Saturday, April 30, 2005

There’s a learning curve to this…

I found an old razor in a junk drawer, the kind that you buy classic simple blades for. I thought, “This is great. No more spending tons of money on Gillette’s crap. Ten blades for $2.50.”

There’s a reason that they sell the blades next to the stiptic pencils. When my dad taught me to shave he bought me my first stiptic, which is essentially a salt lick in the form of a pencil. When you cut yourself shaving you rub the salt in to stop the flow of blood. I haven’t needed mine in years. Yeah, today I am bleeding from all those hard to shave places like a stuck pig.


The writer's almanac tells us that,

"It was on this day in 1900, the legendary Casey Jones died in a train wreck of the Cannonball Express, running from Memphis to Canton, Mississippi."

And Jerry tells us, "Drivin the train, high on cocain, Casey Jones you better watch your speed..."


Friday, April 29, 2005

I was just listening to The Clash’s Another Cup of Cold Coffee and I was drinking my second cup of cold coffee. Get meta with me baby.

So, today marks the end of my three-month junk shop experiment. I get to go clean out Booth 74 whenever I decide I am fully awake.

Ahhhhhh – I have the crazies today. The dog and I were just dancing to the Gross Point Blank Soundtrack. I want to go see a matinee of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, but you are all at work. I must go by myself I am a-feared. I am such an irrational good mood. Why?


Back on February 18th we found ourselves on a bar wander of Angela’s origination:

“After the wake Angela went to Schlafly Bottle Works for a Webster Alumni event, our friend Nicole coordinates those events, and the stragglers from that bar scene went up the street to Jackson’s’ to hear The Rhythm Rockers. I met them there. We also ran into Angela’s brother-in-law Tim. He’s a friend of the bar’s owner, thus our glasses mystically became bottomless.”

V has decided that today is happy hour day so we are meeting at Jackson’s between 5:30 and 6 for drinks and appetizers – c u there.

Get Directions...


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Reading in the evening. For years this was my habit. I stopped when my days became filled with inanity. In 2002 it’s possible that I read less than six books for the year. Now, some six months after fool’s progress has been vanquished I find myself three hundred pages into a book I started last night and four months into 2005 I’ve lost count on the number of books I’ve read since the first of the year. I know it’s more than twenty. Our winters can last more than one year, call them seasons or long dark nights, still spring will come in time. I am reading Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon so you get a little heightened prose there at the end.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

If I were to get in touch with my inner goddess...

Indeed, you are 75% erudite, 66% sensual, 54% martial, and 58% saturnine.
This Egyptian
supreme Goddess is certainly the most influential deity on subsequent
cultures. She was the ideal figure of womanhood, usually compared with
the Greek Goddess Demeter or her Roman version, Ceres.

Isis was one element of a Holy Trinity, the remaining two figures being her brother and husband Osiris and their heroic son Horus. She was the Goddess of Magic for her brilliance, as well as the Goddess of Love because of her tenacious devotion.

She is often shown with wings, curving to caress coffins and sarcophagi
of many a king. In certain papyri she is shown with her falcon wing
headdress, covering her ears. One of her sacred symbols is the sistrum,
a musical instrument that was believed to ward off evil spirits. Isis'
sistrum was carved bearing the image of a cat and was representative of
the Moon.

Isis was the High Priestess and an omnipotent magician as well as the only being ever to discover the secret name of Ra.
She invariably carries the ankh, the symbol for eternal life. Her name
is, by the rules of numerology, adding up to the number “2” and she
just so happens to be depicted on the tarot card “Key 2 – The High

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 16% on erudite
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 16% on sensual
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 50% on martial
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 41% on saturnine
Link: The Mythological Goddess Test written by Nitsuki on Ok Cupid


Karl says:
I often start to read the blogs of attractive women and then they tell me all about their significant other
Karl says:
where are all the single women I keep hearing about
Karl says:
I've been watching Oprah
Jen says:
no clue
Karl says:
and she implies that there are herds of them
Jen says:
she is a liar out to get your money
Karl says:
great bison like herds blackening fields the size of plains states
Karl says:
Jen says:
she is a total psychopath liar
Karl says:
I have been watching Oprah
Karl says:
Karl says:

Karl says:
and yet I watch
Jen says:
Karl. Stop watching Oprah.
Karl says:
and The View
Karl says:
and Sally
Karl says:
And Jane
Karl says:
Not Maury
Jen says:
Jen says:
don't do it tomorrow
Karl says:
never Maury
Jen says:
thank god not maury
Karl says:
but Ellen
Karl says:
Jane Paully is quite good
Karl says:
the bitches on the view torment me
Karl says:
but then Barbara reminds me of my mother
Jen says:
Jen says:
Regis and Kelly?
Karl says:
at least I'm not watching soaps
Jen says:
Karl says:
I haven't been able to watch Regis since he quit drinking
Karl says:
and Kelly is a twat'
Karl says:
I mean twit
Jen says:
Karl says:
I am so posting this little exchange


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Mary Beth had an insight...

Seperated at birth?
Image hosted by Photobucket.com


What are your three most important reasons for wanting to be a teacher?

I feel I have a natural talent in the classroom and a sense of vocation in the profession. I want to continue to inspire students to broaden their horizons as my own teachers inspired me. As a lifelong learner one of the best ways to challenge myself is to challenge others.

How much do you want to know about your students in order to be helpful to them?

The classroom is a space suitable both for instruction and for dialogue. I assume that my students will continue to teach me through their fresh insights into the material we engage together. Neither student nor teacher enters the classroom divorced from their circumstances outside of the institution. As such I recognize that to be an educator is to be invested in all aspects of the student’s lives that they are willing and able to share as is appropriate both within and beyond the classroom.

(300 character limit) The classroom is a space suitable both for instruction and for dialogue. I recognize that to be an educator is to be invested in all aspects of the student’s lives that they are willing and able to share as is appropriate both within and beyond the classroom.

What three (3) things do you most want to know about your students?

I want to know what their expectations are for my classes and from themselves. I want to know their unique reactions to the material we engage. I want to know where I can help them strengthen their skills and self-confidence.

What do you need to know in order to begin your lesson planning for a class?

I need to know the general age and ability level of my students and the outcome expected for them by the institution.

What four (4) key components do you believe you must include in your plan?

My plan would include appropriate pacing and difficulty of assignments, a preparation of materials that allowed for breadth and depth of exposure, a clear statement of student responsibilities as regards grading, and some flexibility to adjust the course to student enthusiasms.

When you think about your students, in what major ways do you most want to influence their lives?

As students gain the ability to critically engage the world they necessarily expand their horizons of possibility in every direction. At the very least I hope to impart skills, while my greatest hope is to inspire and empower students to transform their lives.

List and describe two (2) core teaching strategies you most utilized in your classroom.

I rely on verbally questioning assumptions, encouraging the development of a classroom community where it is safe to voice opinions and to debate ideas. I utilize targeted readings and in class writing to develop the skills of argumentation and expression.

Summarize special job-related skills and qualifications acquired from employment or other experiences (including U.S. military service) and/or state any additional information you feel may be helpful in considering your application (i.e. honors, awards, activities, technology skills or professional development activities):

Summarize special job-related skills and qualifications acquired from employment or other experiences (including U.S. military service) and/or state any additional information you feel may be helpful in considering your application (i.e. honors, awards, activities, technology skills or professional development activities): limit 2000 characters

My undergraduate double major in English and Philosophy received from Missouri’s premier Liberal Arts University has served me well as an educator, providing me with both a breadth and depth of knowledge in the humanities. During my tenure as an English Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant (GTRA) I taught four sections of college composition over two years.

Following the completion of my Master’s degree I was awarded the Huenemann Fellowship at Truman State University, a competitive award given to an outstanding recent graduate. I taught four classes per term in diverse subject areas including Modern British Literature, World Literature, and various Composition courses, providing me with intensive experience in course design and implementation.

