sciolist (SAI-uh-list) noun

One who engages in pretentious display of superficial knowledge.

[From Late Latin sciolus (smatterer), diminutive of Latin scius (knowing),
from scire (to know). Another example of the similar kind of word formation
is the name of the bird oriole which is derived from the diminutive form of
Latin aureus (golden).]

"Never was so brilliant a lecture-room as his evening banqueting-hall;
highly connected students from Rome mixed with the sharp-witted provincial
of Greece or Asia Minor; and the flippant sciolist, and the nondescript
visitor, half philosopher, half tramp, met with a reception, courteous
always, but suitable to his deserts."
John Henry Newman; The Idea Of A University, University Life At Athens;

"On the other hand, judged strictly by the standard of his own time,
(Francis) Bacon's ignorance of the progress which science had up to that
time made is only to be equalled by his insolence toward men in comparison
with whom he was the merest sciolist."
Thomas H. Huxley; Harvey Discovers The Circulation Of The Blood;
History of the World.

From A.Word.A.Day.


Ramblings. I'm reading some more Michel Foucault, The Order of Things. Some pretty neat stuff, much more intelligible (maybe the translation?) than the collection of essays I have. Still pretty tough going, and I'm still not sure I'm picking up everything, or even a greater part of what I'm reading.

This is what I think I know: Underneath what we think of as separate disciplines are underlying themes, currents, impulses, paradigms, what have you. Using biology, economics, and language as examples, Foucault illustrates two different periods, Classicism and something that covers the period of the Renaissance, but that he doesn't clearly name. In the Classicist period, people believe that the world was created by God. Thus, once there was a perfect language (the language of Eden) capable of naming things as they really are. After the whole tower of Babel incident, this language no longer existed, but because the Jews were God's chosen people, Hebrew was considered the most perfect of languages. Underlying the disciplines of the day was the idea that every existence had a perfect name, and could be addressed by a language of symbols, analogies, and correspondences. For example, texts on "snakes" included not only biological information, but all the legends about snakes, what other authors had to say about snakes, etc. Since God existed outside time, everything that existed had already existed since eternity: the task of the educated was only to assemble what was known into a more perfect knowledge.

In the Renaissance period, the world was not necessarily created by God, or at least not predetermined by God. No perfect language existed. Instead of being a realm of symbols interpreting what was perfect, language became a system of analysis and taxonomy. All elements had to be reduced, analyzed, and organized, even in language itself: grammar was invented, where previously only logic had existed. The sciences as we knew them blossomed, because people searched for elements to fit the empty gaps in their grids of information.

Now, this may be something that's revealed for certain at the end of the book, but the idea that I'm picking up here and there is that we're in an entirely new area now...I think I agree. Self-referential language, modernism and post- in art and literature, relativity and beyond in physics, computer programming, fascination with psychology, and the like make me think that we're no longer in an era that must organize and systemize everything into separate compartments, but sometimes destroys barriers and makes connections beyond what's apparently true.

I'm trying to work this into the Grey Hill stuff. Working on the background stuff for the second day, I'm finding that I know very little about how all this magic works that's so integral to the plot, and the idea of using typical ritual, symbolic, sympathetic, naming magic just turns me off. "As above, so below" really doesn't do it for me anymore, and neither does four directions, four elements, four Goddesses, four yadda yadda yadda. Magic is starting to look more like a programming language combined with acupuncture and drugs -- shamanism?_-- than it is typical ritual magic.

What's running through my head is the idea that people find serial killers fascinating now, where they wouldn't have in Classical or Renaissance times. Why? What interest us? It seems like we have this idea that there are layers to a serial killer: the view that the public sees as a normal human being, Joe Schmoe; the killer aspect; and the wounded or sick person underneath the killer, the motivating factor. What motivates a serial killer, other than biological imbalances? Why, the things that happened to him during his childhood, of course. We believe that the things that affect a person in childhood influence that person throughout life--your formative years are important. Sometimes the smallest incidents change the course of a person's life. OK. Now take the idea of string theory (what little I know of it...yet another research topic, I guess): any two particles that come in contact with each other have an affect on each other, regardless of space and possibly even regardless of time. Is it any coincedence that alternative medicine, usually something that looks ridiculous to someone with a strict system of organization, like homeopathy or acupuncture, has become viable now? Or that economics now uses nonlinear equations to help predict changes in the market, rather than a strict system of supply and demand? For me, what makes the most sense is the language metaphor: in the classical period, language was referential; in the Renaissance period (well, up to about the 1850's or so, more than just the Renaissance) language was descriptive and analytical; in the modern period, language is influential.

