Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Spirit Writing

"Back in the day," I had a technique of writing which Stephen will recall. I would sit down at my computer, or with pen to paper, and attempt to clear my mind completely. Then my hands would move as of their own accord, and strange pieces of poetry would come out. We called it "letting the spirits write," or "automatic writing." I have not tried this in a very long time--I didn't feel capable of it, or worthy of it-- but I was inspired to try a bit this morning. This is what I got.

How high, how high must I climb
before I can see where I should go?
How long, how long must I walk
before the path becomes clear?
Ever my way is shrouded in fog,
ever my view obscured by cloud.
A day will come without light,
without power humming in the lines,
without purple fluorescence,
when the only music is what we make.
Maybe on that day, I will see.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Interactive LED Sign

Someone over on the snopes.com message board posted this link, and I don't have much to wrote about today (other than to crow that FIVE of my Red Wings will be coming home from Turin with gold medals/CDs, thanks to Sweden's 3-2 win over Finland yesterday), so I will share with you all!

This is the Interactive LED Sign. This guy has this sign set up in his basement so that when you type things in to the webform, they will appear on the sign, which you can then see on his webcams.

For example, you can advertise for your favorite message board:
You can declare yourself to be royalty:
You can give strange, obscure shout-outs to your blog friends:
Or you can declare your love in true adolescent-style:

Admittedly, some people using the sign will make offensive and painfully ignorant comments. Also, sometimes you have to try a few times and wait for a few refreshes to get your message to pop up, and if you want to save the image, you have to click on it fast. Still, it can provide hours of at-home fun! Well, minutes, at least. :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Gold, Silver, Bronze... CDs?

Does anyone else think the Olympic medals look like CDs this year? For example, here is a shot of Canadian women's hockey players Hayley Wickenheiser and Cassie Campbell with their gold medals.
(And as an aside, isn't Hayley Wickenheiser's little boy a cutie?)

Now, for a comparison, here is a picture from the 2002 Salt Lake Games. We have Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Brett Hull, and Brendan Shanahan with their gold and silver medals.

Now, THOSE look like proper Olympic medals! What was the IOC thinking? Some of the figure skaters and acrobatic skiers are probably too little to even stand up straight with those gigantic medal CDs around their necks!

The men's hockey quarterfinals are today. And I am stuck at work. And I forgot to get a blank tape to try to program my VCR. Crap. :-(

Here are the games I will be missing today due to the necessity of earning a living:

  1. 10:30, Sweden vs. Switzerland. There are whispers that the Swedes threw their game yesterday so that they'd draw Switzerland instead of the US. If it's true, perhaps karma will bite them. It's not like underdogs haven't accomplished strange things in the Olympics before....
  2. 11:30, US vs. Finland. Finland went undefeated in the round robin portion of the tournament. The US... did not. To put it mildly. They kind of squeaked in to the quarterfinals. Well, guys, you're playing elimination hockey now, so I suggest you listen to your captain (the second guy in the picture up there) and pull it together!
  3. 2:30, Canada vs. Russia. Legends on ice. Need I say more? This one should be a brilliant game. I hate to have them play so early in the tournament, though, because it means one of them is guaranteed to not medal.
  4. 3:30, Czech Republic vs. Slovakia. This should be an interesting game. Both teams are about half NHL players and half not, so they play a more European style than we're used to seeing. Plus, being as how these two countries were Czechoslovakia not so long ago, this ought to be a strong regional rivalry. The Czechs are without starting goalie Dominik Hasek (though Tomas Vokoun is a strong replacement), and the Slovaks are flying high with a 5-0 record in the first part of the tournament, so this should be a battle.

*Note to self: Buy a videotape and learn to program the VCR before the semifinals!

Friday, February 17, 2006


The big ice/snow/slush storm we were supposed to get last night?

It was all rain and wind. Lots of wind. Very loud wind.

But nothing was damaged when I went out this morning. (I was worried; my apartment building seems a little fragile.) A curbside recycling bin from parts unknown had blown into the parking lot, but that was the extent of the wind’s mischief, as far as I could tell.

