Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Resolve

I'm one of those people who believes that writing thoughts down in a way solidifies them and makes them more real than if they merely rattled around in your head. It's more than "thoughts on paper": you've now taken that idea out of its original context and placed it in one of your own creation. It's more possible now, more tangible.

There is something deeply sublime about a pile of stones next to a river. No way that occurred "naturally." Someone had to pull each rock from the current and place it so that the whole stack would not tumble. And if it does, you restack them until the cairn is to your liking, and you keep restacking them until it achieves a certain aesthetic.

Thus with New Years resolutions. Organizing some thoughts and intentions, that's all really. I tend not to broadcast them too loudly. I don't want anyone calling me on it if I fail. I'm very much aware of my own failures, thanks, especially regarding these little deals I make with myself. When I quit smoking the first time years ago, no one felt the sting of disappointment when I started up again more sharply than me. Conversely, when I finally did quit cigs in May 2000, there was no big party or fanfare. Making too much of it, in my mind, could have jinxed it -- could have fooled me into thinking I'd won, when, at that point, I'd really just stopped doing something harmful and replaced it with less harmful habits. And, honestly, that's an ongoing project -- not with smoking per se but with life in general: Do good things for yourself. You don't have to suffer to prove your worth.

All right then. I was pretty successful on the Resolution Front this year. Looking back at my list, I can put a Checkmark of Success next to all but one, and I can rationalize that one away under the heading "I'm not ready."

Walk/hike more
Maintain weight
More music/reading
Publishing - submit work at least once a month (online or print)
Prep MFA application/take GRE
Yes, have sex!
Apply for Greer Grant (oops! not awarded again until 2007)
Be assertive -- PURSUE!

Short but sweet, and I think that gives me better chances of following through and of being able to focus on these as new aspects of myself rather than just abstract items on my brain's sleepy li'l pull-down menu. For the most part, I think these are Lifestyle Changes as much as they are Things I Want To Accomplish. And, like anything else, I didn't do it alone, in a bubble. Yeah, I was holed up for a while, still shaking off the ghost of Walden. But rejoining society and becoming a more active (more visible) member of my community spurred me on a good bit too. Thank you all, Community.

I don't know when I wrote up this list. I think I was still staying at V-ron's cottage, before the move to Arlington Road. That all seems a world away now, and that's a good feeling. I don't know when I'll write up this year's Plan For Me, probably before the end of the year, but you're not likely to see it, gentle reader. Not till later. Maybe. That's the deal.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Kickin' It Olde School

This is what I really like about my job, definitely one of the things I missed about it too: I often have to pull my head out of my ass away from my computer and do an all-paper "analog" project that does not involve a mouse, a keyboard, or a lot of zooming in and out. To wit:

We publish a series of variorum editions of John Donne. I'm not sure what volume number is coming up (we've been pubbing them out of order, for some reason) but we don't set them in-house. In fact, we never even receive e-files. The typesetter just sends camera-ready copy which the printer shoots and makes into printing plates. The previous typesetter retired, though, and the new one needs specs in order to set this puppy. (Why the project editor doesn't have anything on file, I don't know Do we have any on file we can send? As if! All I can find around here are some jacket specs; I can't even find original sample pages.

So, my task today: Xerox a bunch of pages from an existing volume, grab a pica stick, and start measuring and marking up the pages with rules and specs. Joy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Reserves Are No Longer Reserved

One of my best friends (lived with him twice in my time in B-tizzle, and that's definitely saying something) has decided he's finally hit rock bottom after moving out of Bloomington and is going nowhere. What does he do? At 38, he's joined the Army Reserves.

Had beers with him and some other old friends at Nick's last night. I tried to be supportive. In truth, he's been talking about doing this for a long time, 5+ years ... but that was before we were in Iraq indefinitely, before Reservists became fodder for that fire, before a lot of things. I think it'll be good for him; in another time I'd say it would be great for him, all around. But everyone was pretty grim last night, and I had to share that sentiment. Low wages, disconcerting urban environment, restlessness after a couple of failed serious relationships, general ADD-ish mindset -- all of these were pushing him toward this conclusion. And the recruiter loved him: He'd done his homework and knew exactly what to ask for and what he would get, which is a pretty sweet deal in exchange for 6 or so years of his life working on "light wheeled vehicles." Hopefully stateside.

Regardless, it's a done deal. He gets bused to NC for basic in January, where he will be humping it with kids half his age. Best of luck, Seann. Check your six, and let's hope it's a nice boring hitch.

EDIT: I just recalled the most shocking moment of the evening. As I was leaving, Seann was going to just shake my hand. I said, "You're joining the army. Stand up and fucking hug me, asshole." It was beautiful.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Violation

Somebody broke into my truck sometime between 1 a.m. and noon Sunday. Nothing of value was taken except about 5 bucks in change and a bag. Mike assured me it was kids just fucking around looking for easy money, and I think he’s right. They were obviously in a big hurry. I’m a dork, it’s true: I have far too much respect for and think far too highly of my fellow man, more than is necessary or helpful or wise, and this is yet another object lesson for me in that area. Specifically: You're not living in the woods anymore, Thoreau!

But I got off easy. Left behind in the truck were:

2 change jars (one also containing 4 ones) under some blankets (my poker money)
1 nice set of pro headphones (just sitting there)
1 Leatherman
1 Gerber tool
1 set of binoculars
3 CD wallets (albeit mostly burned CDs)
1 removeable face-plate CD player (which I promptly removed)
2 spare bike lock keys
and (this is the best one, and a sure indication of my dorkitude):
1 spare key to the truck, on a key chain, in the li’l tray under the ashtray. The contents of said tray were dumped on the driver’s side floor but this li’l gem was left behind. So at least I know there are some bigger dumb-asses out there than myself.

All this stuff is now inside, gentle readers. Life just got a little less convenient for me, is all.

Also taken, though, was my merch bag: a book bag I take to readings containing a few copies of my books and a book stand. The crooks took the bag ... but dumped my merch on the ground under the driver’s-side door. Hey, my first book review!

I got home late from a dinner party early Sunday a.m., locked my door, but noticed (as sometimes happens) that the seatbelt was caught in the latch, so I unlocked it, opened it, and shut it again. I’m not sure I re-locked it.

So I was pissed and feeling more than a little stupid, and this was a pretty shitty way to start a rainy, cold Sunday. It probably was my “fault” for leaving my door unlocked, and I left some quality stuff as bait. Still, shitty fuckhead humans. Entitlement makes people stupid and abusive. Mike said that in all his years on 8th Street, his car has been broken into maybe three times (once his window was broken too). He doesn’t leave anything in his car at all now and leaves his doors unlocked so anyone can see there's nothing in it.

My view of the world just got a little dimmer, but I got ripped off the last time I lived in town (on South Park, around 1995), so honestly this doesn’t change much for me as far as how I interact with the greater populace. It is a reminder, though, of how petty and stupid people can be, even just kids looking for change.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Strangest Letter I've Written All Year

Let's hope something comes of it!

Dear Mr. Ponella:

My name is T___ B_____ and I am a professional sound effects artist specializing in audio books, online and DVD sound design, and live radio theatre. I have learned through Mari Kermit-Canfield's livejournal that George Graber has donated to the music library the contents of his office, including numerous devices and small percussion instruments (e.g., bicycle horns) that are of interest to me in my line of work. I understand that the School of Music will have first refusal of these items, but please also consider me as a new caretaker. I have a broad collection of foley and percussion gear myself (train whistles, Tibetan bowls, rotary phones, metronomes, crash boxes, hand drums, logging chain, etc.) and anything from Mr. Graber's collection would be a welcome addition.

Thank you for your consideration. Please feel free to contact me through LJ or at the e-mail address below.

tbrewer AT indiana DOT edu

Thanks again.

Sincerely,

T___ B_____
Bloomington, Indiana

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Know How To Transform

One of the book designers, Sharon Sklar, passed away early this morning. She had been literally deathly ill earlier this year, and I don't think ever fully recovered. She taught me so much about bookmaking and design, and I vividly recall her talking me down on 9/11 when I got all panicky. I loved the staff parties at her place. She was so centered and grounded, and I was truly shocked to learn of her prolonged illness. Talk about a health nut. I think the respiratory infection back in March led to "low-grade non-Hodgkins lymphoma," which spread to her heart.

I'm really sad. Sharon was a 30-year Press employee. That kind of experience and dedication and longevity is so rare. There's just no replacing that. On the pragmatic end of things, I'm glad (as I'm sure my colleagues are too) that I'm here to help shoulder the burden of her projects. There is a touch of concern that we may not replace her, simply absorb the work load, but I doubt it and I think that would be a mistake.

I could talk to Sharon for hours. She was also a brilliant photographer and visual artist, and traveled to Greece once a year and always brought back beautiful pictures she took with some junk disposable camera. I worry about her husband, Bob. He is such a sweetheart. I'm glad I'm back, actually, to be experiencing all this "first-hand," rather than being one of the scads of people getting the bad news by phone today.

I voted in the pissing Indiana rain today. I got to the poll "late," meaning I thought I would have to wait in line, but I zipped right through in 5 minutes. That's good and bad: makes me wonder where all the outraged Dems and Libs are hiding. Maybe they already voted? Let's hope so, although I also honestly am so down on voting that I don't think it matters beyond a shift from Evil to Maybe Not Quite So Evil -- And Hell, I May Get Something Out Of It Anyway.

In happier news, I have a voice gig today. One of the freelance things I do is voice work for some friends of mine who have locally grown an "industrial audio" business. Basically they do soundtracks for Web sites, instructional DVDs, even audio tours. Normally I just do foley/sound effects work for them, but I have also recorded auditions, and today one of their clients picked me! This shall be a most profitable post-work hour.

I'm going to see A Scanner Darkly with my lady violinist friend tonight at Bear's, one of my favorite places to watch movies. It makes me think of Pulp Fiction: "And I'm not talkin' no li'l paper cup; I mean a glass of beer."

