Thursday, June 30, 2005

Today is national get your blood drawn to check on your liver if you are on TB meds that you started taking in the beginning of June. It’s a smaller celebration for a relatively insignificant portion of the population, but I am going to be celebrating like the blood letting barber of Seville because it means only eight months of forced sobriety remain on my cooler door. At twenty seven days we are nearly a month done.

In March 2006 I will be having an off the wagon party in which I will be a very cheap date. My first, and possibly my last, gin and tonic will be made with equal parts gin and tonic. The gin will either be Boodles or Bombay Sapphire. There will be a large lime wedge and the tonic will come from a fresh bottle of Schweppes, which will have been opened and closed rapidly five times to ensure that the tonic is not too fizzy. There will either be four large ice cubes or six medium sized cubes to chill the beverage during its brief life in one of my faux crystal rocks glasses.

I will purr like a kitten as the crack cocaine of the eighteen nineties slides over my tongue, down my throat, and into my gullet and blood stream. The quinine in the tonic will protect me from malaria while the carbonation will speed the delivery of alcohol throughout the system. Once the dastardly blood/brain barrier is breached my neurons will begin overproducing the nerotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA for short) which will inhibit mental activity. I will stop taking you seriously and then you will stop taking me seriously and then all will be right with the world, seriously.

My Cerebellum will begin to feel antebellum and its balancing function in the hind brain will become more like lounging on the back porch anticipating the rebirth of the southern novel. By the second, third or many gins (counting using the Venezuelan Yanomamo Indian numerical system, which has three numbers: one, two and many) I may be listing like the battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein may be on hand to film my reenactment of this cinematic and historical milestone). Have no doubt that the mad Scotsman will be riding me at that point like a Haitian Loa.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I’ve run out of stories. I’ve told them all twice. You will all have to go away now.


I went to Big Shark today to get my bike fixed since I finally have money. A new chain was only nineteen dollars plus five bucks labor to put it on.

Manager: “Can you wait?”
“It’ll just be a little bit”
“Could you true the back tire while you’re at it?”
“Only if you leave it, we’re a little backed up right now.”
“Sure, I can leave it.”
“Sign, here. It’ll be ready on the twelfth of July.”
“We’re short a mechanic.”
“Skip the true. I’ll just take the chain.”

Fifteen minutes later
Mechanic: “Here’s your bike. You know the back tire could use an adjustment and it’s just fifteen dollars labor for me to true it.”

“Do you have time?”

“Sure, it’ll just be a few minutes.”

Manager: “Huh, lucky he could help.”


I wanted to get a ride in tonight, but at seven p.m. it was still ninety eight degrees. Today was the hottest day of the year so far. I spent much of it driving around in a car with no AC. Ah well. At least I am solvent.


Do you remember the Looney Gremlin that plagued WWII Bugs in the flying fortress?
Somehow that Gremlin has gotten into my financial aid process.

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Today only Svetlana could help me and she wasn’t calling me back. Yes, there was yet another – the fifth – hold on my account. When she did finally get back to me she told me that the hold had been taken care of and that my loan would be released in two installments, one today and one tomorrow. At least she hopes it will. She can’t guarantee it.

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She said I had been working with Eric and he had processed some things incorrectly. I’ve never spoken to an Eric. Apparently Eric has been working me. Meet Eric the financial aid gremlin...

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He fall down and go BOOM!


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

OK – I love Power Point

I am a dangerous Muther Fucker with Power Point

My presentation kicked ass.

I’m all keyed up and I’ve got no place to go.

I just told a friend on the phone that I am going to drink a non-alcoholic beer and run in a small circle.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Busy boy bounces through tasks, film at eleven.

I was in The Millennium Center on UMSL’s campus a little bit ago and I was using a public terminal in the main hall. Beetle Bob came up and started using the terminal next to me. Of course I’m not sure if you’ve been reading this blog very long, but if you have you’ll note the odd coincidence that Bob shows up in my life on a regular basis; particularly when things are going well. I left Bob to his concert hunting and went up to financial aid to discover that all my recent problems have vanished. My loans should be in today or tomorrow. The women I spoke to last week didn’t understand that I was taking enough graduate hours this summer to offset concerns about my single undergrad class.

I got my test date for psychology changed from this morning to this evening, after my actual class, and I bought the book – which I now have to read the first six chapters of. I also went and observed an ESL class this morning that Vicki was teaching so I can write an observation paper that’s due at 3:30 today. I opened a new credit card to transfer some high interest balances to, so I am back in the land of plastic and smacked it for the seventy dollar used book. It felt really good to fill my gas tank last night, that hasn’t happened in a while. I’ve been managing little ten dollar grifts here and there to keep me hovering around a quarter of a tank.

Now I need to write a paper, give a short presentation in class, cram for a test, grade the latest round of papers in the class I am teaching, and put together a power point presentation for tomorrow’s class (something I’ve never done so I need to teach myself Power Point tonight). Busy can be fun.


A few days ago a woman my age gave a presentation in my psyche class in which she read three selections from her diary. The class was to deduce what stage of adolescence she was at based on the content of the diary readings. In one passage she referred to Madonna as a woman she admired. In reflecting on my own adolescent relationship with Madonna I recalled the sixth grade. The principle’s son Mat was dating the scientologist’s daughter Shelly and he bought her that Madonna first album for Valentine’s Day. Shelly could often be seen reading Dianetics and trying to decide if she was an alien, when not with Mat of course. Anyway, since my little trip down memory lane I find myself constantly singing Borderline. If it keeps up I feel like I’m going to lose my mind. That presentation keeps on pushing my love over the borderline.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Papa needs a new pair of shoes:

When I was growing up, once a year we would go as a family and buy new shoes. I would get three pair of shoes: dress shoes for church, boots for the snow, and tennis shoes for gym class. My foot would get measured in that metal caliper. Various people would try to press on my big toe through the shoe to make sure that the shoe fit and that it would last the year of growth before the next shoe carnival.

This morning when I woke up I owned one pair of cross training tennis shoes that I bought when the new campus gym opened in Kirksville. When did it open? Suffice it to say that it was more than five years ago. I had a pair of brown deck shoes that my brother Andy gave me as a hand-me-down in 2002 (yes I still get sibling throw offs). I had a pair of Nike golf shoes that are really almost football cleats which I got from Hannah’s ex Dave for five bucks. I had a pair of Timberlands dress blacks that I bought a year and a half ago at Syms. My Teva sandals died last summer and I miss them. I may get another pair soon. Long ago I had some Birkenstocks, but the dog ate those when he was a puppy.

That is my recent shoe history divulged because as I understand it some people are really Carrie-Bradshaw, Imelda-Marcus-shooting-the-shit-on-the-yacht-with-Ronald-Reagan into their shoes. I still have all the shoes I had this morning, but...

I have a friend who I shall keep nameless for this story as it relates to her family. Her dad is in the shoe business. People send him samples. He and I are the same shoe size. I spent an hour this afternoon in his garage trying on various brand name shoes which were mine if I liked them and if they fit. I left with…

Hush Puppies, Dockers, Jeep, Ecco Comfort, Coleman hiking boots, Cole-Haan, Johnston & Murphy, Duffs, Union Bay, Timberland boots, Aerosoles, Marco Vicci, Ragamo, Russell & Bromley, Seboy’s, and Prada.

