Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

30 September, 2003

Woman in Paradise

My hangover is slowly abating. Against my better judgment, I accompanied Marv to the Paradise last night. Being without a car, I had to go get his arse and bring it over to my place yesterday afternoon to hang out and sample the chicken and dumplings that I was whipping up for supper. I had no problem finding his place and I found it rather nice to have a friend living on the Isthmus again as it gives me an excuse to go down there on occasion. His place isn’t bad though it does need a bit of remodeling. As I walked around, I found myself a bit jealous as he lives in the upper floor of a large, old house. Hardwood floors, darkly-stained molding and trim - with a little work, it would look really nice. His kitchen had a nice view of the backyard which is wooded.

I was almost overcome with a weird feeling - a nostalgic sense of deja-vu tinged with a bit of melancholy. It then hit me that the place reminded me of the apartment that Heather and I shared over on Washburn Place. It just came out of the blue and it lingered. On the one hand, it was merely a like of old houses with all the wood and all the character. But, as I stood in the kitchen looking out onto the backyard, I could feel the ghost of Heather walking behind me. I half expected Nico (one of her cats) to run into the room followed by Heather lazily strolling behind her.

I couldn’t shake this for a couple minutes as I kept seeing an apartment from another place and another time. Finally, after talking with Marv, I was able to get my mind onto something else, namely, get his arse up and moving so we could head back to my place.

It also afforded him the chance to get onto the Internet to do some shopping for a new computer. It was amusing to see him agonize over the decision of whether to get a laptop or a desktop only to decide on the latter and traverse the maze of new Intel chipsets, RAM, and the like. Of course I ably assisted him but I let him hang out there for a while before lending him a helping hand.

Around 8, the topic of the Dise came up and he said that he had to go down there as it was the last day of work for one of the bartenders and he wanted to bid her a fond farewell. At first I was going to either drop him off at home whereupon he’d grab a cab. I had a mysterious change of heart and decided to head over there as well with the intention of staying a couple hours and then heading home. Just enough time to hang out, have a couple, and say hi to Kevin. Needless to say, we ended up staying there till bar time.

Walking into the Paradise was a bit of a trip as I used to spend at least nights a week there but actually hadn’t stepped foot in the place in about 3 years. Nothing had changed. Walking towards some vacant seats at the bar, I noticed that Kevin was bartending. I was used to seeing him working the door. We took our seats and a pulchritudinous brunette in a very short skirt took our order. Marv knew her, of course. She was pretty cute and had the tip-attracting outfit on: the aforementioned skirt, a tight black shirt, and a bra that pushed her tits up and out just beckoning for gander.

Marv noticed a guy named Todd, if I recall correctly, at the other side of the bar and Todd came over and sat down next to him. Marv started talking him up about getting some new earrings. That is, about having the guy make some new hoops by hand. This led me to believe that Todd worked at a tattoo parlor. This impression was bolstered by the tattoos running up and down his arms.

A little while later, they began to comment on the music that was playing. It was at this point that I joined the conversation and Marv introduced Todd and me. The song was by Ronnie James Dio. Todd said that it was from Holy Diver and made some other comment which got us arguing over the release dates of Holy Diver and The Last in Line. He said that HD was Dio’s first solo album after leaving Sabbath while I thought it was TLiL. We came to a gentlemen’s agreement and laid down a dollar apiece. To decide the matter, Todd would call Matt Meyers’ sidekick over at WORT after 11. Meyers hosts The Mosh Pit, the metal show on WORT on Monday nights. Todd said that his co-host was nicknamed “The Encyclopedia” as he knew any and everything about heavy metal music. So we waited.

During the interim, we shot the shit about music. I discovered that Todd was a kindred spirit. He professed his love for metal at first. When he brought up the topic of Swedish death metal, I asked if he liked Opeth. His eyes grew wide, “I love Opeth!” The conversation went on to Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, etc. I was a bit surprised when he began espousing the gospel according to Bela Fleck and Victor Wooten. You wouldn’t think a guy with several tattoos and a fondness for Swedish death metal would also harbor a love for bluegrass. But that’s why I like the Paradise - the people are so much more interesting than at other taverns. No yuppie scum there.