Last Friday was just about perfect: work has finally started moving rather than simply trickling my way (with Sharon gone ... I'm preparing for a deluge now); a long Thai lunch with Mars; and the Irish seisiun at Encore was awesome and I believe I had a major breakthrough in the Bodhran Dept. (triplets! and control of same!). Saturday, Nashville, which, despite it's cheeky kitschy down-homey-ness, is still a good time. Mountain Made Music is now literally HALF the store it once was, which makes me sad, but fudge was had regardless, and that helps.

Sunday, I saw a pretty damn fine percussion ensemble recital, one group of which featured a solo by a guy I know. He's really good! And the piece they played was pretty rockin'.

Tomorrow night I'm reading in Lafayette at the Java Roaster.

W.S. Merwin is reading at the IMU Solarium next Monday! I'm not a huge Merwin fan but I should probably get over that. He's a Giant in poetic circles and people give me strange looks when I take His name in vain. (Actually I love his stuff, but he always seems more "important" than readable to me. Sometimes he just seems intentionally obscure, one of those poets who only writes for other poets because no one else "gets it.")

Can't seem to get that stupid Gnarls Barkley "Transformers" song out of my head. *sigh*

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Mild Burning Sensation

The pain in my poor, poor carpals is going away! I figured this might happen when I switched jobs. Editing is not only butt-numbingly sedentary it's also wrist-wrenchingly repetitive. Fine typesetting, on the other hand, involves more mousing and in general fewer reps, not to mention it's a good bit more creative. Also, walking to/from work twice a day (only once if I don't go home for lunch) and up and down the stairs here more frequently than usual is whipping my legs into shape. That 8th Street hill is a nice incline! I also am experiencing less back pain.

Speaking of burning, though, I'm starting to get the (albeit paranoid and probably unfounded) sense that I'm going to get shafted shortly. Hopefully I'm just preemptively freaking out. When I got served papers last year, I went to the bank and called up credit card peeps and debtors, etc., like you're supposed to do, and told them my ex was legally, as per our decree, responsible for making payments X, Y, and Z. Banks et al. informed me that, decree or no, I cosigned on some loans and so I too am financially liable. Okay.

I've been receiving hate mail (i.e., late-payment notices) all year from the bank, despite calls to my loan officers, who empathize (yeah right) but I signed so I'm half responsible, decree or not (which makes sense: both joint-owned loans were acquired before we married).

The house has been refinanced and my name stricken from the mortgage(s). w00t! (My understanding is that my ex has purchased another house [on contract] in the Cincinnati area and now lives there with her mother, while the house in Spencer is either being rented or sits empty, but hopefully will sell soon.) But now I've gotten more hate mail from the bank, this time stating that two late-payment notices have gone out with no response. The next step is debt collection, "and it's all going on your permanent record."

I'll call the bank again, but I know what they're going to say: We're coming for you next! I also sent my ex an e-mail (the only contact info I have for her), and hopefully she will at least acknowledge that all this is happening. Since she just last month moved out of state, I'm wondering if I'm going to be stuck paying back the student loan we acquired for her teaching certification and another for the SUV she's still driving (I think).

No, this really has nothing to do with divorce. These loans were acquired before we were married, and dissolving these financial issues would have been tough even if we had split up years ago.

In more lighthearted scary news, I went as Hunter S. Thompson for Halloween. I was depressed by the number of people who had no idea who I was, and when I told them still had no clue. The dude just died last year. And there was a movie of Fear and Loathing starring Johnny Depp. Surely that might fix poor ol' Duke in the youngster hipster psyche.

I also went as a mighty fine zombie to Zombie Prom on Monday. What can I say? I like brainy chicks.



Monday, October 23, 2006

This just landed on my desk....

It's a lugie the size of my head, which is fairly packed full of phlegm. Yeah, pretty disgusting from where I'm sitting too, and I've woken up the past two days with my left eye glued shut with eyeball butter. Nastiness! And not the fun kind! I think I have maybe two more days of this shit before I'm out of the woods (and/or my phlegm ducts give out). It feels like I've been sick most of October. bleah.

Speaking of retrospection, when did I develop such a "thing" for librarians? It's almost as pronounced as my thing for redheads. Christ. I think I've developed SLIS-dar.

I just agreed to teach a class on InDesign at IU in the spring. My next-door neighbor at the Press has been doing it for a few years and is ready to get out of it. I'm glad it's a few months away. Learning ID has been a snap, but I could use a few months of hacking away at it before I know it as well as I know PageMaker and feel confident teaching a class on it.

How would IU take it if I said, "You know, what you really ought to let me teach is poetry. Any monkey can learn a desktop publishing program. *points to self* Poetry, on the other hand, takes a certain expertise in the art of -- how you say in your language -- jibber-jabber"?

Anyway, I had a most wonderful time Friday night banging away on my bodhran, then hosting a slam, then more drumming. I even got a bit of instruction from Min, who is a seisun regular and the bodhran-ist for the Culchies. I learned the bones! Or at least I made them work more than a couple of times.

Saturday night I carved punkins with my lady violinist friend and my housemate whilst watching The Wicker Man, which was honestly a little fruity in an early-'70s-a-go-go way, until the end when the guy gets fragged. Then is was pretty creepy. Oh, and Saruman in a kilt! Hoo-hah!

Sunday was a "raw food" dinner party, which had some fine raw efforts. Carpaccio is one of those things best had maybe once or twice a year; otherwise, I'm liable to start taking all my meats raw and wrrrrrigling. *gollum gollum* <--actual quote from my snot-impacted sinuses!

All right. Back to Saipan.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dude, how about something a little lighter?

Okley dokley! What could be lighter than D-Day?

I'm currently typesetting a book on D-Day in the Pacific (specifically the Battle of Saipan). Actually I'm supposed to be setting it, but the Font Suitcase program everyone uses here has issues. Well, the issue is that we only have X number of user licenses, and as I am the last one in the chain ... I have to set my work aside and do something else until we get more licenses. Or something like that. I was just getting my Zen on and was more or less done with the front matter!

So now I am on a quest for info on cast-offs. No, no, not your grungy old panties and holey socks. A cast-off is an estimate made on a manuscript to determine how it will look when it is made into a book. This in turn tells you how much it will cost to make. Everything money-wise streams from that initial estimate -- and I understand that cast-offs have been way off around here on a few titles ... like 300 pages off (under or over the final actual page count). That's bad! If you estimate a book's going to make 600 pages and it comes in at 900 (or 300), the marketing scheme is going to be completely off.

I like doing cast-offs. There, I said it and I'm not taking it back. Like editing indexes and bibliographies, as well as typesetting in general, it's one of those bookmaking tasks the appeals to my OCD. Basically you count characters. Lots of characters. Including spaces. Then you count lines. You count all the different parts of a manuscript, then select a book design (trim size, margins, point size, etc.) suited to the material, pour X into Y, roll some bones, sacrifice a goat (or chicken if goat is unavailable), and voila! You should have an estimate that's good to within about 30 or so pages. Anything off by more than that and you got problems. I'm honestly having trouble wrapping my brain around the concept of a cast-off 300 pages over/under the final page count. That's not a cast-off; that's a guess! And a bad one!

I'm also still pushing furniture around in an effort to give the illusion of spaciousness to The Seam. I've made some headway but there's this big off-white tank desk with drawers that simply has to go. I need table space. Drawers tend to become memory holes for me: papers get shoved in there and never see the light of day again. They attract unimportant things and I'm better off without them.

I want/need office plants too.

I have plans to watch Sleepy Hollow with my violinist lady friend tonight and I am very much looking forward to that. I need some Hallowe'en/October spirit ... STAT!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My Life Drips Out of Me Like ... Oooh, Are Those Little Debbies???

Maybe it’s the clammed weather and the looming clouds. Maybe it’s the lingering tail-end of illness. Maybe it’s conversations with friends about breakups old and new. Maybe I’m just worn out, and a little drained after having given blood. I feel heartsick tonight for some reason. A co-worker (a young’un) proclaimed himself nosy and, of course, started asking questions about my personal life, specifically my marriage/divorce. I got no beef with that especially since it seemed like a genuine interest not just a hunger for gossip grist (and if that’s what he’s after there are plenty of illicit outlets out there). I’m a fucking font of information on a number of topics, including myself, and I’m not afraid to spill. Certain realities crash hard, though. Yes, together 10 years. Yes, married for less than a year. No, not really over it but doing well. Obviously, right?

Doesn’t matter how long you’re together. When the breakup happens one of you wants it and the other doesn’t. It’s never mutual. It can be amiable, and I’ve been on both ends of a couple of those. But generally one of you has to be shaken out of his or her delusions that things are going to get better. if. you. just. hang. on. I have my contentious, terminally dysfunctional, long-married parents to thank for my olde skool notions of “toughing it out” in a relationship. Nobody does that anymore, right? First sign of trouble (or second, or third, or twenty-third) and ya just plie off and away and on to ... something else, probably neither better nor worse, just different.

I long for something permanent, something that will last my lifetime not just until I get bored or distracted or stupid. Have I said too much? Then I’ve said too much. Better now than not enough.

A friend commented that I’m changing a lot -- kind of implying maybe too much for her taste, and honestly I’m aware of that. (But let’s be clear: the last thing I’m seeking from anyone -- friend or family -- these days is approval.) It’s a little uncomfortable for me too: working at IU again; living with a guy/housemate after 10 years; renting; short(er) hair; dating someone (gasp!) outside my longstanding circle of friends. But I’m trying to make the changes for the better, not just to shake things up because I’m feeling dusty. Because I do feel dusty, but I want to feel safe and loved and happy and whole again, and I do, for the most part, until I start remembering and over-thinking. I’m definitely in a “do” mode these days, and that, gentle readers, is the biggest change ... perhaps the scariest one of all.

