To All Kind Hosts...

Canada

Pseudo_Intellectual- Vancouver.
Arrived January 21, 2003 - Departed February 3, 2003

Cosmyre - Regina, Sk
Arrived February 7, 2003 - Departed February 12, 2003

momo Ontario, Canada
Arrived- February 21, 2003 -Departed- March 15, 2003

Asia

Squalor Anhui province, China
Arrived- March 26, 2002 - Departed -April 6, 2003.

Dystopian Autocrat Suncheon, South Korea.
Arrived April 14,2003 - Departed April 28, 2003.

liontamer - Ariake, Nagasaki, Japan
Arrived May 5,2003 - Departed May 14, 2003.

Europe

HamsterMan- Winchester, Hampshire, England
Arrived May 22,2003 - Departed May 29, 2003.

Hexter- Winchester/London, England
Arrived May 29, 2003- Departed May 31, 2003.

wrinkly- London, England.
Arrived June 3, 2003- Departed June 6, 2003.

trembling- London, England.
Arrived June 8, 2003- Departed July 23, 2003.

elem_125- Bristol, UK .
Arrived circa August 30 - Departed September 2, 2003.

The Debutante - Bristol, UK .
Arrived September 9, 2003- Departed September 13, 2003, 2003.

lemur - Bristol, UK
Arrived September 13, 2003- Departed October 3, 2003

arieh
Arrived October 3, 2003- Departed October 3, 2003-

slyph - Durham, United Kingdom.
Arrived November 2, 2003- Departed January 19, 2004

diotina and Oolong- Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
Arrived March 3, 2004- Departed March 29,2004.

Lometa - Tucson, AZ
Arrived May 10, 2004- Departed May 24, 2004.

Albert Herring - Nottingham, UK
Arrived June 1, 2004- Departed October 24, 2004.

wertperch - Nottingham, UK
Arrived July 8th, 2004.

darl - Bowden, UK
Arrived October 25 - Departed October 26, 2004.

blondino - Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Netherlands
Arrived November 2, 2004 - Departed November 20,2005.

sloebertje - Delft, Netherlands
Arrived November 25, 2004 - Departed December 9, 2004.

toalight - Oslo, Norway
Arrived December 11, 2004 - Departed January 15, 2005.

Linca- Paris, France
Arrived January 19, 2005 - Departed February 24, 2005.

siren - The Netherlands.
Arrived March 04, 2005 - Departed July 8, 2005.

Siobhan - Bern, Switzerland
Arrived July 18, 2005 - Departed August 1, 2005.

Africa

joes3029 - Hilton, South Africa.
Arrived August 10, 2005 - circa September 15

New Zealand

Demeter - Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Arrived September 23,2005 - Departed October 25,2005

United States

momomom - Laurel, MD, United States
Arrived October 30, 2005 - Departed December 29,2005.

Scribe - Funkstown, MD
Arrived January 13,2006 - Departed Janaury 24, 2006.

Serjeant's Muse - Hoboken, NJ
Arrived January 29, 2006 - Departed February 6, 2006 .

yclept - Flemington, NJ
Arrived - Departed March 21, 2006.

Chiisuta- Brighton, MA
Arrived circa April 1, 2006 - Departed circa April 21,2006 .

RangyJoeyHondo - Lambertville NJ
Arrived April 26, 2006 - Departed May 12, 2006. .

… and Patient Noders waiting,



United States

Laura Elizabeth- Bridgeport, CT
Chras4 - East Granby, CT

magicmanzach - Longmeadow, MA.
GrouchyOldMan - Cape Cod, MA
equinoctial- Somerville, MA 
3Suns- Newton, MA
apraetor - Worcester, MA
The Custodian - Boston, MA willing to shoulder shipping to 'tee off'
 the book to a faraway land!

thyme - Vancouver, Washington

Joyquality - Portland, OR
TanisNikana - Dundee, OR 

Ereneta - Oakland, CA
bindlenix - Berkeley, CA
riverrun - Pasadena, CA
trainman - North Hollywood, CA
atlas - Santa Barbara, CA 
cami - Santa Barbara, CA 

l00dD00d-  Mankato,MN

izubachi - Madison, WI

LaggedyAnne - Saint Louis, Missouri

Oni no Ng - Swartz Creek, MI  

borgo- Columbus, Ohio 
Transitional Man - Columbus, Ohio

novasoy - Louisville, KY.

sauth-  New Orleans, LA 

Mitzi - Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 
(I will send it on its way with COOKIES.)

dutchess - Charlottesville, VA. 
Maylith- Manassas, VA.

JediBix783 - Washington DC

Australia

La petite mort - Melbourne, Victoria
The Cigarette Smoking Sock - Melbourne, Victoria

Orpheum - Canberra

Taliesin's Muse- Sydney, New South Wales 

It is with deep sadness that I announce that after nearly four years of world travels, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis has been forced to retire. The last I know is that our beloved book was on its way to Sondheim. I have messaged him a number of times in May, June, as well as July and he has logged on and failed to reply. I also sent him an email at the beginning of August and still no response.