During my graduate and undergraduate studies I worked several summers as a teacher’s assistant for The Joseph Baldwin Academy, which was a college immersion program for gifted youth Thus far my primary teaching experience has been with college age students, but my teaching career and sense of vocation began in this summer program working with middle school students.

I do not currently possess a teaching certification, but I am willing to pursue one and can assure you of rapid progress in that regard.


The Topiary Governor Gardens
And so Texas creeps its Kudzu
Across the panhandle
Smothering life with claims of life
That the great and native Cyprus
Should be proud to whither
That lesser leaves can claim
The one true light
So too a nation chokes
On theocratic weeds
Shaped to resemble
The ideals they suffocate
The divine right of kings
Becomes the fool’s presumption
Democratic dynasties belie
The roots of Pater’s power
And the new Caesar
Anointed for the promise
Of the circus and the dead
Presumes another role
Sending plagues to far off lands.
He hardens the hearts of leaders.
He claims their first born.
The planes do not Passover
That the blood of nations can be spilled
For the blood of earth
For the veins of industry
A weed begins smothering the air
And blanketing the poles with the hot
Breath of billions
In the microcosm of a Florida Bar
Sea levels have already begun to rise.
Where two men may not share a raft
But kill to keep their own.
And the brother Shepard leads his sheep
Not to pastures, but to slaughter.
Jeb proves that he is Able
Thus his sibling’s name is Cain
So will history mark him
For such deeds as his must stain


Monday, April 25, 2005

I am Rabies. Grrrrrrrr!
Which Horrible Affliction are you?
A Rum and Monkey disease.


For a guy in my circumstance I sure do have a tight schedule in May and June…

Star Wars comes out May 19th
My birthday is the 23rd
Jason’s Bachelor party weekend is May 27th-30th, which may either be in Kirksville or here in St. Louis.
The lawyer boy lake house conclave in the Ozarks is June 9th – 12th
The wedding in Oregon is June 17th through the 19th and Beth booked our flight and hotel today. How far is Salem Oregon from Seattle kids?


Well, I got up today and biked around the park again. I had taken the weekend off this little exercise binge due to the cold and rain. Today it was almost like I was back at square one. Ok, maybe square two. Beth, you missed The Brothers Green on Saturday night, they played on the hill. This is a Kirksville band composed of several of my former students. They have a new CD out and Bob is doing the liner notes. Unfortunately I missed them as well due to broke-ness and going to sleep at ten.

Sunday I went to brunch with Erica at the beloved Kopperman’s in the West End, we caught a matinee of The Interpreter at The Moolah Theater, which was fine if a little bland. It had a television quality akin to Law and Order with Sean Penn and Nicole appearing as special guest stars in the land of Sydney Pollack. There were some creditability problems with sexual tension and police procedures that may have your suspension squirming in your disbelief. But your parents will like it. You can tell them it’s the thriller in vanilla. Your mother will say that she thought it was interesting and your father will shrug. No one will feel exactly ripped off for the ticket price cause the stars are nice and six years from now you might watch the second half again, lounging some Saturday on the couch.

I’d like to ask deeper questions about why this movie appeared now. It's a swan song for educated political idealism. There is a core message about the value of diplomacy that is a clear dig at the “shoot now ask questions later” lunacy of current administration. Sydney is planting soft pitch seeds in his audience that may someday cause them to question their estimation of the UN. I guess you’d call it a psychological thriller that explores justice in the context of grief, so it could be Sydney’s response to 911. There are, however, very few thrills as the action is fairly predictable.

After the Matinee I watched Gone in Sixty Seconds, about which nothing good can be said. I am just moving through the two for a dollar section at the local grocery store.

Then I went over to Angela’s and cooked a Tai dinner consisting of chicken satay and curried vegetables in coconut milk over jasmine rice. Kat joined us for the meal and we watched a little bad TV (Die Hard) and that was my weekend’s end.

Yesterday I had a really good feeling about today. But today I am not sure why.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

I haven’t really written much of late have I? Nothing substantive ……sorry, I got nothing.


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English

15% Yankee

10% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern


We went to see Kung Fu Hustle last night at the Tivoli. If you have high speed here is the trailer.

I fully endorse Rodger Ebert’s concise review, “When I saw it at Sundance, I wrote that it was "like Jackie Chan and Buster Keaton meet Quentin Tarantino and Bugs Bunny."”

Ok Vanessa (and gang), now we have to rent Stephen Chow's 2002 "Shaolin Soccer" which is apparently the top-grossing action comedy to date in Hong Kong.


Well, once again we have John to the rescue. I have a new hard drive and have spent much of today repeating the reinstallation drama of a few months ago. I can’t get service pack two to install, but at this point I am not sure that I care. We’re still not sure if my data survived. Later in the week we will install some new cables so we can make my old hard drive into the slave of my new master drive. Currently they can’t both be hooked up. It looks like the theory that the lightning caused power surge tanked part of the boot sector of my fallen drive is correct.

I am oddly worn out. It might be the shift in weather as it is so very cold out right now. Some of my forever students have a band and are playing in town tonight and I am frankly too zonked to go. Also the cash is a little thin. I think a nap is in order. G-night.


Friday, April 22, 2005

If you figure that the library is only three blocks from my house then I am not a total idiot for coming here twice in a day to check my email. I was actually down in the Loop anyway to get tickets for Kung Fu Hussle at the Tivoli. Chris, Vanessa, Angela and I are going tonight. Do you want to go?

I had a face to face meeting with a publisher today to talk about freelance writing. His publication wants environmental copy - hmm. I have the go ahead to pitch him, but I am not the most green of gringos.

I have gotten a bike ride in every day this week but with the sky looking like it does, I think I am out of luck today. Yesterday I went to Big Shark here in the Loop and they sized my bike to me for free - adjusted the seat and handle bars to fit my physique. I had a great ride and was able to fly up two hills that I had previously had to walk. NPR is not the best while you bike listen...

What an exciting life I lead.... blah

Well, I am of to read want ads - hope your life is running better than mine. Now my gas gauge and my speedometer are broken. I am become toxic destroyer of stuff.


I am surprised to see that yesterday's post showed up after all. So here I sit and squander my allowed seventy five minutes of computer time. After a little fiddling last night John deduced that several sectors of my hard drive got nuked in a lightning induced power surge. He has a spare hard drive that might work and he is 75% confident that he'll have me back up and running by Saturday with most of my data intact. It's apparently just a boot sector that got wiped.

Today I have to be all over the city, first filling out paperwork at a Parkway extension for the ESL job and then at the temp agency picking up my paycheck, then over in old Webster spending my paycheck on advertising - I owe my yoga friend money and am paying him back in part by paying for his advertising.

The Kansas City offer has gotten a little more serious/plausible so I might be spending my summer there. EEK! I might actually commute from St. Louis. You only really see me on the weekends anyway so don't worry. I'll give you more details as they present themselves. This is a big conflict for me, I really love living in St. Louis... but it's not like I am having a lot of luck here. I know, you make your own luck...


A storm fried my hard drive so I am writing this from the library. I got a crap computet here yesterday that wouldn't let me post. Let's see if this one will.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

I was just thinking yesterday about all the things that have gone wrong for me of late and I was thinking,"Well, at least my computer is still working." No sooner do I think a negative... pow-manifestation. We had a huge storm that came through last night and took out our power. I thought to unplug the computer when the wind first hit, but today when I went to boot... it's dead. I have no idea how an unplugged computer can get tanked by a storm - unless I didn't unplug it fast enough or the very effort to unplug is what fried something.

John is coming over tonight to try and fix it. I am writing this from the U-City library. John talked me through a few possible hardware fixes. I pulled out all my cards and then tried booting with several configurations of cards to see if any one of them might be the source of the problem. He thinks my data is safe and we just need to figure out what is glitching the boot. I am not so sure and fear I may have lost everything.

