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.