Friday, August 31, 2007

The Tops

Gotta make this quick so I can get to work, but... My friend over at already posted a nice blog entry on a little phenom we've observed on Facebook, and I wanted to add my own little notes.

With Facebook, you can belong to a couple of "networks" decided by your school (if you have a school email account), your region (whatever you select), and your workplace. I've selected SPSU as my school, and Tampa Bay as my region, since I'm in the countdown to moving there. Facebook has now helpfully posted "stats" on the networks, based on what individuals have posted in their profiles with regard to favorite movies, music, books, etc.

My SPSU network's Top Books holds no surprises. As Diane (she of the fat brain) succinctly pointed out, the list of nine books includes a religious text, a book written for children, movie tie-ins, and books one is forced to read in school. I enjoyed comparing my SPSU list to Diane's LA-region list, actually. Perhaps it is significant that the Bible is in first place at SPSU, but drops to second place in LA, behind (of course) Harry Potter.

The main thing is that these are not lists that suggest a group of real "readers." What's your favorite book? I am a devout Christian, so it has to be the Good Book. And I love, love, love me some Harry Potter. Hmm. What else have I read? (Look at DVD shelf with those few books next to the DVDs.) Oh yeah! The novelization of Star Wars! I LOVED that book! It was exactly like the movie, but with WORDS! Hmm... what else? What was that book I read five years ago in High School? What was it, what was it...

I'm exaggerating. And using far too many words, yet again. But still...

Here's the part I found really interesting this morning, though: My Tampa Bay area network has ONLY SEVEN BOOKS in its Top Books list. The LA area and SPSU each have nine books listed.

At first I thought the Tampa people couldn't come up with more than seven choices. The odd thing about this is that their "Top Interests" has "reading" in the third spot.

And then it hit me: There were not enough agreements on Top Books to get true 8th and 9th place books in Tampa. There's um... something called... diversity of opinion! Their third-favorite interest (after music - apparently R&B ugh - and movies) is reading. READING EVEN COMES IN BEFORE FOOTBALL. And they're not all reading the same thing.

I am tentatively hopeful.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fifteen for a moment

As you know, I have yet to figure out why I'm blogging. With less and less of a sense of purpose, the post frequency is dropping. Oddly, at the very same time I am close to paying for a couple of domain names and have already signed up for a new blog space on... one of those other blog sites. Don't ask me why. I don't know the answer.

For lack of anything better, here's a quick update on what's going on in my life:

1. School has started again. This is supposedly my last semester before I graduate, and it is certainly my last semester for at least a year.

For my Information Architecture class, Dr. Shauf is doing podcasts, and wants us to subscribe via iTunes. I already have iTunes, though I rarely use it. Naturally, the subscription process is not working - just for me - for some unknown reason. Troubleshooting has led to my listening to my very small collection of ridiculously pop songs. Let's see how long they keep repeating before I kill something.

2. For my other class, Applied Graphics 1, I finally purchased my very own legal copy of Photoshop, as part of Adobe's Creative Suite 3, Design Standard. I very excitedly went to install the package... and I did not have enough RAM! WTF? My giant machine is apparently a weakling. So now, in addition to messing with an unhelpful iTunes, I am waiting for my 2-GB, $160 purchase of new RAM to arrive from Dell.

It turns out the ability to track your packages online is a bad thing. Painful. My RAM has been in Macon since early Saturday. For some unknown reason, DHL still doesn't plan to deliver it to me, a half-hour drive away, until Wednesday.

3. There is a little dog running around the neighborhood. He's ADORABLE, apparently a young Jack Russel, though the size of his ears suggests he may be mixed with something even cuter. He lies in the grass, eagerly watching me mow the lawn. He has lost his tags and clearly lost his people, and Simplicity, our poor cat... is FREAKED OUT.

They're about the same size.

4. Work is going well. Actually, I feel like it is going badly, but everybody I meet says that one cannot possibly expect it to go smoothly the first year, and so I am somehow not supposed to worry that I'll get to the end of the year and discover I've only made something like $5000 instead of the $30,000 minimum we need. Right now, I am trying to balance tight deadlines against the lack of 2nd pass pages for page references... okay, nevermind.

Luther has been working for me, much more productively than I myself work. If we have our druthers, he will leave his part-time co-op job sometime this semester, and starting next year he will be doing the same work I've been doing, editing and writing and all that jazz, and we will both work from home and drive each other happily insane.

