we wish them well in the rotation of their tide pool. Having passed their Scylla and Charybdis, we contemplate the open sea. It feels very good to be indifferent about that place, it took awhile to get here, but the pastures of possibility are much more green.

Ann, like me, has a wild streak about a mile wide so we talked a fair amount about not judging ourselves for our sometime insanity and figuring out how to channel innate madness into creativity. Anyway, it was mostly a catching up session and you know what’s up with me already, and you have no context for what’s up with her, so I won’t bore you with the details.

Does anyone want to open a bar? It’s about the only thing I can come up with right now that I might actually want to do. I just discovered that I did not win the lottery so I have no stake to open my bar. Can I play out the Tom Cruise plot line from Cocktail – become a celebrity poet bartender? I seem to have hurt my right arm in an exercise, so I’d have to bartend lefty. Bob and Linda once offered to stake me to open a bar in the ville, a generous, if unwise, offer.

M.B. thinks it might take two weeks in the water for my Resume to hook anything substantial – I am a business lackey in training.

The reasonably happy, if sun burnt and dehydrated, Karl floats on his raft awaiting passing ships or unpredictable landfall.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Good news and bad news:

Resume is uber-revised and up all over the place.

I am sick as a dog. The “milk hangover” is in fact the flu. I cannot stop coughing or sneezing and I am off to eat soup.

Mary Beth and I, for the time being, have extended our lease on a month-to-month basis. Now I just need to figure out how I am going to pay for that.


So strange, I have what must be a milk hangover. I had way more than my recommended three eight ounce glasses, more like six, and I ate two big hunks of cheese. I worked out slightly more than I have been and by eleven thirty last night I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open. I slept like the dead and woke up at ten a.m. feeling like I’d been beat up. My muscles are sore head to toe. I think I need to stretch. I might do a yoga tape today.

Blah. Winter jobless blahs abound.

M.B. is a resume goddess. She gets multiple job offers every week based on her resume, which is posted in many on line spots. So yesterday I tore my resume down and built a new one using hers as a template. We are deep in the revision process. I gave her a rough draft last night before I went out and I came home to a thrice-revised page that looks like a freshman comp paper. “Resumes are not writing. They are a piece of graphic communication.” Ten plus years in the academy and it is true that I do not grasp the business world.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

S was just commenting over at Angela’s, who has a great self-transformation manifesto up, about getting me back on two wheels. He’s absolutely correct. I need a motorcycle like nobody’s business. There are few things as soul restoring as a long ride on a bike. Plot: as the weather warms, begin to work on my father about that Yamaha 750 Virago he never rides… I need to turn my grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr into a vroooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom.


Story time with Carlito Bandito:

So I dropped off of Atkins over the weekend and I am trying to get back on that modified wagon, but I feel like shit. I can’t seem to wake up. I am keeping up with the exercise and I still seem to be losing weight so I guess it’s still working, but as I said I just feel vaguely ill. Maybe a vat of coffee will help. It puts one in the perfect mood for job interviews, not that I have any scheduled.

I hung out with Liz last night. We went bowling at Pin Up, which is the most expensive bowling alley on the planet apparently – too trendy – please give me a dive. Then we had burgers and threw darts over at Blueberry Hill. I’d tell you what’s going on with her, but she’s contemplating starting her own blog soon so she can get you up to speed if she wants to. Oh, we watched I Robot as well, which was fine – lame and predictable eye candy - the video store had only seven minutes of open time when we walked in so that’s how we ended up with the flick.

I’m going to catch a rush hour of Closer at either The Chase or Frontenac with Angela later today. Tomorrow night I’m having dinner at my old coworkers house, Ann, to get caught up on what I’ve been missing these last few months in the land of the new age.

Ann and I have a long odd history and I’m not doing anything else so I guess I’ll lay it on you. Ann and I both grew up on a street here in St. Louis called Arundel Place. Marlin Perkins, of the Mutual of Omaha Sunday morning gazelle hunt fame lived a few doors down from me. It’s a strange neighborhood. On one side of us lived the St. Louis CNN anchor at that time and on the other side there was a pair of New York doctors who were only there on the weekends because it was cheaper for them to live in St. Louis and commute by plane to their New York practice. They also had a very nice Japanese nanny who lived there all the time with the couples two young boys, the very Irish Brian and Patrick spoke fluent Japanese, and they had a Jaguar that was always in the shop – never buy Jaguars they require more maintenance than a VW bug.

Ann and I never met each other, even though our childhood homes were just a few addresses apart, because her family moved away before my family moved in. We first met in my college town, Kirksville. I had been working for several years at a bookstore called Used Books and Unicorns. I had moved on to waiting tables at China Palace, but I still did odd jobs for the owner, like building additional bookcases. Shirley, the owner, brought me upstairs once to meet her new employee Ann, who was the partner of a new temporary faculty member. Hand shake – brief eye contact – that’s it.

Michelle of Columbia will remember Ann at this point because Ann and her partner lived in a brick house on Baltimore Street that Michelle and her then man would take over when Ann and said partner moved to California. Michelle bought some furnishings from Ann when they moved and then when Michelle moved to Columbia she sold some of those furnishings to me.

Flash forward several years. I am teaching part time at Meramec and can’t make a living. The plan had been, since I’d completed my Masters, that it was my turn to sit out and we would move wherever my girlfriend at the time got into graduate school. I think we were together for two and half years in total though to many of our friends it seemed like we’d always been a couple.

She didn’t get in anywhere (eek!) so at the last minute for academic work we decided to move to either Chicago or St. Louis. My sister was then due with my niece Abigail so we thought it would be nice to be close to family and friends that we both had here. I got the part time job at Meramec, was sleeping alternately on Beth’s couch or my sister’s and two weeks into my teaching semester I went back up to the ville and girl and I moved here into the townhouse where I still currently reside.

