Saturday, May 31, 2008

The future is now

The trouble with writing science fiction is sometimes the future catches up with you. Not too long ago I wrote a dialogue between two characters who were bitching about the price of gas hitting $3 a gallon. Oh, hah hah hah hah hah! I crack myself up sometimes.
I'm posting this about a half an hour after I took the picture because tomorrow, who knows.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Words I Made Up While Doing Schoolwork In A Hurry #5

Someone give me a definition for "gneral."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Higher intelligence

If crows can solve problems and figure out how to make tools, and I can’t figure out how to use someone else’s DVD player, does that, comparatively, make me dumber than a crow?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Missed My Chance To Be A Stripper

In my quest to restore my body to its former healthy self (or an approximation thereof) I’ve been renting exercise DVDs from Netflix. To my surprise, the latest one turned out to be a striptease instructional video rather than a regular dance video.

Got me thinking about missed opportunities. I could’ve been a stripper, after all.

I was waiting tables the summer before college, bringing cheeseburgers and scrambled eggs to drunk people during the night shift at Perkins. I took a second job washing dishes and serving fake grits to the truckers at a motel/restaurant out on the highway. Sometimes I’d go from the night shift right over to the motel for the breakfast shift, navigating between the kitchen and the dining area, between a bipolar boss and an odd assortment of customers.

Sometimes prostitutes would come in and order breakfast for two. To go.

Once in a while I’d wait on a guy who I assume was The Pimp. He’d say charming things to me like, “Mm, mmm. Them jeans be fittin’ you good!”

When he found out I was squirreling away my singles for school, The Pimp approached me. “You’re savin’ money for college? I know a way you can make a thousand dollars a week!”

(Sadly, this is still better money than I’m making today.)

“Yeah, I know. No, thanks,” I said.

“No, no, no, no,” he assured me. “I’m talking about dancing!”

Now, this was interesting. I was a good dancer, after all. And two bucks an hour (plus tips) just wasn’t cutting it.

I like to think it was a wise decision to say no. But once in a while, I think, what if I’d done it?

Would I have gone off to college that fall with bags of money and a checkered past? Or would I have said, this is good money, I’ll go to college later? Would I still have become a writer? After all, Diablo Cody was a stripper and she’s got a frigging Oscar now.

Did I miss my chance at an Oscar!??! Did I ruin my life by not becoming a stripper?

I have to go think this over. And maybe work on that DVD.

Words I Made Up While Doing Schoolwork In A Hurry #4

Actually, this one is from work, but I don't want to change my fancy title.

Someone give me a definition for "papitalize."

(It's too easy, really.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

The tarantulas is loose

There’s this awful part in Mark Twain’s “Roughing It," a travel book about Twain's experiences with his brother in the Old West. He's been rooming with a bunch of guys who work out in the desert, supposedly surveying for a railroad, but they spend an awful lot of time chasing down and collecting tarantulas, which they keep in jars on shelves in the large room they all share.

Hilarity ensues. A windstorm tears the roof off of a barn and it smashes into the house:
“There was a simultaneous awakening, and a tumultuous muster of the brigade in the dark, and a general tumbling and sprawling over each other in the narrow aisle between the bed rows. In the midst of the turmoil, Bob H— sprung up out of a sound sleep, and knocked down a shelf with his head. Instantly he shouted:
‘Turn out boys – the tarantulas is loose!’
No warning ever sounded so dreadful.”

(I’d have to agree.)

“Every man groped for a trunk or a bed, and jumped on it. … one had to imagine the spectacle of those fourteen scant-clad men roosting gingerly on trunks and beds for not a thing could be seen. … Every now and then you could hear a little subdued scramble and a sorrowful ‘O Lord!’ and then you knew that somebody was getting away from something he took for a tarantula.”

The worst part is they never found any of the spiders.

One of my former co-workers recently chucked his job and hightailed it for South America (also with his brother) – you can see his blog here. Recently he endured his own spider experience.

He and his brother decided, once they got a gander at this eight-legged monstrosity, that they couldn’t sleep until they found all of them. There were more than thirty.

(I would need hospitalization.)

Friday, May 16, 2008


“The poet lived along a lonely stretch of river, in overgrown orchards of apricots, alone in a two-roomed hut. He had been a teacher of literature in Buenos Aires. He came down to Patagonia forty years back and stayed. … His fingers gripped my arm. He fixed me with an intense and luminous stare. ‘Patagonia!’ he cried. ‘She is a hard mistress. She casts her spell. An enchantress! She folds you in her arms and never lets go.’ The rain drummed on the tin roof. For the next two hours he was my Patagonia.”
-- Bruce Chatwin, "In Patagonia"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Words I Made Up While Doing Schoolwork In A Hurry #3

Someone give me a definition for "shorrowful."

Traveling companions

On the way home for dinner tonight: A normally skittish quail stands on top of a white station wagon in the parking lot.

Across the street, where they sell gas for $4.09 a gallon, a semi-trailer is parked in the back with its door open. An orange tabby cat walks on the hot dashboard inside the truck, his tail brushing against the dirty window.

They're selling diesel for $4.79. I hope the trucker has enough left over for cat food.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Beauty and art

Lucian Freud's painting of a nude woman sold this week for a record $33.6 million.

The painting is notable not only because of its auction price but because the woman featured in it is obese. We're not talking Rubenesque, either.

Yet "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" is a beautiful painting. In it we see vulnerability, the heaviness of life, a human being. She has a title, 'Benefits Supervisor,' but her nudity reminds us that we aren't defined by the titles we hold. We feel the weight of the breast she's cradling, the weight of what she carries every day. She sleeps, and maybe dreams. It's sad, sweet and raw.

I love art that's unexpected. Another favorite is Quenten Massys' "A Grotesque Old Woman" from the National Gallery in London.

Years of history classes never conveyed that humor existed in 1525. Art gives us discovery and truth.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Words I Made Up While Doing Schoolwork In A Hurry #2

Someone give me the definition of "frammar."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bad egg

Looks just like a good egg, don't it?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Is that the sun? It's so pretty

Since I'm usually either at my sunless workplace listening to mayhem on the scanners or in my dark, messy apartment studying apocalypses (no manifestoes yet, but I've got plenty of canned goods) I figured it's good to make a point of getting out at least once a week.

Better late than never: Last Saturday (April 26) I stopped at the Whole Earth Festival in Redding, CA to hear the Jim Dyar Band play. Jim and his wife, Candace, are on a artistic journey of their own -- Jim recently quit his day job and is now on a full-time creative junket. My good friends keep a blog about their experiences here.

Also at the Whole Earth Festival -- the Save Darfur folks had canvas tents set up for painting and I added a flower. The Village Schoolhouse toy store showed kids how to make solar s'mores.

The manifesto antidote: Sun, music, painting, s'mores.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Three of my favorite words ever: Giant. Book. Sale.

A treasure hunt. Found a neat travel book, "Back Roads of California" by Earl Thollander, all sketches and hand-written notes. Plus a bunch of play collections (I filled a box and spent $4.50). I've been on a play kick lately. Don't know when I'll get a chance to read them, but they're on the shelf when I do.
If you're in Redding, CA, the sale goes until 1 p.m. (2160 Railroad Ave.)

Friday, May 2, 2008

That's one way to do it

A fellow student passed along this clever way to promote a book online.