Modern language is meant to sway us: look at literature. The earliest novels were meant to sway opinion. Even "naturalistic" novels described social ills. Even the most harmless entertainment now is meant to give us a certain perspective--ask anyone who hates what fantasy novels has done to their kids' lives (or role-playing games, for that matter). In science, we know the effect of the observer on the observed. In biology, we change the genetic code of creatures on purpose. Language is meant to transform, change, reprogram.

Hm de hm. Hwo to work that as a system of magic...?


The Foucault that can be named is not the true Foucault.
Blog. The science fiction writer Will Shetterly has a blog. One of his stories, a fun little thing called "The Princess Who Kicked Butt" is online. --He's one of the famed Scribblies, a group of former Minneapolis writers (including Stephen Brust and Emma Bull) who have all apparently moved to the Southwest. They also have a handy dandy writer's site--and have taught at Clairion's West in the past.


Book reviews. Smoking Poppy, Graham Joyce. White Apples, Jonathan Carroll.

Smoking Poppy.

When a baby is born the fontanel at the top of the head yawns open. You fill the hole with shimmering, molten, free-running love, where it sets and hardens over the hole with something like bone. But for the first few weeks of a baby's life, you are intoxicated by the extraordinary scent of its head. [...] After the first year this perfume thins out, but it never deserts the child entirely. So you keep hugging. Every time you pick up that infant you look for an opportunity to get her hair under your nostrils so you might get a hint, a hit, once more, of the perfume of heaven.

And it gets better from there. In brief: not a fantasy novel, but one that should appeal to fantasy readers. If you haven't read Graham Joyce's Tooth Fairy, you've missed one of the most fascinating fantasy novels written recently--both books are the opposite of epic fantasy. They're a mixture of light-dark, like an organic, intimate, familiar (and both about families) M.C. Escher drawing. Amazing, just amazing writing.

Graham Joyce's website.

White Apples.

I've never done acid. People used to ask me all the time: Have you done too much acid? Are you on acid now? Is this what an acid trip looks like? Well. That's just the way my head works, folks. Apparently, there are other people out there whose heads work in a similar fashion. Jonathan Carroll is one of them...you saw where that was going, didn't you? Well, no, you didn't. Like anything that's an alternate state of reality, the described cannot approach the experienced. So what I'll give you here aren't descriptions, but enticements: Plot is this man's plaything, his love slave, his cruel toy. But that's all right, you won't mind being dragged around, even when the end of the book leaves you wondering when the beginning of the book was supposed to have begun. The characters involve you, delight you, contradict themselves, fall apart--as characters--and come back together again. Unlike Smoking Poppy, this book isn't a classic fantasy so much as a fantastique, sharing more with movies like Moulin Rouge and Open Your Eyes than The Lord of the Rings or even Legend. Dizzying and wonderous: if the man's name wasn't Charles Dodgson, I'd say the two were related...

Jonathan Carroll's website.

Word of the day:

ugsome (UG-suhm) adjective

Dreadful, loathsome.

[From Middle English, from uggen, from Old Norse ugga (to fear). As in many
typical stories where one child in a family becomes well-known while the
other remains obscure, "ugly" and "ugsome" are two words derived from the
same root -- one is an everyday word while the other remains unusual.]

"The grandmother is at times ugsome ..."
John Moore; 3 Women, 3 Generations, Clever Word Play; Denver Post;
Mar 7, 2002.

