the categorical days: Pondersome

September 04, 2005

Thank goodness for self checkouts

Maybe you’ve realized, that if you hover your cursor over the images I post here, there's a second message

Having that self-service checkout lane in the grocery stores, I'm betting, has increased the sale of potentially uncomfortable items: hemorrhoid treatments, hair dye, condoms, tampons (when the husband's buying)—you might lump panty hose in this category, douches, lube, condoms. The list goes on...

Only the scanner "knows," if you use cash.

This is progress.

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June 15, 2005

Manual focus

Depth of field

I (always) forget how major a variable weather can be on mood. The oppressive heat is gone for now, and in its place were big fluffy clouds and a fine breeze—bordering on gusts.

I went up north to haul some lumber and turn it into a sliding door. While waiting for my friend to show up for duty, I walked to the edge of a hayfield and just watched it moving in the wind.

I don't think I've ever written about the replacement camera from when I lost the Sony. Somewhere in the middle of February I picked up a Canon 20D with standard lens.

It's changed the way I've taken photos a little. Foremost, it's more conspicuous. Which usually is not beneficial, but in some cases, folks assume you are doing it for a purpose and seem less bothered.

I'm just now getting comfortable with it—using manual settings more than the standard "P" (automatic) mode.

So as I sat there surrounded by hay, squinting in the viewfinder through the lens, it felt pretty good. Maybe the breeze lifted some of the heaviness that's been stickin' round. Of course, if it's humid as all get-out tomorrow, all bets are off.

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June 13, 2005

Livening up the place

Fresh flowers

Been in a wee bit of a funk of late—worrying about friends both real and virtual, family, work and whatnot.

Bored or overwhelmed with the internet, the television, the current crop of movies in theaters that don't seem to be much of an escape.

The unsettling political climate.

Uncertainty.

Pervasive struggle.

Nothing unusual, really. I'll get past this.

A good start was buying some flowers on Sunday. Another good step was to begin the process of moving stuff from the studio that's been sitting around to proper storage. Throwing out boxes I really don't need. Dusting the tops of tall things. Making food. Eating it.

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June 06, 2005

Accepting change

The evolution of Fast Food logos

I bitched about the new White Castle logo a couple years ago. Today I was driving home, saw an old Taco Bell sign and was transported back to a happier time—when evolution wasn't so far out there.

How I miss the crisp gridded balance of yore. The warm tones are fading. Browns replaced by blues. Type now looking like it would be at home amidst fluorescent splatter from the 80’s.

*big inhale* Okay, fine. I can deal with all this change. I am resilient. I am hopeful.

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May 03, 2005

Having a blast

with powder actuated tools

I spent the past few days framing walls for a darkroom. It was more fun than building a website.

It'll last longer too.

Don't get me wrong, I still love building websites, but learning something new and totally different is invigorating.

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April 26, 2005

Mental pictures

Stringing thoughts together

This mobile tower rose stark in contrast against a field of blue sky today. While framing the shot an airplane flew across the viewfinder and I shuttered.

Reminded of 9/11, I gave pause.

The reflection evolved into a string of thoughts about visual "signatures" or some other word I can't pinpoint. (postnote: someone mentioned "eyeworm" and I thought it was right on)

One of the first things I worked on after college was a CD-ROM for Bartlett's Quotations. An ambitious effort before technology was mature enough to let the project flourish, there was an interesting facet where different media was integrated into a timeline.

There was a movie clip of a white Bronco speeding down the freeway with the jitter of a helicopter's perspective. A sound sample of Scott Joplin’s "The Entertainer." Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. I'm not sure how effective those examples were, but it's something curious indeed I'd like to explore someday.

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March 16, 2005

Roots

A pet chihuahua has adopted a baby chick in China ( link )

Cropping up into the periphery of conversation of late has been this theme of roots—whether it be music, family or environment.

The thing I'm trying to get my thoughts around is a natural level of comfort.

Living in an urban setting often leaves me with this fish-out-of-water feeling, even though I am a stones throw away from the rural area where I grew up.

So here I am, a renter, in a city—and not just any city but one that's been deemed conservative.

