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September 30, 2001

please don't let me be misunderstood

Baby you understand me now
If sometimes you see I'm mad
Doncha know that no one alive can always be an angel?
When everything goes wrong you see some bad

Well I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Ya know sometimes baby I'm so carefree
with a joy that's hard to hide
Then sometimes it seems again that all I have is worry
And then you're bound to see my other side

But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

If I seem edgy
I want you to know
I never meant to take it out on you
Life has its problems
and I get more than my share
but that's me one thing I never mean to do

Cos I love you
Oh baby
I'm just human
Don't you know I have faults like anyone?

Sometimes I find myself alone regretting
some little fooling thing
some simple thing that I've done

I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

I try so hard
So don't let me be misunderstood

(1964) Gloria Caldwell, Sol Marcus, Bennie Benjamin
- As performed by nina simone.

September 29, 2001

I felt choked off from love

I was just laying in bed, unable to sleep for the longest time. I am getting up with Cara to go get her future husband from the Airport and it will be in just a few hours.

So I laid there...not feeling tired but knowing this was my chance to sleep, and all of these feelings came to me...feelings I had no name for, and I let them just hang around and morph and flux until they arranged themselves into memories.

I remembered being with Camella, laying there at night and just feeling so lonely beside her. Lonelier than I could have ever felt even being by myself. Things got so bad, and she would withhold affection...and sex, for so long. And she knew how much both of them meant to me.

I would get so desperate and horny laying there beside her, and after a while I knew she just wasn't going to be into it...or be willing to try to get into it. So I would just go in the other room and quietly do my thing, because I knew there would be wierdness and aggression if she knew. It's amazing how things can be so fucked up at times in one's life and still just feel sort of normal at the time, I know.

So one night, I was lying there awake, and she was asleep, and I just wanted her so bad. I just started to rub up against her and whisper in her ear, sweet one let me make love to you, and all of those things. I was getting so excited just by her body and it eventually roused her a little. In her half-asleepness she finally groggily said, "Do it to yourself!"

So I did...just simple and hot there next to her. It wasn't what I wanted but at least it was something...her acceptance of my at least being a sexual being there next to her, even if she didn't want to participate...it was still better than nothing.

I finished...and had just been laying there silently for a moment, when she asked me if I was totally finished. I said I was. I was exhausted on 100 levels.

"Oh," she said, "Cause I was just starting to get a little tingly."

Hehehe. And people think me silly because I choose to be celibate.

September 27, 2001

hey...you're a hippie, aren't you?

One last market story...as related by Cara (as I remember it):

Cara was sitting there at her booth reading a copy of Mother Earth news, when a nearby vendor said to her, "Mother Earth News! I haven't seen a copy of that in a long time."

She paused, deep in thought for a moment, then looked up and said, "Hey...you're a hippie, aren't you?"

Cara smirked confidently, "Well, what do you consider a hippie?"

The woman thought hard again. "Have you worn tie die in the past week?"

Cara was currently wearing tie die long johns. "Yes," she said, "yes I have."

"Do you have a VW bus?"

"Yes. Yes I do."

"Is it broken down?"

"Yes. Yes it is."

The woman gave a little nod of her head, "I thought so."

boomerangs will only be sold to responsible adults

The boomerang vendor was in casual drag. Not all dolled up like a queen, (s)he was wearing a sensible lipstick, a midlength skirt from TJ Maxx, and a dreaddy grey wig.

When I first approached her, and asked her about her relationship to the boomerangs, she told me in sort of a psuedo-confiding voice that she had never even thrown one. "Boomerangs are hard to sell," she said. I thought that was hilarious, and wondered why the boomerang maker might have chosen her as a vendor.

I stayed though, and quickly discerned that she had quite a well developed banter about boomerangs, and everything she said seemed to be tongue in cheek. She started to do her sales pitch on me, just to show me how it was done, and it became apparent that I was in fact talking to the maker of the boomerangs. Evidently the larger the boomerang, the more range you get, but the less tolerance you get for mistakes.