First of all I would like to give credit, accolades, and kudos to everyone on the above list for stepping forward in partnership with the Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis project. It grew beyond my wildest imaginings and was quite overwhelmed with all of your wonderful responses!

Unfortunately I must acknowledge that the book has been lost or stolen and it is the breaking of my heart. I would like to thank all of you who took the time to host the book, especially the folks who day logged and posted comments at bookcrossing.com. Special notes of appreciation go out to Pseudo_Intellectual for such a wonderful launch in 2003, diotina for her kind effort in getting the author Wendy Cope to sign it and finally most of all to avjewe for making a Secret Santa Wish come true.

For those who might be interested, the book has been registered at bookcrossing (external link). A number of noders wrote about their experiences with the book and posted pictures.

One final request, atlas kept track of the book's mileage for several years for which I am deeply appreciative. His most recent odometer reading was MCFKA's visit with toalight. At that time the total was 27,831 miles. I am mathematically challenged and it would be nice to have a Grand Total. Please message me with it if you have the time to figure one out. I would like to add it to the write up.

Loving regards,
Lo


IWhoSawTheFace says re September 1, 2006: So... what's the next book? (and) You were a doll for having hosted this thing for so long. It was a part of your life for three years. Amazing.
jessicapierce says re September 1, 2006: my word. wow.
RangyJoeyHondo says I wish he had/would make some sound...
Chras4 says re: 9/1/06 That is truly a shame, it has been stalled up...I hope it's something as simple as...the book was sent to a college address and he's not back to college yet... I am not ready to accept it's GONE yet...but then, I don't suppose I'm very good at letting go easily. (I hope you're right!) I was at the point where I was more looking forward to reading the previous's readers thoughts.
Serjeant's Muse says ok, now I am sad because you'll never see all the *amazing* notes that were left for you in Kingsley Amis. There was a poem, early on, about engineers(external link). In colored pencils (blue and yellow) I drew you a suspension bridge with a backlit sunset. On the margin (in black and red) I wrote you the the equations balacning the forces at the corners. We deal with words oh so often, I thought a picture would make an appropriate foil. Sorry you lost your book... Cheers, Serjeant's Muse. (I'm sad too. How kind of you to take the time to create such a neat gift. I wish I could have seen all that sweet noder love.)
Jet-Poop says I was sorry to hear that the travels of the book came to an end. We will chase Sondheim down and hit him with a live librarian!
DejaMorgana says Sorry to hear about your book. Hopefully this isn't the end. This is actually the reason why i never asked to take part in that deal - i am notoriously unreliable about sending packages off when they need to be sent, and i almost definitely would have stalled the book's travels for a while.
The Debutante says re September 1, 2006: You know, it seems such a long time since I opened the package bearing the book. Life has changed in many ways. I think it makes me simultaneously happy and sad. Thank you.
sloebertje says re September 1, 2006: I'm very sorry to hear the book was lost... it was such a great project. I'm hoping it will turn up after all.
bipolarbear Oh, jolly sad about the book being lost! It was a fab project, and I enjoyed being part of it. Thanks. :)
etouffee says congrats on the Martin Amis effort--- a remarkable achievement...truly....no one has mentioned how this small gesture has brought this community together...so I shall thank you Lo. God bless
2007-01-25@17:58 Pseudo_Intellectual says re September 1, 2006: dag. still, that's a more exciting life than most books can hope for 8)

My Nighttime Ride with Shitface
(his real name is Lou, dammit)
or...
Discussing Deep Philosophies in the Late-Nite Drive-Thru Amongst All Of Those Sandwich Wrappers That Have Come Before Us, bitch

Yes. It was late at night. Very, very late. I wasn't sure how late. Shitface's clock on his radio on his old rusted Monte Carlo always says 12:00. It seems he cannot figure out how to set it. Every once in a while he'll fumble around with it, but that usually ends in him smacking the dash above it hard, which for some reason always switches the station to somebody preachin an an AM station.

Ann the laaawwwd is watchin' ovah you, mm-mmm! A-Men! Praise the Lawd God!

...and then he gets so mad because he hates religion that he curses and smashes it again. And this action always puts it on a hard core rock station that blasts the hell out of my eardrums.

So anyways. I was riding with Shitface late at night and he turns to me and says in his whiskey-soaked voice as he slowly begins to creep into oncoming traffic in the other lane: "I feel like some..... burgers!" His acrid, dripping breath would kill a weaker man, I have a feeling, but luckily for me I have some of the toughest ol' factories on the block.

Amongst much screeching, honking, and yelling, I pontificated that he was suggesting a White Castle run. But for some reason he violently veered into a Taco Bell parking lot.

