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{Thursday, March 31, 2005}

What am I doing? Instead of writing?

I am:

1. Attempting to deal with a world full of people (those I know and those I don't)--all of whom seem to have lost anything even remotely resembling perspective. All the while I'm trying not to lose my own sense of perspective. Or my sense of humor.

2. Working through the approximately 6000 continuous square feet of paperwork required to declare a double major, register for classes for the spring and fall semesters, get financial aid for those semesters, and still manage to finish my current semester with a g.p.a. that I can mention without embarassment in intellectual company.

3. Retain a job that I'm slowly beginning to hate more and more everyday. I AM NOT cut out for a "typical" job.

4. Attempting the apparently impossible. That is, getting the rest of the world to realize that they've never known the real me. They couldn't have, because I didn't. And now that I've mostly figured out who I am, wishing that the rest of the world was willing to take a chance on seriously getting to know me.

5. Balancing numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 all at the same time. I never knew that I was such a good juggler. And I definitely didn't know that I could do it. Must have something to do with being a Libra......

That's what I've been doing. But I wish I was spending my time writing. Although it's possible that all of the above may become subject matter for future writing. Hopefully, that counts for a little something.

by Christy 9:31 PM

So, what are you doing?

by Fred 12:10 PM

{Wednesday, March 30, 2005}

Guilty Pleasures

by Christy 12:33 AM

{Tuesday, March 29, 2005}

I don't write because
Blogger is broken,
my muse doesn't like me,
the mood doesn't strike me,
the lighting is wrong,
the weather's not right,
the window is open and I can hear too much outside,
the right words refuse to be found
though I look and I look,
and what good is looking if you can't find the right words?
I don't write because
it's raining outside,
the sun just won't stop shining,
who can write with that racket
of those rumbling cars or a knock at the door?
I don't write because
I can't hear myself think,
I didn't get enough sleep,
I got too much,
I lost my lucky pen,
who can find the time?
because I'm always, always, always at work
and they work me to the bone.
I don't write because
it has to be perfect,
because nothing is perfect,
because nothing is right,
nothing's just right,
and why bother if your words can't be perfect?
why not just pack it all in and call it a day?
I don't write because
I haven't got paper,
I've got other things on my mind,
other things are important,
I'll get to it when I can, okay?
I don't write because
nobody's watching,
everybody's watching,
what if I write something stupid or dumb
and how can you not when all you have is ten minutes
between you and a blank page?
I don't write because
I know nothing about
whatever it was,
whatever they said,
what we were talking about, weren't we, just then?
I don't write because
what can I say
that hasn't already been said?
I don't write because
because of the wonderful things he does, tra la la la la la.
I don't write because
I'm tired of it,
I don't get enough back,
it's hard work,
I already work hard enough,
I want to really, but who's got the time?
I'm not made of energy.
I don't write because
does there have to be a reason?
there ought to be a reason.
I ought to have a reason.
I don't write because...
I'm a writer,
and who ever heard of a writer taking the time to write?

by Fred 11:59 PM

I don't write because...

by Fred 3:58 PM

{Monday, March 28, 2005}

In hindsight, the high road had been a poor choice after all. Sammy had all but said as much before they'd left, pointing at the thin lines of the path sketched across his brother's tattered map with a shrug. The man had said nothing, had in fact offered no more than that simple shrug, not even a quick shake of the head when Aaron asked if Sammy disapproved of the plan -- and, if he did, could he really say the low roads were any better? Only that shrug, that half-gesture, and then he turned back to the fire and his supper resting upon it, as if you say, do what you want, go where you will, but don't try dragging me into it. Even then, he'd known his brother wouldn't listen. All Aaron really wanted was for Sammy to agree with him.

"We're going west," the older brother had said. "We'll take the high road, head along the Shards. If we hug the coast and go straight through the cities there, we can arrive maybe before mid-autumn."

He rolled the map back up, tied a loose length of string around it, and tucked it into his pack. His brother did not look up from his pot of strew at the hearth.

"Elmer thinks he knows a guy in North Rockhill who can get us the rest of the way to the gates," Aaron said, "maybe even into the town itself, we don't run across any patrols. We go east, though, walk around all that, and it's months before we even see the edge of the northern wood."

