Saturday, August 14, 2010

Self Help

Someone told me recently I should read a self help book. Anything that labels itself a self-help book, to my mind, is a scab on the soul of mankind, and I'm allergic to them. The lot of them might as well be called "Stephen King had a baby with Dr. Phil, and they locked her in the basement and raised her feral with no human contact or knowledge of utensils, but as long as she knows she's good enough, it'll be okay." Or whatever a shorter version of that might be. Here then is a passage from my personal self-help book.

"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn, beginning to blow and puff, "is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder in your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then - to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing that the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you. Look at what a lot of things there are to learn - pure science, the only purity there is. You can learn astronomy in a lifetime, natural history in three, literature in six. And then, after you have exhausted a milliard lifetimes in biology and medicine and theocriticism and geography and history and economics - why you can start to make a cartwheel out of the appropriate wood, or spend fifty years learning to begin to learn to beat your adversary at fencing. After that, you can start again on mathematics, until it is time to learn to plough."

T.H.White, The Once and Future King.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Guest Post: The All Dog Army

Hey guys. My friends took me to see the orchestra last night as a present. There was a DVD taping of some sort, we sat behind the giant boom camera that kept floating back and forth and around, and about halfway through the performance, the camera became an alien face, entranced by the sounds, backing off when the noise swelled, being drawn closer when it quieted. Anyway, one of my friends raked me for not updating. And then Jeremiah volunteered to help me out. He's a heck of guy, coming through in pinches and stuff. Any one else like to do a guest post? To keep this skeleton going while I recover, let me know. Oh, and I'm supposed to say Jere is the greatest man, since he's tired of being the only one saying it. It's true though. You should buy him a drink, he's the best for talking.


Hi there! So B is down with a rough instance of the Feelings and so I offered to help her out just a little bit by talking at you here. It's no trouble! Why, aside from being covered in spiders I barely have anything to do today. Seriously covered in spiders. Also, I guess I should mention that later I'll catch the red line down to 79th and Quincy to do some tutoring at the Fairfax rec. B says this is handsome of me, but my answer is – there's not a lot handsome about trudging a mile through broken glass. Kinda like there's nothing too appealing about a fellow covered in spiders. What can I do my patio is silly with them, little yellow jumpy ones with scablike brown markings, I bet they're hideously poisonous, I bet they have some kind of appalling courtship regimen that involves cannibalism, cannibalism and sex, together – that's the spiders' way, creepy little things. Anyway! So tutoring is a thing, it's fun, but you never can tell about how useful it is to people. Math. Not my subject, but elementary school math is elementary, and teaching is teaching so it's kind of a wash. Kids pick it up or don't – with Math it's all about planting seeds see – turns out these higher order abstractions -language is less than number is less than numeric operations -only really gel in your gentle learner's mind after a couple of years of lying half-used and dormant. That's fun to think about – you're a sleeper, a beautiful Russian girl, trained to do algebra and one day, one day you'll even be able to do it – True Fact – the Kremlin will one day bother you about the quadratic formula, and when it does? Well, no amount of Facebook friends will shield you, you will go back to the motherland and have to gulag it up on some ice-clad island north of maxima thule, so far north that every view is south and no amount of goodwilled chinese geomancers can help you out with your (another one of these jumpy bastards, what am I covered in ants? Again?) can help you out with your Feng Shiue oh Feng Shuei! Remember when you interested people?

So what I meant to get to was this – the Train. You can't ride the red line but you don't hear gossip that it's getting shut down. People are always saying Windermere is going to close. Lake of Winds – that's kind of what it means isn't it? Sea of winds? Some franco-angleish britonic lingo. It's not that windy there. Anyway that's as far as the old rapid goes, past all the trainyards and there's always at least one guy, you know him – ridden by the crack loa? You gotta know this guy – mumbles like a has-been Russian spy, too long in the frozen north? Man that guy is kind of guy, and you know when you see him coming – you know he didn't bring his own cigarettes, you know he's the president of the Nation of Moochers. True Fact – this is the Nation of Moochers. Maybe I'll buy a pack of like, GPCs for handouts? Maybe that'd be handsome of me? Who knows anything eh? Like, can you even still get GPCs? Anyway – that guy, he's got one of the crack talismans – famous in the world I think, he's got that stick and it's covered in dog toys, stapled/nailed – it's some kind of a thing, who knows what it is? Fascinating is what! The dog-truncheon, it's pretty easy to imagine that half-dead from exposure and animated by the cocaine necromancy this guy's learned the deep language of dogs, I mean! Just get a whiff! Isn't that how dogs talk? Scents and odors? That's how my dog talks to me, gross bastard. So this guy, he's the pack leader? Zombie-Dog-Apocalypse and he's the elder statesman of the new ZDOrder? That'd be alright – I mean, you just gotta get on his good side, have a cigarette to spare for him, maybe some spare change so he can catch the red line with you – ogle the case girls down on cedar, ride it to tower city for... well who knows what? Probably it'd be fatal to follow that guy, probably you'd end up knowing too much about the All Dog Army and then?