"Holy fucking shit, it's raining fuckers!" Shitface bellowed as he careened his convertible into the drive-thru lane. I don't know about "fuckers" but it definitely wasn't raining water. Not in that drought. So yeah, soon he was in the drive-thru of the old Bell of Taco. He screeched to a very uncomfortable stop at the menu.

"I feel like some pooo-saaaayy!" Shitface declared.

"I don't think that's on the menu, dude," I mumbled as I admired a picture of some beans, cheese, and other shit wrapped up in this culinary device undoubtedly made from some type of grains.

Shitface laughed. No, actually, he doesn't laugh, he cackles. He would make the goddamn Blair Witch crap in her purple stockings sometime, I swear. The brown and liquidy kind. It's not just the cackling, of course not! just factor in his stringy, greasy greying hair, mostly toothless grin, freakishly popping eyes, and ratty old hat. Factor that shit in and you'll be manufacturing brown liquid, too.

Slowly Shitface pulled up to the speaker.

"Welcome to Taco Bell, may I take your order?" mumbled some kid, sounding like he was sentenced to work there there by a judge, no doubt for loitering or something.

"Why don't people take pride in their jobs anymore?" I asked Shitface as I took off my shoe. I had previously stubbed my toe really bad and was curious as to the status of the nail, y'know, what color it was, if it was falling off yet.

"I wanna prideburger!" yelled Shitface. Then he wheezed all the air out of his lungs slowly.

"A wha--?"

"I'll take a beef Mexi Melt!" I yelled.

"OK, and--?"

"I want a fucking Big Mac!" Shitface yelled. Then he proceeded to swat around at a fly. I didn't see a fly, though.

"Sir, we don't have those..."

"I'll tell ya what it is, sonny," Shitface said, turning to me. Boy if I had had a slightly weaker constitution his breath, in that particular instance in time and space, might have murdered me. "But I gotta whisper it 'cuz it's a secret!" I wondered, then, why he had yelled that at the top of his lungs. "Jobs are like farts," he wheezed, "you can blow 'em out all ya want, but people only notice it when they stink!" The he promptly farted to perhaps further his point. It was the kind that starts out loud and flappy then peeters out into a loud squee.

It was perhaps one of the most profound things I had ever heard. Undoubtedly, he was capitulating about how jobs in the natural gas industry were having an adverse affect on the global economy. That would be a matter I'd have to investigate further.

"I'll have a Nachos Bel Grande!" I exclaimed as I slipped my sock off. My foot was wrinkled as had lots of little white sock leftovers.

"I'll have a camel toe!" shouted Shitface.

The speaker boy seemed to chuckle. "We, uh, don't have those, either, sir."

"I'll have your mommy, boy, with a side of ssshhhhitknockers!"

"Shitknock--??"

"Gimme a taco pizza!" I yelled.

"I wanna fucking JUMBO JACK!" Shitface screamed. "With grilled motherfuckers!"

"Uhh... sir..."

"Lemme tell ya somethin boy," Shitface said quietly, turning and pointing at me, "don't ever expect anybody to polish your camel balls for you, some things ya gotta just.." he stopped to wheeze "..do it yourself!"

"Oh I am an avid fan of personal responsibility, Sir," I said with confidence. "That is definitely one of the problems of society today, a lack of the good ol' PR. Not press releases, mind you--"

"I SAID PEPPERONI!" Shitface screamed, turning to the speaker suddenly. His crazed voice echoed off into the night. "What the fuck do I gotta do to get some goddamn PEPPERONI?!"

"Listen, sir, we don't have burgers or pizzas here..."

"Gimme a spicy chicken Crunchwrap Supreme!" I exclaimed.

"Crunchwraps are like Jennifer Aniston and Samuel L. Jackson!" Shitface yelled. "She might suck his dick, but when they fart, who really gives a shit?"

His astute observation of the media demonization of the sexual exploits and bodily functions of American celebrity sent me reeling into unforseen ponderances. I almost forgot to order those five tacos I'd wanted.

"OK," the boy said, "now, I've got your Mexi Melt, your Crunchwrap Supreme, nachos, Mexican pizza, and your tacos. But nothing this guy has said--"

"FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZEBAALLLLL!" Shitface suddenly yelled into the speaker as if he was in a foozeball-drive-thru-speaker-yelling contest. He certainly would've deserved the blue ribbon if I do say so myself.

Ah, life is but a game, after all. I was beginning to wonder if Shitface's astounding life observations were going to go on all night. He is truly a Renaissance man, a regular modern-day Don Quixote, daring to hit the drive-thru speaker as if it were a windmill and he had some sort of jousting thingy.

I put my sock and shoe back on after coming to the conclusion that I would have to wait before I could put the toenail out of its misery.

"Listen, sir--"

"BAAAAAALLLLLLLLLZZZZZZZZZ!"

"SIR--!"

"BAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLZZZZZZZZZ!"

