The Darkest Mile

> days gone by
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> 50 moments that followed

pH33R!!1!, eh!
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
12.52 - Ch-ch-ch-changes
So, stuff that's been happening...

I just did a voiceover recording session for a video here at work. I need to find a voice coach (for both voiceover and to train my wild (Mets-era Nolan Ryan/pre-glasses Wild Thing from Major League) singing voice).

I had one of those brainwaves last week that's so obvious it could only mean you have a blind spot. I bought some cold cuts at the deli near the train station (the only store in walking distance from my office), brought some bread from home, and now I can *make* my lunch. At lunch. Instead of trying to make it at 5:15 in the morning when I am still not entirely done falling asleep from the previous night. So that should save me some money and also help keep my diet healthier. Baby steps. (And, as I posted on fb, the pants I bought when my old ones started falling off of me have started to slide. I may actually be able to fit in Uni-qlo pants before the Mayan Apocalypse.

The LIRR is supposed to change their schedule in 2 weeks. I am waiting with bated breath to see if they are restoring the 9am train that I used to take so that I can get up at 6am instead of 5.

I have my last level 4: the Deconstruction improv class tonight, and I honestly have no idea what I want to take next (level 5, obviously, but I don't know how long it will take to get in to the 'conservatory'). Taking classes during the week has all but killed me, so I am going to try to find something on the weekend, but it looks like that's when mainly intro level classes are offered.

Feeling better about myself day by day, so there's that. Still having problems with energy; going to get checked for sleep apnea.

3 voices - [mouth|ears]

08.56 - at least it's not timeline lol
Why am I suddenly seeing LJ-cuts? I thought I had disabled that nonsense.

4 voices - [mouth|ears]

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
15.17 - Pomes
I went to a poetry open-mic last night. I am now acutely aware (as opposed to just generally) that I need to start writing poetry again. Really terribly bad stuff, at least to start with.


Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
08.57 - I pretty much only do improv these days

We did a fun exercise last night. Probably something you can only do with somewhat experienced improvisors; not that it's not something that anyone's capable of, it's just that it requires a certain amount of telling the part of you that says "can't" to shut the fuck up, Donnie.


Partner prompts you with a single sentence on anything. It is then up to you to go on a high-speed rant on whatever they said. Faster than you can think. Just reflexively, emotionally spewing dialogue. And despite the circumvention of the majority of our higher reasoning faculties, I don't think there was a single thing said that didn't make at least some internal logical sense. And there were some real comedy gems. The instructor likened it to the difference between watching someone very slowly and deliberately place one for in front of the other and watching someone run headlong downhill towards some probable disaster. And since the #1 comment my team's coach gave me during The Circuit was "Stop thinking," it was good practice for me.


I've also started working on my own idea for a show. Everyone I've talked to, right up to the creative director for the theater, has been really interested in the idea. But it sounds like someone else did an "end of the world" show at UCB a few years back, so I need to look into that and make sure there's not too much overlap.


And hey, I'm going to Maine for a week of vacation next week. Some time to work on my own damn projects, at last.


1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
11.09 - Technology!

Technology means video chatting with Australia from my morning commuter train. Using my phone.


It also means texting my therapist to cancel an appointment.


Also, I can't imagine what trying to coordinate improv practice sessions was like before email (and doodle). Either phone chains, or just mandating a regular practice time with vague threats of "or else."


Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
12.53 - State of the Nat
Last night, I had my first performance on the main stage of the Magnet Theater. To a packed house. On a monday night. At 7pm. To raucous applause and great acclaim, by all accounts (I never know how I'm doing on stage; I tend to focus more on being true to the scene than giving the audience what they want—wanted means expected and isn't comedy all about the unexpected?). My Circuit team (basially minor leagues for eventually being on a house team with a regular gig) keeps getting better and better; we're pretty much tearing down the house with each successive performance. Last week, I was able to shock even some of the senior improvisors who were in attendance; a good thing as far as I'm concerned (object work is very important when dealing with a corpse/cracking open a rib cage/feeding a heart to your teenage daughter; you really have to sell the weight and effort that goes into every part of it). Shame our last show is next week; I don't know how people feel about becoming an indie team (basically, playing whatever gigs we can find). But! It's going to leave room in my schedule for hip-hop improv practice. Which, frankly, is getting pretty huge (our instructors have won UCB's cage match FOUR weeks in a row, against some almost pro teams. Like, people who might be regulars on SNL in the next few years) so we'll probably have better luck booking gigs as an indie team that way. *shrugh* As long as I'm performing/being creative. It's a quality of life thing, almost a necessity (at the moment, at least).

So yeah, improv is kicking ass. Work is improving, too. My boss is feeling more and more confident with giving me additional responsibilities (and was impressed when I requested ownership of a particular project at today's meeting). She also talked about the general possiblities (more an air right now) for advancement. And man, it feels nice to feel... competent at a job? It's a combination of a lot of things; finally the right mix of medications, some hardcore commitment, being alone (and therefore self-reliant), and just a general sense of confidence (what is this unfamiliar feeling?). That last bit is in part, thanks to improv. Confidence, practice in being human, and also a sense of community. I matter to people, and they like me for who I am, not what I can do for them. And there's an appreciation for my performances, so hey, I don't suck! Don't care if I get famous; don't expect to. As long as I can keep people laughing (and thinking), I'm happy.

I'm working on developing my own (hopefully regular, maybe even weekly?) improv show (which may require me to invent a whole new 'form'). More on that later. But yeah, it's going to be a bit think-y, or at least with a philosophical (and maybe slightly Buddhist?) undercurrent.

I also saw my mother last night for the first time since this whole thing. She asked if we were friends again, and all I could say was, "We'll see." But she came to my performance (whether or not it was an excuse to just see me is irrelevant, to me), and she only had one criticism, which didn't apply to me (though I had to clarify that when she said "you" she really meant "some of them" meaning my teammates). Only one criticism! Right on.

I am teaching myself javascript with Finally getting around to that. It'll make me a more marketable hire, at the very least. Don't really want to be a "developer," though I'd be up for running my own indie business. I think it'll make me more palatable as an architect/designer if I decide to go down that route. My current job has openings in UX (User eXperience), which is an area I might like to move into. It's almost actually kinda related to my psychology degree!

mood: this was a triumph

5 voices - [mouth|ears]

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
12.48 - Two Deux
To-do lists are nice, but my problem is not so much what I need to do as actually doing it. And, for the most part, that arises from self-critical perfectionism (i.e., internalizing my mother's continual criticism). What helps to break the cycle and make me feel better is to congratulate myself for all the things I've accomplished. Rather than dwelling on what I haven't done, I occasionally need to stop and, yes, rest on my laurels for just a little bit.

So, in addition to the to-do list, I've been making a... been done? list. And, of course, I had to give it a clever title, because it's silly and that also makes me feel better. So it says:

you handsome and clever person you

I think I really need that on a letterhead. Or at least a notepad. It's a lot to write every day, even if it does make me giggle.

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
15.45 - So Alive
Looks like my strategy worked yesterday. At least my boss wasn't critical at this morning's meeting.

And! Last night, I got my name picked out of a hat, and I got to go up on the stage and do a set with North Coast. Freestylin', beatboxin', and straight-up improv. When else can I be an old man freestyling about General Tso or a nebbish dropping science about Pearl Paints and not have people look at me weird? I even got to hang out with the gang afterwards. Even if they don't have any slots open up on the regular, I've been meeting with some of my classmates from their (NC's) workshop, and we've been practicing a bit. Maybe we'll start performing sometime in the future?

All in all, feeling good. For a change.


Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
16.16 - Lateral Strategies

To appease my boss and look more productive, I took a side route today. I did minor updates on a lot of projects rather than prioritizing the main behemoth project (as I've been instructed to repeatedly). I really blitzkrieged the shit out of things today, such that I'm only behind on two things now. We have a departmental meeting tomorrow, so we'll see if I get any credit for it.


But, y'know, holy productivity, Batman!


Friday, March 2nd, 2012
09.10 - Direct Dreams
My dreams were incredibly transparent last night. I had a bunch of things to do for my brother's wedding, some of which were practically like quests. You know, of yore. I had actually somehow (you know, despite my innate ineptness) managed to accomplish all but one of them. By the time I'd finished everything else, the dry cleaner was closed for the day. And! I was so pissed/angry/frustrated in the dream that I actually forced myself to read the hours off the receipt. First time I've ever read small printed material when I wasn't lucid. So, take that, that one Batman cartoon episode with the Mad Hatter.

But yeah, the anger. Angery angrishness. Arguing with my mother and my grandmother (alive again, for the purposes of catharsis I guess?) over the dining room table, and I couldn't take it so I went to the kitchen to check on the food (yes, I was cooking. THAT is how much I love my little brother) and g'ma followed me. Hectoring me. And suddenly, there it all was. All of the insecurity, all of the concern with perfectionism, with letting people down, with being a failure. Right there in front of me. In the bent frame of this tiny woman. And I just seethed with so much rage that I was actually speechless. And, bizarrely, I felt violent, which is an extremely rare occurrence with me. The only response I could come up with was to just lash out at her. Sure, my mother was the one who drilled most of this stuff into me, but she was the source. Where my mother got it from. I know that she probably got it passed down the same way, but I never met anything more than the husk of her mother. And it was a dream; everything's symbolic. (Well, everything meaningful. Some of the things are just cigars, after all.)

But I didn't strike out. One point in my favor. I had the confrontation, but didn't resolve it. But I had the confrontation. Another point. Which means I really am learning to externalize all of this negativity, to see it for the cancerous growth it is. Of me, but not of me. Capable of being excised and exiled. So maybe just maybe, I'm getting to be okay with being me. A third point. If we're keeping score.

Which I am. I am slowly learning to recognize the points in my favor in addition to all the negative things that I notice because of a lifetime of having them pointed out to me. Eventually, I'll be able to hug my grandmother, soothe her and tell her it's all going to be okay, that the bad things don't matter in the end, and that life is beautiful and to be celebrated. It's too late for her, of course, but there's always the future to consider.

mood: y'know


Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
11.40 - Suddenly, Improv
All of a sudden, this improv stuff is taking off for me. My circuit team (like the minor leagues/tryouts for a house team) is doing great. My individual scenes are getting great (and specific; not just "good show") feedback. I've been invited to do my first main stage show (fingers crossed that it happens) for a diversity showcase next month (affirmative action, boo-yah). And my hip-hop improv class is now actively working on (instead of just bullshitting about) forming into a practice group/eventual performing troupe. Given that our show "killed," it's quite possible we will be in high demand. After all, the only other group that's out there doing what we'd be doing are the guys who trained us (and if I kill my sensei in a rap battle, don't expect me to say why). I really hope I get to be the main beatboxer (read: accompanist). Especially given that I've been beatboxing (i.e., dicking around) since I was in the first grade (or earlier?), it would be one of those lifetime-fruition thingies.

So long, free time! (Like I had any to start with.) If I can get caught up on my projects here at the office, I won't feel too bad about bailing on this place if I can find something closer. I need an end to the 2hr commute. I have done a much better job of managing the work/life balance, especially now that my scrips are pretty much sorted. Once I have caught up with all the stuff I couldn't do when I was non-functional, I'll have proved it to myself.

Oh, and: I'll probably never get famous or make money doing this, but man-o-man is it fun. How often do you get to play Hitler as an African-American jazz musician?

mood: but not the british children

5 voices - [mouth|ears]

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
15.04 - Steps

Lately I've found that whenever I fail at something, it's because I haven't divided it into small enough pieces.

So instead of trying to revamp my diet all at once, I'm going to start with lunch. For now.