(Via A.Word.A.Day)


Duh. After several mix-ups, my review of James Howe's children's books, Tales from the House of Bunnicula, is up at Banshee Studios.
Review. The Years of Rice and Salt, Kim Stanley Robinson

I'm still not sure what to say about this book. I finished it about a week ago. It was good.

I normally hate this sort of book, in which the plot moves through a long period of history. Why? Nothing ties the sections of the book, set in completely different eras (or even countries, as in this case) together. What if the Christians mostly died out in the Black Plague, leaving Islam and China as the dominant cultures remaining? Who cares? The characters I care about are gone in sixty pages or so...

Except they're not. The main characters in each section of the story reincarnate; in fact, they stay together throughout the ages, providing some much-needed character development through what could have been a cultural study of epic, epic, epic proportions.

So I liked the book. I recommend it to history buffs and alternate-history buffs. And I've finally read the guy that sits next to Spider on the shelf, and he's not bad. Hm. Too literary, though, or not "literary" enough to provide yours truly with true delight.


Grey Hill, Chapter one.

The first draft of chapter one is done. Woooooo!


Description of my day, for posterity.

Wakened after midnight by husband and daughter coming to bed. Daughter has been a spaz all week, doesn't want to sleep and/or sleep alone. Everyone crowded into bed. Wakened approximately 3 a.m. to move to floor with pillow and blanket. Wakened approximately 3:30 a.m. to nurse daughter. Dreamt vividly of coin-operated laundry machines, and other things I don't remember. Wakened 5:30, hit snooze alarm twice, turned off alarm, crept into bathroom, turned on the light without closing eyes first. Used citrus-ginsing Suave shampoo and Ivory soap (There's a dirty doggerel poem that goes with Ivory soap that a little old lady taught me..."She's young and fresh and full of hope. She washes her privies with Ivory Soap. She's old and stale and got not hope. She don't wash with Ivory soap." I may not have that exactly. I've started wearing perfume again recently, "Very Sexy" by Victoria's Secret. I'm writing this all down, by the way, for future amusement. Dressed with red button-down shirt, spaghetti-shirt bra, black jeans, black socks. Nevermind about the underwear, but yes, wearing some. Pulled hair back with hair tie. No makeup, no hair products. Used toothpaste and deoderant.

Turned off the light, sneaked out of the bathroom, I think Ray crawled back into bed with Lee. I think they were asleep. Tripped over cat at end of hallway, apologized. Turned on kitchen lights. Packed plastic grocery bag with notebook (first draft of Grey Hill), clipboard, banana yogurt. Put on black, clunky boy-shoes, black pea-coat, found purse and keys, left. Drove to different gas station, on Academy, because the one I used to use refused to help me out when I tried to get the car jumped. Mileage along Academy is about eight miles, mileage along Union is four. Bought gas at $1.65/gallon (cheap kind), two Krispy Kreme donuts, and a container of orange juice. Drove to work, five minutes late due to longer route. Oh, well.

Six thirty-five. Someone in a military-seeming uniform with a chevron on the shoulder, a very tall man, standing in the lobby with his arms crossed over his chest. The usual receptionist not present. The usual security guard, who generally is talking, present and silent. I let myself through the three doors using an electronic (?) key card with a current photo of myself printed on it, with my name. Decorations for Valentine's Day were still up here and there, with each department differing. Quiet morning, it seemed like many people were gone. This is President's Day. We're open, but we can't wire anything because the Fed is closed, and the right of recissions are pushed a day out. I sat at my desk without taking off my coat and logged in to the computer. The other person who works QC, Megan, started telling me about what had happened so far that day. She is a "blue," one of the details of which means I have to listen to her go off about things, or she may become emotionally upset. She is also a "gold," one of the details of which means she needs structure. I note this because I had to sit there and listen to her plan out the morning for me, and I was irritated. I like her and consider her a friend, but when she becomes agitated first thing Monday morning I just let her go off for a while and try not to let it drive me nuts. There were several details that had changed over the weekend; the mainframe system of record had been updated without any prior notice, causing a couple of changes that affected our process. By the time I arrived, the workaround had been figured out, but Megan was still upset about it. I confirmed that this wasn't something that had been in place on Friday and walked a couple of people through the process.

