Overheard: "Daddy, you're bleeding."
"No, I'm not, honey; I don't have time to bleed."

I find myself in the distinctly odd position of arguing that I should receive an F in one of my classes from last semester. I did not turn in the last assignment, which would by rights knock me down to that, but my teacher seems deeply reluctant to give it to me, I suppose because I was articulate in class. I, on the other hand, having changed my major to something completely different, am only anxious to get on to other things.

Or perhaps to other things than school, even. I may be heading overseas (not to Iraq) with the Army. I'm waiting to hear.

Today was particularly difficult. Worked from 7AM to 8:30PM. No breaks. I'm tired and miserable.

Here are my reviews:

Coldplay, X&Y.

More of the same from Coldplay.

I have tried to hate Coldplay. The first of their singles which got extensive U.S. airplay was "Yellow", which seemed like a whole lot of whining to me. I'm from the 80's, so I've had my fill of bands like "The Smiths", whose sound hits my brain as some generally unhappy person whining in minor 7ths and whatever about how unfair everything is. I would like to sing back -- make my own CD with the lyrics, "Honestly, I have no sympathy and your screeching annoys me."

At first listen Chris Martin on "Yellow" seemed like more of the same "Morrissey" riff on the first, and 40th involuntary listen. Being forced to hear on radio made it worse. Even now, it's one of my least favorite Coldplay songs.

Frankly, I just don't care how bad undernourished guys from northern England have it. Call me cruel. All I could think was, "Boy, one Prozac prescription and a couple Big Macs -- your career is in the toilet."

Later, I'm a Coldplay fan. Big time. I was drawn in by "Moses" and "Amsterdam". Then "Warning Sign" bought me. "Truth is, I miss you," is transcendent. Unambiguous. Universal. I've missed a lot of people in my life, and the truth is, it sounds just like that song in my head when it happens. The whole Coldplay part of my brain opened up. The skinny whiny Britisher is willing to surface in Big-American-Me.

Now, X&Y is more of the same Coldplay as "Parachutes" and "A Rush of Blood to the Head" and unlike what's going on in Dave Matthews' life, Chris and the boys are having no problem generating new simple melodies that stick firmly in the cerebral cortex. The melodies are layered over some cool Korg, Kurtzweil and Roland pads of varying density that effect the emotional state directly. (I'm a sucker for those old Roland JD990 sounds. Sometimes I just program "Alien Architecture" and hit the G-key for, like 20 minutes.) You can walk away whistling the guitar riff from "Talk". You need to know more than four chords to play it. You will tap your pencil on your desk to the hook from "X&Y". Most importantly, I listen to Coldplay, I feel something, which is why I listen to music.

This is a wonderful CD and I'm glad I bought it. "Talk" is the big single, followed by "X&Y", "The Hardest Part", and "Square One".




Triumvirate, Illusions on a Double Dimple

When I was 14, this was one of my favorite albums. Imagine my thrill finding it on Amazon and buying it so conveniently through their wonderful "one click" money-to-them transfer system.

When I was young, there were neurons in my head that resonated with this stuff. Now it's gone. All gone. I wish I could feel the same way listening to it, but I just don't.

Back then I had long hair. Know that kid from Almost Famous? That hair was me. That tape recorder. That total obvious and unabashed virginity. Writing record reviews for the high school newspaper. My column was called "Listen Baby". I reviewed everything. I panned everything, except I think I raved about this album, which I am going to suggest, these 30 years hence, should remain in obscurity.

This is a German band that tried to mimic the British Emerson Lake and Palmer, whom as far as I was concerned were supernatural entities. Back then, their mimicry filled a lust I had for more ELP than ELP could produce. Now it just reminds me of being unkissed in high school.

These guys were actually pretty talented, and they probably should have just gone their own way instead of calling their songs things like "Lucky Girl" (re: ELP - Lucky Man). Anyway, I've already written more about them than is warranted. You will never run into this CD and your life will be no poorer as a result.



Triumvirate, Sparticus.

Yeah, they had a couple albums. I saw this one on Amazon too and it came today. Damn that "one click" money sucking device. Same review. Why do I want to feel like a kid with no driver's license again? Now, if you want to feel like a long-haired virgin 14-year old boy with raging hormones and nothing to do, listen away.

I will add that when I was a teenager through my mid-20's I played in a garage band that later became a Jersey bar band, and we played some Triumvirate, mostly because they were easier to figure out by ear than ELP. Playing Keith Emerson licks would have required me to have classical training, which I do not. The pre-hand-surgery Emerson is still my musical hero. Some day before death I will play the entire keyboard track to Karn Evil 9 I, and III (II is like, well, sacred). Notice how I've said more about me in this review than the album? Ok. So, there.

The open house....

This Saturday my girlfriend Chris is having an open house for her graduation. She is all done with her primary education. Her last day of school was June 3, 2005. Chris is starting college this fall at MSU. This open house is going to be a real hoot. There will be food, booze, music, and all kinds of insane party stuff. I plan on getting very drunk and singing Beatles karaoke music all night. I can't wait.

The food, Here's a list of all of the food and drink that will be served at the party:

It's gonna be a friggin' blast!

Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.
- Mahatma Gandhi

For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come.
- William Shakespeare - Hamlet

For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind? And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, Then we shall truly dance.
- Kahlil Gibran

All our times have come... Here but now they’re gone... Seasons don’t fear the reaper... Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain..we can be like they are... Come on baby...don’t fear the reaper
Blue Öyster Cult - The Reaper

So I've had a pretty hectic week. It began by climbing into my car Monday morning and discovering that it did not want to start. I had to take the day off work, which, hey, isn't so bad, and have the car towed somewhere would they would make it go again.

I could have had it the next day, but it needed other work to pass inspection so I had the mechanic do that as well so it was ready yesterday to be picked up. I've been having to pick up the baby because I had been borrowing my mother in law's car. My wife called me on the way home yesterday to remind me to pick the little tyke up and that her mother had picked up our car for us and paid for it and we'd just pay her back. That sure was nice. I said, sure, no problem.

Then no more than three or five minutes later I get another call from her work. I'm expecting it to be her since my phone tells me it's her (work number). It's not. It's her coworker, Kara. She asks me if I can come by the lab (where they work). I thought this was quite an odd request from her. I responded that I had already passed the lab (I'm traveling west on Interstate 70 from St. Louis to O'Fallon and I had already passed UMSL) and was approaching the airport. And in that area there is no good place to turn around for several miles. Kara, however, was insistent that I do. She informed me that I may need to drive my wife home, for she had just found out that her cousin Daniel had died and she was hysterical.

Daniel?!

He was only 25 years old and one of her closest cousins. He was a member of the family she visited the most besides her own, out of all her hundreds of other aunts, uncles, and cousins. So how can this be, how can Daniel be dead?

Even in the midst of such tragedy despite myself I grumble inwardly. Sure, I'll turn around...just gotta find a good place to do it and I hang up. I get off on a road near the airport, the closest plausible exit (besides getting off actually at the airport). I end up passing by mistake an ideal place to hit 70 going back East and end up having to go through the airport anyway.

Oh and then the torrential rain starts.

Sure, we'd been needing rain badly. Grass around here was starting to turn brown. The van we bought on February 28 had barely made use of it's nice new front and rear windsheild wipers. I'm not kidding. So yeah, thanks for the rain, but was a monsoon necessary?

After going through an eternity of traffic lights passing terminal after terminal of the airport (and hitting every single one red, mind you), I made it back onto the highway.

I got completely soaked, through and through, as I jogged from the parking lot to the dry haven of the overhang before the doorway to the building. Then my phone rings and I reach into a sopped side pocket and answer it. I greet my wife as I spit acidic fresh rainwater from my mouth. She sounds fine, a very far cry from any degree of hysteria. Upon finding out I'm there she says she'll meet me at the door and hangs up.

To spare further boring you with any details, the rain lets up, we both go home in our seperate vehicles (I pick the baby up so I get home later than she does) and both her and her mother drive down to the sticks where her family lives to be with them. All I can find out about Daniel's death is that it was some sort of ladder mishap. I assume he fell off of one. Ouch.

I had thought for sure it was a car accident when I first heard he'd bought the farm. Many years ago Daniel broke his neck in one. He was a lot like one of my cousins in that he had a penchant for accidents and imprudent driving. He actually made a full recovery from that, amazingly. So how does one who makes a full recovery from a broken neck years before die by falling off a ladder? Doesn't seem worth it, does it? It's almost like the guy that walks away from a horrific car accident and then gets hit by another vehicle on the road. What's the point?

It got me thinking about death. Boy, when your number's up, it's up, boys and girls.. Be careful while on those ladders. It could happen to me tomorrow. You could go tits up tomorrow, or even right after reading this. You never know what kind of crazy shit life has in store for you. I hope there's an afterlife. I wonder if Athesists have any belief in any kind of afterlife, or if some do and some don't. Simply ceasing to exist is something I can't wrap my mind around. Such resounding nothingness...I can't bear to even try to imagine it. Whether an afterlife exists or doesn't, it's probably the reason most believe in one.

I figure an aferlifeless death is exactly like this: take every day back to the beginning of time before you were born (or conceived, or whatever) and that's pretty much what it's like. But that doesn't help.

I hope there's a Heaven or something to look forward to after your terminal breath. Anectdotes of near death experiences give me hope, even if they're just hallucinations. Also convincing stories and/or evidence of reincarnation, like past life regressions.

Even ghosts give me hope that there's something in the Great Beyond. At least let me come back as a spirit to haunt people.

That'd totally rule!

Actually, I'd like to live forever. How much does gettig frozen in cryonics cost, again?

Sometimes, it just doesn't pay to get on the bicycle and take a trip over to the gas station for a pack of smokes.

Monday night, roughly 9pm, I went on my merry way over to the Conoco located a block away from my apartment complex. A trip I take regularly, as I tend to exhaust a pack of smokes daily. They say smoking has negative effects on the human body, and that if the stuff that happens inside the body were to happen on the outside, no one would ever smoke. That's quite likely true. But the occasional scarification of the body, say once a year, isn't such a terrible price to pay.

