Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I am just hemorrhaging money right now. The van has become a bottomless pit of repairs and governmental fees. I was unaware of the thirty day rule on title transfer and thus just spent 247 dollars to get Missouri plates on my formerly Minnesotan van – two hundred in penalties. The only good news that I have on the car front is that I am trading my sister vehicles for the weekend so Jes and I can get Jetta mileage and safety on the roundtrip to Wisconsin. She gets around thirty MPG compared to my seventeen, so that will save me at least seventy five dollars on the cost of this trip. Blah – must go – I have papers to grade.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Some days you wake up and you’ve just got quiet in you. Quiet is good for getting things done. I’ve been meaning to redo my bar display shelf for awhile. I had taken many of my “treasures” of forties through sixties barware up the antique mall when I was playing that sell stuff at a mall game. The ones that didn’t walk needed to be shelved. With three months of disuse my remaining bar kitsch has gone all dusty as well, so I washed everything and crafted a new arrangement. I found some things that I’d been missing but thinking about.

I found a packet of Forget Me Not seeds that The Women’s Safe House had sent me in thank you for some volunteer heavy lifting, so I planted those in two little brass trays and set them out to see if they’ll germinate this late.

I also found this triangular piece of wood that belongs on the bottom of a wind chime. I found my drill and made a hole such that I could string the wood onto the bottom of the chime that I have out on the back porch and after several tries I got the hole the right size to slip the string through. Our fall cookouts will have a little more music to them.

I found my mother’s bone chopsticks that she brought back from Japan during one of our furloughs from the mission field in New Guinea. I was worried that I’d lost those when R moved out. You never really know everything you’ve lost when you separate. Three years out this October, I’m finally losing more of the loss.

You might know my friend Beth. She has a blog linked in my sidebar. Yesterday we (some of our extended group of friends) moved Beth into her new condo. Beth and I were roommates in college for three years. We met at the Days Inn that we were both managers at. The house we rented belonged to another manager, Laura, who had moved out to the country and seemed unable to sell her city house. That was a great house. I should have bought that house, slug farm and all. I miss the fireplace, the back deck, and the friends we shared that house with over the years.

At first Beth’s family didn’t know what to make of Beth living with a man. Initially, despite being unsure what to make of the situation, they said they were glad to have a man’s voice on the answering machine because of some problems Beth had had of the stalker variety. As they got to know me they began to see me as another part of their family. Beth and I are like siblings. I’ve fed her parents and brother at numerous BBQs and her mom has even bought me a bottle of booze or two (or more) over the years. Beth’s mom is very curious about this new woman I am seeing. She keeps tabs. It’s very endearing.

Beth has been unsure about staying in St. Louis, she’s devoted to her family on the opposite side of Missouri and a life in Kansas City would be closer, but this is where her job is and this is where we are, her chosen extended family of friends, so she’s gone and done it now. She’s sunk her finances and life plan into a piece of property that suits her well. Of course I’m glad she’ll be staying.

Lately Beth has developed a new tag line that she uses around me. She says, “Oops, did I say that out loud?” Beth, Jes and I were sitting at our table at Karen’s wedding and I was telling some story about Karen that involved me mentioning my ex R and what she may or may not have thought about something. Beth said, “Who the fuck cares what R thought about anything. Oops, did I say that out loud?”

That’s the way of it. I help Beth move and she helps me move on.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Us-ness Already in Progress:

Yeah, so I don’t post as much as I used to and the reasons for that are primarily related to my schedule. It’s full. I have to accept that I am a planner and something of a social coordinator, which means I am generally off being social. What’s new about that?

Right now, for the last two months anyway, I have been on a sort of never ending first date. As Jes and I had enough history together to begin to reflect on when we started dating and what those dates involved we had some trouble, we still have trouble, with the timeline. We’d met a few times before she went to Australia for the International Glass Arts Conference.

Our first longer conversations were at Cicero’s after a Third Friday event, at several Circle K BBQs, and at her going away party for Australia. She sent me a postcard from Australia and I kept up with her blog. Before she left on her trip my sister told her travel trips for Australia and I gave her a list of my favorite things to do on Oahu for her Hawaii stop on the return trip. Without really knowing it, we each had each other simmering on the back burner.

We met through our friends Chris and Vanessa and it was at Vanessa’s last birthday party that we started to feel like we were on a date – we just sort of fell into step. When she left my house late that night after a day in the wine country, part of a concert at The Highpoint, and breakfast at IHOP we hugged goodbye and she spun a little circle after she walked out the door, like she wasn’t sure what had just happened. I’d said, “Hmmm” as we hugged and she just wasn’t sure what that hmm meant. I had told an anecdote that night about being so bored that I had started swapping fish among my various tanks for entertainment. She told me to call if I was ever that bored again.

A few days later I got home from class and was wired for sound. School had been interesting and my mind was up and running from a great discussion. I called John to see if he wanted to go out and he had to call me back to check on a conflict. While I was waiting for the callback I decided to call Chris and get Jes’s number. I called her cell and found her shopping at the Kohl’s over by my sister’s house. I told her I was bored and she offered to come and get me for some Uncle Bill’s breakfast food. We spent the next several hours doing life stories over pancakes and bottomless coffee. We discovered that we both took a year off between high school and college to figure ourselves out a little better. That’s an odd thing to have in common and really just the tip of the iceberg. I loaned her a book that night and told her to call me when she was bored. She called the next morning.

