The Unswung Bat

Sunday, July 22, 2007
Prior thoughts revisited upon me unexpectedly

It is really unfair how I seize on the small recognizable things. I do it with you, all, I know no other way to know a person than to catch them with one of their own. And I work as hard to do it as to not realize that as soon as they don't show me their own, I won't know what's with no-one.

So this is an education?

This poem was in my head (no man is an island entire...bell tolls)
This poem was in my head (and light and labor past)
This poem was in my head (your cloud words...amoeba, sigh, divide, begin; So sorry I can barely say to be full of invisible words).

A great deal was up around me. I have been digging a while—depth equating with extent of knowledge, familiarity, commitment even, in a football-teamspeak. Being that it is impossible to dig across the entire surface of ground (without blasting the excavated earth into space), depth means high walls. Tempting to say I've dug an island, in light of the first poem, but an analogy is an analogy is an analogy and like us they only go so far before they give out.

I've not dug a moat around a little patch of ground. There, only, was air filling the cleared space between matters I have not disturbed. Is a hole the air or the walls, is a house the inside or the structure, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Yeah. What is the sound of one dumb question? Dumb meaning mute, is it the same as one dumb answer? If these walls could'a talked...

But a great deal has come down, and the thing to do isn't to frame statements, which will only come out asinine no matter how they sound on the inside; the thing is only to pick through the new-broken chunks and pockets and inspect, decide what what is, and where I want to put all this dirt.

Yeah, you know what I'm saying.

Extended coverage

In what may be the least ignoble of his public deeds, prez. Bush set an example about getting screened for colorectal cancer. Not that he set out to publicize it, but there was obviously going to be no hushing it up since it involved making Cheney acting president for a few hours (they state that he spent the morning reading, not that you'd ever know...). ABC News paired the political note with a detailed overview of the surgical process: "Well, the preparation the night before is the difficult part, euphemistically we call it 'cleaning out the bowels.'"

May it be his epitaph.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Well that was frightening

I don't know how to feel about not being able to confidently say that that was the scariest few minutes of my life. The steam main explosion happened right outside the building I'm working in. What we saw out the window was a huge shower of rubble and dust, while the floors shook and the roar just got louder. Yeah, what do you think was the first possiblity we thought of? You think you are going to be skeptical when an explosion is underway in your very immediate vicinty, possibily in your building? No. The in-charge part of your brain astutely notes that it's so unlikely for you to be on the seventh storey of an office building, which is shaking, as a solid wall of debris pelts all the windows and something near and BIG roars, that—hey—who knows? All bets are off, and speculation that the deafening sound could come from a falling building, or an exploded plane, ain't so much of a stretch as to not be worth taking into account.

And not only am I proud to say that despite starting from the seventh floor far from the stairwell, I was the fourth person out. Nothing you can say can change that. I would'a lived. And I wasn't pushing or cattle-driving—in fact, it was impressive to see that even people on the edge of hysteria were being decent. Not helping each other really, everyone was more or less panicked, but not hindering or anything.

I, and the editor-in-chief, and two other people with their heads screwed on, however, were far too busy getting the living hell out of there. Let me be clear: when our canoe got caught in a deadly storm, six miles from the middle of nowhere, with Andra in front and me steering, I was rowing for her at least as much as for me. That was sketchy, and awful, and I never want to be in a prolonged life-or-death situation like that again. Or even a short one. The point is, this time, I was alone and running for me. I don't know how or whether that's better or worse, and like I said, I'm good not knowing.

This was not a life or death situation, as became clear once outside. The street was ripped open and out of the three-lane-wide gash was blasting what in the fraction of a second I saw it looked like an avalanche in rewind. What from my vantage looked like the entire guts of Manhattan were erupting through the street. The steam pipe rupture happened at the crossroads of 41st Street and Lexington Ave, which is to say, at the northeast corner of my building, half a block from where I was standing at the fire exit. That initial geyser, I'm now told, was taller than the Chrysler building (easy to judge, since they were almost side-by-side). I saw a wall of rubble coming out of the ground and thought, as I turned to run in the correct direction (I still didn't have my bearings but that one point of reference was all anyone needed) "up from the ground is good." And it is: Whatever's blasting out must be getting forced, which limits it and makes it controllable. It's localized, the mere fact that I've seen it is reassuring even if at that instant I've no idea what could cause it, and, more to the point, monstrous plumes of rubble shooting out of the ground just doesn't scream "terrorist").

Of course, I didn't stop to look back till I was two blocks away, and then only for a moment, and by that point I was already running upwind, knowing full well that demolition debris can have a ton of bad pollutants that are nothing to be cavalier about. One thing I can say of every Bovee and Begun I've met is that we are not damned fools. Someone was very kind to lend me her phone so I could call my uncle, who works in the building next door, and my aunt at home, and from there it was just a long walk to the next train station, after I picked up a 72 cent notebook at the first drugstore I decided was far enough away. Different people have different ways of dealing with shit. It was not, as it turns out, a disaster. It was maybe a travesty, but only if they should've done something about the known risk. Which in my opinion they damn well should have. Certainly it was more than a SNAFU.