Twenty five pairs of shoes in all. I will not need to go shoe shopping for some time. I was bitching the other day about living a hand-me-down life. I will now quit bitching. My soul may be troubled, but now I have some sole to fall back on.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Beth has posted a photo album of our wedding trip. In most of the pictures that I am in my facial expression is clearly, "Boy, could I use a drink."


Does my emotional life remind anyone else of the La Brea Tar Pits? I’ll have the Pleistocene Mega Fauna please…..


The last time I went off on a self-pity rant like this I was drinking with Ingrossia and Tyler. Ingrossia pointed out that I don’t live in my parents basement, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

To expand on the job, I walked by a sign yesterday that this place was hiring bartenders. Today the sign was twice as big, so I took the hint.


I’m going to bitch a little bit more, but before I do let me just say that I tend to do a little better when I am just a little bit pissed off. I just went down to the loop and got a three-day a week bartending job. I start Monday. It’s fine if I fail this first psyche test because I can drop my lowest test score and I will ace the remaining three tests because I will have been able to buy the book with my bartending money.

I have been paying on this open casket computer since 2001 and I still owe 125 dollars on it. The computer is on a desk that is actually a hollow core door balanced on two bent cheap cabinets on which the drawers will not open. I did not buy the door. Paul gave it to me when he moved out of our kville pad. There are two dressers in my room. My parents gave me one of them in high school and the other one is my grandmother’s. She gave it to my sister Sandy, but her husband Steve didn’t like it, so now I have it so that the set stays in the family.

There are three bookcases in my room with two layers of books on each. I bought the books but the bookcases were left behind when Paul moved out. I used to sleep on a futon that my high school friend Nate gave me. I bought the mattress in 1991. I gave the bed to my nephew recently as I have been sleeping on a queen bed that Paul left behind when he moved out. I had given the bed to Erica, but she left it behind when she moved out. I slept in it with broken slats for about a year until I finally decided to fix the frame one weekend.

My dad gave me the chair I am sitting in and the other bookcases in the room also came from him. I bought my TV, my stereo, and one of my fish tanks. The other two tanks were gifts. The barstools around the bar, the microwave, the couch, the rug under the dining room table, the washing machine, and the TV stand were all gifts. I bought the dining room table, the oak library table, and I acquired the bar from a condemned building at three in the morning during a heavy rainstorm.

My point is that most of the things that I own are ghetto hand-me-downs left behind by former roommates or the gifts of friends and family. I am a thirty two year old dead beat who has never been able to get it together. At this late date, what are the odds that I ever will?


Blah, welcome to Friday. The heat index for today will be between 105 and 110. This is not good as it is still June. I’m really worried my glacier might melt and it’s clear my friend frosty is doomed. I watered yesterday morning and by this a.m. the soil was dry and cracked.

I hung out with Hannah last night. She and Shelly are now six, with AJ and Shelly’s kids, in that south side place. They have a home loan in process for some expansions. No more bleach in the hair and doing well I’d wager. Shelly and I are in the same boat in two regards, both looking for teaching jobs for the fall and both on TB meds (she’s just finished hers actually). It’s a small world after all.

Oh, thank god for coffee. I am still a little jet lagged from the traveling weekend. We are waiting for Beth to finish at a client’s so she can go into the main office and upload the pictures.

I am feeling really defeated. I am taking an undergrad psyche course that is a prerequisite for the grad course I am in so I have to take it. I have my first exam in the class on Monday which I am a little unprepared for as I can’t afford the textbook. Now the university doesn’t want to pay for my undergrad course with graduate financial aid. They never tell me anything so I have to call them every three days and ask them where my money is. I have signed away years of my life for a ten thousand dollar loan that is destined never to arrive, or to be fully spent at the university by the time it does.

They want to – for the fourth time – change my award status and hold up my loans. I am going to go in Monday to take out another emergency loan for 1,000 dollars so I can pay rent and utilities. During the day the phone rings off the hook with collection calls. I get my first paycheck from my teaching job on Friday, which may be enough to bring my bank account positive (I am currently 300 dollars negative right now).

I am about a hairs breadth from dropping out of school, declaring bankruptcy, giving everything I own away because none of it is worth anything, moving to Mexico and removing barnacles from sailboats for tequila money. I am just about done.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Today I am too sore to be depressed. Ouch. I really worked me over yesterday.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Day Ranger:

So my plan for these little bouts of depression has been exercise. Way back when I crashed my bike I bruised a bone in the palm of my left hand, so I haven’t been able to do push ups, I decided to try finger tip push ups and I was actually able to do twenty of those, so I am in better shape than last time I tried that. I have been doing sit-ups and stretches and the flexibility is coming along.

I took the poor dog for an hour run and sadly he couldn’t keep up with me. It’s too hot out there for dogs. I need to get him on a short walk in the evening plan that he and his double coat can live with. I swept up an extra dog in hair today on the shedding bonanza. He’s sleeping the exercise off now on the cold tile in the downstairs bathroom with a few ice cubes in his water bowl for good measure.

I shouldn’t have gone at noon, but I had to get some movies back to the library. The library has a great selection of DVDs with one-week rentals and they are FREEEEEEE! Schnuck’s two for a dollar has been bested by the low, low price of nothing. In honor of the passing of Ann Bancroft I got 84 Charring Cross Road and in honor of my libido I got Blue Crush (which Erica and I saw in the theater and loved). My sister lived right by where Blue Crush was filmed so I have all these memories of driving up and down the same roads they do.

We, ex-R & I, were going to move there after school in 2001. V made the landing pad offer in her sweet and spacious condo, but R was afraid of water. Ah R. We could have paid Kama’aina prices for our film and lived on cheap sushi. Coulda woulda shoulda. Fuck it. Mahalo sister Christian, I hope the fates will treat you well. I hope you’re moterin
You're motoring
What's your price for flight
In finding mister right
You'll be alright tonight

Babe you know
You're growing up so fast
And mama's worrying
That you won't last
To say let's play
Sister Christian
There's so much in life Don't you give it up
Before your time is due
It's true
It's true yeah


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Yeah. Remember that depression we were looking out for. Yeah. Present and accounted for.


I am just now starting to feel human again. All of that rocketing about on spaceships can make a person feel a bit like driftwood washed up from those Pacific waves. The biggest plane we flew on went the shortest distance, from Chicago to St. Louis, so it’s clear American is economizing. Here I sit back in Missouri, but there is still sand on my Timberland dress shoes from Sunday’s visit to the beach. After all things nuptial had resolved themselves Beth and I decided to take the rental car across from Salem to the coast.

My father had told me that if I ever got the chance I should make it a point to see the rugged beauty of Oregon’s coastline. Beth concurred so we were out the door at eight a.m. to wind our way through the Siuslaw National Forest to highway 101 and then up the coastline to Tilamook, before we headed back inland for our one-fifteen flight back to haunts Midwestern. Siuslaw is very Black Forest and from all the German signage I’d wager there has been much cross settlement.
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We made our sea fall at Neskowin where I got a picture of Beth’s first full encounter with an oceanic wave, until Sunday it had all been bays, gulfs, and inlets for Beth. When she told her father via phone during our Chicago layover that she’s finally tasted sea salt in the flesh, he confessed that he’s still never seen an ocean. We, the river rats of Missouri, content ourselves in knowing that in the Mississippian period we had an oceanic front porch view, so geologically speaking this ocean business is nothing new. We hit Cretaceous crustaceans every time will till a garden.