Better still, though, was the sky.


Beautiful, soft, pale, clear blue, with just a few fluffy clouds here and there that emphasized the sky’s beauty rather than detracted from it. The clouds were all shot through with gold from the new-risen sun, and the pale waning moon faded slowly into its daytime sleep far away to the west.

In spite of the cold, in spite of the fact that winter still has weeks to go, that was a springtime sky we had this morning. The morning after a storm, the entire world seems washed clean and renewed, shining in glory.

It’s the sort of morning when any amazing thing might happen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What the... ?

Well, things just keep getting more interesting in my Springer-esque neighborhood!

Last night I overheard someone mentioning the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, and I realized I hadn’t looked up my town before I moved in or at any time since. I looked up all the neighborhoods where the ex-H and I were considering buying a house last year. I guess I was in too much of a hurry this time!

So I went to the website. I plugged in my ZIP code. It gave me a list. And guess who was on it?

Why, none other but my mother-abusing, karaoke-singing, stoner neighbor!

Second degree criminal sexual conduct was the charge. It didn’t provide any details, other than that it was not with a minor. So I looked up the meaning for second degree criminal sexual conduct. It is sexual contact (not penetration) involving force, coercion, use of a weapon, or incest, and it is a felony carrying a sentence of up to 15 years.

Now, this guy was never anything but polite to me, and I had no reason to suspect that he was anything other than a bit eccentric. But now…

It’s strange, but I feel almost betrayed. My safe, secure little home was not nearly so safe as I had thought it was. And now I don’t feel nearly as good as I did about living on my own. :-(

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ranty Valentine Rambling

Valentine’s Day! Hallmark at its finest.

Don’t you just love when greeting card companies, chocolate companies, and jewelry stores invent holidays, or at least blow existing minor holidays out of all proportion?

And don’t you wish that just once the public would catch on and not let this happen?

Of course it’s good for members of a couple to do nice things for each other. That’s one of the things that makes a relationship healthy! But exactly what does this mutual love and affection have to do with the jewelry stores’ subtle credo of If you don’t get your woman these diamonds, you are the world’s biggest loser and you’ll never get laid again…?

In my mind, I have romance defined as “making the other person glad that they are who they are, and glad that they are with you.”

If a couple needs heart-shaped boxes of chocolate * to do this, or overpriced blood diamonds, and they only do this on holidays, they’ve got problems that all the heart-shaped candy in the world won’t fix.

And speaking of hearts… to impress my biologist boyfriend, I leave you with this:

Hearts look like this.

They don’t look like this.

But even though it's a visually unappealing lump of muscle, my heart beats with great and abiding love for this biologist boyfriend of mine, just the same, every day of the year. :-)

Which is good, because I don’t actually get to see him on Valentine’s Day at all. Darn choir practice. But romance must include flexibility, after all. (Now please get your minds out of the gutter from that statement. ;-) )

* Please note that I have no objection whatsoever to chocolate. It’s not the chocolate’s fault if it is put into a tacky box.

Monday, February 13, 2006

An Arresting Development

My stoner neighbor got arrested last night. (I haven't had any interesting stories to post in weeks, and then I get two in one weekend!)

Anyway, the walls in my apartment building are pretty thin. The section I live in has three units with a shared enclosed porch, one upstairs and two downstairs. This neighbor and I live in the two downstairs units. So, I heard the porch door slam, then heard my neighbor's door slam, both much more loudly than usual.

A little while later, I heard the porch door slam again, then heard banging on the neighbor's door. I didn't think anything of it, until the banging started on my door. I was in the middle of changing clothes, so didn't answer right away, and when I did, there was a police officer standing out on the porch! He asked if my neighbor was in his apartment. All I could say was that I thought I had heard him come in. Then the officer told me he was waiting for backup and I should go back inside.

