You are my staff.
You are my staff of green bamboo.
I made you, and that is the truth.

I fed you when we were young, gave you to drink of love and sunshine, of blood and tears. I watered you with the sweat of my brow and the shattered pieces of my heart. We grew together from a distant place.

I found you on the sidewalk.

I cut you carefully from your splintered roots and carried you in my hand, your greenness whispering to me quietly the songs we sang so long ago.

I forged and sharpened the twin caps of metal on your ends, giving you your deadly points. I wrapped soft black cord tightly around your middle, forming your grip. I balanced and weighted you with the white sand of the desert. I polished you to shine and reflect the moon.

I stripped the deadness from about you and twirled you idly, a plaything.

You are my staff, my mind, me. You are the bridge that none may pass. You are my staff that none may take. Mine. Always. You are the truth.

Stealing the song from the wind, you blur in my fingers, a picture of completion. You are the staff. I am the staff. We are the new creation.

Cool in my hand, you are my staff of green bamboo that none shall take.

And that is the truth.

So now it's been long enough that I can deal with all of your stuff, and all of my stuff that you've given me over the past three years. But it's not so long that I've forgotten what it was all about, what we were doing when I heard the songs you put on the mix tapes, the sun in your hair when you picked the cherry blossoms for me and covered my face with them while I slept. I still have one, pressed between the pages of the little cork book you gave me. But now I have to find places for these things. I have four boxes in my room: Things to Keep Visible; Things to Keep on Hand; Things to Keep Hidden; and Things Not to Keep. Here's the breakdown:

Things to Keep Visible:

Things to Keep on Hand:

Things to Keep Hidden:

Things Not to Keep:

Somehow, I feel better. Somehow, nothing seems to have changed. I'm glad we haven't spoken. It's easier this way.

It was a strange day yesterday. I had a sense of dislocation and disconnection, as if something in my head had gone out of kilter. I forgot things all day - just couldn't keep anything in my mind. It was my sister's birthday, and I remembered in the morning to ring her, but decided to wait until I was sure she'd be awake. Then I remembered later, but put it off again for no good reason. Eventually my mother rang me in the evening to remind me. When I did actually call her to wish happy birthday, I was so brain dead on the phone that I had to apologise and go after five minutes of mutely listening to her talk about our family. Even now I can barely remember what she was on about.

On Sunday we went to Powerscourt Gardens and wandered around places I haven't visited in years - I still remember every inch of the place. I brought them to the private graveyard over the wall, a place I discovered when I was exploring on my own one day, when I was in a strange and exotic mood.

A Ghost's Journey

The wind was driving the clouds insane -
terrified shreds flying off,
glowing sun-pink over the pine silhouettes
and foaming into the empty moon.

We climbed the graveyard wall and crept
between the decaying headstones,
counting the years that have gone missing:
1843. 1875. 1912. All times as one.

Through a low stone arch, many tombs
like soldiers' markers in a quiet clearing.
The last time I was here, the sun marked me
as I invited the ghosts on my journey.

One followed, out of love. Now it was stormy,
and I'd returned, and no time had passed.
A new bench beside a new stone; statues
cut into an old sepia photograph.

I touched Lindsay's breasts and smelled her hair,
feeling the energy between us. I wondered
if my ghost friend would stay or go,
if this was to be an end or another beginning.

Her mother sat smoking by the dead wife's grave
as we kissed, and the pines shook and crashed.
All time as nothing. All the death around us
had never happened - just life turning into life, forever.

We dried our tears. Entanglement. I had been bound by my own rules, however, these were also rules I shared with Candle. We both respected humanity too much to do them harm. Magic would be our new gift to a scientific world. It would be shared. The elimination of magic had almost been at hand, but now it made a comeback. It was more than the terrifying game of basketball. It was the eternal Dance of Life, a dance meant to keep everyone from getting bored and attempting suicide. We would do better next time.

I played Magic: the Gathering during lunchtime and dinner time with many people. It was like a web of life. The elven savior sat to my left with a Holy Meal. The ring-bearer spun a pair of Jeans of Chaos and sat on my right. Across were the blue human, Godmade, and the black dwarf, Mathematician. Godmade had a Ring of Marriage of his own, while Mathematician had attended Rice University with a double major in applied and theoretical mathematics. Godmade was "childless", but that could change, if he and his wife so chose. I thought of a lightbulb. It was lit, and flickering.