Her boomerangs were modern, loopy affairs, sweetly painted and shiny. She showed me some old school boomerangs, meant to be used as weapons, thick kangaroo-smackers that didn't look like they were designed to return.

She made it clear, however, that she was only interested in boomerangs for play, however. She has a sign clarifying her position:

Boomerangs are not weapons!
...but antidotes for

These are times when our
PREDATION on each other
have run amok.

So let's use boomerangs the
right way!
Throw only in open areas
Boomerangs will only be sold to responsible adults.

home of the market crazies

I'm reporting today from Seattle's Pike Place Market; a place where tourist, junkies, housewives, middlemen, fish throwers and brass pigs all meet together in perfect harmony. Mostly.

It's so lovely to come at 8am when no one is there and the vendors are all chattering and setting up their stalls. You get to see a totally different side of all of them Usually I go in the afternoon when they are all well into their day and a little jaded already. Now, though, freshly showered heads bob among rarely showered ones. It feels so cool for it all to be part of my hometown.

My friend Cara is setting up as well. Knowing the market scheme, she can get work at different booths, as they need help, since she is known to be reliable. Today she is selling soap, and as she vigorously packs gift boxes with this serrated fancy shredded cardboard filler, she looks over to me and says in all seriousness, "Crinkle wrap is the key to all gifts."

September 26, 2001

the way of all civilized people

The Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche The Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche The Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Realized Tibetan teachers are known for composing dohas, or spontaneous songs of enlightenment. The Tibetan siddha Milarepa is said to have composed 100,000 of them in his lifetime.

Following the incredible goings down of September 11th, The Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu rinpoche, a lama, and incredibly learned man, wrote this doha about it at Oxford Thrangu House in Boulder, CO. I thought it was so cool that I wanted to share it (in translation) with the rest of the web community:

We are obliged to cherish and protect this world,
The place we humans have our home.
So why pointlessly destroy any source
Of our world's prosperity?

May the truth of all Buddhas in the ten directions
Help bring an end to all such deluded actions.
May raising the attitude of love and compassion
Help peace and happiness spread throughout the world.

The way of all civilized people
Is to protect one's life and precious body.
How pitiful to cast away and destroy it
In the delusion that it may be used as a weapon.

May the nectar of Truth, calm and soothing,
Completely pacify such violent intent.
May the attitude of love and compassion
Blossom in all people throughout the world.

The way of noble people is to help others
And the universal norm is to protect oneself.
May the pitiful wish to destroy both self and others,
Such an unwholesome thought and deed fade forever.

May the truthful speech of bodhisattvas and virtuous people,
The truthful speech of the pure nature of reality,
Promote peace and harmony here in our world
So that everyone might enjoy the wealth of happiness and well-being.

This is also a man who, when asked if he was ever angry at the Chinese for occupying Tibet, he said, "No, they were just doing their job, which was to shoot at me, and I was doing my job, which was to run for my life."

September 24, 2001

t i n y p l a c e

Today I finally got the details worked out and put up tinyplace, the site that houses the tinyblog.

What is there? Well, there's the tinyblog of course. And a splashy splash page. And a list of links...pretty exciting, right?

Well, the meat of it is really If I Call It Poetry, Will Anyone Read It?

Through most of the 90's, I spent at least one night a week in a coffee shop somewhere in Chicago, Rockford, or Seattle, writing and reading aloud poetry that I thought would at the very least get people's attention. One time I even won the original Green Mills poetry slam in uptown Chicago, the first, and possibly rowdiest poetry reading in the nation.

I've got four poems up now, to read, and listen to in .mp3 format. I've recorded several and will gradually put them up as it seems prudent.

In addition, I hope to be adding other sections to tinyplace...like, you know, all the essentials...an about me page for instance. Hehehe.


September 21, 2001

he was sick of being in his own skin

This is Cara. Yesterday I went over to her house to help her paint and she told me a story.

She works in Seattle's historic Pike Place Market, where she sees tourists, millionaires, and bums. Because she is the way she is, she accepts and befriends them all without prejudice. She calls the people she meets there the "market crazies".

