July 21st, 2004


a bright miscellany

I feel the need to communicate with the world, however briefly. In ninety minutes I will be in the dentist's chair, staring blurrily at the ceiling while the bearded man chastises me for not having my temporary crown replaced and then jams things in my mouth, after which I'll part with my soul another fistful of dollars from the thousands he'll one day have from me. Yay!

My cold is over, my stomach bug is over. I await the flood tide of happiness.

Somewhere recently I came--recame?--across a quote I'd seen before from some writer, about how describing sunsets is one of a poet's most banal skills. But I like to write and read those descriptions, so I don't care. The other night I was at the stoplight just before Pine runs downhill past the Egyptian Theater. The sun was at a low point, throwing long shadows, and had turned the theater facade gold, a Maxfield Parrish kind of lemony gold wherever it hit the white stone, or maybe plaster, curlicues--a decorative sort of marzipan whatever it is; and just below this it gilded the faces of one or two trees, and just above was a periwinkle sky. You always get great views on a slice of street, between building tops.

I went on the Seattle underground tour yesterday, which wasn't quite as I expected. I thought it would be like a ghost town below the streets. It's really just some boards and basements. The history from the tour guide was very interesting though--clearly that's what justifies the ten-dollar ticket.

Also very interesting is an article I recently read about e-mail. (I'm trying to find connective tissue between these paragraphical thoughts, to make the segue smoother, but hmm, no. Anyway.) It's in Salon, but should be accessible without much trouble to anyone who wants to read it. It talks about the inbox as a habitat, e-mail user types, and what gmail is really delivering in terms of a new e-mail paradigm--a switch from a folder-centric design to a search-engine-centric design. It also talks about e-mail bankruptcy: how common it is to build up a backlog of hundreds or thousands of unanswered messages that constantly gnaw at you, and how one guy, at least, decided to sweep the decks and just start fresh. I think I have to do that. I mean, I have to face it--I'm never going to have the time to answer all those e-mails I have sitting in my old inbox, or my "reply-to" folder. A handful of them had actual questions; most were feedback of some kind or another. So if you wrote me feedback anytime in the last three years, I thank you. I read every e-mail I get and it does mean a lot--it's hard to flower in a vacuum. I'll try to do better going forward, but I'm really not going to promise anything. I'd like to set expectations in that area very low.

Looking back through my recent posts, I see that I was going to write about some dreams I've been having about my mother, but on reflection, I don't have much to say about that. Unrelatedly, I think "whom" is a stupid word and we should all just move on and accept the fact that "who" is the vernacular, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Things that have made me ridiculously happy lately that I recommend to everyone: Bill Bryson, especially A Walk in the Woods; caprese salad; Monk; the song "Vivi Davvero" by Giorgia; and Mozilla--no pop-ups!

I'm still working on my second Spander Inquisition story and am about halfway through; it's also pleasing me. I went with a story I'd had in my head for about a year or so but never would have written on my own, partly because it was just one of many, and partly because it really wants to sprawl at much greater length than I'm ever going to write. But I'm going to try and do the concept justice. I did have a goal of writing two noir stories this summer; I rather doubt that will happen, but you never know.

This weekend I think I'm going to drive around the Olympic Peninsula. Wish me good weather. :)


I sing the body electric, la la la. When I weighed myself at the gym today I discovered I'm officially at the lowest weight I've been in five years--one pound lighter than the lowest weight I reached when trying to get in shape two years ago. I'm going to mellow out tonight in celebration.

Also, for some reason just now I went back and looked at my first Sentinel story, the ridiculously named "Dystocia," and was surprised to find how much I liked it, elaborate language and all. I wrote it in one of my perverse moods--not so much perverse-kinky, though it's that too, but perverse in the sense of bucking a trend, in this case domestic discipline. This, and another much later Sentinel story, are rare examples of stories inspired on wings of irritation by people who ranted with deep self-righteousness about the EVILLLLLS of the domestic discipline genre. Basically, they were right--certainly every story I've read of that kind is quite creepy--but they were insufferable in their rightness, and the broader scope of their argument was something I always hate: judgment and dismissal of an entire genre, of an idea, instead of simply the poor writing. So I had to try and write it more or less well, not so much as a rebutting creed in fictional form as a challenge to myself. This first story pretty much missed the boat; the other attempt, "Strains May Float" (I just really suck at titles), got closer to my thematic goal of non-sexualized discipline, but...well. It was absurdly misguided in so many ways, I lose count, including my choice of episode script on which to base the thing. The odd thing was I poured tons of contextual research into that story--I spent dozens and dozens of hours looking up minute details about police procedure and equipment, for one. Sometimes I wonder at myself.

This post is composed of one hundred percent tangent.