"Mm," said Sammy, although if this was in answer to his brother or simply because the stew needed some salt, neither Elmer nor Lloyd could have said. They knew to keep quiet, for although it was generally accepted that Sammy was the smarter of the two brothers, and that there was very good reason to worry about Aaron's plan to head west, they also knew that Aaron was not paying them to speak about any of this. They were here because they had skills or connections, Elmer because he'd been born in North Rockhill -- although long before there had been north or a south half of the town -- and Lloyd because he'd once been an unwilling guest of the northern town to which they were headed, and because he thought he could remember how to kill the things that lived there.

by Fred 8:38 PM

Taking the High Road

by Generik 1:28 PM

{Friday, March 25, 2005}

Okay, let's try something different. There's this silly little meme that's been bouncing around for awhile now. So, for today's topic, do just what it says: load up your mp3 playlist, set it to random play, and for ten short minutes write
about these songs
What they mean to you, why you like them, why you don't, what stories if any they suggest. Write about all of them, write about just one. But write! If you don't have any mp3s, pick ten CDs at random and then ten random songs. If you don't have any CDs, well, I guess I feel a little sad for you.

If you don't have either of these at work, and that's the only place you can write...um...fake it?

by Fred 1:13 PM

{Thursday, March 24, 2005}

This place is a zoo!

by Christy 3:50 PM

{Wednesday, March 23, 2005}

Clarissa thumbed through the catalog disinterestedly, not believing, even for a second, that she’d find anything that would convince her to go under the knife. She couldn’t figure out where Siena had gotten the idea to begin with, and even though it was intriguing, she wasn’t certain about its worth. It almost seemed the “intellectual” equivalent of having plastic surgery—artificially enhancing the body for seriously dubious reasons. Still, she couldn’t help but be curious, and Siena wasn’t here to notice that she was indulging her curiosity.

She quickly flipped past the “superhero” section—X ray vision, invisibility, and all those kinds of things held no interest for her—but she was, quite against her will, fascinated to learn what she’d find in the “emotional enhancement” section. That sounded vaguely entertaining. When she got to the page advertising an implant that would, according to the copy, “allow you to read the true motivations behind every action of others, unbeknownst to anyone else,” she hesitated for a second, just a second, then picked up the telephone and dialed. If nothing else, maybe she could finally figure out James.

by Christy 10:13 PM

If cyborg implants were feasible, what upgrades would you get?

by Sharon 8:08 AM

{Tuesday, March 22, 2005}

I don't really want to talk about it.

by Fred 1:34 PM

{Monday, March 21, 2005}

In retrospect, it was a grand disaster. That's what the daily trades and news services called it, anyway, and Soren was in no position to dispute the charge. The company had blown up five or six planets, after all, and you didn't just walk away from that sort of thing unscathed.

Already management was demanding answers, explanations. Soren had been on the interlink with the higher-ups on Luna for the better part of the morning. He'd known almost a week before that he'd be called out on the carpet for this, asked to justify his department's actions and explain what went wrong. The seismic activity on all the planets before their destruction had been just as good as any handwriting on any wall. Soren had tried to downplay the severity of what had happened and reminded the board that only three of the planets had been inhabited. And, really, there was little profit in crying over spilled milk. But they were obviously still angry. They might fire Soren just for the small boost to PR.

His department hadn't set out to blow up six planets -- really five, if you didn't count Naia Prime, which didn't explode with the others so much as collapse upon itself. Yes, it was just as uninhabitable as all the rest, but still. A few billion years from now, it would be ripe for terraforming all over again, no problem. It wasn't going anywhere. Soren's team had simply tried to speed up the terraforming process.

The company wanted settlers moved planetside as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Under normal circumstances -- given the state the Naia System was in when the astro-accountants first discovered it -- that could taken anywhere from twenty to thrity years. Soren had heard the grumbling behind closed doors, the talk that the competition was developing a new process, terraforming faster or possibly not at all. If corners could be cut...

Well, Soren's team had tried. And five planets had blown up. A grand disaster. Some of the news services were calling for a criminal investigation. Soren was definitely sure he wasn't getting any kind of holiday bonus this year.