He keeps telling other people that we are also going to be doing web design and perhaps some film work. I hope he has a plan for our figuring out how to do that stuff.

5. In two weeks, we're going to Tarpon Springs again, to start scoping it out in earnest as our future home. Wil is going to come with us; he has not voiced an opinion of any kind on his own future plans, so I've given up waiting and am going to plan MY life on the assumption that he'll be moving with us. If he spontaneously decides he has his own ideas about his future, I may kill him.

Luckily, we are going to look at mini-apartment buildings - a duplex or triplex. I already have my eye on a little place that is probably a complete dump, but it has palm trees in the front and I KNOW there are little lizards in the yard, so I'm all set. Since I doubt Luther will ever forgive me for killing his son, I think it will be convenient that we can have our own apartments with the office in the apartment in the middle. Perhaps over time, if I pretty myself up a bit and start making some decent money, he'll find a way to overlook my murderous ways.

Love is love.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Simplicity had her annual shots today. This makes her an estimated three years old this month - based on our guess of "about a year old" on her first appearance on our back patio. Now that I see how she looks as a "grown" cat, however, I think she is probably a good deal younger. Can she have been only 6 months and have had a litter of kittens, when we gave her that first taste of the heavenly sliced ham? She was so tiny, then. It wasn't just the starvation thing going on.

This time, I didn't want to take her to the vet's in that cardboard box from Petsmart, so I finally got around to trying out the harness and tether I'd got for her several months ago.

It went okay. She hated it, but I don't know that she hated it any more than the box. She explored, rather frantically. She found that she had just enough leash to get around the back of the driver's seat and halfway up the fabric wall to my shoulder - but not enough to then claw her way into my lap, which is really just as well. She looked out the window. She decided the view was too alarming, and sprawled on the middle row of seating. I did pat the passenger seat beside me and convince her to come forward and leap up - but no, that was clearly not for her! Back behind me she went. Too much window in the front, I think.

Here's the thing: She trusts me. She was scared, and she was crying, but I'd talk to her and she'd quiet down. When I could stop and look back at her, she was always looking right at me. I think she sits there and stares at the side of my head, and just waits to see my eyes so she knows we're okay.

At the vet's (LOVELY doctor, whose name I've forgotten again - Critter Fixers in Bonaire) it was much the same as the last time. She was fine as long as my hand was on her shoulders. Then they took her into the back (this time, for ear mite drops, ewww!), and when she came back out, she looked like a tasmanian devil, all legs, all claws, all flying fur and teeth... and then I put my hand on her shoulders, and she was fine again.

The look she gives me, completely direct gaze, almost a searching gaze as she seems to actually look into my eyes for something... I've seen it once before. Amber: the kitten Mom got for me and Sarah when we lived on Alcina. Amber wouldn't go have her kittens without me. I was sitting on the toilet, and she ran out of her bed and lay down on the bathroom floor and started to have her first kitten. I had to pick her AND the stupid halfway-kitten up and run back to the bed under the desk. Amber trusted me. Simplicity, for some unknown reason, trusts me.

She has her territory. She is not going to like moving to Florida. But the key landmarks of her territory... appear to be us. So she should be okay.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Uninvited guest

Apparently I cannot sleep after Luther leaves for work, at least without frightening dreams from which it is hard to wake up.

This morning, I got up and it was very quiet. I came through the office, and for some reason Luther had set up two cots, overlapping each other, neatly made with sheets and blankets and pillows all perfectly tucked and creaseless. I went downstairs, and there were lights on. There was food on the counter – refried beans and rice – right there on the counter, and as I looked around, the refried beans were kinda spattered everywhere, like someone had had a food fight. And there was a hole in the pile of rice, like someone had stuck a finger in it to make a hole for some reason. I realized the fridge was open, and I looked in the fridge, and there were egg shells – like someone had gone in there and eaten the raw eggs and left the shells. The place was really trashed.

