Friday, February 29, 2008

My Interview, Questions by Heels

1) If you could be doing anything for a job right now, regardless of education or perceived skill, what would it be?
Right now, at this point in my life, I'd like to be a studio musician for my day job and in the evening I paint and draw what ever I want and occasionally sell something.

2) With your current education and skill-set, honestly- what do you WANT to do with yourself? Stop evading this question!
If I had the money, or knew a person with money who I completely trusted, and thought I could get good people to work for me, I'd like to open a genre book store. The novels would be science fiction and fantasy and horror, only. I'd sell comic books of all varieties, trying to sweep those novel readers into comics as well. And there'd probably be some Dungeons and Dragons and other D20 stuff there. No Magic or Pokémon or other CCGs in my store. I’d only sell things that involve some sort of storytelling.

Since I don’t have the money and I get scared just thinking about owning a store, it’s not going to happen soon, if at all.

Sometimes I still want to write for a living, but I don’t think I have some of the basic skills -- mainly structure stuff and a lack of discipline, resolve, self control (you pick the word) -- to pull it off even in a part time capacity.

So, given the education, skills, and money that I HAVE right now, I don’t know.

3) What is your absolute favorite comic strip and "graphic novel" ever? Why?
Favorite COMIC STRIP (Which I’m declaring as funnies that appear in the paper or most online comics.): Calvin and Hobbes. It’s just the best. It’s funny and at times poignant. It bounced from gag-a-day to storylines with an ease most creators are jealous of. It examined the imagination of kids better than nearly anything out there. It wasn’t afraid to show parents getting angry with their son and it wasn’t afraid to show how much they loved him. It dealt with the confusion of having a crush and the odd desire to be liked by everyone even though you’re most happy when you can just be yourself with honesty and humor.

Favorite "GRAPHIC NOVEL" (Which I’m declaring everything else comicy.): It’s so easy to give an answer that’s obvious, like Watchmen or Marvels or Bone or Fables or something like those, but, honestly, my favorite is The Tick; the first stuff done by Ben Edlund. It has nearly everything I like -- superheroes, science-fiction, ninjas, a spy, a samurai, aliens, a monolith, a chainsaw wielding madman, a man eating cow, good, evil -- and mocks it all! It’s pure fun. You’ve seen the cartoon, take that and make it a little more adult (Tick asks Arthur if he’s "funny" and when Arthur says "no" they go out and get some "manly" beers) and you have fun for nearly the whole family in some slick art. Plus, that’s basically me in the moth suit, so that makes me happy.

4) Do you want to get married and have kids someday?
Sometimes I do want to get married and have kids, yeah. Sometimes I ache I want those things so much. To find someone I want to spend the rest of my life with who is always willing to spend the rest of her life with me and then spawn kids who could grow up and live a bit through their discoveries often seems wonderful.

Other times kids seem like too much but wanting to be with someone who wants to be with me would be perfect.

Most of the time, I don’t. I don’t because that much trust and intimacy, from me and from someone toward me, scares me.

5) When you first went into college, it was for engineering. Do you ever wish you could go back and stay with that?
Once in a while I wish I had because I’d be making a lot more money, but those moments are very rare. I spoke with my professors and learned what the competition is like out there in the industry and I would have been miserable. I would have had to depend on other people to get their part done so I could complete my part and if they were late I’d be the one, or one of many, who’d have to eat the loss of time or force the next person to be running late. If I’d done that, I’d probably have gotten an ulcer before I turned 28.

6) Would you ever want to go back to school? What would you study?
No, I do not want to go back to school. I do not want to do the cramming and the paper writing. I do not want to put up with the other students and the teachers who are so wrapped up in their own projects that they don’t want to give you any time. I don’t want to do that.

Just because I don’t want to do it now, doesn’t mean that I won’t in the future.

If I did, I’d either start over, sort of, and study film and theater stuff or I’d get my Masters in literature or writing. The main problem is, what would I do with a Masters?

7) You asked it of me, so... What draws you to sci-fi, fantasy, and other fiction of the sort?
I like the imagination. I like how the stories can be allegories for events in our life. I like how the out of time settings can give the themes a new relationship to what’s happening now even if the story was written almost a century ago. I like the sense of hope so many of sci-fi and fantasy stories provide and I like the way that other sci-fi and fantasy stories are willing to let everything collapse into Hell, sometimes literally. In science fiction and fantasy there can be stories that are romping adventures through time and space or there can be stories that are quiet, in one place in one day when nothing but regular life happens.

