Do It Yourself
Many people don't know this about VCRs:
We boiled the woodchuck, then picked the meat off its bones. Then dipped the pieces in egg and seasoned flour and fried them up with onions. Served it on brown rice. Washed down with some fruity island punch and potato chips. I must say, it didn't taste like much after all that. Not gamey, not greasy, and sure as hell not like chicken. Chewy. Peter had shot the woodchuck [or groundhog if you prefer] that morning and it was on the table by dinner.
Today I found out I have work for the month of June, corrupting young minds once again. I decided to splurge and get a second phone line, bought some likker and rented more videos, installed and used the European manual typewriter I just got. The third and final typewriter is still in the truck along with my tools and a few year's worth of Mother Earth magazines. I realized I have many redundant systems in the house. Extra VCRs, extra stereo amps, extra computers, extra tires for the car, extra bags of flour, extra typewriters, extra beds and blankets, extra duct tape. Something about being this far from anyplace makes you want to make sure that if something breaks, you're covered. Today I have had occasion to use both the backup VCR and the backup stereo receiver. Fortunately I have not had to use the backup car because it is off in the field by the outdoor couch with one very flat tire and a dead battery.
Anyone wants to come up and help fix all this banjaxed crap, I will cook up all the woodchuck you can eat. Be forewarned, I seem to have become somewhat stupidly nocturnal.
Not only is the camera broken, I left it in Amherst. This picture is something loitering on my hard drive. I may start drawing pictures with my touchpad mouse. I have been collecting my email at 14.4 but decided to hook up my laptop because the 486 was making me mental.
Tonight my friend invited me over for woodchuck. I have no idea if he is serious or not, but I'll be going.
Last night I went to bed at around 11:30 which, early for me because I'm still on West coast time in a big way. I settled in with a novel. I started to read. I finished the novel and checked the clock, 4:30. One of the main things I do in Vermont that I don't do in Seattle is read for five hours at a stretch. When I slept I had a crazy dream in one of my recurring themes which is impaired sensory abilities. Fuzzy vision, muffled sounds, garbled speech. This scared me, in the dream, because I was worried I had overdosed, and I couldn't even remember having taken anything. I belaboredly spoke to my friend who was standing with me and asked her if I was standing up [because I perceived myself to be floating near the ceiling] and she said I was. I woke up, and my eyes were closed, my head was in the pillow, my mouth was muzzy. It occurred to me then, that I had some sort of reverse lucid dreaming experience. In lucid dreaming, your sleeping mind can influence your dream consciousness -- you can take control of the paths of your dreams, or at least have an awareness that you are dreaming. In last night's dream, my dream consciousness was channeling the senses available to my sleeping mind. I felt unable to talk, or see straight, or hear, because in real life, I was asleep.
I'm not usually one of those people who puts a lot of stock into dreamtime consciousness. My dreams usually make sense to me, and seem to exist for the purpose of assisting my waking self. This was a new spin. Maybe now that I understand why the sensory deprivation thing happens [or have at least willfully impressed my interpretation on it] it can stop freaking me out when it happens.
I am not generally one of those people who says "just when you thought it couldn't get any weirder..." I know how weird it can get, but the past few days on MetaFilter have been very very strange. A well-loved young girl with an online journal was reported to have died of leukemia, then other people implied she may have never existed. And the name-calling commenced. Then it turned out she really didn't exist, mostly, then people began to doubt everything.
The main reason this is apropos, is that I meet a lot of people for the first time via email, or friends of friends, etc. I invite them to visit, I get junk from them in the mail, I go visit them. My party in June will most likely have several people I've never met before, who just thought the get-together sounded like fun. Fine with me. I consider this one [of many] legitimate ways of meeting people. I exist in real life, and I'll happily give out my street address if you'll bring a six pack and a deck of cards. I'm also heading out to the world of 44k connections and better things to do than be online all the time [paint barn, fix stove, plant sunflowers] and this little send-off was just the right amount of internet-emotion-overdose to make me think twice before hitting the keyboard.
