Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Roundhouse Kick to the Mind

And that's one down, three to go folks. I took the night off tonight, but I have a lot to do over the weekend. Two finals in 4 days. Barely any time in between. It's going to be a long week. The one day off until the grand-pop of them all: torts.

Every time I think about the test today I get nervous. And it's already over. The pressure leading into that thing was nuts.

And the car broke down on the way to the test (luckily it started again). And a fire alarm went off in the middle of the exam. Both were examples of that phenomenon where your brain attempts to deny reality. Where you actually say to yourself: "This can't be happening." I've had that feeling when I've gotten into a car accident or when I broke a window when I was a kid.

My civ pro prof, when asked about how in-depth any discussion should go, is fond of saying: "don't you want to fire every arrow in your quiver?" (Answer: Yes. Into you.)

I fired every arrow; I just hope I was firing at the right target.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Joon Bee

The first of many tests comes tomorrow, when I take my first final: my karate yellow belt test (yellow belt is the lowest class). What a way to start it off! I have a page of korean tae-kwon-do terminology I'm pretty shaky with, and the combat combinations and forms, which I am pretty good with. I should receive the belt.

Friday is when I face down civil procedure, and I have 3 hours to prove to the professor that I have mastered the course. Three days later: property. Two days after that: contracts. Then, with a nice five day break: torts.

That will leave a nice week and half or so before X-mas to get my resumes out for summer work... Then I fly to New Orleans for relief work.

But I get ahead of myself. Tomorrow is not friday or January or the summer. Tomorrow is tomorrow.

Tomorrow also happens to be the day I take the car to the dealer to have what looks like a major problem diagnosed. I feel strangely calm about it. Maybe the stressors are so insistent and ever-present that one more major stress barely makes a dent. I like to think that it is the result of stress management. After all, I know the law and I am prepared. I will do well on the exams or I won't. I will be able to afford the car repair or I won't.

Ooh, and then ever once in a while a wave of anxiety hits! The secret (for me) is to allow it to be there. To be alright with it, and to form an uneasy truce with it as a fairly natural outgrowth of heavy pressure and a part of my personality. No need to fight it. It's going to happen regardless, and better to be aware of it than repress it I think.

Joon bee means prepare/ready, BTW.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

In Sight

It seems like last week that I started classes at this crazy law school place. Now there is one month till finals, and the tension is beginning to mount. Clearly I have some sort of attraction to high-stress living. First theater, now this.

One month to go means reviewing is becoming far more important than the current reading. It means people are beginning to measure themselves against each other. Not in the manner that took place the frst couple weeks: how do I stack up overall. Now it takes place in the much more limited context of: How much do you know. It's a disconcerting place to be in. Because the amount of material is almost endless. And the professors act like you're just fucking around and not even putting forth any effort if you aren't up on every detail. So it's hard not to feel under the gun sometimes. Pretty soon we're going to have to apply what we've taught ourselves in 3-hour essay tests that will determine our grades for the entire semester. Right. Brilliant.

The Havel fest is up and running and I have barely told anyone about it. My classmates keep threatening to show up. I wish they would.

I ran a 5k this past sunday. My legs are still sore. I looked back through this blog's archives and found that my time on sunday was almost identical to what I ran months ago in the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge. The difference is that the latest race, in Van Cortland Park was on amuch tougher, more hilly course. It felt good to get out there and do it. I've agreed to participate in a team race in a couple weeks. Maybe by then I won't be sore anymore.

Oh. I got a grade. Sort of. On my memorandum of law, which in final form is worth 40% of the grade, I got a 39 out of 40. So I think I have a decent grade locked up in Legal Writing, but there's no way to tell for sure what will come of it because the numbers are forced into a curve.

Poker tomorrow night. It'll be good for me to get my mind off things and focus on the bigger picture, like coming to terms with uncertainty and the gravity of avarice.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Havel Heaven

One would think Havel Heaven would be in the Czech Republic, but, in fact, it's right here in NYC, at the Ohio Theater and Brick Theater, in SoHo and Williamsburg, respectively.

Even Kathleen Turner's doing a performance for the fest. I have no idea what it is or if it's good, but she's famous, ergo, it's awesome.

In some seriousness, I was at the opening of Largo Desolato last night, and it is wicked clever and every second has been invested with meaning. The play was written by Havel after an imprisonment and long bout of writer's block. When the dam burst, Largo came bursting forth. The translation is from Tom Stoppard, arguably the greatest living English-language playwright. Havel and Stoppard are a great match, and big ideas vie for control of the stage with patent absurdity.

I swear I would be this geeked about it even if I weren't part of the creative team. But I am and I am damned proud of this one. If you are in the area, you should come see it. If you are not in the area, well, I suppose you'll have to make do as best you can.

Largo Desolato at Untitled Theater Co. #61's Havel Festival.

Suck on that Noam.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bottomlessness, endlessness.

The things that most frighten me are also things I badly want. No choice is ever the final choice.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Time Out

I have become that dreaded person who leaves his blog fallow for month-long stretches. It feels like it hasn't been too long since last I posted, but I'm sure it has.

Update: legal writing is a real ass-kicker. Take everything you've ever learned about writing and forget it. Pretend you're writing again for the first time. Accept the rigidity and simplification. 1-2-3, a-b-c. That's all. Too much byzantine thought and language flops onto the page when I write, so it's a real struggle. 'Salright; I 'm starting to get it right, and I think I'll end up ahead of the curve in the class. (Gotta keep that scholarship!)

Then there are the rest of my classes. Hard to believe that so much time has passed already. Similarly hard to believe there's still so much time left in this semester, year, school.

Football fans may be excited that they can watch football now. Yankee fans should likewise be excited about being able to watch football.

Being the natural athletes that we all are, my classmates and I have started a running football game every friday, after that maze of subject matter jurisdiction, the erie doctrine and permissive cross-claims that is called civil procedure. Thank God it's only 1 semester. The class, not the games. We're actually improving as players, managing to execute some plays successfully. In week 2 I had 2 TD catches and last week I had 1. Sweet. Still waiting on my first INT, but I'll try to report on it here ASAP. After the first two games, I was sore for days afterwards, but after game 3, I barely felt it the next day. So my muscles must be adjusting.

Rutgers football is undefeated, BTW, ranked 19th in the nation. WTF?

