Poetry

All systems are go

Yeah, I'm not super good at the title thing. A sort of linear focus might enhance "readership" or whatever, but, whatever. The Birthday Countdown begins! And I am going to do something I enjoy now and then, share bits of thing I've written in the past. Actual serendipity has caused me to have indigo in my head lately. I keep running across references to it, and this bit of writing from 1997 appeared yesterday while I was searching for something else.

To think I was 32 years old then! I hadn't yet given birth to the Youngest Beauty! I marvel at this. Hmm, and that means I weighed only about 120 lbs, as well. Best not to dwell on that.

mood indigo, 1997
 
muted music floating up from the room below
dancing, swaying, tipsy together across this creaky floor,
and you, whispering tasty lies, nibbling my ear,
tellling me all those things every wide-eyed girl
in her best blue dress yearns to hear
 
The Sinatra recording is from In the Wee Small Hours, his first concept album, and it was just around that time I first heard it and...was kind of disappointed. Everyone told me it was so amazing, and I didn't really enjoy it very much. But last night I was listening to Nice and Easy, and thinking about how as I've gotten older, my Sinatra taste has changed and expanded. Now it occurs to me he was still alive then! Gosh.
 
There's always just been something very groovy about a man in his 40s; in command of who he is and what he enjoys about life, but lately, I'm growing more comfortable with the idea that a man in his 50s might still also be pretty all right.
 
Epicurus said, "It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life." Can any of us honestly apprehend and apply this philosophy without having first had "that mood indigo?" People try selfishly, but they leave parts of it out. Hopefully, they grow wiser with experience. I think we can continue to develop inner reflection while still (and more) fully appreciating and embracing our personal relationships.

Summer's End

All too briefly, the air was still, warm, a blanket of calm

 

Unlike Damocles, not given to flattery

yet a single hair bears the dagger twisting overhead 

revealing not the perils of power, but of Limbo

or the vain grasp for illusory freedom

 

Now the air is charged, cooling, crawling over my skin like

ants over a pool of spilled honey

 

It never was summer; it was a trick of the mind.

 

2012-09-17 11.50.51
2012-09-17 11.50.51
2012-09-17 11.50.51


attached to yesterday

an old favorite I dragged out of the writing closet this morning.

things i want to notice...

do you ever run your fingers up through your hair while you're thinking?
does your smile start at one corner and spread across                   
like the sun slowly revealed behind moving clouds,                    
or does it break open all of a sudden in a flash-flood grin?
                    
do your eyes flash,                    
do you tilt your head to the side or throw it back                   
or tip it forward in shy laughter?
                   
how do you grip a pen? i think i know;                    
i think you hold it close to the point and curl your hand around it,                   
anchoring it to the page.                    
i see quick little movements, 
controlled scribbling, conscious effort at all times. i'd like to see the way your shoulders shift up and back as you run, follow the contract-and-release rhythm of those well-defined hamstrings, and when you've exhausted yourself after a sprint, hands on knees, labored breathing, sweat dripping from your chin, ears, lower lip-- i'd like to taste the salt of your effort on my tongue.

 


liliales birthday countdown: 2005

This one is a bit of a cheat. I'm not sharing a blog link from this year only, because they were transferred here with a whole month on each page. You could go find them if you were compelled to. The picture links are broken, though. 

In 2005 our world changed a lot. It was awesome, then it was awful, then there was some awesomeness in the midst of the awfulness. Which was awful. Oh, and I turned 40. 

Here's me shoveling snow in early 2005: 

Movingsnow

And here's all the poetry I got written that year, but also it was the first year I tried NaNoWriMo, so that was a neat thing. 

Sipping Gotham

New York Harbor
slice of lime

I walk differently on New York streets,
everything hums erotic vibrations 
through the soles of my feet. 


Carnival of Words

Looking at you in a funhouse mirror
It's shatter-proof, smear-proof
distorted nevertheless

On a carousel spinning,
Artificial breeze soothes
Ride over too soon.

Ferris Wheel stops at the top,
car rocks and I sway, 
unsteady and unnerved til you point out the view
It's wide and breath-taking
and I never want to come back down. 


Slave/spoils

Slave to your will, or mine?
I can lean back and close my eyes,
or grip your shoulders and draw a sharp path
straight through your pupils.

The shouts are all shut up in my head
and I do not force them out by throat and tongue,
rather with fingernails, teeth, taunting pressure
holding, locking you into position;

It's always at least a draw 
where the spoils are shared, exchanged,
given in love and taken by need—
like rain, or shelter from cold.


This is from the prologue of my first NaNoWriMo attempt. I say attempt because I can write 50k words in a month, but never seem to write a complete story...

I couldn't help myself. As she headed for the newsstand, I scribbled on the back of a receipt I found in my purse and then got up, walked past him quickly, dropping the receipt at his feet, and kept on going out of the park. My heart was racing, but I didn't look back.

The note said, "Meet me in front of Trump Tower in an hour." And he did.

He just walked right up to me and spoke, "She's visiting an old school friend, and we're getting back together for dinner at 7."

I said nothing, just pointed toward Central Park, smiled, and took off across the street, as he followed behind, jogging a little to keep up.

I had never before spoken to him in person, and just didn't know how to begin. It seemed so important to get the words exactly right, even if they were meaningless. So I remained silent until that began to feel absurd. We had a few hours, this one day out of forever, not to be wasted away on shyness.

"An eternity in one long breath. That's how the days seem right now. Like we're all exhaling, and when our lungs finally empty, and it's time for drawing in again, well."

I stopped, realizing I must sound a little crazy, speaking the truth hardly anyone dared voice aloud these days. That's me, from shy to overly vocal in one careless move.

 

 


liliales birthday countdown: 2003

From this point forward, a lot of my online presence is archived, and I thought it would be a good idea to share some thoughts I had each year. 2003 is the year I started keeping a blog. Before that I had a website on which I'd post ideas, pictures, lists of things that interested me, whatever I could think of. 

My first blog was homemade and very crude-looking. Over the years since then I've had them at Blogger, Vox, and TypePad, and I have several things going at Tumblr, but I've also got accounts at a few other places. You never know when you might need a new one. 

That year, I turned 38. I found a great deal of Bobby Darin music I'd never heard before, and downloaded it from Limewire. I feel no compunction about that. It wasn't as if this music was available for me to purchase. Me and Lars Ulrich, we'd have words if we ever met. I think that was also the year I discovered archive.org, which is still pretty much my favorite place on the web. I'm not linking, whatever. Go there if you never have, and find the Prelinger archives. Thank me later. 

I was not super well that year. The year before, I'd become ill and semi-bedridden for awhile, and was exposed to huge toxic amounts of mold. I developed asthma (the body sometimes gets confused about our need for defense mechanisms, eh?) and it's been a bother ever since. But in the summer of 2003, I was actually in terrific shape, and feeling pretty good about myself otherwise. In the autumn, I couldn't breathe again, and we prepared to move to a better house, a few miles farther inland. 

Here's the text of my first blog post. Please indulge me by reading it and the ones to follow in the other countdown posts. It was maybe more entertaining with photos, I dunno. The rest of these countdown posts will have photos, because they are archived back to 2004 on this particular computer. 