We moved in August 2001 and by October it was clear I needed a better/different job because we were not making it financially. I saw an advertisement online for a bookstore clerk and called the HAC. Who should answer but Ann. I was interviewed and hired by someone else, but in that first phone conversation it occurred to both of us that we had briefly met at the old Used Books and Unicorns.

Some months after I was working there Ann had a dream about a rug that she had played on as a child. It was a reminder of the relationship that had failed out in California and the indifference with which she had sold several family heirlooms. Not two days later she came over for a Christmas party and was sitting on an ottoman playing guitar when she looked down to see that her family rug, the one she’s played on as a child over on Arundel had found its way through Columbia Michelle to me and now back to her. At some point later I decided to give it to her and left it in her office at work. Diane – if she’s still reading the blog – will recall the day I came if with the rug.

Diane, “What was that?”

Karl, “I don’t have to tell you everything.”

I think I told her later. So tomorrow evening I am going to visit Ann and the rug and hear all about the business that the two of us saved from certain failure and that later would fire me, or as we have established – ask me to fire myself - for not being happy enough. I stayed too long at a stopgap job, should have gotten out when I had a ship to jump to. Ah well, that was then and this is now. So what’s next kids? Temp work!


Quiero ver el goofy scooter...

Seth reminds us summer will come again:


Monday, January 17, 2005

I’m sleepy and I don’t feel well. I can’t nap as I have diner plans soon – also my bed is covered in a sea of books. After my job hunt today I started to reorganize my books – top shelf Eastern Philosophy, next three shelves a mixture of Western Philosophy and Literary criticism – I have a ton of fun stuff that I’d just forgotten about.

Jane Dark was wondering who I like to read in deconstruction and apparently (this list is not limited to deconstructionists) I like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Northrop Frye, Helen Cixous, Jacques Lacan, Cornel West, Julia Kristeva, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Umberto Eco, and especially Slavoj Zizek – to name the authors that I have multiples of – and of course there is Adam Searl’s Critical Theory Since 1965 – which is sort of the crit bible. I think I’m in denial about being a cultural studies guy.

Then there is a shelf of Lutheran theology books that were gifts from my father – a beat shelf with all my Burroughs – a poetry shelf – two shelves of classics and three shelves of contemporary lit. I started a Goodwill pile that has mostly new age/self help stuff in it. I talk to myself since I have no coworkers in this life with me so as I’m sorting through the books I say what they are out loud – the goodwill books all fall into the bullshit category and are summarily thrown, like a pinch of salt, over my shoulder and into the plastic bin.

There is also a short story anthology shelf, a “books on writing” shelf, and a biography/history shelf with several catchall shelves for the strays. It’ll be good to get organized just in time to put all my shit in storage.

Personals: wayward academic with specialties in cultural criticism and world literature seeks utopian sugar mama with loft – cooks, cleans, special events & fine art photography, communications specialist with an applied background in marketing & sales, impromptu standup, 80 wpm, sometime pool shark, 150 hours plus training in Swedish massage therapy and Shiatsu, expert mixologist, jazz aficionado, raconteur and all around roustabout.


J O B – the update

Liz’s sister Debbie works for the city school district and she received a letter from the district informing her that should the strike occur all days that are missed will be made up – strikers will lose all health benefits and be moved to the bottom of the pay scale. Even if Debbie works during the strike she may not be paid for the days that are strike days. The environment seems totally toxic so I am looking at other options – which include being a sub in other districts and bartending at a retirement community up the street. Soon I may be slinging stingers for the old navy boys and reminiscing with them about their days in the pacific. Also The City Museum is hiring an administrator so we’ll see if I can land an interview.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

Stolen from Jane Dark

Karl Marx
You are a Marxist! A pissed-off cultural geologist,
you think everything is about class levels and
social strata. You enjoy discussing labor
unionism, the conservatization of the working
class, the ideological state apparatus, Raymond
Williams, Herbert Marcuse, the Frankfurt
School, and taking long walks on the beach.
Someday you will find a way to raise and
sustain the revolutionary consciousness, but
until then you will wear black and hang out in
radical cafes.

What kind of literary critic are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

That's Race, Class, and Gender - the three are inexorably linked thank you very much.


25 %

My weblog owns 25 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?


An interesting meditation on themes of The Reformation:

As the son of a fire-and-brimstone Lutheran minister (oh that explains it) I’ve spent much of my life living in the reformation. Our nightly devotions echoed with the ringing of legal minded academic theologians wandering about Wittenberg wondering where they’d left their ninety-five thesis (I think Luther hooked them on the door over there). In many ways Luther was a mensch, he said that he who knows not the pleasures of wine women and song knows not God. I think he was onto something there. The campus bar at the University of Madison has that quote on the ceiling over one of the arched entryways. On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! Fighting we will…..

In many ways Luther was not a mensch, writing quite a lot of anti-Semitic tracts that the Nazi’s later used for fun and profit. When Luther first broke with the Catholic church he harbored some delusions that European Jews would join with him and when that didn’t happen he seemed to have developed a great deal of resentment.

I was surprised to learn at some point that Nietzsche’s father and grandfather were both Lutheran ministers. I think that explains something essential about him. Lutheran theology is a kind of training ground for thinking in complex systems. There’s a great deal of logic, but it functions like hypothetical geometry – it’s a closed system that only makes sense in self-referential terms (shut up about the dinosaurs already – I’m sure he just forgot to mention them – there’s not a lot in the bible about giraffes either – that doesn’t seem to upset you).

So I’m thinking about reformation in terms of something I am going through right now. I have marched up to myself and nailed ninety-five problematic things about me to my ass and I am getting judgmental with myself and thinking about splitting away, with the help of the nobility, to form my own Karl. I’ve been through this before. I’ve dated lots of twenty somethings with this agenda as well. They pick me up, or I them, and they think they’ve gotten a great deal on a used car and if they can just manage a little bit of reformation then everything will be swell – “You’ve got so much potential if only you could see it.” “It’s true babe, you make me want to be a better man.”