11:30 rolls around and he calls the studio. I get a cell phone handed to me and I’m speaking with a Mike. My worst fears were confirmed - Holy Diver was in fact released before The Last in Line. Todd gloated as he took my dollar. But he was a very nice guy and bought a round of shots. Kevin asks what I want and I reply, “bourbon.” Wild Turkey was then the order of the day. Uff da! Me and Wild Turkey have a, uh, special relationship, shall we say, that dates back to high school.

Soon enough, tattoos found their way into the conversation and I discovered that Todd works over at Blue Lotus. I told him that I had gotten my tat there and figured out which artist had painted me. Marv didn’t know that I had one so he was rather surprised. Things happen when you disappear for a couple years.

Computers then became the topic. Todd began bitching about his problems with pop-up ads. They are a constant menace for him and some of them are quite inappropriate for his children. Marv referred him to me, telling him that fixing such things is what I do for a living. I gave him my work # and said that I’d be happy to fix it. Of course, it would take all of 10 minutes but what can I say? Well, I think “That’ll be $52.74” would be a good start. We continued to talk about computer woes when Patty wandered over.

Patty is a woman who appears to be in her early 50s and, last night, was just fucking trashed. At first she just gave Marv egregious amounts of crap for having moved to Thailand after promising to resolve a computer problem for her. Patty’s problem was packet latency for online gaming. I ended up giving her A1’s # as well so that I or one of the other well-trained staff and highly friendly staff could assist her.

Patty continued by telling me about her job which was that of some kind of technician at Ameritech. After a short while, she took me across the street to give me a tour of their equipment. A couple swipes of her pass card and a brief elevator trip later, I found myself in the bowels of Ma Bell - or at least a former part of her. Rows and rows of tall banks of electronics that were 8” tall. Huge industrial-strength hard drives doing whatever it is that they do to abet the passage of these little electronic signals, some of which are lonely men calling 976 numbers, lonely men dialing up their ISPs to surf porn, and the like. We went down a couple floors and entered a room that had more rows but, this time, of switches. There were miles and miles of wire. At some point, probably 20 years ago, people punched all of them. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of connections to be made. Everyone’s house had a wire here. A colorful 20 gauge link to the outside world. Had I been in a mischievous mood, I could have pulled one tiny wire and done untold damage. OK. All I probably would have accomplished was to knock out service for some couple who was silently asleep. Still, the idea that I could have wrought major telecomm mayhem was appealing.

As we were walking along one row, Patty stopped and bent over to lift up one of the floor tiles. Not finding anything of interest, she let it fall back down. Then it was on to the next one. And the next one. Now, I don’t know if she did this on purpose, but each time she lifted a tile, she stuck her ass up right at me - just like a cat in heat. Sure I looked at it. Sure I thought about touching it. I mean, come on! There I was in an office building. At one in the morning. Just me and a woman. “No guards on this floor,” she told me. If I were to tell you that I wasn’t tempted to just bend her over her desk, I’d be lying. But I resisted temptation. Or, perhaps more accurately, I wasn’t that drunk. Patty was amusing and all, but I am looking for a woman 20-30 years younger than her.

With the tour over, she let me out while she ran upstairs to deal with her time card. I took this to mean doctor her time card. I moseyed back across the street and resumed my position next to Marv. He asked if she had showed me the diesel backup generators. Yes. Then he asked if she bent down right in front of me to lift up the floor tiles. Yes. He had been given the exact same tour.

He then chided me for not having fucked her. “I expected you to be there at least half an hour to 45 minutes,” he said half-jokingly. He then admitted to me that he had been tempted to fuck her on more than one occasion but had never gotten drunk enough to do it either. After about 10 minutes, Patty returned to the bar and engaged me in a long, slurred conversation about her job and then her PC again. I gave her my company’s # and said that I’d be glad to help her out with this packet latency thingy. She returned the favor and gave me her #. I can’t remember the last time I walked out of a bar with a woman’s phone number. And her pager number. And her last name. The slip of paper is still sitting in my wallet as far as I know.

Looking back, I just have to laugh as it reminds me of a couple incidents a few years ago at the Silver Dollar and the Caribou, respectively, that Dogger and Old Man Standiford never let me forget. Let’s just say it involved severely drunk older women and that I ignored the admonishment of the Dollar’s bartender in one instance.