It’s no secret that I love to drive. Our Grand Prix rental took the curves of hwy six back into Portland at a pleasant seventy mph, but for the minivan in front of us slowing for the doe or possibly it was a young elk cow. I love driving the Blue Ridge, the Nevada side of Tahoe down and that stretch on Oahu from Honolulu over and through the mountains to Kaneohe; Oregon’s hwy six has now made my short list of favorite drives. That Grand Prix is no slouch either. Beth kept looking over at the speedometer to figure out why we were going so slow only to discover that we weren’t.

It was funny driving into Portland with Mt Hood ahead of us, and Mt St. Helens off to our left, to remember being in the third grade and getting little vials of ash from the eruption. You look at this mountain with the top blown off and immediately recognize it and then you look at the guy’s yard you're driving past and wonder how much ash per acre remains in the region’s residences.

It was an odd gesture to calm the kids and give them all some scientific kitsch. Can you imagine if we’d sent toxic little vials of all that left over sand from the flood of 93 out to grade-schoolers across the country. Instead we filled in all our old ICBM silos and underground bases with the stuff and sealed our local bunkers for good, well, most of them anyway. That’s a nice image, as the fires from the cold war dwindle we poured soggy sand into the military fire pits to make sure they were out. Silt in silos hardening to stone as the memory of the machines once housed there slides slowly into myth.

We used to break into them when I was a teenager; up in the woods around Alton, it was part of being a cold war kid. By the late nineties Missouri missiles had the same strategic value of wooden ducks on a pond, nothing but decoys and not even the good plastic kind. I was sad to hear they’d filled them in, but their fate as tombs for natural disaster toxins does seem poetic justice.

Ah well, must sleep.


Where do you file random?

A guy walks up to me in a park in Salem Oregon and he asks, “Are you Mormon?” and I say “No,” so he says, “oh,” and then he walks away.

A woman walks up to me in the Elk’s Club where we had Jason and Tif’s reception, she is not with the wedding party, and she says, “Do you know that Oregon has no sales tax?” So I say, “No, I didn’t know that,” and she says, “Well it doesn’t.” and then she walked away.

Last Thursday I walked into the men’s room on the lower level of the library and there were a pair of tan pants hung over the side of the bathroom stall. I thought, “Huh, pants.” Yesterday I entered the same bathroom and discovered that someone had rolled up the pants and placed them on the trash can edge. I made an executive decision and moved the mystery pants into the trash proper. I thought, “Huh, the pants are still here, maybe it’s time for them to go.”


Vaguely Pissed Off Rant:

My nephew Trevor was in a motorcycle accident this past weekend. He’s fine. He laid the bike down on the highway on his first long trip taken with a friend and his friend’s father. He did everything right. He stayed with the bike. He was wearing good leathers. He doesn’t have a scratch on him. His gas tank and handle bars are messed up, but both he and the bike will also live. About a year ago a friend of his was killed on his bike when he tried to pass someone and got into a head on collision, so I was surprised that he wanted a bike and more surprised that he got one.

My sister’s advice after the accident was that he get right back on the bike. Some mothers would want the thing melted down ASAP, but we are not that sort of family or those sorts of people. Trev was prepared. He had taken the right classes and when the trial by fire came, he did everything right. I told this story in my class last night because there had been a number of presentations on protecting kids that went along the lines of “how do we prevent them from…” and I said I am more worried about creating a culture of fear than I am worried about the possibility of any of these cultural boogie men that the media throws up to frighten parents.

We had just tried to discuss an article that suggested that 80 % of teens do not have a rough time, get along with their parents, and transition easily to adulthood. A large segment of the class didn’t want to believe this. My assertion that you raise good people and get the hell out of the way was an unpopular position and I got cold shouldered at break time by the radical interventionists.

This weekend Jason’s friend Chris asked me why in the world I would want to teach high school. As I smoked my cigar and got ready to tee off on the fourth hole I said, “The lousy pay and the discipline problems first drew me to the field.” I was kidding of course, but the high school environment I am being shown in this class is a gloom and doom version of legalese and liability. I am not sure that quality education is possible in that context. I am beginning to think that high school may not be right for me. I’m glad that I am in these classes and I do think that this program was the right move, but teaching might not be the end result.

What does this mean in pragmatic terms for my life? I love St. Louis, but if I want to teach anything other than high school I will have to leave St. Louis, both to get a job and a Ph.D. I may need to leave because neither of those opportunities are here.

Part of what happens on some blogs (this blog) is that people bitch about things. My gas tank, my cupboard, and my bank account are all empty (negative actually) and I am getting really sick of it. I had to walk to school today because I need to save my gas for emergencies. I am also getting fairly sick of the reactionary fear based cultural shift that America has taken. I really do think that most manifestations of the conservative movement are not just wrong thinking, but are actually evil. It is evil to deny gay couples equal treatment under the law. It is evil that lower classes don’t have equal access to health care and prescription drugs. The invasion of Iraq and the ongoing death parade is an evil akin to many of the atrocities of history. In a more enlightened future Bush will be acknowledged as one of the worst presidents in our history who did more to blight the planet in the repeal of environmental legislation and regressive social policy than any ten previous big business administrative lackeys. I am worn out and a large part of me wants out.

If I am thinking about leaving America for some as yet unspecified liberal Eden where long hairs like myself have a shot at both happiness and solvency, where should I go? Where is the liberal Eden? Is it Sweden? Would things go more my way in Norway? Today I feel like America is too far gone, the pendulum has swung more than I can tolerate.


In other news we have begun lining up the summer concert series. On July 12th I will be attending They Might Be Giants at the Pageant, August is James Taylor and September is Coldplay (both at UMB bank pavilion).


Ouch. The travel and sleepless nights (I averaged four hours a night Thursday through Sunday) caught up with me yesterday. I had a rare migraine come on during my second psyche class. I made it home by eight fifteen and I was asleep by eight thirty. Eight to eight is nearly twelve hours sleep, so maybe my batteries are recharged now. I have mammoth amounts of work to get done and I’ve just lost part of my weekends. My class schedule makes it such that my office hours for the class I am teaching need to be Friday night. I might change them later in the summer, but for now I surrender my Fridays.

Blah, off to breakfast and work, hope you all are ahead of your game.


Monday, June 20, 2005

My To Do list is quite long, but not unmanageable. It will take some recovery time before I will be able to tell stories of the weekend. I’ll probably wait until Beth gets her pictures posted to construct some sort of narrative. Suffice it to say that I had a great time and love the Pacific Northwest. Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens were often visible as sentinels on the horizon. They both reminded me of being in the shadow of Mt Fuji.