Ate donuts, drank juice, read mail, answered, organized work for the day for about half an hour. Work for the day dominated by work we shouldn't be doing, i.e., QCing someone being trained by someone else and QCing someone proposed as a candidate for nighttime QC by a lame-duck department manager, someone who is inappropriate for the job. Supervisors both out, one to Iowa for a funeral and I'm not sure about the other. A frustrating day, working very hard not to accomplish what we should be doing. Cleared most of the smaller tasks off my list for the day, cleared out my queue, with Megan's help. I'm not sure when we're going to get the time to achieve even half of what we're committed to for QC, and I don't know when we're going to get the time to start on any other project we've been committed to, and I was told two weeks ago that I may not claim any hour for working the newsletter from home, so I don't know when I'm going to get that done. We have no department manager, two of the three supervisors are transition supervisors, the night shift is short-staffed, mismanaging its time, and leaving a ton of carryover (100 files/night)--with a commitment of zero carryover. My opinion is that things would be fine if we had leadership.

Took a break at nine-thirty, wrote. Interrupted twice by people with issues that didn't need to be addressed by yours truly. I was really in the mood to share some sarcastic comments with a sarcastic friend of mine, but she was out for her birthday. Bitch. Mostly kept to myself, in a black Monday mood. Obviously.

Eleven-thirty, packed up and went home. Sunny day, a little chilly, rapidly getting warmer. Joe's day off, decided to go to Zorbadillo's and run errands for the afternoon with him. He's a very social person, and I try to make a point to go run around with him to do little stuff sometimes. And I love going to Zorbadillos. Lee brought the car seat in for me and I made him sandwiches for lunch. Changed and dressed Ray, put on her shoes and coat. Packed a bag with a bottle of water, a board book (Old McDonald Had a Farm...with Ducks), a plastic elephant, and notebook. Installed carseat, baby, diaper bag, and bag o'stuff.

We went to Zorbadillos....did errands...took a nap...and here I am. I'm tired of typing. TTFN.


Mmm. I brought Lee to Zorbadillo's today.

As it turns out, if you don't go from the brunch menu, you can order saganaki.



Today's Word. From A.Word.A.Day


solecism (SOL-i-siz-ehm, SOA-li-) noun

1. A nonstandard usage or grammatical construction.

2. A violation of etiquette.

3. An impropriety, a mistake, or an incongruity.

[Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikismos, from soloikizein, to speak
incorrectly, from soloikos, speaking incorrectly after Soloi (Soli), an
Athenian colony in Cilicia where a dialect regarded as substandard was

"`Ah! Madam,' said Ovid, `how great a solecism would it be both in a lover
and a poet if he did not look upon his mistress as the sublimest object
of his thoughts!'
Benjamin Boyce and Thomas Brown; The Adventures of Lindamira: A Lady of
Quality; The University of Minnesota Press; 1949.
Full-text on Questia at http://questia.com/CM.qst?D=wotdsolecism


For some reason (probably just that the words sound similar), I've always thought solicism had something to do with solicitous. Ah, nope.

This is a guy's recipe from a restaurant in the Quad Cities (Iowa/Illinois) area. It sounds disgusting, and it's bad for you. I like them.

  • One loaf Texas Toast.
  • 1 - 1 1/2 lbs. hamburger
  • 1 large can of Hormel chili (or about 2 c. leftover chili)
  • 1 bag of frozen hash browns (loose style) or french fries.
  • 2c. cheese sauce (not cheese whiz, but Ragu, or Velveeta with milk, butter, and a little flour--mac and cheese sauce)
  • 1c. chopped yellow or white onion
  • Salt and pepper.

Warm the over to about 200 degrees F. Brown, separately, the hash browns (or fries) and the hamburger. Warm the chili and the cheese sauce. The hash browns will take forever; transfer each batch to the oven on a cookie sheet. As soon as the last batch of hash browns is almost done, make the toast. You must use Texas Toast. No other toast will do, as you're about to put a load of artery-clogging yummy badness so big that anything else would turn into a soggy mess. No other toast is, in fact, studly enough to withstand the towering Volcano.