Oh, yeah, and I'm taking karate w/ the school's karate club. It just happens to fit my sked. Kyah!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

smarter, but

this law school gig is making me smarter, fo sho, but it's also making me a whole lot more tense. and tired. i am consistently punchy. as in, i am very tired and not thinking as clearly as i would like, and i also want to punch things.

this post is a prime example: you can attribute my failure to capitalize any letters two ways. 1. holding down the shift key is just too much effort. 2. it is an act of passive aggression; i suspect most people get slightly annoyed when they read text that is completely capsless. or maybe that's just me. and that leads to a third possibility: that it is an act of sado masochism.

i would venture all three have some validity.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

elder rage

Whence this anti-elderly aggression? Today, an elderly man pulls up beside me, zooming up behind the stopped car next to me, then jamming on his brakes. He powers down his window, and waits eagerly as I fiddle for the controls. I don't know what he's going to say, but I know I won't like it.

He tells me: "Turn on your lights. It's raining." He is a bit agitated. I roll my eyes and turn the lights on. He says: "It's the law!" I say "okay. Then, as he's rolling up his window, I blurt "Thanks, you old coot." His window is almost all the way up, and he waves me off, as if to say "No need to thank me. I'm just doing my job."

If he heard me, he pretended he didn't. At least part of me had hoped to provoke him further.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Good Fences Make What Again?

That defender of our nation's values, the House of Representatives, voted overwhelmingly today to construct a wall between the US and Mexico. They call it a fence. That should stop the terrorists from coming to America. I mean, that's how the 9/11 plotters got into the country, right? Maybe the "fence" will look something like the above. Maybe, in a hundred years, people will marvel at it, like other great and successful walls, like the Berlin Wall and the Great Wall of China.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Great God...

..Great Adventure is expensive. You can get discount tix online, and I got a kid in who was slightly over the max height allowed for a junior ticket, but it still ain't cheap. They jack you for ten dollars for parking (you can get premium parking for $20!), the food is expensive (though cheaper than at a ballgame), and every game costs a minimum of 3 dollars.

...Great Adventure is aggravating. The lines are brutal. For two of the crappiest coasters I rode yesterday, the lines were an hour and a half each. I spent most of the day waiting endlessly for thirty seconds that left me slightly queasy. (Then there is the food itself.)

...Great Adventure is trashy.

...Great Adventure is mercenary. They have a new speed-pass thing. You pay $50 for a little device, then $35 or so for every person who will use it. $85 for 2 people on top of the ticket price. The device allows its bearers to walk up to a ride, swipe their devices, and get a reservation time to return to the ride. This allows people to scoot right to the front, and wait for multiple rides at the same time. Meanwhile, the poor shmucks who have been waiting in line for two hours have to watch as their seats are usurped by saucy intruders. So us poor shmucks begin to think that maybe the $85 extra is worth it.

...that place is silly.

...El Toro, the new wooden roller coaster at GA is excellent. Hands down the best coaster I've ever been on. Terrifying, gut-wrenching, blindingly fast. You're delirious when you get off it. Your eyes shake, your legs tremble, and your adrenal gland is about ready to explode. There is nothing like a wooden coaster, and this coaster was like nothing I'd ever been on. Up to that point, I'd thought Nitro was the best I'd ever had, but El Toro made me a believer. Yes, it's a near-religious experience. The speed whipping around the corner just emptied my head, so that the only thing happening, in a sort of slow-motion, was Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Pluto? Never Heard of It.

Actually, I think I might have heard about an asteroid by that name. Or was it Kupier Object 1342 I was thinking of?

Either way, it can't be anything of consequence. What's the difference between one object which isn't able with its own gravitational force to be pulled into a hydrostatic equilibreum, and hasn't cleared the space around its orbit, and another?

It's all just space junk.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


There's a mystique about law school. It's well known that a student's 1L is supposed to be one of the hardest years of his or her life. One would think that this would be a result solely of the rigor of legal thinking and the imposition of coming to grips with a vast body of law. And that aspect is present.

However, I also feel like I've joined a cult. There is a sort of collective brainwashing as to the majesty of the law and the sacredness of authority. In the case of a school, of course, the present authority is the faculty. They are held out as demi-gods to the bewildered student. Law schools reinforce the feeling that, despite any backgroung in logic, reasoning, or even the law, one is in a strange and mystical world, by using the Socratic method. This method amounts to not telling students what they need to know, but instead forcing them to figure it out for themselves. So there is a double adjustment: immersion in a new subject matter, and the need to figure out exactly what one is supposed to be learning.

It's an incredibly inneficient way of teaching, but it's a great way to preserve the priesthood of lawyers. There is a ritualistic aspect to it. A hazing and a following of form for form's sake, in the somewhat blind belief that this form will instill in students the ability to "think like a lawyer."

There is little hope that law school pedagogy will ever return to earth. For one, once students pass through the fire, there is an enjoyment in seeing others pass through it. Two, students who are intitiate in the mysterious ways of the law would naturally be loathe to demystify it. It increases their prestige to be part of the priesthood.

There is much more to say on the subject and many have said similar and better things before me, so let me leave off with an example:

There is a student in my section who got called on the first day of classes. When you're on call, the prof sticks with you the whole class, needling you for more information, demanding specific answers If you don't know the answer, you are expected to figure it out on the spot. Well, for the next several days every professor called on this same student: put him on call and stayed with him. The laughs of fellow students grew louder each time, and each time, the profs have protested coincidence. In 4 classses of 90 people it is not coincidence that he has been singled out. It is undoubtedly planned. The reasons for it seem twofold: 1. I am sure the professors get a kick out of it. 2. It puts all students on warning. Never relax. You can be on call at any monent. The lesson of preparedness and attentiveness is important, no doubt, but it could be imparted with less deception.

It sounds like I'm having an awful time, but I actually love the subjects and and most of my profs are great. There are just these entrenched stupidities of the process that plead to be commented on.

Let me add, I am very tired.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Day One

Okay, so it was really just orientation BS. Speeches. A prayer! A panel discussion on ethics. The most interesting info I got was that one of our panel participants, a justice on the NY State Supreme Court, started her career as an opera singer.

Day 2, tomorrow, is when the work actually starts.

I'll also finally get back to the gym. Whew.

Puerto Rico was awesome. New Hampshire was also awesome, despite my contracting both a sunburn and scaley rash there.

More TK, I hope. If this blog falls fallow for the next year, forgive me.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


5 m. 44:11.

