Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Vanessa has built/is building us a website for the wedding. Thank you Vanessa, it looks great!!


I had a little bit of a Murphy’s Law day today. I tried to go and rescue Jes from work as a large thunderstorm rolled into town. I was actually just swapping out vehicles, leaving her my van and driving her motorcycle home. Of course it started to rain before I got to her job and then there was nowhere to park. I eventually found a spot a block away and drove off on the slick, newly wet pavement. On the way home there was a huge accident on Grand Ave. right in front of me. Then I ran out of gas, in the rain. Luckily there is a reserve tank on the bike, which Jes reminded me of when I called to see about a rescue of my rescue, and I wasn’t in the accident, so it could have been much worse.

I think the heat is just making me grumpy. I hate heat. I would much rather be cold. My sleep schedule is all out of wack and that is making me grumpy as well. Here it is one in the morning and it feels like midday to me. I have to get off of the coffee and start exercising more so that I am sleepy at night. I think I am wound up without a proper outlet. School starts again soon and I got some prep materials in the mail today, so getting back to work – at least prep work – tomorrow will do me good.


I’ve decided to make an effort to blog more about weird irrelevancies in an effort to uncover Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces lurking in my cupboard.

Awhile back I was trying to solve the riddle of the cat and the large plants. How does one keep your cat from widening the circle of what counts as a litter box? I’d been told about seashells and little cactuses, but for reasons now lost in time, perhaps the immediacy of it, I had decided on chicken wire. While not all that aesthetic, it is certainly effective.

I bought chicken wire and a tin snips to sculpt and shape. I made several cut-to-fit domes to surround the plant bases and this worked. Geodesic militarism dissuades more than the gentlest of pawing and harms neither cat nor plant.

Lately I’ve been undoing this solution as I gradually find room outside for the plants and I may do something different this fall when they come back in, perhaps even a mix of cacti and seashells. It’s hard to say what I’ll do as we’ll have a new house in another city before I have to make those decisions.

The best part of my temporary solution has been the purchase of the tin snips. I have trimmed the roses with it, modified a new lid for one of the fish tanks, and I continue to find myriad uses for this brute and excessive scissors. So in a Walden-esque move of magnifying the mundane I would like to use my blog on this fine day to sing a song of tin snips; may your toolbox nary be without one.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Random thought related to the lack of conflict and accomplishment in this phase of life:

There is a universal binary at work: open and closed. Some people, situations, philosophies are open. Others are more closed off. Risk leads opportunity, but is counterbalanced by things like security. The constant opening and closing of everything creates states of dynamic tension. Orson Wells observed in The Third Man that war and conflict in Europe had driven the great masters to produce their works of cultural import while hundreds of years of peace in Switzerland had produced only the cuckoo clock.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

You Are Big Bird

Talented, smart, and friendly... you're also one of the sanest people around.

You are usually feeling: Happy. From riding a unicycle to writing poetry, you have plenty of hobbies to keep you busy.

You are famous for: Being a friend to everyone. Even the grumpiest person gets along with you.

How you life your life: Joyfully. "Super. Duper. Flooper."



Media, media, media… I am awash in a sea of mitigated experience. Jes bought us a PS 2 for my birthday and we have been playing a game called God of War, which is hands down the best video game of its type that I have ever played. It’s an action puzzle game akin to Tomb Raider. We stayed up last night until five a.m. solving puzzles and killing critters in a virtual, mythical ancient Greece.

We needed to vent some hostility, or at least I did, after a very painful viewing of X-men #3. Maybe if they’d hired a writer it wouldn’t have been so bad. There are a few special effects moments that I enjoyed, but for the most part it is a wait for video, or don’t see it at all, stink bomb of a franchise wrecker on a par with Cat Woman for worst film of the year (for many of the same reasons).

Our excited, Friday-night, huge theater crowd kept waiting for something, anything, to happen in this action movie with too much talking and not a talented scriptwriter for miles. If a film is going to be eighty percent dialogue you need to have the characters say a little bit more than yeah we’re X-men, yeah the school is worth fighting for, yeah (which is a succinct summary of all the speeches).

Eventually the crowd began to yell at each other because there was nothing happening on screen to channel their expectations into. The disappointment was tangible and after it was over there was a somber procession to the parking lot where tired parents tried to explain the unexplainable, how so many talented people could conspire to put such crap before a hard working and expectant audience.