Anyway, Patty continued by telling me about 80 times that she was divorced. She then went on about her son’s problems at school. After a short while, she bought me a beer and then disappeared, presumably to the bathroom. This afforded Marv the opportunity to tell me a few things about her.

She was, according to him, your archetypal bar hag. Every night, sure as Sears, she could be found at the Dise getting drunker than two barrels of shit. The computer problem that she had consulted Marv about a couple years ago involved user accounts and privacy in Windows 98. Apparently, she had been cheating on her husband. She and her lover had a predilection for taking pictures in media res, if you know what I mean. Well, she put those pictures on their computer while she was logged on under her account. Well, Windows 98 has all the security of a hippie commune and the data in her profile was easily accessible by anyone using the computer. It just wasn’t out in the open. So her now ex-hubby finds the pictures and they get divorced. And apparently she now takes it upon herself to try and fuck any old younger man she stumbles upon at the Paradise. I was even more happy that I had escaped from her clutches.

After being told of just how narrow my escape was, Marv and I began talking about other things. He explained a very bad situation concerning the woman who lived downstairs from him. I had met her earlier in the day when I had gone over there to pick him up. (Marv is sans automobile.) She looked all of 18 years old and had a daughter who was 2 at the most.

OK. Marv and Kevin have known each other for 20+ years. Kevin’s brother, Randy, also lives here in Madison. He is the proprietor of Scooter Therapy. (Whose advertising has taken a turn for the better lately, in my opinion.) Randy’s son owns the house that Marv lives in and the woman downstairs is Randy’s daughter. Marv reveals to me that the woman is 20 and that the father of her kid is some guy in his mid-30s from Portage. Apparently he is a low-life drug dealer and all-around asshole. He then proceeds to tell me that Randy wants to give him a shotgun in case the girl’s father decides to come round and pay a visit. Marv is too nice a guy to go around brandishing a shotgun and threatening anyone. He even admitted as much. Not a good situation.

Bar time came quickly so Marv and I proceeded to my car. As we approached his house, he asked if I wanted to stop in and I took him up on the offer.

We got upstairs and busted out some cookies. He offered and I have the hardest time turning down chocolate. While I munched on a cookie, Marv wandered about in search of his pipe. Not finding it, he pulled out a roach and we smoked that. A couple hits from that and I was nicely stoned. He pulled out a plate and dumped the contents of a quarter bag onto it and proceeded to remove the stems and seeds. It was at this point that things got interesting…
|| Palmer, 3:40 PM || link || (0) comments |

29 September, 2003


It is definitely fall. The weather drone says it's 37 out - yikes! I am bustin' outta here shortly. Pesto has been outside already and Buddy is out there right now. I am hoping against hope that The Pollack doesn't ask me to dogsit again at least for the rest of the year.

Well, D&D went amusingly yesterday despite my having to leave early. While recovering at an inn, our party was approached by a guy who asked us to check out a cave about a half mile back in the forest. Pete's character, Juris, asked if there was any monetary reward involved. Marv, the DM, replied, "I don't doubt that it wouldn't be small."

We adventurers all got this puzzled look over our faces while Marv leaned back and furtively glanced at us. I started to laugh and asked, "What is that supposed to mean?" Marv replied, "That's what he says." Then I lost it. I just started to laugh and I couldn't stop. Fuck, I laughed so hard that I started crying and my stomach began to hurt.

Christ, I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. That's what I love about role-playing with Marv - something stupid happens that sends me into fits of laughter. In the last campaign it was when Ben's character drank from a flask not knowing what it was but hoping that it contained healing potion. Marv looked at Ben with steely eyes and said, "It tastes like...bitter almonds." I nearly shit my pants. (The taste of cyanide is supposed to be like bitter almonds.)

I guess you had to be there.