As I told another friend, currently weathering a sudden breakup, the past won’t haunt forever. Eventually you get tired of maintaining that psychic tie, and the phantom limb ceases even to be a dead stump. Eventually you learn to paint with your mouth instead.

All right, whatever. I have plastic to put on my windows.

And speaking of stuck, why does the Red Cross wait until they see me coming before they bust out the trainee phlebotomists? She was shaking -- SHE WAS SHAKING as she pricked my finger to do the li’l iron test thingie, and the supervisor standing behind her prompted her more than a few times. But the big stick ended up being no big deal, I filled my bag in about five minutes, and I was staggering back to work before you know it. BP is 110/80 -- my lower-BP trend is continuing, which is good, after it peaked this winter at around 130/90. Not exactly a heart attack waiting to happen there, but my Comfort Food Diet certainly had taken its toll.

I’m looking forward to this fall like no other. I feel more present and more in touch with my environment than I ever did living in the woods. More connected, not just grounded. I do miss the woods, but I also know they don’t need me there. They’ll keep dropping leaves long after I’m gone. It’s just the way things work.

Friday, October 13, 2006

What Year Is It?

So my workspace is a bit . . . cube-like. Oh let’s face it: it’s cube width and maybe 1.5 to 2 cubes long. (Interesting how a “cube” is like a standard measure these days. You all know the dimensions I’m describing, right?)

I am fully authorized to feng shui the hell out of The Seam, as I have taken to calling my li’l slice of nirvana here. This includes cannibalizing furniture from elsewhere in the building or at IU Surplus. The best thing about the space, though, is my enormous window (that opens!) and the seclusion. The worst part is the giant metal 1960s desk my ‘puter sits on.

I’m tucked away from major traffic areas, at the end of a row of book designers, next door to the production director, and just down from our blind IT guy. (There’s going to be a poem or at very least a sci-fi novella there somewhere.)

I have done practically zero productive work this week. It’s all been “settling-in” stuff, which is great but I’m antsy. I’m ready to start on a book, but nothing is going to come my way for a while other than some line corrections for reprints. Mostly I have been reacclimating myself to the Mac environment and getting used to a 2-screen setup -- nice! Macs are not computers; they’re magical thinking boxes, automatons, “machines of the future” as envisioned in a 1949 issue of Popular Mechanics. PCs, now there’s a computer. It screams, “I am a computer! Can you hear me computing in here? I’m telling you yes or no, and I’m telling you very fast! Very very fast! Very very very very --” *crash* I likes 'em both, though.

October days are beautiful. October nights are somewhat spooky but filled with promise. People here can’t believe I’m biking 5 blocks to work on these frost-warning mornings. I could explain that when I lived west of Spencer, I regularly hiked an eighth of a mile, in the snow, “uphill both ways,” just to get to my truck, which could not manage the gravel driveway, for about three weeks out of the year. Then I’d have about a 45-minute commute to B-tizzle if the roads were clear.

In many ways it feels like I never left. Except for a few problem children, all of the same people are still here. The few new faces have actually heard of me. Everyone else was very glad to see me back. Man, I really missed working with people who give a shit.

I’m gonna go move some furniture now. Which is exactly how I spent my first week or so when I started here back in 1996. Whoa.

Monday, October 09, 2006

New Ways

So I biked to work this morning, walked to lunch at Samira with my new/old cow-orkers, and will most likely bike over to my lady violinist friend’s place for dinner tonight after the Eroticon meeting. I can’t tell you how weird this is after being accustomed to some kind of car commute every day for 10+ years. I’m determined to get used to it, though.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The News from Where I’m Sitting

I had a lovely weekend. Friday night was packed: played bodhran at the Irish seisiun at Encore (fun and cathartic as usual); saw a Japanese improvisational percussionist at Landlocked Records (awesome but there was flailing, too; his CD rawks, though); late supper/bonfire at a friend’s house to officially ring in the autumnal equinox.

I think I narrowly avoided getting sick. *knocks on simulated wood-grain fiber board*

Saturday, visited Paul in the nursing home; he’s doing much better and is getting lots of visitors now that the word is out that he’s had major surgery. Actually, the minister from his church was there ... and ... and I prayed over him. Held hands in a circle and everything. Don’t worry; no one burst into flames. Not even me.

I failed in my quest for shelving.

That night, a housewarming/equinox/back-to-school (for Mike) party at my place. Quite an eclectic mix of peoples! Even the very German German guy had a good time. Everyone seemed genuinely shocked when 1:45 a.m. rolled around.

Met another struggling poet.

Sunday, I had to get out a little and enjoy the gorgeous morning ... before it turned all gloomy later on. Saw my lady violinist friend play deedle-di with her band at the Third and High Fest. Met with the compositor of The Twig, the Sycamore Land Trust newsletter I’m taking over. Then ground away at a freelance editing project I’ve nearly completed. (One chapter and the notes to go.... What’s this? You want me to edit the index, too? Oh, all right.)

Lost the Innerwebs. Damn you, Kiva! This would explain my high productivity....

This morning was beautiful. I finished assembling chapbooks I’ll be giving away at a reading this Friday. Then over coffee, my heaping bowl of Colon-Blow Brand cereal, and muh Innerwebs (it came back), a black-capped chickadee-dee-dee perched in the sapling right outside my home-office window, mere inches from Suki, who was oblivious. Sun coming up, steam rolling down the hill.

I’m going to enjoy walking to work in this.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I did it.

I officially resigned my post at A-ho yesterday.
My last day is October 6.
I start at IU Press Monday, October 9.
"Publication Services Coordinator"
but essentially I'll be a full-time staff, in-house book compositor.
The deal just kept getting sweeter and sweeter.
No pay cut -- actually a slight raise.
Plus I get to keep the 8 years I already had in at IU
instead of starting over with nothing.
And the ultimate goal is that I will run a composition department.
Hire. Fire. Micromanage. (Right now it's a department of one.)
So yeah, I'm pretty damn thrilled.
Thanks, Gentle Readers, for all your support and encouragement.

Tonight:
Doing a reading with Joe in New Albany.
Small room, literate crowd, and I've got new material.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Update on Paul

I visited my learner, Paul, at the nursing home yesterday and I am really glad I took off work to do it. Physically I think he’s mending, but he looked spiritually beaten. When I walked in (unannounced) he was just kind of staring at the wall, not watching TV or in any way engaged. I guess he collapsed in his yard the afternoon after the last session I had with him (two Saturdays ago). A neighbor found him and called an ambulance, which whisked him off to B-ton Hospital, where he had surgery emergency bowel surgery. Now he’s “convalescing” at the Owen Co. Nursing Home but he’s not sure when he’ll get out. I’d say at least a couple more weeks. He’s been there since last Monday. No family nearby; and the only other visitors have been a couple of people from his church (Jehovah’s Witness), but that was early last week.

I think initially he wanted me to leave soon after I arrived -- probably more than a little embarrassed and trying to play the tough guy. But hell, I talk to him every week so it’s not as if we’re not friend-like or anything. So I kept at him and we chatted and his mood brightened significantly. His systems were pretty septic so I imagine he (quite literally) feels like shit, but by the time I left he seemed to be in much better spirits. He kept saying he wouldn’t be able to make it to our tutoring session on Saturday; not sure when he’ll be out of there. I asked if he would mind if I came back and tutored him at the NH anyway, just to keep him up to speed. I genuinely think the idea had not occurred to him. So I’m going back on Saturday.

I then ran out and got him some books from the library and a newspaper so that at least he’d have something to read. When I came back he was sleeping, and woke up briefly but said he wanted to sleep. So I got the hell out of there.

(x-posted to yon LJ)

Monday, September 11, 2006

My Concern Was Justified

Among a bajillion other things, I'm also an adult-literacy tutor for a 75-year-old guy from Gosport. I meet with him for a couple of hours a week (Saturday from noon-2p) at the Owen Co. library, and we read (me to him and him to me) and I make him write stuff and we work out simple math problems and do exercises in his workbook. Ostensibly, he's doing all this to get his GED. He has about an 8th-grade "education" (circa 1930), although he's sharp as a 75-year-old tack and works his ass off all the time.

The past two weekends, though, he hasn't shown up for our session, and he hasn't called -- and his answering machine hasn't been picking up either. The first time, I figured it just slipped his mind. He's "blown me off" before (to fix a tractor or mow a lawn for $$$) without calling on Saturday, but usually he calls sometime during the week to apologize and say hello and whatnot.

Not this time. So I called the director of the Owen Co. Learning Network to see if she knew anything. (Actually, as I was waiting for Paul to show up this past Saturday, I started browsing the obits in the local paper, just in case....)

She confirmed that indeed Paul had been hospitalized for a blocked/ruptured colon (bleah). She found this out from Burger King, where he works as a janitor. He's at the Owen Valley Health Care NH for rehab, so I'm going to go visit him this week, see what the prognosis is. I have been cautioned not to succumb to his requests for money for snuff and cola. (Damn straight!)

So at least I'm not wondering what's up with him. This makes me sad, though.

(x-posted to yon LJ)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

This just in from the Department of Duh....

I have begun scheduling not only my social/hobby activities but also my freelance gigs. Yeah, maybe I've had that backwards all this time, but I've always thought that the only way to make sure you have time for yourself is to make time for yourself.

Anyway, the freelance stuff is all hitting pretty hard. I owe at least part of it to having a rock-solid, fast wi-fi connection at home. I'm able to do so much more now (and much less of it on the sly -- uh, such as this post -- at my day job). There's a ton of it, and I'm doing more-diverse work these days, too, but I'm up to the challenge. See, it says so right on my résumé: "133t time-management sKi1z."

I haven't let anything slip yet, but a copyediting gig has gotten a little haphazard in keeping track of what they have sent me to read. So I'm taking this as a cue to nail down my "free" time so that I don't wind up having to put in five hours after working all day at a "real" job because I spaced a deadline. With any luck, all this stuff will lead to full-time freelance-dom down the road. w00t!