On Tuesday, I ran further than ever before: 5 miles. I don't have any desire at the moment to run any further than that, though faster is a goal. I can't imagine running a marathon. Just 5 miles put a soreness in my bones from the pounding. I've heard that marathons are terrible for the body, and I have felt why.

I will be even more remiss than usual in posting for the next couple of weeks. I have two separate vacations lined up, and then I begin law school. Tomorrow is my last day of work. It would be nice to meditate on the end of this period of my working life, but I don't know that I'll get to it tomorrow...

Bring on the White Mountains.
Bring on Puerto Rico!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Whaddya Know?

Am I the only who hasn't seen An Inconvenient Truth because I'm afraid I can't handle the horror of the ice caps disappearing and out of control weather? I guess that makes me an ostrich. Whether I pay attention or not, the future will arrive. Of course, by ignoring it, thinking it's other people's problem, thinking I'm doing as much as I can and laying the problem at Bush II's feet, I absolve myself. I don't think this is entirely irrational, but it is irrational not to watch a nonfiction film because I'm afraid the truth will be too much to bear.

Similarly, as the mideast plunges deeper and deeper into war and chaos, I mostly scan the headlines. "Israel Hints at Full-Scale Attack" and the like are enough for me. I glean that the situation is devolving by the second and leave it at that. Would knowing more about the situation help? Or would it just help me perform better in debates about whether such and such action is justified? Will I feel better or worse being fully informed? Is it always desirable to be fully informed?

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I just got off the treadmill not ten minutes ago. My face will be red for the next half hour or so. Because I did a one-day guest membership at the gym in the bulding, I had more time than usual for the treadmill.

4 miles. 34:18. Or, approx 8.6 mph. Not too bad.

I want to be able to do 5 miles at a clip when I work out so I can participate in more races. I could have done 5 today, but it would have really wiped me out... By January, I want to be doing 5 miles in 40 minutes. That's pretty reasonable, and I think would even put me in position to do longer races from time to time. If only my tweaked quad would fully heal...but it never will. I can feel it when I run and when I don't. As long as it doesn't stop me from working out, I'll live with it, even if it increases my recovery time a bit.

Weight-lifting-wise, I am looking forward to having access to the SJU fitness center. I've been hitting the weight room only 1-2 times a week for the past year, which has mostly maintained the modest gains I made before that, but I ain't getting any stronger. I'm looking to build the weight room and running into my class sked, so that it's like clockwork. If I set it down here, I hope I'll have that extra little bit of incentive.

Bench: 180x5
Incline: 140x5
Bicep Curl: 35x12
Tricep Pulldown: 60x10
Pullups: 10
Dips: 10x3

As of now, I max out around 150 on the bench, and need to stick to 30 and lower on the curls to keep the proper form. I can't do more than a few pullups and have always wanted to be able to rip a bunch off. And dips are just crazy good excercise.

These are the big ego excercises. I need to start recording my progress again. Withou logging this stuff, I feel like I get stuck in a rut and can't tell how much (if any) progress I'm making).

All right. Enough meat head stuff.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dictator in Chief

Across the country, people are suffering under the thumb of a cruel overlord. In the city, as they walk past the open doors of storefronts, lobbies, and loading docks, they are taunted with too-brief tastes of air-conditioned freedom. Even the breeze is unwelcome; abrading with flame, even in the shade.

Here in the city, we're forced into some contact with the heat. Most of us have to walk to/back from the subway, to work, to play, and we have to endure the airless ovens sometimes called subway platforms. In comparison, there are a fair amount of burban folks who only encounter the elements in the parking lot: at work, at the store, at home. Going from inddor garage to indoor garage, one could cut out contact with the outside air almost entirely. Maybe we're just preparing ourselves for a not-too-distant time when upper nineties are the norm. But city or suburb or country people who work in air conditioned offices and return to air conditioned homes have nothing on those who work outdoors. Construction workers, road crews, hot dog vendors, panhandlers, etc. They can't escape the heat. Imagine being a firefighter, having to wear all that gear in this heat, and then rushing into a burning building. Then there are the many without any AC at home. They can't afford it, or their building's wiring can't handle it. For them, it's a time of going to the movies and dropping by the Met, I guess.

I sometimes think: "How did people manage before the advent of air conditioning?" For one, many more people died during heat waves. I think a secondary explanation is that you can't long for what doesn't exist. And, if you never have AC, you may better acclimate to the heat over the course of the summer, instead of exposing yourself to large temperature swings.

Monday, July 10, 2006


I had a full weekend. Full enough even to update this neglected little journal of mine.

It started out well enough with a game of softball in which I inched closer to being able to pull the ball with power. As a Little Leaguer, I never really learned how to hit properly, and only swatted at the ball, unable to hit to left field. It took me some time of picking up a bat again as an adult to understand that I must pull the bat through the zone turn my hips to generate power, and turn my rists over as I swing through the ball. Unfortunately, though I know how to do it, and the ball is as big as a grapefruit, I usually ground out to the third baseman. One of these days, I'll hit it out to left. (I can hit it out to right no problem.)

I then toured prospect Park by bike with my Little Brother. We even hooked up with a couple kids he knew from school and rode the interior paths a bit with them, looking at a moss-covered pond. Not only that, but I taught them all how to skip rocks on the water. They were all impressed by my facility: I made a rock skip four times! These kids as well as a couple of girls we ran into posed the question to my little that I was grateful he had to answer: "Is he your dad?" Now my little is black and I am not, so I am clearly not his biological father, but I guess father is the likeliest supposition to a child who sees an adult playing with a kid. In the case of the girls, they pressed him long enough that he was forced to admit that his father was in prison. "He's filling in for my dad," was my Little's formulation. I was both a little proud and a little discomfited by this statement because I am so conscious of not interfering with the father/son bond, even if they are separated by prison. With the two boys we rode around with I stepped in to say "I'm just a friend." Once again, when I had to bring the day's activities to a close, my Little became petulant, saying "It's not fair." I try not to become irritated with him for acting out a bit (he usually sees whether he can push me to stay longer by lagging behind or some such), remembering how valid "it's not fair" seemed to me when I was young, and how frustrated it made me when I received the reply: "life isn't fair." True but cruel, I guess. He said to me before I left him at his door: "I hate my life, it's so boring." He feels restricted at home and when we go out and have fun together I think the contrast between the undifferentiated days that make up most of his life and what he knows is possible becomes difficult to bear.

That's a lot of space and only half a day. Plus, we saw Nacho Libre, which was almost too much fun to bear.