Now my PC won't boot. The BIOS cannot find a boot sector on any media. First Winders hung and I had to cold boot. Then I got a CMOS checksum error. After rebooting again I get the message indicating that it can't find an OS. So I take out the CMOS battery and put it to a VOM - it has the requisite 3 volts. Well, maybe the amperage is low so I get a new battery. Setup the BIOS and try again - same thing. I run a hard drive utility to see if it's bad - no errors. I can only conclude that the boot sector and/or the MBR is fucked. For reasons I won't go into here, I can't get to the Recovery Console so I have reformatted and am on the last legs of an XP reinstall. I have a sinking feeling that, while I'll be able to use Winders again, it will continue to lockup.


And of course it did. I think the problem is the motherboard's service pack so here I am reinstalling with all intention of not installing the service pack...

Downstairs I've got me a hen cooking - I am gonna make chicken and dumplings. I called Marv to see what he was up to but just got his voice mail. A contracting firm called me about my interviews. I called back but he wasn't around. From the tone of his voice, I gather that I got neither of the jobs. Back to the drawing board.
|| Palmer, 3:34 AM || link || (0) comments |

28 September, 2003

Pulchra enim sunt ubera quae paululum supereminent

It's a nice, chilly autumn morning. I've got a King Crimson bootleg blaring in my headphones - November 23, 2001 from the Barrymore Theater right here in Madison. I remember the show well.

I was standing down front at the left-hand side of the stage about two feet from the speakers. Being so close, I had a good view of Adrian Belew as he hammered away while making goofy expressions on his face. Bob Fripp was at the other side of the stage bathed in shadow but I could still see him as he culled the most unearthly sounds from his guitar. He even smiled several times during the gig, an unprecedented occurrence. Closest to me was Trey Gunn and I have to tell you, when he hunkered down with his bass or Chapman stick or that Warr guitar thingy, I could feel my whole chest cavity reverberate. My view of Pat Mastelotto was obscured by his drum kit but I was able to see enough to be seriously fucking impressed. I had, of course, heard is work on a couple Crimso albums and seen him ply his trade with them in 1995 but this was different. The earlier show featured the double-trio line-up (i.e. - 2 drummers, 2 guitarists, 2 bass players) so my attention was divided much more so. Besides, the other drummer was Bill Bruford. Anyway, there were a few moments when I found myself watching Pat beat the shit out of the skins and was just in awe. He was all over the kit throwing in a little fill here then reaching over to play some miscellaneous piece of percussion of to tweak a MIDI device.

I'm listening to "Dinosaur" right now. Besides being a fucking killer song, it's amazing to listen to Pat. The song was originally recorded with him and Bruford and he manages to cover so well! It's like he's got 4 arms and 4 legs. Unfucking real.

I have also procured a copy of the Crimson show I attended earlier this year in Chicago. Roy and I arrived at the Park West a bit late so we were relegated to the rear of the place. This sucks as I was keen on being right up front so I could annoy Bob and start yelling for "Level 5"?. Still our view was unobstructed, for the most part, and they were just so fucking loud that we had no problem aurally. While Roy isn't keen on the influence minimalism has had on Crimson as of late, for me, when you're right up against the stage and the boys launch into, say, "The ConstruKtion of Light", it's really almost a numinous experience. You've got Belew and Fripp playing two totally different guitar parts that weave around each other to create this wonderfully weird melody that kind of hovers above and then settles around you like a shroud. Transcendental elements aside, just watching these guys do it is a joy in and of itself. Their playing is so tight. If either of one of them goofs up the whole melody is fucked. They each contribute half of the melody - it's like a gestalt, you see.

Alright, enough of the encomium for Crimson. What does it say about someone who can babble on seemingly endlessly about King Crimson? I dunno, but it just can't be good. What else is happening? Let's see...

Yesterday was a very odd day. Fortunately it wasn't odd in a bad way - just good plain, old neutral weirdness. I returned from housesitting on Friday afternoon and chilled. Got up early yesterday morning and drank coffee while watching Zatoichi with Stevie. As if to prove what a queer day it was, I got all motivated around 8:30 and began to get my shit together. I ran errands, did some cleaning, and basically tried to bring a sense of organization into my cranium.

One thing that had been nagging me was the fact that my computer was on the fritz. I had reinstalled Winders after having given the system a thorough repartitioning a couple weeks ago only to have serious problems. Something was not kosher in Denmark.

