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{Wednesday, November 30, 2005}

becoming a scientist

by Fred 1:23 PM

{Tuesday, November 29, 2005}

or maybe not

by Fred 3:21 PM

{Monday, November 28, 2005}

back to work

by Fred 1:39 PM

{Wednesday, November 23, 2005}

travel plans

by Fred 10:25 AM

{Tuesday, November 22, 2005}

Joe's film wasn't finished, he told everyone. The version they were watching in class was just a rough cut. Some of the dialogue still needed to be looped, and he knew the ending was a little rushed. But he planned to spend most of that weekend in one of the editing bays on campus, making the necessary cuts and additions, until the film was perfect. Right now, though, it wasn't.

"So where by Monday I'll have a concise examination of man's struggle against man and the existential dilemmas that plague our day-to-day," Joe said, "right now I just have some dancing girls."

There was, in fact, some twenty minutes of dancing-girl footage. Some of the women, and some were in slow-motion, but most were clad in a darting suggestion of multicolored scarves. If asked, some of the class might have described the music that played over this footage as at least vaguely pornographic.

"And where I'll have a detailed examination of the social mores that govern our lives, along with a side-by-side comparison of the mores of both Edwardian England and fifth century Macedonia," Joe added, "right now all I have is...well, clearly more dancing girls."

Joe's film was the sleeper hit of the season.

by Fred 11:59 PM

rough cuts

by Fred 12:46 PM

{Monday, November 21, 2005}

What am I forgetting?

by Fred 8:32 PM

{Friday, November 18, 2005}

Abandoned or lost, unloved, unclaimed

Purchased from the blood money of Judas' shame

An unmarked grave, the unsung hymn

The end whether quiet, grisly or grim

The voiceless poor, to Death they yield

Consigned then to Potter's field

by mews 4:41 PM

space food

by Fred 10:19 AM

{Thursday, November 17, 2005}

I signed up for pottery classes at ClayWays starting in January. I had studied wheel-thrown pottery for a semester in college and gotten rather competent at it, so part of my reason is just wanting to get back into it. But the bigger part is that I want new plates, smaller than the typical American monstrosities, but bigger than a salad plate. So I figured I'd make my own. Which means I need a kiln. And a wheel. And a sink that can handle a few pounds of mud. Hence, classes.

I stopped by ClayWays last weekend, to check it out before signing up for classes. They were gearing up for this weekend's Empty Bowl Project, frantically glazing bowls. I got roped into helping, which was a delight.

ClayWays reminded me of The Creative Oasis, my old creative outlet in State College. One striking characteristic of the Oasis, though, is space. That place is huge. You could hold dances there. I could spread my calligraphy out over an entire table. In ClayWays, I feel like I have to constantly watch my elbows. But the Small Business feel is the same: A couple of artists, and their business-capable friend, pursuing a dream and sharing art with the community. I could be a part of this.

by Sharon 11:59 PM

Potter time

by mews 8:57 PM

{Wednesday, November 16, 2005}

I'll try to explain what I meant when I said
It makes no difference if you're alive or you're dead
There's still good evidence they'll get inside your head
Even if you hide in the dirt

You'll say they're a myth, they're not real, a bad joke
But into your thoughts they'll soon steal and soon choke
With dark fingers that feel for all the world like a yoke
Even if you're dead it'll hurt

by Fred 6:09 PM

I'll try to explain.

by Fred 12:49 PM

{Tuesday, November 15, 2005}

inside your head

by Fred 1:15 PM

{Monday, November 14, 2005}

[removed by author]

by Fred 5:48 PM

not while I'm eating

by Fred 12:41 PM

{Friday, November 11, 2005}


Like most good little lefties, I do not have a lot of experience with the military. I talk a good game; I try to recognize the value of military service. Just because I am opposed to the war, does not mean I do not support our troops yada yada etc. But I pretty much subscribed to the “Military Intelligence is contradiction of terms” philosophy. My Father was peacetime marine before I was born, and my older sister was in the navy in the eighties, to my way of thinking neither were improved by the experience. My sister underwent an enormous change of political perspective, she went into the service questioning authority, and vaguely democratic in her politics and came out quoting Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura Schlesinger’s as arbiters of American Values. My nephew is in the army now. He has been to Iraq and will probably go again. Umm my nephew is a cute kid, but not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. So what does that say about our all volunteer force?