An indulgence for myself in this one instead; three poems I wrote in 2003:

Chokecherry Beach

mussel shells, tiny in my palm
born on waves, 
borne to shore on a blanket of foam,
born to live and to die
all in an instant.


mapmaker

cartographer's hands, once an abstract notion, 
merely pixels on a screen; 
unreal evidence of tangible form, 
now trace a complex route
through barriers named yet unspoken,
radiating a slow-burning energy
from within their hesitant source

he traces this path with his mind, his voice,
his carefully measured speech, and sears
a dark trail deep into my fevered skin.


humbert's reasons to drink

dedicated to Lola, the showgirl

stupid frigging nazis
poems don't rhyme
stopped changing lightbulbs
takes too much time
lights in train car
flicker off and on
she gave him her phone number
three weeks he's gone

left hand shakes so
i'm using the right
milk's gone sour
thirsty at night
that movie was absurd
blue alien moron freaks
i'd cut my own eyes out
but irony still speaks

it never seems to end
the cliche won't die
keeps finding new shelter
rabbits getting high
spewing Nietzsche, Tolkein, Plant
basement ruminations
they arrested Adam Ant
fashion indignations

winking at boys
inviting them in
they watch as i sip
pineapple juice and gin.

 


Eight years of blather

I wrote my first real blog post on January 17, 2003. I set up my own pages, linked to new ones every few entries, and at first asked for email replies. A few months later I got a tag board, and a few friends and I would leave each other messages on it. That was really fun. Actually, I'd started doing a sort of online journal the year before at LiveJournal, but never got into it the same way.

Today I was reading through old entries from 2003-2006, and feeling so incredibly old. I went from just using Dreamweaver to Blogger to Vox to here, and in between I had a photo blog at WordPress, and messed around with just about every other free blogging platform. I love my Tumblr page, though haven't been able to do much with it this month.

But I most miss my original pages. They weren't reproducible at Blogger, but became too cumbersome as the web changed and blogging changed, after the first year or two. So the words remain, but the cheery colors and design are gone forever.

None of that is the point. The point is that I've changed dreadfully. I'm such an old sad person compared to the seemingly eternally optimistic young person I was at 37 or 38. Even though life wasn't all that terrific then, it always seemed on the verge of breaking open and breaking free. But it never did. And so, it became more and more difficult to sustain the floating happy bubble that carried me through all the worries, changes, uncertainty. There's no bubble anymore. 

In some ways, I like myself better now. But the me of eight years ago wouldn't. It's a funny thing. 

That summer I posted a poem by Pushkin, just after I turned 38, which is the age he was when he died of a pointless duel wound. I'm going to repost it here, plus a completely different translation of it. I don't know the literary story behind the two translations. I very much prefer the former, in terms of poetry... 

Elegy, by Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin 1799-1837

Of my mad years the vanished mirth and laughter
Affect me like a fume-filled morning-after.
Not so past pain – like wine is it to me
That as the years go by gains potency.
Sad is the path before me: toil and sorrow
Lie on the restless seaways of the morrow.

And yet from thought of death, my friends, I shrink;
I want to live – to suffer and to think,
And amid care and grief and tribulation,
Taste of sweet rapture and exhilaration;
Be drunk with harmony; touch fancy's strings
And freely weep o'er its imaginings…
And love's last flash, its smile of farewell tender
My sad decline may yet less mournful render. 1830

 

    The vanished joy of my crazy years
Is as heavy as gloomy hang-over.
But, like wine, the sorrow of past days
Is stronger with time.
My path is sad. The waving sea of the future
Promises me only toil and sorrow.

    But, O my friends, I do not wish to die,
I want to live – to think and suffer.
I know, I’ll have some pleasures
Among woes, cares and troubles.
Sometimes I’ll be drunk with harmony again,
Or will weep over my visions,
And it’s possible, at my sorrowful decline,
Love will flash with a parting smile.

But the latter suits my nature a bit better just at the moment. 

Perhaps this does as well, but that's no different than before...

 

Still, the rest of me remains about as shallow as ever. Joe Cotten looked really swell in his naval uniform in Since You Went Away, which was on TV earlier, and which I never miss.


Enivrez-vous

A brief and very silly conversation on Twitter brought this poem to mind. As it happens, I was thinking that the expression, "la petite mort" is less apt for me personally than something like "enivré de l'amour." A really good parallel example if you can be natural and sensible and not easily offended, is the look on a baby's face just after he's finished nursing at his mother's breast. I've seen that exact look on a grown man's face. 


The translation is not my own; I'm thinking of working it over slightly, just for fun. But this is my favorite published one, from an old novel, name of which I do not recollect at the moment. It's not as literal as some translations, and therefore captures the original sentiment better.

(a. I'm still following along here, I promise and b. going to post some more silly lists later and this week.)

Be always drunken. 


Nothing else matters: 

that is the only question. 

If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time

weighing on your shoulders 

and crushing you to the earth, 

be drunken continually.


Drunken with what? 

With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will. 

But be drunken.


And if sometimes, 

on the stairs of a palace, 

or on the green side of a ditch, 

or in the dreary solitude of your own room, 

you should awaken 

and the drunkenness be half or wholly slipped

away from you, 

ask of the wind, 

or of the wave, 

or of the star,

or of the bird, 

or of the clock, 

or whatever flies, 

or sighs, 

or

rocks, 

or sings, 

or speaks, 

ask what hour it is; 

and the wind,

wave, 

star,

bird, 

clock, 

will answer you: 

"It is the hour to be drunken! 

Be drunken, 

if you would not be martyred slaves of Time; 

be drunken continually! 

With wine, with poetry, or with

virtue, as you will."


Enivrez-Vous 


Il faut 'tre toujours ivre.

Tout est l':

c'est l'unique question.

Pour ne pas sentir

l'horrible fardeau du Temps

qui brise vos 'paules

et vous penche vers la terre,

il faut vous enivrer sans tr've.

Mais de quoi?

De vin, de po'sie, ou de vertu, ' votre guise.

Mais enivrez-vous.

Et si quelquefois,

sur les marches d'un palais,

sur l'herbe verte d'un foss',

dans la solitude morne de votre chambre,

vous vous r'veillez,

l'ivresse d'j' diminu'e ou disparue,

demandez au vent,

' la vague,

' l'toile,

' l'oiseau,

' l'horloge,

' tout ce qui fuit,

' tout ce qui g'mit,

' tout ce qui roule,

' tout ce qui chante,

' tout ce qui parle,

demandez quelle heure il est;

et le vent,

la vague,

l''toile,

l'oiseau,

l'horloge,

vous r'pondront:

"Il est l'heure de s'enivrer!

Pour n're pas les esclaves martyriss du Temps,

enivrez-vous;

enivrez-vous sans cesse!

De vin, de po'sie ou de vertu, ' votre guise."


Charles Baudelaire



QotD: Reminiscing about the Internet

Do you remember the things you did when you first started using the Web and how it has changed your life?

Sponsored by Yahoo!

The things I first did on the web did change my life, mostly for the better. I only used it now and then from about 1993 to 1996, when we got our first home computer and a sponsored CompuServe account. That's when I became merbelle, a name I kept and used for all internet dealings until Yahoo literally screwed it up. But that's another story. 

I joined two forums at first, a poetry forum, and one that talked about old music. The music one, populated with radio djs and music collectors, taught me so much. First, it was encouraging that the people I spoke with online were just people; I never had any of that fear people developed about how the web was full of evil or whatever. And the people of that forum, mostly men, were kind and generous with their time and knowledge. I owe a great deal of my current music interest and rediscovery of good old music to them. I hope that they enjoyed speaking with me as well, though I did not have as much to contribute. 