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
13.18 - Meditations on the Nature of Improv and Life and so on
Me: it's kind of nice to talk improv and craft and philosophy with people until the early morning hours after a great show
Me: More and more, I feel like improv is practice for being human
Me: In being alert, aware, awake
Me: affirming people and feelings
01:07:24: ooooh that's interesting
Me: listening and reacting
Me: not just following a script of "paper or plastic?" type interactions.
01:08:50: that's very interesting
01:10:11: I'm so proud of you
Me: Thank you

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

13.15 - On Golden (Crispy, Flaky) Bond
[16:13] Me: I need to open a chain of licensed fried chicken restaurants
[16:14] Me: "Do you exshpect me to bawk?"
[16:14] Me: "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to fry!"
[16:14] HJ: call it Chicken Kitchen
[16:14] Me: And I expect you to TRY my new fried chicken recipe
[16:14] Me: Gold-chickenfingers
[16:14] HJ: secret ingredient is Cool Ranch Doritos
[16:15] Me: Thunder-meatballs
[16:15] Me: Octo-calamari
[16:15] Me: wait
[16:15] HJ: The Spy Who Loved Chicken
[16:15] JL: Nuggets Are Forever
[16:15] HJ: A View to a Chicken
[16:16] Me: For Your Tastebuds Only
[16:16] HJ: Chickenraker
[16:16] JL: Chicken Royale
[16:16] Me: ha ha ha
[16:16] Me: They can't all be Chicken Dishes!
[16:16] JL: Quantum of Chicken
[16:16] Me: The Slaw Who Loved Me
[16:16] JL: Why can't they?
[16:16] Me: Moontaters
[16:16] Me: (they come with a tiny rake you can use to shape your mashed potatoes!)
[16:16] HJ: Chk. No
[16:17] JL: heh
[16:17] Me: Try our new Goldenthigh
[16:17] JL: Fry Another Day
[16:17] HJ: The Chicken Daylights
[16:17] Me: ha ha ha
[16:18] Me: We have a winner!
[16:18] HJ: hehe tru dat, fry another day is awesome
[16:18] Me: Chicken so good, it'll scare the Chicken Daylights outta you!
[16:18] JL: These are fun
[16:19] HJ: From Russia With Chicken
[16:19] Me: From Russia with Nugs
[16:19] HJ: Never Say Chicken Again
[16:19] Me: On Her Majesty's Secret Sauce
[16:19] Me: (or Herbs & Spices)
[16:21] HJ: Chicken Never Dies
[16:21] Me: Frycense to Kill
[16:21] HJ: The Chicken With The Golden Bun
[16:22] Me: oh yum
[16:23] Me: Thighmonds are Forever
[16:23] HJ: lol
[16:23] Me: For those of you on a diet, try our new Felix Leiter menu!
[16:23] Me: We have several Leiter options
[16:24] Me: But don't worry, you can always... Diet Another Day!
[16:24] Me: *dramatic sting*
[16:25] Me: Tomorrow Never Fries
[16:25] Me: View to a Grill
[16:26] JL: hungry
[16:26] Me: Live and Let Fry
[16:27] Me: Oh, the next one is apparently titled (at least tentatively) "Skyfall"
[16:27] Me: so
[16:27] Me: either Fry or Thighfall
[16:27] JL: Nugget of Solace


13.08 - All I do is tok-tok

The rhythm reverberates, crisp in my ears. My muscles clench in time with the beat. It's so clean, so tight, so regular. I'm pumping my fist in time with the beat. And it hits me. This is what I've always sought, what I've always wanted. I've always had this love/hate thing for the kind of sloppy punk D.I.Y. ethos; admired it for its energy but longed for the metronomic precision of the music of my youth.


And there's a reason for that. It's what I've always wanted to be. This clear, pulsing tone. The sharp, crisp hit on a tight snare head. To be so perfect, so reliable, so infallible. But it's not to be. Because I'm human. I'm biological. I'm not mechanical. Which is something I've always loathed. Push out the inefficiencies, the human frailties and failings, the weaknesses holding me from that perfection. Become that crisp, clean, tight, metronomic beat.


But shouldn't I learn to love the things that make me human? Isn't the whole point of the beat to deviate from it, only to return later, all the more triumphant for the adventurous steps--leaps--away that one has taken? One cannot have a symphony of identical metronomes. Or rather, one cannot have more than one such symphony. At the very least, one should learn to dance with one's own imperfections. Learn to read their steps, anticipate, move with them, create a beautiful ballet.



Friday, December 2nd, 2011
18.58 - kingseyeland is my mancrush of the day
JK: The Black Keys, March 16, 2012. Conseco Fieldhouse. Wait, what?

N@: Ugh, I can't stand Fergie. She should go back to England.

JK: I can never remember whether The Black Keys are brother/sister or husband/wife.

TH: I really liked Shake Your Money Maker, but their new stuff is pretty meh.

JM: That was a devastating pandemic in it's day.

DP: not The Vogue?

JK: Not the Vogue. I guess now that Ozzy is back with them, they can play bigger venues.

JK: RIP Ronnie Van Zant

N@: I think Jack Black is a husband, but Alicia Keys is definitely a sister.

N@: And Townes.

N@: Also Gus

JK: Townes Van Zant was a sister?

N@: Well, he sure as fuck wasn't a bullfrog.

JK: You're thinking of "Jeremy" by Soundgarden.

N@: Oh right. I always confuse my Grudge rockers. It's all the long, straight, black hair.

JDW: The Blacks Keys?

MP: I think that was Jeremiah

JK: That's racist.

MP: Only if you're a bullfrog

JK: Not all grunge rockers have long, straight black hair. Look at Cab Calloway.

JM: Toad the Wet Sprocket

N@: That's the guy who formed Death Cab for Kewpie, right?

MP: The New York Kewpie Dolls?

N@: I'm trying to remember if that's the band that gave us Baxter Poindexter/Scarlett Johanson.

MP: Scarry Jo plays the music of Tom Waiting on a Train

JK: You sure you don't mean Lynyrd Cohyn?

N@: I just remember Tom Waits For No Man.

MP: Didn't they die in a plane crash?

JK: Tom Waits for No Man is my favorite Cohyn brothers film.

MP: Mine is Free as a Bird

JK: ^ Great lyrics by Lenin/McCarthy.

N@: Plane crash, or was it a helicopter? I might be confusing it with the time Billy Joe from Green Day went Back to the USSR.

MP: Billy Joe? Did he sing Piano Man?

N@: "They're not gonna catch me, no; not gonna catch the paperback rider."

MP: Lenin was assassinated when he went Back to the USSR...

N@: I love the stuff they did as the Allmen Brothers, even if that's redundant. Of course if they're brothers, they're all men!

JK: It was a plane crash -- the day the music died, taking with it Billie Holliday, the Blitzkrieg Bopper, and Richie Van Halen.

MP: All men except for Cher

MP: The music died in a Chevy at the levee...

N@: Oh, ok, I was confusing them with the Traveling Wallabys, who did that song about the Men Down Under.

JK: They posed the immortal question: Are we not men? No, we are Dinosaur, Jr.!

MP: They're all at work

N@: Wait wait WAIT. Didn't Def Leppard do that song about the Chevy's Brakes?

N@: I mean, it was a blues traditional cover, but they made it famous. To white people.

MP: The Chevy accident was why the drummer lost his arm and half his mind

MP: Or maybe I'm thinking of John Ford Coley...

MP: Not Chevy

N@: no man, it was Pete Seger who covered Roscoe P. Coltrane.

JK: Terrible accident. Choked on a ham sandwich and died while driving. He had a great WWF wrestling career, too.

N@: My bad, that was Thorogood.

N@: Thorogood P. Marshall. Crenshaw. Jr.

JK: He's my favorite member of The Supremes.

MP: Thurgood Marshall was my favorite

N@: C'mon, though. They can't stack up with the Steve Martin Band. "I'm a Wild and Crazy Joker"? CLASSIC song.

N@: Srsly, we're talking dessert island disc.

MP: King Tut tut tut

CJW: Very humerus gentlemen

MP: Didn't they find a golden banjo in his tomb?

MP: ...and an arrow through his head?

MP: Or maybe that was Nero...

JK: Let's not forget: Steve Martin created the classic car driven in the Jason Bourne film, Goldschlaager.

MP: I thought it was Martin Short...

N@: No, you're confusing your Canadians. That was Moranis Alisette.

JK: Who went on to play Gozer the Ironic.

JK: Nero, as I understand, played the fiddle while Georgia burned.

N@: Was that the same night Chicago died? So sad about Cetera.

MP: His brother, Ed, just passed...

JK: True, same night. Luckily, they were able to soldier on due to Tom Scholz's excellent production, which he developed during his tenure on "Hogan's Family."

MP: Didn't he play Schultz?

JK: Ed never got over Chappaquiddick.

N@: How could he forget? That tune was so catchy.

"You'll remember the Chappaquiddick, they'll remember the love."

N@: Not sure, Michael. I remember nuzzink!

MP: He had enough love to go around and around and around

MP: Chappaquiddick is coming out with a new flavor

JK: Love is all around. -- Love the Carol Burnett theme!

MP: I always love Rhoda on that show

N@: Shame what happened to the star of Hogan's Family... killed by that Daniel Day Foe guy.

MP: The last Mohican?

JK: Previous Chappaquiddick flavors included Fish Food, Chunky Kennedy, and Scot Free.

N@: Rhoda was great as Nurse Ratchet in that Mel Brooks movie about the asylum.

JK: Planet of the 12 Monkeys?

N@: Oh, now you had to go and bring up the Miracle Man, John. I thought we were done talking about Ozzy, or is the solo career still game?

N@: "There's always monkeys in the banana stand." ha ha ha ha love that show

MP: That was stolen from the Osbournes

N@: I couldn't stand them. Donnie OR Marie.

N@: They were BOTH a little bit cunty, if you ask me.

MP: He was only a little bit rock n roll

N@: Though Dwayne Johnson was awesome on that show.

JK: Donnie loved boxing.

JK: He really showed Lisa Bonet a thing or two about college life.

MP: Dwayne Johnson was a great boxer

JK: That he was. Who could forget the Rumble in Macho Grande?

N@: I loved those shades! Always freaked me out when he flipped them up and had those mirrored eyes, though. And how the fuck did that movie get a triple X rating? (And a spinoff/sequel, amirite?)

N@: I always confuse that one with the Treasure of Sienna Miller.

JK: Those shades were fantastic. I loved how when he put them on, he could see aliens and secret messages, like elvish lettering on rings and shit.

N@: "Vajes? We don't need no stinky vajes!"

N@: "PUT THE GLASSES ON" Mekhi Pfeiffer's finest moment.

N@: Aside from marrying Michelle in that Amish Paradise movie.

JK: Hubert Humphrey made some great films, but Mekhi Pfeiffer will always be the one true Catwoman.

N@: Not a fan of Lolita, sorry.

JK: Not a Peter Weller fan, or is it Stanley Laurel's directing?

N@: I really did like that scene where by the end she's smashed the window so all you can see is the reflection of the word "Psycho" from the Bates Motel across the way. Tony Hopkins' finest moment.

N@: (Though I also loved him in Roger Rabbit.)

JK: Kathy Bates owns a motel?

N@: Please. Peter Weller should have stuck with the Jam.

JK: (Also, if you like Tony Hopkins, you need to check out Enter the Dragon.)

N@: Oh! Harold Saxon was awesome in that as Roper from Ebert & Roper. It's probably the role that landed him that character in Double Dragon.

JF: This thread... breathtaking.

N@: Ha ha ha, like Irving Berlin's theme song for Top Gun?

JK: Saxon was my favorite arcade game. Cool that Mr. Roper learned how to play despite all the time he devoted to his role on Three Men and a Baby.

N@: The whole company was good on that show.

JK: Irving Berlin's film, The Seventh Sign, remains one of my faves.

N@: Seriously, we will never see another cast like Tom Hanks, Tom Selleck, and Tom Danson.

N@: I just wish they could have included Tommy Danza, but he was busy on that project with Tina Turner. "Hold me closer, private dancer."

N@: faces? Hah! Surely you meant feces? DYAC! LOL

JK: Mona Turner. Mona. But back to the topic at hand: Can you believe Jose Canseco owns an arena in Indianapolis?