I am not as sure as I used to be. You see my best friend is a war veteran. She was in the last Gulf War. She is funny, smart and left of center in her politics. Her sister was a military wife; Sue’s husband was also in the Gulf War. Both of them were in The Army. Both of them were in Military Intelligence. Both of them are opposed to the current Iraq nightmare. Both of them would go again if they were called to do so. Neither would send their children.

For most of us, Military service is something we give lip service to without truly respecting it. We talk about the casualties painting them as heroes or victims depending upon our political viewpoint. Mostly their experience is not real to us. I met a man at the airport a couple of months ago. He was waiting for his wife to get back from dropping their children off to live with her parents. He was a veteran of the Gulf War, and was discharged for medical reasons associated with that war. His wife was in the active military, she had been home for five months after a ten month tour in Iraq. She was going back for another tour that could last 18 months. His job would not allow him to be home for the kids at night, and he needed the job to support the children. Their children were 13, 9, and 4. My sons are four and ten. I have never had to be away from them for longer than a weekend.

I was talking about this encounter with my friend Lisa. She served before her children were born. She is in the Individual Ready Reserves. My understanding is that these are the last folks to be called up who have to go,before a draft is instituted. For a while there with the stop loss policies etc. we were all concerned that she might get called. I wanted to know why she had not resigned her commission. With tears in her eyes she answered me: “If they call me, an out of shape housewife with two kids, then we are in serious serious trouble, and they would only call us up if we were really needed. And if the need is that great, than I would go.”

by mews 6:57 PM

war veterans

by Fred 2:24 PM

{Thursday, November 10, 2005}

evolving in front of your eyes

by Fred 1:35 PM

{Wednesday, November 09, 2005}

It was only luck that Jane found the message at all. For almost a week after the funeral, her cell phone had been acting up, or not acting at all; it would refuse to charge when she plugged it in, or it would dial the wrong number, calling complete strangers whenever she tried calling work or friends back in New York. On Saturday, the battery seemed to die altogether, cutting off just as she was scheduling her return flight to LaGuardia, and when she called back from the phone in her sister's kitchen, she learned that none of her information had been stored in the airline's computers. It would take maybe another twenty-five minutes to re-enter her name and credit card, book the flight, and get a confirmation number.

She didn't have time for that. Jane was meeting Tom, her sister's fiancé, across town to discuss what he wanted to do with Beth's things, whether they should donate the clothes to charity and if he wanted to keep any of the books. She didn't want to keep him waiting too long at the restaurant. Jane was worried about him, partly because she thought Beth would have been, and because she already felt bad enough for forcing Tom to go through with this so soon after the fact.

She told the airline she'd call them back -- which she'd have to do soon, she told herself -- and then she hung up and headed out the door.

It was only later, at Tom's apartment sometime after midnight, as she was stumbling in the dark from the bedroom to the kitchen to get a glass of water, that she heard the familiar chirping and realized her cell phone maybe wasn't dead after all. Finding her purse among the rest of her things tossed on the couch, Jane dug out the phone and pressed the little button on its side to light up the display.

Who could be calling her now? Could it be Alex, she wondered, back in New York? She hoped not. She didn't think she was up to lying to him again. He hadn't called since Thursday, the day of the funeral, and she'd told him she couldn't talk. He'd been hurt, but still, maybe he'd called earlier, when --

But no. It wasn't Alex. It was just a text message, and Alex never sent those. He didn't own a cell phone, refused even to use hers unless it was an emergency. Jane didn't recongize the number at the top of the phone's display, and there was no name attached with. The message had been sent around nine o'clock that evening, around the same time that she and Tom had arrived back at his apartment. She didn't know who it was from, but it wasn't very complicated.

It said simply, "Don't go."

by Fred 6:31 PM

message from the flipside

by Sharon 1:22 PM

{Tuesday, November 08, 2005}

The only way to throw your vote away is not to vote.

Some people hold that voting against popular opinion in a landslide election is a pointless exercise in shouting into the wind. What a lazy, cowardly, sheeplike, apathetic way to think. Every vote counts as much as every other. Every voice has equal weight. The minority opinion won't rule the day, but it will be heard. It does make a statement.

Yesterday, 3/4 of Texans approved an amendment to the Texas Constitution to ban gay marriage, but 60% of Austinites said that was hooey. That counts for something. That says something about where I live.