Like Vanessa’s birthday, each of our subsequent dates started with one planned activity that would blend into another and then another still until when we look back it’s hard to say which date went with which events. An example would be the day we met up at The Bottle Works for a local business fair that she was tabling at, followed by getting fresh basil plants from their resident gardener, followed by junk shopping at the Bastille Day festival in Soulard, followed by going to the Broadway Oyster Bar for a meal and catching a band that we’d coincidentally seen earlier that day at The Bottle Works, followed by Howl’s Moving Castle at the Tivoli, followed by some other film on DVD.

All of those early dates, up until today and beyond have a quality of being one long endless date where we just keep finding ways to keep boredom at bay through the presence of each other. Now we’re in that shuffling stage where all our people meet each other and get used to the us-ness already in progress.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

OK – let’s go for a more dramatic post.

Jason and Tif are in town primarily to see their friend Gina. It’s twenty four hours into their visit and they have yet to see her. Gina was the maid of honor at their wedding. Gina has five, no wait, six large tattoos of fairies and likes to tell people that she isn’t wearing underwear, regardless of their interest in the relative truth value of this utterance and unrelated to her relative interest in proving it. Gina is trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool. So we are theoretically meeting Gina out for pool later with the boy she met (hooked up with) in Vegas who is from Tennessee but in St. Louis for a wedding. So what happens in Vegas sometimes ends up in St. Louis.

We were supposed to have them over to BJ’s sister’s today for a BBQ but instead watched them reenact the classic Disney argument among the crows on the wire in Dumbo, “What do you want to do? I don’t know. What do you want to do?” Rinse and repeat. They are now off experiencing the wonders of The Arch, which I have vowed never to go up in again if I can help it; four hours of wait for three minutes of “huh”. I find the destruction of an African American neighborhood in order to build The Arch an interesting extreme of the “white wash” historical phenomena, especially when you throw in a museum of westward expansion that frames the seizure of lands from the Indians. It’s certainly an ironic centerpiece for a monument that exists because of the federal seizure of lands primarily from a minority group.

Ah well, Jes and I are off to the zoo to see a gnu, cause you really ought to g-know wha-who’s wha-who. I am developing a new philosophy called Vaudevillianism, loosely based on a combination of the Samkhya-karika, the yoga sutras of Patanjali, and the aphorisms of W.C. Fields.


It’s three a.m. – later actually – and I am just home from Jes’s B-day. As an ancillary treat I got roasted by BJ and Jason for my boring blog of late – not that it’s not a generally boring blog – but it’s been really bad lately what with all the birthdays of dead novelists and recipes. Apparently the lawyer boys are long time skimmers of my blog and treated me to a friars style impression of my writing with highlights such as Karl writes about his fish, Karl spends weeks telling us how to ride a bike, here’s what Karl had to eat this week and you’ll never guess what temperature he cooked it at... I guess that the irony is that the performance was so detailed as to assure me that as boring as I get on this blog, they are still often bored to such a degree with their own lives that they’ll take the time to read about mine.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

First Borges and now Cortazar!!! All my favorite Latin American writers and my girlfriend have birthdays this week!!!

It's the birthday of novelist Julio Cortazar, born in Brussels, Belgium to Argentine parents (1914).


Somewhere a thief is warm and I dry. Not I. I am soaked to the bone. I got hit by a monsoon walking from the train to my car. My shoes may be ruined. My shirt & shorts are now hanging in the shower. Ah well, such is life.


So, it’s not really bad luck so much as bad planning when people take things from you. I misjudged my account balance and went nine dollars negative. That nine dollars has cost me around ninety dollars in fees after reducing them from a much uglier number by arguing with a bank manager. Two phone calls didn’t work. I had to go there and get in her face yesterday. The bank is in business to take whatever money it can from its clients. When the dust settles I am joining Jes’s credit union, cutting up my debit card, and returning to the cash economy.

Today, when I briefly left my table at the UMSL Millennium Center to put sugar in my awful coffee, someone stole my umbrella. I walked up to the train station to see if I could find the thief and ask for it back, but apparently they made their getaway before I noticed the theft.

I’m not so used to theft. Jes parents recently had the plates stolen off their car and an expensive bicycle taken from their garage. Neither of the thefts were a big deal. David was calling it the hidden tax of city life, but even little thefts leave you feeling sad about human nature.

When was the last time you were stolen from?


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Happy Borges (bore-hace) Day:

It's the birthday of short story writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges, (books by this author) born in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1899). His mother was a translator. She translated many English and American writers into Spanish including Hawthorne, Woolf and Melville. And Borges was encouraged to read English from an early age. He fell in love with Dickens, Twain, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

He studied in Europe, moved back to Argentina, and got a job in a library. He worked his way up to be director of the National Library of Buenos Aires. He was able to do his work in just one hour every morning so he could spend the rest of his day wandering through the stacks and reading and writing.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Anyone a Bruce Campbell fan? We can walk down and meet him.