I like the sense of wonder I get from these genres from the character who think of it as their normal day to day business.

8) Where did your comic strip go? Did I miss its retirement party?
It stopped being fun, so I stopped doing it.

Hell, I think that’s exactly what I wrote under the last one that I posted. If I didn’t, I should have because that’s what happened.

Most are still online. Check out this link they should be there. I did two years worth, I think, but some were removed because I used other people’s art a couple of times. Oops.

9) Do you really want to move back to Cowtown, or is it actually that you want to get away from where you are, regardless of the end location?
Okay, a big part of moving is to get away from here, yeah, but I like Cowtown. I like many of the people. I like how it’s not too far for a day trip to SF if I want to go to a show. I like that there are three theaters that do plays. Much of my family live there. I’m more comfortable with the small(er) town setting that I am in any sort of city. There’s real nature there. In the winter snow falls and skiing is really close, if you have the time and money. And most people there want to get on with their lives rather than try to impress other people with stuff (although the more city-folk who move there the less this is true).

I'm not a large or even medium-sized city person, so I'd like to move some where that the town or city's population is less than 20,000.

In some ways Cowtown bothers me, but for the most part, it's home.

10) What qualities attract you to a girl? (You don't have to answer this one if you're uncomfortable.)
One of the main things that attract me to girls/women, in a general way, is that I rarely feel a sense of competitiveness from them. With most guys they immediately want to set up a pecking order, of some sort, and using brain or brawn or whatever set about trying to prove that they are your better. With girls, probably because I’m not female myself, I don’t get that. I don’t like to be competitive, and that probably one of the reasons I’m usually more comfortable around them.

In a more romantic (for lack of a better word) way, I like women who can challenge me so that I want to learn and grow and stretch out into areas I hadn’t before. I like girls who are smart, funny, and honest and are (or at least act) comfortable with who they are and don’t change much when they’re alone, with me, or in a group of twenty. I like girls who smile easily and can laugh at their foibles as easily as they can laugh at mine. And confident women, I like confidence, too.

Also, there are the physical features. Shining eyes and a nice smile on a sweet face are good. I like a variety of body types because it’s not so much the shape of the woman (although that does come into account) as the way she carries herself that makes her attractive.

11) What are YOUR favorite cookies? Favorite food of any sort?
My first thought when it comes to favorite cookies are peanut butter cookies, but when I eat peanut butter cookies I’m always a little disappointed. They’re usually too dry and don’t taste enough like peanut butter, for me.

Ginger snaps and the minty chocolate one that the Girl Scouts sell run neck and neck in the favorite category. (And unlike some *cough* I don’t have to be the one that makes them.) They’re both so different and leave my mouth feeling fresh and I like the way they pop when my teeth go through the cookie.

As for other foods, I’m not that picky. I really like good Thai. The stuff that’s not greasy that’s spicy and a bit sweet. That’s always good.

But maybe fresh, warm sourdough even beats that. The smell, the texture, the crunch of the crust -- fresh sourdough is like a feast for all senses.

12) Wonder Woman vs. Big Barda- who wins?
In the comics universe there’d be a misunderstanding and they’d fight for a bit before they figure out that they were being manipulated by the villain and then they’d work together to crush a common enemy.

In a fight to the death, or unconsciousness, Big Barda’d win. Barda would win because Wonder Woman wouldn’t be willing to start out fighting her strongest, Barda would. Those early hits that Barda got in at the beginning wouldn’t seem to do anything at first, but they’d make Wonder Woman wear out just a little faster than Barda. Plus, Barda has a freakin’ Mega-rod. What can a lasso that forces people to tell the truth do against a freakin’ Mega-rod? Nothing, that’s what. In the end Barda would be bruised, bloodied, and broken, but she’d be the one standing.

13) What the hell should I do with the 10 grapefruits currently residing on my kitchen counter?
For me, there are only two things to be done with so many grapefruits:
1. Candy them.
2. Let them get nice and soft and then hurl them at the house of someone you don’t like.