I did risk a sip of Jason’s signature cocktail (essentially a purple hooter with a float of Champaign), but other than that lip moistener I remain dry as ever – nineteen days and counting. Without liquid courage it took a few extra songs and the coaxing of a few beautiful wedding guests to get me up on the dance floor, but I am learning to walk (and dance) without my usual crutches. I wish I had time to write more, but if I have mental energy I need to direct it toward more consequential and immediate aims so I am off to the old Thomas Jefferson Memorial Library to steep in adolescent psychology. I am in class until after ten so for today, ciao baby.


Sunday, June 19, 2005

After nearly fourteen plus hours of travel today I am home and must sleep now.


Friday, June 17, 2005

This is what addiction looks like. We are in the Denver Airport getting four minutes of web time for A dollar. So sad.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Brad suggested that Beth and I go to this place called Syms that does discounts on brand name designer clothing. I have been shopping there for a few years for shoes and shirts, but I’ve never gotten a suit there. Rock star service. The tailor (that’s right – haberdasher and all) took one look at me and took me straight to the suit that I would eventually buy. We walked right to it among racks of hundreds. He knew my exact shoulder size and waist at a glance. We didn’t get the tape out till we were shirt shopping. I now want to spend all future earnings on clothing with him as my guide – fabulous dresser.

Beth said, “I wish women’s clothing was sold more like this.”

We got there around seven thirty, I picked a suit by eight, he had it marked for alterations and sent into a back seamstress room and I had a tailored suit by 8:30 (our plane leaves at 8:30 tomorrow a.m.) – that is service. My jacket is slightly long in the sleeve and he made me promise to come back in after the wedding to have it properly fitted, as there wasn’t time tonight. It feels good to have a nice suit. It almost makes me want to get a haircut. The shrub on the back of my head might need to get cut back to paige boy.

Post shoeshine I’ve been up half the night grading papers. I’m going to have quite a bit of work waiting for me on Monday, but as of now I am clocked out.


This was the week that my life was really going to speed up, and it has. I’ve done a lot more today in terms of task completion then I am used to doing in a week. You won’t have pictures for a bit because I had to return the digital camera and they are out of stock on that particular brand. They gave me a gift card for the value of the camera which I am sorry to say that I had to use for food (Target isn’t known for their fresh food). Once again I am that tight. I am going out of town on twenty bucks and should have 5,000 in the bank by the time I get home. Always a day late and a dollar short.

I am still jumping through hoops with financial aid. There was a delay in my award letter coming out (they didn’t print one and send it until I asked them why it was two weeks late). My appeal, which I won, caused a glitch in the system so my first award letter was cancelled and my second one wasn’t printed. It wasn’t until I got a bill for the university that I realized that once again there was something wrong. I have been living on a 1,000 dollar university loan that I took out against my eventual government loan. That is now vapor.

So I got the award letter today and finally filled out the promissory note with entrance counseling. The twenty-five minute counseling computer program crashed on my last answer and I had to repeat the process.

I got my Father’s Day card off. I talked to them last night and dad said he is worried that my description of the front end problem I am having with the car could clear 1,000 dollars in repair costs – this is the car that I still owe my brother for since I lost my job the month after I got it. I just can’t seem to get ahead. It will all work out, it’s just endlessly frustrating.

I mailed my nephew a late grad card with a small gift and got my dry cleaning together for the trip. Here’s a good one: I leave tomorrow for this wedding in Oregon which I have just found out that I am standing up in. I also wrote the wedding. Perhaps I’ll post the ceremony before we go if you’re curious. So now I need a black suit. I have a blue suit. I need a black suit. So Beth and I are going shopping after my class gets out at 7pm to buy me a suit which I can’t afford, which BJ is paying Beth for and then I am paying BJ back when my loan comes in. Beth already bought my plane ticket. It is your friends that get you through.

I wish I could show you the Canna. More than that, the first bloom on the Mr. Lincoln roses that I planted bloomed this morning. My first bloom on my own personal rose bush. That’s something, isn’t it? After all, it's Bloomsday.


From The Writer's Almanac:

"Today is Bloomsday, the day on which the action in James Joyce's novel Ulysses takes place in 1904. Leopold Bloom, the main character of Ulysses, does not have much work to do, so he spends most of his day wandering around Dublin doing some errands. He leaves his house on Eccles Street, walks south across the River Liffey, picks up a letter, buys a bar of soap, and goes to the funeral of a man he didn't know very well. In the afternoon, he has a cheese sandwich, he feeds the gulls in the river, helps a blind man cross the street, and visits a couple of pubs. He thinks about his job, his wife, his daughter, his stillborn son. He muses about life and death and reincarnation. He knows that his wife is going to cheat on him that afternoon at his house. In the evening, he wanders around the red light district of Dublin and meets up with a young writer named Stephen Dedalus, who is drunk. Leopold Bloom takes him home with him and offers to let him spend the night. And they stand outside, looking at the stars for a while. And then Bloom goes inside and climbs into bed with his wife."

So..... Last year

Bloomsday reading planned for June 16

The International Writers Center in Arts and Sciences, along with Left Bank Books and The New Theatre, will present the fourth annual 24-hour reading of James Joyce's "Ulysses," beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday, June 16, at Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

Joyce devotees, writers and others each will read a 30-minute segment from the 1986 Random House edition of "Ulysses." A midnight performance of the play "Ulysses in Nighttown" will be presented by members of The New Theatre.

The novel follows Leopold Bloom through the course of one day -- June 16, 1904 -- in Dublin, Ireland. Taking its name from the novel's protagonist, the Bloomsday reading has become an annual tradition in Dublin since shortly after the novel first was published in 1922. Now, readings are held June 16 worldwide.

Two Central West End eateries -- Dressel's Pub and Duff's Restaurant -- will prepare special menus inspired by Joyce and his native Ireland.

"Ulysses" is recognized as the epitome of modernism and is lauded as one of the most significant 20th-century novels written in English. The work first was published in a limited edition in Paris. Five hundred of these copies were shipped to New York but were detained there by postal authorities on the grounds of obscenity. The novel was banned in the United States until 1933, when a U.S. District Court judge ruled the novel was not obscene. This decision allowed Random House to publish "Ulysses" in 1934.

The novel has been maligned by an illustrious group of writers and critics, noted William H. Gass, Ph.D., the David May Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities in Arts and Sciences and director of the International Writers Center, who will be a featured reader in the event.

Gass pointed out that "history is full of lessons of this sort. T.S. Eliot believed that 'Ulysses' had killed the 19th century. Yet here we are nearly at the end of the 20th, and the 19th, like an operatic heroine, has refused to die.

"Any public reading of 'Ulysses' is an exorcism, a purgation of the past, a laugh at so much bad judgment," Gass continued. "But it is a celebration as well -- of daring, originality, courage, perception, sensuality, the renewable promise of great art, and that attitude which says to snobbery and bland bourgeois pap, 'Oh, go to hell!'"

But those days are over. Kalier anyone?


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The secret place that I do secret stuff for isn’t going to have me online until the end of the week. How am I supposed to blank when the blank-ity blanks can’t get their blank together? Then I am out of town for the weekend so there is no way to get caught up on the blanking. I thought for sure I could blank all day today. Blankers.


Interactive Statcounter Conundrums:

Who do I know in Maryland at The Department of Housing and Urban Development?

I know several Minnesotans, but I wasn’t aware that any of them worked for Land O’ Lakes.

