Friday, October 29, 2004

Inside the Hootnholler

Imagine sledding along the walls of your small intestines. My mind is drained by computer-sheen today though excited for my own internal adventures. That is not a masturbation reference.

Let’s return to a list. I’d like to reiterate a unit from the list of things I dislike: traffic. I got stuck in a drudgery of it last night, idling up 287 for 11 miles and an hour an 15 minutes. I had to pee. Nevertheless, I kept road rage at bay. The traffic gods showed sympathy and shot me to work faster than ever this morning. This is the laws of karma at work.

Something else I can add to that list of things I dislike: drivers who, when I ride my bike up to an intersection, act at first like they’re not going to let me cross, and so I slow down or stop (which isn’t always preferable, particularly when I buck up and wear those shoes that clip securely into the pedals), and just as I stop, they stop with that look in their windshield like "What are you waiting for, you pesky biker?" as if I were the problem all along. I get cross.

Five songs currently doing it for me:
1. Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra: Some Velvet Morning
2. The Halo Benders: Virginia Reel around the Fountain (from The Rebels Not In)
3. 50 Foot Wave: Bug (still...)*
4. Muse: Muscle Museum (I think that’s the name of it; it came to me by chance)
5. Orbital: Dwr Budr (from In Sides)

*50 Foot Wave is opening up for the Pixies on the last show of their tour at Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC on Saturday, December 18. Apparently the show sold out instantaneously so I won’t be going, even though I would have relented and thrown down the $42 plus fees. However, let not the spirits whimper. 50 Foot Wave will be releasing a new CD in February, this time a full-length, which even after my justification for the mini-releases, I’m happy about. Word is, they may return to the mini-release after they’re more established. The full-length will contain three songs from the first 6-song release and 8 songs which were planned for the second mini-release. Now hoot ‘n’ holler, won’t you?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Salad Flies

Mark and I rode our bikes to dark tennis courts last night and watched the lunar eclipse. The moon got red.

My brain. I spent yesterday afternoon and most of this morning editing a very long manuscript written by French people who are fond of abbreviations: UAC, ERV, a.u.c., ASDA, AASM, IFL, AHI, HRI, OSAS, NEP. This means that I read many pages in abbreviated code that did not center in any consistent grammar. Three run-throughs and I’m still not sure I caught all the flies. Blurry eyes.

Did you hear about
the real-live hobbits that might change everything we’ve come to know about the history of life on Earth?

Why would the maker put slimy, translucent lettuce in my salad? What motive, what vile heart?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Morning-Bird Bulb

Apologies to all who crossed my path yesterday. I was a minefield. Today I feign steady rationale.

This morning I walked out of the house to go to work. The large woman next door who yells at her kids was standing on the porch, smoking a cigarette. I haven’t liked this woman. For a long time she was a cold bitch to me and to Mark. (He did curse loudly at her when they were doing construction on their home very early in the morning.) But what did I do? We saw her and her husband outside the neighborhood one day; we said hello, the husband said hello, and she distinctly turned her head in the other direction. I felt like I was black in the civil war south. (I know, I the honky have no right to draw that comparison.) In the converse, she would stare coldly at me when I came to (then) Mark's house. One day she stared me down as I walked inside the house to get my bike, as I brought my bike out to ride, and then as I rode my bike back up to the house. Unnerving. So I decided to begin saying hello to her: 1. the ole kill-‘em-with-kindness tactic, 2. maybe I looked just as bitchy toward her. Now she says hello in return and even gives me a Jersey "how aw ya?" When I say, "I’m all right, and yourself?" She doesn’t just say the standard "fine, thanks." She tells me how she is. Because of our murky history I haven’t cared much how she is or wanted to carry on a conversation with her. She’s nosy, she yells blindly at her kids as a form of love and ineffective reprimand. I have considered what she might think about and feel and that she might not realize how abominable she seems to me from the outside. This morning when she said she was ok for the most part but stressed, I remembered that that is what I want when I ask people how they're doing. The courtesy "hi-how-are-ya’s" eat at me. When I ask someone how they’re doing, I, unless I succumb and fall to the gross flimsy of weather-talk, want to know how that person is doing. Almost never do I give a response anymore. Somewhere along the way I stopped giving a real response because most people don’t really seem to care. This morning I was glad that the large smoking yelling woman next door told me how she was really doing, which complicates my attitude toward her in a most alive way.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Ribbons In My Hair

Two weekends ago when Melissa was driving us back to Jersey from DC, she expressed exhausted irritation about those damned magnetic ribbons on cars. This weekend when I was driving Paula and me back to Jersey from Connecticut, Paula expressed exhausted irritation about those damned magnetic ribbons on cars. Yesterday I received a message on my phone from Mark as he was driving back to Jersey from Connecticut, expressing exhausted irritation about those damned magnetic ribbons on cars. I concurred each time. Just now, as I bent down to put a new CD on the player I noticed a small metal pin decorated with stars & stripes, shaped like a ribbon, had been pressed into the bottom corner of the corkboard. Damn degenerate symbols. Enough already.