On my way back, just after passing one of three speed bumps, I turned my direction to the right. Unfortunately, a patch of gravel and broken glass was in my way, and, rather than completing the turn, my bike took the turn while the tire overcompensated, twisting the wheel to a perpendicular angle to the frame of the bike. The handlebars and my chest were the first things to meet, followed quickly by my hands attempting to cushion the fall (and failing), my chin impacting with a horrifying crunch in the midst of gravel and glass, and the rest of my body sliding on my left arm with my bike on top of me.

Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to recognize that bemoaning my tragedy there, in the parking lot, was not a great idea. The sheer amount of blood told my rapidly enfogging mind that I had to act, and act quickly. After a very quick check of the bike to ensure road-worthiness, I mounted and went as quickly as my shaken nerves would take me back to my apartment, catching the startling drips of blood from my chin into my cubed steak-looking hands as I rode. Vision blurred. Body temperature slowly dropped.

Taking the elevator up to the third floor of my apartment complex and fishing the keys out of my pocket (in the process pouring a handful of blood into the cloth pockets--why I was catching the blood, I do not know), I reached not first for a Band-Aid or two, nor to the phone to call someone to help me take care of this, but instead to the sink, to clean myself up. God only knows why I did that.

Eventually, my brain cleared enough to encourage my hands to dial my mother, in spite of the relatively late hour (she, like my father, sleeps early, for once you reach age 40, apparently 9pm becomes late). ``Mom, I don't have any Band-Aids. Would you mind coming over to give me some,'' I slurred.

She came over. 5 minutes later, she had me in the car and we were speeding off to the hospital. Apparently, the bone and fatty tissue on my chin was visible through the laceration there. And my hands had wounds that still had glass and/or rocks lodged in them.

She decided that Swedish Medical Center, in Littleton, Colorado was the place to go. I had been born there 25 years ago--and my name was still in their record books. Here's to fastidious records keepers. They gave me heated blankets and sat me in the waiting room for 3 hours.

I listened idly to my mother's conversation with the couple across from us, celebrating their 9th anniversary that evening. He was a post office employee. I kept staring at a male mosquito, those giant, hovering insects that are only bothersome, not blood-sucking. At least I think it was a male mosquito1. I was having a hard enough time trying to stay awake. By this point, I had lost at least a pint and a half of blood.

Eventually, I was taken to an emergency room, where I lay, listening to my mother read a Smithsonian magazine from 1979. A nurse came in, asked a few questions my mother had to field, and returned with a kit for removing the gravel and glass from the palms of my hands. Up to this point in my life, I've never experienced such an excruciating pain as I did at that point. I'm uninsured, like most Americans, so I couldn't justify paying for pain killers, so she poured hydrogen peroxide on the wounds, plucked with tweezers, and scrubbed with gauze. I writhed in agony.

Finally, a doctor came in to do the stitches on my chin. I could hear my mother chatting him up while he injected the numbing agent into my skin--``a small prick and some pressure'' my ass--and then began his stitch work. Only 5 stitches were needed, and he did an exceptional job lining it up and keeping it tight.

My mother finally dropped me back off at home at the ripe hour of 2:30am. I was exhausted. Sadly, the agony of my injuries kept me from sleep until nearly 4am when I somehow convinced my brain to turn off for a few hours.

The tally:

  • Hands: Both deeply damaged. Scars likely. Some pieces of glass and rocks were not recoverable, but my body will eventually reject the items.
  • Left arm: Scraped and bruised. The swelling kept me from wearing a shirt on the following day. An x-ray was taken to ensure no breakage.
  • Right thigh: Heavily bruised, though the bruises did not show until Wednesday.
  • Left calf: The frame of the bike left an imprint that swelled to an impressive egg within an hour of the accident.
  • Ribs: At my count, 5 bruised ribs. Breathing hurts. Laughing is excruciating.
  • Chin: Deep laceration, 5 stitches. I can't smile very well. The skin gets very, very tight under there if I point my face to the sky.

Now I'll just wait for the bill. I'll try to figure out some way to pay it. And I thank God that it wasn't worse.

According to Kit, this is not actually a male mosquito, but in fact a mosquito-eater. If what I saw in that waiting room actually lives off of the vicious, blood-sucking insects we all hate, then I'm going to have to start cultivating them. Mosquitos are dastardly little things.

According to BookReader on 19 March, 2007, the eerie flying thing may not be a carniverous bastard blood-sucker, or even related to them--it's possibly a Crane fly. And I won't show you the photo I was provided--suffice it to say that the crane fly is really, really, realy eerie looking. And now I'm scarred for life, not just from the chin plant, but because I've been shown a crane fly, up close, on a huge monitor.

We had one daughter
but she's in Heaven:

Mary Lois

She lived for a day,

Mary Lois

Mary Lois

All I know about her now
is her name:

Mary

Mary Lois

Perhaps if she had lived enough to laugh
today she'd be a

merry

Mary Lois

Instead, after a brief
kiss to her head

we had to

bury

Mary Lois

Sixty years on and
there was nary a

nary a
nary a
secondary

nary a replacement
for the impossibly

merry

buried

Mary

Lois

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