My pat response to someone that says they used to live in Cincinnati is, "Oh... you escaped..."

The bright lights and assumed bevy of action afforded by a larger blot on a map sometimes leaves me curious about the path I'm ambling down. The net really seems to close some of the gaps though, and I wonder if I've some responsibility to dig my heels in and encourage change in some small way.

Then there's the allure of heading far to the periphery and escape the cacophony of urban noise: be it visual, cultural or just all the damn sirens.

So I wonder... Do we invariably end up in an environment that mirrors our youth (given there was a good home)? Will Cincinnati ever be a destination city? And how will the chihuahua deal with the chick when it's a full grown hen?

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March 15, 2005

Baby steps

Underneath the kitchen sink

Some days it's hard to come up with anything to write.
Other days, there's just too much.

I'll get around to writing it all down.

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January 18, 2005

A slight realization*

Prismacolors aren't good on typing paper

I was getting ready for a post-holiday company party (not mine) on Saturday night. I stood in the mirror thinking it would be appropriate to lose the hat.

I couldn't. It is a part of what makes me feel comfortable, for now.

But in the mirror, something dawned on me. Much like when we realize our teachers are human — they do indeed eat lunch, and take shits; or the point in time when we realize our parents are human — adults who feel and are susceptible to pain...

In that brief slice of self-gazing, I realized I was an adult.

You'd think this would have happened before thirty-three, but no—I've somehow always thought of myself as a kid, looking up.

But the face looking back at me was decidedly mature. Eyes peering over glasses, I wondered for a moment and filed it away with the notion that I still have to work on some things. I'll eat lunch, shit and from time to time, be susceptible to pain.

Another parting thought was, do responsibilities need to shift with this realization.

*not a heavy realization, but more comforting than it comes across in this entry.

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January 06, 2005

The year we lightened up

Yeah, like that

Dan pointed out a link to this fansite for the sadly defunct Pacific Southwest Airlines today, and I was fascinated. I want to live in that era.

No, scratch that. I want this era to LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP.

I'm beat with government and faith based agencies trying to determine what is decent.

What a shitty time we live in right now—scared stupid with fines and laws.

I'm ready for the backlash.

It doesn't have to be all retro with free love and wild orgies in the streets—those can be in private homes. But as for feeling sexy and flaunting it, bring it on.

And while we're at it, I think we're ready to loosen the ideals of traditional beauty all around. It's been brewing. We don't need an edict to make it official. I don't mind if the stewardess flight attendant is packing a few extra Twix bars in the trunk. As long as they are happy with who they are and society is happy for them, then I'm happy.

The future is supposed to be sexy, I saw it on TV back in the day. We're supposed to have new shiny fabrics that cling to us and floating cars. To quote Jim, "Listerine Strips and Wi-Fi are the only things that make me "Feel" like I'm living in the 21st Century." So for 2005, I say we sex it up a bit. Fun boots for everyone. And big "I'm happy to be alive" smiles.

Floating cars can come later.

While on the topic of air travel, bring back the frickin’ peanuts. Those with allergies can have their pretzels as an option.

I'm all about options.

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November 29, 2004

Haircut confessions

"I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special."
Shelby (of drink your juice Shelby, fame)

I'm not big on getting haircuts of late. No real reason, other than I'm lazy and I frankly don't spend too much time thinking about my hair. So I wear baseball caps.

Lately though, the hats need a notch loosened.

I love my barber—haven't cheated on her for over 8 years unless I was outta the country or state.

There was no waiting today and she greeted me with a hug in her small old fashioned shop over in Kentucky. She always grills me, "Why do you hide behind all that hair? You're a handsome guy." Today she pressed on, "What is it about yourself you don't like?" and I take her ribbin kindly, searching for the bits of truth.

I told her it's no different than someone disguising themselves with style. I just happen to look more intently, outward.

When talk turned of Thanksgiving, she put the scissors down with a hand on her hip and said we shouldn't talk about it.

She presses me so I press back. Turns out, she lost her mom, dad and aunt all within the span of 6 months this year. I didn't know. Here I sat in the chair getting ready for a funeral to attend not months ago (during my last haircut) and she was solid as a rock, giving me the extra talc and rub on the shoulders as we finished up.