Finally, the neighbor opened the door and came out to talk to the cop. I could hear most of it; they were asking about a fight he'd had with his mother. So from what it sounded like, he was being arrested for domestic violence against his mom! It ended with him being taken away by the police, and he hadn’t come back by the time I left for work this morning, so I guess he can't post bail.

Yes, it was quite the wild weekend in my neighborhood.

It kind of reminds me of the people downstairs in the last apartment I lived in. They would be constantly either fighting or having sex. Loudly. I could hear them best from the bathroom, because of course there was no carpet in there to mitigate the sound. Eventually they broke up, and I was awakened one Saturday morning by the sounds of crashing outside. Evidently the woman and her son were throwing the man's furniture off their second floor balcony and laughing as it shattered on the pavement below.

I swear someday I am going to live somewhere where the neighbors don't qualify to be guests on Jerry Springer.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Highly Unusual Wedding

The bride was gorgeous, tall and elegant, her ivory satin gown dressed with tasteful amounts of lace and pearls, her veil draped just so over her dark curls. The bridesmaids were nearly as beautiful: dark wine-colored gowns, sleek and stylish, their hair just right, smiling gracefully for the bride's happiness. The look on the groom's face spoke of such joy, such wonder! He and his friends were all so very handsome in their charcoal-gray tuxedos, just the right color to coordinate with the bridesmaid's dresses. The guests were all well-dressed, laughing, congratulating the happy couple. It could have been a perfect wedding party, models staging a shoot for some bridal magazine for young girls to read and dream of their own big days.

But they looked utterly out of place going through the food line at the family-style buffet restaurant Saturday night.

They all seemed happy, though, and I guess that's the important thing!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Hole in the Wall

She lay desperately awake most nights, alone while he was in the other room. The siren call of the computer was too much for him to resist.

This night was even worse. This night she was not just lonely, but afraid. Not just resentful, but infuriated. More with herself than with him.

They had fought after dinner, of course. It was more unusual for things to stay calm than for there to be a fight, those days. But this fight had been worse.

She had lain alone so many nights. He’d often refuse to go to bed until she was getting up for work. She needed his love desperately, and had no idea how to get it. She had tried all the ways she knew, and didn’t know how to ask him what he needed. And when she tried to ask, he didn't know how to tell her.

The fight had been over buying the house. He had started gesticulating wildly, and she had made an obnoxious comment about him looking like William Shatner. She had been angry, but had also been trying to switch the mood before things got too dark again. It was a bad idea.

He hurled the cordless phone at the wall and stomped out. It left a big gouge.

She sat alone staring at the hole, afraid. Rapidly she ran through options in her head. Was there anywhere else she could go? Anything she could do on her own?

But mostly she stared at the hole in the wall. Tried to distract herself by going on instant messenger to talk to a friend. The friend tried to help, but there was a hole in the wall.

She went to bed so she wouldn’t have to look at the hole.

He finally came home, late, and tried to cuddle her and make things up to her. The touch and hugs she had longed for, only now, to her horror, her skin crawled at the very thought of his touch. She cried.

He got up and went to the computer.

She lay weeping in the night as, for the first time in her entire life, steel entered her soul.

She would not live afraid.

There was a hole in the wall, but she would not live with one in her heart; not with one through which her soul would leak out little by little until it died.

It was time to go.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Observations on Job Searching

Well, to my mind, there’s nothing more effective for making a person feel worthless than job searching in a job market like Detroit’s. And it doesn’t help matters knowing that for the part time jobs I was applying to yesterday, my competition consists mainly of college students trying to earn a few extra dollars.
  • I started out close to home. The first ad was for a Weekend Attendant at my town’s Community Center. Okay, good enough. I went to the Community Center. They had a zombie answering the door. Okay, he wasn’t really a zombie, but his voice sounded very slow and deep, like Lurch from “The Addams Family.” And then they wouldn’t even let me apply there; they sent me back to City Hall to fill out the application.
  • Next on my list was a Patient Care Aide at a nursing home. I went. There was no nursing home. I double and triple checked the ad. The address listed was an ordinary house. There’s no phone number in the ad. The home isn’t listed in the phone book. So, I’m supposed to apply to this place…. how, exactly?
  • Then came Activities Aide at another nursing home. This could actually be kind of a cool job. The unfortunate thing was that in the lobby there were also several interviews going on for nursing assistants. So it was LOUD in there. They also have a very loud squawky parrot. Frazzle, frazzle, frazzle!