Limbs Limned

I have lost patience with people making mistakes and in addition to assuming that I made the mistake because I didn’t make the mistake that they made, which would have thus put me in the same field as they were, making a point to let me know how terribly faulty I am. I won’t mention any names. Pinning mistakes on other people is just shitty.

Now that that’s out…the source of the cold air in my office has been located and taken care of. Someone previously in my office liked it cool and had one of the ceiling tiles switched out for a tile that brought in air from god-knows-where. This morning before I got to work, maintenance had come and switched the tiles. Whoever it was also left a vast mess on the floor and all over my CD player and the boxes and papers nearby underneath the tile. This stuff, whatever it is, the second I walked into my office caused an allergic reaction. I’m talking headache, sharp pain in the back of throat, sticky eyes, aching ears, phlegm. What the fuck? I don’t like to complain and in most uncomfortable situations I make do; I consider it a healthy challenge to do so. I hate having to complain like I hate throwing up. I’m no longer cold but my well-being is now otherwise compromised. Not to mention the potential for idiot mischief in the coming presidential election and widespread little-faith in either option anyway. And what about the poor inbred children in southern Illinois? I feel anxious and sticky. At least I have all my limbs, and they’re warm.

Sonic Youth today, the second disc of the re-issue of Dirty. It will heal, or will at least overwhelm the dust devils and foul players. I have faith and drunken butterflies.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Scatology Sometimes

I am a busy little editing fiend today here at work. However, I can’t pass the chance to offer the layman’s explanation of the following found in a manuscript: a negative stool test for occult blood. To begin at the beginning, this test must test shit ("Stool" is for the weak-stomached, though really it’s shit, foul shit, no matter the terminology. Who could really be fooled?). Next, we must be testing to see if there is blood in the shit. This is always a bad sign, and certainly worse if it’s occult blood, picked up of during a midnight ritual channeling Satan or some other sooty deity, during which the subject was rammed in the ass by the fiery stick of a goat-man in the nucleus of a Midwestern cemetery (for my roots have me privy to such information). If no such blood is present in the stool, in which case the stool test is negative, we can conclude that none of the above has gone on and that the ass and shit of our subject at hand are doing just fine. A lucky one, our subject.

If scientific definition is so easily constructed and manipulable, then I shall cling more honestly to poetry and pottery, acknowledging that I make it up as I go.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A Night With Extreme Vandals

I just returned to NJ from Connecticut. My brain has been askew all weekend. Not bad, but askew. For example, more than once on the way there I passed cars on the right as if it were habit. When Paula who was with me asked if I wanted some Craisins, I said yes and held my hand out, its cup facing sideways. Oh well. This isn't why I began to write. I'm writing from home rather than from my very cold office at work. There have been crazy flies here at the house. I don't know what's up with that but I feel like I'm at an outdoor summer picnic, except that I'm inside and I have knowledge that it's chilly and October outside.

Last night I was really ready for sleep. I was lying on the futon at Rick and Kat's house, warming up in my fleece pj pants, cocooned in a down comforter. Then Mark and Rick returned hootin' and hollerin' about making a fire in the back yard and cooking food. I said I was tired; Paula, in the next room, said she was tired. Then each of us separately was promptly body-slammed until we agreed to get up and sit by the fire at 3:30 am. I dressed myself in four long-sleeved layers up top, two pairs of socks (my new King Kong socks that Mark bought for me!), a stocking cap and gloves, and ate a fire-cooked Boca burger, which was damn good. Those Krafts (that's Rick and Kat) keep some fine bread in their home. So food was done and Nick the electrician who had fallen asleep in a wicker chair by the fire went inside to sleep.