I feel unequal to the task of discussing in-depth the loss of my front wheel for my bike (which I left next to my car), the endless driving I did that evening to try to recover more than one lost item, or the hike I took with my father the next day.

So I will end simply by saying that I cannot imagine the pain of having a father who will be in jail most of my life, though I can imagine a lot of pain.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Cut to the Quick

I finally got a haircut. It feels so good to have summer hair again. Sometimes I wish I was bald so I wouldn't have to get haircuts anymore. That would be a relief. Every time I have to get a haircut, I keep forgetting for like a month, and then when I go I feel stupid becuase I I don't know how my hair's supposed to go. Today the lady asked me if I just wanted a buzzcut and I said sure and she was done in like five minutes.

I'm pretty itchy now, though. She didn't use the hairdryer like sometimes they do to blow the hair off my neck.

I think I'll go back there maybe pretty soon. The lady who cut my hair would sort of press up against me when she was cutting my hair, and it was kind of like what I imagine having a girlfriend feels like. But I won't ask her out or anything. I'll just call and make an appointment with the card she gave me, and just get a haircut.

Plus, since it's Supercuts, if I go there 8 times, I get one haircut for free, which is a pretty good deal, really.

I hoe everyone who reads this is doing real good. Things are just the same as usual, but I actually feel better than usual today. It's probably because when you get a haircut, you almost look like a different person. Even Vijay said looking good there Glen when he saw my haircut.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Have you seen the trailers and posters for Adam Sandler's latest turd, Click?

What an original idea! A remote control that lets you control life! That would be incredible. You could prevent fights with your wife, take revenge on your tormentors and watch breasts bouncing in slow mo. This I've learned from the commercials. I'm guessing this magical remote will also help him reconnect with his family and learn an important lesson of life. In the end, he won't need the remote, becuase he'll be able to value what he has.

If the whole disaster wasn't frightening enough, Chris Walken has further marginalized himself by playing Christopher Lloyd playing a mad scientist.

Is this really the best you can do people? A fifth grader could have written this film!

If anyone sees it, please file a report. I, for one, will stay in and watch Punch Drunk Love.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Healthy Suspicion

Just a little question in lieu of a full-fledged post:

When did the pronunciation of diabetes change?

All my life, I had thought people were afflicted with something pronounced "die-uh-bee-tees".

Now, commercials tell me, there are new products available to treat "die-uh-bee-tiss".

All I want to know is "why"? Unlike other words, such as "Uranus" that have had their pronunciations shifted intentionally, I can deduce no reason for this seemingly artificial change. Have there always been two pronunciations? Is it a regional thing?

I don't know why, but every time a certain radio commercial promises relief from "die-uh-be-tiss", I cringe.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Always Later

Well, I guess I should of wrote sooner, but I don't know, nothing's really happened. It's the same thing. you know. I go to work, Vijay yells at me, I try to be nice to people and do a good job, I come home and watch TV or sometimes make a model or something. I was thinking, it would be grate if I could get a job doing that, but I'm prolly not good enough at it reall. Because I've seen some models that some people have done that are perfect, like just like the real thing. I can't do that, but I am pretty good at it.

I don't go by the JetStop. I'm too embarrassed. I don;t think I'll ever find anyone who likes me.

I haven't been sleeping to good. I don't know what's the matter. I feel really tired, and I go to bed, and then I can;t stop thinking about the station and the JetStop and my car, and just a lot of stupid stuff that doesn;t even matter. It makes me mad because none of the stuff is really important even, but it stops me from falling asleep. I was even late to work last week. I hate being late.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


If exuberance is good and drunkenness is exuberance, I have, in my youth, had more than enough positivity for a lifetime.

If madness is bad and chaos is madness, I had, before I knew words, enough negativity for a lifetime.

If boredom is bad and equanimity is boredom, the rest of my life looks plain.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Garden to Garden

More than one person has helpfully told me that moving is widely regarded as one of the most stressful of life's major events. Which actually makes me feel a little better about going nuts over the upcoming move.

I have been in my present location for longer than any other place I've ever lived by more than double. Before this seven-year stretch in Carroll Gardens, I had never lived anywhere longer than three years. Now, I'm having to say goodbye to a home that has been a comfort and haven to me. I find myself missing the smell of the place (when trash or kitty litter are not dominant) in advance of the move. I have been packing things into boxes, taking down a comic mural I had done years ago, and thrusting the place into a chaos I realized last night it would never recover from.

It is actually a bit hard for me to accept that already the chance to see the apartment as it has been for my years there has passed me by. Beginning packing didn't seem like a big thing and before I knew it, the apartment didn't look so much like home anymore.

It honestly makes me a little heartsick. I sat on my stoop for a while last night after taking out load after load of junk, soaking up the street that has been mine for so long. The trees, the brownstones and stoops, the quiet.

Kew Gardens will be something new. It's a wonderful neighborhood and a great apartment. But I am going to miss you sorely Carroll Gardens.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Never move. Ever. Never. Seriously, it's not worth it. It's too difficult. Too stressful.

I need a pill.

Two nights ago (or was it three?), as I was driving home from my second painting session of the day, thinking about all that remains to be done, about money, about the rattling can sound emerging from the engine when I depressed the clutch and taking the car to the shop, and about finances again.

It was two or three o'clock, and as I passed through the industrial area around the Gowanus Canal, I spotted a stray dog sniffing around some trash. I knew he was a stray because he was a little unkempt, but mostly because he gave me a long, searching, pleading look. He looked lost, scared, and hungry.

I thought about what to do. I couldn't bring it back to my apartment. Neither my wife nor cats would appreciate it. (She would understand, but the cats would not.) I couldn't bring it to the new apartment. My cell phone was dead, so I headed home not too far away to call 311 and find out if there was a 24-hour stray intake center somewhere in the city. I did, and there wasn't.

So, I really had to face it. I hopped back in the ailing car and headed over to where I last saw the dog. I drove around and couldn't find it at first. It wasn't too long before I found him less than a block away from the original spot. He gave me that same look. I parked the car and got out, not knowing what I would do with this dog until I could turn him over at 8:00 AM, but I couldn't face the thought of him being alone and maybe being hit by a car. He didn't approach me; in fact, looked away at the nearest trash. I whistled and got his attention, but when I took a step toward him, he took a step away, clearly afraid of me. I wasn't all that close: maybe 15 feet. I bent over and offered him my hand. He stared, wary, unsure what to make of this. I held it, and he decided I was not a good risk, turning and trotting away, across the street. I got back in the car and followed as as he headed into an alley lined by warehouses.

