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November 2003
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January 2004

a chunk o' randomness

Couple of things that have been kicking around the desktop:

First, an E for Walter. Found this when I was putting Christmas stuff away. Do you still have the E, by chance? I seem to have lost track of where it may bE.

Second, normally, the Christmas stuff stays up until after the new year but the tree was rapidly moving from festive to fire hazard. Plus, it took up a big ass corner of the living room that has made moving about a challenge. And, so, the holiday season ends a bit early here. *shrug*

Third, due to a strange and unseasonable warm snap, we were able to plant Sabian today. If anyone can think of a fitting headstone/monument for the gray empress, let me know. I am going to send some $ to the vet's stray cat fund in her name as well.

Fourth, I've forgotten what fourth is. Hrm.

Fifth, over at Making Light, Teresa Nielsen Hayden's most excellent blog, a discussion of knitting is unfolding. Check it out, if you, like me, are keen to talk about the wonders of handwork. (Oh, and if anyone wants to learn how to make glass beads with me, I'm pondering taking a class in mid-April at the Corning Museum of Glass. Should be fun.

Sixth (and last, I think), this year, in lieu of making resolutions, which, let's face it, I really don't intend to keep, I am going to co-opt an ritual that Michael Barnes and Kip had. Every New Year's Eve they would announce the word they'll use to guide their path through the next year. Some previous year's words were concepts like "grace" or "wisdom" or "peace." I've been pondering what my word should be--and will, of course, announce it on New Year's Day to the tens of people who read this blog. I can tell you are simply breathless. Anyone care to join me?

more unapologetically cute baby pix

From the most recent batch:

Experimenting with headgear.

Also, for those in warmer climes, some snow, taken in Wilbur Park, which is a short walk from the house. The Diva and I bundled up, she jumped on the sled, and I took her for a drag through the neighborhood. The snow was still coming down but added up to a good six or seven inches all told. Damn scenic.

And, finally, for them's that care, Sabian's last morning. At least she got to spend it in the sun.


Scott's in the kitchen with a circular saw and a hammer. Sounds of destruction are wafting into my office nook. Also wafting in are the sound of Abba, which is good music for power tools and mayhem. Ah, the holidays.

yet another internet quiz thing

you are lightseagreen

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.

Your saturation level is higher than average - You know what you want, but sometimes know not to tell everyone. You value accomplishments and know you can get the job done, so don't be afraid to run out and make things happen.

Your outlook on life is brighter than most people's. You like the idea of influencing things for the better and find hope in situations where others might give up. You're not exactly a bouncy sunshine but things in your world generally look up.
the html color quiz

Soon--real content. I promise.

friday five

You know the opening bit of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Harrison Ford is running from the giant boulder? That's been my week, for the most part. My brain isn't exactly operating at its peak capacity (although, to be fair, I think the last time it did this was 1995) and I have a couple of freelance pieces to finish before Monday dawns. Add to that the holidays, the dead cat (which hit harder than expected) and the end of term (although everything is now graded, calculated and out of my hands). Woot. When can I take my long winter's nap?

While I would dearly love to answer this week's Friday Five, I'm copping out. It's a great question, tho, and it seems a shame to not post it. So here it is, with some links to some folks who are more on top of their situation than I:

Live, from India! Or, at the very least, from the witty and charming Ritu:

Everybody lives through certain moments in their lives when things go 'click' and ideas take a living, breathing shape. Concepts and thoughts which were only words until that moment now become an intrinsic part of one's internal landscape, altering one's perspective forever. Sometimes these lessons of life are taught by other people and that is the subject of this week's question:

Which are the five most important life lessons learnt by you and by whom were you taught the same?

Two from Marvin:
It's not about you. If you're paying attention life will find all kinds of ways to beat this lesson into a person, but in particular I'm thinking about the years I practiced karate with Sensei Nishida, which provided ample opportunity for ample numbers of people to beat the lesson into me literally. In a martial arts class everyone is trying to improve themselves by using each other as targets. The price you pay for this privilege is that you become a target yourself, and you cannot afford to take offense (with the other or with yourself) every time you get kicked in the head, punched in the belly, or hobbled by a shinbone delivered with surgical precision to an unprepared thigh muscle. Applied to life in general, one must realize that human interaction is never frictionless; but that doesn't mean everyone's out to get you. Chill, roll with it, be happy.
Sometimes it really is about you. This is the flip-side of the previous lession. In life there are people you will perceive as obstacles, embodiments of goals, pains in the ass, or some combination of these. Sometimes when you spar with them (or interact with them) you can't help but make it personal; if nothing else, your own goals are personal to you after all. But guess what: to certain other people YOU are that obstacle, that goal, that pain in the ass. And when they deal with you, it's personal to them. Sometimes the guy who just kicked you in the head has been trying for over a year to figure out how to get past your defense. Be happy for him.

One from rob:
Talent is priceless, determination costs more.Various. Friends, lost yet still close. You can try all you want, if you don't have the magic, you don't have the magic. If you do and you think anyone gives a shit you're only kidding yourself.

One from Ray (welcome, Ray!):
Bravery is Not What You See on TV. Very recently I've realized (read that as 'made up in my own head') that I'm a pretty brave person. No, I'm not talking about Skydiving, I'm talking about little day-to-day decisions that I would have avoided when I was younger that now I'm learning to stand up to. Some of them, I even attack with relish (like calling people on their shit with confidence). Some I still avoid (like talking to people I care about when the subject is very uncomfortable). When I was about 4, I asked myself what I wanted in my life, like what my goal was for life. I was a deep kid so, piss off. I said to myself, "I want people to remember me when I die." I'm thinking of revising that to "I want to live a brave life." The person that I learned this from was me. Like I said, maybe I'm making it up.