One Night Only!
Thursday, August 25 at the Tivoli Theatre!
Bruce Campbell IN PERSON for Book Signing,
Followed by Q&A and Film Screening!
Director/co-writer Bruce Campbell stars as William Cole, a wealthy industrialist and ruthless businessman who goes looking for a tax shelter in the former Eastern European bloc, only to wind up the guinea pig for a mad scientist, who merges Cole’s brain with that of Yegor (Vladimir Kolev), a former KGB operative. The two couldn't be more different, but they share one thing—both were killed by the same woman (Tamara Gorski). William and Yegor form an unlikely partnership to track down their common nemesis. Co-stars Ted Raimi, Stacy Keach, Antoinette Byron and Remington Franklin. Official Web Site
Bruce Campbell writes about filming in Bulgaria


Blah. I want to be excited about being back in school, but I had some timing issues with my bank today and that sort of took all the wind out of my sails. The fees these people charge are insane. I have more than had enough and I am switching banks. I am considering switching to Commerce or to a credit union. It’s emotionally exhausting being broke all the time. I’ve been sacrificing for my education for how many years now? The payoff is when? When the lotto hits.


Back in classes, yes I am. There is one other M.Ed. student in my Psychology of Exceptional Children class. I haven’t felt like a nontraditional student much in my education, but I will in this class. The median age of the students is twenty one and the instructor can’t be more than twenty five – she is pregnant and due in September so we went over the maternity plan today because her three weeks off could really start at any time. I have a secondary instructor for the class that I will be meeting with next week to give me the additional work that will turn this into a graduate class. I just need to keep with the mantra that I will get out of any class what I put into it. Anyway, it’s off to grammar and financial aid.

Jes had some good news from UMSL if you haven’t heard. She’s going to be able to transfer her Absent Water show to the UMSL gallery in The Galaxy downtown as part of an active instructor installation. So the one night only show will get a long run in a new space after all. Go see some shots of the show over at Fuzzy’s page.


Monday, August 22, 2005

As my father would say, "Well, that's it then."

Summer is officially over. I spent much of today in lines getting various widgets in order for my classes that start tomorrow. Just as classes start the heat breaks. It's only going to be in the mid eighties tomorrow and might be getting down into the fifties this weekend. Figures.

I am over at Kat's house where she has just served Jes and I an evening meal of roasted chicken and other sundries. Jes had her food modified a bit as she is getting a root canal on Wednesday and has an open hole right now where the tooth used to be. They are only going to kill two of the three roots, so she's got that going for her, which is nice - a great way to start your teaching week. We spent part of the afternoon prepping the ceramics studio at UMSL - I got to shelve molds while she did lots of general cleaning. Our schedules don't match up too well, so despite our shared presence on campus, we won't be doing lunch.

What have I been thinking about as the page turns? As I was biking down Clayton road Sunday morning at one a.m. in the throng of people that was the Moonlight Ramble I remembered that last year I had been in a car obstructed by this same event. I was thinking about this as I approached the intersection of Clayton and Big Bend, the same intersection I was stuck waiting at the year before. It's odd to have a year of your life framed by an intersection and the right of way tension between man and motor, a figurative imagining in the crosshairs of two streets that I have lived and worked along for a significant part of the past twenty one years, since I fist moved to St. Louis in 1984.

What's it all mean? Bill says it well in Broken Flowers: The past is gone, the future isn't here yet, so all you've got is now.

I enjoyed riding in the ramble with Jes's Nephew Brad. He was kind of all over the road and sped up and slowed down a lot so I mostly just paced myself to him. He seemed like a good kid. He attends a religious school so his classes actually started the next day - Sunday. We tried to convince him to use the all night ride to up his coolness factor with the other kids. Late nights out in the world are intrinsic cool at his age.

I feel like I should write more about Karen's wedding or the Blues Travelers show on Sunday, which were both a lot of fun, but I am already in school mode and should really by studying for a placement grammar test.

My brain has not been working so well and I am once again concerned about the meds I am on. It took me much longer today then it should have to plot out my weekly schedule. I kept looking at these pages of information and couldn't get them to make clear interpretive sense. This bodes well for grammar testing does it not. I may well be doomed to two semesters of diagramming sentences. I should not over react to a little exhaustion, after reading what I did over the weekend it's clear I just need some water and some sleep.

It's Jes's 30th Birthday and Jason/BJ will be up this weekend so I need to make advanced strides on any and all work that crops up this week. Then Jes and I are off to Wisconsin the following weekend for Labor Day. I like the too much to do world at this end of it, where the fight still seems exciting, coated as it is with anticipation.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ouch. Friday night Jes had her show and it went really well. Unfortunately an event was booked into the space she was in for the following day, so after the show and photographs a few of us helped her strike. We went up to the Scottish Arms and had a late meal after. We were in training for last night.

A college and graduate school friend of mine Karen got married in the afternoon, we killed a couple of hours over at Jes’s parent’s house after the ceremony and then we hit the reception at the old Lemp Brewery. Karen and John are big music people so they had a local bluegrass band The Flying Mules play through dinner; after the meal and toasts etc. Hudson and The Hoo Doo Cats played swing and rockabilly so we got our legs warmed up with some dancing – legs warmed up for …..

A fifteen mile bike ride under a full moon – we left the reception, picked up our bikes at circle K, met Fuzzy here and biked the 1.5 to the Muny for the start of The Moonlight Ramble. There was talk of eleven thousand participants. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to feeling like a locust. We had to walk the first half mile of the ramble because the bikes were packed in too close.