Turns out she couldn't stop sobbing this past holiday, couldn't make it out of the house to her sister's... All the makeup would just stream off as soon as she tried to put it on—and this is a strong woman. She doesn't tolerate misbehavin' kids or tears that have no reason.

I told her women live longer 'cause they cry. It's something we gotta do from time to time, she'd just bottled it up too long.

She scoffed at that notion and started taming the mop on my head.

There was lots more dialogue, and don't get me wrong, it wasn't a sad scene at all. There's always a little bit of catharsis every time I sit in that barber chair. I should be more regular with haircuts.

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November 23, 2004

Catch-up

Clever packaging

I keep catching my breath, thinking that I can hear my heart beat out of my chest, but it's actually the thump thump music from the bar down the way. My thinly paned windows cannot muffle the sound.

These, the windows I will loathe as the bitter cold settles.

I've all these photos from the past week or so, or maybe as far back as the week before, that I haven't posted. I'm not sure anymore. Various levels of production completed: selection, cropping, optimization...

These, the daily bits, while trips reaching back to LAST Thanksgiving linger uncaptioned in virtual limbo.

Taking pictures is easy.
Writing is more complicated.

So I'm playing catch up. Swirling around behind all the things that need checked off, the holidays loom and I see myself getting older. Thinking about stuff, the year, etc. I ponder what next year will bring—and how I'd like to influence situations in a positive manner.

I recently read 10 Things That I Have Learned online and even though it applies to my profession, I started to think of the universal bits embedded. Like quotes or All I really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, ideas whittled to bite-sized chunks that make me nod and silently amen to an extent.

These, the notions that sound really good, but never really stick in practice—and I'm not about to put up an inspirational poster on my wall for reminders.

So through things I sort and sift, wondering if I should get that tattoo of string around my finger to remind me of something I don't know yet.

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November 17, 2004

The gospel of Mary Tyler Moore

From a Newsweek clipping on my fridge

Quotes are like horoscopes. You twist them into truths if they suit you.

I was thinking about quotes a while back and decided to research some of my favorites. So I googled and collected, pulling what I liked out of generally noisy pages. Now I have a framework for saving the ones I like. By no means exhaustive, here they are. I tend to go for comedians.

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September 17, 2004

Soaking in it

I kept the camera dry

I sat in the tub while the shower hit me. Just like Glenn Close in The Big Chill.

I didn't sob like she did though, but I was filled with an immense sadness.

There's no better place to get caught in this mind funk, as it just somehow washes away and I can dry myself off, put my pants on, and go about the day.

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August 31, 2004

Reflection

I caught myself.

It was in the evening as I locked the door. There I was looking back at me.

Everything seems to undulate between blurry and snapping into focus.

A new chapter to life begins with a few blank pages for notes. I've all these thoughts, but I'm certain of one thing, I can't capture them.

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August 28, 2004

Salt

Bedside table discussion

I forget where I heard this, but it's stuck with me ever since... I think it was an interviewing tip.

When you have a meal with someone, observe when they season their food. If they immediately put salt on their vittles before tasting, they might be the type that jumps into something without thinking.

The alternate lesson here, not all hospital food is bland.

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August 25, 2004

Moonflower

The palest ink is better than the best memory.
Chinese Proverb

Spent the day with my brother, the evening with my mom, and staying the night at my sisters.

We're going through old photos.

Either cameras got a lot better, photos don't age well, or a combination of the two. Regardless, there's been a lot of laughter and jabs about haircuts and outfits. Stories crop up about events and vacations.

Makes me kinda happy that I'm trying to capture the day to day.

Sure the punctuating themes of holidays and graduations are lovely to bask in years later, but I'm just as drawn to what is happening in the backgrounds behind the people. I like the random days.

The in-between.

There are stories everywhere.

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August 13, 2004

This is something that happens

I made some horrible comment to my brother today about Dad—some careless, bitter remark, veiled in poor humor. And in some ways I wonder if I let some opinion escape.

Dad's not strong anymore.