N@: I cannot. I was always sure it was going to be MacGuire. Toby.

N@: (you know, Superman)

JK: His friends call him Big Mack The Knife.

MP: I step away for a minute and see what happens...can't leave you two alone for a second.

N@: I remember those ad campaigns. I never want to eat at Arby's again.

MP: It's America's Roast Beef, have to

N@: Oh shit, reading back, I meant TOD Danson. I always confuse him with Judge Nelson.

JK: Never eat Arby's after midnight, or you'll turn into a Critter.

MP: Only if you get wet

MP: Then you turn into a goonie

JK: Ah, yes. Well, good thing we have America's roast beef, because if you get that stuff from England, you can get Raging Bull disease.

MP: Not if you put on some Gray Poop on it

JK: I'll see if this guy next to me has some...

N@: Only if you eat the Carlitos. (Remember THAT one? "Drop the Carlito, my little friend!" Actually... kinda racist in retrospect.)

MP: Meet my little friend...the Carlito's Way

JK: Mario Andretti's best novel

MP: I forgot he was a paperback writer...

JK: Figured you'd know that one, what with being our school Liberian.

N@: I kind of wish they would bring back the paperback raita. I was naan too pleased when they discontinued it.

MP: It goes really well with liberry pies...

MP: I love it when liberries are in season

MP: ...and Liberian liberries are the best

JK: Too bad they toil in the shadows of our country's two major berries. Maybe one day voters will listen to a guy like Ru Paul.

MP: I think he's got a real shot at the President...

MP: of course, then he would probably get caught and go to jail

JK: If he had magic bullets, he could pull it off by himself, and he wouldn't have to fear the wrath of Ronald Kuby.

N@: That's the guy who wrote that Charlie Chaplin and the Chocolate Factory story, right?

JK: Yes, and the film adaptation, Modern Times, directed by Friz Freling.

MP: I think Ru Paul should pick George Clinton as his running mate...can an ex-President become Vice-President?

N@: Oh yeah! I loved the 80s version! Modern Times at Ridgemont High. Spinelli? Classic.

N@: I don't know if I agree with Clinton's foreign policy. I think he's too hawkish. Always talking about dropping da bomb.

MP: I'm just afraid he'd really funk up the country

JK: Taxpayers will not want to fund his mothership.

MP: Ross Perot would

JK: Perot makes the best wine.

N@: Especially Perot Noir.

MP: I love that style of cinema

JK: His brother, Neil Perot, is a fantastic drummer.

MP: But he has a bad habit of rushing through songs

N@: Honestly, if we're going to bring back any ex-president, it should be Chris Carter. His X-Prize really gave space exploration a boost. Clinton talked big about the mothership, but Carter actually put the money where his mouth was.

N@: Just keep Dixie out of the White House.

MP: June Carter would have made a great President

MP: But her brother Billy maybe not

N@: You're one to talk, Piper.

N@: Seriously, your sister almost ruined Inspector Spacetime for me.

JK: Carter Country took place at Clinton Corners, Georgia, which, as we all know, is the place where Lyndon Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for having white people rip off his music for generations to come.

MP: She's not my sister, she's just heavy

MP: Who can forget Lady "Free Bird" Johnson?

N@: No Hoosier or Celtic fan, certainly.

MP: Larry Bird who switched from basketball to baseball and then back to basketball again?

N@: Or "The Stilt" as they called him. I still can't believe he slept with THAT many women. I mean, I know he had a magic johnson, but nobody's that randy.

JK: Celtic fans remember her as "The Chief." It's a shame she's now selling exotic men's underwear on airplanes.

MP: I remember when he used to sell orange juice and luggage while running through airports

N@: Was kind of a shame when Dr. J set up those Orange Julius stands that put her out of business.

MP: Something about them making people foam at the mouth just turns people off I think...

JK: You guys hear who's opening for The Black Keys? The Free Association. Maybe they'll play "All Right Mary."

N@: At least they weren't made FROM people, like that place Mean Joe Green ran. *shudder*

MP: You mean the Soylent Green Shack?

N@: Too bad they couldn't reassemble the Fairport Report.

MP: Paul Rodgers could put Three's Company back together

N@: Nah, man. That would just be bad, bad news.

N@: Unless they play halftime for the Bears.

MP: Or maybe he could get together with Roger Waters...they could bill themselves as Roger and Rodgers

N@: I feel like that would muddy things.

MP: You know what they say...Muddy Waters runs deep

N@: Still? That was a looong time ago, man.

MP: Well, now it's more like six feet deep, but still...

MP: Now he's more like a rollin' stone

RD: I started to tune out when N@: started talking about Meredith Baxter. But I suspect he may have family ties. Where are we at again?

N@: Six feet deep? And rising?

MP: The Rolling Stones are in some Muddy Waters it seems

RD: I never really cared for his mustache, too creepy, but his movies are sometimes interesting.

N@: I still say with moves like Jagger, he should have handed the rest of the band their rolling papers and gone solo years ago.

N@: Yeah, Rex. He has a heavy Baltimora influence.

JK: I had a Soylent Green shack once, but the tin roof rusted. You guys want to get dinner at Rock Lobster later?

RD: I'm not really into rocks, but thanks.

N@: Only if it's the one in Red Rock

MP: We can take a B-52 to get there

N@: No way, man. You can't get there from here.

MP: Sure you can, just keep on truckin' on down that ol' white line

N@: Don't do it!

MP: Don't pay the ferryman?

N@: Christ, man. We ALMOST made it to 200 comments without a Styx reference. Domo arigatou, Mister assholo.

MP: Hey, my hands are clean...

N@: So can I Take You to the Pilate?

RD: On that note it's been the Best of Times, but I think it's High Time I bail out of this thread and get some work done. You know, for me, it's always Music Time, and since it's Friday and Nothing Ever Goes As Planned, I guess I'll ask my coworker to Sing For The Day in this Paradise that I know as Capitol Records.

MP: Enough heavy metal poisoning of my mind...I'm going to lunch.

RD: Everything Is Cool, Michael, Everything Is Cool.

MP: I'm taking Lorelei with me

JK: Aw, man, I missed this. That stynx.

2 voices - [mouth|ears]

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
23.24 - D.I.Y. Project: PADDfolio
I recently bought one 'a them thar HP TouchPads. Because I'm the idiot with the WebOS phone. Of course, just try finding a case for it that's not sold out. So I bought a Day*Timer at Staples that happened to fit it perfectly, and modified it. First, I ripped out the pesky metal binder. Man, that was satisfying. Let's take a look at the finished(-ish) result.

Note the cool carrying handle. This will become important later.

There's a handy pouch, which will fit lots of stuff. There's a pocket for your smartphone (for tethering), pens, a notebook, etc. You can also tuck a charger or two in there. It's like a mini laptop bag. Perfect for those unexpected overnights at a friend's place. *cough*lampbane*cough*

On the inside, there's a pocket and such. Room for business cards, your metrocard, work ID badge, a notebook, pen, paper; whatever. I've glued a bit of felt in place here as a screen protector, so that you don't have to worry about whatever's on this half of the folio damaging your screen.

The felt flap is on the other side. I glued it so that it's flush in this position so that you wouldn't be constantly brushing it back out of the way. It covers when it needs to, but otherwise stays out of the way.

Note the elastic. I borrowed a page from this to make that work. Originally, I had a much thinner elastic band on each corner, but that wasn't very secure at all.


Glued each of the corners in place securely. The upper-right corner, where the power button and volume controls are, is made from a strip half an inch longer than the others (a full 4"), so as not to be too snug. Don't want unexpected button presses.

Can't see it here, but I'm using the handle as a strap while I read.

Action shot of the strap. That's some damn fine readin'.

With the handle, it really is a perfect carry-all for your tablet and accessories. No fuss or muss involved!

All pics here.

Existing issues: The headphone jack is covered by the upper left elastic strap. It's possible to hold the tablet in place with the other three, but not ideal. One option is to split the strap or cut a hole or slit into it. Also, I've thought about making a slit at the bottom of the case so that you can insert the charger even while the folio is zipped up. I need to put some felt in place behind the tablet for extra protection, and for friction. Because I'd like to make a crude cardboard stand that's adjustable and folds up behind the tablet when not in use.

3 voices - [mouth|ears]

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
12.21 - I sing the improv electric
So I haven't been doing a great job of keeping this journal up to date, but I'm doing improv at the Magnet Theater in NYC now. Well, taking classes. And I've now attended a few musical mixers. Magnet mixers, btw, are basically an open-mic improv where you do a 2 (sometimes 3) person scene with someone that you've quite possibly never met before. The musical mixers take that to the next level. You do a short scene, then break into song with your partner or partners. There's a wonderful man there, Frank Spitznagel (no, really), who is our Richard Vranch. It's every bit as fun but less hokey than Whose Line...?

And... I kinda think I'm in love. I mean, it's just freestylin', right? So the first time I got up to do it, I did the scene just fine. The prompt was for an occupation, and two different people yelled "custodian" and "sales" so we did custodial supplies sales. My partner started out by apologizing for not selling anything today. So I ran with it. First time was a verbal warning, because I liked the kid's mother. 2nd time, I had to write him up. 3rd time? You guessed it: I get to bang his mom. So that's what the song was about. And at first I was sure when it came time to sing, I'd just go blank. But I opened my mouth and out came some words! And they rhymed (which some of the folks on the teams right now don't do all the time)! So I did it, and I even rhymed "second base" with "cumming on her face." And, just as my classmate told me beforehand when I was debating whether or not to sign up to perform, afterwards, I felt like I could do anything. It's just so electric.

Last night, I got to sing with the hostess of the mixer, Trudy Carmichael. Trudy's a character, played by a lovely lady named Robin, who is your quintessential Vegas diva whose star is on the fade. But of course everyone loves her; we're all Trudy's babies. The other person who puts the mixer together with Robin, a great (and very funny fellow who goes by TJ), put me up to sing with the lady herself (since he does the roster while she's hosting). I swear I didn't know who he was the first time I began complimenting him profusely. So that's not kissing up to curry favor, right? Knowing how I'd fawned over Trudy last time (it's ok, she's just a character, right?) he was totally sweet to set me up for a love song with her. Our suggestion was "skyscraper" and "money," so I started off by talking about dropping pennies on people below. Trudy thanked me for having her up on "my" observation deck ("the whole thing's yours?" "uh, sure"). And of course I professed my love for her, which she returned on condition that I "remove [my] mask" lolz. I love that she threw that detail in there, because suddenly things got very Phantom-y (in a good way), with a touch of Beauty and the Beast (complete with musical touches from the Maestro). And during the big finish, I finally pulled off the mask. "Oh, that's not so bad." =D

After both performances, people came up to me (like, regulars who are on teams already) to praise my performance. It's a huge confidence-builder. So now I have to take a musical improv class, and then try out for a team. Until then, I'll be at as many mixers as I can make.


Monday, September 19th, 2011
11.16 - Bizarre dreams.
I just had an odd dream where I had uncovered an alien infection plot, revealed it to the UN, and enlisted the help of Mulder and Scully to stop it. But the most interesting part, to me, was the fact that my character in the dream was lucid. Not me, but my character. He was aware that he was dreaming. But I was not aware I was him. Like I was watching someone else's dream. I suppose that's one way to add a layer of abstraction to keep from getting too lucid and waking up.


Friday, August 26th, 2011
21.38 - This is not a mix
This is not a mix so much as it is a bunch of songs I've been listening to on repeat.


Monday, April 25th, 2011
08.58 - The Total Perspective Vortex
"In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion." - Douglas Adams

I spend a lot of time thinking about other people. Successful people, happy people, ordinary people who seem to have a much easier time getting through their days than I do. How do they do it? How do they do all the things that they need to do to succeed, or to just plain not be in constant crippling fear of horrible, irreversible failure. (When I say crippling, I don't mean "really bad." I'm specifically talking about "can't leave the house" levels of depression.)