The system would freeze up periodically and BSODs became frequent. IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL and BAD_CALL_something-or-other. It seemed that there was a bad driver somewhere fucking things up royally. Not wanting to reinstall, I prayed to the gods of Microsoft to allow me to just finish burning some stuff and then I'd reinstall. I brought the PC out to The Pollack's where I was housesitting and burned about 40 CDs. Upon bringing it back home, it steadfastly refused to boot. Normal or Safe Mode. I removed the video capture/SCSI card as it don't capture shit in XP and I no longer had a 98 partition. After cursing like a sailor for an hour, I disabled USB in the CMOS and managed to get into Safe Mode. I moved some stuff onto another drive in anticipation of reformatting. Not inclined to give up, I continued troubleshooting. I reseated the RAM and went back into the CMOS and perused the settings. For some reason, my system has never been inclined to boot from a CD despite having the ability to do so. I initially ran into this problem when trying to install Linux a couple years ago. The CD drive, which is the master on the secondary IDE channel, never appears during the POST. Not really giving a fuck at the time, I put it out of my mind. So I noticed this time around that the CD drive was not listed in CMOS so I auto-detected it and rebooted. Got into Winders in Normal mode just fine.

While my boot problem had been fixed, the lock-ups continued. I did the little key code changearoo and downloaded SP1. Then I set out on being a lazyass by watching a couple episodes of The Lone Gunmen, an X-Files spin-off that lasted all of half a season. (I've been downloading them from some guy.) At first, Windows Media Player couldn't play the MPEG back correctly so I tried it with WinDVD and VOILA! All was well for 10 minutes and then BAM!!! Fucking thing locked up again. Can't get to the Task Manager. Can't turn off CAPS Lock so the thing is really fucked. I reboot and try and continue. BSOD. Over the next couple hours, I get three or four of them. Windows is nice enough to not actually list a driver for me so I'm stuck decoding memory locations.

As it turned out, the bad calls are coming from a memory address given to pci.sys. I was a bit surprised as I had thought it was the drivers for the video card. But I wasn't too surprised as there was a goofy thing in the Device Manager that had been present since the reinstall a couple weeks previously. For some reason, Windows placed an errant (at least as far as I was concerned) Bus Mastering driver in the SCSI bit in Device Manager so discovering that something related to the PCI bus was doing things they shouldn't was not a total shock.

I should also mention that the Event Viewer was a sea of red circles. First of all, I had gotten rid of Tiny Personal Firewall and switched to ZoneAlarm. The True Vector Engine part of ZA produced constant errors at startup. In addition, the BIOS was not playing well with the ACPI part of Windows. Everything I could find out about this little scenario indicated that it wasn't something that would make Windows die. The articles on the Net stated that Windows was preventing things that would lead to system instability and that these events would not in and of themselves make baby Jesus cry.

So last night was reinstall time. While the setup program did its thing, I got a bug up my ass and started to clean up my room. Things were put back in their places and I put away some summer clothes while dragging out those more appropriate for fall. I gave each drawer in my dresser a thorough once-over. I found 11¢! While swapping shorts for long-sleeves, I discovered a stash of clothes that I hadn't worn in ages. There is now a pile of disused clothing in the middle of the floor. I figured I didn't really need to keep 2 chef's outfits when 1 would do just fine. Those camo pants - gone. I dunno - I just felt like streamlining. I am probably going to be moving in the nearish future, so why not get a jump on things to make it easier when the time comes?

Along the way, a feeling settled upon me. As I looked around my bedroom, I decided that it was time for more changes. I wanted to try and make some more room and rearrange things. The place just felt stale to me and needed to be different. I started by segregating my tapes. I made a stash that I still wish to keep but have a big pile of them that are going to be history soon.

Among the myriad of Genesis bootlegs were three tapes that lay unlabeled. I suspected that a couple of them had a Who show from a few years ago that was broadcast on the radio while I had absolutely no idea what the third may contain. Having no tape player at home, I brought them out to my car when I went shopping. My suspicions were correct and there was a Who gig on two of them. The third, however, was a most welcome surprise. I had completely forgotten that Kias had taped a Texas Horse Crippler performance from WORT a few years ago.