Given our busy schedule we just did the short eleven mile course instead of the twenty mile long course through downtown, we met Jes’s dad Gary and her nephew Brad at the start of the tour and had fun riding together through mostly Clayton and Brentwood. So we got done with that around 3:30 a.m. Yikes! Now I am told that Blues Travelers are giving a free show tonight at 8p.m. downtown at the levee, so the weekend has more in store if our muscles can manage.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Plans within plans:
(I need to reread Dune)

Jes has her show opening Friday night at Third Degree so some of the tribe are gathering here at circle K around seven p.m. Friday to go over together and ease the traveling of people who haven’t been there before. Let me know if you want to join us here first so we’ll know to wait for you. We’ll probably leave circle K around seven ten.

I have to go hold office hours for work soon, as I switched them to tonight from my usual Fridays to accommodate the opening. Today has been a drift around the city day as I had several errands and also took care of my sister’s Weimaraners for an hour. They are finally beginning to mellow a bit with age. Silver is getting fixed next week so that should slow her down a little.

Graduate school friend Karen is getting married on Saturday to John so we have the wedding followed by the reception and then Jes and I will be doing the Moonlight Ramble after the reception with her dad and nephew, so it’s looking like a full weekend. We might grill on Sunday, depending on exhaustion and the weather.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Recently stolen from Jen. I've done this one before and got the same result. I blame Steve, my backyard rabbit.

You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.


The bunnies do Rocky Horror!!!! (Thanks Keri)


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Wump, wump, wump… vacation all I ever wanted, vacation have to get away. I’d like to get out of dodge, but we will be rejoining a life already in progress when my classes start on Tuesday. I’m still planning on a Labor Day escape to cheese land. Keri asked me about my Wisconsin roots – most of my extended family lives around Lake Winnebago – that’s the big lake just in from Green Bay on your map. My mom came from a very big family and then she had a big family so I have uncles and cousins in a line that stretches from Decatur Illinois all the way up to Rheinlander Wisconsin, where my uncle Dave owns the roller rink.

Our family farm is in Navarino, so that’s home base. I lived in Milwaukee until I was eight and in Brillion until I was twelve. Then I became a Missourian and have been one since, but for six months as a Californian and a summer as a Carolinian. I’ve been to most of the fifty states, but I like Missouri well enough to keep it as my home. Mary says that St. Louis residents are provincial, maybe so. I’m a big fan of our city and am paying some bizarre academic dues to find work here.

I did my stint as a representative listener last night for The Red radio station. You can see me in the back on the left if you look here. They paid me twenty bucks and gave me pizza. It was fun really. As I said to Brad by way of explaining my interest in participating in this little marketing widget, “Who knows why I do anything. It’s all a big mystery to me as well.”

We got to tour the studios of several stations. Most of them were on automatic pilot. They tape the overnight shows and most people leave by six p.m. unless they are doing demographic twenty questions with groups like ours. I nearly knocked a signed Metallica guitar off the wall as the hallways were quite tight. It was odd to stand in the K-SHE booth and watch the inert vinyl gather dust while the ghosts of prerecording made it all sound live for the masses. All five Emmis Communication radio stations are in that one hallway promoting synergy all day long. The Red is completely digital and is run via a touch screen linked to a large database. Jeff Burton gave us a crash course in running everything and was quite personable and knowledgeable.

After the tour they did an hour long round table discussion with us that they videotaped and they also piped it into a viewing room for the station staff. Christy Carson had been hanging out with our group and just about tackled me with a big hug after the round table. I think I may have said of few things that the DJ’s had been trying to covey to management for some time. Anyway, it was good time and several of us repeatedly conveyed our desire to hear a greater range of music. The Red has become known for being repetitious and has lost some listeners because of that. To paraphrase Shakespeare, swing’s the thing wherein you’ll catch the conscience of the king.

After the thing I went up to Third Degree to watch Jes work on her show. Shit. Now I have to learn how to blow glass, one more thing to put on my to-do list.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Michelle, Jen & I started playing this game over at Michelle's blog where we each wrote a paragraph or two for a short story. It seemed like we could set up a blog for this with some rules that we would agree on for weaving the stuff together. Who would like to play? What should the rules be? http://amalgamshortstories.blogspot.com/


I am one of those people who functions better when he has too much to do. I thrive on pressure. Given the freedom of an easy schedule I get nothing done. So, it looks like I’ll be in heaven with my overload of graduate classes. I took fourteen hours over the summer and I just registered for fifteen hours in the fall. I am waiting for a special consent number to grant me my overload. On top of this I will be teaching two to three classes this fall – I am still waiting on my final schedule there and I will be doing some volunteer work/hourly work for Kat’s not for profit.

My five classes are modern grammar, teaching English in the secondary school, teaching reading in the special education environment, an internship at a local high school, and secondary education curriculum. I love school. I need to get my Ph.D. in English, but honestly I am finding all of this education training very interesting. Lord knows I could use a good grammar class. I am actually expecting that to be my most challenging class. Will I get a job offer from the PR firm that makes me drop all this? It would have to be a sweet offer. I am more expecting them to try me out with a little consulting work. Despite the five classes I have Mondays and Fridays open, so I do have lots of flex time available.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Meticular Motion:

My van is not a healthy van. Jes finally convinced me to take it into the garage since the vibration in the front end at highway speed had gone beyond noticeable. I needed two new tie rods in the front end, new battery cables, and my tags are up so I got the Missouri inspection; all that for the low, low price of 380 dollars. I also need axel work to the tune of 240 bucks, and I need it yesterday. The budget is already bruised from the tie rods so I called home to see what the fatherly fix it advice was. Dad had a surprise for me.