As she tells it, she invited one market crazy back to her house to help her paint. He hung out all afternoon, and at one point asked for four dollars to go buy a pack of smokes. She pulled out her wallet, with more than a hundred dollars in it, and pulled it out for him.

Later in the day her boyfriend came home and asked to talk with her privately. When she came out, her friend said he was leaving, and took a bus home. The next time she looked in her wallet there was only forty dollars. She was pretty disappointed...it was rent money.

Today she worked in the market again. She called this guy and asked him to come down and visit her so she could talk to him. When I met her at the market, she was in the middle of this talk. She looked him in the eye and said that some money was missing, and she wanted to him to look her in the face and say whether or not he had taken it.

He acted surprised and said he hadn't. He asked how much it was. She told him at least sixty dollars, and he said that he didn't want it to be a source of friction between them anyway, and that he was sad that she had been put in the a bad position by it. He offered to help with some bills!

She assured him it was okay, and said that if he said he didn't take it she trusted him. She even told him the name of the bar we were going tonight, and said she'd be there if he wanted to drop by.

He was there when the two of us walked into said bar, looking a little sweaty and strange. He and Cara sat down, and I wandered over to talk to another friend.

He gave her sixty dollars. He told her some story about how he had met some guy, who had met an angel, and didn't want to ruin things with her. This guy had told him to give the money to Cara. Cara was a little puzzled...that didn't add up, really. He had even left a message on her answering machine saying that "he had found the guy who owed her money".

He stayed, and some other friends and I came and sat down. We all talked and drank beers for hours. At one moment Cara looked at him and said, "I bet that guy feels better."

"Oh yeah," he said with a smile, "he's so relieved. He was sick of being in his own skin."

In further conversation we learned he was undergoing Methadone treatment for heroin addiction, that he had four children with four different mothers, that his mother raised cashmere goats for a living, and that he called her "the queen of darkness". Also that he had '666' in the adress of his childhood home, his social security number, and other relevent numbers. He alluded to the fact that anyone might be Jesus, and anyone could be Satan.

I personally think he took a positive step towards the former on this fine evening.

September 19, 2001

blogspot blog of the day revival

For a while there, in the very early days of the tinyblog, I would search through hundreds...nay, millions of blogspot blogs, trying to find that one gem in the rough. Well, I don't do that anymore. I sit around waiting for other bloggers to dig something up for me.

In this case, the digger was Tom Working of Menucha Blog and Blog You! fame, and the diggee is our blogspot blog of the day, Blossom451 Speaks Her Mind. You know, after reading every entry (almost all of which are still up on the front page) I thought...you know, there just aren't any A-Listers out there that write like this. Her titles make me cry with their sheer brilliance. But Gawd, is that a spooky photo or what? Catch this very cool blog in it's infancy, I hope she keeps it up like this.

brunching shuttlecocks answer the eternal questions

Is there intelligent life in the universe? If a tree falls in the forest, and no one's around to hear it, does it make a sound? These and other questions are succinctly answered by David Neilsen of The Brunching Shuttlecocks.

Plus, in case anyone hasn't told you, Brunching Shuttlecocks is a funny, funny, funny, funny, funny site. Especially the flash movies. They're funny.

September 18, 2001

fuck cnn

Their new little news header? "America's New War".

New, and Improved, with extra crunchy goodness.

Fuck CNN. Fuck America's New War.

if you run a blog

I miss you and your stories about your life! Stop being so stunned and start being creative again, goddamnit! The world needs you now more than ever!

silly, silly people

A Buddhist friend emailed me yesterday and told me how large portions of his family are starting to distance themselves from him, because they percieve him as a heathen devil-worshipper, and don't want to be too associated with him now that the end times are coming. Amazing.

Then of course there's all the stories of people who look even remotely middle-eastern being harassed.

In Seattle that sort of behavior is so passe that I get a little insulated from the extreme ball of ignorance that the US can be sometimes. Then someone beats a gay man to death or starts insulting arabs in the streets, and I remember...oh yes, Alabama exists. Hehehe. Really though, if only it was confined to Alabama. I'm know there's just as much prejudice in Western Washington.