I lost him shortly as he hid among some parked tractor trailers. I drove slowly by, spotted a huge rat, never got back out of the car, accepted that I wouldn't be able to catch him, and was relieved to be absolved.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mannequin Manque

First, my apologies. To my few readers, I must excuse myself because I have been very preoccupied of late. I have been hunting for an apartment, which, having signed a lease, I have been spending every free second painting, cleaning, and bug proofing. It's a great place, great price, great location, but apartment building appears to have a little roach problem. (To think I've made it all these years in the big city without confronting this.) Any advice on how best to extermin the vermin would be appreciated.

Second, and more to the point of the title: at what point did all mannequins become headless? I noticed today as I walked by a bunch of storefronts that nary a one employed dummies with anything above the neck. Some go so far as to sever all appendages, leaving a disembodied torso to model the clothing. And the prevailing color is grey. I presume the idea is so that consumers are not distracted form the product. It is effective, because the oddity of these partial bodies never quite struck me before. In fact, it was one in a different position thatn the others that made me aware. Something about a jaunty young mannequin sitting on the ground, leaning back on one are, one leg stretched out, the other bent, sporting a Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts, and minus a head, was very very odd; much more disturbing somehow than the others. Though maybe the strangest I saw was a trunk-only model that actually hung from a clothing rack by a hook that emerged from its neck. It looked like something out of a horror movie. I don't object as much to the erect-nipple mannequin phenomenon, but I also am not sure I like having making a sexual association to an off-white torso propped up on a metal stand.

Speaking of truncation, when there is something especially stressful or difficult, I tend to obsess over it. I focus exclusively on it and am unable to take pleasure in much else. This is not good for me and I know it, but very hard to avoid. I tend to think that by thinking about something every second of the day, I will move more steadily toward a solution, though very often, a little time off would make the work go more smoothly.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Men in Charge

I normally leave politics to those better qualified, but I feel compelled to discuss a couple things here.

First, the Bush crew is doing a wonderful job pumping up military spending while slashing taxes, which is in line with the conservative strategy of starving the beast. If they force the government into fiscal crisis, programs will be slashed. In their sights are medicare, social security, arts funding (abysmally funded as is), and public schools. It's an underhanded plan being executed in plain sight, and we are accepting it.

I lately have been satisfied with the fact that GWB is a lame duck with the worst approval ratings in modern times. However, as I watch the illegal immigrant issue get more and more play, I realize how dangerous he and his cronies are. The repubs are set for a big fall in the midterm elections unless they can scare the tar out of the country again. The war in Iraq is no longer doing it for them, but illegal immigrants stealing their jobs sure can. Watch how fast this issue dies after November. They're doing it with Iran, too. The buildup has mirrored the buildup to Iraq with such eerie similarity that I'm afraid it just might work. I wouldn't have thought they'd get away with the same lame PR con job twice in a row while still wallowing in the mess they've made of Iraq. Now, I'm not so sure. How about the US renounces its WMDs and stops supporting brutal and repressive regimes? That would be huge step toward democracy in the middle east and the world over.

Finally, just a quick note on the warmed over subject of Stephen Colbert. The day after the NY Times and other papers justifiably caught flack for not mentioning his performance, while dutifully covering the rest of it. So, the Times followed, two days later with a snarky little puff piece about the effect of Colbert's performance on the blogosphere. The article mentioned that the Times had failed to cover it, but dismissed its omission with the claim that the routine wasn't very funny. Well, I thought it was fairly funny (except for the video segment), but its lack of humor value is not why it didn't get covered. It failed to get press because his harshest and most apt criticisms were aimed at the press corps for being so cowardly and uncurious in its approach to the White House. He called them out and they petulantly and unprofessionally decided that they didn't think it was very funny and refused to cover it. Well, Colbert got the last laugh judging from the unprecedented volume of downloads the clip generated.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

In the Desert

I returned from CA at dawn yesterday from my first prolonged encounter with the desert. A friend just wrote me saying that the desert always made him feel small. I can understand that. The scale of the thing is just enormous. And one of the feelings I always seem to get from wilderness trips is a sense of perspective. Backpacking reduces life to its essentials: food and shelter. Sadly, it's usually missing a third essential: sex. (Insert Brokeback Mountain joke here.) We do cheat on the essentials by using all sorts of fancy gear, but we don't get much practice at this type of stuff. And while food becomes one of the main focuses of the day, we certainly don't catch it ourselves. That involves skill way beyond what I posses, and I can't imagine the lengths one would have to go to in the desert (catching a jackrabbit would be a good, if very difficult, start).

But I digress. I can see how the desert could make one feel small, but what struck me most about it was its stillness. We were there during wildflower season: at what seemed to be the peak of plantlife in the area. Still, while the calls of birds were common, missing was the rustling of trees. Nothing had leaves. All was spiny, thin, lacking in much surface area. There was wind, but the overall effect was one of almost overwhelming quiet. Every sound seemed to stand out in isolation. And the sun and heat being what it is, moving quickly is often not a good idea. For much of the day, there is no shade, and the animals seek shelter from the sun. Even the lizards and snakes, who sun themselves for energy, retreat under rocks during the hottest part of the day.

I learned the wisdom of this on our second day, a day in which we gained somewhere approaching 1,000 ft. in elevation. We started the morning with an unencumbered hike further down the trail, then returned to wait out the worst of the day in our tents. 2:00 seemed like a fair time to head out. But the two hours or so it took to make the climb under the unrelenting sun sapped me like nothing I've quite experienced before. When we reached the plateau and had finished climbing, I felt as if I had lost a good deal of my lung capacity. I couldn't breathe too deeply without coughing, and I felt flushed and dehydrated. I drank water greedily. It was another few hours, after the sun's power had begun to wane, and after I had sat in the shade of a massive granite boulder group and slugged down nearly two liters of water, that I began to feel better. Still, I felt somewhat asthmatic until the next day.

Which is to say that I think my discovery on this trip (one which some might call self evident) is that the desert does not reward frantic effort. It is a place of waiting. Slowness, stillness. And whether the heat, the constant sunlight or all the sand in the air and in my lungs were responsible for my condition, had I followed the example of the animals that live in the desert, I might have been slightly more comfortable.