Not having my computer is like missing a set of senses. I don't know what else to do so I am going to go ride my bike before the next set of storms hits.

I interviewed for the ESL/GED position yesterday - the power went out in the middle of the interview and I had to call her back on my cell. Then I couldn't leave as my car was in the garage and it only opens with power. I spent the night at my sister's... what do you do to change your luck?

I guess I'll check back in tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

It’s national poetry month and there’s a poem I’ve been meaning to dig for that crosses my mind every time I make the trek up I-70 to Columbia or Kansas City. I tried to find an online version to cut and paste, but failing that I have decided to retype it in full as gesture of engagement with Ginsberg and a reminder to myself of that odd time in graduate school where we took over the quad and read poetry nonstop for three days.

Kansas City to St. Louis (by Allen Ginsberg)

…Funky barn, black hills approaching Fulton
where Churchill rang down the Curtain
on Consciousness
and set a chill which overspread the world
one icy day in Missouri
not far from the Ozarks-
Provincial ears heard the Spenglerian Iron
Terror Pronouncement
Magnificent Language, they said,
for country ears-
St Louis calling St Louis calling
Twenty years ago,
Thirty years ago
the Burroughs School
Pink Cheeked Kenney with fine blond hair,
his almond eyes aristocrat
Morphy teaching English and Rimbaud
at midnight to the fauns
W.S.B. leather cheeked, sardonic
waiting for change of consciousness
unnamed in those days-
coffee, vodka, night for needles,
young bodies
beautiful unknown to themselves
running around St. Louis
on a Friday evening
getting drunk in awe and honor of the
terrific future these
red dry trees at sunset go thru two decades later
They could’ve seen
the animal branches, wrinkled to the sky
& known the gnarled prophecy to come,
if they’d opened their eyes outa the whisky-haze
in Mississippi riverfront bars
and gone into the country with a knapsack to
smell the ground.
Oh grandfather maple and elm!
Antique leafy old oak of Kingdom City in the purple light
come down, year after year,
to the tune
of mellow pianos.
Salute, silent wise ones,
Cranking powers of the ground,
awkward arms of knowledge
reaching blind above the gas station
by the high TV antennae
Stay silent, ugly Teachers
let me & the Radio yell about Vietnam and mustard gas…

The hero surviving his own murder,
his own suicide, his own
addiction, surviving his own
poetry, surviving his own
disappearance from the scene-
returned in new faces, shining
through the tears of new eyes.
New small adolescent hands
on tiny breasts,
pale silken skin at the thighs,
and the cherry-prick raises hard
innocent heat pointed up
from the muscular belly
of Basketball highschool English class spiritual Victory ,
made clean at midnight in the bathtub of old City,
hair combed for love-
millionaire body from Clayton or spade queen from E st louis
laughing together in the TWA lounge
Blue-lit airfields into St Louis
past billboards ruddy neon,
looking for an old hero renewed,
a new decade-
Hill-wink of houses,
Monotone road gray bridging the streets
thin bones of aluminum sentineled dark
on the suburban hump bearing high wires
for thought to traverse
river & wood, from hero to hero-

Crane all’s well, the wanderer returns
from the west with his Powers,
the Shaman with his beard
in full strength
the longhaired Crank with subtle harmonious voice
enters city after city
to kiss the eyes of your high school sailors
and make laughing Blessing
for a new Age in America
spaced with concrete but Souled by yourself
with Desire,
or like yourself of perfect Heart, adorable
and adoring its own millioned population
one by one self-wakened
under the radiant signs
of Power stations stacked above the river
highway spanning highway,
bridged from suburb to suburb.

March 1966


Whew. Just back from another hour and a half bike ride around Forest Park. I think it was a better workout today. Isn’t there something in exercise where you make rapid progress at the beginning of your program and then after a few weeks you hit some kind of plateau that it takes a great deal of extra effort to go beyond? I only had to stop and walk a few times today, probably about half as much as yesterday. I think the course I am riding is eight point six miles. I should drive the part I’m guessing at to satisfy my curiosity.

I got final drafts of two short pieces into a local publication today, which I am not at liberty to discuss further. They are written under a pseudonym, so you don’t get to know more than that. I am helping a yoga friend who is on a speaking tour and I’ve booked him a venue and am handling the local advertising as well.

I also got to play personal assistant for St. Louis Angela today, taking her on some errands and then to work. I played yuppie and had Starbucks and read the morning paper at The Galleria while I waited for the next phase of our errand running. I could be a PA. I also made it up to the Laundromat to get my clothes dry. What about renting a dryer to own? Nah, I’ll find one at a garage sale before too long.

I am thinking about taking two part time jobs such that I would teach GED classes in the a.m. and ESL in the evening and have my afternoons free to blog, nap, and ride around the park. Total it would only be 32 hours, but it’s a start. My contact for both jobs just had a hip replacement so I am having a little trouble catching up with her as she doesn’t work everyday, so keep your fingers yet again crossed.

I filled out my FAFSA today to go back to school, perhaps starting next month. In keeping with my goal to try as many jobs as possible I think High School Teaching might really be next. UMSL has a program where I can get a teaching certification over the summer since I already have my Master’s degree. I am still thinking about Law School. The money is really attractive and I feel bad for saying that, but I really am so very sick of living check-to-check, scam-to-scam, grift-to-grift. I got an email yesterday from Phoenix University trying to get me to do online classes with them. Their marketing piece suggested that the average wage for someone with a Master’s Degree was 72,000. On what fucking planet does that happen?

Jason has offered me an office management position with his Law Firm in KC – so that’s something I’m chewing on as well. I planted about half of the Cannas yesterday and need to grab some more topsoil to finish out the backyard planting. Ok, off to the showers.


From The Writer's Almanac!!!!!!

It's the birthday of musician (Ernest) (Anthony) Tito Puente, born in New York, New York (1923). His parents were both Puerto Rican immigrants; his father was a gambler who often left the family short of money. His specialty was the mambo, and he soon became known as the Mambo King. During his career, Puente garnered five Grammys, and made one hundred eighteen records and CDs.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I can be a little excessive in just about every area of my life. Yesterday I took the back tire of my bike in for a repair and this morning I got it reseated and ready to go. Then I just went. I biked from my house to Forest Park, around the 5.6 mile outer loop and then home again. I probably live two miles from the park so that would be ten miles and a little over an hour and a half of aerobic exercise. Next time I’ll plan ahead and wear shorts.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Let the underemployed and the unemployed unite! A rant for all the J’s:

J doesn’t feel that she can talk about this on her page (yet), but she has given me permission to talk about it here as long as y’all keep it on the down low and don’t go running off to her page to post stuff that she’ll just have to delete. When my relationship with my former employer ended I got to write my own semi-fictive work obituary and now I have the pleasure of writing one for J. Simply put, Friday last she got Dooced. The split was semi-amicable and thankfully immediate. And unlike me, she is already on to other things.

All smart people, all people in general, but especially smart people, hate servitude. In the context of Rousseau’s observation that he would have been happier had he never been educated it often seems to people of moderate education and intelligence that we are put upon to suffer the foolishness of what is often called work. From inane tasks meant only to keep us busy to the childish office politics that seems little removed from the shoving and hair pulling of the playground it is with great relief and satisfaction that we are at times privileged to find ourselves, yet again out of a job. As we begin to understand the ethical webs of deceit that darken the silver linings of many of our work clouds we long for the easy sleep and clear conscience of truly free and humanly humane commerce.

I know that you want to worry about us: the unemployed, the master-less Samurai of the working world. You think that we are canaries in the coalmine, a sign of what’s to come, the but-for-the-grace-of-God of your own every-kid-in-a-car-seat-culture of fear based risk analysis. We are in fact the surfers who have swum out to the next wave in work paradigms.