Around 5 am Mark and Rick decide we should visit the carnival across the street. Yes, the carnival is closed at this hour. We step over the yellow caution tape and into the carnival space. The first amuscment is the fun house. As we walk inside, Rick says excitedly, "This is a 3-ticket ride!" A hamster wheel brings us in, then some rubber spaghetti connected to the ceiling and floor challenges our walk-through. We didnt' get past that. There was a voice from above that said, "Yo!" or "No!" Evidently a carnie was trying to sleep in the fun house. We moved on, startled. Rick was very excited about the "strawberry patch": four gigantic strawberries, each hollow inside, with a wheel in the center for spinning. We went through the little white gate and climbed into one. Meanwhile, comical fantasies of midget carnies with knives were cycling through my brain. The boys began to spin us. Oh. Slight quease at first, then some noxious fumes poofed out of Mark's butt as Rick spun us faster--in one direction, and then another. We were trapped in that little space spinning and spinning and poisoned by the air. As soon as the strawberry slowed I leapt like a monkey out of there. The door to the strawberry was locked making the exit quite small and challenging. Ugh. The quease set into all of us. Paula and I sat on a curb while Mark and Rick went into the Gravitron. On our way out they picked up a two-sided metal bench and brought back to the house. On it was the carnival logo and "Have a nice day!"

This, however, wasn't the highlight of the evening. There was a "jam" as they call it going on at a warehouse where Extremists have built ramps and finally a very impressive bowl to ride bmx and skate in. Beer and late, someone decided to try a rope swing from the ceiling. I had gone to the bathroom outside by my car. When I returned Rick was clinging to a ceiling beam, I guess after having tied the rope up there. Then Rick, though he'd said he was too drunk to swing on the rope, stood up on high, took hold of the rope and swung--smack into the outer rim of the bowl. I guess the idea was to hoist above and land on top. However, drunk happened. The scene had the look of a clip from Faces of Death (I was calling it something other before; I correct myself), only, thankfully, Rick did not die. He is now in a good deal of pain. He swung so hard and fast and directly at that wooden beam, it looked like he planned it, like he had spotted it and thought, Right there, I'm gonna hit right there. We've all told the story six hundred times since and it's still just as funny as when it happened. A knot in the rope gave him a blackening eye.

That is what happened in Connecticut. Twice now since moving to Jersey and meeting Mark have I slinked into a closed amusement area late at night and frolicked in the dark rides.

Friday, October 22, 2004

It's What Superman Wanted--What Else Is There?

I picture the following in movie form, where America's people take note of their superhero, flushed by a wave of new sight, and collectively look passed the skyscrapers and into the sky:

Kerry says, "The American people deserve a president who understands that when America invests in science and technology, we can build a stronger economy and create jobs for the 21st century," he said. "But George Bush has literally ... turned his back on the spirit of exploration and discovery."

Kerry was joined by Christopher Reeve’s widow, Dana, who said her family has been grieving privately since the actor died Oct. 10. "My inclination would be to remain private for a good long while," she said. "But I came here today in support of John Kerry because this is so important. This is what Chris wanted."

Reeve had lived as a paraplegic since a riding accident in 1995. He had become an advocate for medical research and believed studying embryonic stem cells might unlock lifesaving cures and treatments, Dana Reeve said.

"His heart was full of hope, and he imagined living in a world where politics would never get in the way of hope," she said.

The Kerry campaign said Dana Reeve approached the senator about making what probably would be her only campaign appearance. ….

Kerry knew the "Superman" actor for about 15 years through family and activist connections. Reeve left him a long telephone message the day before he died, thanking him for campaigning on behalf of medical research.

His death has since reverberated on the campaign trail, as Kerry battles Bush over the ethics of stem cell research using embryos. Bush restricted federally funded research to lines already existing before his 2001 executive order, a decision criticized by some scientists and research advocates.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report—slightly diced

Pigs in Tow

As I’ve said before, as weird things happen when a person’s on LSD, mishaps and clumsy happen when a person’s on PMS. It is inevitable; it is true. No bones. And one must accept and work with such in the universe, before manipulating the shit and fuck out of it.