Also just in to the Duh Dept.: If I seem out of sorts over the next, oh, month, and perhaps occasionally neurotically touchy, it dawned on me that there's a perfectly logical reason: I've got some uncomfrotable anniversaries coming up later this month. No, not an excuse for ass-hattery, but a jim-dandy explanation. We-sa only human, right?

All right, back to work, monkeys!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Ad astra per aspera & primordium domus

I seem to have traded being brilliant for being likable.
I think I want to take a stab at being brilliant again.


Also: I'm heading up to Mom and Dad's today for a Labor Day visit. Yeah, I try to hit all the major holidays. Mom has been wanting to inflict update me on my evil sister's recent odd quickie wedding. On a Thursday. To a UK citizen. In Virginia. Announced two and a half weeks in advance. (My WTF-o-meter redlined on that one.) I think we're also going to hit an extended-family gathering for a bit, too. That should be fun. I haven't seen any of those peeps since the wedding.

Lastly, my Latin is almost as bad as my German.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Power Corrupts? Absolutely!

I am the proud owner of a wireless mouse. It's gorgeous and my wrist is ever so grateful! It's a fairly high-end dealie I won on eBay, called the Microsoft Wireless Laptop Laser Mouse 6000.

Say it with me now in your best Dr. Evil:

Laser Mouse 6000

I am flush with pointy-clicky power.

That is all.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Home

Finally, let me just say how thrilling it is to be more or less completely unpacked. Seeing my books out of boxes and on shelves not only reminds me of how much I love them but also kinda makes me not want to get rid of them, which I had been considering for a while. After all, it’s not the paper and ink and boards that are important; it’s the knowledge within.

Aw, who’m I kidding? I’m a book person. I need books. I am glad, though, that I pared down my collection over the past year. Everything I have I either a) really want or b) really need (or both). But I’m not a library; just a guy who likes books. If only I had one more shelf, I could get everything out and visible.

Jury is still out on the typewriters (and my massive “collection” [read: accumulation] of cassettes, albums, and VHS tapes). But it’s easier to re-acquire, say, a copy of S is for Space than an Oliver Standard Visible Writer No. 5 side-strike manual typewriter, junky though it may be. Antiques vs. mass-market paperbacks, don't you know. But I suspect I’ll be jettisoning more crap in the coming months.

What’s in a Name?

Also, I can’t decide between roller derby announcer names for myself:

Color commentary with “Dangling” Chad Wackerman!

or

Play-by-play coverage with Dick Smack!

I think I need a plaid suit.

Nice Guy Not Door Mat

I’m sure you’re all tired of this shit, gentle readers. I sure am.

Imagine sitting down to Sunday brunch with friends and a new friend, and hearing something along the lines of “Don’t worry; I don’t really believe any of the nasty things I’ve heard about you.” This from someone I barely know. And she’s being serious.

I know, I know. This kind of shit is bound to happen when you break up with someone and your circle of friends has difficulty dealing with it; I’ve received a mercifully small share of harsh sentiments actually, and I don’t think my ex has received any worse (and probably no better) treatment; and no, it’s not going to last forever. It’s just unfortunate.

I surmised that vilifying me is convenient since you can’t make the “nice guy” the “bad guy,” too, right? Why, that would be nutty! Or at least stupid. I have been reminded that I’m not a bad guy and that I didn’t do anything “wrong” per se, and that really I’m just “collateral damage” in the wake of my ex’s horrific realization that she just was not all that into me/us/life together, for various reasons real and imagined....

What has saddened me the most, though -- well, a lot; not really the most; get back to me about most -- about all this marriage/divorce stuff is how a few select nutjobs have decided that the fruition and dissolution of my long-term union is now their own personal Armageddon in the red state/blue state culture wars. As if we all now have to choose sides and you’re either with us or you’re against us. (That’s an actual quote btw.) Nobody is stopping anyone here from living their lives any way they choose; I’m not trying to pass nor do I support legislation that would do so; and frankly, my ex and I could have (and did) live as “alternatively” as we wanted, for a long time. But people change, they make choices, and shit falls apart. Or it doesn’t, if that’s the choice that’s made. Then you deal with it, one way or another, and then you move on.

I guess we’re all still in the “deal with it” stage, yes?

So anyway, once I got some specifics, it didn’t surprise me in the least that I’m getting smeared in certain circles (semi-public discussion fora, apparently), considering the source of the discord. This particular shit-stirrer is quite a sower of it; a veritable seamstress of BS in the human interaction department. Still, I play poker with her on a semi-regular basis, so next Thursday should be fun. I was able to shrug off this horse shit at Sunday brunch -- polite, new company and all; plus I am sadly becoming accustomed to this scenario. But once I’ve had a cocktail or two and the chips are piling up and we’re all nicey-nice and jocular and everyone is smiling and having a good fucking time ... I think I may be entitled to a little smack talk myself, eh? Oooh, didn’t see that coming!!!

\emo rant

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My So-called Life Skills

Did I say life skills? I meant knife skills!

I has been brought to my attention that my vegetable-chopping technique is lousy, and I should take a class in kitchen knifery at the local cooking school before I hurt myself. Humph. I can fillet bluegill smaller than my palm. I’ve dressed deer hanging from a garage rafter, and then tanned the hide in my living room. I’m the best chicken killer/plucker I know....

Okay, so perhaps I do lack a little finesse and speed. But how can I dispatch a bell pepper so quickly, so ruthlessly when it’s looking at me all sorrowful, with its down-turned eyes all tear-stained and its li’l green stem all a-quiver? How, HOW, I ask you?

Regardless, the frittata came out nearly flawlessly and I still have all -- hold on. 1, 2, 3, 4.... Yes, I still have all my digits. Like any poetry reading, a meal I walk away from un-knifed is a success.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Instant Review: Snakes on a Plane

I have only this to say.

Time Lag

Or "How Shall We ... Fuck Off, My Lord?"

I'm shocked -- actually, no, not really. I kind of figured this sort of thing would happen, but I am surprised that it's taken this long to come to fruition. I'm not sure what makes people snap. Maybe it's the heat?

It's been a little over a year since my ex and I separated, nearly a year since she divorced me. Only now are some of our friends (okay, they're mostly her friends, but we legally co-owned everything due to a piece of paper) getting around to telling me to fuck off: "I no longer wish to be reminded of your existance [sic]."

I think these people overestimate their impact in my life, and mine in theirs, frankly, or at least misfactor the intended drama such statements are to evoke, especially after so long a period of silence and inaction. Do you really expect me to stuff myself down some memory hole for your convenience? If you can't forget me, I prescribe Time. Or Labotomy. Or Bong. But regardless of the path or method you choose, there's nothing I can do about it.

Maybe they just want to "clarify" our "relationship" now. It's like people who feel the need to TELL YOU they'll be snubbing you in the future. If someone is going to snub you, doesn't that mean they stop talking to you, not remind you that "Hey! The next time I see you? On the one or two (maybe) occasions a year I see you? I'm going to snub you"?

Horse shit aside, in a truly yin-yang online moment, one friend says fuck off as another friend who long ago said fuck off says let's try being human again. Oh really? Baby, I never stopped. Welcome back. I greet you at threshold of the rest of my life.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Yet Another Life-Altering Choice

I'm getting pretty good at these.

So the environment at my current workplace (like some other aspects of my life) has deteriorated quite a bit since I started here 2 years ago. I have salved my conscience with the amount of money I make (which is great for my field, in this area), the work that I do (which I’m good at, and which I think helps the little guy and smashes the Big Publishing House paradigm at the same time), and the idea that I'm in this little editorial cocoon -- that the buffoonery in the rest of the business (which can be rather epic at times) essentially doesn't touch me, or at least I won't let it. I also work with intelligent people, probably the smartest in the building, and we all get along pretty well.

This all has started to change, sometimes tangibly, sometimes just internally. But I can feel another sea change coming on.

The money is still good -- great, actually -- but the upper management horseshit and general tenor of the business has reached “OMG YOU DID WHAT?!” proportions. Plus, those nice, intelligent people I work with? They’re behaving like ass-hats, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be around in November when a particular bit of shit hits the fan.

So when my previous employer e-mailed me recently, asking if I knew of anyone who might be interested in a job there (doing book composition, which I love a bit more than editing [and I think I'm even better at that]), it gave me pause. I'd been there 8 years, and really did feel like when I left, I was done with it, ready to move on -- ready to make more money, at least. I was at a point where I needed to move away from old modes of thought and practice -- to join the "real world," such as it is.

I want to contemplate that some more and do some research in journals from that period. I think my movements then perhaps set in motion what ultimately ended in my current liberation.

Anyway, I'm no longer "happy in my work" here at Vanity Press, Inc. I feel like a hack most of the time. I no longer feel like I'm "helping the little guy"; I'm glutting the world with crap it doesn’t need. I'm making widgets in the form of books. And it's making me, I think, cynical and stupid in the process. I am the editorial equivalent of “You want fries with that?” when I used to sculpt books like they were 5-tier wedding cakes.

But O, the sweet, sweet greenbacks....

So I tell former employer, hmm, I’ll ask around but you know, I might be interested myself except the pay is too severe a cut right now (which is true). I’m so coy! But truly, that's the only answer I could give. The original pay cut would have been way too severe.

This morning she comes back with an offer that would still mean a pay cut, but considering I’d be living essentially around the corner from work and could walk/bike there nearly every day PLUS it would mean much sweeter/cheaper health bennies PLUS working with people who care about books -- not just pushing “product” or selling “services” PLUS being back in the university cocoon (and I’m much more likely to take advantage of free classes now) … I think it’s entirely doable. Maybe even preferable, which is where my decision-making acumen comes into play, gentle readers. Yes, yes, I know. List and weigh carefully the pros and cons blah blah blah. I’ll get right on that.

