Sunday, July 31, 2005

Karl’s mom’s so you’ve got some rotten bananas afternoon killer edible procrastination banana bread:

1 cup sugar
½ cup butter or Cisco shortening – any arterial hardener or coagulant will do
Blend into glop
Once you have glop please add the juice of two eggs
Pretend not to notice tiny umbilical cord connecting yoke with egg white
(discard hard-shell chicken uterus peel)
Blend quickly into yellow glop to avoid thinking about implications of the food chain
Add two large or three small bananas (also without peel)
Blend into more viscous mellow yellow glop
Add on teaspoon vanilla extract to glop so that there is a trendy black swirl in your glop like a disco bumblebee acid trip of culinary genius
In your grandmother’s sifter combine one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon baking powder, and two cups of white-boy-bleach-my-nutrients-out-and-then-cram-um-back-in-with- crazy-minerals-from-strip-mines-in-Africa flour
Sift powders into glop which we will now call batter while using grandmother’s hand mixer to mix by hand (wonder why you ended up with grandma’s baking toys when you don’t bake much (voted by grandchild collective most likely to bake at all(as current baking evidences) by can’t boil water siblings))

Grease down bread pan with Crisco and a light dusting of flour
Add batter to pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until done

Toothpick test
Spread requisite nutrients throughout body using complex interrelated systems of respiration, circulation, excretion etc to maintain for some short while the ongoing chemical fire of your temporary and finite existence

Best with butter or possibly toasted.


The Friday Five – done late on Sunday

1. What was your first job?

My first job was as custodian at Concordia Lutheran Seminary (not counting stuffing envelopes for the church or helping out in Mrs. Barth’s garden). I learned expert mopping techniques, floor waxing, how to melt roaches in bathroom drains with TFR floor stripping acid (it melts your tennis shoes too and is a real bitch in that hand cut), how to almost die from the toxic fumes when you single handedly polyurethane a basketball court, and how to get buff running a power buffer.

2. How much did you make?
I started at 3.25 /hour – I was fourteen – so that would have been the summer of 1987.

3. Describe your least-favorite coworker of all time.

I mostly get along with people. I don’t like petty tyrants, but then I see their intrinsic comic foibles, so who wants that around. If I had to pick a nemesis I guess I’d pick Cindy. Cindy was sort of a boss of mine when I was a manager at a Days Inn. There were an astounding number of managers for all parts of operations at this larger than most facility. There was a custodial manager, a maid service manager, a front desk staff manager, a marketing manager, a business manger (who also watered the plants) the overall manager of the managers, a custodial and operations sub manager who reported to the owner and thus managed the manager’s manager. Cindy was the head of food service and I was the Services Coordinator, which meant at any catered wedding she would cook the meal and I would cut the cake. We shared a number of duties, but in practice she ran the restaurant and I ran the bar.

Cindy wanted to be a writer, but she had never finished college and had a chip on her shoulder about that. I was actually at that point one of two staff employees with a four year degree earning my 15,000 a year (plus tips). Cindy lived in a trailer park, which is not uncommon in that part of the country and nothing to be ashamed of, but she was. She had caught her husband, who worked at the local sewage plant, having sex with her best friend as she put it, “balls in the air,” so we’ll let your imagination work that one out.

They stayed together as a couple by the odd reversal of him expressing a constant anger and jealousy of any man in her life, as though she were the partner voted most likely to commit adultery in a constant and sometimes violent denial of his own infidelity. So he constantly berated her for the affair that we were not having. I did give her a book once, ironically Thomas Pynchon’s Mason Dixon, which was only intended as loan, but then she denied having received it later for reasons still unclear to me, so I never got the book back.

To end the potentially far wandering tale, Cindy got me fired for dating an employee that I had been dating for six months without getting fired for it, that everyone knew I was dating. She went over the manager’s head to the owner with the policy violation because she got wind of a potential plan by our shared boss to give me her job in the company. They believed that they were grooming me to be a hotel manager in their little empire. After I got fired, my girlfriend and half the bar/restaurant staff quit. She and I went skiing and I started working at another bar when we got back to town. I should thank Cindy. Her paranoia pushed me into graduate school and out of a possible career in the hospitality industry.

4. What is your dream job?

Waiter, check please. I’m sorry I have to go, this conversation is getting uncomfortable. I don’t dream about working, so I really have no idea.

5. What do you currently do and do you like it?
I teach and do a little freelance writing. I guess I am also a full time student. I am quite happy right now, but that is the result of a nexus of factors. I love the life of the mind so that – in school as a student or teacher – is where I am happiest.


Maslow’s hierarchy of homework:

You plan to work all day on papers so you start by riding your bike around the park followed by a nutritious breakfast of cereal and overripe bananas, because if you haven’t got your health what have you got? Then you watch part of The Corporation (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379225/) with your roommate MB, because it’s got Noam Chomsky in it. Then fish, dog & cat need food and the plants need to be watered. Of course the dishes and laundry are important because later you will need both clothing and something to eat off of… Then you have your personal constitutional of shave and shower to enervate your blood with flower power.

So now it’s 12:30 and I really am going to spend the rest of all day working on papers. I have two papers due tomorrow and a test to study for. I also have a test Tuesday that I need to watch several hours of video for… watch videos… that’s like homework isn’t it?

I’ve had a lot going on of late midst my studies. I got renewed at my part-time non-disclosure gag-policy shush job for the fall on the same terms, so that’s good for the wallet – and even as I say that, I hope it is clear that I am conveying no information about company X and their actual or hypothetical practices. I am especially not perplexed by the lanyard that I may be required to wear.

I saw Beatle Bob in Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room on Friday night with Eric’s birthday crew. Saturday was my first experience with Chinese Dim Sum with a gaggle of mostly STL bloggers organized by Kat. Thanks again Kat, I had a lot of fun both alacart(sp?) and in the round. We had our collective hands on the throttle of a glass lazy Susan etched with ornate bats from which we spun out won tons and sticky buns to our eleven person tribe with all the zeal of third graders pitching the small kids off the merry go round; rotational ribaldry reigned.