This is the stacking order, from bottom to top: toast, hash browns, browned hamburger, cheese sauce, chili, onion, salt and pepper. If you wish to add a secret ingredient, while browning the hamburger, add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chili spices, and garlic. Eating a Volcano is the gastronomic equivalent of spitting off bridges or cliffs; peeing against a tree; reading men's magazines or watching The Guy Show; beer. This is the only recipe I've ever made that my brothers have asked for.



Rrr. I'm much too annoyed to get anything useful done today. Welcome to the land of "Don't say what you mean...and don't mean what you say."

Above all, don't imply that that which hasn't been noted to be especially trustworthy isn't necessarily to be believed.


Ok. Things are better. Feathers all around have been smoothed.


Words, words, words. Here's something neat:

A.Word.A.Day, a website and listserv giving out a word a day. Today's word:


Canossa (kuh-NOS-uh, Italian: kah-NOS-sah) noun

A place of humiliation or penance. Mostly used in the form "go to Canossa": to humble or humiliate oneself, to eat humble pie.

[From the name of a castle in Canossa, a village in Italy, where Holy Roman emperor Henry IV sought pardon before Pope Gregory VII in 1077.]

"If I were to believe what you do about the policies of Russia there would be no way out for me but to crawl to Canossa ... " Edward S. Shapiro; Letters of Sidney Hook: Democracy, Communism, and the Cold War; M. E. Sharpe, 1995. (full-text on Questia)


Many more quotes are provided. Other cool stuff at the website, www.wordsmith.org, includes the Internet Anagram Server ("I, Rearrangement Servant"). Lee Kenyon becomes (among an exhaustive list) "Kneel Ye No" and "Elk None Ye."DeAnna Knippling becomes "A ad-penning plink," "A England Pink Pen," "A planned plinking," "A dang link pin pen," "A dank nipple ginn," "A planning de plink," "Panda penning ilk." Rachael becomes "A cake her nylon," "A clean rye honk," and "Channeler OK."


The new issue of Banshee Studios is up.


So far today, with the Review of a Restaurant.

I like Colorado. I probably won't be able to put a finger on it until I go somewhere else, either on a long trip, or I move. At a first guess, here's a rambling anecdote:

The first time I went to Wisconsin as an adult (we'd gone there many times over the years to visit family), one of the things that I noticed (travelling as a tourist) was the separate culture groups: the Norwegians, the Germans, the English, the Scots, and GOD help you if you failed to mention them, the Welsh and Cornish miners. Within a block, you could get lefse and salt-water taffy,and tour the Mustard Museum and the passionately independent local bookstore. You could get maps showing the locations of the gnomes around town. Drive a little further north, and there's the House on the Rock. Further still, and there's a Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum in Spring Green. Nobody's native; nobody's not.

Colorado seems to be like that, but on a national, rather than a European, level. When you ask, "Where are you from?" the answer is seldom "Colorado" but a different state or part of the country. California. Utah. Texas. Iowa. New York. Pennsylvania. Minnesota (watch out for those Minnesotans; they've figured out that "mountains" means snow when you want it and a car that starts in the morning without being plugged into a generator all night).

Lee's working today. I went to a restaurant. I have this project of touring Colorado Springs like I toured Iowa when I lived there. I've only had the itch to sneak off to Denver a couple of times so far, and the zoo's captured me both times. The exploration of Denver will happen later, I'm sure.

I went to Zorbadillo's Greek and Mexican Restaurant. They don't have saginaki, unless you can ask for it to be specially prepared. This is, because of Lee, the standard by which all Greek restaurants shall be judged. Jake and Telly's, the other big Greek restaurant in town, doesn't get it all toasty and good. Eh. I had the lemon-chicken soup and a souvalaki sandwhich from their limited lunch menu. Pretty good; I could probably do better on the soup (but only because I'm obsessed with soup), but the souvalaki was savory, stuffed with tender chunks of lamb and grilled vegetables, served with roasted potatoes on the side. The potatoes had--for some reason--included okra, which I'm sure isn't traditional, but it worked. Ray liked the potatoes best, and savaged my plate for the last of them.