Perhaps I'm refusing to accept that he needs continuous care, just as he refuses to ask for it.

Always, with our stubborn pride.

Wondering if fate is etched into our hands, something we do to ourselves, or merely supposed.

This is something that happens.

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August 07, 2004

>>

Fast forward to the good stuff.

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July 28, 2004

I'm keeping the Aeron

The parade of Herman Miller chairs

Real quick here, as there aren't enough hours in the day.

My mom and brother were busy at the studio earlier this week, and man, what progress they've made.

((( Thanks )))

We're breaking everything down and getting TONS of things taken to the curb for trash, and organizing the rest into piles of: eBay, yard sale, take home, store, and give away.

It's amazing how much stuff an office can accrue over a period of 8 years.

I'm not sad to see the space go, as it was just not being used, and the notion of being free of it lightens both overhead and feelings of guilt.

I will admit some melancholy looking at these empty chairs lined up. Reminds me of the four tall firs we had out in front of my house growing up. We created family history around them, saying they represented myself and siblings. True to lore, when my sister married and left the roost, one fell.

Next week: The dreaded backroom– filled with boxes of papers and other stuff we'd hidden from plain sight.

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June 04, 2004

Whatif

If only my life were as tidy as the nightstand

Click to read the WHATIF poemHi insomnia.

Okay, so maybe I'm in another time-zone and refuse to adjust. Perhaps that nap after work was not the best of notions. I'll admit skimping on dinner wasn't a good idear.

Nonetheless, it's approaching 4am and the thoughts they are a flying. I'm reminded of a poem by Shel Silverstein, "WHATIF"...

I'm both scared and excited at these hours — on lots of levels, from the country to my bed.

I suppose that's a hemhawed way to say: I'd really like to focus on my own problems, but man, why does everything have to be so fucked up?

I'm going through mail at work today and there's an OPT OUT letter from our insurance company for terrorism coverage. This makes those frickin spams for penis enhancements look as innocent as a kid selling ribbons for Gilda's Club from door to door.

Instead of letting all this fester, I've made a really boring to-do list:

PERSONAL
- Post Office : Mail off bills, pile of packages and fill out a change of address form
- Screen Printing : Clean up designs
- Get : tent out of storage
- Prep : files for Cafe Press
- Pick up : mountain bike from shop
- Deposit : refund
- Visit : barber
- Do : laundry
- Fix : Antique table lamp
- Establish : Consortium
- Schedule : Eye appointment
- Call : up the numbnuts at VW to fix my car right this time
- Organize : Benihana lunch
- Bale : hay on Saturday
- See : Harry Potter with mom
- Learn : how to sew

WORK
- Post Office : Mail off bills, pile of packages and fill out a change of address form
- Bank : Get signed form for online bill paying
- Work : Tag videos for production, invoice invoice invoice, followup on outstanding projects
- Deliver : Concepts for community presentation
- Update : Coalition site
- Email : Write back everything flagged in my inbox
- Move : big pieces of furniture from studio
- Purge : Prepare books and CDs for sale (ebay, amazon, half.com)

Oh, I'm sure I forgot a few things.

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May 20, 2004

I need to look through my phone book

So I was heading out of my apartment the other night and I got a ring on my phone. I didn't recognize the area code, but I figured, what the hell. I'm not big on screening calls anyway. Either I:

... have no idea where my phone is,
... am asleep.
... forgot to charge it.,
or
I answer it.

Sure there are exceptions. The times I just stare at the digits, or hear the ring and decid, I'm doing this person a favor by not talking.
It's that simple.

Luckily I managed to get this one in the moment.

It was my friend from Chicago and she started off the conversation by saying.

Heeeeeeeeeeey. I caught you! Is now an okay time to talk?

I agree wholeheartedly and she goes on, "I was just going through my phone book and decided to call someone I miss."

I let out a big Awwwwwwwwww, and we traded back and forth a couple "I love you" "No I love you!" x 3. Almost, but not quite, schmoopy. And it's so wonderful how easy it rolls off the tongue in that instance. How I don't even hesitate or question it.