by Fred 10:40 AM

A Grand Disaster

by Christy 10:31 AM

{Saturday, March 19, 2005}

Faking It

by Generik 3:00 AM

{Friday, March 18, 2005}

may your words be like
a wind over still water
the whisper that echoes

by Fred 11:59 PM

Swift kick to the head
Seven syllable center
Swift kick to the groin

No crouching tiger
A dragon out in plain sight
You can see the wires

Quickly as you can
Snatch the passport from my hand
I wander the earth

by Generik 3:24 PM

haiku kung-fu

by Fred 12:54 PM

{Thursday, March 17, 2005}

First of all, it wasn't really a recurring dream. Henry thought it was important for Dr. Willaby to understand this. Yes, it always started out the same, with Henry standing in a field, alone, but there were always subtle differences. Henry wasn't sure if the dream worried him as much as the fact that he was hung up on these difference, the minutiae that differentiated one dream from the next. For instance, one night the field might be full of clover, bright green from edge to edge, and the next night it would be awash in nothing more remarkable than stalks of dying grass. Or there would be differences in the evening's sky, one night a cloud where there had been none the night before, a dark spot high above that might have been a bird in one dream and in the next an approaching storm. None of these differences were all that different, and, although he would concentrate on them and try to unravel whatever subconcious mystery they represented, none of them did anything to help him understand -- much less to alleviate his fear.

For every night that he had the dream -- and the night before he first met with Dr. Willaby was the twenty-eighth -- Henry was acutely aware of the fear he felt while he slept. Afraid of what, he didn't know. Something, always out of reach, always just beyond the field, but drawing close. The field itself, with all those changing details, was always mundane, never a change that might qualify as interesting. Were it not for the fear, Henry might have been startled awake by sheer boredom.

But the fear remained.

by Fred 8:04 PM


Kaya twirled the four leaf clover between her fingers, watching the light and shadow turn it from a bright grass green to a deep emerald color as the sun glistened off of it. She hoped that its accidental appearance today, of all days, boded well for tonight. It was her birthday, and the present she'd been hoping for was almost within her reach. All she simply had to do was not do anything to screw it up. Events were moving under their own volition now, and she just needed to stay out of the way, which she'd never been very good at. She was used to taking matters into her own hands and not leaving anything to fate or to Jason's whims.

Her younger brother had never been very good at articulating what he wanted, much less trying to make it a reality, but this time he was proving himself adamant in his convictions, almost to the point where Kaya was certain that someone or something else must be influencing the big decision he'd made.

by Christy 12:40 PM


by Fred 9:29 AM

{Wednesday, March 16, 2005}

a dangerous prosperity

by Fred 1:11 PM

{Monday, March 14, 2005}

The trouble started with the neighbor's cat,
Which started singing, and that was that.
They heard it mewl a plaintive song
As it prowled across their neighbor's lawn.
And then it paused, as if to think,
Climbed up the birdbath and took a drink,
Lapped its tongue and gave a purr
As the summer night caressed its fur.
They heard it move along the fence
That divided Mrs. Schatt's house from the next.
It sidled past, then jumped atop.
(A cat is rarely scared to drop.)
And then the voice they thought at first a hoax
Was from the feline form now finally coaxed.
When they'd first moved in, they'd heard it said,
First by Mrs. Schatt, then her nephew Ned,
That Mister Whiskers was prone to song
And known to go on all night long.
Ned said he fancied a few simple tunes
That he sang beneath the full or gibbous moons,
But when it waned and the sky grew dark,
Perhaps, said Ned, just for a lark,
Whiskers took requests from other cats,
Who lined the fence beside the Schatt's,
Who pawed the grass as if keeping time
And tapped their tails against the knotty pine
And sang along if the mood was right:
A kitty cavalcade of song through the night.
They thought Ned mad or just misinformed,
But with their window open -- the night was warm --
They could hear the cat on the ground below
And the other cats come for the show.
They peeked out 'neath the blinds into the yard
The thought of all those cats had them on guard.
And to his wife, Tim said, "Imagine that.
There must be ten, fifteen, no twenty cats!"
His wife, Eileen, agreed 'twas true,
But what was there that they could do?
They stood and watched the cat at center ring,
Holding court amidst the din
Of purring beasts, a feline sea,
That seemed to ripple with catty glee,
Mister Whiskers, again atop the fence,
Acting ringmaster for the night's events.
And when they heard him speak, or rather sing,
They thought -- no, wait, now here's the thing --
They couldn't think; they felt struck dumb.
All Eileen heard was a purring hum.
And Tim rubbed his eyes and smacked his ears
For never once, in all his years,
Had he heard a tabby sing like that,
That proved right Ned and Mrs. Schatt,
That voiced not just sounds but entire words.
The whole thing seemed so quite absurd.
But there he was, among them all,
The cats who answered with a meowing call,
Who answered back and sang in time,
Who beat the beat against the knotty pine,
Who left them above too scared to speak,
Left them quaking with knees gone weak.
They stared a moment, then shut the window tight.
"That's just wrong," said Ted. Eileen 'greed 'twasn't right.
They shut the blinds and returned to bed
And pulled the covers up above their heads
And held each other, full of fear and doubt,
As Whiskers sang "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

by Fred 11:59 PM

o/` Meow meow meow meow
meow meow meow meow
meow meow meow meow
meow meow meow meow,

Meow meow meow meow
meow meow meow meow
meow meow meow meow
meow meow meow meow...o/`

(Repeat until completely batshit insane.)

by Generik 8:01 PM

"Where the hell are the singing cats?

by Fred 7:55 PM

{Friday, March 11, 2005}

I remember the last words my brother said to me. He said, "It's only make-believe."