  • Next up was for an Appointment Setter at a place called Dialogue Marketing. After a great struggle trying to actually find the building (it looks like it’s on a different street than the one they list for the address), I went in through a maze of hallways to discover that they aren’t really hiring; they’re just taking applications. They won’t be hiring for real until sometime next month. Now, I ask you, why go to the trouble of putting out an ad if you aren’t even going to hire anyone?
  • The one I thought of doing next was to be a Kennel Attendant (evening and weekend care) at the veterinary hospital where I used to take little Colin. This would be a good one, except I’m allergic to cats, which of course would be a serious detriment in a veterinary job. So, no go on that one.
  • Finally I headed home, but stopped on the way at Meijer (ack), Home Depot (double ack), and Wal-Mart (infinite ack) to fill out applications at their “Employment Kiosks.”

All in all, a rather depressing day, and now I’m at my real job, a day behind and with no discernible gains from it. *sigh*

Monday, February 06, 2006

Employment Futility

Today I'm home from work. The reason I'm home from work is so I can go apply for other jobs.

Now, this is not as bad as it sounds. I'm not looking to leave my job, but instead to pick up part-time work for evenings and/or weekends that I can do in addition to my current job. Because I'm poor. Because it costs a lot more to be single than I had expected it would. Because my rent just went up. And because when I figured out my taxes, the figure that came up indicates that I apparently owe the IRS my firstborn child. Now, since I'm not about to hand little Brendan over to the IRS, I need an extra cash influx. Like, now.

So I'm off today, planning to go around to stores and such places and put in applications. And I'm immature enough to hope that I get a job where I won't have to work with the public, because I don't want anyone I went to high school with to see me in a cashier or stock type job. I know pride is a rotten thing, but there it is anyway. Besides, the public annoys me. I know I have to take what I can get, but.... well, yuck.

I've tried to think of get-rich-quick schemes, but none of them have worked. Karaoke contests just don't pay well enough, and I certainly don't have what it takes to be a contestant on Fear Factor. Kidney theft pays well, I hear, but I don't have the medical knowledge to make it work.

So, I'm off to make a few phone calls and then head out to fill out applications. Grumble, grumble. Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

State of the Union?

Okay, I admit, I did not watch the president's State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. I try to avoid watching the president give speeches if I can possibly help it, because he really, truly, seriously infuriates me, and then I sit and yell at my TV as if he could hear me through it. (My ex-H refused to watch the 2004 presidential debates with me after the first one. It takes a very special sort of person to put up with watching TV with me.) As a once-upon-a-time communications major and forensics team member, I absolutely can not stand the way that man gives speeches, regardless of the content!

But I have read parts of the transcript of the speech. And within the transcript, I found this glorious bit of crap:

Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research -- human cloning in all its forms ... creating or implanting embryos for experiments ... creating human-animal hybrids ... and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos.

I'll not argue that there all kinds of bizarre moral issues in genetic and medical research, but creating human-animal hybrids? Please pardon my language, but.... what the fuck? Did some aide think it would be hilarious to slip a sci-fi story into the president's research briefings?

Absolutely mind-boggling.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Gingerbread Slave

Ingredients: Flour, water, milk, sugar, soul, thought, cinnamon, wonder, molasses, compassion.

Mix ingredients carefully.

Shape slave as desired. Place on cookie sheet.

Extract wonder. It will not be needed, but was used to flavor slave with hopeless memory.

Heat oven to 350˚. Or, if desired, use life-oven set at “frenetic.”


Remove from oven when toothpick inserted into soul comes out clean.

Decorate as desired. Painted-on smiles with dead eyes are favored.


Note: Compassion and thought generally evaporate during baking.