Hello you two.


I love being back in school. I also think that these four-week classes are the only way to fly. It can be very educationally effective to focus on one subject intensely. Some colleges are structured to work this way year round – you could do sixteen hours in a term. I had two new classes start Monday and my educational psychology class is fabulous, the other one is self-study.

In psychology there are thirty-seven of us in a smallish room such that there are only three open chairs. It’s been like going to a very productive, if slightly claustrophobic, group therapy (3:30-7p.m.). Three quarters of us carried over from the last session so we already know each other and are comfortable jumping in to difficult issues, speaking in front of one another and arguing respectfully. And just like last session in the Philosophies of Education class, the level of discussion is high. It’s so much fun to be around that many smart people, most of whom are at the top of their game in a wide variety of disciplines. Only eight of us are English types and I am the single Philosophy and Religion guy.

Brad, take a class. I think I’m going to be perpetually enrolled. Not that this is a bad thing, but I believe I am institutionalized to function better when I have a class to think about.

On an unrelated note I’ve been thinking about my age of late. Having just turned thirty two I am feeling for the first time the proximity of what I take to be my next major milestone: forty. Eight years passes quickly. I seem to have left the last three in my other pair of jeans.

I don’t really feel my age the way some of my peers do. I have a buddy Mat who was in the Peace Core in Africa for a number of years and I think the privations of that work make him look a good fifteen years older than me.

For my part, I have randomly done some form of yoga off and on most of my life and as a consequence I am still physically quite flexible. My hair, though not the bright red it once was, is still thick and shows no sign of recession with not a single gray hair to concern me. My eyesight does not yet require augmentation in any form.

I know I have good genes. My parents are both in their early seventies and neither one look or act a day over sixty. My grandparents on both sides were active in sports (my great uncle George was a downhill skier until he broke a leg at 84), work, etc. into their early eighties and they all lived into their late nineties after smoking and drinking in relative moderation nearly all of their nearly hundred years of life. I shouldn’t bank recklessly on the so-called Methuselah gene, but the force does seem to run strong in our family. Still, thirty-two does seem to be a good age to get on with things. Maybe I want a family after all. Maybe, and I’m taking baby steps here, the Peter Pan that I am can grow up just a little bit.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

So I was rereading my own blog to try and remember what the heck I was talking about of late and I got to that bit about Chris as THE KRAKEN – you know, Poseidon’s water critter that he sends after Andromeda in Clash of the Titans:

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I even had the play set:

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When I was browsing funny Kraken pictures to tease Chris with I found a great image.

You may not remember this, but in Greek mythology Harry Hamlin defeats The Kraken with the severed head of the medusa. I offer you a compelling reenactment of that triumphant moment:

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All during the first week of my abstention from distillates I had a mild craving for beer. This is odd for several reasons, the primary of which would be that I don’t really drink beer very much. I like beer well enough and Guinness very much, but I am more of a spirits man. I was working outside a great deal last week and I suppose nothing caps off yard work like a cold beer. I thought I was out of luck. So here I was down at the lake this weekend and what should Eric, a fellow non-drinker, have in his hand but O’Doul’s Amber. I had totally forgotten about non-alcoholic beer. It’s like a condom for my liver!

So I was on the Guinness web page trying to find out about their NA beer Kaliber Ale (Eric had said this was his favorite of all the NA beers) and I started to read the reviews. The review page read like a who’s who list of bizarre diseases.

I should go run their ad campaign based on that rouge’s gallery.

“Now that I have a rare form of Pancreatitis I’m a Kaliber man, it’s a fine beer when your major organs fail you!”

“When I came down with tuberculosis and went on medication that could compromise my liver I thought my only future was as a sober Russian prison guard, now that I’ve found my Kaliber I can still get loaded; with premium flavor I mean.”

“Nine out of ten physician’s who diagnose organ failure risk as a result of alcohol exposures ask their patients, ‘What’s your Kalibur?’ With this fine malted beverage you can go ahead and shoot!”


Crazy Canna count: 68 individual sprouts – 59 in the main bed and 9 on the side of the garage.

Steve’s back. Steve is the rabbit who spent most of last summer in our front yard eating clover. When I pull into the driveway he’ll hang out for a bit until I walk up to our door, then he usually dashes around the house to the right. I saw him yesterday, but I wasn’t sure it was really Steve until today. I guess the clover is just now coming back in. I had guessed that it was Steve who was munching on the Canna in the backyard. When the shoots were really small some critter kept biting them off at the ground. I must admit I was upset with him then, but now I think his trimming fostered new plants and the current extravaganza may be in part the result. So well done Steve and welcome back.

I’m already getting ready to travel again. I took the dry cleaning in and have started to pack for Friday’s trip to Oregon. I’ve never been to this part of the country so I am a little excited. I need to go exchange my camera this afternoon to make sure I can get a few pictures to post.

I am tired and having issues with someone somewhere that I might work for. The nature of the problem shall not be discussed for the usual reasons. Let us say that their excrement is not all in one place and I have yet to begin doing something that I was supposed to start on Monday. The head office blames the local office but promises I’ll be off and running by tomorrow. I will not have the weekend to catch up, so I am a little concerned, but I don’t have class tomorrow.

I am taking my medicine before I go to bed to reduce symptoms and I am sleeping like the dead. I wake feeling like my cradle fell out of the stupid tree and I hit every branch on the way down, only to arise amid the clutter of broken boughs unsure of whom, where, and when I am. Two nights ago I dreamt I was a dragon running in circles and last night I dreamt my doctor told me that she couldn’t save me. I am thick with dream dew, how about you?


Sunday, June 12, 2005

From Saturday May 28th
The Writer's Almanac:

"It's the birthday of the novelist Walker Percy, (books by this author) born in Birmingham (1916). Walker Percy studied chemistry in college, became a doctor, and practiced at Belleview Hospital in New York. He had to quit when he caught tuberculosis while he was performing autopsies on derelicts. He spent two years at a sanitarium in the Adirondacks, reading Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Camus. When he got out, he converted to Catholicism and decided to become a writer. He said, "[Tuberculosis was] the best disease I ever had."

Walker Percy wrote his masterpiece The Moviegoer about a man who feels joy only while watching the movies. It came out in 1961."


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"We were reminded of you this weekend at the Sedwick County Zoo!" Vanessa & Chris


Yeah, yeah. Here I am home again with a pot of coffee on (Don’t drink that! But I have to!). The internet connection at the lake was too slow to take an online prep course that I need to take before tomorrow, so I have a long night ahead of me. I am procrastinating by writing this.

The Canna went crazy while I was away. I have two beds planted and one of them has forty-five shoots coming up. I’d show you a picture, but the digital camera that J & D bought me has fried itself somehow so tomorrow I will make with the exchange (this happened before the vacation so don’t go thinking that I dropped it in the lake or anything). As a result, there are no pictures from the weekend, which is probably for the best.

We did a little boating, fishing, and played eighteen holes of golf over two days. We got rained on quite a bit, ate brats and steaks, played lots of cards (poker, hearts and spades). I tried not to be too much of a wallflower, but I am at times naturally aloof and pensive so the expected “crazy Karl” was not in attendance for any of the festivities; remove the social lubricant and the gears wind down.