September 17, 2001

the cat will be ok

I am now a catsitter. I have been for a week. Somehow, my lovely charge got some kind of wicked case of the fleas.

She yowled and scratched against anything that wouldn't fall over for 2 days before I finally got some flea medicine and dosed her. Days later she was still miserable.

It was a bonding experience, really. She would come over to me and whine and writhe around and I would feel great pity. After a week I couldn't stand it and went and got flea shampoo. I wish I had done that right off the bat.

Now she's wet and pissed and I have the scratches to prove it, but I think she's looking a little less...fleabitten.

September 15, 2001

in those who harbour such thoughts hatred is not appeased

``He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'' in those who harbour such thoughts hatred is not appeased.

"He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'' in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred is appeased.

Hate is not overcome by hate; by Love (Metta) alone is hate appeased. This is an eternal law.

The others know not that in this quarrel we perish; those of them who realise it, have their quarrels calmed thereby.

- The Dhammapada - Yammakavagga - The Pairs
(verses 2, 3)

September 14, 2001

visible criticism

The man at this public address lambasted me a bit for my choice of articles (see They Can't See Why They Are Hated).

Jeff Ward, who maintains the blog as well as Visible Darkness, implies it's tactless. I agree with him, it is tactless. But it also needs to be said so much more than it's going to be said!

He says in his post that there is an implicit message in the article that the British are somehow presenting themselves as free of any fault...I just didn't get this idea from the article. I just hear it saying, "Americans are clueless", which is hard to refute.

I live here! I will tell you that I have never felt so American as this week, and I am proud and ashamed at the same time for that. I know what Americans know about Palestine, and that is shit. Hell, I know nothing about Palestine and I still know more than most Americans. We thought we could do whatever we wanted to make our lives more comfortable and it had to backfire.

Are we going to learn any kind of lesson about how to live with all of these other people on the world? No, because now we are justified in having "a quiet, unyielding anger" from which we can strike all the enemies we wished we could strike before.

He partially concluded, "I have no choice but to stand with my country. Not blindly to follow it into Armageddon, but to stand with it in the intolerance of terrorism. Sink or swim."

What does it mean to stand by one's country? I feel like it means taking partial responsibility for what the way this country conducts itself. I will be very curious to see how this is actually handled...but I don't see much beyond the same jingoistic "who 'lil ol' us?" rhetoric in almost all of the writing about September 11th. That's why I chose to highlight the article.

September 13, 2001

9-11 at meeting of the minds

All the folks at Meeting of the Minds are suspending their regularly scheduled topic to discuss September 11th for a while. Go check out the ongoing discussion there. See "collective consciousness at it's worst" aimed at the current world situation.

"what could some political thing have to do with blowing up office buildings during working hours?" said one new yorker

Unconstrained by any superpower rival or system of global governance, the US giant has rewritten the global financial and trading system in its own interest; ripped up a string of treaties it finds inconvenient; sent troops to every corner of the globe; bombed Afghanistan, Sudan, Yugoslavia and Iraq without troubling the United Nations; maintained a string of murderous embargos against recalcitrant regimes; and recklessly thrown its weight behind Israel's 34-year illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as the Palestinian intifada rages.
From the most merciless, and perhaps best article I've yet read about this whole thing, "They can't see why they are hated."
[via not.so.soft's news include]

just you wait for the blockbuster film!

Bruce Willis: Me and the guys voted to take 'em down honey. I'll talk to you soon.
Meg Ryan: I love you, honey...go get 'em.
Bruce Willis: (snaps shut his cel phone) Alright boys, we got a job to do. Yippie-ki-yay, motherfuckers.

(Only in the film Bruce heroically lands the plane and Meg Ryan punches the dickhead reporter.)

the simple world

the simple world

You know, so many people are just either writing about the event...or...more commonly it seems, linking to people who are writing about the event. All of the blogging as usual seems to be suspended. All of the people who I'm accustomed to hearing about the details of their lives, suddenly all have the same details. In spite of the fact that there's all of this conversation about it and support and such, I feel inestimably lonely in the vaccuum.