That said, when I sat down on a toilet in the bathroom at work this morning, I smelled something. It was the scent of potent shower-curtain plastic. Ah, I knew that smell. You see, Melissa not only gifted to me, but re-gifted, a bright piggy pink, double-headed dong as a moving-in present. That’s in addition to a Brian Eno CD and a Lego-Pirate keychain. Now that’s friendship. I received the dong at our party celebrating the birthdays of Melissa, Mark, and Lauren, and my moving into Mark’s. It smelled like the most potent new shower curtain. That night the dong partied hard, felt itself in the hands of many drunks and non-drunks, lubed up and smacked flesh, dangled out the unzipped pants of grunting boys. By night’s end, there were teeth marks and a chunk out of it. Mark did his duty as a thoughtful boyfriend, brought the dong into the shower with him and cleaned it. Then he kindly stored it in my new underwear drawer. This morning I finally decided to remove the dong from my underwear drawer, concerned about the potency of its scent. Good thinking on my part. While I was sitting on the toilet in that bathroom earlier, taking in the scent of shower curtain, it occurred to me to lean over and sniff my underwear. Sure enough, they smelled like pink dong. Mystery solved.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Out, Out--

Somebody save me. There is a mistake in everything I touch today, even when I double-check. Everything. Fucking gremlins. I want chocolate and liquor. It must be PMS. Pity me. Pray for me. Save me.

It's a good thing Mark and I bought over $20 worth of tea at Wegman's last night, including PMS tea, and a tea pot at Wal-Mart. We're all herbed out, yo.

I've also started an experiment with vitamins, having discovered my immune system lacks oomph. A cold that lasts weeks? Come on. I made a trip to GNC after work yesterday. When I checked out, the cashier asked me if I was ok on my multi-vitamins. I thought for a moment he was my mom, but thoughtfully restrained from sucking his tit. Did I just write that? See paragraph 1.

Tripping on DC

My first visit to Washington D.C. last weekend was strange and good. (I hesitate to call anything strange because most things seem strange to me, thus stripping the term of its meaning. Anyway…) I coughed like a dog the whole time. By the way, my head is now full only of clear snot, no longer the green variety as referenced days ago. An improvement indeed. I coughed the whole time. The weather was erratic. Everywhere I go the locals like to say, "The weather in _____ is totally unpredictable, sun one minute, rain the next." Everywhere. This was the case last weekend in DC. I stepped out onto the balcony Saturday morning with Kate’s roommate Pat. The sun was shining, the sky was crisp blue. I said, "It’s beautiful today." I went inside, took a shower. When we left the building about an hour later, the sky was heavy and gray and rain began to fall from it. Also, it was cold; my body does not retain heat, suddenly chilled to the bone. We went to Starbucks for coffee beverages. When we left the building the sun was out and all was beautiful again, and DC began to feel like some place I’d been before. Might have been the cleanliness, as clean as Iowa City and Minneapolis, in a perfectly pleasing but eerie way that is nonetheless still pleasing.

Friday night Kate, Melissa, and I went to the Black Cat to see Sons & Daughters and Clinic. If I have any followers, you may remember Sons & Daughters from an earlier post. My heart beat wildly for Scott Paterson because he looked like he was having equally wild sex while playing his guitar, singly deeply, and staring intensely (at me, of course). He brought back all that passion last weekend. However, it hit me that such wild flare-ups are only fleeting and this new relationship could only last a night, or two. One more Irish boyfriend cast to the photo album. Clinic, well, it didn’t take long to figure what each song would sound like. We left early. I’d rather enjoy Clinic on CD. Perhaps it was my doggish coughing that wound me down when they played, but I don’t really think so.

I’d like to return to DC in the spring time to see pretty trees and flowers (what am I, a dirty hippie?), though Kate will no longer be there. I’ll have to go as an obvious tourist. I have already seen the Phallic Monument to Washington rising up between two buildings in the distance, but I know there is much, much more.

(In the past five minutes infinite stupid things have gone wrong: e-mail account surpasses space limit, need to send two very large files, e-mail shuts down on its own, I misnamed a reviewer who also didn’t receive my fax in full and whose secretary called the Good Doctor’s secretary and confused things further, the Good Doctor thinks I messed up a pre-acceptance letter, won’t listen to me that I did it correctly and that there is a different confusing issue at hand, every program on computer becomes very slow. I will not let it bother me. I will eat lunch. However, I could go for a shot, say, a buttery nipple.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Cotton God Titration

The following appeared in my Rob Brezny horoscope this morning, from Booker T. Washington's view: "I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him." I tend to follow such. I really don’t think I hate anyone. Any time I’ve thought I hated someone, I eventually realized that there was some quality in that person, which was also in me and which I’d rather wasn’t in me. So I decided it an embarrassment to hate someone because that would mean I wasn’t facing up to something black in my soul and thus not moving forward toward deism. That is the goal, isn’t it?