The restaurant was deserted when I came in, so much so that I was prepared to turn around and leave because they looked closed. Customers drifted in as I ate, but it seems like winter is a pretty slow time for the place. (Last summer, it seemed to be pretty packed whenever I drove by.) I was wearing my Panera's shirt from my stint in Iowa, and the owner drifted over to my table and started up a conversation. It could have been the shirt, or the bebe, or just the boredom of looking through the books during a Sunday afternoon. Maybe it's just his habit.

We talked for a while, and I asked him the reason behind the name. Everyone asks about the name. It's based off the concept of the restaurant, which is Greek + Mexican. (Greek, because he's Greek, and Mexican, because not everybody likes Greek, he explained.) The Zorba part comes from Zorba the Greek, a novel and movie about a Greek man that loves life. The dillo part...he'd been debating how to tie in the Mexican theme in the name of the place, and happened to think of...


I cracked up when he told me that, because it was so funny and brilliant. Zorbadillos. Now, it makes perfect sense.

My overall impression so far was that the place was a pretty neat affair, very Mediterranean in atmosphere, lots of scenes from the Greek isles, a pretty typical menu (once you got used to the idea of Mexican food in a Greek restaurant--not fusion food, but traditional food from two different traditions). Then the owner (after plying Ray and I with chocolate and other goodies--it must be some kind of cultural hospitality thing, because he stacked the stuff all over a table in the entryway, too) invited us to wander over next door, to a cafe that they'd just opened two months ago, called the Neptune Cafe.


If I live to be a hundred, I'll never see another place like it, most likely. Half the building is glassed-in, and small stained-glass windows line the other half. Some of the tile, the owner said, is from Venice, from an old church. He picked it up in a warehouse...

The building is divided in two, with a cafe on one half and a wine bar on the other. (Scheduled for Valentine's Day is a wine-tasting and meal. First the apertifs at the Cafe. Then, the romantic meal at the restaurant. Finally, the wine and coctails at the Cafe.) The eye is delighted with the details--both the sheer clutter and the harmonious merging of the eclectic elements. The belly is entranced with a glimpse at the menu--tapas, appetisers, salads, sandwhiches, pizzas, pastries and desserts made in-house. A completely different menu than the restaurant, one that delivers the answer to the "greek-mexican?" question. Finally, the nose--if that's the term--whiffs the delight of the coffee menu, which ranges from coffee to divine coffee, the sort with any sort of alcohol you can imagine adding to it. I didn't see the wine list, and I wouldn't know how to describe it if I had.

I had the impression that this man had more imagination than I do, which is saying something. I left feeling like I'd found someplace that could easily become a good gravitation point, as are the best coffee shops: the place only needs to be discovered. I had a great time; he was a charming host, but not the kind of charming that leaves one wondering what the person is really like afterwards. This was the kind of charming which has spaces in the conversation, blank gazes into space, a moment of thought between question and reply, and a restrained eagerness to show off one's prized creations that I can so relate to.

Also, he tried to hire me, which made me laugh.


Diary of...Gregory Price. I didn't like the name anymore.

Thursday: Stopped at a coffee shop. The milk in the carafe was bad, but the attendant refused to replace it. Apparantly, people had been complaining about it all day, and she was tired of being the butt of such a poor practical joke.

Friday: Replaced the milk (still bad) with milk of magnesia. Complained that the milk now tasted of chalk, but was unable to convince the attendant to replace.

Saturday: Brought a baby's bottle filled with fresh milk and used it to lighten coffee. Attendant lectured me about bringing in outside refreshments, confiscated both coffee and bottle of fresh milk.

Sunday: Stayed home. Brewed own coffee. Unfortunately, the milk in the icebox smelled a bit off. Unable to drink coffee, too bitter. Experiment with drinking hot buttered coffee a failure. Irritable all day, despite hot bath.

Monday: Attempted to speak to manager about spoiled milk. The gentleman reeked of I know not what. When I presented the carafe to him, he denied that the milk "tasted funny," and, in fact, drank it.