Ten days in - I am discovering that it is not very hard not to drink. What can be hard is spending time with people who are used to you as a drinker. I like gregarious me too, but I wouldn’t expect it from me anymore. Not for nine months at least, and perhaps much longer. The breaker has been flipped and the ballpark is closed for the season. Anyway, I hope you all will cut me some slack in this regard and not take it too personally if I am unable to meet your expectations for funster antics.

My ex Stephanie S. had to cope with a liver problem a few years back and she couldn’t drink for a year and a half. She called me the other night and was commiserating with me about how it can be when you’re at a bar with friends. She said she went through a pretty bad depression over that and I should call her when it hits. I am not really depressed as of now, but the watchtower tells me that we have spotted icebergs. The engineers claim my ship is unsinkable, but I am always wary of hubris.

On the upside of things my appeal for an increase in summer aid was approved so I am borrowing to the hilt and should have all my financial needs met for some time even though I will be repaying loans well into retirement. It’s exciting to know that I will never have any money and will live pitifully from check to check until they day that I die in some Tolstoy prophesied Ivan Illich haze bemoaning the mediocrity of my wallpaper.

Captain. We do seem to be approaching a flow. Send the ice cutters aft and prepare for rough seas.


Friday, June 10, 2005

I'm at the Lake of The Ozarks. This picture is from last year, but you get the idea. To post anything from here on dial up would take forever so you'll have to wait on pictures from the weekend, if I post any. This may turn into one of those weekends that are left in Vegas. My beverage of choice for this den of iniquity is Peach Snapple. I'm a wild one. Brad's mom is a Snapple addict.

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Last night was poker of course and today Brad and I have a 10:10 tee time. I guess St. Louis got hit with huge storms yesterday. Eric called home to discover he has a tree down and Tyler's property had a small flood. I hope everything is ok for you all up there. We made it out of town before the storm hit and, but for a brief deluge, it missed us on the highway.

If you know this part of the country or care to stalk us on a map we are around mile marker 21. The lawyers had a tee time of seven a.m., so we were all up early. This weekend was originally structured a continuing education conference for their yearly requirements and then quite recently we grafted Jason's Bachelor Party onto it.

Sophomoric Film Quote:

"Just where do you gentleman think you are?"

"The Library of Congress?"
"Beyond the sun?"

My vacation read is Infinite Jest. So far my movie pitch would be Fitzgerald writes A confederacy of Dunces, but lifts the central character from Catcher in the Rye.

I had an actual story that I wanted to tell, but it took so long to get this thing up and running that i have forgotten what it was. Shame, I feel like I haven't told a story in a while.

Yesterday was busy with getting everything set to leave town. I had to do a little shopping and then I wrote a twelve page paper from ten a.m. to 1:30 followed by helping Mary out by replacing a dead car battery. Then I had to get the paper in to the instructor and run an errand for my new job, so before we left town I had already logged a few hours in my car. I now have one class complete for the summer and two new ones that start Monday. I am taking psyche 101 at the same time that I take educational psychology. It'll be interesting to be outside my primary disciplines.

My brother Phil, the physicist from that I.M. post, used to keep a diary when he was seventeen. I found it when I was in my teens and there was essentially a page for everyday with lists rather than observations. The linking element, as in Bridget Jone's weight or cigarette score, was his ping pong matches with my father. I beat Dad. Dad beat me.

I feel like as a diarist that's the sort of thing I've been publishing here for a while now, just a list of my day-to-day scores. I guess Summer is a time for tennis, table or otherwise. Nets, loves, and matches tick off as the partners endlessly switch sides.

Sad observation: I had an ex I lived with once ask me if i had been reading her diary. I balked, "No, of course not." Then I thought immediatly to myself "I can't imagine anything that I would be less interested in reading" and then I knew that it was over and I was sad.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Keri, I can't believe you beat me to an angry alien post. I'm on their email list and everything. Anyway, for the rest of you.

Angry Alien Strikes again!!!!!!

Pulp Fiction


Blah, I am spacey. Mary had a student on the same meds as me drop out of school because they made her weird. I am not there yet, but it is on my map. I think caffeine is key to the weird-s, so I will have to cut that out.

I wrote two of the three papers I needed to get done today and will write the third tomorrow. It’s not due till Friday morning, but I need to get out of town. The third paper is essentially a revision of my teaching philosophy which I’ve had written forever. I just need to work some of the current course themes into it. Since I haven’t made my old hard drive into a readable drive yet I will have to retype the whole thing from hard copy, which means finding it, but I think I know where it is. My presentation tonight is going to kick ass. The questions is can I get two handouts and two short videos into five minutes? Well, I sure can talk fast, so we’ll see. This feels a little like a speedball. What’s that Karl? Forget it.

I am leaving St. Louis tomorrow at four for a weekend in the Ozarks with the lawyer boys and Jason’s bachelor party. People keep saying to me, “You’re going to a bachelor party and you can’t drink?” So, maybe as sober boy I will take much money in poker. A boy can dream. There is still boating, wave runners, fishing and golf to keep me occupied. Our first of several tee times is Friday morning.

I have a ton of work to do for my new job and I have no idea when I’ll be getting that done. Late Sunday night it looks like. I also start two new classes Monday and I don’t even know where and when they meet yet. Anyway, it’s off to class. C U.


I’ve done more research on the drug I am taking and several sources advise me to go on what Angela calls “the headache diet.” Most of the foods that I can’t eat are no problem, I couldn’t tell you the last time I ate a banana, but there is one big one: coffee. I had a strong cup of coffee this morning to get into my paper writing (and to test the interaction) and I am now the king of the shakes. Goodbye coffee. I’ve loved you well. Write to me will you?


Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Since I’ve gotten a job, gotten back in school, begun treatment for tuberculosis exposure and quit drinking my readership has really fallen off. You would think these plot developments would keep a brother interested. Nope. They are dull developments that repulse many readers who were waiting with baited breath for car repossession or some other high drama.

Perhaps Mary’s longtime prediction has come to pass: the fundamental narcissism of blogs ultimately renders them bland fair for the general public and of only mild interest to close friends and relatives.

Maybe I am posting too many pictures and people with dial up just can’t hang around long enough for my page to load. Fulcrum Monkey: too much load for the average Joe. All double-entendres are intentional here at Fulcrum Monkey.

I am headed into day seven on the meds and am experiencing some low-grade nausea. My blood test showed a healthy liver (screw you for thinking it wouldn’t be), so lets hope I can keep my stomach working as well. This is an expected side affect.

I bought Grape-nuts cereal. I haven’t eaten cereal since high school. Grape-nuts makes some silly claim on their box that I will lose ten pounds if I eat this stuff. Special K was only offering me six pounds so I went with the higher bidder for the lower cost.

I had an intricate dream last night about long gone ex Melinda and a party in the ville. I muse about amused muses. Orpheus turns to look and she fades back into hell. Seek me not again Orpheus, it’s a long walk home and you’re an asp’s ass for haranguing Hades anyway. I need a new mythological orientation. Would mercurial motion make me murky? Perhaps the Kraken will show up at the Ozarks or Oregon’s windswept shore and point out some amorous Andromeda.