These are the sorts of thoughts that depression engenders. Depression requires a lot of introspection, or perhaps it's the other way around. Because the only answer I've been able to come up with is that they don't care, or can't care. Self-delusion is a vital coping mechanism.

Depression has a reputation for stalking the intelligent, for feeding off of smarties. I'm not saying I'm brilliant, but I was a traditional "good student" and "smart guy" growing up. Believe me, I'm not here to praise myself. It's just that I've heard countless stories of "bright students, just like you" who get crippled by doubt, paralyzed by impossibly high standards, constantly unable to finish anything. So, what's up with that?

It's always seemed to me, in a revelation starting with celebrities and their scandals, that people can be shockingly unaware of their own flaws and limitations. People blunder all the time. Unathletic guys who spend their lives saying what professional athletes should do and should have done. People who spend themselves into oblivion. Almost any celebrity with an opinion on public policy. How do people get away with being so willfully ignorant?

Well, that's kind of the secret. It seems like a horrible way to live because to us depressives, it's completely unnatural. But here's the thing: we're the freaks.

Most of the depressives I know are deeply introspective people. In my case, you take a kid who is already introspective and instill in him the concept of talent—that you're either good at something or not—and add a large dose of perfectionism. It's easy to spend a lot of time thinking about your failures and missteps, or even what you could have done better with what most people would call successes. You spend a lot of time in the mental mirror, picking at flaws. The result is not unlike folks who do the same in a literal mirror; by picking at it, you make it worse, and can leave scars. But you don't realize that, because you're focused on the flaws. You might realize something's wrong, though, so to get a better picture of the whole problem, you put up a second mirror so you can see things from behind as well as from the front. Too late, you realize you've trapped yourself in a hall of mirrors, and you're lost in infinite reflections as you contemplate the flaws in the flaws in your contemplation of the flaws in your thinking (and so on).

Congratulations, you've trapped yourself in a kind of Total Perspective Vortex.

Douglas Adams (who I believe himself suffered from at least occasional depression; what the occasion was, I have no idea) invented the Total Perspective Vortex in his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of books. The idea is that the worst torture device in the universe is one that shows you your place in the universe, your size relative to everything else and just how insignificant you are. It shows you that you're really a tiny, petty, small person in the face of everything else (though it's only an instant glimpse; I imagine a time lapse of how brief your existence is as well might be worse). And that's the secret. "Other" folks get through just as fine because they suffer from a (in some cases, Total) Lack of Perspective Vortex. Suckers! Joke's on them! I have a much better image of who I am and where I am and why nothing I ever do will matter.

Except, well, no. It doesn't really work that way either. The problem with depression is that it's an unreliable narrator. It tells you you're worthless, it spends chapters and chapters on your failings while skimming over your victories or even the common, everyday stuff you simply didn't fuck up. And in the scale of human existence, the effects cancel like terms in a fraction. You're exactly as important as you make yourself. But is the secret to not care? To care less? (Even in just typing that, it was way too close to getting "careless" for my taste.) Is it to simple celebrate your successes with equal vigor as you criticize your mistakes? To celebrate the mistakes and failures, too? Sometimes it seems like you need to smash at least one of the mirrors, but really, you could accomplish the same thing with less chance of injury if you would just turn away from either mirror.

3 voices - [mouth|ears]

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
10.34 - You've gotta have a purpose.
What drives you? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What motivates you? What do you have to do? What do you need to share with those around you? What compels you? What keeps you awake at night, burning like a fire in your heart? What's the light inside you that won't stop shining no matter how many times it's stomped out? What reason do you have to keep living?

These questions are among those I need to ask myself every day, every hour, every minute, every moment I feel myself falter. There is an answer, though the answer itself does not contain the solution. The most direct path to the goal is not always the right one. But it's okay if you need to bide your time, as long as you know the answer. It will fuel you even as it consumes you.

5 voices - [mouth|ears]

Monday, February 7th, 2011
12.19 - R.I.P. Uncle Mike
It's been awhile, but there was a period where I was losing a close relative every year. My uncle, then my grandmother, and finally my dad. I had some respite after that, but nothing lasts forever.

Last fall, my uncle was complaining of pain in his chest and weakness. He was fatigued all the time. He went for several tests, treatments, and procedures, finally determining that he had fluid around his heart. When they finally got him in to drain it, they pulled over a liter out of him. They tested the fluid and determined there was a viral infection, but more pressing was the damage that had been done to his heart. Seems that the infection had weakened some of the tissue around one of the valves, I think. They had been evaluating him for stem cell treatment options when he started getting a bit worse. Suddenly (to me, anyway), he was in a hospital in Boston, under observation, awaiting a transplant. His pulse kept getting weaker and fading out. They resuscitated him twice last week, then found a problem and inserted a tube, raising his b.p. We were hopeful. The third time his pulse faded, he didn't make it.

Grief is an unpredictable thing. There are patterns, but ultimately everyone grieves in their own way. This has been toughest for me not because I lost my uncle, but because my uncle was nearly the same age as my dad was when he died (my uncle just had his 50th birthday; my dad was just short of his), and left two children younger than I was when I lost my father (21 and 23; I was just barely 24). I've been trying to be there for my cousins because I know some of what they're feeling, without making it too much about myself and reliving my grief over my father (yes, I worry about these things too much). I've also been worried a lot about my mom, who just lost her baby brother. I talked to her on Friday and she said she was waiting for news about his condition before heading up to see him. She's probably kicking herself for not leaving earlier so that she would have a chance to say good-bye. She and my cousin Debbie (who's my oldest cousin, and is only a handful of years younger than my uncle; the two were often taken for brother and sister growing up) were driving up to Boston when the news came. Thankfully, they had each other. Mom said they were kept pretty busy this weekend so didn't have much chance to grieve. But when I spoke to her last night, she was really shaky.

So it's been hard for me to make space to grieve, because of my own worries and concerns about my family. But ultimately, I wasn't really that close with my uncle. The only one of my mother's four brothers who I was ever close with was Uncle Jimmy, who passed away in 2002. He had no family of his own, but always made time for my brother and me as our mother struggled to raise us without my father. Uncle Mike was in the army while I was growing up, so I almost never saw him. When it came time to talk on the phone for holidays, I (who never knows what to say on the phone as it is) never really had much to say to him. We never had much in common. Most of our correspondence in recent years was in the form of xenophobic e-mail forwards praising the Christian God and maligning "illegals." What can I say about him that doesn't fall under the usual platitudes of "He loved his family" and the like? What can I take from this?

Well, it's kind of odd, especially in light of this entry, but I actually came out in praise of facebook today. In at least some small part, it's helped keep me closer to my cousins and my cousin's kids (the ones that are teenagers already, at least). I moved back to NYC in part to be closer to family, and not just geographically. Who I was doesn't have to be who I am. Just because I wasn't really close to family the first 20+ years of my life doesn't mean I can't change that now. It's horrible, cliché, and horribly cliché, but each death teaches you something about the value of life. It's only in vain if you can't take something from it.

3 voices - [mouth|ears]

Monday, January 10th, 2011
09.07 - Saying "No"
I don't know where people get the idea that I'm someone who can fix their problems, especially given that I feel my life is perpetually on the verge of collapsing. This weekend, I had to say no to two different people who were looking to me for help. Hard to do, especially after losing an online acquaintance to suicide. But I just don't feel like I have anything left to give. So I'm making a conscious decision to be more than what I can do for people. I'm not unplugging or anything, and I still need people and need to be needed. But I need to devote some more time to my own mental health before I can help anyone else. (The flipside, of course, is making sure I'm not leaning on anyone else too much.)

Otherwise, when that funk sometimes creeps in, I need to adopt a mantra of "why not?" When I'm telling myself I can't do this or that for some unknown and nebulous reason, I need to nail down the reasoning. Malaise breeds malaise. Don't worry about fitting it all in. Just do what you can in the time you have.


Thursday, December 16th, 2010
16.54 - Not a real update
I am spread all over the Internet these days. Thin, like jam.

I haven't forgotten about livejournal, I just don't feel like I have time to sit and make a genuine effort at an entry very often these days.

Here's a link where I talk about some personal crap.

And about being a bastard (and other things).

Feeling pretty knocked around by life right now. Not sure how people do it, pay the bills, have nice houses, take vacations. I can't seem to put it together.

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Friday, November 12th, 2010
21.11 - Other birds in the sky
Found some bad poetry in an old notebook:

circumstantial evidence
the madness of dead presidents
against the precedence of your eminence
indicted by your cleverness

but there's not a jail can hold me
for I'm folding time and space
I'll escape the cell of your mind
And look back just to see your face

All the lies in this world
and the next, and the next
Yet your clever scheme's unfurled
and wiped from history's text

I'm laughing now; please know that
and think of me when you cry
though I'm frankly honored you tried to trap
me out of all the birds in the sky

It's the only poem in this notebook before I destroyed it by putting it through the wash. Everything else was destroyed, but yay for Pilot G2's ink surviving the laundry! And now I can throw this notebook out! Yay, progress!


Monday, November 1st, 2010
09.55 - Costume ideas for next year
Basically, these are ideas left over from this year that I didn't have the time to pull together. So here you go, Future-me! Readymade ideas so you're not scrounging next fall.

- Billy Idol
- Adam Ant (Stuart Goddard version, not the cartoon)
- Gene Hunt (80s version, most likely)

I know what you're thinking, Future-me. "None of those costumes really work with your skin tone and features. No one will recognize you." And you know what, Future-me? You may be right, but you don't have to be such a dick about everything.

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

09.27 - oh hai 10 year ljversary
I've been here
for ten years

joined when i was emo
thanks to lil neemo
made lots of friends
hope it never ends

2 voices - [mouth|ears]

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
14.52 - Time for me to fly
Tonight, I'm signing a lease on an apartment in Manhattan. I will officially be a resident of New York City.

Now I need to figure out how to move, what to do about my vehicles (keeping the one bike that's currently in Hoboken, and possibly my dad's if I can; getting rid of the VFR and maybe the car?), and when I can get time off to handle the mess that is all my stuff in Boston. I posted on facebook already, but you know how that goes. If anyone is able to help in either Boston or NYC, that would be awesome. It's just getting stuff into a UHaul (I'll do all the packing myself, unless you want to help) and getting it back out on the other end (there's an elevator, but a few things may not fit in it). I am planning to move either Thanksgiving weekend (is that a genius idea, or completely idiotic?) or the one after (Dec. 4-5th). Doing everything in one day might be a bit nuts; maybe I should load the truck Saturday and then drive down and unload it Sunday? I don't know! Lots of stuff to think about! Yikes!

If you think you can help me move on either of those weekends, please let me know. Thanks!

mood: karate expert

2 voices - [mouth|ears]

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
15.13 - Oh, the places you've been!
She walked by my desk, and I glanced at the clock. 2:53. She looked like she was going to walk past, but then she stopped, and held a stack of papers in front of her face. It was another stack of things for me to proofread—thankfully, nothing like the phonebook I had to plow through Tuesday afternoon. But still, I didn't have the time. "I'm sorry, but I'm leaving in about 5 minutes to go to Philly." She asked what I was doing, and I told her about the haunted prison. I can be pleasant while being assertive, though it's taken me some time to learn how.

I hit print on my route sheet, packed up my stuff, and headed out. The trek to the PATH was arduous, in part because I was lugging my Aerostich 1-piece riding suit with me. It's finally cold enough that I needed to bring it down from Boston to use instead of my mesh summer gear. But I got a seat on the train, and spent the ride trying to slow my breathing. I was seriously worried about not making it to my friends' house in time. What if the bike didn't start? It'd been sitting for a month. I'd have about a half hour to get moving before I'd have to cut my losses and head back to the terminal in the hopes of catching the train to Princeton in time. But I stepped out into a cool, crisp, and clear fall day in Hoboken, and I mustered my calm and cut a purposeful path to my garage.