That's when the Bengal tiger grabbed him. At least, I think it was a Bengal. I'd read about them in books, the ones on our grandfather's shelves our mother didn't want us to read. But this tiger moved so fast, and was so big, that it had snatched up James in its great jaws and pounced back into the jungle with him before I'd had a chance to really see. So it could have been any kind of tiger.

But it was definitely a tiger.

"Tigers don't live in the Antarctic," James probably would have said. He didn't say much of anything as the tiger carried him away. He yelled out when it grabbed him, as surprised as I was, but he didn't speak or call my name or anything. I think he was in shock. That he didn't scream, I thought, was a good sign that at least the tiger wasn't eating him just yet. James could be annoying and a know-it-all, but I didn't want him to be torn to bloody shreds.

I padded through the snow, now almost hip-deep. Was this the Antarctic? I wondered. Not an hour before, we had passed through what looked like a bazzar on the edge of the desert. As we wandered among the run-down shops, I remember I marveled at the heat. The streets of the market looked almost abandoned, the fruit in some of the stalls already gone a dusty and wrinkled brown.

I remember wishing it would snow.

I should have known better, in this place. I should have remembered what happened when I wished that our mother would leave us alone, or that James and I could really visit the places in our grandfather's books. I should have remembered what happened the first time I wished I could see a Bengal tiger.

But, like James said, it was only make-believe.

by Fred 11:28 AM

It's Only Make-Believe

by Generik 9:37 AM

{Wednesday, March 09, 2005}

Who needs to pretend?

by Fred 5:13 PM

{Tuesday, March 08, 2005}

Pretend nobody's watching.

by Fred 6:10 PM

{Saturday, March 05, 2005}


What are you waiting for?

by Sharon 7:06 PM

{Friday, March 04, 2005}


Go on, say something.

by Sharon 3:18 AM

{Thursday, March 03, 2005}

CSI: 221B Baker Street

"And so," said the great detective, "from this single drop of blood, we may very naturally deduce that not only is the killer a large, bearded, and uneducated man of Welsh descent (though only on his mother's side) given to prolonged if infrequents bouts of both narcolepsy and insomnia, but also he has a club foot, favors gin over brandy, and fairly recently spent a month and six days learning to play the ukelele whilst abroad, quite possibly in Crimea or the Indian Raj."

"Astounding, Holmes!" cried John Watson, at his side. The good doctor stared at his companion, the estimable sleuth, with a look that approached religious awe. "And that means...what, exactly?"

"That Lord Montague's murderer is none other than his adopted son and caretaker, Wesley William Pierce, the very same who engaged my services in order to solve this most heinous crime."

"Um, well," said Inspector Lestrade, clearing his throat as he rose from his chair, "I wouldn't be so sure about that, Mr. Holmes." The police inspector pulled a sheet of cream-coloured paper from his coat pocket. "We've had that blood tested at Scotland Yard, and DNA analysis has proved conclusively that it belongs to none other than Montague himself, whose own fingerprints were discovered on the murder weapon. Furthermore, the trajectory of the bullet coupled with the subsequent autopsy reveal quite unequivocally his Lordship's wounds were self-inflicted."

"Oh," said Holmes.

"Oh," said Dr. Watson.

"Well that would have been my next guess," said the detective.

"I'm sure," said Lestrade. "Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to have a word with you about this recent drug test of yours..."

by Fred 6:50 PM

I got the news from my doctor in a voice mail; a voice mail he left me on my 49th birthday.

It had been a couple years since I'd last seen him (I'm notorious for avoiding him over the years -- when he first saw me again, he asked, "Didn't you move to Texas or something? Or am I thinking of someone else?"), and the only reason I went at all was because he was refusing to renew my prescriptions any more without a visit to his office. So I went, and listened to him tell me that I need to lose weight and exercise more (gee, no fecal matter, Mr. Holmes), and suffered the indignity of what all men over 40 have to put up with once a year ("Oof! Again wit' the fingah!!") and generally sat with glazed eyes until I could safely walk out with new prescriptions in hand and a year to go before I had to suffer another digital violation. A few days later I humored him further and had some blood drawn so they could do my lab work. The following week he got the results, and we spent a few days playing phone tag -- or rather his office and I did -- until he finally called himself and left the message.