We are fully integrated with the web, have a collaborative rather than strictly competitive work model and are not the children who look to their father figure employers for solutions. We understand that Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat, has hit the nail on the head in understanding how the web has already transformed global markets. We’re what’s next kids, and when we get our ducks in a row all you salary-men better watch out cause we shall consult over your obsolescence (and then we’ll hire you on the side to work from home, because we really have liked you all along and we can better appreciate your talents than your current soulless employer).


Sunday, April 17, 2005

From The Writer's Almanac

Poem: "Fix" by Alicia Suskin Ostriker, from No Heaven. © University of Pittsburgh Press. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)


The puzzled ones, the Americans, go through their lives
Buying what they are told to buy,
Pursuing their love affairs with the automobile,

Baseball and football, romance and beauty,
Enthusiastic as trained seals, going into debt, struggling—
True believers in liberty, and also security,

And of course sex—cheating on each other
For the most part only a little, mostly avoiding violence
Except at a vast blue distance, as between bombsight and earth,

Or on the violent screen, which they adore.
Those who are not Americans think Americans are happy
Because they are so filthy rich, but not so.

They are mostly puzzled and at a loss
As if someone pulled the floor out from under them,
They'd like to believe in God, or something, and they do try.

You can see it in their white faces at the supermarket and the gas station
—Not the immigrant faces, they know what they want,
Not the blacks, whose faces are hurt and proud—

The white faces, lipsticked, shaven, we do try
To keep smiling, for when we're smiling, the whole world
Smiles with us, but we feel we've lost

That loving feeling. Clouds ride by above us,
Rivers flow, toilets work, traffic lights work, barring floods, fires
And earthquakes, houses and streets appear stable

So what is it, this moon-shaped blankness?
What the hell is it? America is perplexed.
We would fix it if we knew what was broken.


Awe, my Eddie Izzard as Dr. Who fantasy has been dashed.


Meat Alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do you do when things are looking off? You have another damn BBQ! We have so much meat left we could serve another fourteen people. I am in a meat coma. My anima is animal. Brats, ribs, burgers, potatoes of every size and style, we are gluttons. It is Spring.

So you have to figure I was a little down with my flash in the pan introduction to temping. But Angela made me go for a very long walk Friday night and then I felt better, and Erica came over and we watched that great movie when I was so flush with endorphins that I proclaimed it the best film ever in the history of modern cinema, still it is good and you should rent it. Then I slept really well and Brad and I went junk shopping at rummage sales and a few thrifts. We must have hit twenty sales over the course of Saturday morning and I bought one item: a plastic mold for an ice sculpture of a dolphin for one dollar and fifty cents.

Every time we got back in the car from someone’s driveway I would look at that dolphin and start to laugh. My goal was to have a frozen ice sculpture done in time for our BBQ –I wanted to put it right in the center of Vanessa’s veggie tray - alas it was not be. But this morning, when my sister Vick and I got back from nine holes of golf at Ruth Park I was able to unveil to her a fine frosty dolphin perfect for any shipboard buffet, now I just need to go buy a little decorative lettuce to surround the base.

I have a second dolphin freezing right now and I am going to continue making them all week so that we can have a pod of frozen dolphins swimming across the buffet at Beth’s birthday BBQ. I plan to use food coloring to make an assortment of colorful dolphins. How do you transport a pod of frozen dolphins? The company made other ice sculpture molds, circa 1978, and I may try to collect them all, especially the frog. I could make a dolphin out of Jello with vodka instead of water.

You drinkers out there, don’t forget about Jello, it’s great for any occasion. I bought a Jello mold of the human brain at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and all through graduate school my parties were occasionally curve balled by the arrival of the dreaded Jello brain. I think the best tasting one was a vodka Collins brain. Tequila was the worst one. No, Mescal was the worst. If I ever offer you some Mescal laced Jello dolphin I think you should politely decline the offer. You can make mudslide brains that actually look like brains and then if you pour grenadine over them they look like bloody brains. Eek!

I played terrible golf today, particularly that third hole along the tree line, but our random foursome partners were very gracious. Dave had one of those throat cancer voice boxes that he had to toggle to talk. Michael told me that he made some good investments and now he does nothing. He’s a St. Louis U-City native on full coast with some rental properties and part ownership of a restaurant. I think he said it was the expansion Fitz’s, but I’m not sure if I’m remembering that correctly. I shook Dave’s hand at the end of the match and I could feel the looseness of his arm and I wonder how long he has. He was wearing bandages around his neck perhaps from recent surgery, but he played a strong nine and didn’t seem anymore winded by it than I was.

My game quality may have been influenced by my late night. The dregs of the party caught couch around two thirty a.m. and then I was up again at seven for golf. It’s a good thing I slept well the night before. I’d post pictures of the party, but for a change we didn’t take any. Anyway, I feel a nap coming on and then I have to plant the Canna Mary brought me from her place.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Drop what you’re doing right now and go rent The Motorcycle Diaries. It’s the best film I’ve seen this year.


Doctor: What seems to be the problem

K: Well, it’s two thirty in the morning. I fell asleep early and now I’ll be up all night. I wouldn’t mind it if I weren’t actually exhausted. I want to sleep, but instead of sleeping I just keep wandering around the house. I’ve been to the basement twice to check on the laundry. The kitchen keeps requiring me to go to it for glasses of water. I’ll be online for a bit and then go surf infomercials, half watching half shows. I’m wandering around a small, three-story course.

The insomnia is clearly related to frustration over the pointlessness of my workday. Since I am still on unemployment the amount that I earned today will be deducted from my unemployment benefits such that despite eight hours of work my net will be the same as had I not bothered.

Doctor: So was your day really a waste of time?

K: I don’t think so. It was good for me to get dressed up and go out into the working world. I really liked all the people I worked with. The work itself was mind numbingly dull and totally irrelevant to anything meaningful in life, and I am happy that I won’t have to go back to it. How much human energy is wasted pushing little bits of paper/data around? Why bother?

Maybe I’m not wired right. It’s too easy for me to make connections with people such that even after a single day and a few brief conversations the people I met today are now part of my realm of concerns. I find it emotionally exhausting that I spent the day forming connections with people that I’m never going to see again. If this is the nature of temping, then I am going to have to figure something else out, because the thought of investing in new relationships at new work places every few days is a horrifying prospect for this wayward young empath.

Getting out of commercial airspace:

The shipping clerk is lonely. Her he is away somewhere. She’s really calm. The higher ups are all petty. She’s like a stapler; locus of transit – they “are” in their opinions she “does”.

The accountant is worried about her children. Worried that when she gets time with them she’ll be too exhausted to really be there. In the morning she talks like a Benzedrine freak, but by afternoon she crashes to normal. She’s doing the one-day burning man festival everyday and her central nervous system is the pyre. I like her. She’s very tall, vaguely Minnesotan. She has on a purple shirt with a wide v at the top and a little black ribbon tied around her neck. There’s a small silver ring on the ribbon that rests above her sternum. It’s a youth look in denial of her approaching fortieth birthday. “Don’t write about us,” she says. I radiate writer.

The short secretary wants to go back to school, but feels trapped, tethered to her husband and their car payments. She’s a biochemist stuck running amelioration charts because from a certain perspective it’s all the same thing isn’t it. “You own a car right? It’s just like your payment schedule. The payment stays the same, but the balance and the interest change as the principle decreases. Just check that against these invoices here.” I’ve never had a car payment. She doesn’t know I always pay cash for my cars. They always cost roughly the same thousand dollars. The last three were from 1993, but only this latest one has power anything.

“We,” her and the implied S.O., just bought Sideways. Implied: You’re like that guy in sideways aren’t you? I am, sort of– but I didn’t mean – no – that’s ok – that’s me. “I used to like to write,” she says. I radiate writer.