But it never works. It usually ends up in Pinto crash fireball of guilt and recrimination and then I am left with just me.

Scene with Angela Bardo (Summer 1997):

Angela, “I don’t see what the big deal is. If it doesn’t matter to you and it does to me then why can’t you do this small thing for me.”

Karl, “It’s a metaphor. I can’t spend the rest of my life worrying if the cap is on the toothpaste.”

Angela, “You know when I met you, you were washing dishes in your kitchen. That was false advertising.”

What if I were to give up on Lutheran guilt, it’ll be Lent soon, and just accept myself for who I am – I am the prodigal son who is not headed home. To recognize that the very edginess and insanity that many of my exes and sometimes even myself want to contain or domesticate represent, are in fact, the very best parts of myself. Fuck all this scented candle crap – admit you have the capacity to be an out of control fire and as they say in the song, let the mother fucker burn.


Six loads of dishes and a dead Christmas tree in the front yard later, we are beginning to have a house again. I saw Jason, BJ and Tiff off after a Macaroni Grill lunch. Our waiter wrote his name on the paper table cover with a crayon – I found him and this corporate gesture of false familiarity and fun to be infinitely annoying – it’s a misanthrope day & I am not a Macaroni Grill person. It’s just another manifestation of the great craze for sameness that has America shopping at Walmart and listening to Clear Channel, living in vast subdivisions of simulacra where coming home drunk can easily put you at the wrong front door.

I don’t get the Lamarckian lemmings and their quest for inheritable perfection made manifest in fake brick and Hummers, maybe if you buy in bulk you can get a great deal on denial. But then I ate there, and the chicken marsala was quite good, so I guess I better just shut up and get my own little lemming ass in line. I need to get a copy of The Idiots Guide to Surviving Late Capitalism so I know how to function in this brave new America. Maybe I should read Island. Is anyone up on their Huxley? How is Island as a utopia? I think I have a copy around here somewhere.

Party bits, hmmmm- I don’t think we’ve ever had that many people here before. If true wealth is measured in friendship, I am loaded. Dan and Jason’s impromptu synchronized rapping of the Digital Underground Humpty Dance comes to mind as perhaps my favorite moment of drunk boys on parade. Vanessa’s sweet potato pie and Beth & Dan’s cornbread were fabulous. Mary Beth as mix master and co-host was wonderful and generous. The vat of gumbo vanished in under twenty minutes, so I am guessing that went over well. I always feel like I missed out on getting to talk to everyone – after the atrocious football we got sucked into a poker game that went until five am and Tyler was the big winner of both buy-ins.

It’s nice for lots of us to be able to get together before the next round of changes. Moves, marriages, births, and deaths await us. We started yesterday off by moving Erica to a house in south city just a few blocks from my old grade school. We stopped in and had a ham breakfast with Brad’s parents before we went over to her old place to lift the heavy stuff. Brad’s father asked how I was enjoying my retirement. I love that. Until further notice I am retired. Until tomorrow I am retired.

Erica was very organized for the move and we were done well before noon, so I had plenty of time to finish up the gumbo. We played a DVD trivia game in the afternoon – I’m not one much for board games, but it was quite fun.

Excuse me for a second:

“What are you talking about? You love games of any kind. In some ways your life is nothing but a series of games.”

“Sure, but I like to feel retro about it – you know playing Risk rather than Trivial Pursuit.”

“You’re just hung up on being a thirty something and playing board games. It’s not like you’re having insipid Yuppie couples parties for people who’ve know each other since high school and have nothing in common anymore so they have to resort to games to be able to communicate about anything.”

“That’s true. It’s just this misanthrope thing has me being a little negative today. You know, a little cynical.”

“Well, knock it the fuck off. You’re just as much of a lemming as the next gazabo. Life’s tuff, cut people some slack. It’s not like you’re the measure of the model man by any means Mr. Log in the eye.”

“Point taken.”

Thanks for tolerating my digression. I just felt I needed a little talking to.

I’ve been surfing job sites all afternoon and I’m just not seeing anything that fits me. Maybe I need to change my tactics. There’s this word I’ve been playing with recently: hypothermal. I’ll give you the dictionary version. Geology – of or pertaining to or being high-temperature deposits derived from magmatic emanations forced under pressure into place in pre-existing rock openings. I’ve been doing a “life review” with all of my free time of late and I’ve been mulling over the way that we are all forced by pressure into pre-existing spaces in the societal rock. It seems to me that in my life I have been fairly passive unless forced to change by some alteration in my circumstance. Well, the lease is up. I need new work. I will soon morph into some other way of being in the world. Sort of exciting isn’t it? You know what I need? I need a mentor. I need someone who impresses me, and has faith in me, to show me the way to next thing. Universe, I’m looking for a mentor.

“Be your own mentor you tool – you’re a little long in the tooth for all this hand holding, don’t you think?”

“Point taken.”




Saturday, January 15, 2005

I think we’ll have more than enough food, but with no competing parties it looks like this will be much larger than New Years – all the same people plus ten to fifteen – eek. I guess Beth will bring her camera again so stay tuned for the image fest.


Friday, January 14, 2005

I just walked down to Mike’s to get another can of tomato paste and what does Dave have in the butchers case but fresh Andouille. It’s a sign from the gods that all is right with the world. Screw the Chorizo; we’ve got Andouille!!!


Gumbo day:

You’re standing in the kitchen thinking, “I’ll just clean up a bit.” And then you are washing the stockpot and there’s really no sense in not starting the stock because it’ll take forever to boil anyway. So you put the water on to boil and you slice a whole onion in two and throw it in the water with the skin on. After all, you’re making this first phase vegetarian style for Vanessa and whoever else might prefer it that way so there’s no need for the fish skin or the shrimp shells.

Fifteen or so whole peppercorns roll into your hand from the jar and fall into the hissing stockpot, the bottom of which is still wet from the sink. Then it’s half a lemon, three large scored carrots, two celery stalks. Set it and forget it as Ron Popiel used to say. I almost forgot the bell & habanera pepper cores. Well, if I’m slicing the peppers up I might was get started with the file’.