In truth this all has as much to do with the state of my head/well-being and the state of the world in general as it does my personal workplace trifles. I made the jump to a better-paying job largely to support mortgage(s), a part-time-employed wife, and the possibility (actually planned eventuality) of offspring, not to mention a 40-minute one-way daily commute from the backwoods to “civilization.” None of that is an issue now, so why not do something more beneficial to me, and for the world? Spread scholarship, despite my misgivings about academic publishing, instead of SPAM in book form. And even though my commute is real short now, for years (at previous employer too) it wasn’t, and it bugged the hell out of me to have to drive to someplace just so I could work on a computer. That aspect would go away, too. FUCK GAS PRICES! FUCK COMMUTING!

I wanted to move deeper into Bloomington, right? How much deeper can I get than living within walking/biking distance of nearly everything I need to survive -- hell, thrive?

So that’s me on a Monday. I just got all my stuff moved into the new place on Saturday, and my violinist lady friend was kind enough to help me clean the old place on Sunday. I have a walk-through tomorrow morning and I was planning to take the day off for that and to push some stuff around that the new home. Now I may make a stop at Ye Olde Workplace as well to talk some specifics. I’m still not unpacked (some things have been boxed up for about a year now), and here I find myself at another crossroads.

Good morning!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

INSTANT REVIEW: Tom Waits in Louisville

I long ago had simply resigned myself to the fact that I'd never see Tom Waits live. He rarely tours and when he does it's usually Europe or the West Coast. Last time he was anywhere near the Midwest was in Chicago in '87 -- when I was still into Metallica, etc. What?! You mean there was a time when you weren't all cool and hip and stuff?!?! I know. I can't believe it either, but it's true!

Anyway, Tom decided for some reason to do a spate of Midwet shows and I was thrilled to get to see him. I think I may have missed his prime then, but he is still most excellent now. The Louisville Palace is a stunning venue, recently remodeled, and the lighting and vaudeville atmosphere lent a side-show quality to the songs, mostly from Tom's last 5 or so albums. I thought his band was a tad weak. They wanted to groove when the songs needed to be rawked, and his guitarist was way, way too mellow. Tom needed somone more like his session/past tour axeman Marc Ribot, somebody to shadow the angular, stuccato vocals. No standard blues riffs please!

Casey Waits, Tom's son, played drums (and beatboxed with Tom on "Eyeball Kid"), and I read somewhere that his other son, Sullivan, sat in on percussion (really two sticks banged on a bunch of junk) for "Hoist That Rag." The bassist was okay, the keyboardist/marimba player/percussionist was pretty good, but the band never really seemed locked in to me; not a very cohesive unit.

I also thought the PA/house sound was lacking. Granted, I was in the balcony, and Tom's vocal range generally hovers in the low to mid range anyway, but I lost some clarity here and there, especially when he was joking around between songs, which he did a lot. He also forgot the lyrics to a couple of songs, which, on the surface was a fun "original" thing, but later I felt it a tad lame. It's not like "Tango Till Their Sore" is a B-side or anything, and I thought that maybe he was pandering to the crowd. bleah.

Regardless, he was in fine form. He hollered, cooed, squealed, and I swear I heard a new inflection: something like a clear falsetto. He also had some great props: a big magnifying glass for "Eyeball Kid," a megaphone for "Shake" (I think), and a bunch of dust on his li'l mini-dance floor that puffed around during "Don't Go Into That Barn."

Personal favorites include Shore Leave (which absolutely ruled), Day After Tomorrow, Don't Go Into That Barn, and especially Tom Traubert's Blues (that "Waltzing Matilda" song). He nearly got me all weepy on that one.

I hope this tour convinces him to come back to the Midwest. He has not been in some of the cities since the mid-'70s. There is a new albums due out in November: 3 discs of outtakes, never released tunes, and various ephemera from the ANTI years (his current label).

Here's a setlist from The Eyeball Kid.

Make It Rain (Real Gone)
Hoist that Rag (Real Gone)
Shore Leave (Swordfishtrombones)
God's Away on Business (Blood Money)
All the World is Green (Blood Money)
November (The Black Rider)
Falling Down (Big Time)

*Tom Traubert's Blues (Small Change)
*Tango til they're Sore (Rain Dogs)
*House Where Nobody Lives (Mule Variations)
*Lucky Day (The Black Rider)

Who's Been Talkin (Howlin'Wolf cover) > Til the Money Runs Out (Heartattack and Vine)
Eyeball Kid (Mule Variations)
Murder In The Red Barn (Bone Machine)
Lie to Me, Baby (cover)
Shake it (Real Gone)
Circus (Real Gone)
Trampled Rose (Real Gone)
Get Behind The Mule (Mule Variations)
Goin Out West (Bone Machine)
It Rains on Me (Free the West Memphis 3 - Tom Waits/Chuck E. Weiss 1999)

Encore:
Day After Tomorrow (Real Gone)
Don't Go Into That Barn (Real Gone)

*Waits and Taylor alone onstage w/piano and upright bass

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Another thing I think about...

Ditching all these fucking typewriters. I love 'em, they're ultra-cool (I think), I use them quite often (at least the ones that work), and come the 'pockylips I'll be the envy of neo-IT departments everywhere. But there are 20 of them now, despite a purge last fall. (I acquired 2 when I moved into the Arlington Roadhouse -- they were waiting for me....)



I only think about this when I have to move all of them, so I guess it's not a huge hardship. When I eventually land someplace more permanently, I still want to have a typewriter garden/graveyard ala Burroughs. Is it worth lugging these fuckers around until then, though?

(The typewriters themselves, of course, have their own opinion on this, namely that I should let them out of their cases more often so they can fornicate with each other, mix martinis, and rub bug powder on each others' lips, and that should any of them "depart" prematurely I may wake up some morning on the wrong end of a blunt-force carriage return. Ding!)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hoosier Daddy

One of the things I find myself grappling with lately is my concept of parenthood, and specifically fatherhood. I felt like I had been in a position (materially, spiritually, mentally) to procreate -- not just “narcissistically” have a kid, the way one might acquire a new sweater, because one wants one or thinks it will be complementary. I truly wanted to make a family, with my ex, in a manner we ourselves shaped, regardless of friends (most of whom are anti-breeding) and family of origin, thereby both closing the cycle of the less healthy aspects of our own childhoods and providing for the future by raising brilliant-barefoot-hippie-beatnik stock to counter all the little lunkheads being birthed out there.

So when people ask, “Do you still want to have kids?” I generally answer yes, I think so, but I really wanted to have kids with her. Whether or not she truly wanted kids (or anything else I gave her, for that matter) is a mystery to me now, more so the more I consider the whole deal. It took me a good while and us a long time to get to the point where I and we (ostensibly) wanted kids -- wanted to raise kids, actually, not just "have" them. I do still want that, not to prove anything, but because I believe myself capable of the task. I feel like it’s something I ought to do, similar to how I feel about writing or being a good person in general. But I want to raise kids with someone, definitely, and I think it’s going to be another good while before I’m capable (or desirous, frankly) of that level of trust again. I don’t feel quite as materially, spiritually, or mentally prepared just now either. I’m betting that I will eventually, though, and hopefully it won’t take ten years to get there this time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Instant Review: Donating Blood

Top 10 Indications Your Phlebotomist Might Be Mentally Divergent:


10. “Which arm do you prefer we stick? The left? Okay.” Then after waiting 10 minutes for an available left-handed (?) chair: “You know, you have much better veins in the right arm. Is there any reason you don’t want us to stick that one?”

9. (Referring to my veins, I think): “Mmm, mmm, I just can’t decide which one I want to stick! They both look good.”

8. Constantly uses “stick” as a verb, until she begins to sound a little Patti Smith-ishly casual about it.

7. “Come on, squeeze that ball. Come on, squeeeeeeeze it. And release. And squeeeeeeeze. And release. That’s it. Good.”

6. *Prick* “Ow!” “Okay, let’s get it into the vein now....” (WTF?)

5. “You’ve never passed out or anything while doing this, have you?”

4. Has some kind of nasal deformity/wound, and so is wearing a nose cast, thus:



(Okay, not that bad, but disconcerting nonetheless.)

3. Constantly asks you if you’d like something to drink, then finally takes a hork off her own hip flask.

2. *Pop!* Needle's out. “You may go to the cantina now.” Cues Star Wars band.


And the number one Indication Your Phlebotomist Might Be Mentally Divergent:


1. “So what are you doing after the bloodletting?”

Instant Reviews

HERO: Gorgeous and possibly even more spell-binding than Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which really won my heart. I love the set-up for the stories, and I thought there was just the right mix of seamless CGI, wire-fu, and trad fisticuffs to push the action into fantasy while keeping it fairly believable.

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR: Yes! God yes! As a cow-orker commented, basically 23 minutes of good interspersed amid 100 minutes of suck. But oh those 23 minutes! I especially liked the teaming of Predator with the spunky grrl protagonist, and her Alien-head shield/tail spear combo was inspired. The storyline/back story was ... Christ, why even bother mentioning it?

Tonight's double-feature:
CAPOTE
HOSTEL

Friday, July 14, 2006

Dinner Guests

When the vacant, bush-hogged lot next door looks better than your yard, you know it's time to mow. So....

After about an hour of mowing in the blazing early evening heat last night, I take a tepid shower and am sitting in front of the fan, trying to cool/dry off, having some dinner, when I see a family of deer come out of the hickory copse next door and start plucking leaves off the lower branches.



Not the greatest picture in the world, but I was naked, standing on the back porch, and trying to zoom in and shoot with one hand all at the same time, before they noticed me and slowly wandered off. I believe there were three deer all together: Mama and two wee fawns.

Later, I step into the back room to put some things away (yes, the fridge is in the back room, not the kitchen ... and yes, I was still naked). I had left the back door open ... and in flew this li'l guy.



I haven't ID'd him yet, but he whizzed round and round, banging into windows and doors, trying to get out. I finally made it and I cheered.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mini-Update-lette

Once I get 2 CDs with about 350 images back from my violinist lady friend, I shall enthrall you all, gentle readers, with tales of high adventure on the West Coast. Beyond that:

Work goes well. Certain ripples have resolved to placidity, rather than erupting into tidal waves. This is good! Plus, I got a raise.