They identify your corpse by the dental records, found in a Detroit ave pothole, half-buried under broken glass. A half finished note scrawled in your own blood. Cause of death – Lycanthropy. True Fact man.

Anyway – should you manage to avoid grisly death you do some kindness at young Ms. B – she's a good sort and deserves a lot of presents, like in the shape of heart-shaped money and Dunkin donuts gift cards. Promise!


I don't know about the money, but coffee is always accepted.
Jere writes at Kingtycoon, which is totally a protected Livejournal so you can't just read it, but if you're into that Livejournal thing still, he's one to read.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Apologizing for Everything is a Habit I Refuse to Pick Up

I am sorry though about the lack of posting. It's been one of those months where all of a sudden, even though only one thing has changed, you find yourself struggling to handle your daily routine. As in, it's an event to take a shower. It's too much to take out the trash. My food has all been hand held, when I eat. I turn off my phone for most of the time, and I can't write anything that doesn't make me sound weak, pathetic, or cruel. So I've been huddled in the air conditioning, reading The Once and Future King to myself, because it's the most unromantic romantic book I could find. I just want to be a sick dog, and find a dark hidden porch to crawl under until I die.

Even if I could write something interesting, the only thing I might have to discuss are the various plot lines of Disney Channel "princess" movies, the ones that aren't really about princesses, but instead about rich girls at boarding school, or pretty girls at summer camp, music students trying to make it big, ect. And that weird show ABC Family show, Make It or Break It, about some gymnast girls training for the Olympics. In which DJ from Full House plays a coach who is anti-sex before marriage, and goes around shaming everyone else about it. It has roughly the same production value as the princess movies, but a really really creepy opening and closing credits. All gray and black, like all the gymnasts are going to die in a horrible bus accident at the end of the show, and the producers know it, but you won't get even a clue until it actually happens. All safe sex and friendship and evil pouty blonde girls till then darlings.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Okay everyone, I finally made myself an Etsy shop, to sell these silly photos. Please buy them. I've got 26 of them up, but if you want one you don't see on there, please let me know. Also, please cross promote this for me, and if you do, I promise to buy you a unicorn. At least, once I sell enough photos.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Today was somewhat okay

Okay, so first good news of the last two weeks. Today Colleen and I went to a beach that my friend Midwestgrrl had recommended. She called it the abandoned beach. We drove all the way to the East Side, a lakefront I barely know at all, and after a bit of wandering around various marinas we found it. With old guys in camping chairs parked there in front of their boats, at the most public school municipal brick version of a marina that you ever saw. The beach itself was lovely. No guard. Big rock islands. Deep clean sand and only three people there when we first arrived. More people showed up a little later, but it never looked anything but empty. A group of pretty Russian girls splashed around, with two dark haired boys that splashed and romped and were generally the picture of Black Sea vacation days. It was lovely. They screamed in Russian, and took photos of each other everywhere. They all climbed up on the rocks and posed against the sunset, arms akimbo, waving and laughing.

We stayed in the water for three hours. Then headed to Tremont for ice cream. It was really one of those nights where you sit outside Scoops with your butter pecan, watching your vegan friend get super enthusiastic like every vegan who goes there gets. Super excited and gleeful, no matter how many times they've been there. Just a heads up. If you have a vegan significant other, you should be taking them there at least once a week in the summer. If you're not, shame on you. Anyway, it was one of those nights where you really love Tremont again. Those nights come fewer and fewer as I get older, and the days of Peter and Edison's get farther away, or Krista at Lava, or Jawndomay. Listen guys, I love you, but I always felt silly having to say Jawndomay. I got used to it though, because the reverence grew on me. That was a special apartment, the ones you always remember at least two of from your twenties.

Then some coffee and now here. We resolved to go to the beach every Friday from now till the end of summer. Anyone else who wants to join us is welcome. We're gonna pack lunches to eat there, and books to read, and we'll stay all day. This is going to be our thing for a little while. It seems like the best decision I've made all summer. Thank god. I was worried there I might never make a good one again.

A song.

Here is the church.

Here is the steeple.

Open the door.

And here come the people.