I actually like the casting of Beast and his performance was one of the few, very few, redeeming qualities of the picture. It’s hard for me to write about the film because I had a horse in the race. I had a mountain of expectations and a familiarity with the world of X-men that was years in the making. The previous films had not only met, but had surpassed my expectations. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I hated this film.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Observations of insignificance from a life lived indoors. I putter around and make very small decisions.

We sucked it up and turned on the central air last night, it’s supposed to cook into the mid nineties over the weekend. It’s not the heat. It’s the fact that St. Louis is more humid than the jungles of Thailand. In high summer at the Missouri Botanical Gardens I duck into the tropical Climatron for relief (that’s the Buckminster Fuller dome with the mini rain forest). So anyway, it’s started. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We can’t really afford to run the air full blast all summer and there is also the little matter of our metabolisms. I phenotyped my genotype in Northern Wisconsin so that my favorite temperatures now range from the upper sixties into the lower seventies. Jes, on the other hand, spends so much time in front of glass blowing furnaces and firing kilns that she prefers things a little warmer. Our internal clocks are also a bit off in that I have been a morning person much of the past year, though that’s changed as my responsibilities have waned. I was up until five a.m. this morning watching Battlestar Gallactica and then I slept until noon. If time and temperature are our biggest hurdles I think we’ll do fine.

My dog is curled up next to me on the couch. He’s doing that thing were he’s wrapped his tail under his head so he’s as circular and small as he can get. He’s also snoring very lightly. Cute.

The cat kept attacking my toes in an effort to wake me up this morning. He’s deduced that the toe attack is a good way to get fed. He’s getting better at dodging thrown objects as well. I don’t think I hit him even once. I was impressed enough by his dodge ball prowess that I actually did get up and feed him.

I made a pitcher of iced coffee yesterday to leave in the fridge. This is a very good summer practice. I rarely drink more than two cups of hot coffee in a sitting, so I just pour the rest of the pot into the pitcher in the fridge.

While I was at work last night Jes stood up into an open kitchen cabinet door after bending down to get a juice lid off the floor. She got a slight cut on her scalp and went over to her parents for bandaging. So after I got off work I met her there. We had planned to go to a midnight show of X-men 3, but instead we watched (made fun of) The Hulk and David made us chicken breasts sautéed in capers and shallots with saffron rice and broccoli spears.

Work has been crazy, without telling you who or what they are (so as not to get Deuced) I can tell you that they are moving buildings and everything seems to be in chaos. There was a girl, a friend of mine, who was the go to girl for every emergency. She quit last week to go into real estate and the place is so suffering without her.

My check that I was supposed to get last Friday was sent with double the amount I normally get paid, they warned me that I was going to get this and that I should just cash it and not expect a check the following pay period. Then they told me that they were recalling the checks because everyone had been double paid and they would overnight me a correct check.

They did overnight the check, but not to me, and no one knew who had it. So I finally got last week’s check yesterday, which means that now I can pay my late car insurance. The upside is that I’ll get paid again next Friday and will feel all flush from laying low. There is no flush at this stage of life. There has been no generation so burdened with student loan debt as we. My goal is to kill my credit card debt before my loans kick back in next July. I think I can do it. I think I can, I think I can….


Thursday, May 25, 2006

I had to dig a sliver of wood out from under my fingernail tonight with a tweezers. You?


What kind of a summer are we going to have? It’s supposed to hit ninety degrees today and it just feels a little early for that. My brother Andy has been looking at the Midwest to relocate closer to family, but he remembers St. Louis summers and doesn’t think his wife could handle them.

They are in California now. I think it would be great if they moved closer. He has twin boys, Nick and Jake, who are going to be five in September and a younger son, my godson Michael, who will be two this fall. I’m thinking Minnesota is where they are going to end up. I like the twin cities, but it’s too cold up there for Jes. It looks like they are all going to be able to come for the wedding so we are looking at what hotels downtown are most affordable and have suites with kitchens that could accommodate the brood. Your suggestions are most welcome.

There’s a question hanging over me of late – what have I been doing? Mostly I’ve been sleeping – sleeping late and then taking several naps per day. I’ve been watching lots of TV and just generally drifting. I feel liked I burned the candle at both ends from May of last year right through until school ended in April.