After days of listening to NPR in my car nonstop I have some thoughts, but nothing anyone hasn't said yet. There simply isn't enough information to allow for very a complex interpretation of things. Suddenly somehow the world situation is the simplest it has been in thousands of years. Everyone knows what happened, everyone has similar information, everyone is standing by, concerned. Yassir fucking Arafat is giving his own blood for the American people.

I guess it will all get complicated again very soon.

[link via the excellent Server Side Include provided by not.so.soft]

September 12, 2001

in poagao's world:

Poagao's Journal is a surprisingly under-read blog in my opinion. It's kind of an understated little number by an articulate and subtly funny man from Taiwan. A good example? Watch him poke gentle fun at "the A-Listers".

You'd never guess he wasn't living in the US by his writing style until you see the photos. It's a site that's sure to go on my sidebar as soon as I get things ship shape around here.

September 11, 2001

in lighter, and ickler news

Also, I wrote the ickle entry for today: nuerons are ickle. I have always admired ickle, and I'm honored to have had the opportunity to write a feature. Ickle is totally tiny...and sometimes tiny is ickle.

it's worth it to say something

It felt weird to go back and look at my entry the day it happened...particularly frivolous. It made me a little uneasy seeing it there, since that's certainly not what I felt like today.

Normally I feel pretty staid in the face of such things, but I listened to NPR today, and several eyewitnesses made me cry. One cop came on and could barely keep it together, "I thought it was blocks and peices of debris falling, and then I saw they had arms and legs...I can't say anything else about it right now."

Also it made me cry for some reason when they talked about how all these people in Manhattan were lining up to give blood. The thought of all those stunned, earnest people standing in line, trying to do something, just made me lose it.

catsitta' Beyonce

About two weeks ago a friend emailed me and asked if I could cat sit for about a month. A couple he knew was coming into town and needed a stable place for Gwyn (the cat, short for Guinevere) while they couch surfed and looked for an apartment. For some devoid-of-sanity reason I unhesitatingly said yes.

Well, now these people are in town and as of last night, I am cat sitting. My apartment looks so much different with a scratching post and litter box in it. I've lived with cats before...but it was always someone else's responsibility.

So far I have diligently avoided the sole responsibility for another being's life, and I've liked it that way. But now there's this being wandering around in my apartment, complaining loudly, and knocking over my favorite peanut cactus, Mr. Spaghettihead. There is food and water in her dish, and a scratching post, and she's be on my lap with my undivided attention, wailing at the top of her lungs.

I sing to the cat like Micheal Stipe: don't talk to me about being lonely.

I had Gwyn for a whole day by the time her parents were able to come over for visitation rights. I set up a little WinAmp playlist so that I wouldn't have to DJ.

So there we were all sitting around mellow on my floor, when Destiny's Child came up on the playlist. In a sudden wave of self-concious embaressment for having something that's on the top 40 on my playlist, I reached up and stopped the song after only a couple of notes and put on something else.

Not even the beat had started, just the little funny sounds at the beginning of the song, but Gwyn's mom looked up at me and said, "You're listening to Bootylicious, aren't you?" I was so busted. I laughed, and then decided to go ahead and play it.

Do you know what they're saying? They're saying I don't think you're ready for this jelly, my body's too bootylicious for ya babe. Girls don't usually even wanna acknowledge the existance of their jelly, so I was impressed. I was never into Destiny's Child before but this 14 year old girl got me into that song. Once I heard it, though, I knew that I had to set aside any indie coolness and just listen to the brilliance of Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams, or whoever wrote that song. Plus, I think my name should be Beyonce. Catsitta' Beyonce, yo.

Just Guinevere and Catsitta' Beyonce and a WinAmp playlist full of Destiny's Child against the world. Too bootylicious for ya, babe.

September 10, 2001

big dork

Yes, I am a big dork, as opposed to small or medium dork. Yes, it's related to nerd and geek, but don't even bother to look it up in the dictionary. I tried that.