I slice up two green peppers, a red, an orange, two habaneras of varying color and heat, the rest of the celery and I put all that rainbow in bowl. The cores and trimmings go into the stockpot. I’m only using two to three cups of this stock in the gumbo. The rest will flavor the rice. I put M.B.’s huge saucepan on the burner set to low and I melt a stick of butter. I dig in the drawer for the garlic press and find one of the four or so that hide in various drawers of utensils. By the time I have the garlic peeled the butter is melted so I turn off the heat and swirl the minced garlic in the butter to brown.

I cut the onion the way John taught me, you slice off both ends and then cut a grid into the onion leaving a heal to hold the checkered onion together. You then begin to shave off finely chopped onion like you were slicing bread. The onion joins the butter in the saucepan and I put the heat back on low, allowing the onion to become almost transparent in the butter. The peppers and celery go on top and you begin to stir, shaking your tin of sassafras so that each new butter coated turn gets dusted in the green powdery spice – two tablespoons – four – six – maybe more.

Stir and fold for ten minutes after you add the file’ powder so the vegetable seems coated in a thick green webbing. The smell of gumbo will at that point fill your house. To this mixture add a can of tomato paste and two 32 oz cans of whole stewed tomatoes with all the liquid. When the stock is done you’ll add two to three cups of that to this base and after it cooks down a bit you’ll be ready to season with Cayenne and paprika, white and black pepper, Crystal’s hot sauce and Tabasco. You can always add more stock and if you add too much you can always simmer it down.

This is where the vegetarians get off the elevator. The rest of us have shrimp, Orange Roughy (today – I change the fish), and chorizo to go, which mean I need to go back to the store. And don’t forget the sliced okra. That comes last so it holds together.


Two days ago I took a venison leg roast out of the freezer and left it in a bread pan in the fridge to defrost. The roast came from the recent deer season when my dad shot a doe just an hour into the morning on the first day of the season. I pulled it out last night and cut through the butcher paper. I set it on a pan that I had covered in tin foil, liberally doused each side with Lea & Perrins Worcestershire and placed it in the broiler for six minutes on a side. Ordinarily I might roll the roll the roast in flour and onion soup mix, browning the outside in butter on the stovetop, but the broil seal is a healthier low carbohydrate option. With a thin cut of meat, about and inch and a half I am told by Angela, you could start and finish the meal in the broiler.

While the meat was broiling and sealing in all the juice, I started the gravy on the stove by melting two tablespoons of butter and browning a diced shallot. When the shallot was transparent I added two tablespoons of flour and whisked it as it browned and when that mix started to get golden I added two cups of beef broth. Angela made this gravy the other night, at the final stage she added a quarter cup of steak sauce to the gravy – I skipped this step and just let the gravy cook down longer.

Flipping the roast was a little challenging as one side was rounded, so I used two inverted Crème Brule cups to balance it when it was round side down (I learned this trick at Thanksgiving this year trying to balance the inverted turkey). After about eighteen minutes or so in the broiler I checked the roast and found it seared, but bloody all the way through. I set the temperature to 275 and placed the roast in my cast iron Dutch oven. I poured the gravy over the top, put the lid on and slid it onto the top shelf to cook for the next forty-five minutes.

I pulled it and sliced it to happily discover that it had the consistency of a medium rare prime rib. I put the sliced roast back into the gravy to rest and meld the flavors. I’ll be on roast leftovers until the gumbo is done. Actually with Jason visiting I wouldn’t count on any gumbo leftovers, even if I make a double batch.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

You Are 25 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.


Perhaps the start of something:

One by one the coat hangers began to disappear from the hall closet. In former American wars the shortages had been very much a part of the national consciousness. Not so in this war. The dissenters were not asked to sacrifice much; he supposed they’d learned that from Vietnam. Don’t ask don’t tell. In the first Gulf War CNN had shown him fireworks from hotel lobbies, now the fix was fully in and the covered coffins of the national heroes were disappeared much like the limbs of the ten thousand maimed, arriving silently to hangers of a different kind.

Gas prices fluctuated, but that market had been rendered sufficiently opaqe by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the red herring of Alaska’s Anwar, and all the new oil in Africa. Would they call the African oil “blood oil” like they did with human cost diamonds? He doubted it. Besides, it was all blood oil after all wasn’t it.

The woman to his left, in her late eighties was shrunken into her diminutive white pillbox hat, and nearly lost in her white fur overcoat. She was not there, as he was, to pick up her dry cleaning. She had a bundle of hangers with her in an oversized plastic bag and she passed them earnestly to the clerk, emphasizing that she was making a deposit and not a withdrawal. As she left the storefront several women came from the back presses to watch her drive away – some knowledge passed between them and they were distracted until she at last merged her vehicle into traffic.

In this neighborhood, in the center of a central city, in the southern north or the northern south, many blacks and whites still maintained a cordial service-dialectic. The city had been shuffled in the civil rights era like a deck of cards. A de segregation hand had been dealt, but even still, in the baseball stadium at the urban core of the city, mostly black players played for a mostly white audience, who were sold beer by mostly older black men that was made locally by mostly older white men.

Perhaps one of the press girls had a mother or an aunt who had worked for the elderly woman’s people. This was a mixed neighborhood of both modest means and mansions. The truly wealthy family’s of the bygone master-servant had moved suburban, or off the map entirely. The very wealthy had mastered invisibility in the gated communities of the previous century. Such servants as there were in these new worlds, were often Japanese nannies or Latina maids. Why brook the race card when you could hire model minorities for less? The people left in the land of black and white were tied together by economic pragmatism and some lingering sentiments of concern.

“There’s a shortage,” explained the clerk, pointing to a sign that requested hanger returns if possible. “Do they use them to make boats and bombs?” he wondered, imagining the giant furnaces of the second world war turning cast iron banisters into prows and projectiles. It seemed unlikely that hangers would help, but if you took enough to cause a shortage, maybe?