I’ve been tinkering with my fish tanks. I’ve been reading short stories – nothing all that great so far. I’ve been doing a little cooking, spending time with my family and Jes’ family. I’ve been relaxing and recharging. I’ve been trying to get caught up on cleaning, but that seems endless. Jes and I both own too much clothing, even though we always look the same, and our laundry lives seem endless. Slightly dull domesticity is at times a welcome retreat, though not all that conducive to writing.

I start teaching again full time June twelfth, so there is an end to all this drift in sight. I should start prepping those classes soon.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Birthday – 33 – woke up at noon and am having a Bass Ale for breakfast. Back when I turned thirty-one I posted the following on this blog:

“Thirty one years ago this weekend my mother spent several hours in a hallway in a small hospital in Garoka, New Guinea bringing me into the world. I wasn’t expected to arrive until a few days later, but the rough trip into Garoka from the station must have convinced us both to get on with things as she’d only been in town a few hours when her water broke. My father, planning to arrive around the expected date, was actually golfing on a makeshift dirt airstrip when I was born.”

Like father like son. I still have a big purple bruise from a bad sprain I got golfing a week and a half ago. For those of you unfortunate enough to have seen this wound I would like to assure you that it’s getting better.

He was 42 when I was born.

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The plan for today is to go buy a new DVD player, go to a happy hour with teaching friends and then have dinner with Jes’ brother Josh and assorted family members. Anyway, best get on with it. Thanks for stopping by.


Monday, May 22, 2006

According to the SelectSmart.com Belief System Selector, my #1 belief match is Neo-Pagan.
What do you believe?
Visit SelectSmart.com/RELIGION


Sunday, May 21, 2006

I’ve been a little all over the place today in my mental wandering so I haven’t felt much like blogging. Sometimes it’s just hard to reign in the drift. I took frequent naps and busied myself with cleaning up after yesterday’s birthday party. Thanks to everyone who came for making it a fun party. It’s my understanding that the greatest predictor of happiness in life is not wealth or status, but the health and extent of one’s social network. I am lucky to have been gifted with so many wonderful friends. Yeah, my thoughts aren’t coalescing all that well, so I am off to watch another few hours of semi-bland science fiction.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Win, win. I got a raise and I got an extra class for the summer session. I start that mid June and run until three weeks into my H. teaching. Unfortunately, it’s going to be more work. These classes are in person instead of online and they are both new preps. It might actually be easier to teach a new prep than trying to adapt the online material to the live show. Those three weeks of overlap are going to be hard, but I can’t say no to the money.


I made my play with regard to a work thing and I find out tonight if I am A. getting hired back for the summer B. getting hired back with a raise or C. getting laid off due to department dissolution. I have to say that I am more indifferent about this than I should be. If everything goes well my income should be increasing by more than a third for the summer session as I will probably be picking up an extra class in addition to more money per class. If things don’t go well I need to see if Barnes and Nobel has any summer openings left. Either way I don’t get to lounge the summer away. I’ve had a few weeks off and am ready to get back out there.

Last Thursday I got a fairly serious sprain in my side and back during a golf outing. The injury didn’t look bad, but it was excruciatingly painful. Now, one week later, it looks horrible. Apparently when you have some internal bleeding it works its way to the surface of your skin and then follows gravity down the body. I have an ugly bruise the size of my hand stretching from the bottom of my rib cage to the top of my waist line. I look like I’ve been hit there a few times with a baseball bat.

I’ll be thirty-three next Tuesday. I guess I’ll do an evite thing for Saturday.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I am watching this DVD made by BBC Three called Dr. Who confidential. It’s a behind the scenes look at the new (2005) Dr. Who series. I borrowed it from BJ last night. Jason was in Springfield for some lawyering yesterday so I made the four-hour trek down for a guys, bars and cigars night. I came back this morning with a couple borrowed DVDs. What I find interesting about this DVD, interesting enough to write a little blog about it, is the soundtrack. I think that they are really able to use any song they like. Imagine that, you’re watching a crappy installment of Entertainment Tonight only it’s been scored with Beatles and Jimi Hendrix songs.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Stolen from Beth - who stole it from Kazoofus etc....hmmmmmmmmmmm

You Are an Irish Coffee

At your best, you are: wild, spontaneous, and outgoing

At your worst, you are: too extreme and reckless

You drink coffee when: you want to keep drinking booze

Your caffeine addiction level: low


Ajax, second only to Achillies in strength, is seen here getting ready to work his cat magic of destruction....


