Summer nights in my father's car.

girl, kissed

   Etch-a-Sketch fingers twisting, groping, 
         the language of desire              

      I really don't need to be told what to do!
   he lies

 Like the lady sang
     I asked The Boy for a few kind words, 
   he gave me a novel instead

breathless gasps and heaving breasts
     share summer evenings 
                           under starlit skies

touch me                  in all the right places
    taste me           and hold me tight
                as the moon sleeps on 

So boy, do you love me too? 
      face so smooth, scent so sweet
   so soft, so warm

I watch you sway your hips
        I'm in love, 
              for the first time in my life

The school I went to was built into the side of a hill.

In fact, it was a two-storey building, but you could walk into its upper floor from the sidewalk, and if you followed down the rather steep hill, enter the bottom storey from the same sidewalk.

The ground swoops and curves majestically in that part of Beacon Hill. There are town houses across the road, hundreds of tightly packed dark brown 70s area townhomes quickly built by either Minto or Campeau or some other throw-em-up-quick bulk housing producer. The houses are crowded at the base and the top of a giant hill - the engineers never bothered filling in a giant sloping steep gradiented patch that became toboggan and ski heaven in the winter and the more nutcase kids tried the same trick in shopping carts in the summer, leading to broken bones and one case of quadriplegia, if I remember correctly.

Now, the fact that the school was built that way meant that on the backside of the school there was a poured concrete sloping walkway next to the building proper. This was a magnet for skateboards and roller skates, and thanks to the prevalence of gravel and small rocks in the area, a magnet for the various small injuries kids used to get.

But what really put the wind up the teaching staff was the winter.

Technically, we could have used any part of the sloping curve of the hill. When the snow hit the entire grassy bowl the school was built into turned into the ice equivalent of a skateboard half-pipe, kind of.

But right next to the school, the gradient was so steep that that concrete pathway was soon polished slick by snowsuit after snowsuit.

Oh, it started innocently enough, sliding down the snow on your buttocks, every successive slider (and there was quite the line) polishing the snow and packing it down with each successive and increasingly rapid trip.

The more adventurous kids would go down face first, sliding on their stomachs like a seal, once the path had become a sheet of ice with a near 35 degree grade.

And then someone would push the envelope. They'd try to slide down on their feet, standing up.

For those of you in places that don't get ice, ice is fucking hard. Slam your head into it, and you might as well have fallen on concrete or marble. So imagine the look on the French teacher's face when she saw a group of gangly seven and eight year olds attempting a thirty yard slide, thirty five degree grade, standing up. Slip one way and you'd fall facefirst and lose front teeth later in life than one would expect. Fall the other way and you'd whack the back of your head, and potentially break a neck.

No teacher wanted to give up his or her smoking time in the teacher's lounge to stand in freezing subzero weather keeping us off that damn slide, so when they did bundle up to venture outside, they were angry, and it became a really sneaky back and forth. They enlisted their snitches (who we beat up) and sneaked out unawares and we kept watch over the side door and scattered when it opened, signalling the exit of an adult. I'll bet looking back they enjoyed it as much as we did, though deep down they didn't want us to get hurt.

This cat and mouse game went on for two weeks or more.

And then one day, the bell rang at an uncharacteristic time. We were confused. It wasn't the fire alarm, but it didn't ring for the usual breaks or lunch periods. Mystery.... We were all ushered into assembly. The gymnasium, fresh and new, the varnished floor and rubber mats gleaming with new equipment smell competing with the antics of fellow classmates and the fact that the principal never tucked in the back of his dress shirt to see who would win Biggest Distraction. Teachers reached in and hauled kids by their arms, seating them in different places. Sticking an unruly boy in a pile of girls did the trick in calming the rest down.

The principal told us, once the murmur had died down, in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, that that walkway was NOT to be used as an ice slide. He glared. He was serious. He warned of dire consequences. It was the 70s, noone got spanked or really punished, the consequences were of the hospitalisation for injury variety. It was the egghead-led idealistic 70s, we were being reasoned with.

You might as well have had Bertrand Russell lecturing a chihuahua on the social inappropriateness of barking at anything that moves. Whatev. We knew to fall SIDEWAYS, into the snow, and also had a firm rule - no throwing distracting snowballs at the kid sliding down on his feet, unless we really didn't like him.

Oh wait, he's shutting up now. Time to applaud and nod. Assembly meant longer recess. Alright. But when we went outside, the bastards had put SALT on the path. Our glorious beloved slide. Ruined.

This called for every man jack kid to grab handfuls of snow and re-build. Within four minutes, like a colony of ants, we had completely recovered the walkway, and after a couple of linefuls of buttock sliding, had restored the path to its former glory.

We were called into assembly again that afternoon. The rules had changed. We could slide down the path, but only in a seated position.

We grinned. We'd won. And we accepted those terms. They'd not screw with our ice slide, and we'd slide down in a sane and sensible manner.