I make it sound like I had some kind of gruelling time. I actually loved it. I enjoyed the conversation, the scenery was the best I've seen since I camped in the Sierras, and sleeping under the stars without a tent or hordes of insects to bother me was incredible. The night sky is not something I get to appreciate often here in NYC.

We did well, all in all. We carried in 10-12 liters of water each and used almost all of it. I don't think a trip much longer than 2 days/2 nights would be feasible. After all, I don;t relish the idea of carrying more than 12 liters of water. And we did not see a single drip of water while we were out there. It is, after all, a desert.

Animals seen:
newts (or something like them)
larger lizards of unspecified species
horny toad
a few other birds I can't name
a snake (smallish. can't remember the name)

Flies large and small
Red ants (whether fire ants or not, I don't know. What I do know is that I was not happy to pick up my pack to discover I had set it down on a red ant hill and that it was now crawling with ants)
A tick (happily not in my vicinity)

Not Spotted:
Coyotes (though their tracks were evident in several places)
Gila monsters

High Temperature: around 85
Low: around 50

Monday, April 24, 2006

The 9-Minute Mile

382. 28:11. 9:04.

That's my line from the Lincoln Tunnel 5K. 382nd place out of 1150. 28 minutes, 11 seconds to completion. 9.07-minute mile.

I made it under 30, so that's something to be proud of, though I think I could have shaved a minute or so off my time had I paced myself better. The tunnel is a long dip, so that the 1st quarter is downhill, the second uphill, then, on the way back, the third quarter is downhill, and the fourth is uphill. Not wanting to run too quickly and crap out before the end, thus having to suffer the shame of walking, I made sure I kept something in reserve so that I could spend it all with an all out sprint at the end. This may be an okay strategy for a flat race or one that ends in a downhill, but saving that energy for an uphill was not te best. It takes that much more kick ot try to accelerate uphill. Had I really flown down the 3rd quarter of the race and dogged it to the finish, I would have improved my time.

On the drive home, my legs were all shaky. I had jelly-leg for the next couple hours, and today am sore as sore can be. So I ran as hard as I could, and of that I am glad. Now I have to plan my next racing adventure. But first on the agenda is Joshua Tree, CA, Thursday through Sunday.

I will post pictures.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

An Open Apology

To all the pedestrians crossing lawfully in the crosswalk who I have terrified, I apologize. I try to convince myself that cycling to work on the city streets is a healthful, pleasant way to get to work. And while it's true that it has its benefits, it is a stressful undertaking. A cyclist has to constantly avoid death by motor vehicle. One must always assume that the cars, trucvks and vans of the road either do not see you or do not care if they hit you. It is an exceptional ride when some driver dies not at least give you a mile terror.

Unfortunately, I all too often turn this aggression to pedestrians. Like the abused boy who beats his dog, I berate unwary pedestrians wandering into bike lanes or jaywalking. And I am impatient. I do not like to stop at all. Momentum is king, and the ride is the best at top speed. But I have gotten too aggressive I fear, zooming through crosswalks when pedestrians are moving through, unaware. I have little empathy when I startle someone who does not have the right of way, and I should maybe have a little more compassion for people who are behaving much like myself when I am on foot. But I should be especially careful not to interfere with people legally crossing the street. I know I am not going to hit any pedestrians, but I forget how startling it can be to have a cyclist race by you within inches when you are not expecting it. By zooming through crosswalks and buzzing people, I am not merely being rude, but giving all cyclists a bad name, and earning the hate so many pedestrians have for us.

The above was brought on by a confrontation I had with a pedestrian who sort of tapped me on the back as I swerved around him in a crosswalk in Brooklyn Heights. I spun around, said "Who did that?", saw a guy grinning at me, and said "Was that you did, you touch me?" He said he did, walked up to me and we started arguing. The details of the argument are unimportant. I was mad that he had invaded my personal space, which he had done because I scared him. I think we were each at fault, though the initial provocation was mine. Incidentally, about 20 minutes later, on 6th ave. in the village, as I was still turning the event over in my mind, a van driver scared the crap out of me by honking hs horn at me because I had the audacity to be in the road, in his way. There is a reason I ride in the middle of the lane: I have a right to the road, and if I ride to the side of the lane, people like the van driver will zoom around me within inches and, invariably, cut me off.

So the incident with the van provided me with a similar jolt to the one I gave the pedestrian. Treat others as you would be treated. It's pretty simple.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lincoln Tunnel Madness

I have not yet discovered a way to lose the weight without doing the exercise. Despite eating more fish, because that has less fat because it's fish (name that reference), I also do a bit of running. Actually, I don't run for weight loss. That's an ancillary, and as yet unfulfilled benefit. I run for that peculiar endorphine rush and sense of accomplishment. The rush comes halfway into the run. It's the proverbial second wind. Suddenly, running, which felt difficult at the start, now feels great. It feels like you can run forever. Of course, that lasts about a minute, and then the real endurance and test of will comes into play. I've found, through running, that I can go a lot longer than I thought. My body says, "I'm tired, I want to stop," almost immediately. Yet I can go for a half hour and at a high enough rate to make me beat red, covered and sweat, and frightening to people who happen upon me on my way back from the gym. All the above is to say that, while it's quite gruelling and painful, I like running. It gives me a sense of physical accomplishment that weight training alone cannot.

I am not, though, a serious runner. Marathoners boggle my mind. Which is why, for my first actual race, this Sunday, I'll be running a mere 5 kilometers. I might not even be writing about it now except that this particular 5K is through the Lincoln Tunnel. How cool is that? I know what you're thinking: "Wow: that can't be good for your lungs." Well, as you might guess, the tube is closed for the run. It's not like you're running alongside traffic. And a friend who has done the run has told me (and I choose to believe him without doing any independent verification) that the entire air volume of the tunnel is changed every 30 seconds. You know those massive structures outside the tunnel on the Jersey side? Air cleaners.

So, I'm a little nervous, but, given that I run 2-4 miles at the gym a couple times a week, I should be A-OK. I'll be not upset with 45 minutes, and fantastically pleased if I can come in under a half hour.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Man Boobs

For a few years now, I've been working on my manboobs. Trying to make them bigger, firmer, more appealing. Yeah, that's right, more appealing. When I started working out, trying to get bigger, I avoided confronting my vanity by justifiying it as a necessary pursuit of a performer.

I continued to use that justification as I made my bi-weekly trips to the gym. It's not a bad justification, just not altogether true. It has also made me healthier, no doubt, and decreased my body fat: though my gut remains: a testament to the power of a greasy, fatty diet.