Shitface's loud declaration of the roundish parts of the male anatomy caused some dogs to begin wailing and some car alarms to begin barking. Now I began to wonder, at this point, if he was stark raving mad, or maybe he was postulating so deeply and profoundly it was beyond even my intellect's grasp.

It just had to be the latter. "If you don't have those," I said, "just give him five tacos, too. And how 'bout adding me a burrito on there? A chili one."

"All right," said the shaken-sounding boy, "that'll be twelve-sixty-six. Please pull around."

"It's about fucking time!!" Shitface exclaimed. Then he put the car in reverse, hopped up onto the rock garden around the speaker and spun some stones into the building. "You gotta get a swing at these goddamn things!" he yelled as he put it in drive. In a few seconds, after a launch NASA would have been proud of, we landed at the drive-thru window around the corner.

"If shit were made of manure, I'd be rich by now!" Shitface cried at the boy as he began to flip crumpled bits of Monopoly money through the window. Even though his eyes were mostly covered by his dark, encroaching mutt of hair, I could tell the boy looked a bit bedazzled. The pink, yellow, and white paper bouncing and floating into the window reminded me of the days of my misspent board-gaming youth.

"Dude, you're defective!" the boy declared. This caused Shitface to convulse into hyena-like cackles. Knowing full well that a fine establishment like Taco Bell did not accept any currency except that officially sanctioned by the US government, I released a $20 bill from my wallet and reached across Shitface to put it on the gleaming, metal window sill. The boy accepted it and handed me my change.

As Shitface continued to cackle uncontrollably, the boy handed us our bags of food and we sped off into the night. As if to celebrate our successful authentic Mexican food-gathering mission, Shitface drove with one hand and tossed the contents of his taco into the air as if it were confetti with the other.

"Whoo hoo hoo!" Shitface said gleefully as he tossed bits of lettuce, cheese, and meat up and into the night air. "Lick her in the balls, poke her in the taco!"

I pondered his gender-confusing comment carefully as we continued traveling, the grass whishing and the sticks crackling below the wheels of the Monte Carlo. I came to the conclusion, as I barely avoided being bitch-slapped by a thin tree branch, that Shitface was questioning the very concept of biological gender and indicting society at large for artificially perpetuating flawed ideas about what it is to be a man or a woman.

But, I thought, as I attempted eating a nacho (something made very difficult by Shitface's insistance on driving over that log), "What does it all have to do with tacos?"

It would probably be one of those questions - and there are many - that man will struggle to answer in the centuries to come.

"Baaaallllllllzzzzz!!!" Shitface yelled as he finally decided to drive on a road again, nearly hitting a few perplexed drivers and pedestrians in the process.

Maybe Shitface had the answer to that question. Or maybe all of them. Perhaps, though, his enigmatic languagations would keep them locked forever in brilliant, fantastic mind.

For Wordmongers' Masque

Baaallllzzzz!!!!

Wordmongers' Masque

The pain memory spiral

I sat up on the little roof garden and had a smoke. The late afternoon sun pounded the rooftops and slanted between the close-set buildings. I heard children playing on a distant rooftop and I thought about how my mother had once caught me playing on the roof when I was eight.

I remember how pissed off she was -- not because she had been inconvenienced or anything -- but pissed off because, she said, I could have been hurt very badly.

She trembled as she stood at the foot of the rickety trellis -- the one I had used to make my big climb to the roof and made me promise to never, never do that again.

I remember how tempted I was to go back on my promise. The roof was such an adventure. Things looked oddly smaller from the roof's vantage point, and that was something that interested me -- that and how easy it was to look into everyone's backyard from the high angle.

But I had promised, and that was that. I'd never go on that roof again.

Now, I watched three boys playing on the rooftop. two older boys were trying to lose a younger boy who was following them around, doggedly.

As I was about to put out my cigarette, I heard a thud, some metal rattling then a shriek -- must have been from the youngest boy. In a few moments, an adult was up on the roof, along with the older boys who had now gathered around the younger one.

He was really hurt. His cry had an unnatural pitch to it -- and did not have the petulant quality of a child not getting his way. He was, apparently, really hurt.

Then I remembered the spiral of pain in my own left arm -- remembering a time I had fallen from a high place and broken my arm.

I was told my cry had a different sound to it, and I vaguely remember how I tried to stay above the pain because if I explored it, the spiral sucked me down.

I listened to this little boy sobbing, trying to get his breath. I figure that was what he was trying to do -- keep above the pain so the spiral did not drag him down.

I went back to the office -- back to work, but now I had a new memory to follow. If I wanted, I could now follow this memory down the spiral and remember the feel of a broken bone.

Could this have been what my mother was so afraid of?

Surely the measure of a man's life begins at 23; the age at which he settles on his mark, recites his agenda one final time, and rushes forth upon the world at a furious pace, damning and delighting its inhabitants with equal aplomb.