The poetry forum, I owe so much to that! I still talk with a couple of those people now and then, and peer into the forum they started elsewhere when CompuServe began to change. 

The man joined it first. And at the time I thought he was more literary than me, and talented in a way that I was not, so I was afraid to join in. (There were other reasons, but not relevant to this post.) I wanted to share a poem I'd written, though, with people who might tell me whether it was interesting and worth continuing effort in the medium. 

This is that poem. Okay, it's not actually a poem, and I knew it then, but I also knew it had poetic devices, and wanted to learn more about that kind of writing. 

if you teach a man to fish, 

when will arthritis prevent him from reeling in a catch?


you never cut your hands slicing potatoes, but the slices are thick and uneven 

and some of them fry up brown and crisp while others still seem cold in the middle.


you’re so thin i could rock you as easily as i rock my own children, 

but you’d never admit you need my touch just as you’d never let me buy you some fish as long as you can still cast your rusty hook into the water.


you don’t think i know that you eat those potatoes with nothing but store-brand cola to wash them down because it’s cheaper than coffee and you have no bait for that rusty hook of yours.


you proudly display that laminated name badge pocket protector wherever you go. 

but it’s yellow with age, and your once stiff canvas shirt is soft and rumpled; worn through at the elbows.


your myopic eyes, large and faded through those thick goggle-like spectacles, 

sort out the change for the generic antacid that food stamps won’t provide for.


i imagine you carefully wiping your dish dry after your meal, 

and i think of calling my dad.

So I dove in and shared it. You had to do it in just the right way; there were sections for people with a lot of experience and knowledge about poetry, and others for chatter, and some for just sharing poetry you didn't want feedback on, and of course there were developing rules for giving and receiving praise, etc. 

It went over well, I mean, of course it isn't very good, but it does have a sense of balance to it, and it's kind of touching. A couple of the experts were kind, and told me what they thought was worthwhile about it. So that encouraged me to write more, and get to know the people, make some friends, watch so much romantic drama being played out onscreen, which sometimes fueled more writing, etc. There were three men there I'll never forget, all wonderfully talented, all British, though two of them lived in other parts of the world. They each taught me something about how to read and write poetry, and occasionally took a personal interest in my efforts. 

There was another man I met there with whom I had an ongoing online and occasional phone call friendship from that time nearly to this, though we haven't spoken now in over a year. I will always remember him with more fondness than most other people I've ever known. 

Most of the women seemed kind of like they were on the make. And there was less talent among them. I do not believe this is because women are less talented at poetry, merely that the ones in that area were probably less focused on it. So I didn't really connect with any of them. But I learned to take poetry seriously, and learned so much about myself and my talents, how to develop different styles of writing and communication, and how to engage people for conversation. 

I wrote a sonnet to share there, my first one, that I was just so proud of, and now it is lost somewhere in the ether of the web. I don't know why it's not saved in my poetry files with all the others. But wow, realizing that I could write one gave me a real sense of power that I've never forgotten, and that I do try to remember to apply to my ongoing efforts. 

I was 31 when I began using the web to learn about writing and other subjects, and to make friends. Thinking about it that way, it seems like a lifetime ago. These past 13 years have been filled with a great deal of extraordinary pain that is still not resolved. But I have an awful lot of fond memories mixed in with all that, and I can thank access to the web for many of them. 


homeschool emo death poetry

which is a phrase I can't imagine anyone else has typed before. 


I left in the misspellings because they're funny. 

11 year-old

Yesterday I walked in the kitchen and broke
A glass I yelled Oh Noes!
Mom said c'mon we're having sloppy joes
So when I walked outside
I triped and I died.

And then at my funeral
Urkel came and used the urinal
Then my brothers went to McDonald's
That reminded me that they're burgers were awful...


12 year-old

Death ain't painfull Death ain't Time
Death will happen once every time
When it happens it won't change me
Once you die they will see.

You can't stop it you can't stop the drum
It will keep going Bum Bum Bum Death.
Death I see you there up there
Without a care 
I see you in the soul of that little hare.

It will happen to you it will happen to me
and when it does you will see.

Death is unstopablle Death's in its prime
So it WILL happen every time.
Break!

15 year-old

What's the point of life? Why are we here?
Please lend your ear to my rhyme,
and make the shadows all go away...

When I touch your black heart, it makes my eyeballs shart,
And my cold ears hear everything your dark soul has to say...
I open up the door, my heart falls onto the floor,
I think that I just pooped inside my pants...

The skys are orange and black, it feels as though
my soul fell on a tack, had a heart attack, 
shatted out my ear holes then just died.

17 year-old

I clutched the Bible to my chest
in the corner
of my hotel room
and cried
as I readied myself
for the end.

Oh lord, how he has forsaken
me
in the deep
I shall die
for my own sins
at the strike
of the night...
and never
return.



I'm challenging you, calling you out!

Okay, I was looking for poems for my kids to memorize and went to a trash heap of emo cutter verse called poetry.com. I told my kids: Okay! Right now! Write a poem about death! Make it "better" than the one I just read you, and make it fast. And by better, I mean even more pretentious and whiny, if possible.


I admit it; I was the one who wrote my paper right before class in high school and got a good grade on it because I had a big vocabulary and could fake depth. I think the teachers couldn't tell if I was serious. 

This took me about 3 minutes. You write one now, a crappy poem about "death," and submit it to me. I bet you can fake it just as well. It has to suck but look like maybe it doesn't. If you don't belong to Vox, just sign up, silly OR stick it somewhere and give me the url. I DARE YOU. Because it's fun. 

Summer decays window breeze
sneezing acrid displeasure, I
shiver in the fading light

Pressing my hand onto cold glass
it shatters at my touch
In my head at least—frame intact
solid and clear, all that broke
is my will to live

Despair in hibernation dark
huddled against grey walls
cornered by Nature's calm repose
I wait in silence for life to return

In the next post, I'm going to type out my kids' attempts at making fun of emo poetry. 


the morning in haiku

I have a poetry blog that I haven't had time for lately. I intended to do a couple of these as warm-up, then work on a piece of writing I've had sitting around for awhile, but they didn't go anywhere good, plus I got way off track. I thought you might enjoy them, though.

Haiku traditionally include a nature element, but laziness is more of a tradition for me.

Warm-up exercise
graceless scribblings in my book
fresh air not required

Flicker on my screen
I imagine you are here
nibbling at my ear

White shoes in summer
sipping iced tea on the lawn
time to play croquet

Liquid sharp and cold
a juniper infusion
gently bathes my lime

Living in a cave
all the world seems dark and cold
sunlight disappeared



this stuff I write

An ottava rima is an epic poem written in eight line stanzas, but I wrote only one today. Stanza, I mean. I have always meant to get around to doing a really long one, however, I get off track on some new form to try, and don't stick with it long enough. In short, I get bored. But here's a really long one written by someone you may have heard of a time or two.

The original ottava rima was written in hendecasyllables; 11 syllable lines with emphasis on 4th, 7th, and 10th, if I remember correctly. I gave up on hendecasyllables, because they limit my already poor range. Maybe it worked better en italiano, back in the day. We sometimes roll our eyes at iambic pentameter, but there's a reason it's used so often; it comes naturally to us and works well in phrasing.

(I should dig out my thoughts on how I learned why working with strict forms is good for the heart and mind; suffice it to say for now, it encourages clarity of expression and vision.)