I am dancing Malaysian shadow puppets on a screen in a plot I don’t understand for an audience I will never meet. The data I am pushing is for fifteen failed companies. As spreadsheets pass by I begin to track their downward spirals of dwindling income until we get to 2004, the year of zeros. Some of them don’t make it out of 2003.

I catch the UPS guy’s falling package. “Nice save.” I catch the door to the elevator. “thanks.” I’m catching onto something. I envy the UPS man’s dolly, the floor guy’s joint compound for the molding, the cooler guy’s shifting of his weight to move a bin, the door guy’s power tool play toys as he makes a lock happen in the door to my improvised office.

Improvised office: the conference room table is covered in Dell PCs with Triniton monitors three generations old. Cords like ganglia exceed the needs of the two functional workstations. This could be a headquarters. We could plan things here. We could be heroes. Dreamers are heroes of a kind. We cheer for Sisyphus and say damn the descent.

The conference room has a twelve-foot glass wall looking out from the eighteenth floor. It’s a clear day. I’m facing north. I stop to stretch and stand and watch a jet fighter take off and ark to almost vertical in its ascent and I think that they must have to do that to get out of commercial airspace as fast as they can and I think that must be North and I look down to the rooftops of other buildings and watch the ventilator fans spin at different speeds. Why the variation of rotation, every fan a solitary oscillation?

The tech is surgically grafted to his coffee mug; it’s a pacifier of personal obsolescence until he can get home to his mudding. This isn’t the real world after all, is it? His wheeled briefcase has a telescoping handle that is silver and curves up and away from the bag like the assent of that jet. Both the handle and the plane share a certain male aesthetic that implies gadgetry. I wait with him to take the elevator down to the green level. I check my cell phone messages. He asks if they’ve run out of elevators again. I’m looking at his bag tilt and roll as he uses the telescoping lever to instigate motion. I’m thinking, “nice fulcrum, damn the descent.”


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Not sure how much I’ll get out right now as I am exhausted and have been typing all day. My first day back to work was good. Unfortunately we three temps of Snelling Inc. are once again unemployed (there were three of us – Lyn, Kevin, & I). All morning long I kept getting projects and finishing them far faster than was expected. By early afternoon they were farming me out to other departments. My main job was transferring data from various Peachtree reports into Excel. I also wrote collections letters (ironic) and checked invoices against amelioration charts. Then they gave me one last audit related project and asked that I stay late to complete it so I wouldn’t have to come back the next day. My two fellow temps and I were such eager beavers that we worked ourselves out of a job, or it could have been the hair, or it could have been as they said that we completed what we could help with for the audit as they let the non hairy temps go as well. Who knows? I know I did an excellent job in terms of the actual work, not that any of it was rocket science. I made a little money. Anyway it was a nice one-day gig and such is the life of a temp – single serving friends. Karl, what happened to two to four weeks? Your guess is as good as mine.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Strange days:

I got up and went grocery shopping. I got in the van to come home and it started to sputter and die. My gas gauge is broken. On the fifth try I got the van started and kept my foot revving the engine such that I was able to two foot the gas and break peddles together with downshifting into neutral at key moments to get me up the station. Short-term problem solved. What might knock the float loose, fuel injector cleaner, a bottle of heat? Is it still a float on a 93? I'm glad that happened today instead of tomorrow morning.

I came home and did some editorial consulting work for BJ’s Law firm. Invented my own company name and devised an invoice system – Jen has inspired me to go more pro with my consulting work. I wrote a brief synopsis of Dazzler #1 for your edification. Scheduled Joseph’s early May St. Louis visit at a local venue, communicated with his tour manager Lyn and arranged advertising in The Healthy Planet to coincide with Earth Day celebrations.

I ate hot wings, had coffee, water and milk. Now I am going to watch Rules of Attraction and vegge out.


Allison Blaire: Disco Goddess.

You know a great deal happens in that first issue of Dazzler. She starts out pursued by some thugs from the disco that have been hired by her former manager to scare her into signing a singing contract with a bad percentage. She’s holding her own with her dazzling mutant powers and snap on roller skates when a stray bullet takes out her radio; she converts sound waves into light shows that can dazzle her adversaries. Luckily Spiderman is passing by and gives her a tag team hookup.

My favorite part of that battle is his web slung tug-a-war with a fleeing Cadillac. I want a Cadillac.

Later, in her apartment with no food and rent two months past due, she cold showers us through her story of origin, which, like her power, is a little bland. She could have gone to law school to please her widowed father, but she’s going to be a singer to please herself.

She phones Storm at X-men HQ, interrupting a training session in the Danger Room, just to say hi, but she gets off the phone quick to avoiding caving to their x-offer of
x-men-ship. Storm barely gets the call as she is dog piled by Colossus, Wolverine, Night Crawler, and Kitty pride in her early Sprite incarnation. Oddly for the suspension of our disbelief they are all expecting calls on that one red danger room phone, all except for Kitty who has a crush on Colossus and is afraid it’s his girlfriend calling.

Jump cut to Avenger Mansion.

Luckily Beast, still an Avenger at this point, sees an advertisement in the paper for a singer at a club and bounds off to tell Dazzler, even though he doesn’t know her. They are all mutants and all mutants know each other right? We get a cameo here from The Wasp, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Avenger’s butler. Iron Man has a little seventies swinger thought about just how great the Captain’s reflexes really are.

Meanwhile, in Asgard The Enchantress hatches a plan to unleash ultimate powers of destruction through a temporal rift that will be appearing in a Midguard (earthly) disco. You guessed it kids, The Enchantress and Dazzler audition for the same gig and Dazzler gets it. The Enchantress is green in both costume and envy, exploding one wall of the disco in her pissed off exit. Tune in next week for issue #2 Last Stand in Disco Land, guest starring in no particular order: Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The X-men, & The Avengers.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Well, I watched Letterman (happy 58th Dave) and I don’t start work until Thursday now because they won’t have a workstation for me until then. I talked to a number of you on the phone tonight at length, but now you are all sleepy and I am bored. I went to ABC's web page and took the Desperate Housewives quiz to see which one I should date - Susan - the Teri Hatcher character - I'm thinking not so much. Edie Britt is more my type.

So, I have decided to engage in a long forgotten pastime. I am going to go read comic books.

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That book meme is one fast moving meme.


So I just took the Peachtree job. It’s a two to four week contract at 14.50 an hour in a conservative business casual atmosphere. I am of course worried about the hair. It’s in downtown Clayton, so I could walk, but they validate parking – so at least tomorrow I’ll drive. Mantra: I’m smart. I’ll be fine. This is a big step for me and I am nervous about my ability to adapt. Time to buff shoes and iron shirts. If I totally fuck it up then at least it will give me something to write about. Mediocre writers have made millions (no) thousands (no) hundreds of dollars on their temp work short stories. Should I wear a tie?


Monday, April 11, 2005

From Death:

“A new book meme circulating around the sphere is going by the name “123.5,” and its rules are these:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.”
“What were, he asked himself with growing sternness, his intentions?”

From Anita Desai’s Bye Bye Blackbird – winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award

This is unintentionally synchronous as I just watched Bend it Like Beckham tonight and both texts deal thematically with immigrants from India to England choosing their new identities through both assimilation and cultural retention/evolution. Wow, that would be a great way to teach this book.


Ok, I just made the mistake of watching the NBC nightly news. I generally get my actual news from NPR and the reasons for that were made pointedly obvious by tonight’s broadcast. I was treated to two pointless stories, actually many, but two that stood out. The first was about a bunny rabbit being held hostage on the internet with a 50,000 dollar ransom and the second was about what songs our beloved president listens to on the IPOD that his daughters gave him, “while he mountain bikes.”