On September 1, 2005, I turned 23. Recently ejected from academia, single, unemployed, homeless, in the general region of lower middle class (despite game show success), and in general unsure of where life would lead me next.

This is the chronology of the year from then until now.

  • September 1 - Turn 23.
  • September 3 - Get married. An event over 18 months in the making (or 7 years, depending on your POV.) The amnesiac preacher, the runner that wouldn't run, the glass ballroom, Bobby Darin, tuxedo strawberries, the stereotypical rambling best man speech, and a late night quest for Diet Cherry Coke. It is magic.
  • September 10 - The honeymoon. A week at Disney World and onboard the Disney Cruise Line. Pirates in the Caribbean, Darth Vader, Army men, riding the Dinosaur ride alone, the Newlywed Olympics, sunburn, theater, the dessert buffet - and the suspiciously good weather.
  • September 17 - Arriving home in Houston, we see a sign that reads "THE END IS NEAR." We are the only ones heading south on Grand Parkway. The logjam at the Interstate 10 is unprecedented (why all the fuss?)
  • September 18 - Survive Hurricane Rita. Watching the forecast all day as it edged closer and closer. Fill up the bathtubs, the cars, and our stomachs, watch the Sunday night rerun of Lost, and wait.
  • September 19 - Finally, the storm begins slicing east, and we evolve from certain doom to merely probable doom. We sit it out, and only receive minor rainstorms for our trouble. The next day, our local Kroger only has popcorn and wine coolers for sale - the CVS? Fully stocked.
  • October - We make the decision to move to Austin. We go stay with friends, search out apartments, and settle on some nice ones in the northwest, near Round Rock. (Still no jobs.)
  • October 31 - Arr, we be pirates!
  • November 4 - Acquire our first piece of furniture ever - 3 in fact, in the form of a living room set. All-leather, black, only $1000.
  • November 12 - Move-in day. We also buy our first appliances ever - a washer and dryer, courtesy of my in-laws.
  • November - The moving continues - a futon, some cheap bedroom furniture, my parents' old breakfast room table, which we reupholster so we had something to eat on. (We then proceed to eat on the floor in the living room for the next 8 months.) I get a couple of jobs building websites for people to tide us over, and in general, we apply for a ton of jobs and have a lot of fun scoping out our neck of the woods. I also spend way too much time coding here at E2.
  • December 15th - Get an interview with the government. A ColdFusion shop (I'm PHP), but they're very nice, and mostly just want someone with some HTML experience. I like the people; hope they like me.
  • December 18 - Courtney gets an awesome job as an associate producer for a new Court TV show called Texas SWAT which, predictably, is about Texas SWAT teams.
  • December 22 - I get the job! My first full-time one. 20 minute commute, 40 hour week and I pick the hours, cushy government benefits - and we're home for Christmas.
  • December 25 - A pretty great Christmas - video games, $500 in clothes for the gig, books, To Kill A Mockingbird special edition ... sweet.
  • December 31, 2005 - Spend midnight at Magic Island, an upscale magician's venue/restaurant in downtown Houston. Even when you know a lot of the tricks, it's downright amazing how polished these guys are.
  • January 1, 2006 - We celebrate Courtney's birthday a bit early with dinner at Carabba's with all the family. Work begins tomorrow.
  • January 2 - The first day on the job. I end up spending the first week in orientation, signing away many many of my (soon to be) hard-earned dollars.
  • January 3 - Courtney turns 24 (I get her a laptop for work.)
  • Janary 20 - Head to Irving to attend the retirement of a SWAT captain. Those guys are great, and true Texans to boot (a quality only true Texans can admire.)
  • February-April - The quietest part of the year. Courtney is out of town a lot (with the SWAT team business), and I spend most of the time getting used to the job, Austin, and being married. We go to Houston about every other weekend.
  • February 11 - Home in Houston.
  • February 25 - Home in Houston.
  • March 11 - Home in Houston. (See a pattern?)
  • March 17 - St. Patrick's Day + SXSW + spring break = OMG 6th Street could not be any busier.
  • March 25 - Take a trip to College Station to visit a friend and make some music together. Good times.
  • March 26 - Courtney's iPod Mini gets stolen at the gym. Lousy punks and their love of Hilary Duff tunes ...