Introductions went along the lines of, “You’re the guy with the bus.” I should start a separate blog for the bus, though until I get it resurrected (if) the blog would mostly be a treatise on Missouri field mice.

The relationship I am in has advanced from the more vague categories of “thing” and “something” to whatever comes next. Does “a whatever” come next? I think we are calling it “good thing” so that must be what it is.


Friday, July 29, 2005

Answering http://www.sp00kalot.blogspot.com/ :

1) Would you happily eat the same food day after day?


2) Would you be a contestant on Fear Factor?


3) What's your favorite vice?

Miami? Blah – Gluttony? Lust? I suppose the vice would be drunkenness as a subheading under gluttony if we are using the seven deadly as a frame.

4) When you dream, are there particular objects that seem to reappear often, and if so, have you ever tried to figure out the significance of them?

Yes, fish tanks, yes.

5) Can you take criticism and blame without resentment?

Sometimes, mostly, yes.

6) What is it?

Early cave painting in Sapin.

7) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would like my memory to work better.

8) For a healthier society, do you believe it would be better if we physically touched each other more often?


9) If you were given money and told you could only use it towards a cosmetic surgery, what would you want?

Has anyone seen my six-pack? I think I left it in the vanity back in high school.

10) What do you collect, and why do you think you collect them?

Tiki – the Loa told me to

11) What is it?

One dollar bill?
12) If the bank gave you $10 extra when you cashed your check, would you tell them?

No, Fuckers.

13) If the bank gave you $100 extra when you cashed your check, would you tell them?

No, Fuckers.

14) Do you believe hatred should be avoided, expressed directly to those whom you hate, or always be felt but only expressed in limited circumstances?

Hate hurts the hater most and should be avoided like an anvil boomerang.

15) What delicious morsel is non-negotiable in your diet? You will never give it up, you will always eat it, and your scale can bite you.
Beets. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM beeeeeeeeets

16) Do you feel the need to take something to relieve stress or tension, or do you rely on diet and exercise to feel better?
I like a drink because I like a drink, and would drink a drink come rain or shine. I have drunk drinks to get through stress, but it doesn’t seem essential and I don’t currently.

17) Do you sometimes find yourself complaining and boring people with your troubles?

Ah, just maybe, like say anyone who has a blog does this daily.

18) In no more than two words, name something you are afraid of.


19) Are you understanding when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time, or do you get pissy with them and threaten to disown them?
I have never threatened to disown anyone, nor will I. “Own or disown. There is no threaten.”

20) Since 911, are you able to have no prejudice or discomfort WHATSOEVER with others' creeds, colors, religions, or beliefs?
I don’t see 911 as some kind of watershed to license, sanction, or in anyway permit xenophobic out grouping. People seem to have forgotten that the terrorist bombings in Oklahoma were carried out by rural white Christians and the IRA have lit a few fuses in their time. I have always felt bewildered by people of any faith who preach or condone hatred and violence in any form, as it runs counter to the most basic of religious sentiments. Turn the other cheek, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. There are no “but” or “under special circumstances” in those phrases. There is no such thing as a just war. Has it been lost on everyone that the most successful revolutions of the past several hundred years have all been achieved through non-violence? Tanks and guns beget tanks and guns. This not a naive perspective, all smart bombs get you is stupid casualties. Ask the thousands of limbless survivors in Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc.
21) What is it?

Your Fallopian tube? The mythical land inside the couch.
22) Does the thought of vigorous physical exercise make you happy and ready to get to it, or cranky and make you want to find your couch?

Happy if there is a bike involved.

23) What's the magic word?


24) Who is it?

Gina Lola Someone

26) What's your poison?



School/work: very busy – many papers and tests

I am in a something with someone and it is going well: mystery

Bought: new fish – African Knife & Chocolate Plecostomus

Bought: Motorcycle Helmet

Need: Motorcycle (health insurance)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Not sure just what to say, but I must have a blog in me someplace. It stands to reason that I would. I have been torching the candle simultaneously at all candle points of late, so sorry for the brevity of my postings. School is in high, high gear and I am afraid I must once again take myself off the map for the weekend as I am starting to slip behind in my education class, which could be re-titled minutia 101. I have to write these mind numbing papers in which I must bold all the requirements so that the instructor can check off my two points for this sentence and my one point for that sentence. I’m not learning how to teach HS, I’m in HS.

I hope to write a long blog about student teaching at Roosevelt this week, with anecdotes ranging from the Haitian mob to what most fifteen years olds wear to their baby’s funerals. It was a real education, especially noting the everydayness of violence. Several students were removed by the police while I was there and few more should have been. Each day began with my students discussing who had been killed or shot the night before, who was on the news, how they knew them, and what the likely jail terms would be for the perpetrators. Every time I start to talk about it I stop myself because I would rather present a more cohesive narrative.

Royce and Devon were in from the Ville for a few days and we got together last night after my classes were over at Fredrick’s Music Lounge to hear The Spaghetti Western String Compnay. I’ll post a link and you can listen to some tracks. I bought their EP after the show and have the LP on order from their web page. Royce and Devon had bad luck, getting into a traffic accident that crippled their three day old car. No one was hurt and the dealership in the ville is towing it back for free. Insurance will cover the repairs so no blood no foul. Devon’s folks are taking them home today. We made some connections for Devon’s Band Happy Ass (check the link) and may be able to get them some St. Louis gigs at The Glass Factory and Off Broadway. I think both will really be no problem at all.

Ah well, back to work – just wanted to get a little free writing out to warm up my skills.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Do you like my new logo? It's up there in the left hand corner.


Monday, July 25, 2005

I got out of class early and I was tempted to ride, but it’s still 97 at 8p.m. I'm just going to sit here and sweat instead.