A kid in middle school told me I was a nerd in my 8th grade English class. I told my mom about it and together we looked up the word. I went back and told this kid the definition of nerd, and he presented that very fact as conclusive evidence that I was, in fact, a nerd. I guess he was right.

Some people would argue that just by having a little website I'm a big dork, implicating most of my readers I think, as well. I beg to differ. Maybe that was true ten years ago about being online (and I was there), but I suspect there are some pretty cool people online right now. I'm not going to name names, because that would stir up a controversy I don't want to spearhead, but I think it's fair to say that I am not one of them.

Well for one thing, there's all of that Advanced Dungeons and Dragons background, and I was a Dungeon Master, no less, a sure hallmark of dorkism. If you know who Gary Gygax is, then you're in good company.

Mostly though, I'm just uncontrollably silly and I bite my fingernails and toenails and don't know any carpentry. I can magnetize people somewhat on a one-to-one basis, but I can never generate that kind of broad shouldered confident broad appeal that the "winners" do. I was picked last in gym class...even for dodge ball, even though I was the most wicked dodger of a red rubber kickball that ever was. I don't know about any truly cool bands (read: good bands that everyone doesn't know about yet) except for the bands my cool friend Beth tells me about.

Okay, speaking of Beth, she's really my only claim to coolness. When I'm out with Beth, then I feel cool, but it's temporary. As soon as I go home I'm a big dork again, yo.

Okay...there's some corner of cool. I'll admit it...I know my way around a somewhat cosmopolitan city, I've been in a m�nage � trois, and I don't live with my mom. But let me just say, that any cool that I have developed, has come as a result of accepting my own inner dork completely.

September 6, 2001

are you going to dangle your weenie?

I find great pleasure in peeing outside. It just seems natural. Being a boy, I can usually find a discreet place anywhere, even in the city. I'm averse to doing it on cement, or somehwere it's going to dry and smell, but anywhere it will soak into the ground is not in bad form in my opinion.

I know, I know. Usually such behavior is reserved only for drunken frat boys and chronic public inebriates, but I cannot help the way I am. Even given the choice of a fine marble bathroom or the great outdoors, I will always choose to go behind a tree in the twilight. Only then do I feel I can truly relax.

But not everyone is such a fan. My sister can tell by the tone of my voice, "Hey Elisabeth, hold on."

She sighs, "You're gonna go dangle your weenie?"


Sometimes girls say they wish they had a weenie to dangle, but I have seen plenty of girls who could whip out their booties and hang it out over the ground (watch out for tall grass!), take care of business and have no one be the wiser. I speak of her and her. But alas, it seems to be a rare skill, and they still do have to actually get a waistband down to their thighs.

So if you ever meet me, and we are out for a walk, and I say, "Hang on a sec...", then simply look the other way and tap your foot if it bothers you...or just continue the conversation, I don't care...I'm sure you've all seen one before.

September 5, 2001

the invention of MOVABLE TYPE

The tinyblog is already in the process of being converted to being

welcome to movable type.

What is movable type? It's the content management system that dreams are made of. Written in PERL, living on one's own server, and customizable to the hilt. It is even expected that existing weblogs (via blogger, greymatter, etc.) will be able to be converted in their entirety. Go take a look at some of the expected features. Now pick your jaw up off the floor.

Plus, one can be sure that the User Interface will be extra perfectly spiffily anal-riffic a la dollarshort.org. This is not a coincidence. Movable Type is being developed by the husband and wife team of Mena and Ben, makers of dollarshort MASH, and ~ tinycomments ~.

If you're interested, head on over to the site and get thyself on the mailing list. I'm so excited I could just pee.


My Mom has liked every one of my girlfriends. Some she's gotten really tight with and others not so much, but she's gone into it really thinking each one was pretty swell. I asked her once, why that was. "Well," she said, "I figure they have good taste, so that's one mark in their favor right off the bat."