Dinnertime was much more chaotic for me. My world over Lake Washington Technical College was under the command of the ring-bearer's jeans. The ring-bearer grinned. The multiverse swirled around the fellowship of the ring - we were the fellowship, we were the ring. It was quite an education. Classy even.

It was to be the Order of Chaos that would produce this robot. I at first had continued to assume the role of the emerald wizard, but soon realized that I needed a pair of white scissors to cut through my own net. I shared it with all who wanted it.

Scissors of Disentanglement: a party favor, the blankest white, invisible yet visible, the escape hatch. We would find them whenever we felt entangled, the emerald wizard decided.

The blue human pouted in mock disgust. His spell had dissipated. Another blue magician had assumed command from the Order of Chaos. It would be The Source, at least for today, of creativity. We smiled. Candle could barely suppress a giggle. The ring-bearer was calm - yes, he would need this against blue someday, in our shared game. Merged. Chess. Diverged. We went on with our own private lives.

I called Candle. Twice and once at the same time. She would be the first and the last. The dancers twirled for our enjoyment. It was an art form. I exercised my body by exercising my mind. Eden had protected us both, twin rods of passion, of creation. I had followed the ring-bearer's footprints, from a "random" starting point ;)

Tears of joy.
More snow today.
We were still trying to be funny :)
Some of us geeks have been doing this for ages. We just need you to remind us how.

If You Build Your House on a Crack in the Earth, It's Your Own Fault

I felt my first earthquake last night. I've been here over a year and have not felt anything though I've been told a few had occurred. I did not even realize at first that it WAS an earthquake.

D or A, whichever of you is shaking the camper,please KNOCK IT OFF!

Our "home" shakes everytime someone rolls over, walks about, taps his foot. It shakes at every movement. Except this time the shaking went on about 20 seconds. I can't be certain. I did not time it. It was just longer than a roll over and I was trying to fall asleep.

D turns on the TV. "Mom, it was an earthquake!"

A television had to tell us that. It appears earthquakes are reported here with the same ad nauseum coverage of the minute that snow storms are covered back east.

"We're now at two and a half inches of snow, it's still falling, we expect more before this storm is done, get those shovels ready..."

It was a 4.2 quake, last I heard, though that number appeared to change as the evening wore on. Half hour into the special report, and three aftershocks later, turned TV off. It appears I have traded in hurricanes, the occasional tornado, and Nor' Easterns for a natural disaster of another kind. I had not really considered it. There but not there kind of mentality. Know thy enemy. I think we were just introduced last night.

"What did it feel like?" was the question asked of various callers.

It felt like my kid couldn't get comfortable and was restless in bed. The aftershocks felt like the teen was ticked off and slammed the door on the way out. It felt like an unruly teenager rumbling with barely contained frustration. That anger will surely let loose if not vented occasionally. This was my wakeup call. Be prepared. Time to do a little more research. Preparation is the best defense.

Today it finally sunk in that I am really leaving my job. I gave my resignation a week ago last Friday. I have talked about it with a few select people. But today when my manager announced it in our weekly meeting, it finally sank in. And I know I will really miss everyone.

I have been complaining about this job basically since I started. There have been numerous times when I have wanted to quit. I have cried at my desk more times than I like to admit. I have been forced to see that I know nothing about certain topics and know less than I thought on other topics.

My coworkers have always been so helpful. And I'm surprised to realize how much I know about them. And how much they know about me. And we have laughed quite a bit. They make up all my friends in the city, even though most of them live quite a ways away from me.

So when I think about them, I kinda feel bad about leaving. But I know that I want to try doing something different. And I want to work closer to home and find friends closer to home. And the only way to do that is to make a change.

So now the race is on for me to find another job. Hopefully with some good effort, it won't take too long. With the loonie so low, I don't know if its the best time to be looking for a job. But for me, I think its the best time for a change.

Thank goodness for e mail

This is not a good week for me, but I am strangely happy. Maybe it's because Imbolc is coming up and I'm excited at the prospect of baking goodies and having a party. :)

Reason #1 that my week sucks: I got my first rejection slip from a magazine. I submitted for the first time to a science fiction and fantasy magazine, and I got rejected, but I really did expect that and am not particularly disappointed. It turns out I haven't written much good science fiction that is short enough to fit in a magazine. The short story is a neat one called "Mother's Day," about a boy who is cloned five hundred times and is alive four hundred and three years after his mother has died. He's visiting her memorial for Mother's Day and the story is mostly about him thinking on the ride there. Cool ideas, but the ending is weak. Or maybe I'm just a crappy writer, or was when I wrote it in 1999. Anyway, I'm planning to try again.