Apropos Memoriam

Parades of youth have long since passed aside
Now few are left with memories of those days
When young men marched and fought and won and died
And those returning met their country's praise
Though men and women still war for our side
Inside our hearts and minds these questions raise
How can more weapons warrant peace pursued?
When will the wars to end all wars conclude?


fun and silly quiz



Ottava rima? Me? That can't be right!
   Too frivolous? But tut, there's no such thing!
Let others ponder thoughts of wrong and right,
   Or sit and think how much they love the spring;
I'd rather spend my time in gleeful spite,
   Or maybe laugh, or maybe sit and sing.
Besides, it might be fun to be inspiring -
But surely it would get so very tiring.
What Poetry Form Are You?


Haven't written an ottava rima in a while. I will do one tomorrow. :-)


Little Literary Quiz Plus

Here is a neat quiz I got at SnuggleMuffin's page:

(even though it asks me to choose One Above All Else in many categories)

1. What’s your favourite word?
let's see: I like lily. And baby. And essence, and lots of others. You can see the pattern, I think. I like repetitive l, b, and s, and I like crisp words, as well.

2. Least favourite word?
most all scatological terms make me physically ill. I know that's retarded, but it's true. And ones to do with vomit are nearly as bad, but if I had to ban one group forever from the collective consciousness it would be the former, mainly because of how people randomly apply them to daily life. Like, why would you compare your belongings to excrement?

3. Least favourite phrase?
ooh! I hate "so-and so-, out of Detroit. I hate "based off of." I hate just about anything to do with "having issues."

4. What is the last book you read?
White Night, by Jim Butcher. Currently I am reading The Last Continent, by Terry Pratchett

5. What book should you read before you die?
Me? The rest of the James Fenimore Cooper series, I believe.

6. What’s your favourite poem?
Possibly one I wrote myself, not to say I'm an awesome poet or anything. But they're me, you know?

7. Quote a line from a poem:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
That alters when it alteration finds,
Nor bends with the remover to remove.

(I know that's four. sue me.)

8. What is your favourite book to film adaptation?
BBC's Pride and Prejudice from 1996, which is actually a mini-series, but it counts.

9. What do you think of film to book adaptations?
I do not like them as a rule, but there have been one or two that worked well. Do not ask me to remember which!

10. Where’s your favourite place to read?
Currently, on my deck; the lower section. Actually, Loose Park in Kansas City, a thousand or more miles away. But the beach is good, too.


Here are 5 more that I added.


11. What foreign language do you enjoy hearing?
Czech! But also italiano, of course!

12. Which foreign language would you learn now if you had the time?
Italian

13. What is your favorite foreign expression?
lots of French ones. I like je ne sais quoi, not only for meaning, but sound quality. And I like che uomo! which is Italian and means "what a man!"

14. Name a favorite foreign language movie.
I shouldn't have said this. I'll make a separate list.

15. Have you read an entire book in a language other than your native one?
I've tried to read a few en Francais, including Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorcieres. But I get bogged down. I can do some poetry, though, when in a state of calm.

 


June 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006

Follow along


Today at Costco I got Acne Free, a three month supply for $29.95. It promises it has the same stuff in it as Proactiv, with the added benefit of a time-release benzoil peroxide. So we'll see.

I used it for the first time tonight, and like the way my face feels; clean and fresh and not too dried out. It also does not have a strong odor. I mainly got it because one of my daughters has almost severe acne, and I had been thinking of taking her to a dermatologist. But I want to try this first. Since we're both using it, that's still a six-week supply. My own acne troubles are sporadic, but my face never feels completely clear, and it's always uneven in tone. Maybe I'll take yucky close-up photos tomorrow night and we'll do our own before and afters. If you can stand the idea of seeing me that up close and personal, perhaps I'll share the experience through photography.

If it really does work, I intend to try the body wash, as well.

I'd like to have more to say. Yesterday I wrote a quick poem for someone as a lark. She works in NY theater, and the first letters of each line spell out the word "Macbeth." Long story. Anyway, it's not very good, but I'll share it. Maybe someday I'll fix it up a bit.

Manic summer heat drives her fury
as her sweaty skin absorbs the dust from city streets

Counting cracks in the sidewalk
baking sandals on the asphalt
energy wanes as dusk crawls over the rooftops
tenuously at first, then all at once seizing the light.

Heat remains, visible in the sodium-brightened night sky...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tired sigh


Well, I still haven't had much to say, have I? But I've been doing a good job wearing out my carpals and such, relinking old stuff. There's poetry and Glory of Garnish added to the scrapbook, mainly. I've got new photos ready for the Garnish page, but if you want to reread any of it in the meantime, because it is sort of funny, it's here: The Glory of Garnish.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Something cool


First, there are about 30 new pictures in the Moon Motel, of animals and the Phillies ball park and a little more.

On Sunday, the girls and I were in the city, and we ended up at a place near Times Square for dinner before taking the train back home. You may know I am not a fan of soda, even though I like carbonation, I sort of hate corn syrup, and rarely drink any soda besides the occasional Dr Pepper. I like dry carbonation with gin, though. Anyway, that was before Coke Blak. I just am mad for that stuff. It has a speck of aspartame in it, which I normally completely shun, but it's seriously only a speck.

I like that it's in a tiny bottle, only 8 ounces, though I might like 10 or 12 to be more completely satisfied. I would never drink a regular-sized bottle. And I like that it is sharp yet smooth. It's much nicer than regular Coke. I'm curious about the French mixture of it, which is supposedly more heavily coffee-flavored, but this seems very balanced to me. It has no more caffeine in it than other drinks, and less sugar, though I think some people have the idea it's boosted like those faux-energy drinks. I think that is a marketing concern that should be addressed, personally.

There's a big Coke display up at Times Square, all the time, and right now part of the rolling ad is for Coke Blak. I thought that was neat, because normally when I like something that much, it's doomed to failure or obscurity, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can.



More blather later today. I'm on a roll right now, of silliness and such. Rare these days, and worth grasping onto.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

some stuff


There are lots of new pictures at the Moon Motel.

I had a lot to say. Now I can't remember much of it.

Yesterday, we were eating a picnic provided by Amanda in DC, on the mall, I suppose, I was just along for the ride, while the others talked local talk, when a middle-aged man walked up to us and handed out postcards. We all looked down and didn't want to make eye contact at first (later we all shared that we thought he was going to evangelize,) but he was so well-spoken and friendly that we got interested in what he was saying. His name is Bernard, and he and his wife are homeless, and he said that since he is a rare black man who cannot sing or dance, he just signs his name to the cards, offering blessings to people who contribute to the sleeping indoors fund. It's a pretty good schtick, I think.

We all liked him, believed he was being truthful with his story, and waved to his wife, who came over. Elizabeth gave them some cookies, and everyone gave a few dollars except me, because I didn't have any. I rarely do have cash, but right now there just isn't much to have anyway.

Bernard totally set the bar for future solicitors, who just really didn't pass muster, as far as any of us was concerned. I really do wish him well.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hm, I thought this test was hard


but it's fairly accurate. I'd say that some of the answers have to do with my current, rather than usual, state of mind. Normally, there would be sharper highs and lows. If you hold your cursor over the colors, they are labeled.


Some updates


I added some pictures to the moon motel blog, which is just going to be the photo album from now on, and it has a new url. And the website is up and has three sections. The middle one leads here. I didn't change the address for this blog, so the email notices will still be mailed if I update this page. So if I add pictures to the moon motel, or something to the other section of the website, I'll just post about it here, and then anyone on the list can come here to see what's new. That seems the simplest way.