Setting out turned out to be painless. The battery was strong, and after a few turns, the engine caught and roared (well, as much as my bike can) to life. Now I was committed to riding; once I was on the road, there wasn't time to head back and put the bike away. The tricky part was going to be handling the traffic. I had only the skeleton of a route, and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to find my way through Newark without sitting in city traffic (since I was attempting to avoid the turnpike). But I managed to find the Pulaski Skyway, and though Google Maps wouldn't confirm for me that it hooked up with 22, it did. The route in my head was basically "Take 22 to 206," so this meant I was in good shape.

There wasn't much I could do about the traffic, but I tried to enjoy the ride. There were a few great moments, like opening my throttle wide on the Pulaski Skyway. I love the Skyway. It's such a "videogame road." You go through tunnels under girders, and then up into the air, flying over the urban sprawl around Newark. The timing just happened to work out that I passed the Princeton Airport as the sun set, watching it glaze the tarmac in orange. These things you cannot really plan. They are the surprise gifts one gets for embracing risk and romancing adventure. Honestly, the entire slog along 22 was worth it just for that one unreproducible moment.

I made it to Chris and Tamara (zeitgeist & somabrak)'s place not too long after dark. Considering we were planning to set out for Philly around 7, I made it there just in time. Chris's car needed some work, so we had to take Tamara's Mini. With her driving, that meant two of us six footers would have to cram in the back. Nothing breaks ice like clown car antics. On the ride, we caught up on the latest, learned about things Tamara has said (MOISSSCHA!), and reminisced about the works of Stabbing Westward (Wither, Blister, Burn + Peel, or Darkest Days?). You know you're with a good group of people when even sitting in traffic flies by.

We got there in pretty good time, had plenty of space to park, and only had to wait for one busload of people to get on the Ghost Bus ahead of us. They were loading one bus at a time, which apparently really ticked off the guy standing in line behind us. "Can't we just get on this empty bus here?" Dude must have been STOKED to see some ghosts or something. So the empty ghost bus pulls up to where the full one just left, and this guy looked like he was going to flip out like he thinks they're leaving. So Chris just says about the empty bus moving, "Welp, I got my full busload of ghosts..." and we all howled. Funniest moment of the evening. But maybe you had to be there.

We were last in line for the next bus, but there were only two seats left, so we let impatient guy and his poor girlfriend take them, and Tamara got her wish to sit in the front of the next bus. This gave us an excellent seat for the story told by the guide standing at the front of the bus. The guy was impressively dynamic and suitably horrifying. He set the mood perfectly.

Once we were inside, the costumed workers walked (shambled?) the line, spooking folks who were too intent on their phones or distracted by talking to their friends. The wait was pretty long, but watching folks get startled (and getting jumped out at a few times myself) helped pass the time. We also saw one of the scariest sights of the evening. The penitentiary is laid out on a hub-and-spoke pattern, meaning there are these reeeeeally long hallways to the center. All we could see was this one light in the center of the facility down a loooooong hallway. And someone walked down that hallway, showing us just how long it was. And then, according to Tamara, she just disappeared. But I think the hallway itself was suitably atmospheric. I wish I could do it justice.

When we reached the front of the line, they put a couple with our group. This worked out well, because then I wasn't in the back of the group. Of course, we put Tamara up front. The tour starts out simply enough, with your standard scares and a few electrical effects (sparks!). But as you continue, it devolves into a decent (if somewhat more claustrophobic) replica of a survival horror FPS. You have to be alert, there are always things to jump out at you, and every corner needs to be cleared. I think the Infirmary was probably the best example of this. Really atmospheric and "scary." But then you get into the even more bizarre stuff. There's a blacklit section where they give you 3-D/diffraction glasses, which was really trippy. And then you come to the "night watch" section, where everyone gets a little LED keychain flashlight but otherwise it's dark.

I think we all enjoyed ourselves, and then afterwards we went to Tamara's favorite diner in Runnemeade. Well, what had been her favorite diner. Now it was a diner/sports bar, and the Phillies crowd had all the parking spots. The diner was fairly empty, but you couldn't get a spot because of all the people in the sports bar. But we had a good meal, even more good conversation, and reminisced about the days of #tmbg. We got back to Chris & Tamara's around 1, and sleep came soon after.

So today, I'm taking my time, riding back at my own pace, and exploring. I'm in Flemington and my laptop battery's about to die because I took a break in writing this entry to help a friend out. So apologies for the fall-off in the writing quality. Thanks for reading, you few who did! =)

I have Monday off, so the weekend's still young...

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Monday, October 18th, 2010
14.20 - Shitty Life, Shitty Poem
When you're brought up to see
life as fraught with danger
To find the menace
in the smile of a stranger
When you're raised to think
you should run away and hide
Or beat upon your chest
so swollen with pride
How can you say
that you're living at all
When forced to shelter
behind this big wall?
Protecting yourself
from some ever-present threat
Guarding a life
that you haven't lived yet

You wind up alone
in a fortress of fear
Imagining threats
that might find you here
Sometimes some sunlight
some how penetrates
illuminating the terror
that silently waits
The horror with
that you cannot elude
The walls are a trap
of your own attitude

You can now feel the pain
of your lifelong mistake
A sunrise of revelation
like the dawn slowly breaks
Life is a but a lesson
made up of this pain
Only when they are shared
and taught is anything gained.
This is your first
it won't be the worst
But the burst of joy
you will feel
at knowing you're real
You'll never be so coy again.

Yeah, so I kinda just shat out an ending there. But yay, a powem!


Thursday, September 16th, 2010
I was like, sup lj, haven't posted in awhile, but then I remembered I totally posted last night.

Glad y'all are so chatty today, though. I need more substance to feed me than facebook allows. Even if I'm suddenly disoriented by the influx of info to the extent that I'm like, whoa, I haven't posted in FOREVER.

Whatev. I'm weird today. Moreso than usual.


Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
21.27 - MeMix (metachat cross-post)

Most folks make mixtapes/CDs for other people. Have you ever made a mix for yourself? If you were to make a mix for your situation, right now, what would you put on it?

1. Flobots - Handlebars
2. Jawbox - Cooling Card
3. Caviar - I Thought I Was Found
4. Filter - The Best Things
5. Quicksand - Dine Alone
6. Queensrÿche - The Art of Life
7. Superdrag - Phaser
8. Rush - Marathon
9. Pink Floyd - Learning to Fly
10. SCotS - Whole Lotta Things

wow, it kinda tells a story

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
19.40 - Well, that was certainly... interesting.
reverend_dave hit me up on facebook about a karaoke party going on on Wed. (last night). So I'm down, I love karaoke, etc. Then I find out that day, via text, that he wasn't going to be there until later in the evening. So last night finds me chilling at a Korean restaurant with some folks I don't know (friends of a friend, or FoaF), sippin soju and generally trying to keep up with the conversation.

Things are cool; one or two people eventually show up that I know but haven't seen in a decade (or longer). Then David shows up, just about time for karaoke (and I'm sitting there, thinking: 2+ hours into the karaoke party and still no karaoke!). By then, our hostess had hit the soju hard enough that it was starting to hit back.

So we head upstairs for the empty-voice rock out thang. And the room comes with a large bottle of grey goose. Uh-oh. We're all having a good time, though, and we rock out for a solid two hours. At which time it becomes clear that one fellow has not only fallen asleep, but completely passed out and cannot be roused. It's simultaneously funny ("throw water in his face!" "does anyone want to slap him?") and not fun ("okay, I'll grab one arm and somebody grab the other"). It turns out that this fellow was a relative of a friend of the hostess. Basically, we don't know him from Adam. No one has a phone number to call or any idea how to get this guy to wherever he lives. We got him out of the karaoke lounge and down to street level, where a passerby promptly called 911 as we were trying to figure out what to do. Well, I say "we" but I mean "they". Since the hostess was having trouble staying upright, it fell upon me to get her into the 24 hour restaurant next door the karaoke restaurant, and to get some food/water into her. And at some point, I just had to think to myself: I don't really know any of these people, none of them know this guy; this is just crazy. But, you know, it's New York City and it's never boring. One of us went 'home' in an ambulance, one in a cab (still too drunk for the subway to be a good idea), and me? I took the train; got home after 3am (gotta love the 1/2 hr. wait for the late night train). I was actually not that exhausted this morning, but I'm still glad today was a low-key day at work. I'll probably work from home tomorrow on account of the hurricane. That, and my boss and her boss are both out, so it'll be a low-key day anyway.

And then, that evening, I get to go out and hang out with (different) strangers all over again. What can I say, I don't like being bored.


Monday, August 30th, 2010
15.42 - Sooner or later...
...your legs give way, you hit the ground.

It's just a blip, but I'm stressed. Stressed out, even. Friday, my work laptop went kablooey. I was home, in Boston, supposedly doing, you know, a full fifth of that week's work. Nope. Gone. Lost time. It turns out it was only the display. But I missed my Friday status report. Last night, after the bus ride back from Boston (ugh, especially after the relative "OMG niiiice" of the Acela train), I came into the office to make sure the laptop would work on the dock. And to send out the status report that was due on Friday. I got home after midnight, and got to sleep after 2AM.

This morning, there was a noise outside like someone performing surgery on Megatron without anaesthetic. Or was it inside? It's like the drilling was inside my skull, and nothing could muffle it. For whatever reason, the work on my grandmother's building all has to be done between 7:30 and 8:30 every morning. After that, it's relatively quiet. Because of the heat, I suppose? Whatever. It's fricking annoying. Especially after working so hard to acclimate myself to natural waking in the morning so I wouldn't need to be jarred awake by an alarm clock. Instead, I get low-frequency brown notes at 4,000 dB.

I normally listen to music on my phone (which is also my mp3 player) while in the shower. This morning, I was rudely disturbed by a phone call. On my phone. What the hell. No one calls me unless it's some company wanting something. So I dry myself off and listen to the voicemail. It's my bank notifying me of fraud on my card, yay! So that's why my debit card was declined and I had to scrape together cash to pay for dinner last night. Once I got into the office, I logged into my account to check it. Some asshole in Georgia was testing my spoofed debit card at gas stations. Jerks. So I e-mail my boss to update her on the laptop and the fact that I need to run to the bank to handle this shit (and get cash).

I get back to the office, grab some food (it's what's for meal) and run into my boss. She's like, sucky way to start the week, huh? And I'm like yup. Then I get a txt message from my mom like 10 min later saying she's being taken to the hospital cause she tripped and fell at work. I txt her back and tell her to let me know if she needs anything, thinking I can hop on the PATH and take my motorcycle to check on her if needed. So it's like, whatever focus I had at work is GONE. Meanwhile, tech support comes to look at my laptop, confirms the display is fried (conveniently when my boss comes over, so she at least sees I'm not BSing any of the bad stuff going on). Mom txts back that they found a slight fracture on her x-ray. And I'm thinking, assholes who made me close my debit card. And I'm thinking, it could be way worse, but my mom's definitely getting older. It really highlights the need for me to get back down here. She can't rely just on my brother. I'm not going to be that kid who lets the other guy (my brother, in this case) be responsible for a parent. My uncles (and their wives) did that to my mother with her mother. That's not my game. Mom and I have our friction/disagreements, but she's still my mom. And I'm thinking stupid company who won't hire me full-time with benefits so I can afford to move here once and for all and just get it over with. And won't spring for a decent laptop for me, so I can work from Boston without worry.

Yeah, so angsty fighty emotions. It's good to know this doesn't all just magically go away after adolescence. I'm still worthless at work for the day. And the next thing on my to-do list—scheduling meetings with 235198 people—requires me to have a working laptop (well, it's pretty important) to lead the meetings with. So I'm not really happy about trying to schedule meetings when I may or may not have a working laptop screen. So, even though I'm here, I want to call in dead. Walk over to my boss's cube, and say: "I'm dead. Going home." Then hide under covers and read comic books by flashlight.

Of course, I can't buy more comic books without my debit card (unless I want to carry ungodly amounts of cash to buy 4-5 more collections with; and remember, I have to go IN to the bank and wait on long lines to get cash now arrrrgh). Fucking fuckers. If I leave early today, I hope I have enough stuff to read to last me the rest of the evening.

