Has anybody seen these "mini-credit-cards"?

My bank just sent me a new debit card (despite the fact that my old one doesn't expire for a year or two), and along with it, this "mini-card". It's about 2/3 the size of a regular card, and has a hole that you can use to put it on your keychain.

Now is it just me, or is this a really, really stupid idea? Before, if you lost your keys, then it was mostly just a hassle. The only way it would cost you a lot is if (1) you didn't have any copies made, (2) If you had a garage or car remote on it, and (3) If you have one of the newer cars where the key isn't really a key, but a piece of metal with a microchip in it, in which case you have to pay like $50 to get a new one. Now if you lose your keys, you can lose the contents of your checking account in the same stroke! (Not to mention that your credit history can be ruined.)

Even putting that aside, what's the purpose of this thing? I assume you can put it through most card readers (the sliding kind, anyway), though not the ATM or any other reader which sucks up your card (as they warn you in BIG RED YOU'RE-AN-IDIOT LETTERS). However, if it's attached to your keychain, this may well prove difficult. In any case, I don't see how this is any more convenient than your regular card, except maybe that you have to make fewer finger movements.

radiative lines

reflective in their silverwhite, the speckles of metallic dust in the paint long the blacktop surface. Watch as the stripes go sliding by beneath in rhythm of a gasoline heart, faint thrumming of the frostbreaks the only accompaniment.

Can't sleep. can't walk. Can't move. Can't live.

Drive.

I find myself in cars at times like this, the simple mechanics of the motion allowing the erasure of the mind. One time where you're supposed to achieve as close to Zen as Western karma lets you; watching the pulsing flashes of white on the back swing past.

The wheel, my friend, has come to resemble me in reverse. Plastic, older now, dimpled at the top and bottom (noon and six, worn smooth at ten and two with slight wear towards tea-time. Hands know their task, eyes know their watch, and the feet are counting time in RPM. Make the slight and fine adjustments and listen to the purr beneath.

flick - fifth.

Move the selves both right and left, sliding in and out. Find the holes in the flow, make it you, pull the traffic around you as a blanket in the freeway cold. Learn to dive for the gaps left by the inattentive or the tentative as a mother's arms, fenders sliding past their wings and noses by what feels like feet but is actually yards. Find the speed of the matrix, then push yourself and the car just up past that - the friction of your progress against the surrounding skein of car and driver, road and fence a fast walk in the same reference frame, blurred out against the roadway into miles of gentle slide by the speed of the world you inhabit.

Flash. White. Flash. Black.

Flash.

Flash.

Ahead, the staccato of blue and red that indicates watchers; pull down, relax, ease, hear the car draw breath in sullen growl as the engine takes up the stress and pulls the speed down. Move up. Move up. Pass the scene; cars akimbo, police standing about, a pair of what were once cars entangled in the embrace of destructive lovers, resigned on this their (fourth?) and final fling, bodies resting bent in puddles of their own fluids. You can almost see the sedan on the bottom wishing for a smoke, but the fire engine is there to cover it in foam before the consummation.

Racing change, pull the gearshift back, spool the revs back up, and feel the teeth grab inside the synchromesh. There is a familiar lurch, almost subliminal, subluminal, the sound of it gone beneath the light at the edge of the world. Left foot rising, right foot lowering, don't drive the car but lead it; dance through the last smear of rubbernecking traffic as the final cop's head comes up to look but he's not in his car and we're already gone into a smooth fast blur of red.

Music plays in the car's head and in my mind. One hundred sixty thousand miles after meeting it, it's still a friend; the engine sounds much the same (a little throatier, perhaps, after four mufflers) but the paws still grip the pavement at speed with the same fingertip eagerness, each thought translated into arc with nary a blur.

the sound blasts back from the bottom of an overpass

before the nighttime takes back over, swallowing the blare and growl as we slip between two enormous roadway freighters, pausing until they both, ahead, blink running lights, then blasting up between them to pass out between their front bumpers with a forty mile-per-hour advantage, accepting (gracefully) the wink of their high beams in the rear window as due tribute to the 'four-wheeler' riding between them in this their time of night.

