Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Overheard on the way back from teaching...

"Yeah. I mean, as soon as I heard she was Catholic, I proposed to her. I was like, I mean, really Catholic, and she was all, yep."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

You ever get that crawly sensation on the back of your neck?

Your Band Name is:

The Pink Officers

I accidentally swatted a ladybug that was crawling on my neck. Reflex action. It was more of a brushing, really, and it seems that the victim will recover. It was touch and go there for a while, though.

Exotic Dancer Name Is...


Have you ever been having a conversation where both you and the other person seem to be completely convinced that you're talking about the same thing, but secretly you think that you are talking about something different, and you can't shake the idea that maybe the other person is also talking about something completely different? Perhaps speaking in code?

You Are the Very Gay Velma!

She might not even realize it...
But Velma is all about Daphne... not Fred!

I have become convinced that internet quizzes are the new I Ching.

You Are Royal Blue

People find you difficult to understand. In fact, you often find it hard to understand yourself.
You think so much that sometimes you get lost in your own thoughts!

Here's a joke: A woman from a noir detective film goes to a 1960s psychiatrist and says, "Doc, I think my husband's a refrigerator." The psychiatrist leans back in his leather chair--which squeaks a little--and asks, "What makes you think that?" The woman brushes her spit curl out of her eyes and says, "When he sleeps, his mouth hangs open." The psychiatrist closes his little spiral notebook with a flourish and says, "That's perfectly normal. I'm told that I sleep with my mouth open as well. Does that make me a refrigerator, too?" The woman says, "I don't know. Does the little light that comes on keep *your* wife up all night?"

You Are 52% Gross

You're more than a little gross, but probably no more gross than the average person.
Maybe it's time to drop some of those disgusting habits that could eventually embarrass you!

So far, the entries to the sweepstakes are few. The next person to enter has a 25% chance of winning.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sometimes it's a piece of cheese, suspended in the air.

The photo is for Edward.

The title is an incredibly obscure reference to one of Edward Monkton's cartoons that I once saw--one that purported to explain the meaning of life with a little rhyme:

Sometimes it's a chicken,
Sometimes it's a chair,
Sometimes it's a piece of cheese...you know the rest.

Today, for me, life is exactly like that piece of cheese. [Jonathan's editors have proposed a sweepstakes-style competition. Whoever finds the most apt justification for Jonathan's use of Monkton's wildly provocative simile will receive a shiny nickel in the mail. Seriously. Jonathan's editors have your addresses. Send entries via comment in the format: Life is exactly like that piece of cheese because...

Here are some helpful examples: (1) Life is exactly like that piece of cheese because it is slightly damp to the touch and swings back and forth with a subtle and difficult to master rhythm while managing a series of antithetical, almost- revolutions. (2) Life is exactly like that piece of cheese because it hangs from a string connected to something no one is sure of, over a drop of indeterminate length, the end result of which drop being uniform in its finality and various in the amount of mess made upon impact. (3) Life is exactly like that piece of cheese because you can always eat cheese, but, then, really, what's left to do after that--play with string? (4) Life is exactly like that piece of cheese because, even though you are relatively safe from some things, (i.e., being stepped on) you are incredibly vulnerable to others (i.e., bugs finding the string in their interminable wanderings along the ceiling and then, due to some unfathomable twist in the decision tree that begins with finding pieces of string hanging from the ceiling, crawling down it, finding the cheese at the end and making a sort of cheese house for themselves in which they will breed new generations of bugs, all living, rutting, and dying in the house that is their only food source, until all the cheese is gone and the last, cautiously curious scions of the House of Cheese crawl back up the now nearly slack string to reclaim the nomadic ideals of their forebearers...) (5) Life is exactly like that piece of cheese because if you put on a blindfold and slice at either (the life or the cheese) with a knife, and, somehow, make contact, then both the life and the cheese are going to undergo irreversible changes at the physical level. (6) Life is exactly like that piece of cheese because it is not suspended in a vaccuum. &c.]

I don't have much for you in the way of...let's see. Oh! I know. Here's a list of the screennames from Place4Friends.com that have recently flirted with me:


Which one do you think likes water polo?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

O lente currite equi noctis!

I had a nightmare the other night wherein everything I touched dried up and blew away...The dried husks of all things were crumbled bits of beetle carcasses blowing in a funeral wind. I was choking on my own blood. Then, right as I realized that the ground, too, was crumbling like baked filo dough, my hands twisted and the bones burst from within them, hot strips of flesh pelting my face and body as I reached out to keep myself from sinking into the desiccated Earth. A bird screeched the lyrics to pollywolly doodle, and I awoke.

My mouth was so dry it had cracked in three places. I was bleeding into the back of my throat. Somehow, my hands had both been folded almost against my wrists and were pressed against the bed under my belly--once they woke up again, the pain was crystalline. "Well, that explains the dryness and the pain in my hands, but what about..." I realized I had sneezed all over my pillow and face. It was a most loathsome morning.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Current thinking...

For various reasons, I vacillate daily on the topic of whether or not I want to be an academic for the rest of my life. I just sent an email to a contact of mine to try and get some info about how one goes about seeking literary representation. If any of you have a clue how to begin that process, please send it my way.