Now that my career as a performer is taking a backseat to lawyerly pursuits, though, I am forced to take my weight training for wht it is: vanity. After a good workout or a step up at the gym, I find myself before the mirror at home, flexing, sucking in my gut, trying to look as buff as possible. I spent a long time as a scrawny beanpole type, hunched over in slacker mode, trying to disappear. Coming to grips with pursuing better looks is a tough task. I've never been one to emphasize looks over substance, so this contradadiction in my personality is at least as hard to resolve as my NY Yankees fandom.

I can say this: the gym, especially running, but also weight training, is a fabulous mood enhancer. The endorphines. The use of the body. The testing of one's limits. The understanding that one can go much further past "exhausted" than one at first thinks.

And while I am vain, I am not desperately so, which I prove every time I decide against going to the gym. Biweekly is a slow way to increase muscle, and my periods of sloth often negate periods of growth. I won't be competing against the Chelsea boys anytime soon.

By the way, if anyone knows how to be rid of a gut without doing tons of awful ab work, let me know.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Science of Prayer

(image borrowed from Mamiya Medical Heritage Center)

Remember that time you read that prayer had been documented to be effective?

Shockingly, a massive study needed to be undertaken to prove this bit of wisdom untrue. The researchers did not get the results they were hoping for.

See William Saletan on Slate for more.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006

Flat Cats

I was just reading sum of Beckett's posts and I'm kind of worried about him. They don;t make any sense. I mean even less sense than usual. I'm sure he's okay, though.

I want to write down this really weird dream I had. In it, I was crossing the street and there was this real small cat. Like really really small. Smaller than in real life. More like the size of a really big insect or something. I was crossing the street with it, and kind of letting me follow it home, and I was going to take care of it because I could tell it needed help. Then this guy on a bike came flying up and ran over it. It got dragged a little and I ran over to the guy on the bike and was going to beat him up, which is weird, because I've never been in a fight. I could tell he didn;t mean to do it though, and he couldn;t really have seen the cat it was so small. I looked at the cat and it was all crushed up. I hoped maybe it was okay or at least not dead, but it was all lumpy and weird now. Then I looked around and I saw that their were a bunch of little cats crushed all over the place, and I hoped they weren't all dead, but I looked down at one, and saw that it turned from sort of flat and lumpy into this thin white liquid, like milk, and I new they were all dead.

I have no idea what it means, but I was really scared when I woke up.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Emperor Emptor

The world is darker at night.

Am I the first to discover this?
Remember me, then, as the poet who simplified history.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More than a Bellyfull

The sharp and enveloping discomfort that centers in my belly is more than a bellyfull and radiates nervously to my extremities.
"I'm sorry." It comes so naturally. Have I done something wrong, mom?
The buzzing in my ears is maybe blood and maybe old noise, but it is surely distressing. What else is there?
"I don't want it. It hurts."
I want to fall on the floor.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Get Out of My Way (the Gyro)

I was planning to write on my tendency to view people moving more slowly than me as not only obstacles but outright enemise. Morons, idiots, retards, cripples, etc. I have extremely ill natured thoughts about strangers who are doing nothing but walking. This is particularly common in New York and is maybe analogous to road rage. Other people get depersonalized, and the only thing that matters is moving from my path. It's my right of way, and wherever you may going, whatever you may be doing should be subservient to my needs. I could probably go on about how this may be a particularly American attitude but something has come up.

Or rather, something has gone down. A delicious gyro has gone down my throat and into my gullet. Even the most bewildered, camera brandishing, weaving and walking five abreast tourists might be safe from my sidewalk rage now. A gyro, slathered with cucumber and hot sauce, stuffed with shavings from the mystery beef, sprinkled with lettuce and tomato, and complemented by french fries, is the perfect meal. I just finished one and my description is making me hanker after another.

Ode to a Gyro

Gyro, what a treat.
Gyro, I love to eat.
Gyro, your mystery meat
is freaking awesome.

I have a theory that the word "hero," a regionalism to describe what is elsewhere termed a sub or grinder, derives from the greek "gyro," which, when properly pronounced, sounds an awful lot like hero. I have no evidence for this theory, however. Only fond memories of a fantastic gyro.

I'll miss you, pal.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I Finally Made Up My Mind

After several of the most pressurized weeks of my life, I have chosen St. John's Law School over Cardozo Law School. It was a close race, but I'm going to Queens, baby. I write this not because I think anyone beside myself finds the subject remotely interesting, but it's been all I've been able to think about, and I am glad the pressure is off for a few months now. In the fall, it'll really get rugged, but at least I can enjoy the summer.

FACT-O-QUOTE: The St. John's team, The Red Storm, was called The Redmen until the 90s.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Meeting at the Intersection of Absence and Zero

A man on a bare stage. He is illuminated by a stagehand wielding a flashlight, all in black. The flashlight is the only light on stage.