FulcrumMonkey - now with less random philosophical meandering and more pictures of pets. Here Karl, Chris, and Sebastian watch Jes play Sonic the Hedgehog... photo courtesy of Vanessa.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Drifting in the land of who gets what when where and how…

Sometimes I think I should have been/should become a travel writer. People who read this blog have told me that some of the best entries are the ones documenting a wander around the town. There are obvious problems with this daydream, the greatest of which is that I never go anywhere or do anything. Also, Mary tells me that I am quite provincial. I have no reason to doubt this assessment. I have a love for this province, this Missouri.

Perhaps it’s not accurate to say I never go anywhere. On Tuesday last Jes and I made a milk run to the state capitol for a company that she’s been working for. They had grant applications due and were close enough to deadline that they preferred to send the material via trusted and secure us. I wasn’t much help with the driving, as I slept most of the way there and back, but I do know my way around Jefferson City.

A few years ago I dated one of Senator Joan Bray’s interns, Barb, and I would commute from the ville on alternate weekends to see her. We met when I was performing a dramatic interpretation of Green Eggs and Ham on the T.S.U. quad. Last I heard she was living in D.C. and working as a lobbyist for Emily’s List, but that was a few years ago. As I recall we broke up primarily over distance in that I had a year left in graduate school and she needed to get on with her life. We got caught up in some drama when she applied to the program I was in and she wasn’t accepted.

The drama came from her making a list of alternates, so there were a few weeks there where she would move up the list as people who had been accepted declined the offer. We knew people in the office and so we knew more than we should have about what her chances were. The viability of a future for us as a couple somehow came down to that list, as it wasn’t enough to simply choose each other; there was our youth and potential to think of. No one wants to be the reason that a person didn’t become what he or she otherwise might have.

That’s a factor for Jes and I now. We are going off to H. for the job I have just landed, but we are doing so with an eye towards eventually completing her M.F.A. We are a year away from her application deadlines so she is working on portfolio building. A year in H., perhaps more depending on how it goes, will get us financially stable enough to take that next step in her career. Of course life is what happens when you are making other plans, but you still have to play the cards… and other clichés of significance.

The one thing that I wanted to do in Jefferson City, after we delivered the grant applications, was to visit the Thomas Hart Benton Mural in the capitol lounge. I love Benton, and his social history of Missouri is something of an artistic miracle that is well worth a trip all on its own. In its depictions of the slaves mining lead south of St. Louis, the ousting of the Mormons by fire, a lynching, Boss Pendergast and the dancing girls in Kansas city, the painting offers a great deal of material for senators to object to. Benton had to publicly defend the mural upon its completion, as there were many who wanted to see the room stripped of his images.

His defense was simple in that he’d been asked to paint a social history and that is what he painted. However, speaking truth to power is no simple thing. Being honest about your history so that you know who you are and where you came from is also no mean feat.

I got an email this morning informing me that Missouri Republicans have forced an end to debate over requiring that identification be presented when voting. Blunt could veto the legislation, but he won’t. For the poor and disabled who might not have a driver’s license this is no small obstacle. Is it a coincidence that the people who are disenfranchised by this legislation tend to vote for Democrats? Blunt is facing a tough reelection bid. Maybe I should spend part of my summer helping him out, literally.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. I went golfing at Ruth Park yesterday with Brad and just to do something different we skipped the cart and walked. The upside would be that it was cheap – seven bucks for nine holes if you’re walking. At less than a dollar a hole, that is cheap golf and good exercise. The downside for me was that I wasn’t used to that much motion and I stressed my back on the seventh hole. I twisted wrong and tore a muscle. It hurt to finish, but is wasn’t bad, but as the day continued the torn muscle began to hurt and swell until I was icing it down and taking pain pills. I really didn’t know how badly I was hurt until Jes and I went to fly kites in a field of freshly mown grass. I kept sneezing and each sneeze seized the torn muscle – I felt like I kept getting stuck with a hot poker. Later on I tried to go out for Kat’s birthday, happy birthday Kat, but had to come home, as I really needed to keep ice on the injury. I was up and down all night with ice and such. We were going to go to Six Flags on Sunday, but that is going to depend on how I am feeling.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

It’s not insomnia if you’ve just moved your awake window to different up and down times on the clock. Still, it’s two a.m. and I’d rather be asleep. I was under deadline pressure to grade twenty or so papers for my online classes so I drank a bunch of coffee to get through it. Now I’m a day ahead now in my grading, but also wired for sound. I’m told that this part of the day, between two and three in the morning, constitutes the hour of the wolf; when all your worries come to you and feed on your heart. Worries in the dark are not an altogether pleasant experience. I envy the faithful the comforts of their faith.

