November 11, 2002

syrens of the aged seas

It’s night, it’s getting late, I don’t feel like doing anything productive, so I’ll just babble and see where it goes.

I didn’t get much sleep last night. I went to bed around midnight-thirty and had three hours of fitful shut-eye. It was the kind where you’re half sleep, tossing and turning, carrying on conversations with people in your room that aren’t there. It was pretty bad, but at least I didn’t get the same show I did when I was sick at camp with strep throat. That night I sweated through my bedding as the camp e-boat flew around inside the cabin, filled with roudy counselors throwing bottles and cans on the floor.

Anyway. At 3:30, as I was sprawled out in a movie theater trying to impress a girl with my mane of chest hair, I woke up. The people crowding my bed evaporated and I was alone… just me, the soft whir of my CPU fan, and ten thousand tons of light pollution pouring in through my flimsy curtains. UMD has these wonderful omni-directional orbs that light up the airstrip so planes can land in thick fog.

I used to fool around a bit with 3D Studio Max, where such a light was only good for creating a blistering sun; for anything else you set up spotlights to illuminate your object. It is unfortunate that reality isn’t as rational as three dimensional art. I have a bunch of suns right outside my window, so at night I don’t really get night so much as dimness.

So in the pale orange glow of night I tossed and turned and counted breaths and fluffed my pillow. Any time that I ran the risk of falling back asleep, a stray thought would collide with my brain like a neutrino fired from a railgun at Fermi Lab, Illinois to the Near Earth Detector by Tower, Minnesota. In all possibility this could have been the case, as I am right in the crossfire between gun and target. My head would vibrate with the impact and beg for mercy, but no quarter was given.

A novel took form, but it was forgotten. I wrote down a few ideas on one that is formless. Always without the forms, apparently.

Around 6:00 in the morning I made good on my attempts to sleep, but as soon as I was slumber-struck my 7:30 alarm sounded. My eyes creaked open, and I remembered I still had some studying left to do for my philosophy midterm at 9:00. I rolled out of bed and my legs shuddered with exhaustion. I went through the motions of my morning routine, trod off for my midterm, rocked it pretty hard and then chilled with good company in the Wooch! lounge. Delirious from lack of sleep I started yelling the word ‘noodle’.








I really should go to sleep.

November 10, 2002

the grace of sunny wicked

Sunny Wicked @ the Amazing Grace

A band of nerds at their acoustic show Saturday night. I took lots and lots of blurry photographs, as the lighting was turned to sexy and I don’t like the way a flash washes out colors. I opted for long exposures with a steady hand.

Funny thing, though. The flash photos were the best of all of them. In post-processing the colors weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they would be, and I actually liked how they turned out. Goes to show how much I have to learn about photography.

It’s fun to bulk up my activities with fancy names. When I say post-processing, I mean downloading pictures to my computer, seeing them for the first time off a flimsy LCD screen, running auto-levels where appropriate, telling Photoshop to generate a photo gallery, and finally uploading stuff all across creation. It takes a few hours (especially when I’m doing three galleries at once), but really it’s a lot of time spent listening to music, cleaning my room, spilling pop on my keyboard and cursing at the internet.

It’s fun, but not as much fun as going for a half-hour run through Chester Bowl to catch my car at the Nerd House.

This has been a weekend of most excellence.

wave studies

Wave Studies up the Shore

I had two hours to kill, I had done all my homework, and I was awake. I drove up the Shore and took pictures of waves.

November 8, 2002

please hold

I’ve been trying to call Best Buy to see if they have Grand Theft Auto Vice City back in stock. Word on the street is that the Duluth store alone sold 200 copies in the first week after the game’s release. I hate Best Buy for reasons that are numerous enough to jusify separate paragraphs for each.

When I applied for a job with Best Buy I got turned down… by a computer. I wrote about this before. I think it ran in the Statesman. I don’t remember. I don’t care. What matters is that they’re heartless jerks that can take their employees and shove it. Which brings us to…

Best Buy hires idiots. Idiots with pimples. Pushy idiots with pimples that try to get you to buy a replacement plan for your new toaster. I carry a pair of pliers around with me just in case one of these kids gets in my face. There’s a reason their voices still crack. I mean, I don’t stress out over gross incompetence in the retail world (if I did I would need to throw my belt over a rafter immediately), but please. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, admit it. Trust me, I know when you’re bullshitting. I haven’t survived four years in college by wit alone.

They have a name like ‘Best Buy’. What kind of boring, uncreative trash is that? No one has any fun naming their companies these days, and as a word-monger it fills my soul with pints of distilled hate. If I have a company I’m gonna name it Plastic and Steel Gewgaw Center, or Ezekiel’s Bucolic Zany Buy Things Place, or Lucky Land of Shoes and Beguiling Verbiage, or Stupid Crap to Placate the Masses, or Uncle Dane’s Global Oppression Concern.