I thought human-interest stories required an interesting human. What I find interesting is that NBC did not report how, given the ongoing debacle that is Iraq, it’s odd that old George has enough time in his schedule to travel the country pitching the masses the end of their social security safety net, pretending to be Catholic, and going fucking mountain biking with an IPOD. My naiveté about the propaganda subservience of the major networks has long since dissolved with the same pop rocks in pepsi frenzy that tanked my respect and admiration for the Supreme Court in Gore V. Bush. Still, watching the rabbit and the weasel get airplay over the war and the economy took my nearly numb last nerve and gave it a good jolt. This country is a fucking mess.

I don’t mind a little chatter about Bubba’s BBQ, Ronnie’s Jelly Belly habit, Jimmy’s Peanuts, or George Bush Sr.’s mistress, but not in prime time when we’re in the middle of a fucking war. Especially please spare me the listening habits of the puppet regent who only tunes in to people who are playing his song.


I may have landed my first job through the temp agency, are you ready for this Beth – as an accountant’s assistant using Peachtree to prepare for an audit. I just did a phone interview and they will be calling me back. When I first went to work at my last job the store had no point of purchase sales system and there were no inventory records, no records of costs, etc. The accountant and I used Peachtree to build a point of purchase sales system and I handled all of the upgrading etc. so I know that program backwards and forwards. The obvious drawback would be that I am not an accountant, but I aced their math test so maybe they can use me after all.


Groan, stomach flu. It’s raining. I won’t be leaving the house today. The temp company is emailing me skills tests now. I just took a typing test and an excel test from a company called Prove It. I guess their stock and trade is to go over abilities and claims on resumes to offer employers some guarantees. I feel poked and prodded in a really childish way, still it’s interesting to find the bottom line. I dreamt last night that I went back to work for Harry at Ryan’s Sports Bar and Grill in the ville. Part of the dream was doing laundry and I discovered that someone had cut my favorite belt in half. What the hell does that mean? More importantly, why do I have a favorite belt?

My once dramatic life offers a curtain call of character:

I caught sight of an ex of mine from five or six years ago, the photographer Jenny, she was working behind a deli counter in a really busy grocery on Sunday. She was swamped so I didn’t say hi, but I suppose I’ll see her there again and see how she is. We broke up in part because she wasn’t really over an ex of hers, Will I think was his name, and I was unsure about our age difference/ability to communicate. I was on the slight rebound from Stephanie II (the geographer not the biologist) and she had rebounded from Will to Mat. Later, when she was really over Will, I was dating Barb already. Drama.

Jenny broke up with Mat to date me. Mat’s parents live up the street from where I live now and he was a good friend of my more recent ex R’s. It took awhile for him to get over feeling competitive with me about Jenny and he always figured R and I were a mismatch. He’s brilliant in political science and was headed down the think-tank path. He’s tightly wound, but I think of him as an essentially good person. I am sure he thinks I am an asshole and only tolerated me because of R. Whatever.

Jenny was a vegetarian when we were together and she liked that I didn’t mind cooking vegetarian for her. After college she went and lived on a commune in southern Missouri, the kind of place that grows haute organic for St. Louis’s green restaurants. At the grocery yesterday she was confidently slicing meat. I guess we all change and at the same time appearances can be deceptive, slicing is not eating.

I look like granola hippie man with my long hair, but I am not really that in any self-identified way so don’t get the wrong idea about me. I can camp, I won’t go out of my way to do it more than once or twice a year, but I can camp. You might talk me into hiking once in awhile. I love float trips, we should plan one for the summer.

I liked the Grateful Dead quite a bit, but I never had any interest in following them around. I thought that most of the jam bands that came after them on the rainbow gathering circuit pretty much sucked, or at the very least were uninteresting due to their uniformity, so the younger generation revoked my “you can pass as a hippie” status when I didn’t fall for FISH. Of course the biggest gap between me and hippie would be that my muscle relaxant of choice has always been booze, in liquidity and legality it boasts much.

I’m not judging. I just want to be clear that that whole hippie thing is just not my total scene, more like an outfit that hangs in my closet. A girl once told me that I lacked the courage of my convictions in that context. What I really lacked was conformity to her assumptions. Like a good little existentialist I realize that identity always overflows the categories in which we try to confine it, however my overflow makes it difficult to get a job – and sometimes to keep a girlfriend. I never have been a happy participant in the “civilize and domesticate” phase of nesting. You’re probably right; it’s a maturity issue.

I suppose I should go buy a suit at goodwill and shave my head. Then again, would I really want to work for someone who doesn’t like the way I look, there’s some convicted courage for you… or some baseline stupidity.

I went out to this pub club thing the other night with Dan and John. John told/warned me that there was a wealthy girl who was going to be there and that she was husband hunting, but that she probably wouldn’t like me because I have long hair. We can deconstruct that exchange from lots of directions, but the same rules apply – I liked the people at the pub club, but my like for them decreases in direct proportion to their conditioned assessment of surfaces. Then again, I am making assumptions of perceived shallowness myself so I best not throw stones. Husband hunter seemed quite nice, but she is not my type nor am I hers.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Your Inner European is Irish!

Sprited and boisterous!

You drink everyone under the table.


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Hanging out with my nephew Henry around Christmas time.


When you are stuck, what do you do to get unstuck?


In high school I did three courses of Accutane over several months, perhaps a year and a half in all. I am not a litigious person, but I do wonder what the ultimate cost of this therapy was.


Friday, April 08, 2005

I’m not sure where I picked up the habit of saying, “boom” when things change. I think it has something to do with the shifting of plate tectonics through punctuated equilibrium being a central metaphor for my perception of the nature of change and stagnation. Like plates in the earth’s crust change is both constant and occasionally radical resultant from the release of pressures built up over time.

Kat called me today about a not for profit and education job fair at Wash U. I printed out twenty resumes and went over to run the handshake face-time gauntlet. The most productive of these meetings was with the Human Resources director of Rockwood Schools who took one look at my resume and told me that I would be perfect for their gifted students program in that it was obvious that my background would allow for teaching at a depth that people with just a standard education background would lack. He also turned me on to how to register with a database of educators that is searchable by every major school district in St. Louis. He said, you’re why I come to these things – to catch the occasional non-traditional.

I don’t know if you experience yourself through degrees of presence, but I do. I live in my head and as a consequence of that you might imagine my body as more of a puppet that I rarely put my whole hand into. I am rarely all here. It’s hasn't been required of me lately. At the prospect of returning to work in a committed environment when I am a needed and utilized resource I had the unusual sensation of fully showing up – stepping out of my fog and being surprised to discover that I used to feel this good all the time.


Jesus I love my folks, it seems sort of obvious to say, it just that we get along really well. I went and got poked and prodded by a temp agency Thursday and after all my testing – I had to do fractions – I drove down to my sister Sandy’s. She really lives a few cities south of St. Louis proper in that river ramble that stretches all the way down to Memphis.

Her family unit was experiencing visitation overload so the folks and I got scarce and hit Bandana’s in Arnold for some St. Louis style BBQ ribs and a few pitchers of beer. When we got back to her house we ended up playing cards in the motor home until eleven at night – the classic Wisconsin game of Sheep’s head or schoppskauff. My parents are both just so funny and weird. When I am with them I have this total sense of identification where I am constantly reminded of the sources of so many of my personal quirks. They are off on their yearly random ramble, headed out tomorrow for Washington to catch the cherry blossoms before they fall. I had to program their new cell phone for them. More later - must crash.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

New favorite word = susurration

"A susurrous breeze obscured other sounds outdoors.

Susurrous is a wonderful onomatopoeic adjective that means "having a whispering or rustling sound." Leaves, flowing water, and some fabrics are among the things that could be described as "susurrous." The noun forms are susurrus and susurration, and the verb is susurrate. A second adjective form, susurrant, seems inferior to susurrous since it lacks the final /s/." Taken from this link.