I just spent the morning, five hours anyway, at an inner city school. I want to write something long about the experience, perhaps something intended for publication in the RFT or the Post Dispatch. I have another five hours scheduled for tomorrow, but I could already write a very long and in depth exploration of some of the problems and realities faced by inner city teachers and students. I’ll self publish something here as soon as I have time to craft it. For now it's off to the showers, as city schools have no air conditioning and it's over 100 degrees out.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Should I write movie reviews?

Because I am a movie slut I have taken two bullets for you this weekend. I saw The Fantastic Four and Island, both of which you can afford to miss.

The best thing about Island was the theater we saw it in, The Moolah. The décor, the leather seats, the full service bar, and my passing crush on Scarlet Johansson were the only things that made it bearable. Actually the cast, including the always watch able Djimon Hounsou, Steve Buscemi and Ewan McGregor, did a great job with their relatively brief screen appearances and can’t be faulted for the performances of their digitized, flame and bullet retardant doubles, who logged considerably more screen time through the never ending cascade of shrapnel that comprises the second and third acts of the film.

Director Michael Bay, who gave us The Rock and Armageddon and produced that atrocity Pearl Harbor, could have done us the favor of omitting one or two explosions in order to hire an army of writers to fix his script. Instead of adapting two film classics from the seventies (Logan’s Run and Coma) into an intelligent, dystopian sci-fi thriller that comments in useful and compelling ways about the coming ethical questions that modern science raises like the excellent Gattaca, Bay weakly stitches several key concepts together using exploding film. If you decide to attend take your favorite headache medication before you go as a preemptive strike.

As for Fantastic Four, I’ve gotten used to Films like X-men and Spiderman that transition my childhood comic book fantasy life into adult arenas. Fantastic Four is a good kid’s movie, and if I had an eight year old sitting around the place I might take them to go see it. A nine year old would be too precocious to enjoy this little sliver of cinematic folly that repeatedly asks the question, “Isn’t Jessica Alba hot?” The production team failed to recognize that the popularity of the Marvel franchise is that is appeals to viewers of every age through complex characters and plot. If in the future producers would like to see the ongoing returns in the rental and DVD markets that the better superhero vehicles have earned this is a lesson they are going to have to learn.


Verbosity on remembrance of things ville:

Did I read that correctly? Is it really going to be 120 today with the heat index? Yeah, that’s normal. No global warming here. And you’re telling me that I live in a large brick house that holds heat like an Italian bread oven so I should just accept that I am going to get baked. We have central air, so we are fine, but when the bill comes we may be less so. It’s been too hot to do anything, too hot to blog even.

What can I tell you about? What do you want to know? Nobody even asks me any questions. That’s not true. Michelle wanted to know if anyone cried at J & D’s wedding. Well, I wasn’t there for the wedding. The wedding was over before I even woke up on Tuesday last. They did it at nine and the first clock I saw said nine thirty on it. We, Beth and I, told them we’d be up from St. Louis after my night class got out, because I can’t really miss any of them. I only get one absence and then it starts to seriously affect my grade. So, I took this as my one absence and we left when Beth got off work.

We made great time and arrived in under three hours. The four-lane has not made it all the way to the ville yet, but soon it shall and the cloistered, monastic, rural, Wal-Mart dominated, off the map, rustic, Northern Exposure quality of this much beloved town may wane. It already feels like twice, or three times the city it was when I moved there in 1992 and yet not. The Wal-Mart then was not the super thing that it is now. It was no bigger than the Dollar General and located on the south end of town where the small Sears is now. Some things have grown, but all is not well in this transitional economy.

Having broken the barrier that some college campuses have, and actually become part of the town, I know that things aren’t going very well. The recession of the Bush ascendancy has hit hard, with most of the major employers folding. Wolverine shoes, Wire Rope industrial cable, and several other factories (seven of the major employers) are just gone. The hog plant employs mostly migrants shifting the demographic to Hispanic. Wal-Mart killed the local clothing and specialty stores, which are gradually being replaced by niche boutique stores.

My old wallet from Mr. Jim’s finally wore out last month. Mr. Jim’s was a huge locally owned men’s clothing store on the south side of the square. Its’ space was divided in two and now houses both the coffee shop that belongs to our friends Monica and Julia and their neighboring Jesus bookstore, where the opiate of the people has been co modified into t-shirts and collectibles. The economy has had to shift to depend primarily on the student population. This is a bitter pill as a few years ago the valedictorian of the local high school couldn’t get into the college. Many local children have no shot at the highly selective institution upon which the town depends. Town and gown, there is also a medical college for Osteopathic medicine in the ville. Without these two schools I doubt there would still be a ville.

I remember sitting in the back of my parent’s Toyota mini-van watching the vegetation roll bye in cornfield, soybean, forest and hill. I was thinking, “Where in the fuck is this place, oh my God, what have I done.” St. Louis has lots of green space, but that did not prepare my citified self for the journey into America’s agrarian past.

That first week of school I was drugged to the gills from having my wisdom teeth out, so an already surreal experience of culture shock got a dose of Fear and Loathing frivolity from the mixture of prescription meds and freshman week kegs. Wal-Mart, where all students were encouraged to furnish their dorm rooms, was having a special give away on plastic gun racks for your truck.

Just south of the ville is a town called Macon. For reasons that are clear only to international smugglers of non-tradable commodities, Macon is one of the places in America where exotic animals can trade hands legally. Right around this time of year, coinciding with the start of the fall term in the ville, people come from all over the world with their lions, tigers, and bears to get a good price on the spoils of Rome.

If you want a loop in legally liquidating lions then Macon is your hole. My first night in the dorms I turned on the TV in the common room to watch the local news, where it was sadly being reported that a man had been killed in Macon at the exotic animal fair by a falling water buffalo. I knew then, when a local man could be killed by a falling buffalo whose genetic ancestry would have put him properly in a relatively safely spongy Vietnamese rice paddy that I had gone off the proverbial map into absurdity. To be fair, any shift in locale can sensitize us to the fundamental absurdities of life and death that persist wherever these statistically dramatic instances of cellular organization and dissolution occur.