Now about three people want me to catch up on reading their blogs, so I'm going to do that now. And about three people have been wondering why I've been so uncommunicative lately. Well, I kind of feel mute. I'm working on that. There's nothing terribly wrong, I just don't much like life at the moment. However, since tomorrow is my birthday, I've decided I better use that as a beginning toward gathering up some mental health, and attempting to move forward.

Two years exiled here in Poland, might as well keep trying to make something of it. And who knows what follows, but maybe it will be very good.

I did take the picture of the trout. I'm not sure where I put it, though. I'll hunt that down.

Friday, June 02, 2006

fighting my way to the top


I just kind of have been hating life. I plan to start catching up with it all, very soon. And here's where you'll find me when I do. Well, there and here. Really.

The Juniper Glen


triptych

a work in progress...


Battuto Appassionato

the sharp curve of your mouth disarms my gaze with a knowing smile
i am caught, time on hold
gulping uncertain breath...

tempo suddenly accelerated beyond measurable grasp
only your lips' fiery cadence lingers in soundless echo.


Transitive Collection

courting my thoughts
you beckon, easily
entrancing time
tumbling forward you're

kneading me weak
inhaling my sighs,
collapsing my will.


1:34 a.m.

In a dimly-lit room
In a naked embrace
With fingertips pressing the curve of your spine,
I'll take you in.


November 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Well, here it is.


Official NaNoWriMo 2005 Winner

Hi, Kivrillian. Soon I'm going to do real blogging again, now that the albatross has been lifted from my neck. I'm going to, again, discuss an interesting point you brought up in your recent comment.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I thought it bore repeating


Here is a link to a History Channel page on the origins of Christmas. I posted it last year, and want to share it again with anyone who's discovered where I keep my brain over the past 12 months.

History of Christmas<

From Gannett News Service


At first I was incredulous that this was something so unobvious a book had to be written explaining it. But then I realized why that's so. Extroverts, apparently, are like Sneetches arguing over who has "stars upon thars, " and ignoring the fact that some of the others are cowering in the corner, nearly in tears, not over the fact that they may or may not have a star-belly, but that the others just won't shut up for awhile and leave them alone.

Here's an entire article for you to read. And remember. And heed carefully. It came from USAToday. com.

"The attitude that there's something wrong with introverted people is widely shared in society, where fast talk and snap decisions are often valued over listening, deliberation and careful planning. Extroverts seem to rule the world or, at least, the USA, which hasn't elected an introverted president for three decades, since Jimmy Carter.

"The signals we get from the world agree that extroversion is valued," says Sanford Cohn, an associate professor in curriculum and instruction at Arizona State University. "A lot of the messages we get from society have to do with being social, and in order to be social you have to behave a certain way."

But that is impossible for introverted kids. Raising them isn't easy, particularly if parents, family members, teachers, coaches and other adults don't allow them to be who they are.

Introverted children enjoy the internal world of thoughts, feelings and fantasies, and there's a physiological reason for this. Researchers using brain scans have found introverts have more brain activity in general, and specifically in the frontal lobes. When these areas are activated, introverts are energized by retrieving long-term memories, problem solving, introspection, complex thinking and planning.

Extroverts enjoy the external world of things, people and activities. They have more activity in brain areas involved in processing the sensory information we're bombarded with daily. Because extroverts have less internally generated brain activity, they search for more external stimuli to energize them.

"It's the different pathways that are turned on that activate the behaviors and abilities we see in introverts and extroverts," says Marti Olsen Laney, a neuroscience researcher and author in Portland, Ore., who is credited with connecting introversion with its underlying biology. "It impacts all areas of their lives: how they process information, how they restore their energy, what they enjoy and how they communicate."

Introverted children need time alone more than do extroverted children, says Laney, whose book, The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child, is due in January. "Extroverts gain energy by being out and about," but "being with people takes energy from introverts, and they need to get away to restore that energy."

Laney says introverted kids also behave differently.

They're not slow, inattentive or shy. Shyness is behavior that may diminish as children grow; introversion is a character trait that lasts."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Did I ever post this before?


If I did, I apologize, sort of. I found it in a notebook just now, and I want to look at it onscreen and see what I think about it. I remember what had me writing it, back in the summer, and now the trick is to see if it can sort of transcend that particular moment and just be something interesting or thoughtful.

Carnival of Words

Looking at you in a Funhouse mirror,
it's shatter-proof, smear-proof,
distorted, just the same.

On a carousel, spinning
Artificial breeze soothes,
ride over too soon.

Ferris wheel stops at the top,
car rocks and I sway,
unsteady and unnerved
Til you point out the view...
It's wide and breath-taking
And I never want to come back down.


Zany stuff


Well, not really, I've just run out of steam with the title thing.

I woke up from one of those dreams that seems to go on forever where a million things happen and when I attempt to trace a thread back to where it all began, it bears absolutely no resemblance to where it ended up before being cut off prematurely. I say prematurely, but clearly this was something that had no proper end, and would have just continued changing into something else over and over again, ad infinitum.

I only vaguely remember most of it, but one image is sort of seared into my consciousness to a tangible degree, and I wish I could capture it externally and paint it or sculpt it into being somehow. These things cannot be recreated with mere words, though I almost desperately wish they were. Like a photograph that captures a still image without scent or sound or movement, words are more frustrating than soothing when you can't use them to make something manifest. And still I make the attempt.

That's what poetry is for, of course, and I was realizing a couple of days ago that I need to write some. This 30 day book attempt is bad timing. For me, it would have worked better in a month like March or April. But I'm forging on until the last, just to have completed the attempt.

Then I need to set aside the big project stuff for a little while and work on some poetry. It's with poetic language that I get closest to making reality out of something that doesn't quite exist on a concrete level. This is a philosophical issue, of course; if something exists, it exists, no matter how you measure it or whether you can touch it with your fingers. So I guess what I really mean is how to take hold, maybe just of a little corner, of something that seems always outside of my grasp. I'll never get close enough to embrace it fully, but I'll always keep trying to create the sensation of what that might be like.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Part two of the thing below this one


This place is too fricking distracting. But I am a mean, mean person, apparently, and also antisocial. This is because I sort of freak out at how more and more people wander in here, rearranging all the tables and easy chairs, stringing their electrical cords all over so that sometimes people actually have to navigate around them in order to get through the place. I find that so tasteless. It's like each of these people is the sun around whom all this revolves. Meanwhile, I thought it was a place of business that does me the kindness of allowing me to talk online while I have my coffee and roll, in order to oh my god. The new plugged in dude in from of me is wearing zip-up ankle boots. With a heel.

Okay, anyway, it's harder to write here than it used to be. It's like a weird gang of rebels with PCs, bad hair, badder shoes, and an utter disregard for the privacy of public space. Stop that, I know you know what I mean. It's so not cool.

So for today, now, I will just write for the pleasure of seeing my words spread across the page in living form, appreciative of the fact that I look totally hot in my brown V-neck stretch t-shirt and new jeans, with my cute little reading glasses perched on my not so cute and little but interesting nose, and really make a better attempt to ignore the havoc being wrought all around me.

