Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I Like Pot(s)

If you make pots for a living, it’s a statistical certainty that your personality will fall under the “quirky” category. The potter that teaches my class definitely matches this description. He’s a stocky man with a thick, scraggly beard, a severe stutter, and a tendency to over explain things. But he’s amazing at what he does. He pulls the clay into beautiful shapes with deceptive ease. As the pot spins around, small alterations in his hand positions produce stunning results. When I attempt the same, terrible, terrible things happen.

Yes, my pots are utter crap, but I have only had two lessons. Beginner’s handicap. Once I figure out how to keep all my cylinders from turning into wide, saggy bowls, I’m set.

My classmates consist of a coworker, a couple of mom-types, and a fat, tattooed biker. They’re all pleasant, unassuming folk. It’s turning out to be an excellent choice for a post-college-personal-enrichment activity. Spinning pots is messy, squishy fun. The brownish clay-water that dribbles out of my cupped hands looks like a chocolate smoothie. After each lesson my forearms, shirt, and pants are plastered with dried clay. It feels good to get dirty.

Maybe next I’ll try mud wrestling.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Why Not

I saw this on Kim's Notebook and curiosity made me try it:

1. Delve into your blog archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

And here's my sentence:
"I can't remember the last time I've had fries so good I'd kill for them."

As true today as it was whenever it was that I wrote it.

The End.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Wake Up, It's 1969

Does anyone else feel that NASA needs a spanking? If I was an angry, abusive father, and NASA was my naughty little boy, I’d whoop him good. Going back to the moon is cool and all, but why is it going to take us another 13 years? Sure, we’re going to throw in a few more tricks the second time around. We’ll stay there longer, have newer, spiffier toys, prep ourselves for Mars and whatnot. But THIRTEEN YEARS? More than a decade to prepare for what we already did over thirty years ago.

My parents saw the first moon landing when they were 21. I’ll be 38 before I get to see one. Something seems wrong here. For one thing, Disneyland has been lying to us for years. Where is our space age future? The kind where rockets to the moon are as common as subway trains. Where are all the robot butlers and Astro Cola? Where are our shiny silver leotards?

I blame the Russians. They go and ditch communism, try on a spotty version of democracy, and lose their superpower status. Now they’re a neutered, defanged version of what they once were. They don’t scare us, and consequently, we don’t feel like we have to beat them at everything. With the Russians off our backs, we forget all about the moon.

I can imagine what people thought, staring up at Armstrong taking those first steps. I’m sure many imagined that by the year 2018, they could purchase a summer home on Venus, or go for a Sunday drive along the rings of Saturn. Well, sorry, people of 1969, you were horribly mistaken. 50 years later, it'll just be the moon again. That's right -- a bright, shining future of summer reruns.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Chats about Death

"This next song is about death, and how it doesn't really exist, and how we're all going to live forever."
--Rufus Wainwright, opening for a Tori Amos concert, 2002


Our conversation this weekend went something like this:

Jeremy: "Are we still on for Saturday?"
Sheri: "Well, it depends."
Jeremy: "Depends on what?"
Sheri: "On whether or not my grandmother dies."
Jeremy: "She's dying?"
Sheri: "For some time now. My grandfather is getting restless. He wants her to just get on with it."
Jeremy: "That's terrible."
Sheri: "I know. It could really mess up our plans."

Her grandmother did die, and it did mess up our plans. We changed the party location from her family cabin to a cramped basement, up in the hills. She got there late, driving back from southern Utah where she had spoken at the funeral. She said she tried to tell jokes to break the tension, but everyone kept bawling...

Jeremy: "Like you were standing up there drowning puppies?"
Sheri: "Yeah, like that."

Flash forward to later that night. It's after 1 a.m. and a few of us hang around and bring out the guitars. New Guy, a janitor/musician, plays a song he wrote about his uncle. He's doing the soundtrack for a Sundance entry and is really into experimental stuff. When he sings into the thunder tube, high-pitched and slightly off, I kind of want to laugh. But the rest of the song is heart-felt, and sad. He makes it sad. His 72-year-old uncle, who had never spoken a word of English to him, was shot down by the police.

New Guy: "He had a way of communicating with me that didn't require we use the same language."

and later...

"...there was a trail of blood, all the way up the stairs. He was an old man. How can he look threatening?" New Guy is wiping his eyes.