As new residents of the ville, we students were cautioned with all the usual invectives about the local rates of incest, syphilis, and methamphetamine production (actually based in fact and the highest in Missouri for all three). We were told, as I’ve discovered many rural students are told at many schools across the country, that the town was built on land where the Indians wouldn’t camp because the weather was too changeable. Jes was just telling me almost the same thing about her college town in upstate New York and I read something similar in Bret Easton Eliss’ account of college life in Rules of Attraction; it must be a rural-urban legend.

This much is true of the ville, the town is hit by nearly every storm that passes through the region, both those that miss St. Louis to the north and those that drift down from Iowa to the south, and it has had national disaster status for ice storm damage twice in recent memory. During finals one year I had several friends crashed in my apartment because it was December and the power was out for three days, but I could still use my gas stove to keep us all warm.

The CDC also keeps a task force in the ville because apparently there are seven national zones of seasonal illness that all converge on and mutate in the ville. So they catch all the seasonal and all esophageal disturbances that the country can throw at them.

I give you one more surreal locater to zero in on this thing that is the ville. Soon after perestroika, the ville chapter of the ROTC brought in the Russian pilot whose job it had been to know this part of the country from the air so that he could destroy it in the event of war. The ville is/was a strategic target because it is a major north south conduit. In the event of nuclear war one of your goals is to trap populations in toxic areas. Also, there is a radar station just of north of town, on the left of the highway before you get to Greentop, that the locals call “The Golf Ball”. This is not in fact another roadside attraction in tribute to golfing, but is instead a major radar installation that is key Midwestern aviation and thus a prime military target. When my brother flies from Milwaukee to Kansas City for Skyway International or Midwest Express, he goes to the ville and hangs a slight left.

Shifting again to the more recent past, I had IM’d with Derek so I knew their schedule and he knew we were coming early. After a brief walkthrough of their empty house, ah Kirksville and your low crime rate, we found them up at Il Spazio. We were just figuring out how best to make our surprise entrance, I had D on the cell phone saying loudly, “Karl just got out of class and they’ll be here in three hours.” When Jen turned around and saw us through the window. “They’re here, they’re here.” is all we heard for the next few minutes, as Jen danced around us in the alley behind the restaurant. Apparently we had perfect timing as they had just finished eating and were ready to head over to the Dukum to set up for the reception.

Il Spazio is a relatively new addition to the ville. A gay couple moved in and opened this micro brew and stone hearth eatery shortly after I left town. For you old school ville folks it’s in the old Golden Ruler stationary store just off the south side of the square.

End of Part One – Please flip the tape to side B and continue with your lesson


Saturday, July 23, 2005

We’re having something of a heat wave here in St. Louis. The average heat index temperature has been 110 degrees. When I golfed nine holes yesterday with my sister and nephew it was 109 and it was 111 by the time I got to work in the evening. Other than golf I haven’t gotten any major exercise in since Monday, what with traveling for Jen and D’s wedding, so today I hit the bike trail. It was difficult because I hadn’t been in a few days, but I figured if I didn’t go I might start to lose the habit. Imagine putting your exercise cycle into a sauna and then riding eight miles. Honestly, it was a mistake. I went at ten thinking that it would still be early enough and cool enough. No. I will spend the next several hours in recovery drinking ice water and soaking in a freezing bath.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Vanessa, "Where are you?"

Karl, "School, school, work, school, work, homework, school, sleep...."


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Guess where I am..... A wedding reception in the ville - at the fabled Dukum no less. Who got married you ask...LINK


What a thoughtful wizard:

On page 265 of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Price, Dumbledore conjures a bottle of and drinks a glass of gin. Well done D.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Today on VH1 - The Golden Age of Rome, Behind the Music:

According to The Writer's Almanac we can can blame the current popularity a certain ancient cult on Nero's post fire pogrom.

"And today, the 18th of July, is believed to be the anniversary of the fire that burned Rome in 64 AD, while the emperor Nero supposedly played his fiddle. In fact, he wasn't in Rome. He was away at his holiday villa on the coast, and when he heard about the fire, he rushed back to the capital and took charge of the operations.

The rumors about his playing his fiddle probably came from people in the Roman military who did not approve of Nero's artistic leanings. He'd come to power at the age of 16. He was the youngest ruler in the history of Rome. He was more interested in music and poetry than in battling the barbarians. And he didn't play the fiddle; he did play the lyre. But his real passion was singing. He was also known to be a transvestite, which did not endear him to the soldiers.

One of the rumors being spread at the time was that Nero had himself started the fire because he was disgusted by the architecture in Rome and wanted to rebuild the city. And to bolster his own image against these rumors, Nero decided that the fire needed to be blamed on someone else, and he picked out the Christians who were generally loathed by Romans.

The religion of Christianity was only a few decades old when Nero singled it out. Nero rounded up Christians; they were covered in the skins of wild animals, torn to death by dogs, crucified, or they were burned at the stake.

Most Romans at the time despised Christians, but Nero's program of persecution went further than the people wanted. It had the unintended effect of making people sympathize with Christians. And a little more than 200 years later, the emperor of the Roman Empire himself converted to Christianity, and it became the dominant religion of Europe."

We can only hope that the current suppression of the scientific perspective in Kansas will have similar results. 200 years from now Kansas will be remembered as the intellectual bastion of the world, responsible for cancer cures and the general end of mythologically based mystery cults and their regressive attitudes towards knowledge, social and gender equity, and personal reproductive rights.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Just home from yet another visit to my past. Mary and I went to a college party for one of her former students Rob who lives just around the corner from me – he has a film playing at the Tivoli next week in the showcase of local talent. Plug him in the comments Mary, what’s his title?

