Thursday, December 30, 2004

Be quick.

offhand, this is what I have:
Jack be nimble.
Jack Sprat.
Jack Frost.
Jack and Jill.
Jack and the beanstalk.
Jack in the box.
Jack in the pulpit.
Jack in the green. (green jack)
Jack of all trades.

There's something in the name. Not just something, lots of things. From what I found it denotes either commonness (apparently a popular name of the early peasantry in Britain) or smallness (chips in gambling were called jacks, the smallest English coin was nicknamed jack, the small lower flag on ships was a jack--think Union Jack).

So, to my mind, it seems the perfect tag for the scruffy rural lads that dot the landscape of Nursery Rhyme. Luv-er-ly.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Scientists have spotted them using tools, you know.

They're coming.

Arrowing in at the house. Bombing cars and bus stops and baby strollers with their nitric shit. Bullying the local rodentia. Drowning out airborne neighbors with their advanced, raucous language.

I saw three scouts in different trees around the hospital and I'm sure they were employing some kind of triangulation.

You were the dull sound of sharp math when you were alive. Nobody's gonna play the harp when you die.

I can never explain it quite to full satisfaction, but before I forget forever:
The difference between successive perfect squares is always the next odd number.

por exemplar: The first six perfect squares are 0...1...4...9...16...25. The difference between 0 and 1 is one, between 1 and 4 is three, between 4 and 9 is five, between 9 and 16 is seven, between 16 and 25 is nine. And so on. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. Get it?

This from staring intently at a digital clock that read 1:49 a.m. Amazing what a bottle of shiraz, four hours of incessant chatter, and two godawful John Travolta movies will do to the mind.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

What's so funny?!?

In the ninth grade, I was in close competition with two students for our class's number one spot. The first kid was a quiet korean girl named Ai whose face has faded beneath the crush of the thirteen schools I attended and the thousands of students who attended them. The second was a Japanese boy named Joo who was my first real crush. Him I can still see clearly--four inches shorter than me in highwaters, his blue bookbag always wrinkling the shoulders of his neatly pressed polo shirts.

Despite true love (or perhaps because of it), I took this competition very seriously. Nothing is so important to a nerd as the battle for supremacy with other nerds. It's absolute gravity, however, was undercut by my mother's reaction when I informed her, with every bit of my teenage solemnity, of the bitter struggle.
"With who, dear?"
"Me, Joo and Ai."

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Please no gag gifts. It's such a waste of your money and my limited stores of humor.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Xmas miracle.

And there was in that country, a couple abiding in the lower apartment, keeping watch over their steadily dropping thermostat by night. And, lo, their landlady came home in the morn and their breath misted about them and they were sore cold. And the landlady said unto them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to you people. For unto you is brought this day in the city of Buffalo a savior, which is Gary the Grumpy Plumber. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find your new thermostat wrapped in clear plastic, lying with it's instructions. And it will be digital. " And suddenly, there was with the couple a tingling in the fingers and toes and the sweet warmth of praise welled within them. And they said, "Glory to Gary the Grumpy and peace to his Apprentice Bob who looks kindof like Seth from the OC and who one of us has a middling crush on."
And it came to be, as the landlady went off to work, that the couple said to one another, "Let us have our relatives come stay with us for the holidays and see this thing which is come to pass." And the relatives came with haste for this uncanny good cheer was not to be squandered.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


Yes, that's her name. No, I didn't make it up. But I could have written Marushka, or Gretchen, or Valparaiso and no one would have known the difference for all it's obscurity. Really, it's a Russian version of Frosty: a childless baba and her husband decide to make a little snow girl; snow girl becomes the light of their lives but, alas, melts away when the sun was hot one day.

I was not aware that it climbed much above freezing in that region. Really, what's the danger in having a snowbaby in a place where the blood runs thick and icy and the fingers are blue and a rosy cheek is the sign of either windburn or vodka? Perhaps it's a warning to those wishing to travel south. Insular bastards.

Friday, December 17, 2004


My run yesterday was cold and dry. It was also very windy. This meant that the salt the city had dumped in preparation for a storm that never came was ground beneath the midmorning traffic and propelled onto the air and into eyes, nose, and mouth. By run's end, my lungs felt cured. Not as in healed, as in ham.

thigh, anybody?