6 voices - [mouth|ears]

Sunday, August 15th, 2010
21.55 - Weekend in Boston
Coming back to Boston Thursday night was an experience. It was almost like revisiting a recurring dream. The locations were familiar, but growing hazier with the time spent away. It made me realize just how far away I'd been, mentally. New York City has become my life (no, not in some annoying hipster way; I just mean living here is taking my full attention). I've lost track of which end of the journey is home; is it New York or Boston?

Friday was spent working from home. Saturday was fun. We hit some comic book stores. Saw Inception (again) with Becca (her first time). Afterward, we went to Legal Sea Foods and discussed the movie (mainly me blah blah-ing). I'm the worst person to see that movie with.

Today, we took a ride on the VFR. I followed 16 until it met up with 85, then took 85 north to the Sudbury Reservoir. Made a nice loop around the reservoir (Parmenter Rd. is especially nice, if short). Then I took Becca to the Garden in the Woods, which is really pretty. It was more expensive than I'd remembered ($8/person), but worth it. Wildflowers from all over New England in a natural habitat, a fun path with lots of shortcuts and side-trails, and just a great peaceful atmosphere. We even met another couple on a motorcycle, which was kind of funny. I found a parking spot, let Becca off, and was backing my way in carefully so that I could leave space on the off-chance another motorcycle showed up. And sure enough, one pulls in seconds later! I motioned him over to share the space with me and we ended up chatting a bit (he wants a VFR). I ended up sending him to NEDoD (the poor bastard), so hopefully we'll see him again.

Becca and I have gotten really out of sync. My goal this weekend was to chill out and relax, and she was all about getting outdoors. Of course, it turns out this is because I have been going out frequently and she has not. Amazing how quickly that can happen, though, when you're not doing everything together. But it's hard not to go out and experience things when you're in NYC, so I've instructed her to get out more and have crazy adventures so I can sleep in and not have to plan things on my weekends off. Because I'm the best boyfriend ever, clearly.

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Monday, August 9th, 2010
Today, I revisted some of the places I went on my first 100+ mile motorcycle trip.

Storm King Storm King
Storm King
Storm King
Downhill Uphill
Storm King Bike!
Storm King
Storm King Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
Storm King
Same overlook as the old set (different overlook from the rest of the pics in this set).
Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
It was tricky to find a spot where you could shoot it from a low angle like this.

Story to (hopefully) follow. Hopefully, meaning if tomorrow is time-permitting.

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Sunday, August 8th, 2010
12.30 - Trader
Idea for a superpower: Trader

Can teleport stuff over any (?) distance, but only if exchanging for something of roughly similar volume (mass?).

(Have you noticed almost all of my superpowers are more about the limitations than the powers? Still, it's more fun to see what you can do with weird or exotic powers than simply "OMG SUPERSTRONG AND INVULNERABLE." Talk about boring!)

2 voices - [mouth|ears]

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
20.33 - Dream/Story Sketch
I had this dream last night that I think would make a really cool story. I don't think I'll have time to write the story right now, but I don't want to forget the dream.

There were some unrelated parts of the dream. Farthest back I can remember, we were exploring the tracks of an ancient wooden railroad in the middle of the jungle. The best quick description would be a combination between Myst (abandoned ancient tech) and FarCry (the first jungle level from the demo is I think all I played anyway). There were all sorts of unpleasant things amongst the cool, though, like almost stepping in a giant pile of (elephant/not-elephant) dung and climbing up to a lookout tower where I was attacked by fierce mosquitoes.

The next bit was bad, as well. I had caught a ride home with some business guy, and though the trip had started out all right, he soon turned out to be an intense jerk. And really bad driver. In my head, I am picturing the Albany regional manager from Dunder-Mifflin, the one who showed up to the meeting with David Wallace without his report and then outed Michael and Jan's "affair." He was being a real prick, and ranting about every little thing that annoyed him. It was wet and chilly. He was ranting so intensely, he missed a curve in the highway and we ended up skidding around the turn on the wrong side of the road, held on the pavement only by the guardrail. So I decided I needed to go out, but when I talked of leaving he accused me of abandoning/betraying him and his driving decreased in quality noticeably. So I placated him and just asked if I could pick up my dry cleaning (at the River Mart plaza in Edgewater!). He seemed to think this was okay, since it wasn't *that* far out of his way (aww, what a swell guy). The dry cleaners was run by my mother (?), who offered to fix one of the items damaged in the cleaning free of charge. I took the remaining clothes and went back outside, where the business jerk was waiting impatiently. Against my better judgement, I got back in the car with him. I was actually planning to bail on him at the next red light when I reconsidered. I decided to ask him what was *really* wrong. And he broke down, though not exactly crying, and while he didn't tell me what was making him act like such a jerk, he did say that he resented having to drive me around when all he wanted to do was brew some tea (which he'd apparently bought next door while I was talking to my mother) so he could get warm. We had this conversation while headed up not-Rt. 5 to Cliffside Park/Fort Lee and so I was like, shit, I know a place! So we went to this place (totally made up, not at all real) where there were several small stands with guys selling food, drinks, fruit, sweets... all sorts of different things. It was weird because it wasn't a street or sidewalk. It was like an alley, only not between anything. No buildings, nothing. Except there was a cafe.

So this is where the meat of the dream started. The business guy was just how I got there. I was tempted by the sweet things the guys were selling, but I wanted to see what was in the cafe. So I went inside, and was checking out the various cakes and things in the display cases when I noticed that I recognized this one guy there. And he was someone I hadn't seen for ages, so I was like trying to come up with what I was going to say to him when I said hi. But then I realized I recognized all the people he was sitting with, too. These were all people who—while I wouldn't say I was /close/ with them—I knew really well. Not really friends, but as acquaintances go, real standouts. Definite characters. You know, big talkers. And the thing was, they all seemed to know each other, despite having known them at different points in my life. So I was like, this is too weird, I've got to check this out. So I turned away from the display cases and walked past the bookshelves to the table where they were all sitting. And there was the big storyteller, who would always bend your ear about this or that adventure, the various people he'd met (famous and infamous), or shit he'd gotten himself into (and then only just narrowly out of). There was the self-promotional artist guy, who nominally did web design but had his own art and photography website, was always posting videos of himself in the quest to become the next youtube sensation, etc. There was the quiet but diligent writer chick who aside from her works was largely quiet and cryptic (unusual for this group). And then there was the long lost love of my life, who had gone from the girl who'd go digging for worms with me to popular girl/prom queen, and finally to international socialite blogger, invited to all the best parties, high fashion shows and so on.

What these people had more in common than anything else was their sort of continual self-promotion. They were like engines of fame, trying so hard to be bigger than life. And as we were talking, it became clear. Each had stories more grandiloquent than the next, with the exception of the author. She had stories, though none were (overtly) about her. But I sort of had an idea what was going on by this time, because no one could possibly have had all these adventures. So when it was my turn, I made up grandiloquent tales of stories I'd written, people I'd met, amazing journeys I'd taken (including the railroad expedition). Then I said, "Either we're all lying, or we're just dreaming." I couldn't imagine that author was an author (as much that she'd sell out her integrity to churn out formulaic fantasy series as anything else), or that artist was really an artist (and had done a painting while skydiving and some of the other things he claimed), or that the raconteur had really met all the people he said he'd met (some of them had been dead for decades). Which storyteller said was funny, because he'd always been a lucid dreamer, and of course the artist quickly fessed up to also being a lucid dreamer, and once we explained it to her (not cause she was dumb or anything; she just wasn't aware it was a thing), socialite heiress chick was like, oh, me too! So we've all created our dream selves, the author chick asked/explained. And we sort of had a laugh, but there was something at the back of my head. And then it kind of clicked; the storyteller /might/ have met some of those people but because shouldn't he be like several years older? When last we'd seen each other, ages ago, he was decent a bit older than I. But I'd never seen someone adjust their outward age in a dream; appearance, sure, as in being someone else (intentionally or otherwise). But in dreams, when you're you, you're essentially you—except in dreams where you're remembering/reliving something from a specific age. Since this was a shared dream/hallucination, it couldn't also be a memory, now could it? So I asked him how he did it, and he looked at me. He said he never remembered being older than he was, which was a huge red flag to me. HUGE.

Something was wrong, for certain. So while I played it coolly, I casually grilled everyone about their stories and started putting together the details. There were little things, like no one could remember how they came to the cafe or how long they'd been there. And it started to seem like none of these people, myself included, were strictly speaking, alive anymore. As if in confirmation, one of the characters wandered over to the TV and turned it on. And, like in [SPOILERS]Nfurf gb Nfurf,[/SPOILERS] we each saw our own deaths (in his defense, it turns out Artist had actually attempted the skydiving painting thing, at least). So I sort of figured out what was going on, and talked with the others about what happens in the brain in the minutes between body death and brain death, where the mind is free to dream, and minutes can stretch to hours or longer as they often do in dreams. And yet it was odd that we should all come together in this kind of limbo. I mean, we were none of us really close in life (with the exception of my childhood sweetheart, and let's be honest that that wasn't really a serious thing even if she'd been hanging off me since I showed up—or at least since I spilled my heroic tales of awesomeness earlier). So we tried to put it together. The writer had the only real idea: "Our only common thread [aside from lucid dreaming, apparently] is you. Maybe you are somehow important to our progress to the afterlife." Or something like that; I don't remember what she actually said. So then the TV, which was either still on or had turned itself on, flashed the words in big block letters over the snow/white noise: YOU MUST ALL GO. It was very neutral, yet still rather ominous. And the raconteur asked me to repeat what I'd said about subjective time in dreams, and then wasn't it possible that now our brains were dying, too, and it was time for us to "move on"? Move on meaning actual death, obviously. That little things like the strange behavior of the TV indicated the shared hallucination was degrading.

I suppose it was because I'd just gotten there that this upset me the most. I stalked past the shelves and racks of books over to where the TV sat, and I bent at the waist to stare into the screen. It was a CRT set on a cart, which I mention because I was initially remembering it as mounted on the wall but that's not true. And I shook it, and I smacked it as one would with a malfunctioning set (at least, back in the day; I don't think I've ever seen anyone smack a flatscreen). And then the words disappeared and were replaced by the name of the storyteller/schmoozer dude. And then the door at the bottom of the back stairs opened, shining through with a white light not entirely unlike the television snow behind his name. And while we discussed it a bit, a countdown clock appeared beneath his name on the TV, and there seemed to be a faint whine that was growing louder the smaller the numbers got. Finally, the raconteur said he had to at least check it out, that not knowing was worse. And that if he stayed away from death, he might face a fate worse than it, which he didn't want to even think about. So we crowded around the door, standing on the various wooden steps at the foot of the stairwell. And he put a finger in, then his hand, and nothing. We could see the TV counting down at the top of the stairs, growing closer and closer to zero. Less than a minute. And the whining noise had gotten louder, till we could tell it was the sound of a flatline. It doesn't feel like anything bad, he said, and then stepped through with seconds left. We couldn't see him. We couldn't hear him. He was gone.

Socialite/debutante chick clung to my arm as we returned up the stairs. I don't want to die, she was saying, I'm alright with this limbo, I don't want oblivion. And she was suddenly very focused on me, and telling me she loved me, she'd always loved me and didn't I love her too? Couldn't we stay here together forever? etc. And I didn't know what to do, so I said yes, sure. And then the artist's name came up, and his clock started. And the discussion was intense and philosophical on the nature of death, levels of death, consciousness and oblivion. And he wasn't focused so much on staying vs. going as he was on making his choice meaningful, deliberate, and making it mean something. One last chance for an artistic statement. And we stayed at the top of the stairs and watched as he stared intensely into that abyss, long and hard, his bespectacled eyes but inches away from the light, trying to peer through the veil. And finally, all he said is, "I can't /not/ go." and he stepped through.