When I was just starting college a friend of mine from high school, Kurt, died. We hadn’t been close friends, but I knew him well enough to feel connected to him and to feel a sense of loss at his passing. He was a freshman at Washington University and his father was a Unitarian Minister here in St. Louis.

Kurt had been fighting cancer as long as I’d known him and the Leukemia had come out of remission amid the stressors of that first semester. Many of the people who spoke at the funeral had only known him a short time, shorter than me, but they talked about how his passion for living had touched them and would live on in them. They said the sorts of things that people say at funerals for the young, when no one knows what to say and there is no right thing or sense of a release from long suffering, just possibility denied.

Kurt’s father gave a sermon in Graham Chapel where he eulogized his son’s passing in terms of Pascal’s wager. If you’re unfamiliar, the wager rests on the notion that the betting man bets on religious faith because you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. He said he knew that most of the people in the audience were not religious, but that Kurt was, and that this logic had appealed to him.

It’s always struck me as an odd philosophical rope to tug on in that public farewell and on nights like this I sometimes try to cipher out the sums of his intention. Unitarians are not a particularly evangelical lot, so the notion that he was making the best of a tragedy and trying to win souls doesn’t add up. I think he was both offering and seeking what comfort his reason could provide for him: that it makes sense to bet that there is something more to life than the inevitability of the grave, because one has nothing to lose in the final outcome of that wager.

Of course one can lose a great deal by saying that this life matters only as a preamble to some next life. That kind of thinking can tempt generals to bring about their version of the end times in a radioactive haze or allow the steady loss of environmental treasures under the hallucinatory assumption that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, that we can destroy what we like because God will just flood us out and start again. Billions of lives have simmered in this hope deferred, when they might have burned brightly in creativity or generosity of spirit.

As I think about this I keep returning to the skepticism of David Hume, my favorite atheist of note, who suggested that given the fallibility of man there are many things we simply can’t know. He thought that knowing what one can’t know was freeing. He thought that logic was mechanistic and that in contrast, “the world is more like a cabbage than a watch.”

As a child I used to lie awake and imagine conversing with God after my death. I was raised Missouri Synod Lutheran so the whole vision had a patriarchal cast. I would go before God and ask my eternal father what caused the civil war and how big the universe was. I would ask him about the nature of time and why there were bad people in the world. I would ask about the color blue and how what was arose from the infinite field of possibility that must have preceded the existence of anything. I was six and my grandmother had just died. God was a friendly incarnation of PBS and I was precocious.

My fantasy was that after my death I would get absolute answers to everything, including the recursive question “why death”. My childhood definition of heaven was as the realm of honest and perfect answers, something akin to Plato’s truths.

Since that time, every earthly authority I’ve ever trusted has fallen short to the point of postmodern collapse. In the postmodern logic shuffle the act of looking for the truth shifts it beyond the knowable. Your assumptions at the outset of any grail hunt include the Guenevere of your undoing because every binarism includes a platypus. The mystics all agree that language is the fundamental barrier as language is always two, but truth is always one.

Anyway, experience mellows a person, makes the nightmares of childhood uncertainty seem far away, but I am no closer to an answer for myself now than I was then. I’ve just gotten better at putting it out of my head. We may all die alone, but for now we live together and that is some comfort, a comfort of plurality ironically inspired by a Unitarian and a sixteenth century game theorist.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Will kiss Big Boy for comments.....


Comments encourage frequent posting as they give me the illusion that I have an audience. This lack of feedback may force me to make a silly face...


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

It occurs to me that I haven’t had any coffee since last week sometime, maybe Thursday. I slept ten hours again last night. Maybe I need to go back on the bean to achieve a normal schedule. I’ve had enough of a break, now it’s time to get back into the game. Wait, does the game not start again for me until July? You have to admit that teaching does come with some job perks. So I guess I need a new game for the summer.