It was still dark out, and the light on the patio went off, which made me look, and I went and tried to turn the light on, and it’d go on for a second and then flicker out again, so I couldn’t really see anything. I was kinda freaked out, because I’d thought maybe somebody was in the house. And then I thought, this has to be some kind of animal, but what animals around here can open refrigerators? So then I looked around, and as I got to the top of the stairs to the downstairs bedrooms, I looked down, and there was a really big skunk in front of the bathroom there, and I said, “oh no,” and I was really torn between fright and laughter, and I went upstairs and closed the doors, looking for my phone…

…and then I woke up, and I went downstairs, and the light in the kitchen was on…

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Harvard boat yard

Had a bad dream between the time Luther left this morning and the time I got up. Still feel kinda weird, now. I went down the street to sign Luther up for his P.E. sailing class at Harvard. He was taking a grad course there, and we were living there. Streets looked like the age and relative style of some of the little Greek-area streets in Tarpon Springs (and some of Toronto), concrete retaining walls straining at the seems along the cracked and buckled sidewalk, little lawns, little houses, short chain-link fences – but the houses were bigger and there was a definite Northern Atlantic feeling about the place. Harvard had bought and was renovating a Victorian next to a ramshackle boat yard, and the office for the sailing club was supposed to be there. I got to the Victorian with a couple of others. We had to climb a metal ladder (a la monkey bars) to the second-story landing to get into the house. This is where it started to go weird. When I set my foot on the landing, the wood gave. It was quite soft. In fact, the whole house was apparently made of some kind of papier mache, and it was rotting a little, and I said as much to the guys, but they were being all no-nonsense and talking amongst themselves, and then the two of them left and said that I and the one other guy, young skinny black guy, would carry on with whatever it was. So he and I went inside, had to open a window and climb through, and everything we touched or stepped on was giving that little bit, like it would fall apart any moment. And then we went through a doorway and I saw the hornet. There was a hornet in the corner of the door-jam, and I realized there was a nest built in the wall, and I sorta just started to think about the possibility – that it was a giant nest that filled all the walls of this paper house… and then we climbed out again and the dream ended.

Then I got up and went downstairs, and the sound of the fan in the den was like… lots and lots and lots of insects.

Good morning.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Don't ask me how it happens. Sometimes, "Welcome to the world of adulthood" means "I'll pay you five bucks for something that adults do because it has to be done."

I'm trying to figure it out. I'll let you know when I do.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The three amigos

There was a time when I much preferred the Periplaneta americana over the Blattella germanica. I now no longer have a preference - they're equally disgusting.

Over the past few weeks, I'd wake up in the middle of the night, go downstairs for some water, and be confronted by the three amigos - three two-inch-long cockroaches on the kitchen counter. They'd stop what they were doing as soon as I showed up, of course. You could see them pause, consider their options, glance slyly at each other. And then they'd scram. Stupid things are huge but nimble - they can get away via the tiniest crack in just about anything.

And you just knew that they had a pre-arranged meeting time for the next night, an hour or so after the humans went to bed. Chattin' it up, climbing all over everything, pooping and laughing. You see, our cockroaches are as big as field mice. And they poop a lot like field mice. Everywhere.

Also, they can fly.

Luther did eventually get them, one by one, but they have cousins. Lots and lots of stupid cousins who yes, live outside, but insist upon venturing into indoor territory upon occasion, just to make trouble.

Last night, Luther got up for a bit and went to the den to play on his computer. I was pretty restless too, so I got myself a soda (aka pop) and sat down in the dark in the office, with just the glow of my computer screen. So I'm sitting there, with my hands on the keyboard, and in the blue light... I see movement to my left. Damn gigantic cockroach has come scurrying up beside my arm to the edge of my desk and is LOOKING AT ME. Hmm. Whatcha doin? Wanna play?

I jump up and turn on the overhead light - and he is gone. No sign of him.

A while later, I go and say goodnight to Luther, and I come back upstairs and go to the bedroom and lie down. I decide to leave my light on just a little. I put my head on my pillow. And the damn cockroach crests the hill of the little pile of clothing on my bedstands. And stops. And looks at me.

I jump up and throw a clothing item across the room. I turn on the overhead light. And the bastard is gone. No sign of him, at least not until he suddenly appears on the other side of the bed.

Half an hour later, all the overhead lights are on, all the bedclothes have been torn off, there're magazines and lamps and clothing and books strewn across the floor and down the hall, the clothes hamper has been tossed down the stairs, and I'm standing beside it in my underwear with a flyswatter in one hand and a pillow case in the other, roaring in rage because the damn thing refuses to be caught and killed.

Luther is a better hunter-killer than I. He got the thing. But that crazy fellow got the last laugh. This morning I sat down once again at my computer, and I started to type... AND THERE WERE POOPS ON MY KEYBOARD.