Bend an exit ramp, change the path, move the guide, start for home, for I have miles to go before I sleep.

Why do today what you can do in a week with a five day stopover in rome?

So one of my friends was coming back to Israel after Passover break, and failed to consider the fact that in Israel, when there is a strike, as in now, everything closes down. Government offices, Garbage pickup, Fire department, THE AIRPORT. SO Alitalia, that wonderfully nice airline, decides that despite the fact that Ben-Gurion Airport was closed, decided to start the flight through Rome to Israel. The plane got to Rome last Wednesday. He got here this morning.

In any case, it is possible based on my limited knowledge that El-Italia is the second worst airline in existance. (Lot Polish Air, #1 in suckiness.) After stranding an airplane worth of people in a foreign country, very few of whom speak the language (for some reason, lots of Israelis were on this flight to Israel,) they refused to find them a place to stay for most of a week, since the airline decided the flight had to leave despite the fact that the destination airport was closed. This, of course, leads to a multiligual shouting match, in Hebrew and Italian. No-one knew what was flying, but everyone was pissed off.

Then, of course, was the trouble with rescheduling the flight. It took them 3 days to decide what to do after the strike ended. When they rescheduled the flight, they listed it as leaving Rome at 20:45 and getting in to Israel at 17:30. One of the passengers complained to Customer service, where they calmly explained that 20:45 was 20:45 AM. I kid you not. It left at 7:30/19:30, they just had the times listed backwards.

In any case, stranded in Rome. First of all, being Jewish, if you are stranded in Rome for a week you need a place to stay for Shabbos. Before this necessity, however, bulletproof armor is suggested. There are more swastikas on the walls of the city than there are new yorkers in NYC. There also isn't so much to do if you don't like staring at the old buildings that you know almost nothing about without a tour guide.

To make a long story short, he spent a miserable week there, and learned an invaluable lesson. If anybody knows what it is, he'd be happy to hear.

I'm not a big one for cursing, but there are times when nothing less than a profane interjection will do, and this is one of those times.

Fuck.

It's 2 am the night before a big project is due at work. Having put it off all weekend, I feel every death of the thousand they say a coward dies, all pressing down on me. And here I am dying my thousand and first. There are times when eloquence ain't worth shit.

Fuck-ity, fuck-fuck, FUCK!

While I'm at it, I should probably ponder up some good reasons why I think this happened. It's the same problem I've had for as long as I can remember. Maybe it's fear of failure, maybe it's fear of success, maybe my parents didn't love me enough, maybe I learned from my Mom that authority figures would always say what I had done wasn't good enough so why bother trying, maybe I learned from my Dad that "I forgot" or "I didn't know" or "Nobody told me" or "I stayed up all night last night working on it" were perfectly acceptable justifications for broken promises, maybe I led a sheltered childhood where I didn't have to put up or shut up.

But I've tried all that before. Fuck maybe. Fuck blame. Fuck that whole victim mentality. I'm over eighteen and legally responsible for my own actions. This didn't happen to me, I chose it. And now I need to decide what I'm going to do about it. I'm scared shitless and I don't know why. Up until now, I let that fear control me, I let it keep me from coming anywhere near my limits, let alone actually testing them. I'm done with that. I'm through with failing because I was too afraid to try. I'm ready to fail as many times as it takes for me to figure out how to succeed, but I'm going to start failing in ways that I can learn from. I want to find my horizon and go over it.

Pity me, Help me...

Depression is getting to me. I never thought it would affect me this much. "It's just hallucination, right? ...Right?" I guess ----- I don't know what to think anymore.

Now I think back to the past, was there ever a time when the world seemed like a good place? Perhaps there was, when everything was still so innocent... But it's so different now...