14) How do you feel about your muzzer? Just kidding! Actually, IF you have kids someday, how many would you want to have (we'll just say that, for our purposes, your partner is cool with whatever)?
I like my muzzer. She’s weird and funny. And every now and then she still wonders how that guy makes doughnuts.

If I had kids, two seems like the best number. Life evens out with me and my wife and our kids. The kids would always have each other. They could be friends if everything goes well, and if it doesn’t at least they always have family if my wife and I die unexpectedly in a plane crash or something.

15) If you were given enough money to live comfortably for a year, but you had to write a book that would be published in that time, what kind of book would you write?
If I had the money and a comfortable place to live and the dedication to write a book, I’d write this book, although it feels more like it’d be novella length, that I’ve had buzzing around in my head for a many years now. (I actually mention it in a very early post on my blog.)

It’s fiction and it’s more bitter than sweet. The main characters are a high school student, his teacher, and his teacher’s wife. I’d use a devise at the beginning of each chapter that’d be what the wife says in her therapy sessions and spin that out into the action of the regular chapters, sort of.

I know the basic beginning of the book and I’m absolutely sure of the last word right now. The middle is very sketchy, though.

But if I had the means, that’s what I’d write.

16) Do you want to travel? Where? Why?
I want to travel everywhere. It’s a cliché, I know, but it’s also true.

First, I’d travel through Europe, though. It’s the place that’s full of the history of my history. It’s where my family came from and it, arguably, sprung the most influential cultures that our planet has ever seen. I’d have to go to England and Italy and Greece, but I also want to see and experience France and Germany and Russia and Turkey and Spain. There’s so much in Europe.

17) If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? (Name the movie!!)
"I'd have good strong roots in a town like Mt. Rose, a solid Christian trunk, and long, leafy branches to provide shade for handicapped kids on a hot summer day."
(I remembered the movie, but I had to look up the quote. Thanks IMDB!)

If you want a real answer, I’d be the kind that people leave alone. Probably something out in the middle of nowhere, like those oaks that live at really high altitudes. I wouldn’t want to live at long as those do, though.

18) Do you honestly like musicals? I mean, really? WHY?!
Yes, I honestly like musicals. Really. I do. If you want me to, I'll look through myPod and tell you how many musical soundtracks I own and how many I have to listen to because I "borrowed" the music from my dad.

Musicals are another form of fantasy. People don't (or rarely) break into song out on the street in real life, right? But in musicals, they do. Not only do people randomly (sort of) break out into song, but when others are around, they all know the words and they all agree on the music. And even when there are conflicting words and conflicting music, the two sounds meld together into something that sounds beautiful and is more powerful than the either tune was separately.

You've seen Amadeus, right? There's a scene in that where Mozart is explaining a part of his opera that starts as a solo and grows into a duet and grows and grows and even with more people singing, it's always music. That's something that I like, even though it doesn't happen in many American musicals. There's a song in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music where there are three people singing at the same time and one of my favorite things to do is try to focus on one voice at a time, to pick out that one character's words, then switch to another character and then the other and then let the three work together to create something else entirely.

Musicals create a sort of an ideal world, too. Characters who hate each other will sing at opposite ends of the stage, but they're using the same music and singing in harmony. Lovers are linked, not only through their desire for each other, but through the songs that they sing for one another.

Also, it's fun to sing along with the sound tracks. Unlike most albums out there, musical soundtracks have all these songs that, much of the time, tell a part of the story and even if they don't tell a narrative, listening them in order often do a good job of showing a character's emotional arc during the story. How often do you get that when you buy a regular album?

I must admit, though, I'm not so much into the dancing. Sometime it can be kind of fun -- the fighting in West Side Story, or the way Harold Hill uses it to seduce River City's people -- but most of the time it feels like filler to me, an excuse to pay a choreographer. I like the music and words a lot more. I'm sure there are people who are just the opposite

19) Buffy Summers- Hot or Not? How about Faith? Or are you more a Fred kind of guy?
Buffy and Faith are both hot, but I’m way more of a Fred kind of guy.

Buffy’s too afraid of not being liked. She’s too afraid of not getting attention when she’s part of a crowd. (Even when she was invisible, she called attention to herself.) Also, she seems comfortable around people, but she never seems to be comfortable with herself, she's always second guessing who she is and any time she comes back to Slayer, she curls up and tries to deny it.