Wonders never cease


I'm at Border's, a couple of chairs away from the man who lives here. He's hanging out with a chick today, sort of. He's just lowered the blinds, blithely assuming that we'd all benefit from his notion of correct Border's Cafe ambience. Dude just seriously creeps me out. I can't explain it. He's over there in the corner with his easy chair and table and whole electronic set-up, and it annoys. It would help if he was cute, but, not so much really. I mean, in the general universal scheme of things, he's not repulsive or anything. But really gives off waves of, oh, Ensign Wesley Crusher after having failed Starfleet Academy and after his stint with the Traveler didn't work out. Not to be really geeky or anything. And he looks exactly like this one Disney cartoon character whose name I just can't place my finger on at the moment.

Ew. Have you ever thought about what an awful expression that is? "place my finger on." I seriously do not want to do that. I'm uncomfortable sharing oxygen with many people, never mind touching them.

Anyway, that's not what I'm here to talk about. I've not been around the blog much recently, and have a few things to comment on.

First, in one sense I'll be able to finish the NaNo thing, in that I will be able to have written and submitted 50k words. But on the other hand, the book is nowhere near finished, and I've decided I'd really like to take some time to explore it, because there are parts of it that could really do well in a long story.

I'm learning some things about how I feel about being a writer in the midst of the writing process. I can't be one of those people who just "outputs" the same word count every day, for one thing. It's too dry, and the "spewing forth yields best material" school gets a failing grade from me. I can spew all day long, sure, but it's not the best stuff. The best stuff comes when I've done some living in my day, then settle in to draw pictures of it in words on the screen. And it's best when I take moments to look at it with head cocked and chin in hand, deciding this phrase needs to go here, and that sentence is bloated and self-involved. In other words, I write better when I write like who I am: a person who naturally edits as she goes along. To eliminate that from the process is to take away some of the most enjoyable parts of it, to me. Others are free to feel differently about the matter.

So if I do NaNoWriMo next year, I will make sure that I do not have an overarching plot to stick to, in order to have the time and freedom to obey my own process. I will do what I originally intended for this year; just construct a setting and have characters wander in and out of it, each with their own little story to tell, not needing them to connect together in any big or formal fashion.

On a more shallow note, let me pause to say that this is my 11,987,623rd listen of The Sweetest Drop by Peter Murphy. And I am not yet remotely weary of it.

Well, anyway, time to get back to the Thing. It's been swell. Let's do this again sometime, shall we? I look forward to it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

New playlist


This month's Top 20:


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving


I've missed the ol' Seabreeze, but life's been a little twisty lately. Here's the general bibliosylph Thanksgiving lineup, which is altered just a little each year for a bit of zip. This year it's the rolls. To my two vegetarian friends, well, frankly, I'm not a big turkey fan myself, but the others would miss it, plus, I make awesome gravy. I do buy some variation of a happy frolicking non-drugged before death variety, though.

Roast turkey, infused with sherry-butter and glazed with orange sauce
Cranberry sauce, seasoned with cloves, cardamom, and a dash of orange
Cornbread dressing, with apples, onion and sage
Mashed sweet potatoes topped with a bit of butter and maple syrup
Green beans sauteed with olive oil and garlic
Sour cream rolls
Pumpkin pie
Blueberry pie

LP chose a 2001 Baron Philippe de Rothschild Médoc for the repast, which, (though it's too new according to the people who know such things,) I'm interested in trying, and we'll finish out the evening with a bit of amaretto.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Feel free to make your own copies


You can even keep my name on it, or add your own; just fix the email address before printing. If you change it, though, take my name off of it.

To Whom It May Concern, and with apologies to the Salvation Army:

There are now people with money buckets waiting for me at every door in front of every place I go. All year long, every week, sometimes every single day, I am asked for charity. I have a large family, and have sometimes wished for charity for myself. But mostly, I'm just tired of being solicited every time I leave the house. It's too much, and I'm beginning to resent all charitable enterprise.

On top of all the charities come the Boy Scouts with their 20 dollar mini popcorn tins. Then the Girl Scouts with their boxes of 12 cookies. Then the school kids in spring and summer with their car washes. And the fire fighters holding out helmets at stop lights. It Never Ends.

I don't care if yours is the best, most wonderful and charitable charity in all the county. You got here after my last charitable nerve frayed away. And you'd better believe I'm not the only one who feels this way.

From now on, I will continue to make personal or online donations to the same organizations I've always supported. But everyone who stands at a doorway with their hand out gets this note put in it.

Sincerely,

greer garson

merbelle at comcast net.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Headache-induced mania. Or something.


This morning, hubby and I were at Panera Bread, and we each got a house latte and a pastry. The pastries are not heated, but the cashier showed him where there is a microwave oven on a shelf below the self-serve coffee. It's probably there for people who like their coffee to be hotter. So he put the tray in while I set our cups on a table. These two women who came in before us with their leggings and oversized 5k run t-shirts and soy lattes were talking very heavily in his direction and actually pointing, at least psychically, and literally shaking their heads. I could hear a little of what they were saying, even though they were a few tables away. I was appalled. I'm never going to be used to the bad behavior of the people here; I come from a much friendlier and more polite world. When they saw I was watching them, their expressions soured further, so I waved "hi" vigorously. That's my substitution for telling people what I actually think of their behavior. Because that would be rude.

Yo, shiny black legging/giant white t-shirted chicks who got too much sun on your faces last decade so that you now look older than me even though you're probably not? Grow up, and put some real clothes on while you're at it.

Yeah, I'm cranky. Whatever.


Beautiful day


I woke up today remembering that last night was upsetting, and determined to create the most perfect day possible. I nearly succeeded.

I made a warm drink, poked around at internet news for a short time, and got out my knitting. We had a fire going in the family room, so I brought a book down with my drink, but discovered the kitchen was not in very fine shape for baking bread. So I pushed the little people into taking care of their part, and then I swept, cleaned counters, did dishes, and I was trying to vacuum, but the thing was giving me fits. And I couldn't get it taken apart somehow, til I got LP's help. I think we both enjoyed getting the thing cleaned out and ready for use. Then he went on a bike ride, because it was just beautiful out. I wandered out to the garden and couldn't believe that it looked greener and more alive than it did for most of the summer, which was too hot and too dry.

After that, I carefully measured out bread ingredients. I felt so good in this slow, methodical mood, and I knew the bread would come out perfectly, because I found an actual 1/4 teaspoon measure in my drawer.

I washed the slipcover on one of the couches while the bread rose, organized my laundry, washed all the towels, read through a magazine from cover to cover, that someone had brought in, apparently discarded by the person who bought it. I don't usually read magazines, but enjoyed learning all about the celebrities and their families. It was sort of odd, but somehow entertaining. The writers made it sound like we'd really be happy for whatever these people were up to.

While the bread baked, I cooked cranberries, and ground some cardamom and cloves to flavor them. Then I decided to make some salad dressing. I used 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, and about 2/3 cup of olive oil, some asiago cheese, oregano, thyme, black pepper, garlic, and a smidge of sugar.

The dog got out during my "reading time;" been trying to get through Service With a Smile by PG Wodehouse for a couple of days, but he was found quickly. Each time I settled into reading, something would come up, yet it didn't really bother me. I did have to leave the room when LP and the big boy decided to play Medal of Honor, but that's just because it's really hard to concentrate on Lord Ickenham while a battle is raging in the background. I was happy we were all here and everyone felt really together.

At dinner it all went wrong. Some things were discussed that took me by surprise, and I truly do not handle surprises well. I was still dealing with the fact that all this had already been brought up before without my knowledge or consent, and then there we were having it brought up again. It ended quite badly, because I felt like a dam broke inside me at that point. I've been trying to deal with something for quite awhile, adjustments in my life that I want to accept and feel good about, but I'm just not there yet. I don't like feeling that my emotions are never allowed to spill out or over, when I've been trying so hard to not have them. Usually, when I'm emotional, I feel a bit like I'm letting people down, just by having them. I don't think they're wrong to have, but always dangerous to share.