This intense pleasure of just knowing each other and the good vibes we get on the rare occasion we are together. We talk briefly somehow managing to determine what it's all about.

Getting with friends, sharing good food and wine, and conversation. Cohabiting the energy that comes with proximity. The security that the world isn't all shit. There just ain't much better than it.

We resolve that we will get together before too long seeing that we're only five hours away from each other. So much nicer than when she and her husband lived on the left coast, or the right coast.

In reflection, I think back on the conversation I had years ago with another dear friend, asking about love. And if I'd ever loved before. And how I blurted out, Lord yes. Many times. I wrote about it before, I just like to remind myself. And I still love each and every one of those people.

It's not something that dies.

The rush I got from that simple phone call proves it.

I feel like a baton's been passed in some way.

I need to look through my phone book.

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April 21, 2004

Drip drip drop

Little April Showers

Hot off the heels of travel, I went over to the other side of town today for my father's treatment. A four hour process of hearing the machine pump "therapy" through his veins. He's holding up rather well, though tired and nauseous most of the time. But he's more agile now, almost able to figure out the seat-belts in my car with his left hand.

We shared some small talk between his napping in the recliner. Other patients had TVs, but I at least had a good book to chew.

As my pops dozed, I noticed, mainly because I take so many self-photos of late, that we have the same nose. Er, my nose takes after his. I also realized that ,as he loses weight, we're of similar builds.

I snuck out and got him a double cheeseburger and was happy to see he had an appetite for it.

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April 14, 2004

Wet feet

Columbus, OH

I sat at the eatery across the street from the hotel, scanning the menu, hoping for some new addition that wreaked of something other than freezers or cans. No avail.

It's been raining for the past four days it seems.

The puddles, so deep, I've realized my shoes are failing. Gaps in the rubber soul sole have separated, allowing the chilly wetness to seep in, soaking my socks.

It's gusty tonight, and in an empty city, there's a hint of Something Wicked This Way Comes — though there are no weather vanes to cement the notion.

I bought these short hikers over ten years ago, while attending the university in this very town.

I take good care of stuff, I think, and they could serve some other purpose, albeit without the rain.

I hate letting things go.

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March 16, 2004

The tracks of my arms

G.E. - Imagination at work

The technician asked me which arm I wanted the IV placed in. Oh, use the left I said, make the bruises symmetrical.

After a couple beats, he got it and laughed.

An amicable bunch, I got my CT-scan without much fanfare at the University hospital after winding my way through the bowels of the building with endless corridors.

Folks sleeping in the hallways on gurneys.

Others shuffling around with oxygen tanks.

Construction workers pulling wires from drop ceilings.

Man, this place is dilapidated. Everything so run down. Doors propped open of electrical rooms straight out of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

I was glad to leave.

Considering the day, taking my dad to radiation (and having to leave early 'cause the machine was broken), facing my own medical issues, I drove home mildly ok with it all.

Just reminders to live better.

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March 12, 2004

Oh, was that awe?

...

The radio off, I drove home tonight and found myself thinking really big thoughts, mouth agape, watching the sky change. The ideas didn't come out, there was no articulation.

Suffering from some type of conversational paralysis, finding myself a bore to chat with, I wanted to keep driving toward the setting sun.

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March 10, 2004

Prick

I gave at the office

I'm trying not to be a big buzzkill, but hey, it's a journal, and I feel inclined to write things as they are. It's not as bad as it seems, but I'm finding it a bit more challenging to keep a sunny disposition when recording the events for this period of life.

My goals for this... thing... it's not technically a "blog" (web + log) of all the neat sites I go to, or news tidbits I find... It's a journal, where I record daily musings and reflect on life and the events around me.

My only true aim, is to be consistent: and that means writing when I don't want to, taking photos when there is no inspiration, capturing the moment when all I want to do is forget. I think this'll be valuable for me one day.

Heck it already allows me to avoid patterns before they become a problem. For that matter, it helps me to identify problems.

I'm glad for it.

--

Today I picked up my dad. Taking off the ballcap he told me to check out his haircut. The radiation made clumps fall out, he was shedding worse than a long-haired cat so he's sporting the shaved look, so popular with the kids these days.