Perhaps the political left took the missing hangers. What if the ten million women who had just marched on Washington in protest of backsliding women’s rights had each taken one with them, thinking that “never again” might come sooner then they thought?


I was thinking that if all this rain were to turn to snow this city would just shut down. It's been snowing for about an hour now.


This is beginning to get a little unreal. Guess what the weather’s like in St. Louis. Still fucking raining, pouring actually. I drove home in a monsoon last night and was glad of the van’s high clearance, as I had to plow through many little lakes. The off ramp from 170 onto Delmar was like driving up a waterfall.

Mary and I had dinner last night over at Angela’s. We did a large Atkins style meal with a roast that we cooked under the broiler, a cauliflower and cheese mixture that was intended to resemble mashed potatoes (it didn’t, but was good in its own right), and greens with ham as a third dish. That was the largest meal I’ve had since starting this diet and yes I broke down and had wine with dinner. I’m not weighing myself on the same scale, at the same time of day, in the same attire, but by any measure it looks like I’ve lost well over ten pounds at this point, possibly pushing fifteen. The jeans I just bought last month no longer fit, my winter coat is loose where it used to be snug, and honestly I’m regretting getting rid of some of the clothing that I took to goodwill.

So if I were to codify what’s working it would be the following: no bread or pasta, reduce coffee to one cup a day, eliminate alcohol (except the occasional glass of wine for cheating purposes), eat two to three eggs for breakfast in any style, have some form of meat for lunch and a salad for dinner with olive oil and red wine vinegar as a dressing (it’s important that you eat every six hours), no fast food of any kind, eat cheese whenever you want a snack, no fruit or fruit juice, drink lots of water and take a multivitamin. Here’s my modification – drink as much milk as you want. Atkins suggests that you should cut out milk and I am drinking more than half a gallon a day. Walk your squirrel for at least thirty minutes a day, do sit-ups and push-ups, and that is Carlo’s post holiday weight loss plan.

I’m sure you’re getting sick of all this health crap. When am I going to cut loose? This weekend we’re having a Cajun party – so the answer to your question would be Saturday.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Ok – this is cool as shit – Don made Jen a favicon for her blog. A favicon is that small image that appears to the left of your address in the browser window (I had no idea). Check mine out – I have a small golden monkey in a red fez in full brachiating motion. I know it’s small, but it was my first try and for starters I think it’s pretty cool. Here's a version of it you can see:

I know you want a favicon too and if you go here you can turn any image into a favicon. Then you need to download it to your computer. I used adobe photoshop 2.0 to extract the compressed image and save it as a bmp file so I could then upload it to photobucket. - then it’s just a little bit of code provided on the initial web page I sent you to and you have yourself a cool little widget – and this blogging thing is sometimes all about cool little widgets is it not.

Ah well: maybe eventually I'll go with something like this

as an overall theme. Or is that too hipster?


Jen, I see your nerd quiz and I raise you one.

I may think I am an asshole or a bitch, but the truth is I am a good person at heart. Yeah sure, I can have a mean streak in me, but most of the people I meet like me.


Blog day afternoon

Here's this

Stolen from pencopal

who reminds us to drink for the apocalypse is nigh.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Becky in blue:


How would a contact sheet look if I put that up? This is an experiment.





I guess I’m in the mood to post a few more of my pictures.

The following shot was taken the same day as the fulcrum wine glass forks. This is my mother’s arm holding the broken mug. I shot this series on a screened in porch on a very sunny day so you get lots of mixed and textured shading.

I had just started working in color when I quit. This was taken in a hotel parking lot in Los Alamos New Mexico. The subject is Michelle LaValle holding a sign we found outside our dive accommodations.

At last sighting Michelle was in the employ of Microsoft running a department in Shanghais. Michelle De Seattle – you have your mission.


I am nerdier than 11% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


When you clean your room you find all sorts of things like these stickers that Angela, Erica, and I had made during a night of drinking at Blueberry Hill.

Apparently four of them are stuck somewhere.


My life is one of consummate clutter. I spent the better part of the morning going through my papers. The ostensible goal for this project was to clean my room, get organized, and do some prep work for my taxes. It is emotionally exhausting to look at scrap after scrap of your past and decide what’s worth saving. The snake being asked to manage his former skins – the tortoise who fancies himself a snake coming to terms with his inescapable shell. To see in print some of the mistakes you’ve made, financial and otherwise; it’s an unpleasant place to dwell. And then there’s the rain.

Is this the wettest winter on record? It is the eleventh of January and it is pouring outside like an April Missouri thunderstorm. Gray days – gray moods – The City School district has not called back to give details about my supposed Thursday training – the advice from many sides is to forget the city schools and go for teaching in the other districts. I am knee deep in work for Jo and have painted myself into a time corner – as I always do. Procrastinators rationalize that they do better work under pressure. It is time to crank out text – so here I go a cranking.


Monday, January 10, 2005

You Are Eli! Neighbor to the Tenenbaums, you were
a regular fixture at family gatherings,
holidays, and most mornings before school.
"Why're you wearing Pajamas? Do you live
here?" Royal once asked you. Over the
years, you gained a sort of literary celebrity
as a historical fiction writer, and used the
money for drugs, strange paintings, and porn
videos. You have a liason with Margot, and
then find out that your best friend Richie is
in love with her. At Etheline and Henry's
wedding, you realize that you have a problem.
Your most memorable line is, "I always
wanted to be a Tenenbaum."

Which ROYAL TENENBAUMS Character Are You?
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You are a Playboy. You perv.

What kind of Sixties Person are you?
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Since Chris’ CD collection got stolen from his jeep I’ve been inspired to follow his example and I’m putting all my CDs onto my hard drive. I’ve been slowly doing this over the last few days, though I got stuck in a rut for a little bit listening to John Coltrain’s The Ultimate Blue Train over and over again – writing that sentence inspired me to start it up again. Anyway people are often posting in their blogs what they are listening to right now so I thought I might share what I picked as my first uploads.