My father and one of my uncles knew that I was in the market for a motorcycle and so they talked a shoestring relation out of a Suzuki 850 with only 14,000 miles on it. It hasn’t been turned over in several years so they spent today getting the rust out of the gas tank. You can’t argue with the price, they got it for free. The trade price was removing it from a garage. I have to help work on it a bit when I go up and then drive it home from Wisconsin. I’ve decided to go up for Labor Day and bring it back, if it’s fully functional by then.


Karl’s made up recipe based on what was around the kitchen tonight:

Mix marinade:

½ bottle dry red wine
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dry thyme
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 chicken breasts
Some baby carrots
Sea salt and fresh black pepper everywhere in everything at every stage of cooking

Marinate chicken for one hour

One box Rotini pasta el dente

Lightly flour chicken and brown in olive oil
Place in baking dish surrounded by Rotini
Slice up the large tomato Kelly brought over and cover chicken with slices
Deglaze frying pan with reserved marinade
Add one can tomato sauce and simmer

When carrots soften, pour sauce over chicken and pasta
Thinly slice the small tomatoes from Kelly and cover the dish with them
Coat the top of the dish with parmesan and bake at 350 until the cheese is golden brown

Serve at 10 pm and then watch kung fu movies


Sunday, August 14, 2005

From Karl's stat counter...

Recent keyword searches that have landed people at my blog:
17.69%chet breed mo
17.69%syberg's chicken wings recipe
17.69%creve cour boat race
17.69%ruler fiddle rome burn
17.69%heroin punch gas ko
17.69%heal your body louise l hay missed heartbeats
17.69%recipes carna asada
17.69%supersonic gin & tonic drink recipe
17.69%belleview angela blog
17.69%is there a hobby shop in the loop of saint louis
17.69%fulcrum monkey
17.69%yenshi baby
17.69%tricked out chevy equinox

That's a humorous list.


Did you know that the first ever public demonstration of radio was not done by Marconi in 1895, but here in St. Louis by Nicola Tesla in 1893? Fascinating.


I finally got around to updating my links, check out the new folks on the roster as many of the new people in my life are bloggers.


Slowing down:

My seemingly infinite to do list ran out of gas on Friday and I find myself in a weekend where there isn’t actually much of anything that I should be doing. Even laundry, dishes and vacuuming are caught up on. If I wanted to create some work I suppose I could file my recent financial paperwork, but that aside I really am in relax mode.

The weather finally broke with a series of impressive Missouri thunderstorms that knocked out the power more than once last night and gave several of my plants adventures in motion. True to form I decided to have a few people over in that last minute sort of way, because nothing says BBQ like a squall line. I set the grill up in the entrance to the garage and cooked the storm away. Charcoal does not require electricity.

I did a three meat meal with Cajun chicken BBQ, Venison, and teriyaki salmon (and teriyaki vegetable kabobs). Trader Joe’s really has high quality salmon. I made Jes my Salmon Lucerne the other day with salmon from Schnuck’s grocery and I had some salmon left over from that, so we got to do a side by side quality comparison. The Schnuck’s was a dollar fifty more per pound and much lower on a quality scale.

Karl’s Salmon Lucerne:

Baste cookware with olive oil – some mid size bake ware
Salmon as per the number of guests
Fresh lemon juice over salmon then add to bake ware
Fresh dill over salmon and salt/pepper to taste

In a bowl combine two cups sour cream, two raw eggs, and one half cup fresh grated parmesan. Hand mix and pour over salmon to cover when smooth. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the top browns. You’ll want to use a deep pan as the top will swell like a soufflé. I dust the top with another layer of cheese. This makes a very rich meal, so watch out.

So of course you’ve figured out by now that Jes and I are dating. I think we’re at six weeks or so. I’d like to impress her with my cooking, but her step dad David is a much better cook than me. My best dishes get me as far as showing potential.

The other night David did several courses for Jes and a group of friends beginning with a Caprese salad with fresh a sweet basil pesto
A chilled potato soup with fresh cilantro
A three been salad with fresh rosemary
And grill roasted chicken with fresh everything
Followed by a seedless watermelon for desert

When she first was telling her family about the new boy she told David that I cook with cast iron. She’s over at the glass studio this morning getting ready for her show on Friday.
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The problem with dating someone this cool is that you need to up your own wattage. I feel like my wattage has been in the garage under a tarp for some time, but I can hear the crackling of a Tesla’s coil and that little needle on the amp gauge is beginning to register some current.


Friday, August 12, 2005

I am now on the advisory council for a local radio station - The Red - 104.7 My first meeting is Tuesday night. Anything you want me to tell them besides expand your freaking play list?


Blog, blog bloggity……

They have officially decided to rename St. Louis. The new name will be Blast Furnace Missouri. This is the worst summer I can remember for temperatures over 100 degrees. I’m actually getting used to 103 at it seems it be the norm.