It was sort of cryptic, but we took it to mean he had no choice, and that one way or another, we would all be compelled to go. And the writer reminded me that I was the common thread, and suggested that maybe I was there to bring us "to the light" or to make the transition easier. Just in time, of course, for the beauty queen's name to appear on the screen. So I calmed her, dried her tears, held her, stroked her hair. I told her that no matter what happened, I'd be there when she went, and that we'd both be together on the other side soon anyway. And I knew it was true, that it would be soon. The dismal grey skies had gone but it wasn't night outside. There were no stars, no moon, no streetlights in the windows. There was nothing outside. It was just us, the cafe, and whatever was downstairs. So she stopped crying and we both walked down the stairs with her. When she got to the doorway, she looked through it and smiled faintly. "It's okay. It's really not all that bad." And without hesitating, she walked through, her eyes open.

Which left me alone with the author chick. And I looked into her eyes and had something of a realization. Maybe she was right. Maybe she was right about a lot of things. And maybe I was wrong about a lot of things. And I told her: "I know what I said just now, and I know why I said it, but it's not true. That's not what I want. I want you. Let's just us stay here, even for just a moment, and be together. I don't know why I never saw it, and I'm sorry for that, but I don't want her. I want you." And I thought she was looking away from me, but she was looking at the light. Or through it. And she turned back and hushed me. "Shh. It's okay." It's okay, just like the one who went before her. And in her eyes I saw that moment that I was acting as much out of fear as anything else, and that she knew this. And while there may have been something between us, a connection romantic or otherwise, this was not the place to discover or explore it. I was chastened, but also confused, because her evaluation revealed even more the depths that I loved her, respected her for. But yet I couldn't be certain, given the situation and my emotional state, that my feelings for her were genuine. Despite—or perhaps because of—my emotional turmoil, she turned and walked through the bright doorway.

I turned away and stormed up the stairs. I shook the TV, but my name wouldn't fade. I made to pull it off its stand, to hurl it down the stairs and out the door itself, but it would not come loose. And as I pulled with all my might I slipped loose and fell amongst the bookshelves. And it was then that I finally noticed the books themselves, several of which had been written by me. And they were all about these people I had known, but taken them and made them larger than life, and put them into my stories. And I could tell from the way the books were worn that these stories were read, somewhat heavily. And that's when I realized it wasn't a shared hallucination, or lucid dream, or limbo between life and death. It wasn't a shared anything. This was a world I had created, and I had given these people their extended lives through my stories. Yes, the principals were dead now, both in body and mind, but they lived on. And I, as the author, was a character in my own right. I couldn't die either, not really. I would not go to oblivion. I /had/ accomplished something. I /had/ given something to these people, meant something to them more than I'd realized. This was the reason I was the common thread tying them together. This was the way in which I had been important to them. Which wasn't so bad, really. I had been worrying not so much about dying but about not having accomplished anything, not having made a difference. And so when I approached the doorway, I saw not a blank glare or empty noise, but that the wooden stairway and flooring beneath my feet continued outside, transitioning seamlessly into a wooden deck upon which my buddy the raconteur sat, sipping a beer and telling a story to some fellow. The light had been replaced by a late afternoon sun, and there was a gentle breeze through the grasses behind the cafe. My sweetheart held her skirt up a bit to help her run through the grasses towards me. She was dressed as a 50s housewife, which was mildly disturbing to me (I've never been about the demure 'wifey') but from the sound of the TV, I could tell I did not have much time left. Deciding it would not be so bad, I stepped through to embrace her on the steps of the deck.

Now if that's not enough (MS Word tells me I'm over 3,000 words at this point, for a SUMMARY), the dream came with a SEQUEL. See, I was kind of right to be disturbed a bit at the end there because years later, though things were generally hunky dory in this world I'd created, there was the start of an underground movement. I guess things were a little too perfect, or at least too static. It was maybe like living for eternity in a Norman Rockwell painting, I guess. But since we lived in a world of the characters I'd written about, that included some villains and some fiercely independent people. Which was odd (or at odds), since I'm generally a pretty independent guy myself. But this was my world, so I couldn't exactly rebel against my own control. Or maybe as an abstraction of myself I could? I'm still not sure. Because it was my dream/consciousness/reality, the underground was very intent on keeping their plans from me. So other than that there were some folks going around and asking people if they were happy/letting them know there were others who were not okay with the status quo, I didn't really know what they were doing. Which was odd, because I *did* have an omniscient view point. So maybe that's all that was going on. Maybe the idea of an underground was enough of a subversion of the reality I'd created, the very fact that there was something in there that I didn't create but was instead an emergent property. I don't know. I woke up.

Still, it's rare that my dreams can surprise me so. I figured that I knew what was going on early on in the dream; it all conformed with my concept of what happens to the mind at death. Though it didn't fit so neatly that I didn't have to do at least some figuring to get it, which would have raised a flag. So for people not familiar with me, it's a bit of a double twist. For those familiar with me (myself included), it's a nice garden path and you feel so smrt for having figured it out that when the real twist comes, it's a shocker. And, I mean, the twist itself is a doozy. It's not exactly original (people living on through stories), but it still seems striking. I also like the additional hook at the end, just the barest hint (though obvious here) that everything is not quite as "all right" as it seems.

Now I just need the time to take this and craft the narrative around it, turn it into a proper story. If the summary is this long, maybe I gots my NaNo for dis November? lolz

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Monday, July 19th, 2010
18.20 - Beats Walking
I'm quite pleased with my ability to accomplish things these days.

Things were looking quite dire in my search for a private garage space for my KLR. I needed something close to public transportation, preferably on the same side of the Hudson as my family to avoid costly tolls. I even posted an ad on craigslist asking people to rent me their space. Plenty of parking garages, i.e. spaces in a large parking structure, but I needed somewhere I could leave my gear (anyone seen the top gear where The Stig rides the subway in full gear?). Fortunately, 2 days after I posted my ad, someone else posted their ad for half of a small garage bay. It was about a mile from the PATH, which is not bad at all. Especially when you consider that most of the places I'd been looking were on the Metro North commuter rail at several bucks each way (vs. $2 for the PATH). The walk is not at all bad, either, even in the heat.

So yesterday I rode my KLR down to Hoboken. The first thing I resolved was to avoid interstates. The second thing I resolved was to avoid Connecticut. Playing with these two variables in GMaps led me to take US-20 all the way out to the western half of MA, then pick up 23 to the Taconic. This was the furthest west I'd ever taken 20, though I was surprised how far out I'd been on it (somewhere near Sturbridge). I kept worrying I'd miss 23, but I hit it exactly 100 miles (to the tenth!) from home. 23 was nice, and actually twisty, unlike 20. Also unlike 20, it was pretty empty on a Sunday afternoon.

The Taconic was weird. It was like the PIP, another parkway, except with at-grade intersections. I don't think I ever saw anyone using those intersections, but it was still very "wtf?" I was pretty much dying (hard seat and bad posture) by that point, but it went by pretty quickly (minus the major speed traps that were more like border crossings). I ditched at 301 and headed to Cold Spring. Which was having a festival. I picked up an Italian Ice (which, in the heat, was more like an Italian Slush--or just plain sugar water after five minutes). Sitting along the river and stretching out on the bench really refreshed me. I attacked the road with renewed vigor, including the stretch of Rt. 6 between the Bear Mountain Bridge and Peekskill. For future reference, there's a traffic circle at the south end, so you can turn around and do it all again (this time hopefully with less-slow cagers in front of you). The view was beautiful, but the scenic overlook looked jam-packed so I skipped it. No pictures. I'm sure you can find some if you search the Internet for "Peekskill overlook."

Since the guy I was renting from had changed his story (after 6 became 5:30?), I decided to be selfish and take 9W the rest of the way down. Really glad I did. The PIP is lovely, but without the individual landmarks, buildings, and shit, the river itself, it's just not conducive to nostalgia. And I rode past (but not down to) Piermont, where we scattered my dad's ashes. Fitting, since today's his birthday. I paid my respects with a judicious application of throttle. Has he really been gone six years? Have I really been riding almost that long? Either way, thanks for the gift of motorcycling, Dad.

I slipped down through the Palisades park, along the river and under the GWB. Most of the slow-moving cars I got stuck behind moved aside for me, or otherwise let me pass. I wasn't exactly hell-for-leather (or whatever the expression is), but I was moving. I mean, I have the bike for those broken, narrow roads, where sometimes the waterfalls overrun the road, and often, tree branches (or trees) have fallen. Swerve to avoid a washout, throttle up over a road-spanning pothole; it gains a rhythm and becomes a mantra. "It is by will alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of gasoline that bikes acquire speed, the pants acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my bike in motion."

I went through Edgewater to see what had changed. I went past our old apartment to see what they'd done with it after 'forcing' my mother out to remake it into "affordable housing" (as far as I could tell from street level, nuthin'). Made it down to Hoboken without incident, drained a Powerade (hey, they were 2/$2 at the gas station in Otis, MA), and waited for the guy to show. Got my bike moved in, paid my rent, changed out of my gear. Then I walked to the PATH through the Hoboken night. All in all, it was exhausting. I had to drag myself off the subway at the end. The fun part was when after getting off the bike, I was walking like I was still on it. Had to fight the urge not to lean as I swerved around slow-moving pedestrians. Like, inner ear vestibular level. I felt myself leaning inside my head. "That's never happened before."

Now, of course, my workday is plagued by visions of leaving early, grabbing the train, and riding for 2-3 hours before dragging myself home again. I can handle it.

And, like I said, I'm pleased with my ability to turn the wisp of an idea into something concrete like this. I now have access to my motorcycle. Fuckin' ey! Now to map out all the places I want to revisit within a day's ride of here (left the tent home, so no full-weekend trips atm). I know, cry me a river. A year ago, I wished for problems like these.

Now I've got them. >=D

4 voices - [mouth|ears]

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
23.47 - Hit the skins
Tonight, despite the heat, I hooked my drums up to my dad's old tuner and whaled on them for a bit.

I picked up the necessary cables at RadioShack last night. Tonight, I was sweating (well after sundown) just plugging things in.

I need a workout playlist (or several). Something with a warmup and cooldown. Shuffle is fun, but it's eclectic. It feels like I spend more time hitting "next" than playing. Though I do kind of like just playing random shit for an unspecified amount of time. Part of the fun is figuring out the drum line in any given song.

Good drumming songs so far:
+ Stevie Wonder - Part Time Lover
+ Shiner - Brooks
+ Soul Coughing - Idiot Kings
(all S's so far, but I swear it was on random)
+ Folk Implosion - Natural One
+ The Move - Do Ya
Oh, and probably stuff by Local H, but that didn't come up on random today.

Right now, I'm all about easy drum lines and catchy beats. It's more of an exercise thing than a skills thing, but I'm learning all the same. =D

Mmm... 90 minute workout in 90º heat with 90% humidity, followed by ice cold shower? It is joy.

Ok, sleepies now.


Friday, July 2nd, 2010
15.19 - Exodus
Times change. People change. The way we communicate changes, too. New systems arise. I understand that. It doesn't mean I have to like them. Though it may mean I have to use them.

Technology becomes, at some point, like a language itself. The mode of communication is one of the layers necessary for successful communication. If you're speaking the same language, but one person doesn't have a phone... you might as well be speaking different languages. In a sense, it's worse. I can tell a lot about what someone's saying by how they're saying it, but that much is impossible if there's no shared medium.

The communication these days is increasingly directed through facebook and twitter. I'm fine with that. I have both, and I use them to varying degrees for different things. Facebook is great for people I know in real life, to coordinate things about my life, and to disseminate information. I tend to use twitter less for information and more for entertainment. Though I know there are a number of people I'd know nothing about if not for twitter.

Which is kind of my point. If I don't use twitter, then generally I don't know a whole hell of a lot about what people who do use twitter are up to. Facebook has a similar issue, though some folks cc: many of their tweets to fb. I'm not forced to use either service, but I am forced to choose between being uninformed and using these services. Okay, so what's the big deal? It's the same for LiveJournal; if you're not a member, you need some handy way of aggregating the posts otherwise you're forced to go mining for updates manually. Like some kind of animal.