Beck – Odelay
Uncle Tupelo – No Depression
The Sundays – Reading Writing and Arithmetic
Etta James – Mystery Lady
Diana Krall – When I Look in Your Eyes
Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie – Diz N Bird at Carnegie Hall
Fiona Apple – When the Pawn
Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus (The Album that changed Mark’s life)
Rickie Lee Jones – Flying Cowboys
Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas
Orlando Cachaito Lopez – Cachaito
Lost in Translation Soundtrack
Rickie Lee Jones – Naked Songs
Miles Davis & Sonny Rollins - Dig

For no real reason this stuff has moved to the head of the class. I keep listening to the Repo Man Soundtrack as I drive, but that’s on cassette so I’m out of upload luck there.

I’ve been watching American Splendor in segments so I’m thinking about the nothings of the everyday.

Little nothings of a day: I went out in the van. I took Dune – The Director’s Cut Science Fiction Channel edition back to the blockbuster in the loop – if for no other reason than the costume design, truly a horrendous epic. I took Saved and Super Size Me to the blockbuster over by the Galleria.

Unemployed to do list: return the movies & buy the groceries. I ran out to Vick’s work to give her the basket of scarves that Angela has been selling for her, along with the proceeds from recent sales. And then I went to meet Chuck at the junkshop. Chuck had called in sick, but the woman at the counter said she’d make sure he held a booth for me. I’m still not sure about that. $150 a month plus ten percent of sales seems high doesn’t it?

Karl, why did Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus change Mark’s life?

Mark is a friend of mine who is a jazz guitarist, musicologist, and amateur documentarian. As I understand it for Mark this a commitment album. Sonny was on his game, making money and doing fine, but was haunted by a desire to define a new sound. He dropped out and spent a year on street corners, playing on bridges in the night. Saxophone Colossus was the result.

How many of Mark’s students will keep that story in their wallets for the times when their instrument has been lounging, derivative in the corner. Drop out and rediscover your pulse – that’s what I’m about right now – drifting toward an imagined ideal –The Apollonian leader of the muses’ plays pied piper to my Dionysian drift, a personal Colossus on the road to Rhodes.


A boring post about zombies:

I rented Shaun of The Dead today to kill part of my evening and while there were some funny parts I’m afraid I was a little under whelmed. Everyone has been telling me for months that I would love it and yes, I liked it. However many of the funniest scenes are in the trailer and my expectations were set for more. It’s really a film about making relationships work, family – friend – and romantic, and living up to your potential.

Hmmm. A zombie movie should not be something that you could stage in a theatre. With the exception of the parts where they are driving around in the Jaguar hitting people, you could have done the whole film in the round – there was a lot of pathos and much of it wasn’t really funny. It was touching but also frustrating. There was too much character development and not enough shooting.

They’d be surrounded by two hundred zombies and instead of advancing the zombies would casually wait for the roommate fight, or the “you loved her in college” revelation; although trying to save the dead boyfriend by killing zombies with his severed legs was a nice touch. The inaction of the zombies strained my suspension of disbelief – if you’re going to have zombies it’s important that they ferociously attempt to kill everyone in a constant and crazed, though lumbering, way. It’s also important that your main characters kick a little bit more ass.

Perhaps the problem is that I just saw Resident Evil: Apocalypse – quite possibly the perfect zombie film. If you’re going to make a zombie movie my advice is more kicking and less emoting – the audience is already vulnerable confronting their own fear of death, you should reward them with the false sense of security provided by random knowledge of the martial arts.

I’m not kidding about Resident Evil: Apocalypse – even if you never played the game and don’t like zombies. The DVD comes with a second disk of special features and there is this long documentary about the modern dance choreographers that they hired to reinvent zombie motion, to rescue zombie motion from the Thriller video and to restore to the cinematic tradition a respectable connection with the arts. Not only did they develop a new form of zombie motion that focused on the progression of the virus through the central nervous system to the pineal gland, (they must have been reading Descartes) they had to teach this motion to the principle actors who would become zombies throughout the film and 400 extras. They opened a zombie school and did zombie workshops.

Kudos to you Resident Evil: Apocalypse team, history will note your genius.

Wow, that was a really boring post about zombies.


What do you do when you wake up at three thirty in the morning worried about all that you have to accomplish this week? Do you get started on everything essential? Apparently I redesign my blog.

So it’s three forty five in the a.m. and I must say my sleep schedule is shot – most days in the past week I was up until three and asleep until ten. Two nights in a row I started a movie at one a.m. thinking I’d fall asleep watching it – nope, finished them both. Brad figures that I am re-establishing my bartending schedule for a triumphant return to the profession.

Tonight I fell asleep over at Brad and Beth’s after they let me cook a big breakfast of bacon and eggs – they were having pizza which I can’t do right now. We were watching The Mummy after the disappointing Packer defeat. Bret, what were you thinking with that forward pass after the line of scrimmage? You could have easily had the first down. Should I mention the four interceptions? Anyway I fell asleep there and when I woke up everyone else was crashed, so I just let myself out and came home. I went right back to sleep until just a little bit ago and I feel now like I’m up for the day.

The redesign – I’m still teaching myself HTML so a lot of the changes here are the result of guess work, trial and error, that sort of thing. I’m happy that I figured out how to right justify the links, as that was something I liked about the last template. The image that is in the upper left could be larger. I could drop the white border that cuts through it. I could change the color of the Fulcrum Monkey text so that I could enlarge the picture, but have the writing transposed over it. All in all we’re talking work in progress. Still, change is good and I’m going to have a lot of change here pretty quickly, so why not get started working on anything static.

The image is actually one of a fulcrum of sorts. I was thinking I would try to retain the thematic. The image of Becky under the Eades bridge doesn’t really convey anything about the content of the blog. Ultimately I might do something Tiki with a monkey in a fez, but that can wait until I’m more advanced.