I'm still just going to adapt and not only accept the things in my life that I would not choose, because acceptance is really not the challenge. I'm open, I'm accepting, whatever. Adapting to the point where I can appreciate them is the hard part. And I hate having things just thrust upon me, and being told if I don't immediately adapt, I'm immature or unstable. Plenty of people would say I have the right to feel rebellious about that, and to go ahead and wish things were different, or to try to force them to be different. But that's fairly irrelevant and useless, from where I stand. Wisdom to know the difference. I am all alone in this, and so it is wisdom for which I must look.

I should be working on the book right now. I made lots of progress last night, and really went through this whole day geared toward this very hour, when I would begin the process all over again. I have to drown myself in the shower instead. It's this thing I do, when I can't contain all the feelings that want to spill out. And maybe I'll just finish that book I was reading, and then start over again tomorrow. We get many, many chances to make perfect days. It's good to come close. I felt close to my family today because of my effort, and that was the best part of all.

Anyway, the day's not over yet. I intend to find space between the moments, to set things right.

Friday, November 11, 2005

From Pat's mouth to God's ear


valeriel gets the credit for putting it this way: Who let Grandpa out of the house?

Dover, PA elects Satan to School Board.

Let me do my own call to someone else's altar for a second. If you feel compelled to call yourself a Christian, and yet are horrified by the rantings of people like Pat Robertson, try this on for size. Don't let 'em steal Jesus, and don't be scared off by the labels. From past experience, I'd say that labelling is one of the biggest problems in the Christian spiritual arena. You may fret that this guy does not see Jesus quite the way you do, but it's clear to me that he got the message more than those who shout down God's wrath on anyone they disagree with.

And here is one more link, as an addendum to my latest rant on this subject, written a few days ago. I'm always telling people that if you want to learn something historical or scientific, often the best sources of clear, unbiased information, are those written either for children, or at least with them in mind. This is a fairly complete and nicely unbiased explanation of Intelligent Design theory, its background, proponents, and how mainstream scientists view it as an issue.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Me on the train yesterday



If I had it to do over again


I would in a heartbeat.

I was in New York yesterday afternoon. Took the train in to meet the ol' LP after one of his interviews. I went straight downstairs in Penn Station, and took the C and L trains to Union Square, so I could take some pictures of the area I'm talking about in my book. Just as I got started, he called to say his second meeting was way up in, what I thought was, an area we had no business being in. But what do I know? I took the L train back across to where he was, and found him on the other side of the gate in the subway station, where he was on the phone determining he only had to go to 54th street. This is important because I was planning to hang around in the Village, fairly close to where I'd begun, but this place was a little north of Times Square, where all the famous designer boutiques are. I wanted to just meet him after he was finished, but he wanted me to be nearby, for companionship and so forth, so I wandered a little, found a sandwich shop, and then wandered a little more, until I was standing on the corner of 56th and 5th Avenue, eating my sandwich. I noticed a man inside the store there was looking at me oddly, and realized I was in front of the famous Harry Winston jewelry store. Well, so what, mister? I looked across the street, though, and there was Tiffany's, right next to Trump Tower.

A moment of clarification. I find jewelry collections immensely boring. And I was literally surrounded by them on all sides. Van Cleef and Arpel, and all the others, were right there in my view. Whatever. But naturally, I went across the street and finished my sandwich while looking at the bizarre jewel-encrusted gold bracelets in the window displays of Tiffany's.

There was just nothing interesting to do or see. It made me a little sad. Dior, Chanel, Halston, plus the ones like JillSanders, etc., on and so forth. Stark displays, bored salespeople clad in black from head to toe, and in some of them, there was a desk where, I swear it, people would check in before getting to shop. I don't like to shop enough to want to sign up to do it. Honestly.

Wandering east, I found a really swell Border's on Park Avenue. I headed straight for the cafe, so I could find someone online to relieve me of a bit of this stress. However, that was not to be. Because of some deranged wifi setup LP encountered at the Newark airport a couple days ago, the login kept failing. I put my head on the counter and just sighed for awhile. There were no dumpling shops or boutiques with antique scarves and hats or anything remotely interesting in the area. It was all so sterile and dull.

So I went back out and wandered over to the meeting place again, only now it was raining, and I had no hat, so that was, well, not bad, because I don't really mind getting wet. I should get a hat, though. I find umbrellas to be gigantic liabilities, but a hat does the trick fine. I did pass MOMA; the Museum of Modern Art. It looked really wonderful, and I hope to go in it sometime. I walked back and forth in front of the windows a few times before continuing on, and saw a couple of paintings I've often admired online.

LP said we had a diner budget for supper, so I went for the most completely opposite experience to what I just had, and silly or not, it was the best part of the day. Ellen's Stardust Diner is a great place for families visiting New York. It's on Broadway at 51st, and is filled with early TV memorabilia, and kitsch from the 40s and 50s. And on top of that, the waiters and waitresses take turns singing and sometimes dancing. It's kind of hilarious. But some of them are pretty good, hoping to get the big break in a show, you know.

Then we went home, because he had a heavy load with his portfolio, and was tired. Only we got on the train earlier than I'd anticipated and had to pay an extra fee for travelling in peak hours. The train wasn't at all crowded, though, so it was a peaceful ride.

I'm hoping to return soon on a nicer day to get some more pictures of my book scenes, but it's always good to get out for awhile, so I guess I'm glad I went. I don't know if he really felt he had a fruitful day, just that it was something he needed to do.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

We are not in Kansas today


Kansas voted again to add intelligent design to their science curriculum standards. You may think I've sounded mean about that. Here's why:

1. Evolution science does not preclude the idea of a creator having set it all in motion. (the reason creationists disagree is because of the biblical reference of god creating man and setting him up as having dominion over the plants and animals, which are implied as having started out the way we see them now.)

2. Intelligent design is a hypothesis, not a theory. A theory is a "best" scenario as to how a particular hypothesis is answered. Creationists interchange the word hypothesis and theory, when they are not at all the same thing. For example, because of evidence and technology produced over the past 15-20 years, nearly 100% of the world's scientists now believe in some form of the Big Bang Theory. But to a creationist, it can't be proved, and is therefore, "just" a theory, by which they actually mean "an interesting idea." As Einstein said, not much can really be proved, only disproved. Collected evidence will point to one particular pattern, and everything seen from that point forth may fit into the pattern, but only until something comes along to disrupt it, which can't be predicted. But that's just good science. Intelligent design could be seen exactly the same way, except there is really no actual science to it that can't also be explained by evolution.

3. Intelligent design supporters view the evolution theory as having large holes in it. Those holes were filled in a long time ago, but also have little to nothing to do with the beginning of the world, anyway. When I teach my kids, I tell them that some people do not believe in the Tree of Life, and we've actually discussed the difference between various Creation stories. But to the kids, even though the stories sound a little crazy, they aren't actually much related to what they're learning about biodiversity, anyway.

On intelligent design
Kansas standards
Darwin exhibit


Stuff you never even realized we needed


Meat-flavored pretzels Yes, I get that it's the sauce for the meat that we're supposed to taste. But still. It's funnier my way.