My pops often wears a hat, (like father, like son) - so it didn't bother me none. The inked crossbars now revealed behind his temples where they aim the treatment ray gun are a bit disconcerting.

My sister came with for his ct-scan - something he was fretting about (another quality we share.) He was out in minutes and we'll get results later. Fingers crossed.

Afterward, I had to rush off for my own, long overdue appointment with an oncologist. Initial blood work revealed that my counts were the same as last time - stable enough to forego any treatment... almost 8 years I've been able to avoid it. I scheduled a few ct-scans (grrr, couldn't they do it all at once?) and follow-up for more blood work next week. I feel pretty good things will be okay.

I felt like I had checked off something heavy on my list.

The evening was spent sharing wine and great food with friends. We've decided to start a supper club, beginning next month to ensure we spend more time together. Because heck, when it comes down to it, friends mean that much.

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March 02, 2004

Moving

I tend to like all my boxes to match, but I am pleased that they are at least manageable, easy-to-carry sizes.

Spent the weekend packing.

I have more chapstick than a checkout aisle at the supermarket.
I have matchbooks galore, and the tea lights to go with them.

Every room had at least one pair of sunglasses.

I have love notes from elementary school.
Books I will never read.
Books I have read and will never reference.

I have a whole laundry basket of socks with no mate.
I have plaid shirts.
Lots of them.

I have 6 rolls of craft paper.
I have more bowls than a headshop.
Silverware still in the box.

I have all this lotion, but my hands are always cracked.

Remotes to VCRs long gone.

What I want to keep, or sort through later, was packed in these boxes.

Everything else went to family or the curb.

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February 21, 2004

Patterns

Looking down out of Denver

The whirlwind trip for work ended with return flights in the opposite direction. With my renewed interest in taking the window seat whenever possible, I managed to take a moment from the awe-inspiring patterns of the view and get this picture. The transition from the finger-like ends of the mountain range to the gridded fields of the plains was amazing.

I tried to think that there was some fantastic order to things that we don't get to see enough.

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February 09, 2004

Fortune

Who needs quizzes? It's the Miracle Fish

I am jealous indifference, in love.

I am so glad I don't have to figure myself, but can rely on this fish when in doubt.

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February 06, 2004

Let's get small

Surveillance photo

I got stuck on the Bloggies Award site the other day.

The sheer amount of folks that are self-publishing on the web is beginning to astound me.

It's much too much for my small head to think about this very moment.

It is Friday, and a beer never sounded so good.

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January 08, 2004

Conversing

Sweep sweep sweep

I so wanna work at a parking garage sometime, collect money, sweep the stairwells, and read my paperback in the lulls.

The long and often lulls...

...with a comfy stool to sit on...and a mouse that comes to visit that you feed crumbs.

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December 23, 2003

This party in my head needs eggnog

Hmmm, my neck needs shaved

Sometimes, it's so easy to examine others, their lives, work, family, relationships... It's so easy to look and see what appears to be the natural solutions or actions they should take to get over humps.

It's split second, almost, in plain sight.

I recently was thinking of a friend and their mindset. I had a mental conversation wherein I said to them, "Stop being sorry. You deserve to be happy. There's no need to be apologetic."

Simple, swift and apparent, it resonated and lingered.

Then I realized, I should be talking to myself.

Then I realized, I was.

I'm making kicky eggnog this year.

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December 17, 2003

Hairline documentation 2003

I didn't have the gumption to slick it back for proper measurment

I could quote Rush, but I won't.

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December 11, 2003

Gray day

Along the route between Columbus and Cincinnati

The sky was dull like weathered clapboard on a farmhouse. This is the part of the year I used to dread the most, the gray skies.

I don't seem to notice them as much anymore. It's like I'm on some anti-depressant that spaces me out. My eyes gaze toward an unknown horizon and I ponder. I can't attribute this to pharmaceuticals though.

Seems like there are many things to keep me occupied. All the travel from work and fun makes evenings at home all the better. I relish spare time.

*Shrug* I dunno. Maybe I am reaching.

Some days, there just isn't much to report.

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