This morning I drank a serving of cough syrup without having eaten anything. I knew it would make me feel undesirably funny, but I did it anyway. Now my ears are stuffed with cotton, which makes it more difficult for me to hear when someone is coming and smoothly change what’s on my computer screen, and my vision is somewhat askew; however, I still think clearly, unlike the time I swallowed Sudafed on an empty stomach and lost the ability to recall what number followed what in the number line. And that stuff is legal.

I don’t have much to do at work right now and so I keep touching my hair. This has got to stop.

Did you know the Doh! of Homer Simpson is in the Oxford English Dictionary? It is.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Circus In My Head

That's a Throwing Muses lyric, truncated.

I don’t feel connected to anything outside enough to write much meaningfully today, or the past few or so days. But I shan't neglect the fire in the hole.

Last night I dreamed that several of my family members were traveling to Las Vegas. For some reason it was obvious and unquestioned in the dream that we were going in two separate groups, and there was no detectable sense of the two groups meeting up while there, as if we were going to two separate places, even though Las Vegas was the place. The airport was a circus. Not a metaphorical circus but a real circus. The first group of my family, more distant, cousins, were dilly-dallying around at the check-in counter and suddenly became worried they would miss their flight. So I grabbed their tickets and did the check-in myself, then directed them and their bags to the gate, which was also a merry-go-round. My brother who was part of my group, the second group, joined the cousins on the merry-go-round. It began to rain. My mom and my grandma, also part of the second group, walked back inside toward the check-in counter. Well, I didn’t want to stand in the rain, and neither did Mark. Alex, my brother, had left his bags sitting on the ground near the merry-go-round, and I didn’t want to just leave them there while he was going in circles on a colorful horse. So Mark and I hid the bags behind bushes and went inside. They weren’t hidden very well, but it was raining, and, heck, my brother should have been paying attention to his bags.

There is a commercial on 101.5, which advertises the Lap Band System for losing weight. Every time I hear it I think I hear about the Lap Dance System for losing weight, and fantastic scenarios begin to kick around in my head.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

How Do You Feel?

My head is full of green snot, and I have been listening to CDs that I listen to only periodically.

"Sometimes I feel like Jesus in some Chinese opera." This continues to be one of my favorite lyrics. It’s from a Jim White song called "Perfect Day to Chase Tornados," from the album Wrong-Eyed Jesus. I saw him open up for Kristin Hersh at Schuba’s in Chicago, six or seven years ago. Wasn’t at all in the mood for some mellow, folky dude in a white cowboy hat. Nope. I wanted to see Kristin Hersh. Well, he showed me with palpably bizarre show. I thought I’d been dropped onto a bed of strange poppies in Twin Peaks. There are other truly gem-lines in this song, but this one stands out because it feels as meaningful as the other gems, which are more straightforward, but assumes a bizarre world unto itself. That is, I hear it and say, Yeah me too. I can’t say that it’s ever come to me that I feel like Jesus in some Chinese opera, in those very words, though apparently I've felt that very feeling. By the way, this feeling probably has nothing to do with having a head full of green snot; that's just what's going on today.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Trashing Sane

Set your trash can outside your door when you leave at night, I was told, if I want the trash can for my office emptied. I feel embarrassed. I’ve forgotten to set it out and now, after only a few days, it is full of cups, containers, and papers. Looks like a college boy has been hanging out in here. Everyone in the hallway will know I am trashy.

Today I had my first web conference to learn more about the online system the journal’s about to jump into. I kept forgetting that the Irish fellow conferencing with me could see on his computer screen everything I was doing on my screen, and so I was occasionally startled when he commented on what I was doing. I have a tendency to space out and throw the cursor around with the mouse. Curbed that real quick. I played the role of author, reviewer, editorial assistant, and editor, pinging and ponging back-forth between each, as if I didn’t already have enough personalities to contend with. The Irish fellow and I shared jokes about schizophrenia and lapses in memory.