But there's a difference. And it may not be a difference for better or worse, but I definitely have a preference. The hint is in my handle/sobriquet/moniker/username. I chose "Eideteker" at some point because I wanted a nick that suggested the nature of my journal. It is a house of memory, and my brain is the index. I can't remember everything, so I write it down. Where the information is stored is an order of magnitude smaller than the information itself, so I keep that in my head instead. Together, myself and my account, are an eideteker. We have an eidetic recall of events that neither of us would have alone.

If I'm struggling to remember something, I can search my various journal archives. But in using fb and twitter, I've come to realize that the "new" systems don't have this capacity. Everything on fb and twitter has the broadcast gain turned up to 11. It's all about offloading information from the brain with no goal, intent, or hope of retaining it. My reaction upon realizing this was revulsion; it's all like so much vomit, spewing endlessly. The first thing I did was to stop reading my twitter feed. The second thing I did was dial back my tweeting dramatically. Yes, in that order. What can I say? I'm human.

I still use facebook, of course, but my purpose on fb has always been different. I had all but removed myself from the site several years ago when I got an angry phone call from my mother asking why I hadn't approved her friend request on facebook. The answer is clear: since leaving college (again) I'd been using the site less and less (only signed up to make new friends after a 4 year absence). I hadn't logged in in three months, and I no longer had access to the e-mail address that the account was affiliated with (hence no requests/notifications... what sweet bliss that was). So I signed back up to appease my mom (I'm such a good Catholic boy!) and have been intentionally spamming my account with garbage updates for years now. I'm quite sure half my "friends" (folks I went to high school with, especially) have me on /ignore (and if they don't, they should). The rationale, of course, is that anything meaningful I might happen to post is buried under a mountain of garbage. Suck it, stalkers/family members!

So I guess you could say I was ahead of the curve (or at least, less behind) with facebook. But imagine waking up in a land where everyone communicated by vomiting. All the time. Everywhere. No thanks. So I'll stay here, tending my garden, planting and saving little seeds that may flower later. Sure, I'm mostly alone, but I'm content. I realize where I am and what that means. And I know what my options are. I might go back to hosting my own "blog" site, which no one will read either, but will be open to all, including family and professional contacts (which this journal certainly is not, even if the posts aren't explicitly friendslocked). I know it certainly won't be a tumblr-type mini-blog, because I want to allow my occasional visitor to comment and share their thoughts, rather than just giving me a shallow "like" or the like. But I need a sense of history. I'm just not important enough that folks need to know my moment to moment thoughts like that. I'd rather have something that doesn't have a ridiculously low character limit (lj has one, but it's pretty ginormous), where my thoughts can breathe and grow. Because it's not about some company analyzing my posts for brand names so they can optimize their marketing strategy and exploit my social network for profit. And it's not about you. It's about me, and my thoughts, and my ideas. It's about giving them the space they deserve, when necessary. I'll still use facebook and twitter, but only for ephemera. Things I want to keep, things that are important to me... they will stay here.

Until the Russians flush the site down the toilet, at least.

8 voices - [mouth|ears]

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
14.44 - On abusive relationships
From MetaFilter:

Starting my new job (1 month tomorrow, yay!) has made me realize how my last two jobs were abusive relationships. So this article comes at the right time for me. I never realized how bad it was til I found I felt like flinching every time my current (awesome!) boss came over to talk to me. I realized I was wincing like someone in an abusive relationship (not to trivialize) expecting the worst; thinking, "what did I do wrong this time?"

My last full-time job (with benefits) came with a terrible price. Everyone in the company liked me, got along with me, and generally respected me with the exception of my direct boss. For some reason, Sales & Marketing decided they should own (and I do mean own) the technical writer. Despite the fact that I consider myself a documentation engineer/information developer (though I'd never use those terms; suffice to say my job is much more technical than sales), despite the fact that the majority of my work was with engineers, and despite the fact that I got into this field in the first place because most of my friends in college were engineers and my special skill is translating Engineer to English (I'm like xkcd but funny!). I work with engineers, I think like an engineer (though my language is English, not C#/Java/perl), and I work like an engineer (complete with estimates, bugfixes, and reporting to a project manager).

Despite all this, I'm working for Sales. I came to this field (making quite the career change) from Sales because I hate the treadmill. But I was really thankful for the job, so it's not like I bore a huge chip on my shoulder coming into the job. I came in humble, eager, and energized. And right away, I knew something was up. In a very laid-back, startup atmosphere, my boss did not fit the culture at all. Which led to conflicts between departments be played out through me. And then there was the micromanagement.

Because my cube was the only one backing onto an open hallway, there was a privacy screen. I kept it open except at lunch. When taking lunch at my desk, I figured it was okay if I weren't continually looking over my shoulder at the people walking behind me. No, I wasn't doing anything inappropriate, I'm just twitchy and don't like not being able to see who's coming up behind me. My boss demanded I keep the screen open at ALL TIMES (then why is there a screen in the first place if you're not meant to use it?). I talked to him first, then to some other folks at the company, the result of which was that I got moved to an empty cube in Engineering (yes! small victory!).

But then I had my PHB moment when he asked me to change the wording in a document, then hated it on revision and came up with a brilliant idea which was (surprise) the way I'd originally written it. He was needlessly nitpicky when editing my writing, almost like he was suggesting changes so it would look like he was contributing, changing, controlling, or just all-around doing more work than he needed to do. The net effect was that he created busy work for both of us (which, at least with regards to my time, slowed down the projects I was on). Fastidiousness in written communication is important, don't get me wrong, but editing is not just suggesting changes for change's sake.

And speaking of net, the business-speak jargon got to me. "Can you net-out your learnings from that meeting?" I'm not going to turn this into a rant against MBAspeak, but suffice to say that stuff has no business (heh) near documentation written for clarity and simplicity. It's just not a fight worth having every. single. time.

My next real job was abusive in a different sense. My boss was evasive, absent. The micromanagement was still there, but it was different. I would be left alone for long stretches of time before my boss would appear and ask to see what I was working on. She would review my current draft of the guide, disappear again, and then come back half a day to a day later requesting I do the whole thing over but in a different style. At one point, she handed me a glossy brochure (obviously produced by a professional company using something better than the MSWord I was saddled with) and asked me to make it look like that. If you're anywhere near publishing or technical writing, you probably have an idea how laughably impossible this is.

In the intervening year, I'd been going to regular therapy, so I was able to push back a bit at this point. So I explained to my boss about desktop publishing software and how while you can do lots of cool stuff with Word (it's not bad software, but it's the wrong software; she was asking me to pound nails with the butt of a screwdriver), that there's a whole different echelon of stuff out there for doing what she was looking for. And it turned out what she was looking for in a tech writer was a hybrid between desktop publishing graphic design virtuoso and glorified typist. With regards to the latter, it was a case of asking me to typeset a cross between the existing developer documentation and her dictates. I finally had to ask her why she hired a technical writer when she didn't want me to, y'know, write. About a week later, she was fired.

But my job didn't end there! I spent about two days trying to figure out what had happened. I was only in communication with one other person (project manager, very nice guy I used as a reference at my current job) who was on several different projects. It wasn't until the following week's group conference call where I got more of the story, and even then it was a few days (over a week total time now that I'd been "stuck" without the ability to go forward or do meaningful work; time spent sitting on my hands on the company's dime due to poor organization—and not for lack of trying on my part!) before I was reassigned to another manager. This fellow was overworked, but still made time for me, though he pawned me off a bit on the project manager. And through the project manager, suddenly I was awakened to this whole other world. There was a whole ecosphere of people working on this project that I had been kept from. And they were so happy to have me, and so eager for my feedback. It was like a new job, a great job! But it wasn't perfect, as soon my contract ran out and they renewed me for another 6 weeks on an "as needed" basis. Basically, they were 6 weeks from the next project milestone but only had the budget to pay me for another 4 weeks. It was a shitty economy. What could you do?

Now, several months later) I'm in my new job. And it still takes some getting used to. It's pretty much what the first scenario for how to keep someone describes. But I keep waiting for the facade to fall away (which is part of the dark side of the "hope" the author mentions... you're perpetually afraid of good times ending). So even though I've left those bad situations, in a sense, they're still with me.

4 voices - [mouth|ears]

Thursday, June 10th, 2010
11.55 - payday
Yay! Got my first paycheck! Already upgraded my phone. Happy early birthday to me!

(srsly, I woke up at like 5 am, as if it were christmas)

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
21.36 - b3wbZ
Today's QC is totally how my female friends talk about my girlfriend when she's not in the room. You know who you are!

3 voices - [mouth|ears]

19.40 - 30
So in case you're one of the few people who I have on livejournal who aren't also on fb/mefi, here's the announcement for my 30th birthday.


Monday, May 17th, 2010
08.34 - new jorb
So I start work today. On an unrelated note, last night I dreamt the last two skyscrapers I worked in were being demolished. Or more correctly, half demolished and half left to fall apart. Large sections of glass window were hanging loose like diseased teeth, being allowed to fall to the streets below. It was like a monster movie (Cloverfield without the nausea?) except everything but these towers was fine and operating as usual.

mood: groggy

1 voice - [mouth|ears]

Sunday, May 16th, 2010
19.20 - On Vox: RIP RJD
View Eideteker’s Blog

» Read more on Vox


19.09 - T-shirt idea
with a silkscreened picture of a bald, bearded man below it.



Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
03.50 - Park it like it's hot
(Another boring logistics stream-of-consciousness follows.)

Can't sleep, so I'm looking at options for renting a garage while I'm in NYC. Money-wise, my best bet is to find something PATH accessible. The PATH train is only $1.30 a ride if you buy a multipass. After that, the next cheapest option is a garage for the same price range a mile from the Tarrytown MetroNorth station. Because Tarrytown is on the Hudson Line, I can take the 1 train to Marble Hill and catch the commuter rail there. With a 10-trip multipass, that is about $3.50 each way. The Hudson line is only cheaper because I can catch it at Marble Hill. Everything is waaaay more expensive from Grand Central. It's also a longer trip to GCT from Grammy's. So the PATH trip is about 26 min + 30 to get to the PATH in the first place, or ~1hr. Marble Hill is more like 15 minutes, so Tarrytown is about 45 min total. Then factor in walking time (currently 1 mile for the nearest location I've been able to find) and it's about the same.

Of course, a spot in JC or Hoboken means I have to slog through Hudson County traffic to get anywhere interesting. So there's that time investment as well. HOWEVER, if I'm visiting family, well, they're mostly in NJ, and mostly in a 15 mile radius around JC. This means I can grab bike and ride to visit family. Another thing I'm debating is ditching my car, or at least garaging it in the same place as my bike. No moving my car for the street sweepers, and no worrying about break-ins or hit-and-runs. While I'm tempted to get rid of my car altogether, that a) leaves me at the mercy of the buses/trains b) means I'll (almost certainly) have to replace my car come winter (esp. if I want to do deicing when this contract runs out while I look for my next contract). And this car has snow tires already. Still, I'd like to find a garage spot where I can store my car, bike, and gear (no taking it on the train).

And, of course, it just occurred to me right now that having bikes in two places means having two sets of gear. Duh! Well, I need to upgrade my Joe Rocket summer mesh gear, but a second helmet? Guhhh. I suppose I can use my old one again, for a bit. But unless I want to wear my Stich all summer, I need to find something that's light/breathable and summery, but also can make the journey all the way to Boston and back in rain... for those weekends when I want to ride home (or have to because the buses sold out*). Though having typed that out, it looks like I should give that option up.

Man, I can't wait to get paid so I can deal with this crap.

*Note to self: You got the okay for the time off you requested. Book the bus tickets ASAP, esp. since one of the days you're traveling is a holiday. If you can, might as well book one trip on Megabus and one on Bolt so you can compare.


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