In a last ditch effort, I drew this. It's my silent appeal to the Muse and I'm hoping it works. I figured that if I catch my stagnated Self in ink and then offer it up, perhaps it will leave only crisp clean ideas and a willingness to work. I was going to put gilded horns on myself, walk me between two candles, and then roast me over a slow flame, but I figured this was symbolic enough.

I'm calling it Reverse Aboriginal.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"virtual particles and virtual unicorns" M.L.

When I see the word 'mitochondria' I automatically think of the homeworld of dancing telepathic trees. This, of course, falls in line with my untiring refusal to accept reality over fancy, and I consider it to be exceedingly charming of myself.

But this is even better. I recently came across a word in Act II of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty:

farandole-- a spirited circle dance of Provencal derivation

I love when this happens. It makes you appreciate your favorite authors all over again. The genius lies in the overlap, I'm guessing.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Pretty stones?

Things have not been going as planned. In one of my (increasingly frequent) fits of rage, I took a pair of scissors to my latest. All that's left of Hades' garden are some violently sheared leaves and a 3X3 inch bloody-necked sparrow that is intensely interested in nothing much at all.

This is the second casualty in as many weeks.

Though, in what I consider to be either a sign or divine mockery, I found myself, in the produce section of wegman's, face to face with an olympian pile of pomegranates. Very glad to learn that they are not striped at all. Misrepresentation averted, shame forestalled.

Friday, December 10, 2004

...don't mind if I do.

The voice in my head is pretty loud. So loud, in fact, that I'm sometimes left wondering if I've spoken aloud part of my internal dialougue. When this happens, I fall abruptly and guiltily silent. I dart looks around the room, as if by searching the corners I'll make out a vanishing trace of the culprit. I try to assess my vocal chords--do they feel like they've just been used? When I finally admit that I'm at a loss, I'll shrug with feigned uncaring and then pointedly say something out loud, completing what must surely look like the compulsive dance of a total nutjob.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Is there a dress code or something?

I recently accomplished something I never thought I would. After browsing the aisles of our local Cool Music Store, I selected my cds and walked to the counter. Now, the layman knows that a certain cautious reverence must be used in dealing with the cashiers at Such a Place. Only here do the rules of customer service hold no sway. You are the outsider, the unwelcome, and must approach these college-aged, bespectacled figures as a supplicant. So, eyes averted, careful not to brush his fingers when handing over my card, I waited tensely in front of The Boy, knowing my place.

But something happened right then. He handed me my bag over the printing receipt, looked up at me and, in the hushed tones of the initiated, said "Did you see G___ when they were last up here?". And this is where I took my chance. Rather than retreat and shrug, I put on my best gossip face. "No," I breathed in, "and I totally missed them when they were just in Pittsburgh". He made a soft sympathetic sound, but I was IN. He leaned forward, "Yeah, they played with M___. It was great of M__ to play here, too." Me: "Wow, I love M___".

And with that I proudly shouldered my new status and walked outside, grinning ear to ear.

Pass the pine nuts, if you will, Charles.

When I was a kid my favorite toy was a stuffed log house. It was inhabited by the Beavers and came complete with painted walls and windows and foodstuffs. The Beavers sat at wooden trestles and ate from acorn buckets. Swept with twig brooms. Dressed in suitably modest rural garb. Squeaked when pinched.
It was completely reasonable to four year old me that all animals went to such homes, donned similar clothes for sitting at their tables and finishing their chores.

The notion has never escaped me. I have since been wholly unable to represent our woodland friends participating in anything but the most urbane activities.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


there are just some things I can't wrap my mind around:

celtic knots
those godawful 'moto' commercials
whistling between my fingers
the greater than and less than signs
singing harmony to Weezer's "say it ain't so"

oh and forever and ever and ever. it just keeps going, for chrissakes.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Never turn your back.

Some things need constant attention. I've found that, if left to it's own devices for more than two days, a picture will always decide on mutiny.

I hold the in-laws directly responsible for the ochre-tinted mess that's sitting on my dining room table.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

...combed his hair with a wagon wheel.