Tuesday: Infiltrated the preparation area of the coffee shop. Inspected milk. The dates on the cartons were appropriate; however, the pictures of the missing children on the backs of the cartons looked suspicously Victorian.

Wednesday: Mentioned coffee shop to my sister. We were going to visit it Friday afternoon, but mysterious fire has destroyed business. No fatalities. Went to Starbuck's instead.
Hot and Cold Running Errands. Yep. That's it. That's what we did today. It was actually kind of enjoyable. Hm. Let me look at that sentence. There's just so much wrong with it. Why does it sound so comfortable to the ear, and yet so awkward to the eye?

Remove "it," "that," "is," "was," and all adjectives and adverbs, and what you have? "Yep. . . .What we did today."

Bleh. Sometimes I wonder if I can retrain myself to write actual sentences.

Yesterday, Ray sat in the rocking chair, looked at me, and chirped: "Hi, Daddy!"


Diary of Edgar Pierce. A little experiment.

Thursday: Ate squid at insistence of sister.

Friday: Or quite possibly octopus.

Saturday: The texture was rubbery, although not quite as rubbery as rubber itself. Obsession with cephalopodic meal continues.

Sunday: Am being followed by strange presences dressed in trench coats and fedoras. The aroma of the sea.

Monday: Bright lights and strange sounds preceded abduction through my bedroom window.

Tuesday: Anal probe.

Wednesday: I begin to suspect that I have not eaten squid. Humiliating rescue by sister. In hospital.
Once upon a time... There's stuff I want to talk about that I don't want to talk about. Car situation, worries about Banshee Studios, the ever-present financial woes, the near-maddening internal debate about what to plant in the front yard come spring, stuff. Just stuff. So here's me, just writing. Uh, don't read this if you're offended by the word "shit."

P.S. I'm not sure why this is what came out. It was just the worst day I could think of...


Bad Day.

Whenever I have a bad day, I think of this poor sod that I head about a couple of years ago from a friend of mine at work. He'd already been through the classic three of a really bad day a few weeks ago: his dog died, his truck broke, and his wife left him. Well, he woke up one morning and smelled shit. Not just shit, but oh, shit. His first thought was that the sewers had backed up. He should have been so lucky.

A bear had broken into his house in the middle of the night (ironically enough, the guy lived in Colorado. I lived in Iowa at the time), pulled out all the garbage, and shit in this guy's hamper, which was in the bathroom. The wife had just left and had left a few things behind. The guy, being a guy, hadn't washed the laundry since his wife had left, so all their clothes were full of bear poo.

So the guy gets up, digs out some old clothes with holes in them, goes without underwear, puts on his shoes with no socks, washes out the cleanest tie he has, throws everything else that looks nasty outside (again, because he's a guy), and leaves for work. He's got some kind of important meeting that day that he can't miss, whatever. On the way to work his loaner car (not the truck, which is in his garage while he's working on it) dies. The alternator goes out, and he can't get any power. And his cel phone isn't charged. So he's out there on this semi-country road up in the mountains, getting late and later for work, no phone, and his tie smells like bear shit.

Behind him, he hears the sound of a big engine coming up the grade. As the front end of the vehicle comes over the top, he thinks, "Hey! That looks just like my truck!" As the rest of the vehicle comes into view, he realizes that it is his truck. The guy starts yelling. "Hey! That's my truck!" He doesn't know whether to be pissed off or glad to see another human soul on that road. The truck pulls over and the window rolls down.

The bear leans out and says, "Know how to get shit stains out of lingerie? Your wife's going to kill me..."
Ooh. Geeks of the world, gawk:

Invisibility...uh...windbreaker. Of doom.

Via Jon, purveyor of cool stuff.


Escapism. Today, thinking of Doyce and his dickweed po'lice officer, I renewed the tags on the car.

I had to go back in to work for a meeting today at two; I decided to leave early just to finish up a few things before I had to go. Put the tags on the car. Stopped to fill up with gas.

Failed to re-start the car.