There was a theme for the party that I was unaware of in advance. Guests had been asked to come as their favorite 8-16 bit characters from Atari and early Nintendo. Harry was there from Pitfall, the guys from double dragon, a brain monster from Metroid, one of the ghosts – blinky I think – from Pac-man, some Tetris pieces, several hockey players, and many others. It was a good sized party.

I thought that these were the games of my older brothers and that I was representative of the last group to play with these toys. (I came in on Pong, played Atari at my friend’s homes and had my brother Andy win an Intellivision out of a box of Cheerios.) Not so, most people at this party were on average ten years younger than me and they all had a better working knowledge of the early character pantheon than I do and made references to games that I’ve never heard of. To do my thematic part, I self described as a Mischievous Pooka from Dig Dug who was displaying his mischievousness through a cunning lack of costume.

I figured we’d be at the party for three beverages, but I took four just in case. Three was perfect timing at an hour and twenty minutes, that’s about how long I can function at a college party of twenty somethings when I don’t have any actual alcohol. It was also very hot in that apartment – St. Louis – brick – second story – corn dogs roasting in the kitchen – too hot on an already hot day.

At the party there were two goldfish in a ten gallon tank. I like coy, but the standard goldfish is not my thing. They are ill tempered and prone to disease resultant from their rather brackish home decorating. Of the two fish in this tank, one had had his fins removed by the other and was navigating bullet style through forward force and object ricochet, much like people move in those late college years where the fins have yet to find finesse or have been deliberately clipped by those first real world rude awakenings. Of course I don’t mean me as a source of comparable sophistication and cultural success. My style is all sophomoric sycophancy sliding slowly into sanguine solipsism, but at least I am no longer sedentary.

On the “St. Louis is the World’s Largest Small Town” tip (oft repeated Mark Twain quote) I ran into Kevin at this party. I met Kevin the other night at the Drinking Liberally event that I alluded to, but did not really tell you about in detail. Kevin is an actor who is in two of the films showing at this weekend’s showcase, and I think he was in four of the films submitted, but only seventy something of the hundred and twenty plus submissions were accepted for the screenings and jury. Mary tried to tap Kevin for her Fo Po one act she is directing this fall. Anyway, I guess it’s time to crash so my brain is all fresh and squishy for tomorrow’s new neural pathways.


I was sore this morning and thinking that I wouldn’t bike today, but as evening came on and I realized I’d been a study slug all day I found myself once again zipping around the park. With a temperature of 88 degrees it wasn’t too bad, especially with only 55% humidity. I think my humidity theory is apt as I had a much easier ride with the lower percentage moisture in the air. I went to pub club last night with John and about eight women who are in this group of friends, and I asked him about how the humidity affected his running. He affirmed that the soup definitely makes a run much harder. (He is also in training for a marathon Jen and did the Chicago marathon last year.) Today’s ride was so much easier that I thought about going around the park twice. I may do that sometime this week.

The pub club met up at The Boathouse in Forest Park. The people at pub club are different from my normal milieu. I was trying to decide how to tactfully note the core differences and I came up with the following observation: none of these women do their own hair, which is in part why they all look alike. Of them I know Bridget and Dan’s S.O. Alisa. And I guess now I know Christy, the rest are a mysterious gaggle of priorities that are generally foreign to me; as foreign, I am sure, as I am to them. Still, I welcome a chance to get to know them beyond the stereotypes that I am only slightly shying away from. We are all so very tribal at times, are we not?

The two best things about The Boathouse were that they had St. Pauli Girl N.A. and the band did a great cover of an Elvis Costello and The Attractions tune, Peace Love and Understanding. If you’re not and Elvis Costello fan then you at least know it from the Karaoke scene in Lost in Translation.

Regular readers - do you remember the bar that I applied to where they thought I might have walked on the freshly poured concrete and they briefly considered killing me? Well, we ended up there and had fabulous fish and chips, the best I’ve had outside of a Wisconsin fish fry. (Maureen, when next in town you must, must go there for the fish if you have the Wisconsinite fish fry addiction. It’s The Scottish Arms).

I’ve spent most of the day studying, but I took a break to go see a movie by myself. I used to do that all the time and I was thinking it was something of a good sign that some of my former lost traits that I like have been resurfacing. Anyway, I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If you’re a film buff at all and are into intertext, the film is both brilliant and hysterical. In an audience of mostly children and their mothers I am sure that my laughter stood out at confusing moments.

When the melting marionette’s eyes were falling out, mine were certainly watering. I don’t want to ruin too much for you, but the overlap of TV Mike with Kubrick’s 2001 was pure pleasure. It’s not a work of genius, but it is charming and much closer to the source text, which I read several times in my childhood. It’s a nice cinematic homage to high and low culture; this is true particularly of the Oompa Loompa’s dance numbers, one of which culminates in a Busby Berkeley style dive line choreographing their way into the chocolate river while taunting Augustus Gloop.

Ah well, Mary and I are crashing the party of some local nare-do-wells (sp?) who have promised to serve us corn dogs and Bush beer (I’m taking my N.A. Beck’s folks, never you fear). Later…


Friday, July 15, 2005

Ok, you know more about this exercise thing than I do. I did my eight miles again today and I also went on Wednesday. Both Wednesday and today I noticed that the route I have been biking all summer has gotten harder. Why would that be? My first and most obvious thought is the humidity. It’s only 81 degrees out now, but that 80% humidity is a killer. My next thought is that I am still in recovery from Sunday’s accident and I got more messed up then than I thought I did. My right wrist is still hurting and I noticed a bruise on this inside of my wrist this morning that I hadn’t seen before. The simplest explanation would be that I’ve slipped a gear (interpret that how you like – all double entendre is intentional here at Fulcrum Monkey).

I like the scrapes and bruises. None of them are very deep or bad, and they remind me that I used to always be dinged up back when I was a rough and tumble kid. I was always really active and I want to/am getting that back.