I was recently at the edge of the world. It's at the tip of Vermont where a long gravel drive bottoms out at a snowmobile track and a redbearded Titan stands sentinel and grins, catching those that wander. His watchdogs are beavers and geese and his children are the eastern cousins of the Alaskan lights.
It's dangerous there. Not in the way you might think. But I kept feeling that at any moment the earth would crack in the brittle cold and I would fall upwards, past his frying pan hands, through the clouds and cutout trees.

The old gods still exist. They're just disguised in red leather Nascar coats.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Great cholera will sport with the planet.

The apartment's nightly fits are becoming more persistent.

On the plus side, my 4a.m. intrigues with magnetic poetry are yeilding some profound results.

...and you know that stuff takes forever to wash out of clothing.

While I've long since forgiven Alan Lee's theft of my befeathered, shaman-Merlin, I cannot so easily dismiss his collaboration with Peter Jackson. Interpretation of Tolkien should never have been left to a director that works in clay. His hamfistedness was only bound to rub off on his artists.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

"It'll take a miracle."

You learn at an early age that only the modest, fair-haired girls get the cool princes that used to be bears. Screw you, Rose Red. Screw your flaming cheeks and your courage and irreverance and general pluck. You get the leftover younger brother who wasnt interesting enough to attract the ire of Local Witch #47. And somehow, that's going to be enough for you.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Bovinity Divinity ©

it was a toss-up between jack and the cow. and the cow won, though narrowly--the ghosting of a furiously erased farmboy is still visible. but everyone likes cows, right?

I like cows. except those chocolate milk ones.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

we've got the land but they've got the view.

just so's everyone knows, modest mouse is on SNL this week. there's nothing in the world that matches the soggy melancholia that comes out of the puget sound area.

anime character drawings are the absolute funnest. one pen, one piece of cheap paper, a couple of lines, and lots of laughs.

Monday, November 08, 2004


I can see them struggling on the hilltop. braids being pulled, shins being kicked. a bucket goes flying, water and all, and in the mad dash for supremacy tragedy ensues.

Or maybe jack didnt have the sense to double-knot his shoe laces.

Friday, November 05, 2004

And was it furnished?

Keep her from what? A severe case of wanderlust? Did she stay overlong chatting with the old woman in the shoe? Have one too many drinks with the Crooked Man? Dance past bedtime on the far shores with Owl and Pussycat?

I always felt for her. Relegated to pacing sticky floors, peering out into a world framed by the same set of curtains. Was she allowed into the yard? Could she tend her garden? Her geese? I mean, she had to eat, right? Or did her absentee husband make gracious periodic visits? Maybe he brought her morsels. Curds and whey or leftover blackbird pie. Or did she have no interactions other than the brief glimpse of a passing piggy or dog or candlestick maker?

Or perhaps I'm being too forgiving of someone who was really just the Hester Prynne of Nurseryland.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Hey, that Werther's is good stuff.

Funny that a day called "all saints" always looks like a battlefied. Trampled yards, disemboweled pumpkins, and bleeding heaps of discarded gear all seem evidence of a merciless colorful horde. And what else could it be called? I found a stray piece of the hard candy we had been forced to give out after running low on hershey's minis. Obviously cast aside by some tyrannical chubby hand. I know it was just one of many casualties, but it felt personal.

the third installment of this picture. probably not the last. I have an odd obsession with exoskeletons.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

There is a green fairy that lives in the absinthe. It wants your soul.

...but you are safe with me.

remnants of a halloween prop that fell flat. along with the rest of the mina harker costume. a sure sign that my string of dark literary references is at an end.
screw it. next year I'm going as jem.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

rite of passage

I'm intrigued by what's involved in this transition. There's an important leap between "that lazy bastard Jones who never mows his lawn" and "Old Man Jones--he rides his tabby through the air and has shovels for hands, you know".

Happy full moon. It's sure to be all the more potent after the lunar eclipse.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

this one just came out of the swamp

It's been on the fridge for months. It started as the vehicle for simple remonstrance. Turns out that I just grin at it and pat my belly in warm piggy accord.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

curiouser and curiouser.

there was some kind of sub-aural humming going on at five this morning that wasnt the harley next door. I can't be sure, but I believe it was chatting with the bowels of our fridge. possibly consulting it on whether empty jars of orange marmalade actually exist.

Monday, October 25, 2004


the fates, moirai, maiden-mother-crone. many titles, one spooky trio. halloween appropriate.

Halloween 1