What news have I for you? UMSL – The University of Missouri at St. Louis where we put the “Ummm…….” in education. I am once again facing proof hurdles to set up my classes for the fall. There was a hold up in my TSU transcripts followed by a hold up in my high school transcripts (as the woman who does them was on vacation – she got back Wednesday). I can’t register until it’s all sorted so I have an appointment to try again next Tuesday. Today I had to prove to the financial aid people that I am a citizen again with my passport and birth certificate. They have all that information on file from summer, but can’t look at it because now we’re talking about fall and the two folders are made of material that explodes when in contact with either reason or efficiency.

My grades are in for the summer – I’m a straight A student across the board. I got 832 point out of a possible 818 in that last class that I was doing all the marathon papers for. Since I was handing in so much at the end it seemed like a good idea to pad the points a bit with a little extra credit. Yup, I’m a grade whore.

I was going to go see Rams Vs. Bears preseason tonight with Tyler, but I had to give up my ticket so I can work. I forgot about work since I was there on Wednesday for a meeting it felt like I’d already done my duties for the week. I am trying to solidify a promotion so I need to be the very epitome of a company man.

I am meeting with the owner of a re-branding (high concept advertising) agency next week to talk about bringing me on in a creative capacity. I’ve spent a great deal of time this week making that meeting happen. There’s a scene in the movie The Hudsucker Proxy where the camera pans to the outer door of an office with shadows moving around behind the glass. The door says, “Creative Bullpen” on it. The men behind the door are arguing with each other over what to call the dingus – the invention – the hula hoop. One of my dream jobs is to be one of those guys. This is that job. Wish me luck.

I’ve found a motorcycle to match Jes’s Matilda. To match her Professional inspiration (the movie The Professional) I would have to call my bike Leon (dorks on bikes – buy them many fez). I have a friend who wants to sell me his Suzuki 800 intruder, which is the big brother of her Suzuki in the same line. I just need to come up with the money – always my dilemma – I need a shot of good financial karma. This non advertising job pays well. It pays double my best salary ever. When I first started hanging out with Jes and I told her about the early interest feelers that are leading up to this meeting I called the situation my Faustian dilemma. I have been so broke for so long that I might be willing to make the proverbial devil deal to live a livable life with madcap luxuries like health insurance and the occasional trip to a dentist.

It’s raining here. I’ve been a little melancholy this week. I know it’s the heat and the wrinkles of uncertainty about my immediate professional future. I have to watch the desire to sleep all the time because exhaustion could be a symptom that something is going wrong with the medicine I’m taking. I need to accept that a certain amount of Weltshmerz comes with the territory in my psyche, so that even when things are going very well I’m just going to be a little bit sad.

Rousseau said that he would have been much happier if he’d never been educated. He had all these romantic notions about man’s essentially good nature evidenced by the noble savage. If you’re a compassionate person, then an education into what man, natural or not, does to his fellow man on a daily basis will lob wrenches the size of helicopters into Rousseau’s philosophical optimism. I like Rousseau. I’d like to have him over for dinner. The glass is the glass is the glass.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I just spent the last three hours grading twenty papers and clarifying future assignments. I managed to bloody my cut finger in the process which has allowed me to erroneously feel virile about all these white collar machinations. Stupid boy. Students, I bleed for you… I sliced the middle finger of my right hand open on a broken ceramic pot while landscaping at BJ’s. It’s deep but not stitches deep.

John just called off poker at his house for this Thursday. Is there any interest in a Thursday night game here? Perhaps that stuff is better on a weekend. I was just thinking about running up to the ville on Saturday to try and get the bus again. Chris, would your previously discussed friend have any interest in an ill fated quest? I have a trucker friend up there who claims to be able to get anything running so if your friend isn’t game I’ve got a local backup.

Blah. I have a lot of things to accomplish this week and I am feeling the pressure from yesterday’s slugfest. I’ve talked to a number of people who are down because of the unending heat. Even if you do nothing, that nothing is exhausting in heat like this. I’ve lost another two pounds, but it could just be water weight. I’m actually only ten pounds off my goal weight for an optimal heart healthy lifestyle based on my age and height. I need to get my pressure checked to see how I am doing there.

We have a new canine in the neighborhood. Katie’s greyhound Rocky has arrived from his reeducation camp in Texas. He was a racing dog for four years, but has been spending the past few months getting socialized to people, other dogs, and staircases. Apparently track dogs can’t manage stairs. Who knew? He and Sebastian seemed to get along fine so that’s a very good thing.

Katie had the backyard fenced in to make her eligible for the adoption, but Sebastian got out chasing a rabbit the other night so we’ll see if this leggy greyhound, trained from birth to chase the fallen form of a rabbit, can handle his encounter with the real thing. I’ve got Clockwork Orange inspired visions of this Greyhound watching films of rabbits dancing in his Texas breeder’s compound, while unpleasant stimuli operant his conditioning. In related news yesterday was Jean Piaget’s birthday.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Once upon a time I was a music guy. I used to spend my spare dollars on the discount bin in Camelot music and I hade a huge tape collection (and even a few records). When we were going to have a party people would expect me to make the mixed tape. The world has turned a few times since then. I sold most of my cassettes years ago in the ville to Chuck Reinhart at Reinhart’s Music. He gave me a buck apiece for them and I bought a keg of Milwaukee’s Best with the proceeds.