I had a bad junk shop experience today. I was over at St. Vincent’s and there was a practically brand new Trek 880 mountain bike for 40 bucks. I went for a walk to try to decide if I wanted it and when I came back fully decided to buy it someone else was walking around the store with it. Shit. “Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor,” Steven Sondheim – Into the Woods. I guess he needed it more. I already have a bike. Still, it was nice and I could have gotten forty bucks worth of fun out of it this weekend. I would have had an extra bike so you could go riding with me. Ah well. It wasn’t meant to be and all that Calvinist predestination crap…

Someone asked me if I’d replaced the big Pleco and I said, “Well technically I had one in the wings in another tank, so it wasn’t really a replacement so much as a promotion.” I do need new fish though. That will be tomorrow’s fun. I have two big tests next week so I want to reread the chapters they cover and then Beth and I got ourselves talked into coming up to the Ville Tuesday night for Karaoke. Beth loves to sing and hasn’t seen the new Dukum yet. It’s been almost six months since I’ve been up, so why not. Ville stalkers, I’ll see you at The Dukum Tuesday night.

What haven’t I told you about? I met a girl the other night who was born where I was born, in New Guinea. Her name is Rachel and she had hippie parents who were there as non denominational missionaries. She is the first person outside of my family that I’ve met with the same birthplace as myself. She runs a quasi political organization locally that is liberal – I am thinking of joining – I think I have joined them. Beth and Angela are already members. I’ll tell you more about it as I’m able, but as I am just getting to know these folks and some of them are bloggers I am not ready yet to fully disclose.

Tonight is work followed by Blueberry Hill and Third Degree Glass Factory.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

I was just looking out the widow and I saw a brachiating monkey silhouetted on cloud shining up from a south city halogen lamp (you know, Batman style). I called commissioner Bradly and it appears he and Beth have six weeks to move out, as their landlords have been spooked by all this talk of a real estate bubble and they are putting the place on the market as soon as the current lease runs out. I gave all the usual Bruce Wayne advice (buy the place, buy the place next door, etc). It remains now for the commenters of yore to arise and solve this crises for them.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

There’s no problem, only solutions:

I am over the nausea with these drugs I am on and we are into a new side show. I noticed it for the first time last week. To avoid the icks I was taking the drugs right before I slept, but I’ve been staying up later these past few days and I’ve discovered that fairly soon after I take the meds I cease to function at any kind of an acceptable mental level.

I was in the middle of a project tonight and downed my pills, just because I was thinking about it, and now I am useless. I could watch a film or walk around the house looking at objects with a bemused and unfocused smirk, but I cannot do academic work. My doctor had advised me that it was best to take this stuff before bed and she wasn’t kidding. It’s not a consistent affect, but when it hits me I am thusly hit.

So I guess I’ll babble since I can’t get anything else done and maybe it will pass. I’ve been feeling something about my blog of late. I have been putting most of my mental energy into school and school just keeps getting more challenging – not in terms of material, but in terms of time. The more I have to do the less I want to blog and the less I have to blog about. Every once in awhile nice people comment on my blog and I like that so I guess I’ll stick with it. Still, gone for a time are the days of existential woe where I came here to wonder about the weltschmertz of it all.

I’ve stopped longing to be some kind of writer and have satisfied myself with being a teacher. It’s all I really want. Writing is a hobby for me, something that I half heatedly kick around, but teaching is my passion. It can be a simple silly thing to finally grasp that the grass you’ve always had around you is the greenest there will ever be.

Despite the death of my much loved fish, my problems with the financial aid department, and the forces of entropy in general I would have to say things are going well.

Atypical gesture from the likes of Karl - I’ve had a John Lennon song rolling around in me for a few weeks that sums up how I’ve been feeling.

Watching the Wheels:

People say I’m crazy doing what I’m doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I’m o.k. well they look at me kind of strange
Surely you’re not happy now you no longer play the game

People say I’m lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I’m doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don’t you miss the big time boy you’re no longer on the ball

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people asking questions lost in confusion
Well I tell them there’s no problem, only solutions
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind
I tell them there’s no hurry
I’m just sitting here doing time

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go

My part time job is good. My classes are good. I have a few leads on work for this fall. Instead of an internship I may actually get a fulltime job. My money situation has normalized. I love my bike routine and now I have a helmet and safety glasses courtesy of M.B. I ran into Angela B’s old roommate Amy from college on today’s bike trek and inadvertently helped them get back in touch. I am always running into people I know.

I am thinking about how different my written academic voice is from how I write here. I am considering using what I’ve learned as a casual blogger to blog in a more productive way, more in line with my praxis. These toys of ours have the potential to be so much more, as do we.

Code Maslow: we’ve had conflicting reports of a self actualized person in the vicinity. Please alert the appropriate authorities should you witness any Gandhi like behavior.


From Angela B.

Chocolate Ice Cream carton
You are Hasty Generalization. Everything you do is
based on first impressions. Who you talk to,
what you talk about, and your opinions are all
given based on your first impression of a
person, a subject, and an argument. The first
to present his case is always right, and you
don't do too well as the negative in a round,
unless you heard the other side of a topic
first in research. You don't stop to check
credentials or back up facts. That would be
too time consuming, right?

Which Logical Fallacy are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I came home tonight to one big dead Pleco. That’s right, my big centerpiece fish is no more. I’ll never know if he died of natural causes or if the fish that was nipping his fins actually killed him. If I knew the fin nipper was to blame I'd feed him to the Cichlids, but the lack of visible trauma makes this uncertain. It wasn't old age as they can live up to 20 years. He was pushing four years old. I was proud of him. He was huge and beautiful. The fin nipper will now be isolated and I am sad.


Here's a good one from The Writer's Almanac

It's the birthday of Julius Caesar, born in Rome around 100 B.C., who said, "Beware the leader who bangs the drum of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor. For patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind."


Monday, July 11, 2005

I have a dream...

I want to run this (my) bus in the 2006 St. Louis St. Pats Parade...
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Who is with me?
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I know Alex is, it's the power of the hat!!!!