Asked both the managers in the station if they'd help me jump it--I have cables--and they refused. "I have a new car," they both said. Well, so much for my business. Bye, Breakplace.

I waited until I calmed down and received help jumping the car. Two blocks from work--no power. I coasted to a stop and walked to work, called Lee, went to the meeting, and caught a ride home.

Ah, escapism.


Library. There's a revolving door at the East library in Colorado Springs. Most people avoid it, choosing instead to pass through the handicapped entrance (a normal door) to the side.

I say, how often do you get to go through a revolving door, anyway?

...And there's a coffee shop that serves espresso right in the front doorway.
Ray. She's feeling better. She was giggling when I came home today.



A good story I heard at work. You know how it is. Every once in a while someone tells you a story at work.

It's your classic gathering of friends with small children. The evening progresses, everyone's been fed (changed if necessary), you're sitting on the couch, leaning back, when someone interrupts someone else's brag with the line, "Have you seen the kids lately?"


Everyone stands up and starts searching. There's no need for everyone to look; nevertheless, everyone must look. Search, search, search. Nope, no kids here. Hm, hm, hm. Are they in the upstairs bathroom--oops, sorry! To the left, to the right, not in the bedroom...whups. Why is the craft room door shut?

Your heart stops. There are sharp objects in there. Right now, someone could be poking an eye out.

One of the mothers--the bravest one--opens the door.


Yes, that's right. It's worse than an eye out.

Another of the mothers steps in, panicking.

"Mary!* What have you done!"

One of the fathers steps in.

"Well, that's just hideous."

Mary, the three and a half year old, has...cut the one and a half year old's hair. With scissors.

The parents are freaking out, the friends are all yelling, and the two little girls (as well as another little boy who was just sitting there, saying, "You're going to get in trou-ble" the entire time) are getting complexes.


I said, "But nobody got their eye poked out, right?"

She said, "Nope. And I got pictures." Then she giggled.

*Names have been changed to protect the preschoolers.
Rrowl. And I still haven't finished the first chapter of the story. Ok, it's up to nearly forty pages so far, and I've only missed three days since Dec 31. Nevertheless. And I'm going to have to do a rewrite before anybody (even Lee) is begged to read anything.

Once again, I think to myself: who's going to read this? Answer: well, people I know. I mean, literally the people I know might read it (if they like), but it's the kind of people that I know that I'm writing for, and, well, they're weird and don't fit into genre categories well. There is no Generation X Fiction section at Barnes and Nobles.

But I'm not cutting out the whole Bugs Bunny thing. I don't care.*

Lee advises me to write whatever makes me happy. If that means short stories...he shrugs. Too bad I'm being possessed by ideas for novels.

*For those of you who know the story, I keep thinking of Joren at the Amber game. That kind of humor--you see what I mean?
Six more weeks of winter. I've passed Groundhog's Day without comment.

First, it was a bright, sunny day. (Whistle cheery theme here.) Then, it became darker and ominous. Darker, and more ominous. Lions and tigers and bears, Oh my!

Finally, I said, "Shit!"

Joe'd gone to a company dinner for post-Christmas. Some idjit had almost run over three people standing at the stoplight a few blocks away. "Don't go anywhere," he said. Actual winter-like conditions persisted until later that night, when Lee scraped my windows. He's a better man than I deserve. I refilled the windshield wiper fluid for him this afternoon. Love.
Raynews. Ray still isn't feeling well. Lee said she cried for about half the morning, which is just damned unusual for her. And she isn't sleeping well. Poor bebes. Lee's napping now before work.


Space Shuttle. The Columbia boke up on re-entry today. An Israeli Air Force Colonel, Ilan Ramon, was one of the astronauts. No solid news of terrorist activity; security had been increased for both the launch and re-entry. Seven lives were lost. Lots of debris was found between Waco and the Louisiana border.

1967: Apollo 1 fire, January 27.
1986: Challenger explosion, January 28.

A Sunday launch of a Russian cargo ship to deliver supplies to the International Space Station will not be affected. There's an emergency "escape pod" available on the space station to evacuate the three remaining astro/cosmonauts on board. They're scheduled to return in March.