But for about a minute, it was really bad: everything was shaking, everyone was thinking, and not without reason, that the floors might come down—imagine, a combined earthquake and rockslide hitting out of nowhere when you're in a high building, and try to think a comforting thing. We didn't even know if the exit was safe. It didn't "feel hot," but so what? Just before we opened the door someone shouted "Nonononono NO!" It's a bad feeling to think you're (maybe) trapped in a building in mid-disaster(?!). Buildings, being generally designed as static, should not be mid-anything, ever. Midwestern, maybe. Maybe.

In case you're inquisitive and don't already know, I've assembled a few lessons in convenient sentence form, that they may be taken into your heads for consideration through reading, rather than direct experience, or that they may be taken out of my head and massaged around into something I like better:

The silence of concentration is common and seldom noticed; that of disbelief, unsettlingly different. José Saramago said silence has nothing to do with noise, silence is when birds turn and fly away.

Panic starts with the sound of silent disbelief and someone saying "um."

In a situation so very bad-seeming that you want to wake up, a big chaw of your brain fixates on the elephant (or explosion) in the middle of the room. Possibly it's yelling "NO!", that one syllable stretched from one end to the other of everything you know, possibly that's just the light tubes humming, who has time to wonder?

Meanwhile, the talented tenth of your brain, the clever strip stapled but not talking to the bulky panicky muppet brain, is a master of ignorance and displacement, seeing not the elephant but the directest course of action leading away from it. Meanwhile it very wisely chooses not to notice how fucking frightened you are.

Five minutes later, everything is okay. Five minutes after that, everything really is okay. Standards change over time. Then suddenly ten minutes later you realize you're having trouble tying your shoes.

I need to learn the email addresses of the rest of my family.

Katee Sackhoff is gay? Dammit!
Nope, she's not. We win again!

Extended Coverage

Dave in particular, but to anyone else who knows, too, why do people use MySpace?

Monday, July 16, 2007
A cry in the dark,

That was the name of the "dingo ate your baby" movie. You in my class in grade 5, or maybe 6 remember. That sentence is short a comma, I'm sure of it. Two clauses that shouldn't be open to each other are fused in mutual juices like Siamese twins, not because of malice but redundancy, that is, absent absence or the lack of a nothing skin that confirms you are not me. Does not confirm you are me. Everything reduces in language, but I am a seeing a dark garden scintillating with fireflies that puncture the dull gray air with their tiny spikes of light that show the existence or needlessness of God, one of those, and I have no words for that. And anyway the sentence is better itself like that; is correctly deformed.

The Mexican wolfboys who became trampoline artists did so, they say, because they were tired of being a side show attraction, wanted people to come to see them for a skill rather than a condition. Though the posters for their new act, I'm sure, said come see the trampolining wolf boys. From the energy of the first act, the second is launched. Wolfboy is the new Madonna, is the new multi-stage Saturn V.

Energy! Maybe the dingo ate your baby.

Energy negotiatiates so it is alright for we'll say a trampoline skin to try to be both up and down at once. It brokers an accord between two states (S0 and S1, before and after, making possible during) the imaginable alternative being untenable.

It's never the right time to be pragmatic, especially ever. Clacking teeth.

That couple would've been better off if there'd been no dingo, you could say; when the woman went to jail her man put his everything behind trying to find the dingo, or even a few bitemarks where it'd been.

The scalar quantity of energy has positive or negative magnitude and no direction, and it is what makes up your mind.

I'll tell you a secret ("tell you" a "secret?" Energy!): If I ever am give up into the right time, I have let myself be hit by a train. Notwithstanding, I might stray, next to the tracks as it hurtles through. When I wandered at night, an overlooked luxury among many heaped on highschoolers, I once drifted past a girl toeing the yellow line on a subway platform, observing her steps like listening to a violin solo, and in a voice that was a baby's, singing, as the subway train, brutally and out of nowhere, displaced the air a pucker from her cheek. The distance away from your face your lips travel in the average kiss. her fascination was unbroken like a sentence without a period.

If she was singing Mariah Carrey. Who is no Madonna. Either she was high, or that's how she was.

If she was singing with her steps, who cares about a train?

Another secret is that where I hope to god I'll go when the other choice is to sell off my books, is a dark scrubby wilderness of ropy dry roots and thorny bits and drums, where I will camp me out around a fire and, in the fullness of time, cook maybe some chicken legs and listen to the wood sing high-pitched soft notes, and sit and the burning meat smell will get into the nostrils of one of those quiet big moving things around you that aren't there till you see them, and she'll lurch into the camp site and I hope she'll eat some chicken.