There will be a test tomorrow, and then Thursday, and another on Friday, but that's nothing. My history teacher handed our class back our test from a month ago. I had 5% taken off because I failed to see a question in. It wasn't entirely my fault, the teacher had two #6's in the same section. I knew the answer to that question, if I had answered it, I would have a 95% now (yes, I know I'm not going to look any brighter with a 95). I asked her if I could get at least half the mark if I promised to complete research plus an essay on the topic, but she refused it... She is too lazy to mark it I guess. She definitely seemed to enjoy the videos she shows us everyday...

Fellow noders, would you kindly give me some advice on how to get through this period of my life? I do not doubt that I can pass it on my own, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you everyone, I don't know what I'd do without you!

She wakes up to scratch, scratch, scratch on the bedroom door. Disoriented for just a moment, she thinks, This isn't a movie theatre... before she sees the glowing blue of the IKEA feet lamp and realizes it's her bedroom.

Scratch, scratch, scratch. Clunk.

Ah, yes. The noise.
The kitten's head goes up at the sound, her small honey eyes staring curiously at the door. She gets up slowly, stretching her tiny furry body, and skips in that adorable kittenish way to the foot of the bed. She wants to play.

Scratch, scratch. Clunk. Silence for a moment.

"Cat." It's a groan, as realization finally hits the sleepy one in the bed. Reluctantly, she pushes the covers back, and turns to allow her legs to slide to the floor.
IKEA bed; acts like the closet she lost upon moving into the basement. All her clothes fit inside, barely organized. She tries.

Opens the door. An oversized orange tabby waddles determinedly into the room, headed straight for the bowl of kibble placed out for the kitten: she knows it's there. And she will get some, despite the feelings of anyone else. She growls on her way to the bowl. She growls while she eats.

Cat, it is five-thirty in the morning. Please don't tell me you woke up simply to growl at the kitten and eat her food.

She walks slowly across the room to the pile of orange fur, the ever-joyous kitten prancing about her ankles as she moves. She squats down and reaches out to stroke her beloved old grouch. Fearing she may be moved, the orange beast growls louder as she nearly inhales the solid brown chunks.

The orange tail is twitching. The orange tail is twitching.
The kitten readies herself for a pounce: flattening herself to the ground, eyes open, pupils enormous. Her rear wiggles in excitement, and she leaps onto the unexpecting tail.

Instant reaction. The orange cat whirls, hissing in anger and surprise as she does so. She bolts from the room, angry that she is treated so. All she wanted was some kibble...

Closes the door. Cat is gone, can go back to sleep. Come, kitten, back to the pillow. Purr her to sleep.

Lying in bed with a purring kitten, back to the room. Scratches at a door, and muted sounds of eating. The orange cat leaps onto the bed, licking her whiskers.
Muted sounds of eating.
Who is that?

Fear. Terrible, petrifying FEAR.
She can't breathe. She can't move. She can't scream. She opens her mouth but no sound comes out. The orange cat is pressed up against the wall, ears back, eyes wide in fright. The kitten is startled and looks around, those birdlike movements of the head.
She cannot scream, but she must. She must...

She awakes with a weak yell, startling the sleeping kitten and causing her to waken as well, looking questioningly up into the dreamer's eyes.

Scratch, scratch, clunk. Clunk. Scratch, clunk.

She should have taken the green plastic Do Not Disturb sign off her doorknob when she went to bed the night before. It is loud.
She sighs and rolls over. She will ignore the gluttonous tabby for now. It is barely six o'clock, and she will not be bothered again.
However, she can't go to sleep now. The room is suddenly frightening; falling asleep will bring the dream back. She hates that dream.

She calms the kitten and strokes it until it purrs, filling her ears with the contentedness of her newest feline. Such a small thing, and yet so comforting to know that she is content; there is nothing to be worried about.
The dream.
The dream
She has had them all her life. This bothers her. Her love believes that the spirit is real. She remembers the minutes of terror she felt while he spoke to it. She could not hear, but she was very afraid. The mirrored room, the dark room, the room with the unexplained dusty hole. They dared each other to touch it as children, they opened it once and could not see in, and even now she will not look at it.