At the time I took these pictures I was working as a dishwasher in a cafeteria. Occasionally odd things would come out of the industrial dishwasher such as forks that had been mangled into hand-like formations, or this glass that has been broken into two pieces. I did a long series with these forks and perhaps I’ll post a few more. My favorite one in this progression has the two forks conspiring together to burn a photograph of me.

This new software – adobe – that I am using to run my scanner doesn’t work as well as the old Image Expert software did. With adobe I lose image quality when I rotate pictures that I scan and I didn’t with the old software. Unfortunately the old software was part of my install with Windows Millennium and I couldn’t find it on its own when I looked through the old installation files. Ah well. The point is that these images are printed on high contrast paper, Agfa 5 I think, which does not translate so well to jpg. I still have my lenses, tripod, lights, etc. Unfortunately the body of my old camera is toast. I’d want to get a new rig anyway if I were to get back into it. Maybe go totally digital.


Sunday, January 09, 2005

I'm thinking about doing a redesign of this site using some of my old photography. These are of Eades bridge over the Mississippi - the model is an old friend Becky Fritsch - I suppose this is neither here nor there, but Becky is Vince Schoemehl's niece so when I took these pictures her uncle was the mayor of St. Louis. In this shot she's wrapped in a wool world war two army blanket that we brought back from New Guinea and she's actually on the other side of the bridge, I flipped the negative for composition.

I made my own photo paper out of bathroom paper towels and liquid emulsion to add texture to this series:

Anyway - just a thought


I took a break from Atkins last night and had some red wine. Instead of feeling like a warm incoming tide spreading out through my central nervous system, it felt like I’d eaten fifteen pixie sticks – granted it was three-buck chuck from Trader Joe’s so you can’t expect ambrosia.

I guess that would be an example of the insulin cycle they talk about in the literature. I picked Atkins because I already eat a lot of vegetables, and I don’t really eat much fruit or pasta anyway, so I would really only be cutting out bread, potatoes, and alcohol. People have started asking me what the inspiration is for the weight loss and I’m going to fess up about a health issue. I monitor my blood pressure because way back at the start of grad school I had a scary spike in pressure.

I was working long hours at a bar that is defined by cigarette smoke so thick that you need to clean off the mirror at almost every shift. If you have ten people sitting in front of you chaining for eight hours five days a week there is going to be a health impact. So my doctor told me to quit the bar to get away from the smoke and drop a little weight – which I did - no problem. Ever since then I keep an eye on it, those grocery store arm cuffs are actually pretty accurate if you’re in the market for a reading, and post November both it and my weight were in a hand and hand assent. I guess some unemployed people just sit on their computers all day. Even with my dog walks I was netting less motion than when I was working. Anyway, I had a reading that worried me so here we are on the road to health.

This week both my weight and my BP are already dropping back down to acceptable levels. I don’t own a scale so I’m just going by the mirror on weight loss – let’s call it circumference loss. This diet worked wonders for Tyler and Bree, who used it to slim down for their wedding. John used a modified version and he looks younger now than he did when we were undergraduates. So now I am thinking why stop at acceptable when what I’m doing is working? Why not really go for a healthier lifestyle, as S said in one of his comments, it certainly is time.

In honor of Elvis' birthday I'm going to get down to my Sun Studio weight of 158 cause at 145 I was way too skinny.

Taken after the Memphis Philosophy conference in either 96 or 97.

(Travel gang, when all my dust settles we're going to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis Tennessee)


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Let's do the time warp again....


Another favorite.


Leggo my religion!


So today I was stealing pictures from Beth’s photo bucket account to stage a pirate blogging on Brad’s blog, when I came across this picture from last Fourth of July.

Selina was contemplating a tattoo - so here’s my tattoo, paid for with my first paycheck as a graduate teaching and research assistant way back in 1998. In this picture we’re actually boating like it’s 1999.


I have found a new little joy in life – standard cast iron skillet drizzled with olive oil that coats the surface as you roll the pan in the air – whisk three eggs and chop a handful of red onion and green pepper. My stove is on a slight grade so I pour in the eggs on the far side of the pan and they spread towards me, leaving the back portion of the omelet-to-be thin. You can achieve this if your house isn’t caving in on itself, by briefly tilting the pan after you add the eggs until one side becomes slightly thicker than the other.

In the thickest half of the mixture add your red onions and green pepper, salt and pepper to taste, followed by chunks of sharp cheddar. Make sure not to place the cheddar too close to the edges of the omelet or it will leak out and give you a burnt toasted cheese flavor. Restrict the additives to the thicker half of the egg circle so that there are no veggies in the half you plan to flip on top, this will ensure an easy flip as well as uniformity in the cooking of the vegge. After about two minutes you should be able to close the omelet and after a minute or two more, flip the closed omelet over and grate a little more cheddar onto the top of it – serve when the cheddar has melted.

The combination of cast iron and olive oil will give you a slight flavorful golden brown crust on both sides of the omelet that you just can’t get with butter or one of those evil cooking sprays. If you aren’t cooking your breakfasts in cast iron it’s ok because after a certain point all that Teflon you’ve been scrapping up with your metal cooking implements will combine with the aluminum in all that canned soda and beer you’ve been drinking to give you Alzheimer’s and you won’t remember all the crappy food you ate.


Friday, January 07, 2005


"Armstrong said the union would expect nonunion teachers and other workers to join the strike, just as those workers get the benefits negotiated for them by Local 420.

Clinkscale played down the possibility of a strike, saying that she didn't believe most teachers would walk out. But if they do, she said, the district will call on substitutes to keep the schools open."

I won't be a scab.