When there were no teachers looking, anyway.

If you're a new writer, struggling to get published by (gasp! PAYING!) markets, you're a target for many of the scammers trying to get into your bank account.

Enter Preditors and Editors, a project that used to be a part of the SFWA. Now located at, it has saved many fledgling authors from the lowest of the low, folks who prey on the hopes and aspirations of the creative -- a creative writer's dementor, if you would.

Have you ever heard of PublishAmerica? Take a Google-sampling of the horiffic stories and feedback of authors who dealt with them. They were listed on Predators and Editors, and have decided to sue P&E.

A call went out for donations of funds to help offset the costs of a lawsuit, and Eric Enke decided to help facilitate a fundraising anthology. He posted a call for submissions on the Horror Writers Association membership board, and many answered, including me. They were silly enough to accept one of my short stories titled Dead Meat, a tale about zombie cows. Yes, you read that correctly -- zombie cows.

So, if you're interested, either donate outright to P&E, or buy a copy of the book. It's located at Even if you don't have the spare bucks, stop by the P&E website before signing contracts with a publisher or agent.

Sitting on United flight 1174, flying from Los Angeles, California to San Francisco, California, I find myself oddly contemplative. On February 12, 2008, I wrote a node about my current place on the Stanford University athletics team. Since then, much has happened.

First important bit of information: Yes, the axe did drop. Exactly a week after I wrote my daylog, our position coach came to me and told me that my services were no longer needed. Did this mean that I stopped training? No. I took a month off to concentrate on my studies, but I did return to throwing a month later. I vowed to myself that I would tryout for the team again next year, and make the team once again.

Where did this whole train of actions leave me? High and dry. I will be kicking myself for what I did to my grades last quarter, when I dedicated more of my time to athletics, as I unsuccessfully tried to defend my spot on the team. Additionally, I lost coaching, a track to train at, access to a high quality weight room, and access to physical therapists.

What did I do? I didn't meet my goals last year. I wasn't going to miss my goals again this year.

Since it is highly relevant, my goal for both last year and this year was to qualify for Junior Nationals, or in other words, the US track and field championship for people under 20.

I talked to a friend who graduated from Stanford a few years ago, and is currently training for the Olympics. He mentioned to me that I could train at Moffett Field NAS, a site 10 miles away from Stanford. For weightlifting, I would just have to use the general Stanford Weight Room. Not as good as the athletic team weight room, but still an acceptable facility. As for the other problems, I was on my own.

From mid March to now, I put hours of work into training. On Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, I would bike 10 miles to Moffett Field with 25 pounds of gear strapped to my back, throw for an hour and a half, and then bike back to the dorm. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I would sprint into the weight room in my lunch break and lift weights.

Things were going acceptably in reference to training. In practice, I was throwing the iron ball far.

On the other hand though, things weren't going well personally. Since this happened, I've been as stressed out as I can recently remember. I was doing way too much. I was running from class to lifting to lab to practice. I would spend the bike ride back from Moffett cursing everything, wondering to myself why I had to suffer this fate, and why the people who lived in my dorm could be able to enjoy their weekends?

Anyways, I eventually had to schedule my meets to try to qualify for Junior Nationals. The only two meets I would be able to attend would be a meet on May 24th in Los Angeles, and a meet on May 25th in San Mateo, Califoria. I bit the bullet, and decided to purchase plane tickets to go to the meet in LA.

One week before the upcoming meet, I am practicing. It is a beautiful, sunny Saturday. I am throwing well. The hammer is consistently going 56 meters, much farther then the 53 meters I needed to throw to qualify for Junior Nationals. I am mostly done with my practice, having taken 15 throws. On my 16th throw, the wire on my hammer breaks.

Losing my balance, I fall hard on my already injured right wrist.

I am able to move it, but it hurts a lot. I can't do a pushup, and it hurts to make a fist, but I can do it.

Am I still able to throw with my wrist injured like so? Yes. I am. As well as before? No. Is it broken? Doesn't seem to be. Am I still going to the meets? Yes.

On the morning of May 24th, I wake up in my uncle's condo in Marina Del Rey, California. We drive a half hour to my meet. I can't get in a groove. My stomach bothers me. I feel like my legs are made of lead.

I have never had such an underwhelming performance.

In hammer, I throw 49 meters, well below the 56 meters I was throwing last week, and coincidentally, well under the 53 meters I needed to throw. In discus, I throw 41 meters. I have never thrown discus under 44 meters in a meet. I needed 53 meters in discus.

Somehow, I was able to hold off any real emotion until I got on the plane at LAX. Am I just jaded? I don't know. I didn't get highly emotional when I got on the plane, but I did feel sad and pissed.

I feel like there should be a better end to this. I wish I could say something poignant to sum it all up, but I can't. All I know is that right now, I am planning a possible trip up to a meet in Portland, Oregon, and then down again to Los Angeles, California next weekend. We'll see how it goes.

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