And, finally, one from Mr Spittle:
Never Bet You Can Beat A One Armed Man In Pool. In college, my friends and I would occasionally go to a club called "The Touchdown" in Birmingham, because their bartender wasn't always the most diligent checker of IDs. There was a jukebox full of Hank Williams Sr and Waylon Jennings music, a couple of scuffed up pool tables, and an assortment of hard-drinking rednecks and other characters. One night, I was sitting at a table with Mark Chapman, Trey Lackey and a couple of other people lost in the fog of too much cheap beer, and a one-armed man came by and asked if anyone thought they could beat him at a game of pool. Had I been sober, I'd have recognized this as a hustle and politely refused, but, being full of piss and vinegar (not to mention a couple of pitchers of draft Old Milwaukee), I knew that this would be the easiest $30 I ever earned. 4 minutes later, I staggered back to the table, not even having had a chance to shoot. I was $30 poorer and about the same amount wiser. If someone that looks like they'd lose big time offers to put money on a game, get ready to lose your shirt. One armed man, I salute you. PS, I hope Dr. Kimball doesn't find you.

it helps to be silly, sometimes

Frighteningly accurate, for an internet quiz:

You are 40% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks, which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.
Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.

You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!

You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at

Thanks, Adam. Thanks, rob.

the big sleep

The symmetry did not go unnoticed, not by me at least. I can't speak for Sabian.
Almost ten years ago, I picked her up from the Austin pound. We'd visited a few days previous. Scott wanted a rambunctious kitten but there was something about Sabian, about the way she glared out of her cage, as if to say "You. Peasant. Bring me my tuna." We had a moment, the cat and I, and Scott relented. She was already 3 or 4, stuck in the pound because her previous owners discovered that their kid was allergic. A couple days later, after she'd been spayed, I picked her up.
I'd never really had a pet of my own before. My mom had dogs (and there were a lot of them, in sequence, not simultaneously), but they really weren't mine. Sabian has always been my kitty. It's my armpit she'd curl up in on cold nights, my lap she'd jump in when her needs weren't being met. Trout has always been Scott's. Mooch, well, Mooch is actually Satan's cat, so I'm not sure he counts.
On our drive home from the pound, I learned an important lesson about cat ownership. Always put them in a carrier and leave them there. See--it was a very, very hot day. The car's AC wasn't working all that well. The noises coming from the carrier led me to believe that she was near death, probably from heat stroke. So I opened the carrier door. Out flew ten pounds of fur, which flung itself into my lap and continuously tried to climb up my chest onto my shoulder. Which would have been so bad if I weren't wearing shorts and sweating like mad and if Sabian weren't the kind of cat who would became a shedding bomb when nervous. The fur stuck to me like my legs were sticking to the car seat's vinyl. I couldn't see a damn thing for all the fluff and the cat pushing her way into my face. I'm lucky I didn't run over anyone.
And, so, tonight, another ride. She just lay in my lap, no shedding, no howling. Just lay there, smelling like urine. I didn't even bother with the carrier, simply because she hadn't really been moving much the last few days. She was down to 5 pounds, from her previous high of 12. She couldn't jump on furniture anymore. She hadn't purred in weeks. You could feel every bone in her spine and hips and head. She'd become incontinent, peeing on the bed the past couple of nights because she couldn't jump back down again. She wasn't enjoying her stay anymore and it was time.
So we drove out to the vet, down a country road. It wasn't mind-numbingly hot this time. Different city. Here we're under eight inches of snow. It was a pretty drive in the dark, Sabian in my lap. And we got there, and the vet agreed. I signed some papers, including one that will let them store her until the ground thaws enough that we can bury her in the backyard. The vet gave Sabian the big shot--it's a pink gel, in case you were wondering--and I rubbed Sabian's head and belly. And then she died. She was such a good cat. I miss her. Not the her of the last few months but the one from all the years before that. Godspeed.

quote of the day

"In a book of 207 pages, Bragg includes more than 400 single-sentence paragraphs -- a well-established distress signal, recognized by book readers and term-paper graders alike. "

From David Lipsky's NYT review of weinie-boy Rick Bragg's I Am a Soldier, Too. (It's password protected, but a password is free. Actually, not sure you have to read the review in the first place. The above quote really sums it up nicely.)

the not-so-perfect life

Writermama Faulkner Fox (and I thought I had a cool name) has a new book coming out, called Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life.

From the PR blurbage:"Faulkner sheds light on and provides a context for the fear, confusion, and isolation experienced by many new mothers. She maps the terrain of contemporary domesticity, marriage, and motherhood in a voice that is candid, irreverent, and deeply personal. She also chronicles the unparalleled joy she and other mothers take in their children."

For those who can relate, the book hits the streets right before Christmas (it's already at Amazon) and Ms F will be doing a mini-book tour. If you live in one of the cities below and would like a personal invite, lemme know. It should be a hoot--and those who can ID with the imperfect life (and if you don't, why are you at *my* site...) will certainly enjoy meeting Faulkner and listening to her read.

The stops on the magical mystery tour are:
the NC Triangle area
the San Francisco Bay area
NYC/Brooklyn/Montclair, NJ areas
Austin, TX
Richmond, VA
Rochester, NY
Charlottesville, VA
Newport, RI

Need more info? Contact me or her.

And now I must brave the drive up to campus. Oy.