Have mythically minded meanies ever called Chris “The Kraken”? Whenever Poseidon was feeling adventurous he could unleash you on an unsuspecting populace.

I started a new job tonight and signed a nondisclosure agreement. Can I disclose the signing of a nondisclosure agreement?

I work with someone I went to Truman with. Imagine that, running into someone I know in St. Louis. Amanda, that’s her name, now joins a long list of people suggesting that I think about buying a house in south St. Louis. We have lots of people in common, but don’t know each other all that well. She’s newly married, has a cute kid, I think we shall be friends.

I saw the season five premiere of Six Feet Under last night. J & D – your salon article steered you wrong – that was some kick ass TV. Six Feet Under remains the best show on television.

I have three papers to write tomorrow and a presentation to give. I feel too ill to write them tonight so I shall slumber.

In good existential fashion I shall recall the words of Jean Paul Sartre who said, “Hell is other people”.


My brother the physicist:

Phil says:
Morning young paduan learner
Karl says:
Karl says:
what's up?
Phil says:
Meeting in 10
Karl says:
I liked much of the recent Star Wars, but the writing was horrendous
Phil says:
No, 9 minutes
Phil says:
Wonder who will make the next 3!
Karl says:
I saw no evidence that Tom Stoppard punched up the dialogue
Karl says:
I hear that they are going to do a TV series
Karl says:
live action
Phil says:
I should read the books to see what happens - guess the emperor survives the fall
Karl says:
Luke goes over to the dark side
Karl says:
and becomes the new emperor
Phil says:
Karl says:
hunting children of his own
Phil says:
turtles all the way down
Phil says:
very obscure reference to an infinite recursive loop
Phil says:
Atlas holds up the world and stands on the back of a turtle, which must in turn stand on another turtle --- all the way down
Karl says:
Karl says:
I forget about the turtle
Karl says:
Several Native American tribes called America Turtle Island
Karl says:
I wonder what that's about
Phil says:
Ultimate semantic puzzle - what is the last turtle standing on - the ground of existence - that existence must exist because it can't not exist!
Karl says:
what the real source of that archetype is
Karl says:
Xeno's paradox with turtles
Phil says:
Can a universe or multiverse ever really be infinite in extent without also being infinite in time - if time is in fact a space-time dimension?
Phil says:
Time is said by theoretical physicists to be that space-time dimension that is perpendicular to the expanding surface of the n-dimensional space-time bubble in which we exist
Phil says:
GOD I love learning - and knowing - and puzzling over things - must dash though
Karl says:
ok cu
Phil says:
u i wuill c


It's the birthday of one on my favorite writers.

From The Writer's Almanac
Literary and Historical Notes:

It's the birthday of the poet and novelist Louise Erdrich, (books by this author) born in Little Falls, Minnesota (1954). Her father was of German descent, her mother a Chippewa Indian. She grew up in North Dakota, where her parents were both teachers at a Bureau of Indian Affairs school.

She studied creative writing at Dartmouth. After college, she decided not to go into teaching as she had planned. Instead, she wrote poetry, and supported herself hoeing sugar beets, picking cucumbers, babysitting, life guarding, selling fried chicken, waitressing and short order cooking. She was even once a girl with a flag at a construction site on the highway.

She switched from poetry to fiction. One of her first short stories began to grow in her mind and became her first novel Love Medicine, about two Indian families, the Kashpaws and the Lamartines. She created those two families and then went on to write several more novels about them and their imaginary reservation in North Dakota, including The Beet Queen, The Bingo Palace, Tracks, and others.

Louise Erdrich said, "Writing became a way for me to talk about myself—or a character—in a really personal, surprising manner without any embarrassment. I was brought up to be an incredibly nice person, but not everything I wanted to say was nice."

For polite conversations sake they are leaving out the suicide of her husband Michael Dorris in 1997. Michael created the first Native American Studies program ar Dartmouth, was one of the first single fathers to adopt, and put fetal alcohol syndrome on the national map (as his three adopted children had it). Charges were brought against him in 97 for child abuse, but his suicide halted that process. Many see his suicide as a confession, but his close friends deny the possibility.


Sunday, June 05, 2005


I’ve been doing some research on how non-drinkers function, since I am joining the tribe for the next few months. Apparently many employ weekend and evening projects to give them a sense of accomplishment and to tire themselves out so they can get to sleep. So on Saturday I went junking with Mary, but we had a purpose. Mary’s door to her garage had rotted out and we needed to find a new one.

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She’d been to Home Depot and priced the eighty to a hundred and fifty dollar doors, the salesman there told her about a salvage business on Forest Park Parkway run by Habitat for Humanity. We found the perfect door there for twenty bucks and transported it in the usual fasion.

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Mary had told me the measurements so I had begun foraging through multiple bins of old doors and I found an old redwood door with a private sign painted on it.

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The perfect item to ensure modesty in the garage with the Jesus and Mary statues so proximate:

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After a run home for my power tools and a chisel, to set the locking mechanism and door handle at the appropriate height for the existing framework we had a new garage door. In route to my homestead we picked up a ten-gallon Mr. Lincoln hybrid as I am learning to garden this summer.

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I already have more than twenty Canna shoots coming up, so we are going to have a nice wall of tropical looking lilies between our yard and the western neighbor.

Post showers, V and Erica showed up to join us for Shakespeare in the park.

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St. Louis is really great about free summer entertainment.

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Viva St. Louis

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Can you believe I can walk to this free museum whenever I want? It’s a good life Charles Brown.

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Today I mostly lounged and cleaned a little. I met Brad and Bill up at the Taste of Clayton food festival, but I am feeling a little misanthropic so didn’t stay long. I had chicken satay from a Thai place that was good, if overpriced. I suppose summer fest style activities are not the proper province of the abstinent. Anyway, now I get to clean my room and do my homework like a good little boy and so this nine month adventure proceeds apace with boredom for spice and productivity for the sauce.


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Vanessa has a new public intellectual in her backyard.

Meet Gnome Chomsky:

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Yes Jen, This three-year-old French bulldog (a Fenchie for short) named Tootsie can be Mary's if she can convince the woman from the Arkansas Kennel Club that her home is a worthy vessel.

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What brave new post is this, that has such observations in it?

I went and saw the free production of The Tempest last night in Forest Park. I had planned on going tonight, but the threat of rain for today convinced Angela and I to try it at the last minute. The weather was perfect and despite the introduction of a few Broadway inspired musical numbers and the faint drumbeat from nearby concerts, I thought it was a very good production.

It’s a notoriously difficult play to stage and they used the small valley well, with fights and chases running through the isles and lost characters roaming the hills behind the stage. I’ll happily go again should anyone else want to see it.

It had never occurred to me before that Edmond Rostand probably lifted his “man from the moon” scene in Cyrano from Stephano and Trinculo’s first encounter with Caliban. Steve Martin adapted the scene for Roxanne into a tale of alien abduction. It’s sort of fun to watch this comedic meme travel the centuries. How now, moon cow?

Angela made the postmodern critique that their characterization of Caliban was drawn in part from the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz. That’s the cultural Cuisinart of theater in action.