The basement is frightening. But the animals wll protect her. They always have. Now she will call upon them in her dreams, with her mind, to bring the inanimate ones to life and fight off this daemon, this restless spirit, this angry ghost. She cannot sleep anywhere alone, or the dreams will come. She hopes that when the day comes that she moves out, it will not follow.

She has never seen it. She was beginning to doubt it, and had decided to stop telling people, when he saw it. He had not been told, and yet he saw it. It had watched him over the side of the fold-out couch. He had woken to see it and mistook it for her, but when it vanished, he became uneasy. She heard this in the morning and was relieved. Not crazy, then, but sensitive.

It does not bother her when he is around, but when he is gone she can feel it more than ever. It has never left, only receded a little.

But it is real.

The childhood fear is real.

I haven’t written in awhile -- between bouts of depression, heavy workload and general apathy, I just haven’t been up to it.

The past few weeks have been insane. My mother used me as a scapegoat to cut off ties with my grandfather, whose post-stroke financial affairs she was a managing. As a result, my grandfather has been harassing me with four or five voicemail messages a day, demanding that I explain myself. I could end it all by telling him the truth -- that I hate him as much as my mom does, that I only spent time with him out of guilt and pity, and that I told my mother he was talking about her behind her back because I thought she should know what he was saying -- but I just don’t have it in me for any kind of confrontation. I just wish I could answer my phone.

This comes at an opportune time, however, because now I am able to get out of having to go to my grandfather’s baptism. Prone to episodes of great drama, his rebaptism is just another way of trying to drawn an audience -- in this case, since I am the only relative on speaking terms (recently, anyway), I must bear the burden of the production. Since his stroke, these acts of melodrama have taken on greater urgency, and he becomes creepier and creepier as his emotional vampirism takes on ravenous proportions. A visit with him involves sitting in his living room, listening to him rave for hours about how terrible the world is, and any time a visitor tries to interject their own opinions into the conversation, he either ignores them or disagrees with them.

Just the thought of him makes me feel nauseous.

This isn’t to say the past few weeks have been all bad -- on the contrary, some good things have happened. For one, the coffee table book I edited for work, which took up some six months of my life, is done and looks fantastic. I’ve only found one editing mistake, which is pretty damn good if I don’t say so myself. Not bad for a first shot at editing a book -- now, I’ll just hope it’s not my last.

Also, I received an out-of-the-blue email from an old friend from college, which lead to another email from a second college friend -- both whom I never thought I’d ever speak to again. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting in touch long lost friends -- it’s like real magic happening in the world, lending credence to the idea that anything can happen. Anything at all.

I’m going to see them over Memorial Day weekend -- I’m a little nervous. When they last knew me, I was this crazy 18-year-old kid filled with self-loathing and anger and selfishness, and all those terrible things teenagers can be. Now I’m 28, more circumspect, more together. I’m curious to see how they’ve changed. When I last knew them, I looked up to them as mentors -- people who were older, more experienced and wiser than I was. It will be interesting to see them as an adult.

If only I could find some way to get out of this ugly business with my grandfather ...


I just want to say that Interpol’s “Turn on the Bright Lights” makes me feel just like Donnie Darko.

Last night I woke up at about 11:30 p.m. to the sounds of the computer beeping at me incessantly. The power had gone out. I stayed up to the ungodly hour of 2 a.m. until the lights returned and I was able to set my pathetic excuse of an alarm clock for 6 in the morning so as not to miss my buss.

As the already doomed day progressed I found myself falling into an apathetic drain of emotion. I look in the mirror and think of what a mindless drone I must be to take on the opinions of the world without question or regard for how absurd they may be. A sheep. That is how I can be described. I am as mindless and aimless as a sheep.

I find myself drowned in book after book, constantly looking for a new outlook on life to accept or to accommodate into my own ideals. Perhaps I devour philosophy as a means to understand why I am standing here. How am I meant to understand it though, when most cannot be objected to, but there is an equally witty thought that contradicts it? The constant debate of who said what and what he or she meant by it is a constant battle of minds of people who have none, and who have nothing better to do but squabble about giving credit too long dead philosophers when their own ideas are usually snatched from the fools who confide in them about their thoughts before proclaiming them to the public.