There’s a great deal of reading in the classics that I could get caught up on. I do have to pass a grammar exam for certification and I’ve been putting that off until now. I bought a textbook for the class and am going to relearn the fundamentals autodidact style. I need to exercise as well, to bring down the weight and the blood pressure. There’s a wedding to plan and a life to build… I guess that will fill the time nicely until I start teaching again. I need to start making lists or I’ll never get through with any of it.

My friend Tyler had a party on Saturday and I got to spend time catching up with friends that I don’t get to see very often anymore. Tyler’s wife is pregnant with identical girls due two days after our wedding date. Life continues to happen at an alarming rate. We had Mexican beer and I had a little too much tequila, but not so much that I couldn’t win some money at poker and “talk smart,” as my father calls it, until the wee hours of the morning.

The poker money is going to turn into climbing shoes for the gym or maybe it will cover my Six Flags expenses for Kat’s birthday. What should I spend my ill got gains on?


Monday, May 08, 2006

I am hearing that somnia is in, or at least it’s going around. At two in the morning I am vowing not to break last nights record of four something that kept me from making by eight-thirty a.m. tee time. I didn’t even try to get up. I just slept on through until one. Thirteen hours of unabated perception later I find myself the lone light of consciousness in a house of repose. My dog is lying next to me on the couch dreaming of running in fields. His feet twitch when he dreams that he’s running. I’ve had a cute day with dog. We went for an early afternoon walk over to Jes’ mom’s house and ended up hanging out in the backyard well into the evening. They have a small pond that Bastian jumped into and I got all mucky getting him out. Ah well, I feel sleep tugging at me at last so more on my doings later.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Inexplicable Post:

The Independent Spanish Liquid Theater of Love Presents: Ma & Pa Godhead feed the pet.

Pa: Honey, did you feed the abyss today?

Ma: We’re all out of the dry food so I left out a plate of raw oblivion on the kitchen counter. It’s not there now, so I figure the abyss got to it. What about the litter box?

Pa: There’s nothing in it.

Ma: Well, that makes sense I guess.

Thank you for attending this very short performance by The Independent Spanish Liquid Theater of love.

Stagehand One: What the hell was that?

Stagehand Two: Seemed sort of experimental, high concept.

Stagehand One: I think they missed something by not giving the abyss any lines.

Stagehand two: Yeah, the immovable object in last week’s play really stole the show.

Stagehand One: You mean that demi-urges piece of crap. I thought the whole thing suffered from rank sentimentality.

Stagehand Two: I disagree. I found the prime mover’s performance to be quite…moving.


Virus Alert: Jes hasn’t had her laptop online really, so I discovered this week, as the computer got slower and slower, that getting the wireless had allowed a host of critters onto her hard drive. I spent a large hunk of the day installing Windows Service Pack Two, Avast, Adaware, and Spybot, which in turn found two viruses and one hundred and one maleware and other tracking programs. The programs I installed are all shareware products and free for the downloading. Avast is as good as, if not better than, any of the other virus detection services, like Norton or Macafee, only there is no yearly fee.

So while all these programs ran, I was just a TV junky alternating between naps and various recent science fiction addictions. I’ve been watching Babylon Five for free via streaming downloads from AOL and the second disk in Fire Fly’s first and only season came in the mail yesterday. I’ve watched all four episodes twice.

I have been letting myself slip into a bit of a funk. Teaching can be kind of addictive. Maybe we use addiction metaphors too much in our lives, but I am feeling a kind of withdrawal or longing for the life I had built. It’s not easy to become part of community and then just quit cold turkey. I miss my kids.

Jes just got home from Friday night glass blowing so I think we are going to head out for a bit and get me past the threshold of our house and my mood.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