Speaking of memes, why is everyone saying “at the end of the day” all of the sudden. It seems like I hear somebody punctuate their argument with that little verbal hiccup almost everyday. It’s rampant on NPR and even in my classroom instruction. It is spreading through the general populace such that at the end of the day we’ll all be saying it. Fuck. See what I mean. There’s also an implicit metaphysical problem with this meme akin to Xeno’s paradox: when exactly does a day end?

As a first symptom of this medication, I’ve noticed an increase in my bad jokes that center on puns and word play. If my liver does fail as a result of this prescribed paint thinner apparently psychosis and hallucinations are an early warning. So if I seem at any point more psychotic than usual, please let me know so I can have my dosage adjusted. Also keep an eye out for a yellowing of my pate (Elizabethan term for my face).

One potential side effect is hypotension, which could work in my favor as I have been running to hyper on the tensive scale. The literature has seven deaths per thousand from this stuff in my age group, so I will be closely monitoring the symptoms check list.

“Speaking of” is a terrible transition, isn’t it? Speaking of death and TB apparently my grandfather on my father’s side had a collapsed lung from TB so that when he got pneumonia and his remaining lung filled with fluid, he passed away. TB was not the direct cause, but it was a contributing factor in his death. Also, my father always tests positive for exposure and has been getting yearly x-rays since New Guinea. My exposure to this disease is a family tradition. Also one third of the total world population has been exposed, so we have a lot of company.


Friday, June 03, 2005

Neighbor’s Magnolia tree

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Tree sex – magnolia with bee

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Mary’s potential lap dog

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The adoption agency is sending someone to inspect her home on Sunday to see if she is worthy.

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Picture Pages, Picture Pages, Time to get your Picture Pages

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Ah Mortimer Icabod Marker, where are you now?


Is anyone up for The Tempest on Saturday?

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Jen wrote: “And I am sorry, Mr. Incredible Hulk, about the results of your visit today...” which resulted in phone calls from a few concerned citizens. I am fine. They x-rayed my chest am I am not infected or contagious. I have, however, been exposed to the disease. My immune system is healthy and has smashed it, but it’s still in there in a latent form. Since it’s airborne, I will never know how I got it or when. If you’ve been around the same people and places as me you might want to get tested. You didn’t get it from me, but we both might have gotten it simultaneously from some infected person.

So, starting today or tomorrow I will begin a course of antibiotics that will clean my system out so that my “sleeping” exposure never develops into the active form of TB. This will mean a major lifestyle change for me, as I cannot drink any alcohol while on this medication. I need to be on the meds for nine months. My next gin and tonic will be consumed in March of 2006. Erica and I had a goodbye party last night for all the distillates I’ve loved before, who’ve traveled in and out my door. I’m glad they came along. I dedicated a song to all the distillates I’ve loved.

If you’re wondering what I am having for lunch, I was thinking some kind of cold turkey.


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Confessions of a heavy breather:

I’m up early and I was out late. I haven’t really been doing the going out thing much at all, but last night I got in the mood to see the world a bit. I drove over to Mary’s and watched the end of Bullet followed by a Steve McQueen documentary. I didn’t know he died of lung cancer possibly caused by exposure to asbestos in the Marine Corps.

After the documentary we went up to Uncle Bill’s for a late night snack with a short detour to Fredrick’s Music Lounge so I could introduce Mary to one of her neighborhood groover pits. The twenty somethings were in fine form sporting the Sally [salvation army] fashion. One young lad had even jelled himself a blonde little Mohawk. It was after two when I got home and five hours later I am awake and doing homework.

Steve’s lung cancer…it’s all about the lungs. My lungs are like an unopened box of health crackerjacks and today at 2pm we get to find out what my prize is.

Obscure joke: to paraphrase Conrad’s description of the narrator of Heart of Darkness as the Buddha without his lotus blossom, I feel like Keats without his Fanny. That works on a lot of levels. Keats died of TB. He wrote love poems to Fanny. I am not in the habit of writing love poems to anyone, but I do feel like I could lose my ass.

I was a pretty sickly kid and it was often about my lungs. I have shitty lungs. I can’t run a mile because of them. During those grade school fitness tests I would sometimes cough blood. I have several memories of early morning trips to the hospital, booster shots, catching up after weeks out of school. I was the poster child for bronchitis complicated by asthma until they finally took my tonsils out. Even after that I usually got at least one good case of bronchitis per year until my mid twenties.

I became a reader in part because books would distract me from the constant coughing. If I could keep my focus I could control the fit. Also, for the couch-bound kid daytime TV in a no cable town sucked hind titty. It is not an exaggeration to say that I missed months of school over my health, but I was a college age reader by the fourth grade. (It's interesting to speculate on patterns. I wonder if my academic/life habit of procrastination follwed by rapid change/work started here.)

Then there were the shots. I remember in Milwaukee that we had this family friend Mrs. Ficken, who was a nurse. She would come over twice a week and give me my allergy shot. We kept the preloaded hypodermics in the refrigerator. One of my earliest memories is getting KFC with my shot, because as everyone knows fried chicken eases the pain of small puncture wounds. I must have been five.

After years of injections and blood draws I am now impervious to needless. I was often precociously droll with nurses, “I don’t need to look away. I get these all the time. Just go ahead and do it.”

Dentists love me. When I got my wisdom teeth taken out I remember the surgeon sneaking up on me with the wide bore needle, “You don’t need to hide it behind your back. Really. I’m fine with it.”

I’m used to turning off the pain switch. If you’ve never had the pleasure of the old school allergy test where the take skin samples from your back and arm I highly recommend it. I’ve had it done three times, to accommodate each new asshole allergist, and each version of the procedure seemed more medieval than the last. I would say that my last official whimper from physical pain was during that final test in Appleton Wisconsin. Neither of my bone breaks were comparable to that allergy test.

The shots persisted well into my teenage years until it was determined that I was allergic to the shots they were giving me. After the shots stopped my health improved quite rapidly. Then we moved into the dermatology drama. I remember trying to explain to my doctor, who was emotionally invested in a lack of connection between chocolate and acne, that I could time a breakout to within hours of eating certain foods. That didn’t fit into his medical paradigm. A diet prescription is far cheaper than Actutane, which came in at two dollars a pill back then. Between the allergists and the dermatologist I lost all faith and respect for modern medicine.

In my adult life I have enjoyed relatively good health. As I said, I’ve broken a few bones here and there out of the rambunctious stupidity of the early twenties and there is my ongoing flirtation with borderline hypertension, but I’m not often sick. At least I haven’t been. Can you tell I’m a little worried? I haven’t had great experiences with white coats, small rooms, and needles. Ah well, as I said to the nurse, “You don’t have to worry. I’m used to this, really I am.”


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Hazzah!!!!! First round of loans has arrived!!!


I got the official call yesterday – I am employed for the summer to teach a class and have been offered three for the fall. My neighbor’s Magnolia tree is in bloom and some of the Canna I just planted have shoots up already. Everyday is another hoop with the financial aid people, but we will be one step closer tomorrow (they promise me). The mailed me the letter that I have to have in hand for the next phase. Asinine. I hope this means that things are looking up. I get x-rays tomorrow of my lungs, which will go awry and turn me into The Incredible Karl. You won’t like me when I’m angry.