  • May 5 - Saw the President speak at the Oklahoma State University commencement ceremonies (where my sister in law graduated summa cum laude in communications - go Kristen!) Doesn't have much of a message for the graduates - but still cool to see the helicopters landing, and the plainclothes Secret Service agents trying to fit in. I then spend the rest of the day moving Kris out of her apartment and driving back to Austin.
  • May 12 - Texas SWAT's first season comes to a close, and the show is put on hiatus. Despiting being extremely popular (the most popular original show in Court TV history), problems with the show's chief producer and cameraman Jeff Chagrin force the executive producers to shelve the show indefinitely for retooling. Courtney (who had to put up with Jeff for the past 5 months) is given a healthy severance check and wished the best.
  • May 20 - Throw my parents a 30th anniversary garden party. We invite about 100 of their friends, most of whom were at their wedding. A big party outside in my parents' backyard to celebrate their hard work beautifying the place and their new deck. Everyone brings pictures of my parents and flowers for the garden - everything went superbly.
  • May 25 - Watch Dazed and Confused. Outdoors. In a park. In Austin. I also get asked if I had a good speed connection. Yeah, the air was a bit thicker ...
  • May 28 - Took a trip down the Guadalupe River for Memorial Day. The lazy water's a little too lazy - it takes us nearly 6 hours to complete the circuit, and we're burnt to a crisp for our efforts. Melanoma++!
  • June 5 - Attend the wedding of one of Courtney's old co-workers in Houston. (The guys at FOX Sports Houston are awesome.)
  • June 23 - We begin our romp through the 48 Hour Film Project. A bit of background: you have 48 hours to make a 5 minute film in a genre specified by the promoters. To ensure originality, certain elements must be in the film which are revealed to all moviemakers at the same time.
  • June 24 - We were given the fun genre of holiday film, and unsurprisingly elect to do a comedy about the 4th of July. We furiously film all day, using our families and friends as cast members, and we finish shooting about 9 o'clock.
  • June 25 - A drive back to Austin, some unnecessary complications and a fair bit of drama gives us precisely 16 minutes to complete a 30 minute drive to downtown Austin to deliver our film on time. For those who don't believe in miracles, let me say: the Gods do deliver from time to time. We arrive at the dropoff with exactly 20 seconds to spare.
  • June 27 - The ultimate treat: we get to see our film on the big screen! Pretty well-received, too, considering the limitations of the Sunday past. Overall? I'd give it a B minus. Just wait till next year ...
  • July 4 - When you decide to go househunting for the first time, there is a sense of absurdity to it - what did I ever do to deserve a house? And so it is with us, as we walk through these absurdly large homes (many of which we cannot even come close to affording.) But finally we find a neighborhood in our price range in Manor, a sleepy little town 4 miles east of Austin, and we hone in on it.
  • July 5 - We put down $300 on a house today. Oh my sweet Jesus, what have I done?
  • July 12 - We begin the arduous process of closing on the home. There's a catch, too; to get the great deal we got on the house, we have to close by the end of July. Paperwork begins flying at an unprecedented rate.
  • July 25 - It's done. The house is ours.
  • July 28 - Go and see the Round Rock Express play. They lose, but the fireworks show afterwards is pretty awesome.
  • July 30 - For the second time in a year, we're moving (thankfully just crosstown, not cross-state.) To celebrate, we acquire a bunch more stuff - a new bedroom suite, ceiling fans, flat-screen TVs, and a sprinkler system.
  • August 4 - Take a weekend trip with my parents to a resort in San Antonio. It's still the most beautiful downtown ever. Well, maybe Paris, but it's close.
  • August 18 - Another weekend, another Texas vacation with my parents. This time we're off to Galveston (my parents are in that "looking for a place to retire/travel" vibe - they also came to Austin in July to check out the scene) to a rented beach house, where we spend most of the time on the beach and enjoying the view. Galveston Island is a lovely stretch of land, caught between prospective commercial developers and the beach hippies that populate it. A great place to spend a weekend, though.
  • August 27 - Spend the day at Schlitterbahn (we spent the day after the Guadalupe River Incident there, too.) The best way to waste a Sunday in Texas.
  • September 1 I turn 24. Chocolate chip pancakes from Courtney - ohmygodsogood - and balloons and confetti at work. Who could ask for anything more?