Like many people, I have around a hundred CDs that I’ve gradually accumulated over the past fifteen years. I know the number as I just got a binder that holds 136 disks and I couldn’t fit all of mine. I noticed as I filed them by genre that none of them are new. The last two wide release disks I bought were a Sinatra compilation and an old Ella Fitzgerald Columbia anthology, and I bought those more than two years ago. Most of my new CDs that I buy come from bar bands that I actually go to see.

Every once in awhile I have friends who turn me onto stuff by burning it for me. One of my employees back in the book store got me into Chicane, Diane hooked me up with Sakamoto Casa, Royce turned me on to The Spaghetti Western String Company, Vanessa and Chris burn their friends all kinds of things including the recent Saddle Creek release Bright Eyes.

I am going through a lot of changes right now. I’ve felt really frozen for a couple of years and music is one of the things that I used to love and chase that just stopped mattering to me for awhile. So as a manifestation of what I am now calling the thaw I went out yesterday and bought a new CD. It’s a goofy and fabulous cultural artifact that I think you should at least hear once, if not own.

I was driving and decided to turn on NPR. Instead of the usual chat there was a song playing, something big band and familiar but that I couldn’t quite place. There’s nothing so unusual about a song on NPR, and I figured that the interview piece in which this song was nested would explain all. I actually didn’t have to wait for an explanation as I recognized the lyric – I was listening to a fabulous big band cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Paul Anka has a new disk out called Rock Swings with some astounding big band arrangements. After the NPR sell I bought it last night for that one song and was rewarded by several genius arrangements. This is my new party CD. He takes few fast songs and slows them down to ballads, but for the most part these are very up swing tracks. The Nirvana cover is one of the best, but not the best on the CD. On most of the songs I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you, but if the prospects of a swing version of Eye Of the Tiger doesn’t have you off to the store, then maybe this disk is not for you. This is not just kitsch, these songs are very well arranged and took Jes and I from “no they didn’t” expressions of disbelief to dancing in the kitchen.

Yeah. Jes and I. She’s a good swing dancer.

We went and saw the new Jim Jarmusch film yesterday, Broken Flowers. I can’t do either the film or the Slate review justice, so go read that, it’s a work of art in its own right.


Strange day:

I slept in and had a late lunch. I fell back asleep while watching Spirited Away and now it’s 5:15 already. I’m not sure where the day went. I guess I’ve been really busy for several days now in the heat and it just caught up with me. I got enough done yesterday to warrant a day off, so it’s fine that I took one. I just hadn’t planned on it and I just sneezed. Shit. I hope this isn’t a later summer cold.

This just in, pictures of the landscaping and BJ’s new pad, BJ’s new dog Rowdy and 5,000 dollars in law books recently transported to his office by yours truly.

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Living Room Furniture:

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Half a House:
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We didn’t take a before picture, but before we started the planters had broken pots in them and the middle was defined by a row of old cinder blocks. We replaced the grey blocks with this tan brickwork.

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We bought enough for three tiers, but decided to encircle a struggling plant in the yard with a circle of stones.

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We put eight bags of dirt in the planters and another eight in the middle.

The planters got Japanese Boxwoods in the back and Green Mounding Junipers in front.
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He can cut the Juniper Bonsai style if he wants.
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We put three Hibiscuses in the center and then mulched everything in with a few inches of the red stuff.

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So all this education is good for something after all.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Hi Sue,

You read the whole thing? Really? You probably know me better than I know me now. Looking forward to meeting you, I hope I came out ok in the telling.




We’re in a planning phase here at Fulcrum Monkey. Several career paths have opened themselves up and we are taking steps, weighing our options. In short, we are planning. We know, as you do dear reader, that opportunity is not a lengthy visitor. So, we’ll till the soil and see what blooms first.

Sebastian had twenty four hours plus by himself this weekend due to poor roommate communication, but all is well. He had food and water aplenty, and left us choice deposits to signal his dissatisfaction. As the first on the scene responder M.B. was kind enough to deal with the situation in an organic way and shall be thanked with a boon of gin.

Typing is not pleasant for me as I sliced my finger tip deeply while landscaping BJ’s house this weekend, it was a gusher for a bit changing the water from the garden hose red. So for now I’ll leave you to ponder the eternal mysteries and type more when my cut heals a bit. I have a long to do list this week but might make it up to Fredrick’s tonight to catch whatever cinematic offering is in the offing.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Traveling: I am blogging from the law offices of Mr. BJ in Springfield MO. It's nice work if you can get it. I came down here last night after work with an Enterprise rental van filled to the gills with law books and furniture that his sister had been keeping for him in St. Louis. I think today we might just do a redesign on the front of his place - a little landscaping - you know the drill. I am at the moment camera less - so you'll get no pictures - I suppose it is a standard dwelling, but larger than what you'd see in my locality. His backyard could fit both a washers set up and I think two volleyball courts (not exaggerating) - of course you'd have to leave room for the neighbor's volleyball team as it's a duplex. He renting currently to his secretary's parents. I'm not sure if they prefer sand or hard court so we'll need to check with them before we hit the homo depot.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Wow, I just got an unexpected promotion at the job I can’t talk about. I guess I can’t talk about any specifics, but in general terms let’s just say that I will be doing more and more interesting work for them in the fall – which of course means more money, which pays more bills, which….etc.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

45 pages double space on eight separate assignments - a power point presentation - and a WebQuest later and I am done with summer classes. Time to pop a near beer I do believe....