On that note, I can't help but be particularly endeared to people who link to the tinyblog, whether I know them or not. May I first mention Michele, who runs the stellar A Fire Inside. Her site of the day is always something worth looking at, so I am honored to be hers today.

So let me give a little tinylink shout out to all the others (I know of) who toss some linkylove my way (in no particular order):

Poagao's World - Joe Jennett's The Ageless Project - The Booge - melp.net - Pie In The Sky - Krisalis - Venusburg - Sanity Check - It's All About Lilly White - It's Always The Quiet Ones - The Airman's Mess - Barsticus' First Blog - World Wide Jeb - dollarshort.org - Tales of an East Coast Geek - Foemat - Lukelog - sabrina.bealer.dot.com - Blog You! - On the Bayou - Bleuzfire.org - Mind on Fire - icbleu - Orbyn.com - not.so.soft - little.red.boat - My Wacky Life - What's New Pussycat - shellyWEB

If I missed anyone, please let me know!

September 4, 2001

really so far beyond zork

There's a group of people who still continue text adventures to be a viable art form. Many of them are gearing up for the 7th Annual Interactive Fiction Contest, and it's really amazing what these people are doing. Not convinced? Have a little patience? By all means, go check out a couple of last year's competition games and see what people are doing with the medium these days. If you like such things, I would imagine you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Or, a classic and modern IF game is always being featured at The Interactive Fiction Book Club, and, in addition, XYXXYnews is a newsletter devoted to IF, it has reviews, interviews, and articles about Interactive Fiction.

Although I don't have much time for it, I loved the old Infocom games like Zork, and think modern IF is a damn cool idea. It's only obsolete if regular fiction is, which is perhaps debatable. Every year I beta test at least one competition game. Maybe one of these years, I'll even judge.

September 3, 2001

I feel you, Bas Jan Ader

Bas Jan Ader

I'm Too Sad To Tell You
Bas Jan Ader, 1970
Some things just cannot be blogged.

September 1, 2001

last retreat note (are you eyeballin' me boy?)

The Lama gave this kind of brilliant teaching today of a certain kind he sometimes does. He just sort of lays out the whole Buddhist path and how it relates to a modern westerner trying to do it sincerely. I so wish you could have been there to hear it.

It reminds me that to be a dharma practitioner and practice these strange 1300 year old (or so) teachings where some of the time one meditates on 4-armed white men of light sitting on a lotus moon seat is not such a silly, eccentric thing to do. In so many ways it is quite sensible, quite complete, and quite useful for working with the situation of the world one finds oneself in.

I sat next to the Lama today at lunch and stared at him, kind of marvelling at what he can lay down and the way he can handle questions about it. He looked up at me and stared at me for a long time. It reminded me of a time when I worked at the Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort in Colorado, in the kitchen.

There was this guy who lived there with his wife and 16 year-old daughter. He was sort of this stubborn old latter-day cowboy. He was a brusque, surly, alcoholic old coot who I suspect his wife and daughter secretly thought was a fool.

He had served the role of prep-cook/dishwasher before me, and evidently kept the kitchen quite spic and span, according to Jeff the Chef. So he would come into the kitchen every now and again and supervise me and make sure I was washing the walls right and so forth. He was honestly kind of fascinating and at that early point, I did have a fair amount of respect for him.

So one day he's there in the kitchen talking to Jeff the Chef and I'm looking at him intently and he turns around and talks to me about cleaning the kitchen...and I wasn't looking away. At all. It went on for about 10 seconds, with me patently refusing to drop my gaze, and then he stops what he was saying and pauses for a moment.

"Are you eyeballin' me, boy?"

I didn't know people said that anymore. I realized at that moment that I had been living in polite city society for too long, and this was in some ways a wake-up call. On one hand I could have continued to psychically stand up for myself and then said very cleverly, "Yup."

But then I realized I didn't really have the force to back it up, and that he might decide to very un-psychically smack me upside the head. I didn't say, "no suh," or anything, but I did look at the floor and avoid prolonged eye contact in the future.

I finally looked down from the Lama's gaze as well...but for much different reasons.