The motility of mortality:

My parents love Greek food, which is apparently completely unavailable in Wisconsin so tonight we went to a Russian gyro house that one of my sister’s former ESL students owns. He wasn’t there but his brother was and we had hysterical conversations with him about the importance of tomatoes on a good gyro, the joys of vodka, and the universal bliss of good baklava. He also served a Turkish coffee that has wound my naturally curly hair six loops tighter. How long do I have with my parents? Ten years? How long do I have? Gather ye rosebuds kids.


You're Missouri!

An admirer of the works of Mark Twain and the steamboat lifestyle, you
are happiest when floating gently down the river. You have a strong sense of
independence, a reverence for saints, and even look up to discredited explorers. With all
these traditional influences, it's no surprise you're at the center of everyone you know,
and are even considered a gateway to the future. If only you could stop drinking the
world's worst beer, you'd be set.

Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Ha, I stole this from Michelle who took it from a female puppy.




So Jen enters these writing contests where bloggers are asked to write on a particular theme and the theme for one of these contests this month is to write about the cruelest or meanest thing you’ve ever done. I’ll admit to being a confessional writer, but this topic seems to cross a line such that most of us would plead the fifth or seek smarmy absolution for our sins.

I’m sure I have been mean to my siblings in our childhood competitions. I once bit a chunk out of my brother Andy’s arm when we were wrestling. I know that I have been cruel in breakups, more in what I’ve said than what I’ve done. That cruelty is balanced with the counter cruelties necessary to the ego when a “we” dissolves into its constituent egos, or at least that’s a convenient rationalization for the drama and pain when friendships, romantic or otherwise, come to an end. In other words I’ve heard as many mean things as I’ve said in those final tennis matches of “you suck and here’s why”.

I don’t really have a Finneous moment where I intentionally jangled a limb and sent anyone to their gradual death as in A Separate Peace. In my internalized guilt and self-doubt I have probably been cruelest to myself, though I could name a few former friends who I am sure would argue with that. I can be a grudge holder. It takes quite a lot to piss me off, but when I get to the point that I am done with someone, I am done with them 110%. Perhaps I have been cruelest in these severings, where I engage in pharaoh like hard heartedness and my worst action is inaction and non-communication.

My first thought when I read the prompt was to write with stylized verbosity about a moment of casual retribution for a real or imagined slight on a par with Swift’s Rape of The Lock. My story for this cruelty is both comic and short.

In high school we were lucky enough to have an open campus such that on our free or lunch hours we could simply drive away. It was our custom during our junior and senior years to go out for lunch to places like Burger King, The Posh Nosh, various places in the Galleria Mall food court, or occasionally Carl’s Drive in on Manchester. Carl’s is famous for the homemade root beer and thin sliced steak sandwiches. They serve bar style from a central island surrounded by stools with an old time jukebox in the corner. If you were a classic car enthusiast you might cruise Carl’s on a Saturday to show off the shiny fins on your convertible Cadillac.

Saul Davidson and I were in a hurry to get served and get back to our classes. We had called in an order to be sure that the round trip to this outer circle locale in the bisected radius of available roundtrip food would not impede our digestion or attendance records, but we discovered to our chagrin that on this Day Carl’s was woefully understaffed.

Having worked in food service myself I can appreciate those difficult times when, through no fault of your own, you become backed up on a run of orders. My advice to all servers is to don the hat of graciousness and with apologetics do the best that you can. This sublimity of nature is unfortunately not always granted to those under stress and when push comes to shove the feelings of innocents may be tread upon. Such was our fate, we were made to wait and people who had ordered after us were served first. We were also snapped at with unkind rejoinders such that we would be served in whatever damn well order pleased this minor lord of limited fiefdom. We did not leave. We wanted our food. It was prepared in front of us on a bar backed grill.

A person confrontational in personality might verbally abuse their abuser, but that day I was possessed by a beatific vision of the Buddha as I awaited my long time in coming pulverized with a meat mallet pseudo steak sandwich and froth-full float. My gaze wandered to the jukebox and I discovered that musical bargains aplenty were to be had as part of the ethos of a fifties style drive up. Two songs could be chosen for each quarter submitted and after a brief counting of change Saul and I discovered that we had five dollars between us in the coinage of the realm.

At last our food was ready in white sacks and polystyrene cups. Having safely taken possession of our culinary goods we deposited our eagle-etched disks in quick succession and for our forty musical selections we repeatedly chose Van Halen’s rock anthem Jump knowing full well that our busy little beaver of un-solicitous service would have to suffer through at least ten of them before he leapt the counter and kicked out the plug. As David Lee Roth began the first discordant yelp of his repeated vague admonition to briefly defy gravity and Eddie Van Halen’s whammy bar began to whammy in earnest, we took our leave of Carl’s, never to return. Alas we were not cruel to be kind, but to give in kind a discomfort of mood to our server who was rude.


Entropy on parade:

I’ve got the breaking things fingers again. Current broken devices/fixtures include my dryer (yes again/still), my dishwasher (eek!), my playstation, and every other light bulb in the house. The dishwasher is the only one I am upset about. I hadn’t really used the playstation much in years, but Taylor’s x-box and playstation 2 were both stolen in recent months so I thought I’d take mine over during the house sitting – we got a few hours of play in before it fried.

Vick has limited cable and her few channels include some odd choices such as GTV which is all video game news and reviews all the time. The do VH1 style mini documentaries on video game legends. I spent much of the weekend drinking margaritas and watching GTV. I am actually considering both a playstation 2 and the computer game God of War to fill my hollow and empty life with pleasing simulacra.

I finished reading Hyperion today and despite my initial misgivings it turned out to be a fabulous read on a par with Dune. Unfortunately it was a cliffhanger in a trilogy so I must be off to Borders later to get book 2.

I didn’t see the folks yesterday as they are helping my sister catch up on her sleep. My nephew Henry is proving to be quite the fussy child in the wee hours so my mom took the reigns for the overnight last night. I read all day, took the dog to the park and helped John move the last of his belongings out of the Kingshighway condo. We grabbed a burger at Tom’s in the West End and after a few pints called it an evening.

Today’s theology lesson:
My father is currently up at the seminary arguing with a faculty member who recently had a sermon on the Lutheran Hour that he disagreed with. Rather than sending a letter he made an appointment. The crux of the disagreement is over justification. The pastor’s sermon implied justification through works rather than by faith alone – I believe the title was Jesus Wants to Forgive You.

For the diehard Lutheran faith is only created by the action of the holy spirit through the vehicle of the word, and salvation comes only through Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice so all this “Christ unlocked the door but you must walk through it” or “I’ve accepted Christ as my personal savior” stuff is antithetical to core Lutheran doctrine which teaches that man cannot by his own reason or faith come to know or believe in God – we have free will only in our capacity to deny God. This would be core anti-enlightenment thinking. Luther wrote, often in derisive and misogynistic tones, about the failings of madam reason.

I have a whole section of my personal library devoted to this sort of Christian dogmatics and theological hairsplitting including several bibles and concordances, an eight volume leather bound set of the complete sermons of Martin Luther, etc. My favorite one of these reference texts is the Abingdon Dictionary of Living Religions, which goes a long way towards undermining an adherence to a single faith in its conveyance of the diversity and history of human religious expression.

Anyway, I am ever the prodigal son of the preacher man. I think it’s probably a source if disappointment that none of the four boys in my family went to the seminary. I sometimes treated my lectern as a pulpit when I was an educator. I had a student once tell me in an office hour that he loved it when I testified. I’m sure I can get a little King James when I have my rhetorical swerve on. Once upon a time I was a passionate teacher.

I had an ex Nicole who felt called to the ministry. She’s a minister now. I’m jealous of those who feel called to a vocation; who have a sense that they are doing what they were born to do.

Should we get lame tattoos? Born to blog.