Kat thought updates would be fun.

Microteaching and asessment papers are done, as are two of the mostep standard rationales - so I have one to go there. I think I'll get the typing up of the journal and tutorial experiences out of the way next followed by the observation assessemnt/3 manual activities and leave the webquest in the cooperative lesson plan for the afternoon.


I started with the longest individual paper that I have to write today - the professional development seven pager - I just finnished the final edit so it's onto the papers based on the miroteaching of a concpet lesson on "paradigm shift" that I did last night. I get to watch myself teach on video and write a paper on it. Then I get to grade an assignment I gave out after my teaching and write two short papers on the rubric and the results of that asessment. Then it's just typing up my journal and tutorial notes, writing a paper on a cooperative inquiry lesson, writing a webquest, writing three rationales for my professional portfolio based on papers that haven't been graded yet, and three or four other short papers and I'll be done!


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

There are 600 plus points in the class I am now in. I have only been graded on 200 of those points thus far and the class ends tomorrow night. I also have a job fair tomorrow on which my Fall employment depends. I got the dry cleaning this morning and started writing papers. I have written four papers today so far in excess of twenty pages and have many more to crank out. I also have a deadline on grading some papers that bluntly I am not going to make. It’s a simple question of priorities. I needed some down time last night so I watch Harold etc goes to White Castle – yeah – don’t watch this film. There is a tagline on the box that suggests it’s one of the funniest films of the year. They may be right, which is a sad comment on the state of American comedy.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Blog – blog – blggity – focus! – psyche rant

I’ve just finished my last exam for psychology and I got an A which means that I don’t have to take the comprehensive final and I have an A for the class, so one less thing to worry about. I now have two hundred short papers to write for my final education class of the summer and they are all do by Thursday. I am doing a quick round trip to Springfield MO this weekend to see BJ’s new place and truck him some left behind furniture from his sister. I am going to be well and truly fried by the time I get all these papers in, but I am relieved that all my tests for my current course work are now behind me.

I am just doing a little prewriting here, so don’t get your hopes up. I’m not insight chasing of late, just setting them up and knocking them down. Mary has a friend in from California that she is currently taking to the emergency for some kind of infection or sepsis in an old surgical wound. They might spend their visit together in a ward. Eek!

Liz had her baby up in Chicago. He was born back on the 22nd and she just got in touch with the wider circle of friends – Alexander Robert has all his fingers and toes, so I’ll post pictures soon. (12:23pm 8lbs 12oz 21.5" - he was also clocked at 2mph, which is fairly fast for a newborn)

I got a long motorcycle ride in on Saturday last, transporting Jessica’s new Suzuki Savage 650 to its latest refuge of licensing hibernation. I haven’t seen Seth around in a bit, but if you’re still lurking Seth we need to get working on a two wheel solution to all my psychological needs.

I was going to complain about the state of that disciple for a moment. The statistics I was just tested over indicate that eighty percent of Americans who experience what are considered to be treatable mental health episodes do not seek professional help. Is this surprising to anyone? I am reminded of the old Steve Martin barber sketch from Saturday Night Live, “We used to think this disorder was caused by a small toad or dwarf living in the stomach, but now we know that its an imbalance of the bodily humors.” I couldn’t count the number of times that I read, “We don’t really know how this works, but it seems to…” in my textbook. That line preceded the description of several medications, including the potentially lethal Lithium (which they used to put in seven up to help counter balance Coca-Cola’s cocaine).

Vicki, I understand that playing Candy Land with kids can help a great deal, but are the medicated masses any better off? Obviously extreme cases require what intervention science can offer, but so much of what happens in terms of treatment and chemical dependency reminds me of early physicians paying dockhands to let them swap out their bodily fluids with the equivalents taken from sheep. A dockhand filled with sheep’s blood may help advance the course of science in interesting and affordable ways (probably not going to be spending his stipend), but I’d rather not be the modern dockhand for pharmacology’s march of progress.

I know for certain that some well meaning interventionist would have talked my parents into a diagnosis of ADD and got me medically mellow had I been born but a few years later. My fears could be seen as ironic in light of my occasional tendency to self medicate, but I trust Ben Franklin’s tautology linking spirits with an proof of divine goodwill a lot further than Freud’s fervent fecophiliacs diagnosing to the general detriment. The videos I had to watch, with their heightened vocabulary akin to pseudo science, “We call altruistic behavior altruism,” were laugh out loud funny examples of University pissing contests over ownership of semantic space. As an intellectual I am generally embarrassed by what passes for both knowledge and science in nearly every field of psychology that I have been exposed to.


For Angela B. from memory (correct me if I left anything out):

Teriyaki Kabobs

The main thing for this recipe is the overnight marinade – place all veggies and meat in the following (for a big party you may need to double these amounts)

¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup cooking wine, I prefer a dry sherry
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup pineapple juice – usually taken from the can of pineapples opened for the kabobs

2 table spoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
Black pepper and salt to taste – can do as much as 1 teaspoon for each