I conclude that absolutely everyone feels terribly insecure about his or her sanity and that is why everyone makes jokes about such, or makes jabs at others, depending on the person’s default defense mechanism. This is nothing new; i.e. it is also why masses cling to mass preference, or rebel en masse. Just an observation in current context. Or it’s an attention-getter, a humor device. "Ha!Ha! I’m schizophrenic. Let’s have a good laugh"? Might as well, I suppose. Right now I feel like being outside in October sunshine, laughing and lilting.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Big Lights, Big City: Four, Blood and Tincture

"Why I am bleeding?" I just heard this shouted Indian-accented from down the hall where TB tests are being done. Took care of mine just minutes ago. Hopefully I still do not have TB. Patty the nurse said, "I gotta shoot you up." I said, "Good times."

Speaking of good times...even for a relatively bike-illiterate me, Interbike, our official reason for visiting Vegas, struck my fancy. I swear the large room it took place in was birthing bikes and bike booths while we were there. There was no end. When I thought we'd visited every corner there was always more. I came away with a small cache of stickers and a Primo t-shirt given to me by John Warren, who was on crutches. On which note both Mark and I noted there were many people hobbling from booth to booth with a crippled left foot/ankle/leg. Anyway, on the front of the t-shirt is an elephant. How did he know I seek the elephant? John Warren must be my distant, forgotten cousin.

Also in bike news, Mark and I were treated to a rather decadent Mexican dinner at Treasure Island by the cool folks at Haro. By decadent I mean bloody mary, fancy margarita, beer, multiple appetizer, choice entree, posh dessert. Before dinner they kindly dosed me with a strawberry saturated with moonshine.

We also saw Drew Carey eating breakfast. Apparently the day before, he had been sitting in the booth we were in. This day he was sitting across the restaurant, wearing a yellow shirt, shaggy hair, shadow on his face, and receiving the insistent stares of the people sitting next to him. He read the paper. I know this because I had a hard time not looking myself. It was involuntary and strange. I didn't think I cared. I did want to tell him, though, that I think Ryan Stiles is great, but I thought that would be a little like "Hey Bob how's it going? Your best friend is hot, sexy and in my dreams. Can you hook me up?" Uncouth.

Big Lights, Big City: Three, Bad Karma

Neither Mark nor I were at all eager to gamble aside from a few slot machines. The lights and the people and occasionally very cheap drinks were enough. However, his dad gave us $50 to play roulette for him. Neither of us knew the rules so we stood to the side and watched for a bit, and an older fellow standing next to us gave us a few tips. Soon Mark jumped in at a table where a hefty guy with glasses was sitting with infinite chips, which we watched him lose almost entirely and then gain back. He knew his gambling. When Mark jumped in he began doing well. Then a big-white-t-shirt-gold chain-wearing fella came over with his hoochie girlfriend. Out of the corners of our eyes, each Mark and I saw the guy take Mark's two $25 chips which were sitting next to his. Mark called him on it, the guy apologized after at first denying, and then gave the chips back. Fine but nevertheless sketchy. A few more rounds go by. Mark had one $25 chip on the black, sitting to the right of two $25 chips, which belonged to the sketchy guy. Black won and I watched the dealer place one $25 chip in front of Mark's, and two in front of the sketchy guy's. Round over, Mark goes to take his chips--but they're gone. He looks at sketchy guy, says (in a friendly manner), "Did you take my chips again?" Sketchy guy says he didn't. Mark becomes more persistent, says "Are you sure? My chips were next to yours." Sketchy guy says no. Dealer notices a problem, and they begin to explain to no resolve. Here's where things get fishy. Dealer calls over Pit Boss. When Pit Boss comes over, Dealer explains that there was one stack of two $25 chips sitting on black, neglecting to mention Mark's one $25 to the right of that stack. Everyone at the table agreed there were two stacks, including the experienced guy with stacks of infinite chips. Dealer says again and again the scenario, neglecting to mention Mark's chips. (I wonder on this. He knew Mark came in not knowing how to play, because he said so after making a small error.) Meanwhile the four of us--Mark, Sketchy, Veteran, and I (even though I wasn't playing)--say otherwise. Pit Boss does some business with chips, which I don't remember because it was foreign to me and I was finishing up my third drink in the middle of the day. Mark gets the chips that are his, Sketchy gets half that were his. Then everyone leaves the table: bad karma. We saw Veteran cashing out when Mark did; Sketchy moved to another table; Dealer didn't have his story right. And that's the story of suspect fish.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Big Lights, Big City: Two, Spots and Ho's

Mark pissed himself in the airport before we even got on the plane. Sort of. We had just gotten coffee and naturally I was wearing a light-colored shirt and spilled on it, just two small drops. I handed Mark my coffee and ran to the bathroom to wash it out. When I came back, he was sitting down, casually slumped in a chair, cup of coffee in each hand, calm expression on his face. As I got closer I saw a drop of coffee fall from one of the cups. Evidently not the first drop. Watching it, my eyes fell to a big puddle on the crotch of his jeans. I thought at first he was being silent, preparing me for some kind of "Look what happened when you ran to the bathroom to get a couple of microscopic dots off your shirt!" However, he didn’t know and sat there looking like a kid who pissed himself and didn't know. I couldn’t stop laughing. Afterward we saw other people with coffee stains. Peet’s Coffee needs new cups, like a girl with new implants.