Faith is scary, plain and simple. I’d always be afraid that I’d piss her off and she’d knock my head off.

Fred’s the type of girl who I’d want to be better for. I’d want to learn about what she knows so we could talk about it. ('Course, the Illiyra/Fred thing would bring me right back to the Faith answer.) Fred started out uncomfortable around people, that was after being stuck in a demon dimension for years where she was basically cattle, she got more comfortable around other, but she always seemed to be comfortable with and confident about herself. She also has one of the greatest smiles of all the women who appear in the Buffyverse, except for, maybe, Jasmine.

20) What thing that you have done in your life are you most proud of?
Nothing. I have done nothing that I am proud of, let alone most proud of. Also, I haven't done anything that I'm disappointed in, so that's okay.

21) Can I stop asking questions now, because thinking them up is hurting my brain! MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STAAAHHHHHPP!!!!!!
Sure, you can stop, if you want to.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Strike Watch '08 Begins Here!

There's an "information" union meeting today. Mostly, they're going to tell us that this next contract, our current one is up in June, will be really hard to get since the state is predicting a $15 billion shortfall. Odds are, I think, that we won't get a cost of living increase this year if we get a new contract at all.

Will we strike or even get a strike vote this year? I doubt it. The state isn't going to be pulling in enough cash to cover its ass in June because of all the fucked-up loans that were given to people when they bought houses in the last year. I think our union will quickly come to a compromise that keeps the status quo and promise that in two years they'll come back strong and the majority of the members will vote that that's a good idea.

At least they're serving lunch. Sure, the party platters of cold cuts and the rolls won't be worth the $45 I put into the union each month, but it's something.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Surgery 2: The Day After Yesterday

Spoke with my mom about forty-five minutes ago. She's sounding fine. In fact, she sounds pretty much like she always does. She said she's feeling pretty great. Her back doesn't hurt at all. She can lay down and roll over and get out of bed without her back hurting. (Her stomach hurts where they cut her open and stitched her up.) The doctor told her that if she lived closer he'd let her go home today, but since my parents don't live close they're probably staying only one more night.

No Garfield

Some days, this and this, or hell all of them, is where I think my life is going.

Monday, February 25, 2008


The questions have now been answered.

Read, please.


Well, my mom went in for her back surgery about fifteen minutes ago. If all goes well, she'll be out in forty-five to seventy-five minutes ago. When I spoke with her yesterday morning she told me they were getting to her spine by going through the front. I wonder how they're going to pin the intestines back?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fiction Friday #30

Tuesday came too fast after I talked to Karen's mother. It was like after I spoke with her on the phone I sneezed and suddenly I found myself outside of the campus pub. It sat off near a field of wheat or corn or whatever crop was being studied at that. I guess the builder wanted to be able to pretend that it was a pub in some country village because it was built to look like those house in the pictures of Stratford-Upon-Avon, all support beams showing through plaster with a high peaked roof. It was pretty nice, until you turned around to see the giant block of concrete that was the history department or got hit by some jackass on a bicycle. That was life on campus, though.

The Pub, which was the name some clever student or alumni named it thirty or forty years ago after a drunken trip to England or Scotland or Ireland gave it, was the place to eat on campus, if you had money. Most of the staff went there if they didn't brown bag it or didn't want to go out into the town. There were always small groups of teacher gathering for lunch or an early dinner or a drink after a meeting, whispering about how they were going to rise up in revolt and destroy the dean of their college. It was also where all the students who were totally funded from home ate when they lived in the dorms. Those people used their meal plans to get water, soda, and chips from the dining hall then used their "emergency" credit cards to take their friends and themselves out for all meals and many of them headed down to The Pub.

Inside the place was clean, but a little dark, for my taste. There was a long, polished, wood bar to the back, tables set up for two or four on the floor, and booths that were comfortable for six but could cram in ten or twelve were along the walls. Spread out around the floor were, what I assumed were, support beams that were sometimes hard to dodge sober, and were nearly impossible to miss drunk. Behind the bar and on any part of the wall that wasn't a window were pictures of famous people who had come to campus; any that were taken after The Pub was built were taken inside. My favorites were the candid pictures of people drinking, talking, laughing, smoking, writing, or staring wistfully out the window; too many of them were posed to make the bar and the subject look good, but they all struck me as unreal.