At long last I have taken the temp agency plunge following a referral from Seth – we shall see what the world of temping looks like hopefully sooner rather than later.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I just got the call from Jim. For whatever reason, perhaps a bad reference from a former employer, perhaps my age, my lack of youthful svelte, or a hundred other possibilities I did not get the job. He’s going to “keep my resume on file in case anything opens up”. I’ve used that same line myself in the brush off of people who didn’t fit the position I was hiring for – that would be the circular file.

I assume that he shopped me around to the GMs of the various restaurants and none of them wanted me. From one time university professor to unemployed sometime blogger unfit to wait tables. I’m thinking landscaping next – spring is sprung and the world needs tree trimmers and lawn mowers. My horizon of possibility dawns steadily lower.

I was at my sister Sandy’s last night watching her feed my nephew Henry and I was telling her about the job. “Oh no,” she said, “I’m going to worry about you if you’re waiting tables. People suck. They are so rude. I hate to think of you doing that for a living.”

My parents are here. I spent part of last night in Sandy’s driveway watching Illinois almost beat North Carolina on the small set my parents keep in their motor home. They’ll be here all week.

Angela drew me a picture in the air the other night, a virtual Ven Diagram. She drew two nested circles and told me the small one was where I had been looking for work and the large one was where I should be looking for work since as a capable generalist I could do almost anything. How do I get to the big circle? No idea.


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Bored man walking:

Not much to report. Low-key weekend. Friday night I caught Sin City with Chris and Vanessa. It has a level of stylized violence comparable to Kill Bill. We saw it with a huge crowd and only a few people walked out during the decapitation scene. Vanessa thought it rocked and wanted to see it again immediately. If you took the ear removal scene from Reservoir Dogs and extended it into a full-length film you’d have something comparable to Sin City. I loved it, but Jen, I would not take the kids to go see it.

I just talked to Vick’s ex husband on the phone. Always thrilling to talk to the exes. I’m picking up Taylor from the airport later so he wanted to confirm with me.

Yesterday Brad, Bill and I went to the driving range. I did far better than expected and seem to have a 200 yard drive with a slight slice to the right down cold. We did the putting green as well and felt confident enough in our first showing of the season to book a tee time today at noon.

Sorry to be heavy on the irrelevant details of my forward motion in time, I’m not feeling particularly pensive in this particular passage. A passage is zodiac speak for a vague unit of time that started some time ago and will eventually end but will continue for a time to be pretty much like it is now.


Friday, April 01, 2005

So, right now St. Louis is the setting for the final four. What does that mean for residents? Gas prices are up, but that may be unrelated. I was walking back to my car from a job interview in downtown Clayton and I was walking past a hotel and I heard a scalper make a family of four tourists an offer on their seats. “If your seats are on the floor I can give you six thousand in cash right now.” A conversation ensued and I kept walking. Every once in a while we are all privy to things we are better off not knowing.


I may have got Jen and a few others with my April fools army man ploy, but jen roasted me with this made up websearch.


Productive day:

I took a loss this month at the booth – so I gave notice and put everything there on sale – 20% off. I will start bringing higher end items home to ebay – the other stuff isn’t worth the hassle of bringing home.

I absolutely nailed the second interview with Jim, who manages all four restaurants. I nailed the interview last week with Leslie, who is the business manager. I should hear back about a full time position next week – I am fairly confident that this is a go. I will have one more interview with the GM of whichever restaurant they place me at. I have felt so insecure as part of my unemployment it was very odd to be confident Karl. I just haven’t seen much of him lately. I feel like the nervous actor who throws up off stage and then has a command of the audience from the start to the finish of his improvised performance. I’ve always been like that, fear in anticipation and excellence in action.

Jim asked, “where do you see yourself in a year.” And without thinking I said Law School. Kids, I really do think I’m going into law.


Mirrormask - a sony pictures 2005 release - Jim Henson's company and Neil Gaimon


I heard on NPR yesterday that the Army is doing signing bonuses of 15,000. That would clear my credit card debt and solve my conundrum about whether or not to cut my long hair. They’ll take you up to thirty-four now, so at thirty-two I could enlist regular army for two years and get an additional bonus for already having my bachelor’s degree. I could learn to shoot better and get back into shape as well. Am I army material?

Never give out your password or credit card number in an instant message conversation.

Jen says:
what's up?
Karl says:
you do not want to know what I was just doing
Karl says:
I was in a Army recruiting chat room
Karl says:
Jen says:
why the hell were you doing that???
Karl says:
15,000 signing bonus
Karl says:
Jen says:
karl, if you tell me that you are considering that, i will come down to st. louis and slap you.
Karl says:
it would solve my haircut sunundrum
Jen says:
shut UP!
Jen says:
hey, did you go check out shane's blog?
Karl says:
Karl says:
Jen says:
thank you
Jen says:
i had fun doing it
Karl says:
maybe Shane and I could enlist together
Jen says:
fuck that!
Karl says:
go get all shot up
Karl says:
become men
Jen says:
that boy would get beat up first.
Karl says:
I am trying not to stress about my interview
Jen says:
it's this afternoon?
Karl says:
If I joined the army they would whip my ass in shape and I could pay off my credit cards
Karl says:
Jen says:
um, you are not joining the army
Karl says:
it might be fun
Jen says:
those might be two positives, one of which (shape) could be accomplished by your own self, and the other? Well, the negatives ouweight that positive.
Karl says:
learn to shoot
Jen says:
fuck you, it's april fool's day and i'm just walking right into it.
Karl says:
Jen says:
fuck you. I cannot BELIEVE I just walked into that.
Jen says:

Jen says:
that was pretty good-- you had my blood pressure rising


Once again I am county bound. I tried to bring Vick’s dogs over to my house yesterday, but they were just too hyper in the new environment - and that is a lot of dog to have spazing on you. So anyway I am starting to think of this place as my country house. The view off the deck is lake and trees, and there are ducks and geese everywhere making their post-reptilian vocal taunts at the less than aerodynamic monkeys that inhabit this condo conclave. It’s quite relaxing actually.

Sin City opens today so I might have to go see that tonight. I watched a few hours of ZD tv last night and got to feel like a big dork. Ziff Davis television is technology tv with a heavy emphasis on video games. I watched a documentary on the Metal Gear Solid franchise and a second one on Frank Miller’s progression from his reinvention of Batman in The Dark Night Returns to his Hollywood “career” writing for the Robocop sequels and through the full cycle of returning to comics with Sin City and now back to Hollywood with director Robert Rodriguez (of Desperado fame). My hopes are high for this movie.

I turns out that this book Hyperion, that has been so heavily recommended to me by my brother Phil and others, is in fact a science fiction version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, itself a retelling in part of Giovanni Boccaccio‘s Filostrato - or did Chaucer just translate the whole thing? I am under whelmed with the cleverness of this employed structure. Simmon’s, the author of Hyperion, has also given all his spaceships “Hawking drives” - as in Stephen - and has a “tree ship” called Yggdrasil which is a reference to the Norse tree of life (which is itself a pan-cultural reference to the human central nervous system - possibly of shamanic origin). It’s odd that Gibson’s use of obscure references made me enjoy him more, but these references just make me groan. I suppose it’s a question of style, Simmons is still a little clunky in his selections from the wellspring of history. Science fiction has long had the genre stigma of hack writing and a derivative structure like this one does little to dispel that presumption, especially when it wins The Hugo.

On the topic of things I can recommend I watched Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigaretts last night. If you like the mood cinema that Jarmusch is know for you’ll love watching Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Bill Murray and others hang out and drink coffee. It’s composed of a series of short films with repeating themes such as Tesla’s vision of the earth as a sonic resonator, coffee as a lunch substitute and the overlap of music and medicine.

Did you like that newspaper review structure in the last paragraph? “If you liked Four Weddings and a Funeral you’re bound to love….” Marketing speak is so pervasive it creeps unbidden into the fabric of our everyday such that I am pitching you a film that I like rather than simply describing it. We are all in sales now as sales is now in all of us.