And the fine sand-glints flying past on the ground like where the fireflies in the air were grains of mica on a rock discovered held to light and turned because special, dryness etching a minor light stillness into the rushing blur under the wheels. I won't look at them, I hardly did when they were fireflies. A firefly flew into my computer screen, once, twice, three times before getting frustrated and flying off in a state of consternation. One landed on my arm. Saved, as by divine grace, from my mosquito-conditioned reflex.

The kids when I get home from work laugh, giggle and ask restlessly when--"when!"--do I want to go on the trampoline. Play monkey in the middle. Tag. Isabel's too slow to play tag. That's 'cause she's a fool. No! I'm am not no I am not! Hunter's calling me a fool. And in short order he will, with a dumb look on his face, accidentally-on-purpose shove her with his nine-year-old shoulders and she will without even thinking about it counter with her five-year-old hands and in no time, but all of time is measured until you arrive at units of no meaning, they will be a snarl of sibling brutality. Or just as easily I'll say we're going outside, come on, and all will be forgotten, even the fact that Isabel's too slow to play tag, and I'll even the odds in monkey in the middle for her. But while we're out I can't say anything, only move like an animal, a horse with a boy on his back.

When I sit down on the carpet with my laptop in front of me and Isabel comes for me to imagine her up some amusement, she doesn't think for an instant that I'm the one who needs it. I pick up with one hand the duckling-colored stuffed rabbit on the floor, and Isabel lunges to grab it, and like that it's the struggle of humanity in the universe. Ms. Bunny Rabbit scurries back and forth, she darts, thinks, reacts, she turns her head to the sky in mute pathos, and when the other's claws are on her and there's no escaping the pull, it's so important to her for no reason she knows of to wave faster and faster that pink scarf which is sewed onto her hand, goodbye! Goodbye! And the contest ended I turn back to my laptop and for a while in her world Isabel becomes a bunny, somberly and with effortless concentration. A deep breath and crouch: hop!

And I, eventually, move outside, where it is becoming increasingly dull and gray, the fireflies having done what they came to do and retired. So you've got a train schedule in your wallet, and you've got maybe there's a dingo right behind some of that dark everywhereness.

It's what you don't have to be told when it means what you hear it. You're staring like someone who knows they're staring like an animal. It is the disbelief before a confrontation, what plays in your ears while the other thing gets close. It is it is it is it is it is

So this is what education is?

Sunday, July 01, 2007
How it Bes

That's pronounced "bees."

For three weeks, while I'm at work I want to put stuff on my blog, but when I get home I'm too tired and I've got better things to do in my one or two hours of free time than spend it on Blogger. So that would be that, except I am clearly not one to abandon my blog. So instead I'm going to try jotting down notes whenever, and posting them at the end of the day.

It will be disordered, clipped and fragmented, and probably lacking in extrinsic or tangible benefit to the reader. Or will it...?

This is a colon:

One P. Hilton (whose by-all-reports lame interview nonetheless tripled Larry King's ratings and who without fail prompts lengthy "news" stories every day, with oddball pictures and screamer headlines like "PARIS REVEALS NAKED FEAR") is now a "celebucon" in the lingo of the (brilliantly trashy) NY Post. This, presumably, is a development from her "celebutante" status in that paper last week. I could care less for updates on the woman, but the linguistic workshop that is entertainment reporting is thrilling to see in action.

A CNN guy, talking about P. Hilton's effects on Larry King's ratings: "She's the number-two guest we could possibly get. The number-one would be Osama bin Laden. What does that say about us?"

A fourth century holy relic was recovered from a Queens pawnshop. Two
dudes of a Grecian ethnic extraction were arrested for stealing it from the altar of a Queens, NY church.

Romanian cinema flourishes in NYC!
Porumboiu's 12:08 East of Bucharest!
Mitulescu's The Way I Spent the End of the World!

Incidentally, that first one links to the Onion AV club. It's one of my favorite things to read currently (there's a long list of favorites, but I read a lot), especially since I have to pore over trade journals like Variety for work. Being an initiate of such jargon as tenpercenteries, shingles, skeins, starrers, bow and prexy, and the neutral, clipped language of these industry reports dictating the course of entertainment media over the next few months, AV club features like "recent celebrity quotes in context" strike me as downright fabulous. There's also a clever set of charts explaining celebrity identity. What I love about it is the style and originality. What kills me is that people actually do need this kind of help putting Hollywoodish things into perspective.

Saw Ozomatli yesterday in Central Park, for free. At the end of their set, they jumped off the stage and started a parade through the audience, nearly causing all the security staff's heads to explode. Most awesome. Then they started a beachball volleyball conga line thing.

Sometimes I do then again I think I don't.

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