I had an odd day. I was going to write about the whole fingerprinting thing and what a strange drama that was, but my day got much more odd. I have what amounts to a side job. I consider it a kind of stop-gap employment because I don’t exactly respect the company I work for, but it pays the bills. I’m not sure how to write about what happened at work today, because I’m fairly politically astute and so there are various levels of drama that I could write about. The bottom line would be that my department was dissolved. My boss was demoted and offered a chance to apply for a promotion. I am left with several options. I can continue to teach my classes in house instead of online, this is fine for the summer, but it means I would quit in the fall when my real job started. I can get out of the local mess and begin to work for the national office, in which case I would stay an online instructor, but this would require… going over the heads of several people who have been my bosses, but are less qualified than I am. Let’s say that I got laid off for the coming term, offered a different but similar job at a higher pay rate but with more work. Instead I might go over the heads of everyone I have worked for and become something else in the national organization. Or I might just leave. It’s hard to say what I’ll do, but it’s not bad. I think all my options are good.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A few months ago I was out in St. Charles shopping for party food at an IGA and the cashier had me scan my thumb into a little device as an electronic signature. I thought to myself, here we go down the sci-fi identity tracking slip and slide, but that was the last I saw of the technology until now. I have an appointment tomorrow with a company called Identix that is going to create a digital record of my fingerprints and run a federal background check on me. This is the third of these kind of checks I’ve had to go through on my path to becoming a certified teacher. The other two were a perfunctory five bucks each with matching ink stains on all my digits, but this one is coming in at fifty five dollars. Shouldn’t the people who want to investigate you pay for the investigation? I’m afraid our future is going the way of the British legal system, guilty until proven innocent. It’s just another pain in the ass hoop in a state where I’m sure some politician’s brother owns a company called Identix.


My girl is not a morning girl. Her consciousness is un. We were going to go get a big breakfast at Uncle Bills or maybe even Bevo, but she needs more time to dream. So I am surfing the web and trying to think of what I should get done today. I need to run by UMSL and have my transcripts sent out to a few places, I have several of those sorts of logistical paper work errands to run around town. I have decided that I am not going to let myself sleep another day away with accomplishing more than a few loads of laundry. I want to start getting in shape again so I might try to bike around Tower Grove Park, weather permitting. I am told that there is this magic formula for weight loss where you eat less and exercise more, strange but true. Maybe I’ll eat a small but healthy breakfast.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Waste of Money:

Anti-commercial. We decided to try the Netflix service and have been members for about two weeks now. Thus far I have had one DVD get lost in the mail when I returned it and another arrive literally broken in half. The movies are slow to ship and then when they arrive broken you have to wonder why you are bothering. I am bothering because the rental stores that I live close to never have anything that I want to watch and Netflix has a catalogue of some 60,000 movies and TV shows. None of this does me any good if the movies are slow to arrive and are damaged when they do. I was seriously excited to watch the second installment of Firefly tonight, dork that I am, and now what? Do I watch American Idol? I am going to walk the dog and go back to bed. Incidentally I took another five-hour nap today. I am beginning to think I have some kind of sleeping sickness.


I can't recall a more Swiftian moment in recent history. Speak truth to power baby...



Monday, May 01, 2006

Last night, while I slept, Jes watched Memoirs of a Geisha. She told me that the film, while beautiful, was a disappointment. She wants to reread the book now to confirm that it was as good as she remembers. She said so many of the best parts of the book are simply skipped over in the film. I’m watching it now and without the book to compare it to. It seems like a fine film that is more about setting than plot. Now that my summer stretches in front of me, perhaps I’ll read it. I’d like to teach a class on film adaptation.

Time gap – it has occurred to Jes that what may not have made it into the film may have been from an entirely different book about geisha, as she has read several. Hmm, this film adaptation course that I am mentally developing may get a might tricky. I can’t really have high school kids reading books about geisha anyway. How long until I go back to college teaching I wonder?

There are thunderstorms afoot here in St. Louis with loud booms sufficient to agitate all the animals. I love it, the storms and not the agitation. At different points in my life when I have thought about leaving Missouri, or when I have left, I’ve know that I would miss the storms. It rains in sheets and the streets become rivers. I ran down to the basement earlier and picked up the laundry in case the basement floods. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Oddly we’ve had huge storms followed by basement flooding the last two New Year’s Eves in two different apartments. Shoveling out your basement is a shitty way to start your new year, pun intended.

Once again I slept all day. Jes woke me and I asked if she was home for lunch. She laughed and told me it was time for dinner. So now she has gone to sleep and I remain awake. I am having a glass of the Yellow Tail Merlot, blog walking and watching the fish. Did you know watching fish is clinically proven to lower your stress levels? The Gourami tank needs a hearty Pleco for the glass. Maybe I’ll get a snail instead.

I got a new Hifin Spotted Pleco and another Clown Loach to begin repopulating the death tank. You have to add fish just a few at a time or you can throw off the nitrogen cycle. The larger the tank in terms of gallons, the easier it is to maintain balance. In large tanks you also have more time to correct imbalances. If you’re a novice aquarist thinking about getting fish, get as big a tank as you can afford. A twenty-gallon is twice as easy to care for as a ten gallon. It’s Ted’s inverse law of fish propagation, which I’ve just made up.