Reason #2 that my week sucks: I might get fired for something that is completely not my fault. I've been at the same job for a little over a year and a half, and the last two times we did inventory, our inventory has come up short. The first time it wasn't that big a deal. The second time it made our store a "high risk" store and security was tightened. Now we're going to have inventory again next week. And if we come up short for a third time, none of us who work there now are going to be working there. (Most will be transfered, but not me . . . since I've had the misfortune to be working there longer than most and this will be my third inventory that came up short, they will fire me as a security risk, because I might be causing the problem.)

Reason #3 that my week sucks: I work for AOL, and the forum I hosted for dropped its chat room and is closing up shop, and I have yet to acquire a new hosting job even though I am doing everything in my power to do so. This blows. I might have to start PAYING for AOL again. And that would just be uncivilized.

I am off to acquire ingredients to start the massive baking spree for the upcoming holiday. I have received several new cool Pagan recipes for this holiday and will be noding them later.

I woke up this morning in her kitchen. I did not plan this, I did not expect this. I was planning on helping her move in. I was a friend lending a hand, no more, no less. Why then do I feel different today?

She had to leave her house. Her parents and her were always at odds, and her long distance relationship with her steady boyfriend had ended. The emotional distress linked to a seizure and being diagnosed with epilepsy forced her to move closer to school. Commuting was no longer an option. I figured that anything I did would make her life that much easier, and she needed help.

With this in mind I headed to her new place last night. I helped build her new desk, set up her new room, listened to her country music in her new kitchen. At 3 o'clock she decided that I needed rest, but she wouldn't let me go home. The half hour walk through the city in the middle of the night was not something she cared for.

We said our 'good nights,' but our voices had different tones. We no longer spoke in our friendly voices, but in nervous anticipation. We were both unsure of that night and the next morning. She was afraid of her new life, if she made the right decision. I was afraid of myself, the feelings I conjured up were not uncommon, but unwarrented in our relationship. Everything had changed for her, but she still remained the beautiful person I knew her to be, still loving and caring despite the downfalls of previous relationships.

I thought about her more today than I ever have. I saw her face on almost every girl I saw. I know my perception of her has changed. She was with me all through my day, and yet she continued on with her life as if there was nothing different.

Ringing. Throbbing. Ringing. Throbbing. You cannot imagine how badly it hurts to be slammed in the temple with a chin. It all started out innocently enough, a normal biweekly ultimate Frisbee game. A teammate and I went up to block a pass; a slight miscalculation occurred:SLAM! I was lying on the ground crying out in pain. This incredible ringing in my head persisted for around 2 hours or so.

I tried to study for a test to no avail.

Isotherms are…. AHHHH!!!!!!! It hurts it hurts.”

It’s amazing how we take being able to think without pain from granted. To this moment my head still hurts. I now know why boxers seem to have blank stares all the time; it hurts too much to think. Still throbbing, still not knowing if I can sleep on my side…….

Okay, so tonight was laundry night. I left work around 5:45pm, went running, and then came home for a fun-filled evening of laundry. Between loads of laundry, I chatted with people on the computer and downloaded MP3s. As I write, I am drying my last load. Hallelujah. I am tired and ready for sleep. Because of that, I recently flossed and then brushed my teeth. It was while doing this that I made a disturbing discovery, which I will share with you.

An aside: Rasputin, one of my two cats, likes floss. It started when he was a kitten. He would jump up on the bathroom counter and try to attack the floss while I was using it. Needless to say I had to stop him, because his attacks did not always hit their intended target. But when I was done flossing, I would dangle it for him to play with. He'd bat it around and try to eat it. I would keep a firm grip, though, and after one of us tired of the game, I'd throw the floss away.

Fast forward until this Christmas. I ran out of floss, and so was forced to borrow some from my brother Matt. Turns out his floss is lightly dusted with some minty stuff. Fine, whatever. I thought Rasputin might not like this, because he recoils from the smell of toothpaste. I was wrong. He loved the smell and taste of this new floss. Or maybe he would like any smell/taste, so long as it was applied to floss. Whatever the case, he attacked it with amazing vigor. It was clear he liked the new taste. This became even clearer to me when, after I threw the floss away, he licked the taste off my fingers. I should mention that Rasputin is not much of a licker when it comes to people. Nor was a guy named Sticker that Matt, our friend Phil, and I met in Las Vegas, but that's another story*. Back to Rasputin -- yeah, he never licks me. Well, rarely. Every once in a while he'll throw a lick or two my way, but nothing sustained. But once I started using Matt's floss, the game did not end when I threw it away.