My ex refi'd and the house is now all hers. Simultaneously: load off my mind + best of luck, H!

I have no less than 4 offers of freelance work pending.

My house is as hot as a hot house with no AC in Indiana in July. Use your imagination....

Joe and I are gearing up for another Midwest book tour this fall.

Bike riding has been wonderful and not nearly as exhausting as I thought it might be.

I haven't mowed my yard since Memorial Day Weekend. Must. Mow. This. Weekend.

My nifty new bodhran is lovely but in this humidity it sounds like I'm flogging a moist shopping bag.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Interesting Statistics

Last time I wrecked a bike: circa 1989
Last time I played football: 1990
Last time I opposed a war in Iraq: 1991
Last time I bought a drum: 1992
Last time I was in school: 1993
Last time I got dumped: 1994
Last time I was on the Left Coast: 1995
Last time I was unemployed: 1996
Last time I hugged a ginormous tree: 1997
Last time I got too involved: 1998
Last time I was on a plane (with or without snakes): 1999
Last time I smoked a cigarette: 2000
Last time I lost my mind: 2001 (it didn’t get far)
Last time I lost a good friend: 2002
Last time I felt sure of myself: 2003
Last time I took a real vacation: 2004
Last time I moved: 2005 (last week of December)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Note to Self

Try harder to say and write simply rather than just. There is no justice in simplicity, only a gift.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Welcome back ... to Mudville!

Some time ago a utility company (Duke/Cinergy? Vectren? I don't recall) dug a boxcar-sized hole next to my driveway in order to ... do something. They took forever and had to bring back the backhoe to dig deeper, but they finally finished and went away.

I come back from NATF to find that not only had the hole had been reopened, they also cut through the concrete driveway and continued digging into the front yard! Now there's some new gravel, but they just left the concrete section blank, so I was somewhat surprised to drive up at 2:30am on Sunday: concrete, *CLUNK CLUNK*, concrete. Then I get out of the truck and squish squish squish through ankle-deep, clayey mud as sticky as tar. Wilson tango foxtrot, guys?

It still, however, is great to be back. For a week. Then I'm off to San Francisco! A more in-depth review of NATF resides (or will soon) on my lj.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sometimes I'm the Bird, Sometimes I'm the Building.

Mostly I'm Just a Pane.

See, there's this bird that all week has been trying to fly through the building. Seriously. I'm on the second floor and my office, aside from its commanding view of the Terminix Building across the way, looks out at an angle on the IT office next door. Every day bird brain smacks every.single.pane (there are about a dozen) until he makes it to the end of the building, then he flies straight ahead. Even when he knocks himself a little silly and flaps weakly to the ground, he's up and back at it in seconds, picking up where he left off in his li'l battering ram routine.

In his mind I'm sure he thinks that one day he's going to get up enough speed and wind conditions will be just right and he'll zoom over the parking lot, heading straight toward the IT dept., and he'll somehow pass right through.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The weekend, she was fabulous.

Saturday was the glorious wedding of Coyote and Otter (or Yotter; not sure I grok the odd spellings I’ve seen online of her furry alias, but then ah spells putry gooder. Perhaps it’s supposed to be the equivalent of ’yote, right? ’Yote and Yotter? That makes sense). Anyway, it was a masquerade wedding, which made it even more festive. Congrats to the newlyweds (and to her gaggle of rug rats, who really got themselves a fine dad).

I only stayed for a bit, though. My violinist lady friend and I later trekked down to the Lotus Dickey Reunion in Paoli. Her Irish band, which shall remain nameless to preserve her dignity, was rained out BUT about 20-25 musicians then piled into the living room of the B&B where we were staying and proceeded to jam all night: Irish, French-Canadian, contra dance, bluegrass, hayseed hoedown. Very cool! When enough of them had left I was able to get a seat in the playroom. Viva la Machine!

Sunday we did Marengo Cave, which was very cool (figuratively and literally). I haven’t been in a cave in many years. I haven’t been “caving” (as in crawling around in one rather than having built-in lighting and handrails) in even longer. May have to rectify that at some point.

From there we trekked up to French Link (snicker) to the somewhat-renovated West Baden hotel. Wow! For one thing this was the complete opposite of dark, dank, subterrania, but it also was both extremely opulent and kind of sad. It’s just sitting empty right now and many of the rooms are still stripped down to the studs and being rebuilt, starting with I-beams to keep the place from falling apart. For real. I’ve wanted to see it for some time; fortunately, one of the other fiddlers pointed out that it’s only a short distance from both Paoli and Marengo. I’d completely forgotten. The tour guide was an older gal who loved to talk! Man! Could she spin a yarn! Are we ever going to see any of the things you are lovingly describing? But she obviously loved giving the tour and was a lot of fun. I also wish they would cut down some of the trees that were obscuring the hotel. I love trees! Don’t get me wrong; I kind of like the fact that it had been swallowed up by time. But there were some pines growing right next to the place from neglect, which are also kind of a hazard or will be.

We also stopped by the French Lick Winery to sample their sweet(!) wine. No better than Oliver, though, so I did not purchase any. (There was a table wine I enjoyed but it was $28 a bottle! For an Indiana wine?!)

Once back in B-tizzle, we went to see A Prairie Home Companion. If you like Robert Altman films or like the radio show, you’ll love the movie. If you like only one or the other, you’ll be somehow disappointed without being able to put your finger on why. If you hate both, skip it. I thought the ensemble cast was great. Loved Kevin Kline as Guy Noir, but then he’s great in just about anything.

Fin.

p.s. I'm going to West Plains, MO for NATF next week. Then back for a week. Then I'll be in San Francisco the week of the Fourth of July.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Life




'nuff said.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thanks, Bob!

Copied from Bob Brezney's Free Will Astrology

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

This would not be a good week to cast a curse on God in revenge for what you think are his mistakes. Nor would it be a favorable time to draw blasphemous cartoons of saints, or pretend that atheism is any less of a faith-based belief system than religion. In fact, if I were you, Capricorn, I would utter a few prayers, purify your motives, and do some really good deeds--just in case there's even a slim possibility that divine help is abundantly available to you right now. (P.S. From what I can tell, there's more than a slim possibility.)

SACRED ADVERTISEMENT
While living in Manhattan in the 1950s, the avant-garde composer John Cage felt beleaguered by the omnipresence of radio sound. Rather than piss and moan, he wrote a musical piece that featured several radios tuned to different frequencies. After that, he was always able to respond to street radio noise with a pleasant sense of "They're playing my song."

In a way similar to Cage, transmute your relationship with something that annoys you so that it pleases you

Also from Bob:

"Race car drivers say that if you're heading toward a wall," writes philosopher Jonathan Zap, "don't look at it. Instead, look at where you want to go." That's good advice for you in the coming week, Capricorn. It would be crazy for you to concentrate all your attention on what you don't like and don't need and don't agree with. Rather, you should briefly acknowledge the undesirable possibilities, but then turn the full force of your focus to the most interesting and fulfilling option.

(TB Note: Why look! A steering wheel. Vroom vroom indeed.)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Evil isn't a number

I celebrated 666 Day (or whatever it was officially called: Bash Emo Kids Day, Nat'l Slayer Day, the End of the World, &c.) at Second Story last night. My fave local band, Tremendous Fucking, played, and early enough that I wasn't dead tired when they were done. Not from lack of sleep anyway. After TremFu were The Horribly Wrong -- who were pretty good in a messy, punky way. Apparently it was a reunion show, though I didn't know of them before they'd broken up. Dixie Fried Diablo opened. They played instrumental, slow Dick Dale-type stuff. Not bad. Bonus point for the girl drummer.

Hung out/drank with some online friends and some cow-orker friends, too. Not too evil but not a bad way to spend a Tuesday evening. Saw a flyer for Second Story's 25th anniversary party coming in September. I saw my first SS show in about 1990. I think it was one of those legendary Drovers/Big Hat shows. Ah, memories.

Also of note: TremFu dressed as members of the Bush administration. Now that's evil! Fucking tremendous!







Monday, June 05, 2006

Of Bananas, Bodhrans & Bicycles

This week I shall be consuming smoothies until they run out my ears. I procured a mess of pre-cut fruit (long story) from my violinist lady friend, and I have a brand-new blender and I'm not afraid to use it. Now.

I made attempts to play bodhran on Friday at the Irish session at Encore. Not bad! I never was very good with sticks, but with a bodhran you hold the "tipper" like a pen and kind of waggle your hand/wrist like you're playing air guitar -- two motions with which I am more than intimately familiar, so it didn't take to long to get the basics down. Plus I've got rhythm, which is half the battle, obviously. Playing in the midst of musicians (not just drummers) is really fun. I like to listen. I commented later in the weekend that often the djembe is the SUV of drum circles: loud, pollution noisy in most environments, and most drivers think they rule the road. Ouch! Great for open-air playing, bad idea for small enclosed spaces, is all I'm sayin'.

Anyway, I also biked a bunch this weekend (thanks, V-ron, for the loaner!) and did not die the thousand weak-lunged deaths I had anticipated. I need a bike better suited to my frame (and a cut-away seat to protect my 'taint and boy bits), but once I move downtown I think I'm going to turn into one of those bike people. Great exercise, good fun, and I'm getting more and more anti-gasoline whenever possible.

Going up to see the 'rents sometime this week for a pre-Father's Day visit. I'll be in Missouri for the National Audio Theatre Festivals on F-Day proper, so I'm preemptively visiting. Also, my dad has a bike he hasn't ridden in years. He got it post-heart surgery but never really took to it. I'm betting he'll let me take it off his hands. I have a symbiotic relationship with my parents, obviously.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Thieves! Tricksy! False!