Two conversations about death on the same day, but only one of them gets to me. So far, Death and I, we've kept our distance. He doesn't get in my way, I don't get in his. So I wonder, next time we encounter each other, could I still make jokes? Or should I be spending more time practicing my guitar...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

From the Bowels of the Internet

Not too long ago I hooked this blog up with some code from the wonderful people at StatCounter. This gives me information on who visits the blog, where they visit from, accurately counts the number of visitors, etc. It has become my joy, of late, to check on the google searches people use to find this blog. Yes, sometimes the blog is listed on page 128 or so of these searches, but people find it nonetheless. Who searches 100 pages of google results anyway? Well, crazy people do. And lots of crazy people stumble upon this blog. Here are some of my favorite searches:

"illegal turtles from chinatown" -- If there's one thing I hate about Chinatown, it's all those freakin' turtles.

"naked gathering photos" -- Can't say I've posted any of these, but if you're interested....

"i put the grrr in" -- Thanks a lot, Grace. You've led them to me!

"my parakeet squeaks" -- I'm sorry to hear that. Have you thought about having it killed?

"i luv jeremy" -- As do I. Will you be my internet girlfriend?

"mormon pornstar" -- Really, I'm flattered.

"brittany spear's wedding dress" -- Okay, let's make one thing clear: I have never once mentioned Brittany Spears on this blog, nor do I ever plan to. Where is this coming from?!

"fleshy entrails" -- My god! What are you looking for man? Whatever it is, I don't have it!

"nipples on pornstars" -- To save you the trouble of further inquiries: Yes, pornstars have nipples.

"meth vomit blood" -- Okay, I brought that one upon myself.

"Peta and snickers" -- The Ethical Treatment of Animals and a delicious, nougaty snack. There's a combination everyone can enjoy.

How I love it all! The more deranged people of the internet find my blog, the happier I am. To encourage more of these searches, here are some suggestive keywords:


That should keep 'em busy.

This Ain't Sarcasm

I've been listening to the judicial confirmation hearings all day long, for two days straight. Not because I have a particularly strong interest in politics or the confirmation process itself, or some kind of perverted need to hear the drawl of long-winded senators. The reason is simple: it has increased my productivity. Ever since I tuned in, I have been finishing projects in record time. I listen to senators postulate endlessly, to Judge Roberts' brief, jargonistic replies, and I find myself designing my pages faster. As they all blather on, I'm arranging text and graphics more efficiently.

I can't explain it. It doesn't make sense to me. But who am I to argue with progress? By all means, senators, perpetuate the discourses and diatribes. I'll keep listening, and getting more done.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

How About This

I think there should be some kind of cubicle exercise chair. (Note to inventors: start inventing.) It could be as simple as a regular chair with pedals attached. Or maybe I could just mount an office chair and desk onto an exercise bike. I could even rig it so peddling would power the computer. That'd keep me motivated.

Here's my Photoshopped prototype:

We Have Walls

My fingers are crammed into a wedge of rock. My fat boots are only partially lodged in a shallow crevice. Already I can feel my weight tugging me from the wall. I hastily scan the too-smooth surface for a better grip. My thoughts are this: Spiderman is a fraud. First of all, even if he does have some kind of magic ability to stick to walls, surely the weight of his body would rip his skin off. Yet he still manages to stick to sheer objects like lint on velvet, making the whole ordeal look ludicrously easy. Then again, unlike me, he doesn't make a habit of climbing rock walls with gigantic hiking boots. Score one for Spiderman.

Twice more up the wall, a couple of bloodied knees later, I finally get wise. This time I go barefoot, my toes reaching into small cracks and lifting me with ease up to higher, smoother areas. I almost feel like I can shed the harness. Almost. The lack of boots cuts my climbing time in half. I slap my hands on the top of the wall with satisfaction. Then I propel back down, slowly, preferring to keep skinned feet from slamming on sharp rock.

I've decided I like rock climbing. Even the heights-thing. Even the total-body soreness afterwards. Really, any intense activity outside a cubicle is welcomed.

All around my building, the walls are going up. The warehouse below me is being doubled in size. We hear drilling and banging and screeching metal. Every day at exactly 3:30 p.m., I take a walk with some coworkers. We circle the block, stopping to admire the new calves behind a neighbor's wooden gate. We collect wormy apples from the ground to feed the horses. The area is a strange mixture of rural and industrial. There are concrete office buildings within view of a duck pond. We pull fresh plums from a stumpy tree half a block from construction cranes.

Then, at the end of every walk, we stop to watch the walls. Some days they are pouring them, other days lifting them. All the cement reminds me of the half-finished complexes dotting suburban Dakar. Those walls looked like the gray, flaky ribs of something prehistoric and complicated. These walls are simple, plain, lacking flair.

I find myself wanting to climb them, to discover the cracks on their sheer surface. I want to see something exciting somewhere in this scene of expanding workspace. We have new walls, but nothing new.