The Tuesday I met Karen's mom was a warm and sunny one after a weeks worth of wind, clouds, and rain, and we were meeting at eleven, so there weren't many people in there. I saw some professors huddled around a table whispering. Some guy sat at the bar with some really dark drink, wearing spectacles, and writing in a note book. And the bored bar tender stared out the windows probably wondering if heading out to toss a Frisbee around was worth getting fired over. And there was a waitress standing in the door to the kitchen blowing purple bubbles.

The waitress spotted me and started to come over. I mouthed to her, and flailed my arms a bit, that I was meeting someone and wanted to take a quick look. She shrugged, but still walked toward where I stood. I poked around the place and saw that there wasn't anyone else there. She asked me how many and then told me to pick where I wanted to sit. I choose a booth with a window.

She left me with two menus then brought me some water and left. I fiddled with my fork and knife, remembering how I used to use them as an airplane when I was a kid. I unfolded then refolded the paper napkin the fork and knife had been rolled in, and then sort of pushed it around the table. I wished that I brought my backpack with me; at least then the waiting wouldn't have been wasted time.

After dividing the contents of a sugar packet five times, I a woman clear her throat. I looked up to see Karen's mom looking a lot like I remembered her. She was pretty, but not beautiful, like Karen was. She was strong, built like a fortress. She was tall, taller than me. She had wide shoulders and comparatively narrow hips. She stood like she was waiting for someone to try to push her over just so she could prove she couldn't be. Her hair was cut short and she always seemed to have a little frown around her lips, but she may have just disapproved of me.

I tried to stand and caught my gut on the table. I sat down, hard, gasping for breath.

"Leopold," she said sitting down.

"Mrs. Mayreux." I nodded and offered my hand. "Can you call me Leo?" I asked. "My mom only introduces me as Leopold because it makes me blush."

"Only if you call me Sonya, Leo." She said, shaking my hand. "You're old enough to call me Sonya now."

Suprise Song

You know what song always surprises me with how good it is when it shuffles its way around on myPod?

"Eternal Flame" by The Bangles.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

WonderCon 2008

WonderCon starts tomorrow. I'll be there Saturday and Sunday. (Originally it was just going to be on Saturday with Wings, but then I saw that Bill Willingham and the inker for the book, Steve Leialoha, are going to be doing a Fables Forum on Sunday and since I'm not going to be at San Diego this year I knew I couldn't miss this one.)

I must admit that I wasn't very excited about going earlier this week. I planned to go, sure, but I just wasn't getting the butterflies in my stomach. Today, I did. I'm pretty damn excited. I'm going to go to a bunch of panels. I'm going to ask some questions and hopefully get some answers. I'm going to buy some books that I'd normally wait to buy when APE comes around, but this year APE is in November instead of late March/early April (I really miss when it was the first convention of the year for California), and I don't want to wait. I'm going to get some comics signed. I'm going to wonder why anyone would want the autograph of the guy who played the Boba Fett as a kid in Attack of the Clones, or an equally odd "star." I'll probably gawk at Noell Niel and Chase Masterson. And I may see Kristen Bell in person, but I probably won't her panel since it's not about Veronica Mars or Fanboys; sure, Veronica Mars will be brought up, but it's not the same without the possibility of Enrico Colantoni being there, too.

I'm excited. It's been a while since I've been excited.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Header Quote!

So we beat off, pistons through a cylinder, locked endelessly without a release.
----F. Shot Fucksgerald
The Great Orgasmby

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008


So, I didn't care for the questions Heels was asked during her part of The Great Interview Experiment. She challenged me to ask her questions. (It's a little unfair since I've known her for a very, VERY long time. Still the woman who interviewed her should have read Heels's blog before asking questions to get to know her and her interests rather than sticking to general questions.)

I wrote her my questions. I await hers for me. We shall see.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In then Out

Tenish minutes before I leave for the day. It's not a recovery from coming back to work thing, it's more of a therapy thing.

I haven't written about this much, so I'll explain.