So I finally bought more seed for my ginormous bird feeder-plex, and there was much rejoicing among the local avain population. I have to use sunflower seed (or larger, although that's the biggest I've seen available so far) because otherwise it falls through the mesh. Woodpeckers, cardinals, chickadees, goldfinches, nuthatches, titmice, robins -- I have even noticed some lovely indigo buntings, although not so much around the feeder. They tend to hang out near the honeysuckle bush (I'm pretty sure that's what it is) in the driveway.

Apparently the local squirrels and raccoons think I'm feeding them as well! I saw a brazen li'l 'coon rooting around the base of the feeder this morning, and yesterday watched a squirrel climb very gingerly down a long limb toward the top of the feeder -- probably hoping to pounce on it from above banzai-fashion. Unfortunately, he thought better of it. I was hoping to watch him Wile E. Coyote himself into the pole and slide down with a wounded squeak. No way could he have jumped that far that accurately, for he was yer regular garden-variety chunk-style brown squirrel, not one of those winged Rocky types.

Regardless, I'm down at least a pound or so of seed and I know the birdies haven't eaten that much. I'll probably just move the feeder closer to the house, which will be nice anyway.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Older ladies love me...

because I (apparently) am the only person in the building acquainted with the dishwasher in the breakroom and I am not afraid to use it. Also because their spouses seem to be, shall we say, lacking in that area?

"You need to come home and show my husband how to use that thing." (That's a direct quote btw.)

Aw, honey, my mad cleaning skillz don't stop in the breakroom. And I do windows....

Just asking for it.

If you've something to get off your chest, O Lurkers, just come right on out with it. You're not likely to hurt my feelers as much as you think, unless that's your intention, in which case I'll probably laugh at you. I'm not likely to respond (or at least not in the manner to which you are accustomed from your humble narrator) -- but as I said, better out than in.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Found Notes (mine)

"I wish I could stop meeting people I already know." (December 12, 2002)

"Why can’t you be normal? No, not normal. I mean happy. Not that there’s anything wrong with being unhappy. Just not all the time. You know, like normal people?" (August 2005)

"People are better than coming.
They last longer." (June 2005)

"A pair of vultures hanging like wet rags" (December 25, 2002)

The
Word
was God
then He made
all the editors
such as the lungs, tongue, teeth, lips, eyes
(April 18, 2006)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I'm a stalker?

I don't know. If info (including pix) on someone is publicly available online, and it only takes a couple of clicks to get to it, is that really stalking? I always thought stalking involved staking out someone's house and watching them though binoculars, or waiting till they're distracted and stealing underwear from their laundromat dryer, then pasting it lovingly into a scrapbook next to some saved hair, newspaper clippings, and their movie ticket stub you dug out of the trash.

I guess I'm old school about it. Not that I have a scrapbook or anything.
Oh well. Color me creepy.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Zen and the Art of Lawn Care

Tonight, I mow. I have a fairly sizable yard these days and it's lumpy as hell, but I also have a kick-ass mower that is now not too stuttery, so it won't be too bad. A friend (actually the guy I tutor) helped me get it up to speed. It had been left outside all winter -- not a huge problem. Actually it was partially covered, and I've used older, less-well-maintained mowers that had been left almost entirely to the elements. But upon inspection this spring, I noticed that it had no oil cap. Oh. That's not good. But new oil, new gas, and a bit of Stone Temple Pilot gas treatment and it seems to be none the worse for wear. Go Briggs & Stratton!

I'm debating taking a li'l trip with my violinist lady friend to San Francisco in July. It will be hard on the heels of radio theatre camp, and my finances, while mostly fluid these days, are still in recovery -- so I'm a little up in the air about it, for some reason. I should just buy a ticket and take a ride; I know it'll be a blast, she's really fun, and I don't know when the opportunity will come again. Plus, I decided not to go to Europe these past few months to see my au pair friend (and oh yeah, my sister) due to extremely tight finances and general (somewhat irrational, somewhat justified) uneasiness with oveseas travel, but she's now coming back (friend not sister), so it's not even an issue. More ruminating.

I am definitely moving in with Mr. Man in August (I think I mentioned that already) mostly in order to kick my credit card debt in the balls, get my own credit rating back up to something respectable, pay off my truck and some friends/family to whom I owe money, and then buy a house in a year or two. Probably. Or sell everything I own, buy an RV, and wander the earth like motherfucking Cain from Kung Fu. Buy! Buy! Sell! Sell! I'm also reconsidering an MFA in whatever writing program in whatever state will have me. Probably the house thing, though, but you never know. By then I'll likely know where: in B-ton, near town, out of state, out of US, other, &tc. Depending on how things fall at work, I could wind up anywhere. I'm highly unmotivated to make long-range plans at the moment, thanks. A few months ahead at a time is just fine by me.

Refi on the house is not going well. bleah. I really hope she can make it work. It's weird but I think I'd actually feel doubly defeated if she has to sell. But only for a short time. The lesson I take from this is not to let material possessions dictate my path, which is why I want to get out from under as much of my debt as possible, stay in town and drive less, and continue working my various nets of peeps. The money, obviously, is never enough and it never lasts. Neither do people, but I think I get more out of them in the long run. Don't you? Hope it's mutual.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Dark clouds, then it rains, then it stops. Repeat.

Bad mojo at work. Could be real bad.

My ex continues attempts to refinance. One lender has denied her credit (that I know of; unfortunately, I have to request progress updates now). She continues to submit applications. How long is this going to go on? I think I may need to seek legal counsel. *shudder*

I'm trying to get my rental co. to give me an extra 10 days to move out. Otherwise, I may be homeless for a while. Mr. Man can be somewhat flexible, but hey, I'm just trying to catch a break here.

Book tour is winding down. The crowds seem to be either large and lively or ... practically if not literally nonexistent. I'm actually starting to get a little weary of reading my "set" and am ready to start ramping up new pieces. And possibly a new manuscript. I've already been ruminating and adding new poems here and there. Also, Kyle Quass wants to collaborate on some music/poetry tracks this summer. And y violinist lady friend has asked me to write something she can score. w00t!

Got back from a poorly attended reading last night in Indy and buried myself in my own paperwork and mixing a CD for myself. Stayed up way too late but my files! My precious files!

Good friend's wedding Sunday. Guaranteed weirdness. Schisms within schisms, and fortunately, the latest drama of them all doesn't even involve me! I think I'm going stag, unfortunately, but I also think it'll be a blast to sit back and watch everyone be dysfunctionally polite, myself included. I'll be interested to see if anyone talks to me, too. A couple I know has promised (well, she did anyway) to say hello. I'm blessed!
/sarcasm.

Slam tonight. Taking a friend out tomorrow to get his ass drunk in honor of his 30th birthday. That is all.

Friday, May 12, 2006

To My Legion of Lurkers

I know you’re out there ... hi!

In alphabetical order:

Big Brother: Fuck you. Fuck you in your narrow-minded ear hole till your head falls off, then fuck the stump. There’s enough discord in the world without you spreading it like mayo on a bunch of bologna.

Holly: Good luck in France! I’ve always thought you are amazing. The cyclist bod is very becoming, too, and accessorizes well with your big brain.

Puddin’ Skin: The book/tour had been on the horizon for at least a year, but it came together at just the right time. Thanks for “saving my life through poetry.”

Scott and Elizabeth: We should do dinner or something sometime. I like you guys but never get to hang out with you much at parties and whatnot.

Shelly: If you’re out there, thanks for the kind words about my sorry patriarchal ass. Cold comfort now. Actually, no comfort, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

Violinist Lady Friend: My favorite so far is maritime.


Anybody else? Huh? You want a piece of this? Speak!

p.s. I'm reading in Louisville tonight.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

This Subject Line Is Seven Words Long

Not much new to report. I wrote 34 poems in April for a National Poetry Month project, wherein I was "required" to write a poem a day. Not a big deal for some, but I tend to squeeze out posey slowly, with a lot more rumination involved. All in all a fun project/diversion and pretty productive, too. Can't say I'll keep it up, but I may do it again in October (as a friend proposed) and I may give myself a weekly instead of daily quota to fill henceforth. I find having deadlines is a good thing for me.

Speaking of deadlines, I just this morning signed a new quit-claim deed so my ex can refinance the house and get me the hell off the mortgage(s). Pretty stellar news there. Hopefully that process is just a matter of time/paperwork now.

This weekend I'm doing two readings, one in Muncie and one in Indy. The Indy reading (at the Chatterbox Jazz Club) is already almost a guaranteed SRO show. It's a small jazz club downtown and it has a good following already. Twenty people and the place feels packed, so I'm looking forward to that. I am most likely going to collaborate with trumpeter Kyle Quass on a piece as well. The Muncie show I'm a little more uncertain about. Joe, who is reading with me, says the 10 or so friends he has in Muntucky are now backing out to go instead to some "wedding shower" (a co-ed "party" wherein the bride gets more gifts ... wtf?). The whole reason we are reading in Muncie, and this weekend in particular, is so his friends, who have never made it down to B-ton for a reading, can come see him. Guh!

Eh, it'll be fine. Unfortunately, I don't really have a following in Munsee. I've invited a couple folks but the few friends I had I don't think want to talk to me anymore, that I know of. But I'm not bitter. I'm crunchy on the outside and I have a creamy middle.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Firing On All Cylinders

Spring continues to be springlike. These cool nights have been great. Have not found any morels yet, but I’ve only been hunting once, and it was too hot/dry that day.

It’s not official but I am most likely moving in with Mr. Man in August. The offer came most propitiously: I’d not found a new single dwelling yet and had been saying that something would just fall in my lap soon. Ta-da! I like MR, love the house, LOVE the location, and would absolutely love to save money by sharing living expenses. I owe people money -- not just my credit card peeps but real, helpful people -- and, well, I cherish my kneecaps. Sure, having my own house is preferred, but if I save money for a year or two, maybe then I can buy a place of my own. How sweet would that be?