Final tally? 1 wedding, 2 addresses, 3 new televisions, 4 vacations, 17 weekends away from Austin, 206 web support requests handled, 365 days. Married, employed, not homeless, still generally in the region of lower middle class (but getting better), and still unsure about where life leads. On the other hand, if every year is this action-packed, it's going to be a hell of a ride.

It is no small thing to be young and alive - and greater still to be pleased with it.

you gave me birth from the depths of darkness

you gave solace to my wandering soul

the breeze, the flowers, are a part of you...

the murmur of trees, the distant surf of the ocean...

where else can I find the petal of your dreams, the sky

I lose my vision for green pastures, I can see only darkness

from your heart I can't tear apart myself

I come back to you.

the stage beckons, promises me heaven

I die here clinging to your heart

what else can be eternal truth, but you...

Recently I was listening to good friend Donald Rumsfeld telling us wisely about new fascism and how Saddam Hussein and his advanced military technology is creeping across Europe and conquering weaker countries and we are appeasing him by giving him small countries to own and how this must stop. Wiser words were never spoken.

The liberal media must stop blinding us to the actions of these fascists who are making their national interests more important than those of the weaker nations of the world and we must rise up against it. We must stop listening to the biased liberal media and become real Americans by listening to those who speak the truth, even though they are constantly threatened by the appeasement oriented liberals who have a mad control on our media, our government and our court system. We must begin to stamp out this policy and stand strong.

As hard as it may be for the lilly livered amongst us to accept, we are a Christian nation, and being a Christian nation involves killing anyone who does not agree with us because we are doing the will of God in killing heathens. As we did with the evil, Pilgrim killing Indians who were once a plague upon this land we discovered by the right of God, we must now kill off another uncivilized people who threaten our civilization with their lack of compliance. There is no question here, as my friend Don Rumsfeld and affiliated personages would agree, the infidels must be slain to make way for good highways and so forth that are vital to an organized planet under the umbrella of Great America.

Those who have been paid off to look the other way while barbarians threaten that which we have built through the great and true methods of the free market system and unquestionable democracy must be taught valuable lessons. I look forward to the day they all fall and we can reign supreme with our wisdom and countenance towards success while their failure has brought only tears. I am moved by the words of our President for Life, George Wonderful Bush, who has promised an end to dissent and a unified America under the great truth we all know to be true but are too afraid to accept as great truth because we have very small balls despite more powerful and plentiful weapons created through contributions from grateful taxpayers who don't want to feed welfare mothers with good reason.

Go America! Go, Go, Go! Behr is behind you 105%.

You don't expect this from me, which is why I'm saying it.

I am the police.

I work in the juvenile justice system and when I get pulled over by the police for some minor infraction and tell them where I work I get off with a joke and a smile.

This is how it is.

The police, more now than ever, don't really like having to do the job that is expected of them. They are people like anyone else and they are doing a job. My own job involves watching and evaluating teenage girls for signs of a desire to do themselves or others in. I sometimes have issues with my job, but in my mind, if you bring the shit into my place, I'm going to see it and I am going to report it. I can't tell you how many times I've told a girl, "Look, do whatever you want, but if you are going to bring evidence in here, I am going to see it and be forced by the requirements of my job to report it. This is a lesson you need to learn now, because every day the law gets more and more authority to dig into your shit. Be cool, keep it on the quiet side."

Let me tell you something. In the current state of affairs, most of the police don't like having to do their jobs. Those that do are really, really fucking scary. It isn't about maintaining the peace any longer. It is about keeping order in such a way it makes career police officers uncomfortable. Believe me or not, but I see police officers on a daily basis and within the system I am so close to them that they feel in many ways like I am one of their own.

Don't blame the police. Don't blame the soldiers. Don't blame people like me who are now given carte blanche to root through every single belonging and piece of written material you have to find something wrong. Blame those who mysteriously found it necessary to authorize such things. We do as we're told. Otherwise we have no job, and in today's severely limited economic climate, we don't really have any other options.

First off, a very happy birthday to kthejoker, who seems to have come a very long way in a single year.

Now for my usual totally random meanderings:

First off, has it ocurred to anyone other than me that Mary still had her hymen intact when baby Christ was born?

OOUUUUUUCH!!!!! I'm not even female and it hurts me just to think about it! Some say that God would have reduced the pain for her since it was the Christ child being born, but who knows really?

Also, today being the first day of September, I realize that fall is right around the corner. It is scientifically proven that people generally feel more energetic, exercise more, breathe better, and are just all around more cheerful during the fall. Personally, for me, fall holds a special significance for many reasons: Windy days, not too cool, not at all hot, numerous holidays right close to each other (namely Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, all of which mean something special to me for various reasons that I will explain as they get here), and also, my birthday is in November, and I will be 21 this year.

I am a little worried about turning 21, but slowly, I am saying goodbye to all my "kid" years (no more childhood, no more teenage Ivix. I am learning even more responsibility, and my dear Mother's time in this world is shortening every minute. I cannot let my siblings see my weakness when she's gone... and it will be a relief of some sort, but I will miss her so... Both my parents will be gone.

I am in love, and my dearheart is in the US Navy. We are as close as two best friends can get, but please explain to me the difference... she got to where she would call me over almost every day right before she went into service... we would climb trees and play games and eat candy and go ... shopping. Someone tell me the difference between that and a relationship! We laughed and cried and learned together. And... together is how I want it. Why can't we just go ahead and call it a date? I really feel like I would go anywhere and do anything for her. Will it finally just hit her some day, that I have been the one that was always there? Is it worth waiting another 15 years... or more? Should I... save myself? Things are complicated right now. But I am learning.

Slowly, I am learning to tap into my power of Unlimited Thought. And it will serve me well. I think that should wrap it up til tomorrow.

Goodbye, faithful daylog.

Wordmongers' Masque
Philia.

“The music is too loud,” she sounds like she's shouting across the room, but she's standing right next to me, “but what I can hear doesn’t exactly sound good. What are we doing here, Jeff?”