But this notion of "throwing your vote away" transcends any particular issue. Many countries don't let their citizens vote. Not long ago, this country didn't let its black or female citizens vote. That right is hard won and precious. Shame on you if you don't vote. You might as well waive your status as an American.

by Sharon 11:59 PM

throwing your vote away

by Fred 5:15 PM

{Monday, November 07, 2005}

You won't believe some of what I have to tell you.

by Fred 12:53 PM

{Friday, November 04, 2005}

The Tale of the Disillusioned Illusionist

by Fred 12:51 PM

{Thursday, November 03, 2005}

April is the cruellest month? Something tells me T.S. Eliot never tried his hand at NaNoWriMo, thought Louis, with a laugh -- not because it was a particularly good joke, or because he expected anyone else to find it amusing, but simply because he felt like he might crack up if he didn't laugh. After just three short days of trying his own hand at NaNoWriMo, he'd come to just two conclusions: first, his had was tired; and, second, he was going to lose it if he had to keep up this pace. He was starting to worry the whole thing had been a terrible mistake. He just was having any luck with the words.

Louis hadn't expected to burst out of the gate with the Great American Novel, and he knew the chances of coming up with anything of real value at all were against him. He knew that NaNoWriMo was more about simply forcing your hand and making you write than in getting a publishable novel under your belt. But knowing that and knowing it were two different things.

Maybe, thought Louis, writing a novel about NaNoWriMo had been a mistake, too cerebral and postmodern and self-referential a topic. He couldn't wrap his head around it. Who could? Was there even a plot? A man writing a novel? How could he have hoped to make that interesting? How could he possibly beef up that word count?

And how, he wondered, to get rid of this feeling that he was going to break apart into a million little pieces if he kept it up any longer -- that all he'd have to show for it, in the end, would be some cramped fingers, some lame scribblings, and possibly a year or two's stay in a sanitarium to recollect his sanity.

by Fred 5:49 PM

"I wanted so much to write that I couldn't write a word." - Walker Evans

by Fred 1:39 PM

{Wednesday, November 02, 2005}

"Ladies and gentlemen -- space spiders! The only space-saving arachnid for the home or office! Guaranteed to spin a web out of any cluttered closet, desk drawer or dank attic crawlspace..."

"Space Spiders. They came from beyond, but from beyond what, nobody knew. These weirdly misshapen, eight-legged monstrosities came to devour anything in their path, but they didn't count on that path running right by Dr. Clarence McCloud, international crime-fighting exterminator..."

"Okay, type space, then spiders, then another space, and then bite. Put in exclamation points. Not too many, but use your own best judgement. People need to know these spiders can be dangerous. They need to know they can bite. Why, just last week, little Timmy Wilkins' left arm was bitten clean off by one of those wild tarantulas. Well, no, I didn't see it myself. But a friend of mine, he assures me he was there and that it really happened, honest..."

"No space for spiders? Do you find that in your daily grind of a dog-eat-dog world you just don't have the space you once had for the arachnids in your life? Do the creepy crawliers you used to know and love keep falling by the wayside? Then you need spider-boxes, patent pending -- the first and as far as anybody can prove only box specifically designed for arachnid portability..."

"Space spiders eat their weight in dead flies,
Enough to dwarf every sun and blot out all the skies.
They've got giant jaws and such gargantuan thighs.
They've got their own systems of gravity welled up in their eyes..."

by Fred 5:24 PM

space spiders

by Fred 10:47 AM

{Tuesday, November 01, 2005}

You find these words hidden in the margins,
And you're not at first sure you recognize what they mean,
But you sense something familiar about the language,
Something you heard whispered, years ago, in a dream.

And as you slowly turn the rhythm of the pages,
The melody of the words is there revealed.
You piece together music in the missive,
Though something of the song's meaning's still concealed.

You speak the words aloud to see if you remember
They shape they ought to make on lips, in throats;
Their meaning, still obscure, still confounds you,
Though that night you dream of giant ships and distant boats.

You dream you're on an ocean built of language,
Where words are cresting waves that'll knock you to your knees,
Where you're lost sight of all the shores, there the margins,
And all you know now are the written seas.

by Fred 7:30 PM

find these words in the margins

by Fred 3:52 PM


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