Maybe I’ll just name it Corporation.

Anyway. I’ve tried to call Best Buy a number of times in the past, and I see a definite pattern in how the telephone system is hooked up over there. When you call the listed Best Buy phone number you end up at their Installation Center. You tell the poor soul there to direct your call to Media or Computers or Cat Torture or something, and he hits a button and the music starts. Loss Prevention picks up, so you tell Loss Prevention, now, to redirect you to Media.

You wait and listen to the music for a long time. It is intoxicating. Soon enough, Loss Prevention picks up. You utter a few syllables and the fellow remembers this stuttering idiot from before. He asks if you are still holding for Media and you say yes. He is kind and redirects you again. The phone rings a few times and an annoyed someone at Media picks up the phone and hangs it up again. His action pulls you out of the infinite swirling eddy between Loss Prevention and the store at large, and throws your flopping body to shore. Your signal dries out and goes dead.

You call back again and run the same gambit.

You call back again and finally reach a soft-speaking mademoiselle that makes your head spin all the hate melt away. No, they don’t have Vice City yet, but now it’s really not all that important.

November 7, 2002

sorting out heaven from hell

Some unsorted thoughts from this weekend:

Driving through Superior smelled like a trip into a foul lake of sulfur. I hate that town, I really do. A Superior gas station advertises that they sell postcards. I want to get one, but I’m afraid to stop and get out of my car.

I managed to finish all my reading. My parents now hate John Locke almost as much as I do.

A month ago, when we had a fire on our beach after my sister’s wedding, we almost froze to death it was so durned cold. Last night we drank Wisconsin micro-brews and ate S’mores around the fire, soaking in air as warm as a brisk summer evening. Impossible November weather.

Shell Lake was a mirror this morning, dead still. Upon returning to Duluth, I saw that the Lake was the same way… hardly any ripples at all. What a beautiful weekend.

I listened to the Phish Sugarbush show again, and was reduced a second time to a weeping ball of overemotional goo. I think passing cars were concerned about me. Antelope>Catapult>Antelope>Harpua>2001>Harpua is the most incredible sequence of music known to mankind. Beethoven, Mozart and Stravinsky have absolutely nothing on this band. Nothing.

It feels good to return home after three days, check my email, and find only six message of no importance. For all my responsibilities I have and imagine I have, I take comfort in that I can still drop everything and run off in the woods for a weekend, no problem.

I never want that to change. I never wish to be a fellow of such great importance that I give up that freedom to escape.

November 6, 2002

be more selfish, dammit!

The problem with a moral theory based on selfishness is that humans are so irrational you can’t even expect them to act in their self-interest.

Case and point. The library forbids beverages in disposable containers. The likely reason is because people would leave them behind and generate an unsightly pile of trash that would look a lot like my room right now. Now, I’ve smuggled disposable beverages into the library a couple of times, but am always prudent to smuggle them out. There is no sense in fanning the flames of this controversy, just for the glorious reward of leaving my trash where I choose. It’s in my best interest to keep my beverages on the down-low, and not leave them around the library and attract interest to the issue.

I don’t want increased library security for beverage control, as it’s already to the point where Ryan can’t even ritualistically set off the alarm system without getting harassed by library personnel.

Not everyone shares my sentiments, apparently. I drifted into the library to do some reading, shot towards my usual window-seat cubicle… only to find some slob has left his (or her) styrofoam coffee cup behind. Could this be classified as a selfish act? Yes, but it would be more accurately classified as a stupid act. I will speak nothing about the public good of throwing your trash away, keeping a low profile when willfully breaking rules, etc…

But please, when you can’t even be trusted to act in your own self-interest, where then can you be trusted? I mean, for fuck’s sake. Act in such a way to avoid confrontation and allow your unhindered enjoyment of a disposable beverage.

News and controversy around here seems to be at an all time low. Follow Ryan’s link to stolen penguins, instead.

November 5, 2002

funeral for the circus

Tonight was the funeral for the circus,

But Jane was not allowed to attend so

She cried her blue tears in the bathroom sink.

She missed the elephants led to slaughter,

The clowns with make-up streaked with carnage, in

A howling mass of fake hypocrisy.

The ring-leader shouts, ‘The show must go on!’

From his padded room in the asylum,

His lips pull back in grins for no one, who

Watches him rave in the cold steel window.

Meanwhile a crowd gathers outside to watch

The big-top tent alive in flames, and nine

Dancing monkeys with organ grinders, as

Smoke stings Jane’s blue eyes in the bathroom sink.

November 4, 2002

how was it?

I just spit beer all over my keyboard and monitor.

It wasn’t really that funny.