Monday, August 31, 2009


The hamsters in the house chew on the cage bars in bites of rapid-fire succession. Then, when they're finished chewing on their bars, they run in their wheels. Of course, they sleep. But they sleep when we forget that they are not being annoying. Change is in the air today. The weather is crisp, the sun is bright, and it is getting colder, among other changes.
I've been reading a novel, "The Gargoyle," by Andrew Davidson. I am about a third of the way through the book. It started out that a burn patient is recovering in a hospital. Now that I'm one-third of the way through it, it's still about a burn patient recovering in the hospital. I'm at the point in the book where I have to decide whether I'm going to assume that it's a slow buildup leading to a grand, cataclysmic, meaningful ending, as I was promised; or if I'll be waiting for something more and it never comes. If I consciously or even subconsciously assume the latter, the remaining two-thirds will remain unread, forever. I'm willing to keep going, for the time being, but I hope I'm not sorry about it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


This was a necessarily quiet but sad weekend. Nothing bad happened, except that I was trying to get over a cold (flu?) before it hit me hard. The best part about that is that I think I won and the sickness lost. I had lots of zinc, Tension Tamer tea, Echinacea Cold Season tea (both Celestial Seasons, I suppose I must add), soup, and tomato, basil and spicy mustard sandwiches.
Saturday night I debated between watching The Pursuit of Happyness and the XMen movie, The Last Stand. I watched about 10 percent of the X-men movie and 90 percent of The Pursuit of Happyness. One crucial fault of the XMen movie is how most of society sees the mutants as people who are sick and must be cured. It's just too much of an inconsistency with how I think it would be in reality, if the mutants' powers existed, and too contradictory to really accept as a legitimate part of the story. If I could imagine the world rejecting the idea of people having superpowers, like the ability to make cars float or read peoples' thoughts, then I could accept the rest of the movie. Any amount of fantasy superpowers would be acceptable, but if you're going to combine it with human behavior that doesn't make any sense, then I have a hard time with it.
I knew The Pursuit of Happyness was supposed to be sad, but it was sad in a way I didn't expect. The main character made a few mistakes I think I would not have made. He took too many risks. He told his son's mother that she couldn't take care of her son, so she couldn't take her with him, and then he ended up not being able to provide a home for his son so that they had to sleep at homeless shelters for awhile. Then, in the end, of course, it was all "rags to riches" and I ended up wondering why I can't seem to move forward.
I was supposed to have been meeting my good friend Djeneba at a nearby resort where she works. We both had in mind dinner and a movie to celebrate her birthday. I was going to see the whitewater rafting action where she works and see what her job was like. I told her I was coming down with a cold and we both thought it was best that I didn't come.
Even though I had plans it didn't help with the feeling, the omnipotent feeling, that my world is so small. I guess a better way to put it would be that I want it to be bigger. I keep trying to tell myself that it doesn't matter. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Take Me Away!

Yesterday I talked to two people, two voracious-reader friends of mine, and they both have a different idea than I do about what "platitude" means. One said platitudes are comforting things you say to people that make them feel good, like telling someone affected by a friend's death, "It was his just his time to go" and "I'm sorry for your loss." Another friend said platitudes were the equivalent of a pat on the head. I told him about my struggle to avoid such commonness. He said it's easier to do in writing than it is with speech. Annoying, well-worn phrases are just easy; and without them, the observer would think you're weird. Take me away!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Yesterday I found out that the word of the day was "platitude." I'd seen and heard the word lots of times and thought it meant some metaphorical level of elevation, similar to a metaphorical plateau, and just imagined that it was a derivative of the word "plateau." I was glad to learn about what it actually means. Trite. Weak. Commonplace. Well-worn phrases and irritating cliches. I'm glad there's a word for it, and I was amused and intrigued by the notion that there is another word for trite and cliche. I decided I really like that word and how it is suggestive of ridicule of the quality of being unoriginal. But now I detect a sense of snobbery in it. Anyway, ever since yesterday (well, really all my life) I've been compelled to avoid the drudgery of the predictable, routine, unoriginal frame of mind. That doesn't mean I think I've succeeded. But why doesn't everyone feel that way?

Friday, August 21, 2009

We Are Marshall

I'm one of those people who despises football. I don't mind going to a game and seeing and feeling the energy of the crowd, getting fresh air, and watching the spectators. OK, maybe I even enjoy seeing the marching band because it reminds me of old times. That will keep me occupied for the full two to three hours of my time there. But football itself? Please, ask me to do just about anything else other than watch sports. I didn't expect to really like "We Are Marshall" for that reason, but I found myself enjoying it nonetheless. My eyes glazed over and my eyelids got a little heavy during the game scenes, but I held it together and stayed awake the whole time. I wondered if anyone else with no ties to West Virginia, or to the people who were involved in the making of the film, would watch or appreciate this movie. But then again, a lot of people all over the world have ties to West Virginia, somehow. There's a very long, but very beautiful commercial enticing people to visit West Virginia. The length of the commercial made it seem so desperate. Please, come to West Virginia. Please see the rivers the mountains the bridges the glass ... wait, is that all we have? They really didn't need to show the same scenic vistas over and over and over again. I don't mean to be critical. What would have been more interesting to me, and just as good a commercial as any, is listening to Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox and some of the other actors talk about what they did and what they saw while they were here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Last week, someone told me that if you think a certain thought often enough, the forces of the universe respond and provide you with what you have been thinking about -- she thinks the power of thought has an energy of its own. Her example of something that had just happened to illustrate that concept was how I told her that I had heard someone last week on the radio mention deviled eggs, which made me realize I wanted some. The following day she brought them in to work for everyone, with no traceable connection to my thought or what had been mentioned on the radio.
A few days later, I watched the movie "American Psycho." After watching the movie, I watched part of the special features that talked about Brett Easton Ellis, who wrote the book that the movie is based upon. I learned he also wrote the book that the movie "Less Than Zero" was based on. The following day I started reading a book, "A Million Little Pieces," that I picked up from a yard sale two weekends ago. On the back of the "A Million Little Pieces" is a quote from Brett Easton Ellis giving his compliments about the story.
And if that weren't strange enough ... that same day (last Saturday), I decided I wanted to check the TV listing to see if a movie, 1408, would be on. I had been wanting to see it for a month or two, trying to catch it on one of its airings on The Movie Channel, and wondered if it would be on sometime Saturday, when I had free reign of the television (which hardly ever happens) ... and anyway (can't you see, I'm just bursting with coincidences at the moment and I can hardly contain myself) ... I sat down on the couch, turned the TV to the movie channel, and the very movie I wanted to see had just started three minutes earlier.
Another coincidence happened today, with me thinking about the status of a class action settlement that's been ongoing for at least two years. I checked the Web site today to read about the status, which I hadn't done in at least six months, and someone walked over to me and asked if I had learned anything new about it recently.
I could talk about coincidences every day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Over and Over Again

Today I'm thinking about a former co-worker's over-used statement to a group of us at work: "I'm a creature of habit." At the time, he had been working there for 27 years. Now it would be about 37 years, if he's still there. Not only did he have a few lines of advice, comments and statements he would make throughout the day and every day, he would only do things a certain way, over and over and over and over.
Habits are funny things. Some of us like our subconsciousness to run our lives.