The airline didn’t offer a snack until the ride was almost over. They did, however, offer very overpriced food from their air-café menu. Fuck that, I said, I’ll let my stomach growl and suffer. Didn’t we pay much money to ride on the plane? Yes, we did. I’ve flown across the country before and gotten a meal, or at least a couple of snacks. Back in the day, before I flew, nice meals were served. We were like prisoners on that plane in this day, starving till the end.

Ah, the sound of relentless orgasm. The Ho's were sitting behind us on the flight to Vegas. I know this because the stewardess gave a shoutout to them over the intercom before the plane took off. At one point Mark and I were engaging in conversation, when from the seat behind us came a high-pitched exhale sounding much like that which accompanies an orgasm. It was loud. Both of us instantly lost memory of what we’d been talking about. Could have been the Sound of Pleasure caused it, could have been the Pain of Starvation.

Big Lights, Big City: One

I have returned from a nearly four-day adventure with Mak to Las Vegas. Today no sidebar appears on my blog. I hope this is due only to my work’s primitive and spotty computer system. My return to work also brings me the news that I must be tested for TB every October, instead of only before beginning work here in the hospital.

No-boundary Las Vegas. The first day Mark and I found ourselves up in the air three times. Three times my stomach left my body and I felt strange: the airplane trip there, the glider ride, the amusement rides at the top of the Stratosphere, the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

1. The airplane ride there was uneventful but long and our stewardesses were cold-demeanored. What I realized about flying: airports without fail incite my bowels, and plane rides without fail make me sexually aroused. I must learn more of the deeper psychological causes.

2. Mark’s dad bought us a glider ride for Christmas, which we had wanted to do in Utah, but since we were going Vegas, Boulder City worked just as well. Upon deplaning we rented a car, Sylvia, a new silver Neon, and drove to Boulder City. Mark and I went up separately in a little airplane that went the speed of a car, which each of us got to steer. Our pilot, Eugene, was awesome, a Polish guy about waist-height to me. In the air, he cut the engine: float. He explained all the instruments of the plane and the history of sites we flew over. He also rolled the plane three times for me, i.e. we were up in the sky and facing the ground, hovering, and it felt great. Great enough to make up for the enduring queasiness brought on by random lifts caused by hot air pockets we passed over.

3. Big Shot and X-Scream are rides at the top of the Stratosphere, big needle stretched high into the sky. The Big Shot, a sort of needle encircled by chairs, shoots—without any kind of "are you ready?"—people up fast into the sky, then drops, then shoots. Up there, for a moment gravity-less, all I could see was sky and lights—no building, no ground. It was night. It was great. X-Scream, like a teeter-totter, tips back, then tips forward off the edge of the building. Not as scary as it might sound. The seats were high and if not in the front you cannot see off the edge you’re tipping over. Why weren’t we in the front? Because a selfish woman who had already been on the ride 16 times that day wanted to be in the front. She’d already been in the front each of those 16 times, but not yet at night. She must have grown up an only child.

The mountains in Nevada excite me. Every time I saw them, which, since Las Vegas is surrounded by them, was often, I pointed and smiled like a puppy spotting food. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve lived in the Midwest and now east coast all my life, or if it’s because the terrain is just that fascinating to me. Even though I can see it and touch it, I really can’t believe that the land can move into those formations. The land looks alien and divine to me, teary-eye beautiful.

Friday, October 01, 2004

What the F?

Yesterday I sent a letter notifying an author that we’d decided to accept her manuscript for publication. This morning I opened my e-mail to a message from her:

Thanks for the f/u.

Does anyone know what "f/u" means? I assume she’s not thinking I told her to fuck off, because I gave her good news. However, she does live in Jersey, where manners are lacking.

Thanks, kind regards, best and f/u,

Sara S.
Editorial Assistant