Wood and glass cleaner Sure, it's convenient, and how weirdly cool to do the wood and glass coffee table with one spray? But the woman in the commercial was so cranky, saying, "Look, I lead a busy life, I don't have time to mess with more than one type of cleaner." Honestly. That's what she said.

TV wherever I go. Oh, okay, it's fun and futuristic like those TV watches. But what is the point, exactly?

File under "creepy."

And finally, something really cool. Imagine if you could read about technology on the internet, in 1985?


Seasons' change


Yesterday I made cranberry-banana bread, and pumpkin-blueberry muffins. The recipes are in the Hizzy blog, if you're interested. I want to make lots of yeast bread again, too. I miss doing that. I got out of the habit because of the wretched kitchen I had previously to this one, then there was construction, and then last year--I don't know, was I not feeling well or something? Whatever. The point is, I bought some packages of yeast yesterday, and I have fresh flour, so I went to Breadworld.com which was printed on the back of the packages, and found lots of neat recipes that I'm going to try. I want to do the sour cream muffins, and the oatmeal bread.

There are very good and complete instructions for someone who isn't accustomed to making bread, too, though I guess lots of people have a bread machine and don't need to know all of it. ::sigh:: I like kneading and watching it rise, personally. But I guess if I was gone all day every day, a machine would be super neato.

I'm quite behind on the book, still, but have now figured out how to manage blocks of writing time so I get more done. I have only about half the words you're "supposed" to have after 7 days, but last night I experimented and found that I get the most done when I type straight through for 30 minutes, then take a 30 minute break. If I do that 3 or 4 times each day, I'm good. The book isn't, but maybe I'll get it done a couple days ahead of time, and then have the pleasure of saying I wrote something that was even somewhat edited in only 30 days.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Yeah, I know.


It's been hard, to write. At all.

I've updated the phonepix blog.

My wrist hurts a whole lot.

The weather has been real pretty.

Recently, my friend Britomart was ill. And she took a lot of Nyquil. While taking Nyquil, she discovered a hidden muse; her inner artist, if you will.

Here is her portrait of me, as I am viewed with the rock star name, Aurora Stilton.

And here is her self-portrait. Back up to her name to see a few more pieces of "art."

Last night we went to Sawa, where I had some really good spicy seafood soup, and a neat entree called Tuna Fantastic: "[raw] Tuna-covered Crabmeat, Avocado & Tomatoes with Cilantro-Olive Oil Sauce." It was very cool because it looked like an internal organ sitting in a very pretty infectious liquid, yet was quite delicious.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Been awhile since I've


done a song of the day. This one just hit me in the shower.

Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick, and think of you
Caught up in circles, confusion is nothing new
Flashback--warm nights--almost left behind
Suitcase of memories, time after

Sometimes you picture me, I'm walking too far ahead
You're calling to me, I can't hear what you've said
Then you say--go slow--I fall behind
The second hand unwinds

if you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
if you fall I will catch you, I'll be waiting
Time after time

After my picture fades and darkness has turned to gray
Watching through windows, you're wondering if I'm OK
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time

if you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
if you fall I will catch you, I'll be waiting
Time after time

Another hour and it will be time to start on today's novel writing session. Absolutely no distractions, which, of course, means it will be very difficult to concentrate. C'est la vie, il est ma vie, ceci est comment il est....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Launching NaNo


And so it begins.

I woke up pysched, arranged my day, desktop and browser tabs, figured out some chapter titles, wrote 300 words for a prologue,

and suddenly I'm terrified.

The link to the right will now take you to a profile page, and at the bottom of it you'll find an occasionally-updated excerpt of the story.

Those of you on the seabreeze list will begin to see regular updates to that source.


Dinerworld--May-June 2004

5.9.04 (yearly refrain)

today was our first official beach day. May is great for that, because we hit all the ones that are too expensive once the season begins, when New York shows up to clog Ocean Avenue for three months. they do this from Memorial Day to Labor Day, especially on the weekends, of course, and then they're gone. we could have a perfect May and perfect September, but they still never come unless they have to pay to get in. June, July, and August belong to summer people. but right now is the time to really enjoy it.

it wasn't all that warm, of course, but very sunny. i collected some wonderful little shells to send to a landlocked friend in Kansas, took a few pictures, lounged on the blanket for awhile. the kids did what kids always do at the beach; dug holes. they were happy, and so was i. you never want to leave until suddenly you realize that it's time to go, but then you make plans to get back there as soon as you can. we're going to have a picnic at another beach on Tuesday, when it will be a little hot

as we left, a middle-aged man with a surfboard was making his way down to the water. several families were flying kites. it was a quick zip home even though it's an 8 mile trip now, no sea of
barely-moving traffic, no police directing traffic; just a few cars, a little wind, and a beautiful sun beginning to descend in the sky.
here's something interesting about Long Branch from years ago, that natives talk about from time to time. even though we like it, and had a good time today, we never go to the beach there in the summer, because you pay per person. instead, we go to Sandy
Hook
, where i can get a season parking pass to put on my van.

5.11.04 we've been playing Iron Chef: Play-Doh this morning. it's so much fun. the kids make "delicious-looking" food creations, based on a common ingredient or theme. then i pretend to be that cute lil pretentious Japanese actress and comment on all the food, then judge the best overall grouping. one of them pretends to be Ota, the reporter from the floor, (Fukui-san!) and lets everyone know what's going on--"it appears that Chef Ben has added a blue garnish to his lemon trout soufflé..." sometimes it's really great to have a big family.


i got to thinking about how bad the lyrics are to I Got You, Babe, and found myself mentally rewriting them as the song played. i'm aware of how very, very sad that sounds. nevertheless, i felt compelled to share. it was this portion that particularly troubled me; the last two lines:

They say our love won't pay the rent
Before it's earned, our money's all been spent
I guess that's so, we don't have a pot
But at least I'm sure of all the things we got

heard aloud, it really makes no sense. you can't hear the comma between so and we. see what i'm saying here? so becomes a desired result, rather than a reluctant agreement. it should be something like:

maybe we don't have a cooking pot
but at least i'm sure of all the things we got.

so i know, maybe sucks as the first word in a line of a song. he could say baby but then the follow-up with "at least i'm sure of" would make even less sense than it does now.

that other Sonny and Cher song that i hear sometimes has a really dumb line in it, too. From And The Beat Goes On:

And men still keep
on marching off to war.
Electrically they keep a baseball score

that's some heavy philosophical thought, man.

here are a couple other weird ones:

Podunk, which is some sort of stand-up routine duet thingy, and Plastic Man, about the synthetic existence of a drug user. it sorta needs to be heard to be fully, eh, appreciated.


5.14.03

i truly have nothing witty, clever, inspiring or informative to say. so this space waits patiently until tomorrow.

however, i uploaded a page with last year's best poetry on it, here. there are only six of them, and they're not long, so indulge me!

6.16.04 Wow. Nobody lets me do this anymore. That sucks alot. So I declared today 100% laundry and website day, in order to justify? doing what I have had to put off for over a month. That is, talking about me and what I like. The mind is fractured, who knows where the synapses will lead, but come along, will you, on the ride I like to call Mer's World of Wonder. But first, just as an aside, and somewhat in homage to my friend Sergio who popped up in a dream I had the other night, I've just declared Luke Wilson this hour's God of ManWeek. There will be another one in a little while. I'm like that. For now, enjoy the tall, dark-haired, slightly quirky appeal of one of the foremost leading men of my heart. Mer's World of Wonder.