"Your triglycerides are high," he said, and my eyes immediately began to roll up in my head, having heard this line many times before, "and so is your blood sugar. In fact, it's up over 120, up around 134. Those two numbers together indicate that you have diabetes."

Not a "possibly," not a "you might," not a "maybe you need to get another blood test done," nothing so ambiguous as that. Just "you have diabetes." I have diabetes.

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised. My grandmother had it, and given my overweight and sedentary condition the past couple years, I should have guessed that it might be coming. Still, it was something of a shock to hear it, especially given the day I found out. My last hurrah before I'm offically old, as in AARP old, and the biggest news I get on that day is that my getting old came a year early. By the time I'm 50 I'll have lived with diabetes for a year.

The good news -- if there is such a thing in this case -- is that the numbers are still relatively low, and that I can keep it under control and stay off medication if I exercise and diet. This is assuming, of course, that I do actually exercise and diet. I have been trying, at least the dieting part, so far. I've been changing the way I eat -- never a breakfast eater, I now have some fruit and yogurt early every morning -- and trying to eat four or five small meals a day, rather than just lunch and dinner, which is what I had always done before. Carbohydrates, though necessary in measured amounts, are my enemy. Rice, potatoes, pasta, bread... they are not my friends any more, certainly not in the quantities that they once were. Juice and soda are the equivalent of heroin to a diabetic, pure sugar mainlined to the arteries. Sugars and starches turn to sugar in the blood; proteins and fats don't affect it. All this week I've been attending afternoon classes at a local hospital, learning about the physiology of diabetes, how to control it, how to monitor my blood sugar, what exercise does to help combat it, and on and on and on. I now own my own glucometer, and have been sticking my fingers a couple times each day to see where I am in terms of glucose level.

A single drop of blood can make all the difference.

by Generik 12:20 AM

One Drop of Blood

by Generik 12:01 AM

{Wednesday, March 02, 2005}


Go on, say something.

by Sharon 1:09 PM


This is a poem from the future.

In seventy centuries
(not from now,
but maybe a week from now,
let's say
seventy centuries and one week)
words will be...
what's that word?
oh yeah, obsolte.

We won't say,
I love you.
We won't say,
what I meant to tell you was this.
We won't say anything,
we won't risk saying anything,
that's already been said
or that's better left unspoken.
We will know exactly what we mean.
We will mean exactly what we say.

In the future,
we'll get things right.

Language is
cumbersome and
difficult and
imprecise and,
because of that imprecision,
there is pain in the world and
misunderstanding and
A misspelled word,
misspoken phrase,
misplaced; punctuation and
the game's all over;
that's all she wrote;
you might as well call it a day.

Language is
impossible and
absurd and
offers the promise of clarification,
of simplification,
but if there's one thing you should know about language
it's this:
language lies.

Words are imprecise.
Words don't express what we want
to say.
Words are a path to confusion.
And yet.
Words are imprecise but,
because of that imprecision,
there is...
oh, what's that word?
oh yeah: metaphor.

Without the imprecision of language,
without that confusion,
without that wondering what we really meant to say,
there would be no metaphor.
We grasp for straws and unearth gold.

Without language,
no man is an island.
No woman is an ocean.
No moment or object is anything other that what it is.
Every thing is that thing.
A man is just a man, a woman just a woman.
A rock is a rock and
a book, a book.
Et cetera, ad infinitum.

Language is not a path to anywhere
but just a collection of words:
a system
by which communication of thoughts and
feelings are expressed
through arbitrary signals,
voice, gestures, symbols, words.
Without metaphor,
is just scribbles and garbles and
words are obsolete.

In seventy centuries,
after we've walked on the moon
and danced on the stars
oh, what's that word?
oh yeah: there isn't one yet.
When we've done all we can
and been all we might be
and have gone beyond what language can say,
maybe then
be obsolete.
Maybe we'll come to our senses
and learn we don't need its lies.

We'll know precisely what we want to say
in knowing,
have moved past any need to actually say it.

In seventy centuries,
but not today.
- Fred

by Sharon 8:35 AM


<blockquote class="topic">your topic</blockquote>