Texas Horse Crippler were a Madison band. Formerly known as Tongue, I think they changed their name when they got a new bass player. I used to know the drummer and guitarist/singer, though not well. They were good friends with a former roommate of mine so I got to know them a bit. I drank and popped pills with Shad and Brit on more than one occasion, I will admit. After The Crippler disbanded when Brit followed a woman to Florida, they disappeared for a while. I heard that Shad married Mia from someone, sometime. Then, within the past couple years I'll say, Shad reemerged in Brickshithouse. I saw a review of one of their gigs in the Isthmus once but nothing more since.

It's a bummer because Shad was great. I cranked the shit out of the tape in my car. Man, it had been a long time since I'd listened to it. A little trip down memory lane.

Next I started going through the boxes I had stashed in my closet. A couple were full of magazines. I went sifted through my stash and got rid of tons of them. How many back issues of Green Egg do I really need? Actually I brought them with me here so I could sift and winnow to figure out if I want to keep any of them.

I opened one box to find that it contained just miscellaneous stuff. Boxes of check stubs, two VOMs, microphones, et al. Considering that I had gotten a VOM last year for Christmas, I thought that I probably didn't need one from the 1960s. Plus I thought it as good a time as any to shed a clutch of Christmas ornaments that The Tetragrammaton had given me. If anyone wants them, lemme know now.

The next box was full of personal memorabilia: pictures, old report cards, genealogical records, letters, and the like. So I took another trip down memory lane but much further back this time. There were several pictures of me from like second grade that are going to be ceremoniously burned. As I looked at class pictures that went as far back as kindergarten, I was amazed at how many people's names I was able to recall. There was Beverly Bucharski - I had a serious crush on her. Basimah too. Then there were those two Polish boys, whose names I could not remember, that were always causing trouble. Since no one else could speak Polish, they were able to formulate plans without fear of someone overhearing.

As the trip went further, I noticed a disturbing trend. There was a succession of pictures in which I was a small boy - naked. "Look, there he is having his diaper changed -let's take a picture!" "There he is crawling along the floor naked - let's take a picture!" "There he is undressing to take a bath - let's take his picture!" What the hell?!? I must have been very photogenic as a child. I can only wonder when this ceased to be the case.

Digging deeper, I found some pictures from my parents' wedding. My grandfather walking my mom up the aisle, dead great-uncles, and pictures of people whose identity remains a mystery. Kind of weird in a spooky way. I realized that my closet is now the repository for the history of my immediate family. I know my brother doesn't have many pictures and I got these from my parents so I know that they have retained only a smattering for themselves. Upon finding themselves in their sixties, they immediately started giving away all of their things. Not quite sure why because, upon their deaths, the stuff would have made its way into my hands anyway.

I also stumbled upon a photo of my maternal grandfather's family from the 1940s. My great-grandparents along with 8 of my great aunts and uncles and, of course, my grandfather. I also found a snap of my paternal grandmother probably from the mid-1920s. She looks all of 18 years old in it. Standing next to her is a dapper young man clad in baggy pants and a school sweater. His hair is Brill-creamed firmly in place. No idea who he is.

All these pictures of strangers. Some were my parents' friends while others are family. Family members I've never known or never met. I'm not really that far removed from, say, my father's mother in a genealogical sense - just a couple generations away - but, in reality, she and I are aeons and light years apart. Well, her memory, at least. She died when I was about 12. I never knew her, I have only my dad's memories to give me a sense of what she was like.

It's a rather odd feeling to be so dislocated from one's past. When I dated The Tetragrammaton, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. She was very close to her immediate family and had fairly frequent contact with much of the rest of her relatives. I got along well with everyone so there were no problems there but it was interesting to watch the dynamics of her family and to try to understand the role family played in her life.

It's very difficult to explain these effects. In my own mind, they are fairly clear but to condense a three year's worth of observations and conversations into a few sentences is all but impossible. Plus it ain't easy to segregate things about her that are the result of her familial relationships and those that aren't to begin with.

The Tetragrammaton's family were a source of great happiness, encouragement, and comfort for her. They provided a helping hand, offered advice, and were a respite from the daily grind of work and my sorry ass. From some of our conversations (and arguments), I got the impression that her family provided a model of how to be as well as how not to be. But mostly the former. It was easy to accuse her of wegotism when she spoke of her family.