In the last quarter of last year, I signed myself up to go see a therapist (he turned out to be a LCSW, not an analrapist, for those Arrested Development fans). He encouraged me to do this group thing to help with my social anxiety problems because I really don't want to take drugs. I have enough things I have to remember to do each day.

I went to the pre-meeting thing where they sort of talk about anxiety and the general ways it affects people. You know, stuff I learned on my own years ago.

From there I was put in a four week "group" thing (which lasted six weeks because of Christmas and New Year's Day) that started several weeks later. It was mixed with general anxiety people and social anxiety people. And I was very uncomfortable with aspects of it.

Today, six weeks after the last other thing, the actual social anxiety group starts. I'm not ready for the level of trust I'm suppose to put into these people I've had trouble not sharing the things that the other people have said in the group with all of you. I haven't broken that trust, yet, but how can I be sure that husbands and wives aren't sharing things that the people in the group say to their spouses?

That bothers me. Hell, it bothers me thinking that the PhD guy might be talking about something I, or one of the others, said to a colleague.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fiction Friday #29

The laugh felt good. Sort of like we were when we were in junior high. Just friends out to have a good time. The feeling didn't last long, though. It vanished and we both sort of turned to the TV and focused on the movie.

We watched the rest of it without talking to each other. Occasionally, I'd talk to the characters, a bad habit I have when I watch anything I've seen before, and Karen, who hadn't seen the move, would turn to me and look like she might want to cut out my voice box. As the movie ended, with Mumford listening to the police officer talk about his problems, there was a knock at the door. It was Jer with some Indian food.

There was lots of food, but it wasn't for me. Indian never sat well with me. I'd eat and enjoy as I ate, but twenty minutes later my stomach would start to roll around on my intestines and the rest of the night would be miserable. So, when they started to pick and choose their first dishes, I slipped away and into my room.

From then on things around the apartment were a little better. Karen and I didn't go out of our way to hang out together, but we also didn't play silent treatment with on another. When I needed a glass and she was in the way, I'd ask instead of squeezing around her to get it myself. In the hall, neither of us ducked out of the way when we saw the other. "Nice day," I'd say and she'd say "I suppose. How's school?" "Oh, you know," I'd say, "sometimes good and sometimes bad." "Yeah," she'd say, "kind of like the rest of life." and we'd go about our business.

Jer seemed happier about all this. Karen stayed over more and I could tell he wanted to give her a key so she could come all the time. Maybe he even wanted to know if she could move in with us. From what I over heard, life in her house wasn't getting any easier. Some of the girls, I heard, had started bringing over guys and then they'd try to get Karen drunk enough so she'd forget about Jer and jump in the guys' laps and then into bed. I doubt it worked because I don't think Karen would have told Jer about it if it had. Jer didn't ask me about Karen moving in, though. She still had her room at the house and we had our apartment.

About four weeks after Karen and I had our pissing contest, I got a phone call from her mother asking me to go to meet her for lunch the next Tuesday, on campus. Apparently, Karen's dad was touring some lecture about his new book and had been invited to the university to give it. She said me that it'd just be her, not him, at lunch and it'd be her treat.

I said I'd be there, of course. I had to. She was friends with my parents. If I didn't, I'd never hear the end of it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Out until Wednesday.

How will I survive without you?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Only five minutes to write about today's elections...

Oh, that's right, I don't give a monkey's tit about today's election.

That was easy.

Odd Book Meme

Still, I'm always up for a meme about books.

Johnny Logic tagged me.

The Rules:
  1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)
  2. Find Page 123.
  3. Find the first 5 sentences.
  4. Post the next 3 sentences.
  5. Tag 5 people.
The nearest book:
  • Star Trek Titan: Sword of Damocles
Page 123, first 3 sentences *after* the first 5 sentences:
"What do you think, Chris?"

There it was: recommendation time. For an awful moment she had the sense of all the member s of Titan's crew somehow looking in on her, listening intently, and judging how she answered.
And since I'm somewhat early on this meme, I'm actually going to tag people:

Friday, February 01, 2008

Fiction Friday #28

I couldn't sleep when I got back to my room. I was too wound up. The way Jer blamed me for the yelling really upset me. It wasn't my fault. I wasn't the one being stubborn. Is it really too much for a guy to want to pee in the toilette in his bathroom in the apartment where he pays for half the rent? I didn't think so.