Universal Turbulence: Please remain seated until the fasten life sign goes off.

What is going on?

I just read that Jen killed her laptop with a bottle of water.

My car wouldn't start today so the neighbor gave me a jump.

I keep a pitcher of iced coffee in the fridge. I went to pour today’s coffee into it and the pitcher shattered.

I cleaned up the mess and went to pour myself a cup of coffee and I’m not really sure what happened next – a great deal of confused motion– the end result was a shattered coffee maker with grounds everywhere. So now that I’ve cleaned up the second mess I need to go buy a new coffee maker, unless M.B. has one in storage. We have lots of duplicate stuff.

Is the universe telling me not to drink coffee?


I took another spill on my bike yesterday. I golfed in the morning with Vick and Brad. The weather was perfect with a light breeze. Mary was having a BBQ later so I decided in the interim to do my eight miles, as though nine holes wasn’t enough exercise. To tell this quickly, I was heading downhill through a forested section near the West side of the Zoo when I realized I was going too fast to take a corner. I tried to break and the rear wheel went out from under me on some gravel.

I stayed with the bike as it went down and as I spun around backwards I caught onto some weeds to stop myself and to avoid going over a low wall and into some rocky brush. I have some road rash on my left knee and leg – it looks much worse than it is. My elbow and forearm took a hit and the palm of my right hand seems to be missing some skin, but scars are sexy.

When I got home covered in blood M.B. gifted me with her spare helmet for my future calamities. She’s in a leg brace for six weeks from a volleyball injury over the Fourth of July, so we are a dinged up household. I am trying to decide if I should do homework or hit the bike trail again, I might give my right arm one more day to heal.


Angela had/gave us quite a scare on Saturday. Follow the link and she'll tell you all about it. I got a call from her mom that they were in St. John's Emergency, so I called Brad and Beth and we converged. Have you noticed that all the best waiting rooms now have aquariums?


We were only together a brief time

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But my influence on young Alexander is already being felt:
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Friday, July 08, 2005

My elbow is bleeding and I need a shower… but that just means I’ve come from The City Museum! To catch you up, last night Jen and D got into town and met Mary, Beth, Angela & I up at Kobe Japanese Steak House. We were also met by my friends John and Milena, their seven month old Alexander and Milena’s mother Bessie (pronounced Vessie) from Bulgaria.

John is one of my oldest friends. We met when I first moved to St. Louis in 1984 so I think that puts us at twenty one years. Milena was a friend of mine in college who John met when he came to visit me after he got out of the Navy in the winter of 1994. It was literally love at first sight for them. She followed him to Georgia and they got married in the fall of 1998. Milena had a host family before college in Columbia Missouri so they visited them for the Fourth of July and then were here for a bit on their way back to Atlanta. I am trying to convince them to move here and I’ve at least given them something to think about.

So last night the nine of us had shrimp thrown at us by a man skilled in making volcanoes out of onions. Afterwards the couple with child retired and the rest of us had a round at The Fox and The Hound in the Cheshire Lodge with Jen & D. I spent today at The Arch with J & M. When friends do the tourist thing I don’t usually go up, but I hadn’t in years so we did today. I have to say, this is really one of those things that is not worth doing. It took the whole day. I actually enjoyed it, but I can’t see myself ever going up in the Arch again. When you come to visit, you’re on your own for that one. I like the museum under the Arch. I like the movies. The trip to the top is hot in temperature only.

Bessie has really been helping with the Alexander child care and she wanted to go up, so we all consented to the several hours waiting for the ten minute pay off. Actually we got our tickets for much later in the afternoon and then had a long lunch with a child nap at The Morgan Street Brewery on The Landing, which is a lot like Beale Street in Memphis.

I had to work a bit in the evening, but after my non-disclosure contract restricted activities I met J & M back at their hotel for a drink. A few drinks in, with Bessie watching the sleeping Alexander, it was child’s play to drag my guests off to The City Museum. They loved it and they both climbed almost everything inside and out. Milena was impressive in her daring. Some of the crawl spaces outside were a little too high for her, but she was game for 90% of it at least.

So anyway, now I need a shower and some antiseptic for my jungle gym wounds. The City Museum is essentially a jungle gym made by adults for adults. There are often kids there, but it was really made for us (or at least “adults” take it over every night). Ok kids – sleep tight.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Link Fest:

Flukes of the universe… So Tom, whose wedding I missed this weekend, decided to honeymoon first in Herman and then in St. Louis. They are staying at our local favorite hotel, The Cheshire. I know this because we literally walked into each other last night in the Loop. Jes and I were going to Riddle’s Penultimate for Jazz and a late meal and Tom and his new wife had just come out of Head-On at The Tivoli and were looking for a meal themselves, so we got a sidewalk table and had a great meal while catching up on the wedding and giving our thoughts on their sightseeing plans for today. I’m guessing they’ll hit The Hill, The Botanical Gardens, and possibly The Basilica before they skip out of town. It’s a small world after all….it’s a small, small, world….


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Once we figured out how they worked, these were my favorite of Chris' fireworks. Thanks Melissa for the cool picture.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I did another eight miles tonight. I forgot to time myself. I wanted to get it in as I have two sets of friends in tomorrow - Jen & D will be down from the ville and John and Milena are stopping in on their way back to Atlanta. Japanese Steak House here we come!


I just got off the phone with Mary

What did I miss in the ville this weekend? Fun ville style with all my ville friends.

Bob Bought a few hundred explosives that were “municipal” in their grandeur
Tom got married
Mary turned fifty
Rhonda Vincent put a free show
Linda marched with NOW in the parade
The gang rented a pontoon boat and cruised the lake
The fabulous filet was eaten at The Pear Tree
Claire’s notorious Farm-ageddon where in years past I have been king of the mud wrestling pit and helped light the hay bails on fire (not kidding)

If you think I could have made it through that without a drink then you are smoking crack. I probably could have, but I need to rationalize missing it. We had a lot of fun here anyway. What are we, chopped liver? Sad…


Vanessa has her blog back up with new and exciting colors that match her living room. You can also check out our third of July washers and sparklers. Chris lit a fire to throw explosives into, which is how Melissa's purse got tanked. Also please note the snazy Ikea yard furniture. No one knows yards like the Skandinavians.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I was keyed up tonight after class for some reason so I hit my bike route hard to burn some energy and to beat the sunset. I did eight miles in an hour and six minutes. I am definitely getting better.