Next up I am going to rehoolie my shelves. Bric-a-brac is piling up and something's gotta give.

Despite the portent of snow to come, I am not at all displeased with the passing of summer. I've convinced Miss Rosie to accompany me to a maize maze at some point and told her that I'd bring the hip flask. In about 3 months I will have the opportunity to live my life-long dream of wassailing. Plus I just love the colors of fall. The hot tub becomes ever more inviting and nights can be spent next to the fireplace. I hope to be able to sneak in another camping trip before the snow falls too. Rosie's housewarming party is in about three weeks. Stevie has asked me to help setup a network at his sister-in-law's new office sometime next month as well.

In addition I can do a fuck load of cooking. Not that I am a particularly good baker or anything but I can use the oven with impunity and not worry about forcing the air conditioning fight my attempt at making the house a sauna. I've spent a fair amount of time the past three weeks or so preserving food. I have more than a dozen quarts of tomatoes that I canned in addition to countless jars of jalapeno jelly that I made. Now, I don't wanna brag or nuthin' but, if I didn't know any better, I'd say it was professionally done. Since we had more cayennes than there is tea in China, I made hot sauce. Having never done so before, it was interesting.

Not having gloves, I had to clean the peppers by hand and they ended up stinging for a couple days. My sinuses made every bit of mucous that they could produce. While boiling the peppers in vinegar, I realized that I had stumbled upon the recipe for tear gas. I made 3 or 4 batches and it was the last one that I liked the best. I seemed to have diluted it with just the right amount of water and added just the right amounts of coriander and bourbon.

Right now I have no idea what to do with all the fucking jalapeno jelly. I've given away some of it but still have tons left. I've offered a jar to some people and they flash me this look as if I were trying to poison them. "It's not hot," I reassure them. Still, I am left with countless jars of the stuff. Man cannot live on jalapeno jelly alone, ya know.

Oh! I had this moment of magic! "Take a Pebble" just came on a little while ago. (I've got WinAmp set to randomly shuffle through my mp3 collection.) It's the middle bit that's all acoustic guitar. OK...lemme start over again.

Sundays at Cafe Zoma are both good and bad. It's the day when all the mommies come in with their children so the joint feels more cramped. Plus it's noisier as well. But with the extra people comes more opportunities to people watch.

There's this woman who looks to be in her late 30s sitting across from me. She’s not bad looking but is wearing this garish orange shirt. Her table is perpendicular to mine so I get to see her in profile. As I was writing a bit of the above, I paused and looked up to cogitate. Her orange shirt caught my attention so I took a gander. I don't mean to sound like an old lech here, but I just had to admire her breasts. Her shirt was rather tight so it hugged her chest and revealed some luscious curves. Not wanting to get caught staring, I turned my head after several seconds to look outside and saw that some dark clouds had perched themselves overhead and that it was raining.

At just this moment, "Take a Pebble" meandered to the acoustic guitar bit in the middle. You see, the first four minutes or so are this jazzy/classical hybrid with piano, bass, and drums. This first section rolls to a close with a sustained bass note on the piano. Now, having the song cranked as loud as it would go, I heard some faint pizzicatos on the piano coming out of the right channel. I had never heard them before! Then from the left a gently plucked guitar emerges. After a few notes, the sound of water dripping and splashing comes from the right. It's a very serene, very beautiful passage. Christ, the whole song if fucking gorgeous if you ask me but this part is so slow, so gentle that it's...it's...impressionistic.

My eyes darted back and forth between the rain falling outside the window and this woman's breasts. Each of these things was just so beautiful in its own unique way. I had the song cranked up as loud as it could go so I couldn't hear the noise of the people around me. What I was seeing didn't match what I was hearing. It was so magical. It was a Fellini Moment - one of those fleeting times when your senses become particularly acute and you are receptive to those passing moments of tangential beauty that are all around us but rarely noticed. Somehow everything was in its place, everything seemed right.

The guitar passage picks up. It becomes a real foot stomping, hand-clapping kinda thing. In fact, there is clapping in the song - like a group of people sitting around a camp fire. A real, a palpable sense of joy, a sense of euphoria welled up within me. I felt like clapping myself but I just tapped my feet like a motherfucker. And then all-too soon the moment was over.