Who will write what next, and whom will it be stolen from? All the good ideas are gone, so the intelligent outcasts of our time find ways to rewrite what has already been said without adding anything new. Sound like any place we know?

Helen smiled broadly when I entered her hospital room, and set aside the mail and People magazines she had been fiddling with. "I haven't seen you in a long time," she said, and I realize she is sincerely happy to see me.

Helen is a member of my church, or more precisely a member of my former church. I left them because I could no longer sit through sermons that didnt teach me a damned thing. We had hired a new pastor, a good man, with a good family, sincere, pious, and as far as I can tell, completely without a clue about the real message of Christ. Helen spent her life in this church, raised her children, buried her husband. Her daughter Chris is a good friend of mine, and when I attended Trinity the three of us would often have lunch after the service, talking about many things.

I pulled a chair next to her bedside, and sat. We chatted for a time, and I spoke of my recent vacation, the beauty of Williamsburg, and rebuilding the acquantance of an old friend.

She seems cheerful as ever, but that has to be a lie. Her aging skin is paper thin, and purple with cascading bruises, presumably from IV's. We both know why I am here. Though I am no longer a member, my friends from Trinity wanted me to know that she was ill, and this may be my last chance to see her.

Finally our discussion came to a head. Helen asked me if I know why she's in the hospital. I lied and told her that I didn't know the truth but heard her condition was bad.

She sighs and explains that she has leukemia. And then she turns her head to face me and her face is set with determination, yet soft. "I'm not going to go on living on transfusions. I'm telling them that, tomorrow."

I turned my head to the ground unsure of what to say. But Helen has no doubts. "David, I'll be 85 next month." And she smiles at me, as if death is nothing at all.

"That's older than my house," I reply, trying to make a feeble joke. I'm afraid to face the awful truth. Helen laughed anyway, making it easier for me. And yet she is not old, at least old in the way we often imagine the elderly, inactive, waiting for death. Helen always did, and enjoyed her life.

She tells me where the hospice is that she will go tomorrow. She has accepted her mortality and is prepared to embrace the end. It is me, not her, who has a hard time accepting her death.

After I left, I thought back to her words, when she told me that she would be 85 next month. Helen was telling me not that she wanted to go. She was telling me that her life was a good one, that she had no complaints. If this was her time to step into the shadow, then so be it. When I came to her door, she was not pining over things undone, but rather taking care of her affairs as she has always done. Continuing to live.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, it is written:

For what befalls the sons of man, also happens to beasts, even one thing that happens to them. them: as one dies, so dies the other. They all have one breath, so that a man has no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

All go to one place, all are of dust, and turn to dust again.

Who knows if the spirit of a man goes upward, and the spirit of a beast downward?

I percieve that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his life, for that is his portion, and who shall bring him to see what shall come after him.

Ecclesiastes was saying that we all die, and should not count on heaven, reincarnation or whatever may come after, for these things are not knowable in this life. Since we cannot be sure what will come next, we should live this life without regrets, so that when our time comes, we shall die, knowing that we truly lived. I think that Helen believes in an afterlife, that soon she will rejoin her husband for eternity. But either way, she is ready, because she knows she has lived.

Ecclesiastes 3 19-22

The scrap of paper i found in my office today 4/25/04 as i cleaned my office cause the cat has been away but this mouse aint unemployed yet...

this was writen on the back of a (ugh, evil producted) map in New Orleans on cinco de mayo 2003 as i toured the city specifically the Vieux Carre... if you know what that means
----------------------
First stare out of Sheridan Hotel

The Everything Store... a funny smell than a rat runs across the floor
---

the art of deceptive advertising permiates ever nook and my time will not be spent spending money.
I will make Denny's drunk

I forgot all the public urination jokes I make. They are ALL funny.

------

Drunk till you can't smell

--- Brent hooked me up with a beer... Lexi from PitsBurg is in a Band and likes strippers. She don't think much of this one but she dug the balck guy and gal tandom dance thing.

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