Ok, now back to the present. My current floss also has a pleasing taste to Rasputin. Tonight when I flossed, he was otherwise occupied. He was drinking water from the bathtub faucet, I believe. Anyway, I was brushing my teeth by the time he made an appearance. However, he seems to know that if I am brushing my teeth, I must just have flossed. So he ambled over, I extended my left hand, and he proceeded to lick my flossing fingers (my thumb and first two fingers).

While Rasputin was doing this, I got a bright idea. I thought it would be amusing to grab his tongue. I can't believe I hadn't done it before. I mean, I always used to poke my finger in his mouth when he was yawning. So I waited until his tongue darted out and I grabbed it. The top of his tongue, as even a schoolchild knows, was rough and scratchy. No surprise there. But the bottom was SLICK and SLIPPERY. I would go so far as to say it was super slippery. It was a stark contrast to the top part. It felt GROSS. I grabbed it a few more times just to confirm what I had felt, until he got sick of me grabbing his tongue and wandered off.

Now, logically, sure, the bottom of his tongue does not need to be rough. But dammit, MY tongue is the same on top and on bottom. The underside of human tongues may not be pretty to look at, but it feels like the rest of the tongue. Or close, anyway. But with cats it is like night and day.

For some reason, this disturbed me almost as much as when I read that, underneath all their fur, cats have tails that are not unlike rat tails. RAT TAILS. Imagine it.

Oh, I almost got in a bad car accident on Saturday morning. Some car tried to drive right into me. I'll try to describe it. I was on a 5 lane road -- 2 lanes for each direction of traffic, and a turn lane in the middle. I was in the left lane of my side of the road. Out of nowhere I see a car from the right that is basically aimed at the front of my car. The angle between our cars was about 45 degrees. If we both kept our present courses, we could collide in about 0.5 seconds. I swerved to the left into the turn lane and hit my horn. The car kept coming at me, and I was getting close to having to either let him hit me, or swerve into oncoming traffic. Obviously I didn't want to try the latter, so I prepared to turn back toward him, hoping to avoid being pushed into the oncoming lanes. I still don't know how we avoided colliding. This all happened in like 1 second, but I remember thinking "There is no way this guy can avoid hitting me". I was quite wired on adrenaline when I got to work.

Why was I working on Saturday morning, you ask? Well, I'm in a new position at work, and it's kinda a position of more responsibility. Which translates into having to work on weekends sometimes. But I was only supposed to work on Sunday, actually. Then on Friday afternoon all of the IBM complex lost its power, which needless to say caused a few problems. So some of us had to come back in on Saturday morning to work on that.

And yes, I also went in on Sunday.

I saw the Royal Tenenbaums again last night. I liked it the first time I saw it, but I liked it even more last night. I want to see it a few more times in theaters before it leaves them. Then I'll eagerly await the DVD.

* - Oh, the story of Sticker. So Matt and Phil and I visited Vegas some time ago, and on Phil's last night there we decided to go out drinking (instead of spending every night gambling, as we had done before. Matt and I played poker, and Phil played blackjack. But I digress.) We settled down at the bar at a casino, and proceeded to drink. Eventually an older black gentleman sat down next to us and started to drink with us. He appeared to be insane, or at least a little bit off-kilter. He had many catch-phrases that he used over and over again. The ones that I best remember are:

"My name is Sticker, and I'm not a licker." (indicating his dislike of cunnilingus, we went on to learn)
"Nothing personal, all business." (Used to qualify many statements, whether they would likely be taken personally or not)

He drank with us for quite a while, and from listening to his exchanges with the bartender, I gathered he was a regular at the place. He was betting on a football game the next day, or maybe he just wanted us to bet on it, I don't remember. I believe he heavily favored the Browns, but it could be the opposite. Anyway, he was quite a character, and we enjoyed talking to him until we had drunk our fill and went to our rooms to pass out. Here's to you, Sticker. I think you're misguided about the licking part, but to each his own, I guess.

Ok, I am tired and I'm going to bed. The laundry is all done. The cats are asleep. The masonry has been upturned, and the mayor is crying.

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