Send postcards to: PO Box 14, West Topsham VT 05086.
So, sorry for the lack of pictures, my camera is broken and I left it in Western MA anyhow. I even have some photos from the last TV commercial filmed inside the Speakeasy before its untimely demise. Damned camera acts like it has the lens cap on all the time but there is no lens cap!
So, no pictures of my trip out to MA, my visit to not one but two school farm programs, my friends Matthew & Michelle or Ben, Kara & Ari. No pictures either of my lovely truck, or the weird problem it got when it was unable to go up hills at over 20 MPH which necessitated an emergency [and very pleasant] stop in Putney. Fortunately Vermont is Vermont and so even though Ben and Kara were out when I arrived, the door was open and I let myself in and started reading a book for a while until they got back.
Whatever the problem was with the truck went away and I got to my house in VT expecting the worst [I often wonder if the two house thing is worth it because I am always a nervous wreck when I reach the threshold of my home and twist the doorknob expecting... what? corpses and rats, I guess] and it was actually quite lovely. My caretaker[s] left it looking better than I left it, with the exception of the stove which is now rusty because of the small leak in the roof and the side of the house which is peeling off because of the new electrical wires attached to it.
So what did I do? I left. Headed back to MA to pick up the stuff I'd left there when I drove cross-country. Picked up my email one time at 14.4 and had enough. I'll be back tomorrow, Monday at the latest. If anyone has a crappy old digital camera they're not using for a month or two, could I borrow it while I try to do the necessary voodoo to get mine fixed?
I flew across the country with a bowling pin in my carry on luggage. Maybe this time I could understand why I got stopped and frisked and my luggage got swabbed. This random check happens to me every single time I fly. I always ask the people at the security check "why me?" as well as "can I still get on this plane if I don't consent to you searching my bag?" [answer: no] I've even stopped flying in my overalls to see if that helps, nope. The guards say it's a random check. This time I asked them how they generate randomness [as everyone knows, it's no easy task to do with numbers, how do they do it with people?]. Turns out what random means, in this case, is that the decision is at the discretion of the security folks. I gave the guy a bit of a lecture about the true meaning of the word random as I was having a metal detector wand pushed behind my belt buckle and asked to lift up my shirt. I get pretty bold when I know for certain there's nothing for them to find in my luggage. Lord knows there's enough computer equipment in there to resemble a homemade bomb.
And all this was after I checked in using a ticket that was not in my name, while showing the desk agent my own driver's license. I was travelling on the other half of the ticket my sister used when she flew out to visit me. While I was armed with her passport I figured that the agents would rather see a picture that definitively links you to your identification card, than one that links your ID to your ticket and maybe to you.
Now I'm all fuckered up with jet lag and on the long slow meander to Vermont. Today I get my truck back. Tomorrow I load it with stuff I left at my Mom's, then I drive up there, unload, rest. When I am on the East coast I like to pretend that it's the 1800's and journeys are expected to take days. Takes the pressure off.
At Anne's request, I have removed the link to her story while her lawsuit is pending. If you have major interest in it, let me know and I can put you in touch with her.
I took a long rambly Bil Keene style walk the other day, through downtown, past the waterfall park [closed due to earthquake damage], looking up a word at the dictionary at the Zeitgeist cafe [amanuensis], stopping in at Left Bank, reading for a while in some deserted lot in the Regrade neighborhood, green onion pancakes at the Szechuan Noodle Bowl, over to Media 911 for a movie. When I walk for hours and hours I really feel like the sun reflects off of me differently. I had stopped by a paper box in front of the Greyhound station to read the headlines about the absurd awfulness that is the McVeigh execution machinations when a guy stepped up behind me to put money in the box. I stepped aside to let him get a paper and he said "no, this is for you, I wanted you to be able to read the whole thing, share the love" So, I'm sharing the story.