I am also thinking that parts of Project Zero Sum, my secret codename for my juvenile novel, Kanjangaroo, can be salvaged and repackaged as honest-to-gods sf. I am playing around with various hideous schemes to make it part of a novel cycle--the kind sf publishers love--and the best candidate so far is something incredibly high-concept. Those of you might remember my dangling just the very tippy tips of my toes in quantum theory-esque concepts in that piece, and my understanding has certainly gotten better. The multi-book arc would be called something preposterous like, "The Book of the Shattered Earth," that would get some publisher's little whiskers all a-twitch. Then, the first volume's name would become "Coherence." You see? Multi-level punning of the kind that built the book, playing off of John Lyly's inherent (teehee) lack of coherence, the masturbatory moon/Earth shattering thing--which, incidentally, has since become the premise of a sitcom/soap opera--and the reverse of what is, as far as I understand--and Dave can correct me if I am wrong--a concept called decoherence, which is, simplistically, the reason why extremely improbable things don't happen at the macrostate level, namely that the interaction of large numbers of particles at the microstate level makes the extremely improbable on a small scale almost infinitely improbable on a large scale. Said reversal being somewhat what drives the improbable powers that John Lyly develops, leading to the shattered Earth and all the Earths of the Palimpsest...I say somewhat, because I also liberally borrowed from the mystically powerful but theoretically kinda ridiculous many worlds idea. The second volume would be, then, "Decoherence," and it would chronicle Epiphany's attempts to save the oneironauts spread throughout the dreamtime when all of those probability waves begin to collapse--if "collapse" is even an appropriate word--and force all realities back into the one doomed by John Lyly's insane act of indifference. The final volume would need to be completely overblown and hopefully nihilistic--in keeping with the tone of the last part of the first volume--and it would therefore be the incredibly pretentious attempt at a really moving account of godlings faced with mortality, that is to say, the human condition. I dreamt last night of Nabokov's "Lolita," and I thought something stolen from him would be reeking with appropriateness. Isn't there a phrase toward the beginning of Part Two that goes something like "a violet paradise wherefrom death and truth are banished"? Let me look...Okay, I can't find it at the moment. But even if he didn't write that, I'm going to say that whatever title I come up with for the third Book of Shatterearth was taken from Nabokov. "Wherefrom Death and Truth are Banned, Volume Three of the Book of the Shattered Earth." That has a nice, hefty pomposity to it, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In Time of Emergency

I recently found this old Department of Defense handbook called "In Time of Emergency: A Citizen's Handbook on...Nuclear Attack...Natural Disasters." I have only a vague idea of how I happened upon this, but I do know that it is from March of 1968, and therefore a perfect countertext to the Revolution. For those of you who collect such things, this is Office of Civil Defense handbook H-14.

There is nothing specific about it that is hilarious in the way that one hopes such things are going to be. But the tone of the thing itself is amazing. Unbelievable. Every page has something designed to convice one that one can survive a nuclear attack if one is properly cautious. A random example from the text:

"The fire departments of some communities in the United States conduct free training courses for citizens interested in learning how to fight fires at home or in becoming auxiliary firemen. If such courses are available in your community, you can acquire firefighting skills which may save your life or your home either in peacetime or in a period of nuclear attack" (Emergency, 54).

Dum de dum dum dum...oooh, free courses? Why would I...let's see...oh, I could save me! Or house! I could save house! Let's look outside...kinda peacey. Peaceful, that's the word. Serene, even. I guess it's peacetime now. Huh. Period of Nuclear Attack. Wow. I guess I never considered that Nuclear Attack was going to keep coming for a whole, like, period. I guess I just thought that a nuclear fireball was going to annihilate me and leave a greasy shadow on the wall. But, now, I guess I know better. I guess I better be prepared to fight fires while mushroom clouds bloom and an ever-thickening veil of ash composed of human, animal, and plant remains mixed with the powdery particles of minerals shorn from their intricate chthonic matrices is drawn between me and the sun. Jeez, I wonder what kind of...I wonder how one puts out a nuclear fireball. Let's see...ah:

"Remember the 3 basic ways to put out a fire: Take away its fuel. Take away its air (smother it). Cool it with water or fire-extinguisher chemicals" (ibid.).

Well, that about sums it up. Seems easy enough. But this is a special type of...oh, how convenient. There's a whole table of special kinds of...hmmm...electrical...oil or grease...gas...That's odd. Nothing here about how to quench or smother the promethean fire that results when matter is converted into energy released at the speed of light. Well, maybe they covered...ah, here we go:

"These special fire," okay, special, here we go, "special fire precautions should be taken in time of nuclear emergency," I guess periods of nuclear attack sure would qualify as emergencies, yessiree bob, "especially if you plan to use a home shelter: (1) Keep the intense heat rays of nuclear explosions from entering your house by closing doors windows and venetian blinds" (53). Whillikers, who would have thought that the venetians would have been so clever. Making blinds that stop the intense heat rays of nuclear explosions. Imagine. I guess that's what comes of being in a semi-tropical environment. Weren't the venetians traders? Have to be pretty crafty to control the trade routes of the Mediterranean, I guess. Huh. Counter-intuitive, though. I always kinda like to throw the windows open when it's hot out. It gets so stuffy in here. Anyway, I don't have venetian...oh goody: "If windows are not fitted with venetian blinds, cover the inside or outside of the windows with aluminum foil, or coat the glass with whitewash, household cleaning powder, or even mud" (ibid.). Well, I'll be. I have some mud right out in the yard. Guess I got nothing to worry about.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The ten minute mile.

I bought new, anti-bacterial tank bombs for the toilets in a fit of rage that was started by a drain being clogged again. Now, the smell from the toilets is painfully fresh. It cuts into your eyes and makes your nose squint. It comes up out of the bowl with a kind of sideslant authority and walks up slowly with its arms up-raised, even though you can clearly see the gun on its hip, just so you understand who's in charge. I don't like it.

Minor sucess at the gym today as I completed just over six miles on the elliptical trainer in an hour. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. My goal? 7 miles in an hour, and 1000 calories.

Friday, September 01, 2006