It’s not as if this hasn’t been done before. This whole thing. This same thing. Let’s have no illusions. Let’s go into this thing with our eyes open as it were. I believe it was Samuel Beckett who said I can’t go on.
Was that too easy? Maybe that was too easy. Nothing worth doing is easy. Nothing worth doing is worth doing well. Nothing worth doing well is worth doing at all. You see we are here with no illusions. Staring things straight in the face. Eye to eye, man to man, heart to heart, soul to soul. It’s like an effluence. I open my mouth and it’s like any other orifice. It weeps. It excretes. We have a contract you and I. It was an implicit contract and I am now making it an explicit contract. We are to do something. Something is to happen of note. Something worthy of remark. And the beauty of the whole thing is that if nothing happens. When all is said and all is done and all is a washout a total bust, you can say, “Well that was a total bust,” and you will have completed a positive action. An act of volition. Of this you can be sure. Of this you can be agreed, right. That we are here.
Anyone see Thom Paine? What happens next?
Right. We have a contract you and I. You and me? I have a contract, I do. Yes. You and I. You and I. Here we are. This is the contract that once was implicit and I am making explicit. You are here because you want something. And I am here because I want something. It has been said that this is the basis of theater. This is the basis of conflict, when I want something, and you want something different. If I were really handsome, and could sing like a canary. If I could cut a dashing rug and fill out a rugged figure. If I could lift you up to the highest heights, and toss you back down to the depths of sorrow, if I could be your proxy through the dark corners of your psyche, and show you what it means to be human. If I could do all that with an arch of my eyebrow, then we might have not a conflict, but a burgeoning relationship founded on mutual understanding. What I fear is to come, however, is a deepening void between us, as I desperately chatter and gape, grotesquely groveling for your approbation as you quietly leave the room and pretend that none of this ever happened.
Goodbye, then.
Well, that’s over with. Imagine if you will, imagine. By the way. I don’t have any stories to tell you. You will hear nothing of my life. I will be revealing no dark family secrets. Nor will I be doing impersonations of colorful characters from my past. Now, imagine with me that I’m just some crazy dude on the subway. Just standing, talking to no one, or maybe looking right at you. Talking and talking and talking and making you keep your gaze averted. So that you want nothing more than to look, to speak, if just to say leave me alone you fucking freak. If nothing more than to know I’ve moved on. But i am like a drill.
That was not a good time to stop. But, I am know I am getting really sick of saying I, maybe there’s some way for the man standing before you to speak and speak well...
(As he speaks the flashlight beam starts to drift away from his face and downward. He keeps his face in the light as best he can without acknowledging that something is going awry.)
Because this all so easily becomes about ego. It becomes a cult of personality. A way for egos on both sides of the moat to increase their self regard. Self regards. Um. Um. Um. Um. The important thing is to keep moving. If one can keep moving keep up the flow and the pretense, then all can go about their businesses fairly unscathed. And fairly is what’s the thing to aim for, is it not. It is or is not. It is naught. See, not, n-o-t, and n-a-u-g-h-t carry to different spellings. They have discrete meanings. N-o-t means many things, a denial, a lack, an absence, and n-a-u-g-h-t means nil, nothing, so they are indisputably different, and at the same time, indisputably alike...
(He gives up on trying to keep his face in the light.)
Besides being homophones, they meet at the intersection of absence and zero.
Well, that worked out well. As well as could be expected. I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t dare. You know who has cause to complain? People who stepped on landmines. Paraplegics. Orphans. People wracked with cancer. Political prisoners. Not me. Yeah, I knew I couldn’t hold out without referring to myself again. Without referring to myself again. Without referring to myself again. Please put the light back on my face. It’s so hard to get good help these days. Ha ha ha. That was droll, wasn’t it. Imagine me, in a drawing room on the upper west side. With a brandy in my hand and a revolver in the other. You are my mistress.
(Playing the part.)
Oh, I’m frightfully sorry. It seems I’ve killed your valet. And I know how hard it is to get good help these days. Wait. I’ve got a better idea.
(He takes the flashlight from the stagehand and turns it off.)
I’m having a bit of deja vu. A dark room. A guy talking. People watching. Wondering. Hoping. I don’t know. It seems like maybe there’s still something we’re all missing. Even right now.
(Turns the light onto the stagehand.)
How’s that? Profound? What can this mean. Is he meant to represent everyman? The anonymous worker silently, diligently serving the elite. Ah, but that would require my status as an elite, a status which, I am proud to say I deny. I will be no man’s master. But neither will I be any man’s servant.
(He holds the flashlight out to the stagehand, who does not move.)
I am not beholden. I am free. There is nothing more beautiful, no woman more attractive, no whore more attractive than freedom.
(He holds out the flashlight again.)
See how admirably he demonstrates his freedom? Perhaps he is not an insolent monkey of a peon, but a shining example of American virtue. Well? Is that what you are? Are you virtuous? Are you strong? Are you brave. Will you now stand up to my tyranny Will you show that you have a soul and are more than a bag of muscles, a vessel of vessels. If you dare not, then take the flashlight from my hands and let’s get on with this thing.
(Pause. He deflates.)
Don;t worry. It’s all part of the show. But you probably weren’t worried. I wish you would worry, just a little. I mean, this is really hard, isn’t it Ethel?




I didn’t quite expect you to answer me.



It’s all right.



Thank you.

You’re welcome. I mean, I did ask you a question. I should by all rights have expected an answer, unless my question was purely rhetorical, in the which case it would have been simpler and clearer to phrase it as a declarative statement.

Just say. This is hard.

This is hard.

I mean that would say what you wanted to say without it being a rhetorical question.

Just so.


Just so.

Yeah. I just don’t really know what that means.

It doesn’t mean much of anything.

Maybe then it should go in the same category as rhetorical questions.

Just so.
Will you please take the flashlight now?
(He holds it out to her. She ignores him.)
That was not a rhetorical question.

What? Sorry. I was lost in thought.

The flashlight. Please?
(Ethel takes the flashlight.)
Nothing easy. Ethel, shine the light on my face so we can put these good people out of their misery.


Who knows? A stray compliment never hurt anyone.

Just so.

Ha ha. Quiet for a minute. I need to think.
(A very, very long pause.)

A ruse...

I know. What Ethel just cued me into, which I was about to say anyway, is that of course, this was all a ruse. But you knew that didn’t you? You never thought: “why won’t the stagehand do his job? I wonder if he was supposed to speak.”
(The light drifts away from his face again: he makes no attempt to follow it.)
You’re too clever for that. You don’t get ruffled, you don’t get scared. You remain urbane, no matter how many valets I shoot. It would have been great if we had filled the room with water, and I had declaimed from a leaking boat, speaking the last line as it sunk beneath the waves. Or done the whole thing from trapezes. Imagine. A razor-sharp point of light dancing through the darkness, following my face, my voice, but not me. A better looking, more charming, more James Bond type of me. That would be cool. That’s what we’ll do for the movie version. It’ll be CG, but done well. And tastefully. Well, that’s it. Thanks for coming. Goodbye.
(Pause. He takes the flashlight from Ethel and turns it off.)

Friday, February 24, 2006


I've been sort of compulsively reorganizing my books over the past few days. Taking them all down off the shelves and putting them into categories. Memoir, history, science, fiction. I had some debate as to whether I should segregate the science fiction from the general fiction. I ultimately decided against it, because it somehow cheapens the science fiction. The best science fiction transcends the genre.

Other than the pleasure of running across books I love and had forgotten about (I happened upon a well-worn illustrated copy of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," from my childhood, which filled me with warm sentiment) or that I look forward to reading (Stanislaw Lem's "His Master's Voice), I experienced an odd elation at the strange bedfellows created by alphebetization. A William Buckley potboiler ended up next to Burroughs's "Naked Lunch." I imagine Buckley being outraged and smile.

Today / Nothing Special