I couldn't sleep, but I couldn't leave my room, either, they hadn't left yet. I wasn't going out there where I'd have to put up with smug looks from Karen because Jer was on her side. So I stayed in bed, staring at the ceiling and obsessing until I heard the front door close.

Immediately, I poked my head out of my door and heard the deadbolt lock.

I was alone. Not that it meant anything. It wasn't even eight o'clock yet. On a Sunday. I should have been sleeping. All normal people would still be asleep and I would have been one of them if everything had gone right.

I threw myself down on the couch and turned the TV on. I flipped through the channels. Lots of church guys asking people to send in money, a few news shows, and a rerun of everyone's favorite Borrowers rip-off, The Littles. That's where I left it.

Eventually, I got up and got some breakfast, a couple of Jer's Hot Pockets, then into the shower. I left for work after noon and Jer still hadn't come back from church.

Work was all about me shelving books at the main branch of the county library. We opened at two and I kept shelving through my whole shift. I was lucky to have the job, though. It's not many students, especially undergrad students, to get a paying job where they want to end up. Yes, I was one of the few and the insane who planned to go into the library sciences as an undergrad. I wanted to spend my days surrounded by books and help people find something worth reading. And I couldn't wait to get my degree and gain a section of a library to rule over like a despot. Not a book out of place, not a penny from my budget unspent, not an unsatisfied member of the public. Those were my goals.

My shift ended at five and I got back to the apartment the door was locked and the lights were off. It didn't look like Jer had been back at all. I settled myself down on the couch and turned on the TV. After a bit of flipping, I stopped on Mumford, slumped low, put my feet on the coffee table, and settled myself for the rest of the movie.

Fifteen minutes later, I heard the door rattle. The deadbolt snapped open. I muted the TV and turned to watch, ready to really apologize to Jer for being an ass that morning. The door was pushed open as soon as the knob was unlocked and in stepped Karen, wearing the dress that, I assumed, she wore to church and carrying her heeled shoes in her hand.

"Oh," I said.

"Yeah," she said, closing the door.

"You should really knock," I said.

"Jer gave me his keys," she said, jingling them. "I figured it'd be okay. I wasn't going to stand outside while he went to pick up some food."

"Still should have knocked." I frowned.

"Sure, yeah. Next time. I will."

I turned back to the TV and was about to turn up the sound when Karen asked, "What's that?"

"A movie," I said.

"I know that." She sat down on the other end of the couch. "What's the movie?"


"The one with that guy from Chasing Amy?"

"He's one of the guys," I said and hit mute so I could hear it.

Karen put her shoes on the coffee table and leaned back into the couch. She always reminded me of a cat when she relaxed. First she pushed her back into the couch and stretched it. Then she stretched her arms out to her fingers. Next came her legs out to her toes. Finally, her body went limp. She'd relaxed like this since we were both little kids being dragged by our parents to annoying dinner parties put on by the stuffy people at the university where they worked.

I laughed a little when she finally settled.

"What?" she asked.

"It's just... Well, you still stretch like you used to," I said.

She smiled, "Some things never change, huh?"

I watched her watch the TV. "Karen, why'd you go to church this morning?"


"Church, why'd you go? You used to hate it. You used to be proud at how much you pissed your grandma off when you wouldn't go with her on holidays. What's up? Do you believe in that stuff now?"

She looked toward me, but not at me, and frowned, "It's the girls I live with."

I waited.

"There all Afro American Studies, right?"

I nodded.

"Well, and it's nuts, I know, they don't like me dating a white guy."

"Shit," I said.

"I know," she said, shaking her head. "I over heard a couple of the girls talking and one said that the only good thing she had to say about Jer was that he wasn't Mexican."

"Shit," I said, again.

"Yeah, that's why I Jer doesn't spend the night at my place." She sighed, "So, I go to their church to make them happier and make living there easier. I thought they were all going to shit themselves when they saw Jer with me this morning."

We both laughed.

Dead or Dying

I moved my MySpace bile blogs over here because I'm killing my account there. I'm also killing my Friendster account and my Facebook account.

In time, I may rejoin one or all of them, but that won't happen until I actually think there's a use for them.