I’m at the point financially where I would happily sell out. I am so over my head in debt that it really seems unmanageable. I’ve gone over bankruptcy with my lawyers and the consensus is that they’ve advised against it. How do I make that big break happen? How do I get the windfall that suddenly (or gradually) makes my life livable? How do I get out from under?


Monday, July 04, 2005

Crap. I have a bunch of work to do and Dan’s parents are throwing a Tiki party tonight…which Hawaiian shirt should I wear?


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Crime of the century! The Jello Brain mold is missing. Did I loan it to you? Is it at the bottom of the sea? Did I lose it in the divorce (we are now referring to the R breakup as The Divorce)?


Ouch, for reasons unclear to me I slept until eleven today. It’s been many months, if not years, since I’ve done that. I did get a great deal of sun yesterday. The BBQ at Nick’s was a really good time. I took him an ice dolphin, which always makes a good impression and helps to keep the watermelon cold. We did, as promised, spend much of the afternoon throwing washers and getting to know one another. He’s living the early twenties bachelor life that even Kevin, a young twenty seven, was looking at with nostalgia.

As the evening wore on the crowd started getting both younger and drunker so when they hit their third bottle of Jager I decided to skip out on the second half of the shindig. One can only watch the fun for so long and my washers (if you don’t know washers, think low rent horse shoe toss) skills have gone to shit. I drove Angela out to Chris and Vanessa’s in St, Charles. We walked down to historic St. Charles along the Missouri river and had BBQ and Indian food from tents. I went to taste of Clayton the other day with Brad and really was perplexed by both the prices and the people. St Charles must be more my social milieu as the biker bars and cheap food are much more to my liking. My seven bucks went a long way – food, a drink, and a CD.

Angela has some friends in a band that played mostly covers, I never caught their name. After they were done we were surprised to see Gumbo Head (the CD I bought) starting up in the main tent. We got to swing dance to Zydeco. I was teaching Vanessa a few new steps, and she was perplexed that I knew the words to some Clifton Chenier song well enough to sing along while we were dancing. Love me some Zydeco. Maybe I’ll take a Clifton CD over to their BBQ today for them to burn.

I have chicken marinated in a Mango BBQ sauce that I think Jen brought me from New Orleans. The ice dolphin is ready to go and I was thinking I might marinate some sliced eggplant in steak sauce and soy. If I am going to do that I need to get on it. Maybe I’ll even whip up a booze free Jello brain. Hope you’re all well and having a good fourth. Now be a good kid and go light something on fire.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

In the words of young Bradly, “We aren’t going to get too many days like this.” It is gorgeous out, low eighties and breezy. I am going to a classmate’s BBQ later to get to know some of my summer session friends a little more socially. It’s a south side bash which means tossing washers and drinking forties. Do they make NA forties? I don’t think so. Maybe they’ll have Jarts!

I had an unexpected adventure last night. Jes asked me if I wanted to go check out Art Dimensions gallery opening. St. Louis has this huge mall downtown that has been failing since the day they opened it back in the mid eighties. Actually I think it started to fail when The Galleria in Brentwood expanded into the mega mall that it is now. Anyway there are still only about ten store fronts in this huge complex, so Art Dimensions has taken over the third floor. It really is a ghost mall; a strange phenomena.

The art show had the feeling of an almost happening of an almost scene that is almost off the ground. I was surprised at how many people I knew there. There were a bunch of people from my former job. Apparently, and I’ve know about this but opted not to really write about it, a few months after I left the same forces that pried me loose fell upon one of the instructors. When she was given her list of ultimatums she, like me, told them to kiss off.

While I was more slip out the door after two weeks you freaks she was more send a letter to all current students and graduates announcing that she was leaving under duress to start a thing all her own, thus entering into direct competition. She took five staff with her and I have no idea how many students. It sort of reminds me of the theological rift between the Pentecostals in Kirksville. Now there are a handful of old Pentecostals in the nice new building while the vast majority worships across the street in the metal airplane hanger (HWY 11 out past the Hy-Vee if you want to drop by). The Pentecostal splitters have a better band, which is also true of the massage splitters; they have a better drum circle.

The new thing that the former instructor is opening will be less than a block from my house; small world. I suppose I have a great deal of knowledge that could help them in this venture and I was thinking it might be theirs for the asking, but perhaps I am well out of that gravity well. It would be nice to see them, but that line of work is over for me. Besides, I really did leave on ok terms and they are giving me good references, so I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that.

I was debating a ville trip myself this weekend, but I have a great deal of reading to do and I had a work thing Friday night until eight. I’m glad I went to it, rather than blowing it off to travel, as the big regional boss dropped by specifically to see me. Things are looking good for fall work and we did the ten minute schmooze essential to all new employee & boss relations. Ah well, off to grill in the afternoon sun.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Sandra D – what ya doin? Fuck.

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I tell people the story of how I am on TB meds and can’t drink for nine months and then I tell them about the party when it’s over and they all say, “I’ll be there.” So, Angela B. is implying a trip in from Texas, Paul’ first response to was to wonder when the party was, and now Mark from the ville, and even my old roommate Jed from California have signed on to a March party. I feel like Wile E. Coyote walking backwards in his ACME rubber band, building up energy for a March launch straight into a canyon wall. If all the diaspora make a March party I think I might need to rent a tent.

For now, I am off to bike around the park before the heat hits. Having taken a few weeks off this will be one of those days where I think I can do things that I can't and then I hurt for several days after.