Meanwhile, my killer Gourami seem to be at a stalemate. The blue is a little smaller than the gold and thus more maneuverable in the tight turns around the corral. They are mostly ignoring one another with the occasion game of nip tag. I have had to do a fair amount of tank cleaning today as I had just really let everything slide during my last educational push. I am really only two working days into my breather and am just beginning to take stock of how low my battery had gotten. The marathon sleeping is a bit of a clue. I feel like I am resting, but I don’t feel rested yet. I read somewhere that it takes an average of fifteen days to fully de-stress from a challenging work environment. Very few people get that kind of vacation time.

We watched Aeon Flux tonight. We both enjoyed it more than we were expecting to. It’s by no means a great film, but it does all the things a sci-fi genre film is supposed to do. My recommendation is that I would watch it again and if I saw it in a bargain bin I might buy it. I was going to write about where I rented it, but I don’t want to be part of a multi-layered marketing scheme. I already wrote an advertisement for Gourmet magazine the other day and I am trying to limit my corporate whoring to once a week. Maybe I’m more of a Geisha.

I have a friend who just dropped out of advertising and into teaching. He has all the language games of the sales environment in play in his teaching in a very self-aware way. He’ll tell you that companies are trying to sell meaning now and to align their products with meaningful experiences. The pitch is that you’re not selling a product as much as you’re selling an experience – you do the dew. William Gibson tapped into this trend awhile back in his novel Pattern Recognition. You no longer advertise, you brand. Or, more importantly, you perpetually re-brand in something akin to Madonna’s never ending re-inscription of stardom. It’s associative nostalgia (for a life you may have never had) co modified and the cutting edge of almost always bland consumerism.

People seem to need meaning. It’s a basic desire. Think about how much of the average day is bound up in narrative, scripting your experience for yourself and the people that you talk to, or immersing yourself in other worlds of narrative through the news or evening television. Most religions are eschatological narratives that try to spell out some kind of satisfying dénouement where the good guys come out ok and the bad guys get theirs. What if there is no end, just transformation from one state to another. Instead of eschatology we should encourage cyclical scatology, so when it all turns to shit we won’t be surprised.

Honestly, I long for meaning. I am too much of a skeptic who is too well informed to make any of Aquinas’ long jumps. I’m not interested in playing three card monty with consumerist America, squelching my existential angst with my sugar laden burger. Many of the world’s religions agree that service is the key to getting past your ego and figuring out what life is really all about. My leap will not be one of faith, but one of action, so that even if I don’t get any gleaming messages of clarity from the infinite, at least my life will have been of some use beyond the solipsism of these late night reflections. Hmm, do the do.


I've been waiting for the post internship crash and it hit last night
at 6:30. I fell asleep on the couch, woke up long enough to move to
the bed and slept right on through until 7:30 this morning. I know
Chris sometimes does sixteen hours at a stretch, but thirteen is
pretty good for me.

I had several dreams, one of which involved roasting rabbits to make
Spanish paella. I have all these memories of de-boning the rabbit with
my cleaver. I dreamt I was back in school and I couldn't get my
schedule right so I was missing classes and falling behind – classic
anxiety dream manifesting my uncertainty about how to spend my summer.
Then I dreamt our wedding reception, there was band instead of a DJ
and everyone was enjoying them, but no one danced. That dream was
about feeling older.

We're going to rent the whole Bevo Mill (you have the option of just
renting half, but it's only two hundred extra to rent the whole thing,
so why wouldn't you) and our tour guide was telling us about how nice
it was to have the music downstairs so that the younger folk can dance
and the older folk can have more of a family reunion upstairs. I think
the dream was a reflection of that conversation.

It might seem out of character now, but I used to love to go dancing.
For most of my twenties I went dancing three nights a week or more. I
was young and thin and would dance on the stage part of the club and
look like I belonged there. Jes has been telling me that I need to
teach her how to swing dance before the wedding so that we look like
we know what we're doing. I was thinking we could back into swing from
Latin and I should take her to Club Viva to Salsa.

I was just a good deal wilder in my early twenties than I am now and I
both miss it and am relieved. Now I sleep for thirteen hour stretches
and walk the dog, here begins the long slide into Floridian slippers.