My ex seems to have found a mortgage company that will refinance our house in her name only. That’s a big weight potentially off my mind. I’ll breathe easier when it’s a signed deal, but this is good progress regardless.

My violinist lady friend and I are getting along swimmingly. She’s a peach and a hottie. Sushi tonight with her and some of her friends.

The Big East Leg of the book tour was fun and weird, just how I like it. Erie, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland over a four-day weekend. My livejournal has all the details if you wanna check it out. Next weekend I’m reading at the Blue Bottle Café in Muncie, and the Chatterbox Jazz Club in Indy with musical accompaniment by Kyle Quass.

Work is going well on all fronts. I’m finishing up a freelance chapbook this weekend (and collecting payment -- w00t!); my other, steady freelance gig claims the next issue will be an “easy one” -- but I’ll believe that when I see it; and my day job is just humming right along. We rearranged office furniture so things are much more ergonomically sound and the Terrible Two are much less snarkier for the nonce.

In late June I’m going to radio theatre camp for a week in severe south central Missouri. I’ll be co-directing live sound effects and teaching a couple of classes on performance of same. Paid gig, too, and a couple of good friends from B-tizzle are going as participants, so we’ll carpool most likely. A one-way eight-hour drive into the Ozarks is the suck, lemme tell ya. Also may hook up with my ex’s brother, who was the closest thing I ever had to a brother and whom I’ve not seen or heard from since the wedding. He’s like that, though. Hopefully he’ll still talk to me. Knowing Mark, I’d say yes.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mini-Update-ette

Health: I'd say I'm at 90% go! Phlegm is down. Voice tone is up. I'm sleeping like shit but hey, ROCK AND ROLL!

Weather: Lovely!

Past weekend: Hotcha!

Rent: I may be moving in with a longtime friend. MAY be. I have been enjoying a house all to myself. I would enjoy his location and splitting house expenses even more. Hmm.....

Last night: Played with my godchild and visited with her 'rents (long overdue). This begs the question, though: when one gets divorced, is one still a god "parent" or am I now the creepy old single god-uncle? How does that work?

House: Ex continues to drag feet and not communicate. The sleeping dragon is beginning to stir. He's been sleeping like shit anyway.

Tonight: I'm going to see Saul Williams (slam "founder" -- he really just made it more Hollywood; didn't actually start it) on campus. w00t!

Tour: I'm leaving ass-early Friday morning for the Big East Leg of my book tour: two readings Friday night in Erie, PA; one Saturday night in Pittsburgh; then Sunday night in Cleveland, and then home.

I plan to hunt morels with my violinist lady friend Monday when I get back, for it is her birthday, and there also shall be cake.

That is all.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

My Poor, Poor Dulcet Tones

I feel much better but the sickness seems to have turned into more of an allegry kind of thing now: eyeballs are hurty, phlegm factory working overtime, my voice is better but I can barely get any wind behind it, and -- lovely! -- I wake up this morning with a nice juicy sty in one eye. I think that's my body's way of expelling demons from every available orifice. "Hey, guys, here's a route we haven't tried yet: the eye holes! This way!"

Hot compresses have worked it down to a mere nub, and after hacking (and hacking and hacking) away into the sink, my phlegm count is back down to manageable. But Christ on a Danish, how am I supposed to read at my book release party tonight??? I sound like an asthmatic Peter Brady. I guess I'll just have to whisper it all into a mic emo-style.

Anyway, I took out all the storm windows and put in all my screens, so the house now has some ventilation. April is NOT supposed to be this warm. It is quite lovely other than that, though. And while they're dangerous and a little scary, these harsh storms lately are awesome. I'm a huge fan of inclimate weather in general. Plus, I am a heavy sleeper and I slept right through the tornado warning siren the other morning. So in my solipsistic world, I guess it never happened.

Hope to see some of you lurking fools tonight!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's springtime!

When a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of hubba hubba!

My interests also turn to things woodsy, although that's a little different this year, seeing's how I'm not living in the middle of the woods anymore. I still have trees and a surprising (but then not so surprising, considering their tenacity) quantity of wildlife, but far too much traffic. Still, I can see the moon and stars where I’m at and, as a friend pointed out last night, you can see them in town too. You just have to remember to look for them, and I do.

Anyway, morels. MORELS! I think I may have already missed the boat on wild shroom season this year. It's a delicate balance of cool (but not freezing) and damp (but not really wet) weather that really pops them out, and today it's supposed to be in the low 80s, which is really too warm. Still there is hope. I'm going to see about hunting around the yurt a friend owns but does not live in in Owen Co. Last I heard he had FIELDS of them out there but rarely hunts.

Speaking of wildlife, I was driving on the 46 bypass toward work this morning when a turkey flew overhead and between me and the dump truck a few car lengths behind me. Yes, turkeys fly, just poorly, not very gracefully, and low to the ground. There's been a lot of activity lately in Criderville (that stretch of "green" space along both sides of the new bypass, owned by Crider & Crider Construction). I've noticed quite a few roadkill deer lately, buzzards hanging out in my back yard (pleasant!), and now an early morning turkey flyby. Check your six, Frodo, they're scouring the Shire.

In other news, I broke up with C recently. Just wasn't working out between us. She's requiring far more commitment and other intangibles than I am able to ... uh, commit to right now. I’m not incapable! I just don’t wanna. I like her quite a bit actually, but the tangible sense of disappointment I had been grokking had really started to make me sour -- to question myself as a person. Nothing wrong with that! But I consider myself single, not just "divorced," and have done plenty plenty plenty navel-gazing self-eval over the past few months about that failed union. I'm not over it by any stretch, but I feel I'm ready to be over it, and want to be with someone (when I choose to be with someone) who is happy with me, not constantly questioning me and how I am or am not dealing with divorce and whether or not I am making or have made good decisions. Let’s just have a good time! Either you like me or you don't. I've already got a therapist, thanks.

That was cold. But it's true! I’m still inviting her to parties and whatnot, because I do like her and she really hit it off with some friends of mine. She’s just too much for me to handle on my own.

I have also been dating a woman I’ve had a crush on for sometime, and kismet finally brought us together. We just kept missing each other (one arriving at a party as the other was leaving, that kind of thing). It’s been nice, low-key, and easy! We’re still kind of in that getting-to-know-you stage, which is fun and weird and ultimately rewarding.

I’m in the midst of a BOOK TOUR to promote my first book of poems. It has been great so far and I’m only about 4 dates into a 20-date hitch. My voice currently is trashed from the sickness, so it’s good I don’t have a reading for another week. Otherwise, I feel pretty good; probably about 85% healthy, but my dulcet tones have turned to trailer trash. Actually I sound a little like Lauren Bacall or perhaps a sorority chick after a hard night of Jäger Bombs and too many Marlboro Lights.

Lastly, my Poem-a-Day project for National Poetry Month is back up to speed. Inspiration has been coming fast and furious, which is cool. Most writers worry about the time when they “run out of ideas.” I usually run out of time first.

I’ve been musing lately about Miklós Radnóti, a Hungarian poet John Pearson got me hooked on years ago. His story is very sad but ultimately uplifting, and his poetry is surreal but beautiful. One of my poems this month is about his wife exhuming his body and finding his last poems in his pocket.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Imminent Collapse ... Has Arrived!!!

I'm sick. I knew it was coming at some point, and it dropped on me out of nowhere like a ball-peen hammer of justice. I hosted a late brunch yesterday (more lunner than brunch actually but featuring breakfast foods), and the last person couldn't have been gone an hour before I collapsed on the couch in a fit of bleahh.

I took off work today, and slept till about 12:30 but feel like I need about 14 hours more. So I'm going to do a little more typing/surfing here at the library, then crawl back to my hidey-hole and lay down before I fall down.

I thought some air and sunlight would do me good. And in truth, my soul feels a little cleaner now. I had to do some personal dirty work post-brunch, and that went remarkably well but I was primed for it, so it was fairly painless for me. Staying home from work was a no-brainer; usually I agonize about those kinds of decisions, but I have the time to use. Besides, I am positive I'm sick at least partially because I haven't been treating myself so good. I mean I'm not necessarily abusing myself. My numbers are good: Drinking is down. Smoking is now social only, I think. Sleep is good but the hours are fewer. That last I think is the kicker. I'm not the stay-up-and-worry type; I just tend to oveschedule myself, often ridiculously so.

Taking it easy today seemed to be just what Dr. Tony ordered. I also could do with a little pleasure reading (kind of a rare treat) and am three poems behind on my poem-a-day project for this, National Poetry Month. So I drove downtown and parked, then walked up and down 4th Street and Kirkwood, laid shirtless in the new grass of Dunn Meadow and wrote a poem about John Lennon, then walked to the library for Innerwebby goodness but GOD DAMN do I feel like hammered shit. Better than being totally couch-bound I suppose but still.

SET FILTERS ON TMI
The sick is centered in the back of my throat, and my mucus membranes are working overtime to produce this thin, relatively clear crap that makes swallowing a real bitch. I think I'm going to try something OTC to try to nuke it. Perhaps ZICAM. I've also got metric ass-loads of fresh fruit in the house leftover from the brunch, plus many helping of biscuits and gravy -- comfort food of the gods, if the gods were from Greene County. I also have Shadow of the Vampire to get through, so my evening, she is set.
/TMI

Between the book tour, working as much OT as possible, finishing up a frelance project, my fabulous dating life, trying to tie up the last loose ends on my house/mortgage, trying to figure out where the hell I'll be in August, therapy, random sleeplessness, long road trips, counseling friends, etc., etc., etc., -- Oh, and let's DO NOT forget etc. -- imminent collapse into illness has been anticipated. My pace has been pretty relentless all of 2006. I've also been interacting with more people than I usually have in the past, and people, as we all know, are taxing and germy. So a little R&R is in order, and hopefully this ... this THING will abate before too long. 'Cuz tomorrow I have a poetry workshop, Wed I'm officiating a slam on campus for the Hip-Hop Congress, got a date after therapy on Thurs..........