I'm having a party for July 4th. July 4th is on a Wednesday so I'm arbitrarily picking the weekend before the 4th. BBQ, sleepover, firearms, whatever. Tickets from Seattle to Manchester NH are currently $198. Everyone is invited.
It all happened so damned quickly. I got home, checked email, turned on KEXP [why? old habits die hard]. They were giving away tickets to Radiohead's new show in a cloying drag-it-out sort of way, promising a very hard trivia question. Well so, like I said, I was home, the Internet runs freely and quickly here. I pulled up a Google window while they chattered, and typed in radiohead and waited.... The question was "Tom York's brother, Andy York, plays in what band?" The answer was mine as quick as typing "Andy York" -- The Unbelievable Truth [coincidentally, the name of one of my favorite movies]. So I called in, answered the question, endured lots of harassment from the DJ for not being an uberRadiohead fan [or maybe it was when I suggested that they try harder questions] and then found myself with two tickets for a show I couldn't go to.
Fortunately, I have friends who like music and don't move around so much. I offered them to Nick in exchange for bartering of some worthwhile item. He said cool. He offered the second one to his roommate who has a car. Then I mentioned to Bryan that I'd won tickets:
pastamici: i gave em to nick, beg him bryan* [to nick] (4:27:18 PM): if you take me to radiohead bryan (4:27:24 PM): i will clean you apartment bryan (4:27:27 PM): and give you head bryan (4:27:30 PM): every day bryan (4:27:32 PM): until 2014. bryan (4:27:39 PM): i am not joking with you. * not his real AIM
So Nick trades his ticket to Bryan for, um, whatever. I am still on for my barter deal with Nick, and Bryan and Lisa are going to Radiohead. Total time elapsed, seven minutes or so. I promise I will never copy an AIM log into these pages again.
In other less cheery news, my pal Anne got royally worked by the cops during and after the May Day Joyride. She's still talking to lawyers about what to do. Let her story be a reminder to everyone that "innocent til proven guilty" is crap. If the cops have your number, you will be screwed no matter how law-abiding you are.
Trip story and some pictures are available here. Might as well do some backtracking because I haven't been up to anything particularly interesting since I've been back besides making lots and lots of waffles.
I slept in a tipi in Missoula last night. I stayed with someone who had stayed with me during WTO who I had not been in touch with since, except for the email he sent me with directions saying "I live on west mountain view drive and I am easy to find. Look for the white circle that sticks out as you cross the pedestrian bridge." So me and my friend walked up and back down the pedestrian bridge, trying out various interpretations of "white circle" That roundish driveway? This oblong mailbox? This pile of rocks?
When I finally got up the gumption to knock on the tipi, we were just about ready to make the drive to Seattle in the middle of the night. Luckily Matt was home and even somewhat expecting us so I got to spend the night curled up near a woodstove instead of drinking coffee at high speeds in Wallace Idaho in the early morning hours. Today I got back to Seattle around 5 pm and am trying to make some decisions "pinata party or sleep..? beer or bathing..?" I generally agree with the maxim that when you don't know what you want, you probably want sleep, but this evening it may be beer that wins out despite my better judgement.
Trying to find out if there were protests of any caliber on May Day involved a large amount of listening to NPR on the radio as we drove through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The irony is not lost on me.
I have never driven the same route cross-country back and forth like this. I am seeing things on the opposite side of the road that I saw on my side just one week ago and thought "Wow, I am really in Buttfuck Egypt" Now BFE is looking familiar.
We stayed last night in Chicago at a friend of Nick's who is from Romania so I got to spend what was left of the evening [the drive from New Jersey was long] trying out my rusty Romanian and looking at pictures of Romania from before I lived there. Tonight we go to Minneapolis and read the zines of the Street Librarian and plan out the rest of the drive through Montana. I'll wind up being in Seattle for almost a week before I head back to Vermont [and mad props to Cris for looking after the place for me in less-than-optimal conditions!] and I'm sure I'll spend the whole time napping, relishing being able to wake up and not say "where am I?"