This incident left me in a rather perky mood. I wanted to go over and thank the woman but I wasn't sure for what. "Thanks for wearing that tight shirt so I could admire your breasts," probably wouldn't go over too well. I'm sure what I've written here sounds like the ravings of a retard so there wasn't much I could have said to her that would have made any sense. But I am grateful for her role in this minor but very meaningful episode of my day.

The rain didn't last long so my eyes have taken to gazing at other breasts around me. Just behind the woman in orange is another woman who is very well endowed. A few moments ago she leaned over to dig around in her bag which is lying on the floor next to her chair. Needless to say, I got a good look down her shirt.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those guys who is preoccupied with large boobs. Nope. I am preoccupied with small ones. Pulchra enim sunt ubera quae paululum supereminent - that's my motto. And don't ask me why because I have absolutely no idea. Lest you get the wrong impression, I will state that breasts of all sizes are fine by me. I don't discriminate in this matter. It's just that, being a guy, I am going to eye up a woman's chest, and I have different reactions according to size. Both are admiring yet admiring in different ways.

If I run into a woman and see that she has large breasts, of course I am gonna look at them. For me, it's like wandering through the lot of a car dealership. I see the new Ferrari and just think how cool it is without giving a shit about the mileage. Large boobs are like these sports cars. They look cool and it's every guy's dream to own a pair but I immediately lose any interest in anything this woman might have to say. I'm too busy waiting for Boreus or Zephyr to spit out a breeze so her nipples get hard.

Now, if I run into a woman and see that she has small breasts, I look at them just as with the large ones. But it's like this program starts in my head which tells me to talk to this woman. Hear her voice. Look in her eyes. Get to know her. Go beyond looks.

Now these are generalizations and there are exceptions to these rules. There are some women who are so butt ugly that cup size is completely irrelevant. And there are breasts which straddle the line between "large" and "small" so closely that the primitive programs in my head don't know what to think.

"Are these Bs or Cs? Shit, I can't tell. Now what do we do?"

In these instances I usually just stand there staring like a moron while my brain is caught in an infinite regress of breasts.

OK. Enough about female anatomy, for now. I must be particularly frisky or some such thing.

Well, I had better bust outta here. Pete and I are heading over to Dogger's to do play some D&D this afternoon. Unfortunately I can only stay a couple hours as I have one more night of dogsitting to attend to. Before I leave though, I have to say goodbye to Miss Erin and give her my email address and/or phone number.

Today is her last day working here at Cafe Zoma. I gave her a copy of an essay I've written to get some feedback so she'll need to find me to show me all the mistakes I've made.
|| Palmer, 11:16 PM || link || (0) comments |

PBS is showing the first of seven episodes of a series about the blues. Martin Scorsese gives his introductory spiel then it fades to black. It fades up to some old black & white footage of a fife and drum trio. I suspect that it was Othar Turner on the fife. I wasn't familiar with the tune but it was fucking marvelous! It continued with a series of excerpts of various historical bits of footage. Work songs, blues...they showed footage of John and Alan Lomax recording for the Library of Congress in the 1930s and 40s. Listening to the music and seeing the images of the rural South between the wars sent shivers down my spine. It just did something to me. How anyone can not like the blues is beyond me. Sure, your standard 12-bar blues is simple. It's not full of counterpoint or anything but who cares? It just doesn't fucking matter because it's about how it hits you in the gut.

As the show progressed, I got a bit scared. A bit of music would preface a section about a particular musician and I recognized whom it would be about after like three notes of each song before the narrator told us. Leadbelly, Son House, Charley Patton, Robert Johnson -I really wish I were fucking at home right now so I had access to my CDs because, as soon as this show is over, I am gonna regret not having any blues music here. Ive got this CD rack at home with Lightnin' Hopkins, The Hook, Guy Davis, R.L. Burnside, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Elmore James - FUCK!

Shit! They're interviewing Othar Turner! Fucking awesome! Now our host is in West Africa. This is so awesome!
|| Palmer, 9:40 PM || link || (0) comments |