Well folks, it does seem to look as though I will soon be teaching English for the public schools of St. Louis. The interview went well – there are all sorts of new regulations in place so they are thinking they’ll start me as a sub and move me to full time over the next few weeks. I have orientation next week. It would help me to start a certification program at UMSL which starts on Monday – you can always miss the first day while you get your financial aid sorted out right? Otherwise I sign a letter of intent and start classes in the summer. So Back to work and possibly back to school, a productive day I would say.

I got a parking ticket, but since the office I was at is on north eleventh, a parking ticket is minor. The street is as follows – 1. City schools building 2. United Way 3. The projects.

I met Yolanda who tried to interest me in a pyramid scheme for a Tahitian health drink. “I’ll give you a sample and you’ll sleep like a baby.” She did much more than that. She told me there are four types of people in the world: sharks who take, whales who give, dolphins who always got to get their groove on, and urchins who are like her friend Mary, “ok, tell me more, tell me more, what’s the next thing?” She said, “I’m a whale, but I got you pegged for a dolphin, which is why I smiled when I said that one.” Yolanda’s got herself a Tahitian paradigm, right here in river city.

I sat down to fill out the first round of forms and the secretary had told me they were only hiring substitutes. Yolanda leaned over and said, “I heard you tell that women you already got your masters degree.”

“Yes, in English from Truman State. I taught there for a number or years as well.”

“She ain’t telling you the truth, here’s who you need to talk to – they’ll hire you. I’m blessed today and it’s my turn to bless you.”

At last I have salary out of my head, impractical as that may seem. The most important thing is that I get back into a classroom and start giving and receiving again, so I’m not stuck here in my own head chewing on lost love, lost youth, lost keys, lost time, loss, whatever. I still have the book contract with Jo. I corresponded with Lynn today on progress. My rough draft on the first two pieces is due next weekend. If I am able to make a go in the resale business as a hobby then I can figure on boosting my base wage from teaching to the neighborhood a living wage (assuming I downsize my lifestyle).

So, following the blessing of Yolanda’s advice, I am on my way kids and I might even swing by her pyramid meeting on Sunday to explore the new truth of Tahitian thinking.


I’ve been inspired by the restoration of my computer to improved functionality. What if I were to rebuild and restore myself along those same lines so that I was faster, stronger, better. Maybe I’ve just been watching too many martial arts movies (Blade #3 & Resident Evil: Apocalypse), but once upon a time I was ripped, and as I sit in the theater and watch these honed performers I have a desire to surpass my former health. I’ll make the classic Platonic mind body dualism faux pau and express this in spheres of both physical and mental health (for what is the mind but a part of the body).

What I mean by that is we have inherited a tendency to view the body as a vehicle rather than the stuff we are made of – example: “I broke my arm” as though the arm is a possession of the “I” rather than the “I” itself. It is perhaps this paradigmatic view of our own bodies as other (see, I’m still doing it), inherent in the language that we use about ourselves, that leads to many contemporary neurosis of both self-objectification and self-denial. So I am declaring my body mind complex, put the Venn diagrams where thou wilt, to be under a strict renovation order. Bob Villa, let’s see what we can make of this old house.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Was over on Death's page, who you should visit because she's charming, and in the comment field we got to talking about single malt Scotch. This in turn reminded me that while I might feel trapped from time to time in my current life, it is not the first time I've felt like a beast in a cage:

And even though we all feel that way from time to time, there are other ways to be in the world and other places to be as well:

The winds of fortune could blow you (and Bob and your Nephew T)to the ends of the earth:

So if you ever find yourself on Oahu and fancy a spin around Diamond Head with friends and family, it can be arranged.

And sure it's not every day that you sail out to sea to go for a submarine ride with Bob and sister Vick at your side:

You know you're making deep memories that you can climb back into when you need to (like that Sub):

and as long as you live you can look back fondly on your glorious time in the sun:

Taking pictures will help you remember, sure, but if you really want to indelibly stamp yourself with a memory, here at fulcrum monkey we recommend a full body tattoo!!



I have an interview with St. Louis Public Schools for a teaching position tomorrow, I’ve located my transcripts and need to go get a police report on myself tomorrow – an odd thing to need, but when your job comes with its own metal detector I guess it makes sense. I tried to get the report today, but went to the wrong police station. Tomorrow morning is soon enough. I'm am still having some pride issues with returning to waiting tables, perhaps bartending is a good compromise.

Rent is paid through the end of February, M.B. paid me some money she owed me, I returned something I didn’t need and they refunded me in cash. Save your receipts for when you over extend. I didn’t overextend at the party we just had, nearly everything you see in those pictures was provided by my friends – thank you all again for a great party.

See – things are looking up. I think you’re right Michelle, that Atkins sucks, I’m switching to the grizzly bear diet. But our backyard is now permafrost, covered in snow (the rain switched over last night and now it’s been snowing all day), so the dirt will have to come from houseplants. When I saw that snow this morning at eleven (I’m sleeping in still) I knew I was going to have a better half day.

I just got off the phone with Chuck at Treasure Ilse Antique mall and I am opening a six by ten booth on the first of next month – we have a meeting scheduled for Monday to finalize. I like working with people named Chuck. Perhaps I should at long last turn my proclivity for junking into more of a business venture and consider this booth a start in that direction. My concern is that junking was a fad that has hit its peak already. Many of the booths have 20% off signs permanently hung in them. On the other hand my shit is much cooler than theirs is and it appeals to the hipster metro-sexual in all of us. It’ll be sad to see some of it go, but there’s always more where that came from.

Perhaps I should elaborate on that. While I am not exactly liquid in my assets, I have been collecting various and sundry kitsch for many years. I have literally hundreds of things I could sell in the ten to twenty dollar range and a few higher end items as well. More than enough to fill a booth and an antique mall in any case, so perhaps I’ll need to change my moniker as the possessions are finally being asked to pull their own weight. It’s like one of those chase dreams where the demon has almost got you and you think, “Hang on a minute, I’m just dreaming!” and all your fear turns to glee as you about face and take after your nemesis with a big fucking cudgel.

Come here little nemesis, papa's got a brand new bag for you...