That’s me. Jeff. Mr. Collins to... well. No-one. Just Jeff. Jay, if you’re feeling creative. For the most part, I’m just average. Sure, I’ll tell you that I’m the most charming and attractive guy around. And intelligent. Don't forget intelligent. But we all know the difference between ego and reality.

Right?

Well. No. Not entirely.

The girl standing next to me--Liz or Elizabeth Michaels--has the worst grasp on reality that I’ve ever seen. She lives her life without a care in the world. Someone slights her and she shrugs it off. Lost her purse? She’ll get a new one. About the only thing she can’t handle is being bored.

Like she is right now. You can tell, because of the way she’s standing there. Her hair is the most interesting thing she can find.

“Okay. Fine. Let’s blow.” She laughs as I say it. Like a school girl. Finally, I give. “What’s so funny?”

“You. ‘Let’s blow’ indeed.” She runs off, weaving through people and making her way to the door. No. Not weaving. She’s just walking and people are almost just moving aside as she walks by. Almost. She just gets the rhythm of the crowd.

Meanwhile, I’m bumbling by trying to avoid the press of humanity. Trying. I'm learning not to care. A lesson from Liz. She says I spend far too much of my time worry about the little things and not enough time enjoying the big ones.

I make it out of the club and find Liz has already pulled the car around. I say “the car”, but I really mean “my car”. It just started to make sense for her to have a key. Since she spent ninety percent of her time waiting for me to get places. Now, she just speeds up the process.

“Hop in. We’re blowing this popsicle stand.” She turns the music down just for a moment, in order to pass on her demand, then blasts it again.

‘Cause life has been insane
But today has been okay

Trip hop. Emotional trip hop.

She keeps the music up and we just drive. Eventually, she’ll stop. Knowing her, there’s a plan. Knowing me, I’ll go along with it. And then, knowing us, it will end in hilarity.

That’s why I bring a camera. Photographic evidence. In case I need to blackmail her ever. If I do, she is entirely screwed. Then again, I don’t really want to be on her bad side. She’s scary.

Behind the wheels of my Pontiac Solstice driving far too fast in a far too casual manner... How could that not be entirely frightening?

So, you can understand why I’m in love with her.

You can also understand why I’m probably never going to mention it to her. Ever. She’s one of those girls you love from afar, even if you’re right next to them.

Not to mention, her habits with men happen to involve a whole lot of loving and leaving. She blames society. I blame her. It’s a topic of constant discussion. She brings home a new guy. I tell her that he’s the one. She laughs. And then she leaves the guy.

One of those boy meets girl stories, I’m sure.

I just don’t know which one.

Finally, my baby stops. I mean the car, not the girl. From here, we walk. Tonight, Liz doesn’t have any crazy plans in mind. She’s not going to do something thrilling. We’re going to hang out. Like two old friends.

“What’s on your mind tonight?” Because clearly, something is. She’s always thinking, but that’s not what I mean. She’s just… not here tonight. Her head is somewhere else.

“I was just wondering... About life. Love. And everything else,” in a glimpse of her face from the moonlight in through the trees, I can see her biting her lip. It’s a cute gesture. She’s actually got a worry on her mind.

“Life? You know more about that then me. As to everything else? That’s my area of expertise. But I’ll bet that love is the one that’s got you floundering...” I sound like an all-knowing smart-ass. As usual.

“Jay,” she laughs, “you’re a nut. A nut who happens to be right, but a nut none-the-less.”

“So,” I stop her and we sit down in the middle of the path, “what about love troubles the great Beth Michaels, killer of men.”

She hits me.

I probably deserve it, too.

“I’ve just been thinking about...” she stops a moment, actually composing herself, “my mom.”

I suppose that deserves a bit of exposition. Liz’s mother and father split up two years ago. They didn’t hate each other. They just “didn’t love each other anymore”. Or, more precisely, he didn’t love her anymore.

Her mother wasn’t the same. She tried her hardest to keep living life normally, but she just gave up. Eventually, it was literal. She overdosed on a mixture of painkillers and vodka. Just like in the movies.

I know what you’re thinking. And no, she didn’t die. That would turn out to be a whole 'nother mess. Liz came home and saw her mother lying there. And she freaked out. Instead of calling an ambulance or anyone at all who could have helped, she phoned me. That was the most trying experience I've ever faced. Liz saw that night as the loss of her mother even after she did pass away.

“I... I miss her,” she gives me a weak smile. Probably the closest I’ve seen her to being weak then that night. Two old friends, perhaps. But two old friends with hidden emotions. We’re probably the two closest people on the planet, but... at the same time, we’re not. Friendship’s funny that way.

Love’s funny that way.

Her eyes look into mine and for a moment, I feel weak. Not because she’s better or more important. Because I can’t always help her.

Because, in the end, you can’t save everyone.

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
James Arthur Baldwin

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