Tuesday, February 25, 2003

skeletor222: it came like a flood of burning ferrets over a grassy plain. Three time! RING! RING! RING! Stricken with horror i realize it could only be one thing. THE PHONE. it was calling me from the other room like an old woman offering candy to a baby...the old woman with death in her eyes. RING! RING! the contraption whined again. I could not resist its seductive tones. I sprang from my desk and ran into the ajoining room. I clutched the bone white handset, pausing just long enough for one last thrusting RING, then lifted it like a pistol to my temple. "hello" i whispered through clinched teeth, my eyes bolt shut in fear, usnsure what manner of terrror had assembled at the other end of the line. The hand set rattled in my sweaty palm. I think i heard i heard a mouse scratching in the wall. Or was the sound coming from the phone. What awful thing could make this sound. "Hi this is morgan"

skeletor222: My heart rushed and for a brief moment a spark of hope illuminated my spirit, but it was terminated by the darkness of a night so bleak and void of any compasion or humanity as I have not seen before.


skeletor222: what creature was this that could form the very vocal tones of one so familiar and trusted by me

skeletor222: "Can you tell ari to give me a call"

skeletor222: how fiendish to ask my assistance in the task which was certainly none other than to deliver my own friend to
clutches of certain doom!

skeletor222: and to do so in the guise of one he loved!

skeletor222: oh sweet sauce!

skeletor222: how i moaned

skeletor222: "hello"...the sweet voice chimed once more.

skeletor222: "BE GONE FOUL TEMPTRESS" i screemed...or wanted to screem. but no air would escape my lungs

skeletor222: a paralysis had taken my body. there was nothing i could do but sumbit to the requests of the voice

skeletor222: "yes...yes." i murmered from beneath my submission.

skeletor222: "i will tell him"

My car has vanished. My laptop is collapsing in upon itself. My retainer has taken to the streets.
All my material possessions fly from me. No matter. I'm still around, in good form (although the doctor informs me that I've also lost about ten or fifteen pounds). I am surrounded by people I love. And, always, ha'shem.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Here's to knowing the delerious joys of life. I had an unparalleled moment falling in love with the landscape of a cut up strawberry at shabbat lunch last week.
This is why I want to be a teacher. No one should be able to wake up in the morning and not be overcome with awe. I want people to lose themselves in fruit salads. Shiver at the movement of their index finger. To cry at the sight of tree branches. Who proclaimed academia the great demystifier and deadener? Explanations don't kill miracles. From explanations miracles are born.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Well-ivoried in my tower on College Hill this morning. Yesterday, I stayed in the tower, trying to digest the stubborn and elegant cellulose of Marx and Weber. Snow filmed my windows over, and when I peaked through every few hours, the trees seemed to have sunk. Midnight last night, we took Ratty trays to the streets down the hill and danced with the plows and 4-wheel drivers and the RISD students who had designed their own sleds out of bicycle handle bars, snowboards, and chairs.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

She held out her hand
I took it lightly
Pleased by her intensity
Inattentive, and distracted, I busied myself with other things
and without even noticing,
I took my hand back
Then she fell.
She fell I was not carrying her
She fell I was just holding her hand
And I let it drop.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

I waxed domestic today. Acquired and installed a carpet. Redecorated. Vacuumed-oh yes. And scrubbed.

Microgardening: My second crop of bell peppers has emerged, and is challenging the carrying capacity of my window sills. I re-"potted" about 70 of them to give them their own bathroom-rinse cups. Seventy babies are probably too many for me to take care of, especially if I want to try another crop as well (soy beans?) so I am trying to give away as many pepper-babies as possible.
If you want one and are around Providence, let me know.

And I read. About bats. Imagine walking around blind, screaming at 100 decibels and painting spaces by the echoes of your own voice.

And about birds. Some birds appear able to sing with two distinct voices, simultaneously. My friend Jakob insists that he can do this two--I have heard him sing chords. The white crowned sparrow, even if it never encounters another bird from the day of its birth, can sing. But to sing the song of its kinsfolk, it needs to be among its own kind--or a recording of them. Somehow, though, it can recognize the song of its own. Trapped in a cage, having never seen a bird since he hatched, the white-crowned sparrow can stare into a speaker and, from a disembodied playlist, pick out the white-crowned sparrow song. To learn his song, he must already know it is his own.

Friday, February 07, 2003

9:30am. On my hands and knees with the key, I spotted the lock. The lock sat in the bootom corner of the glass and chrome door, satisfied no doubt by the fact that none could enter without first kneeling.
I rose and entered an enormous glass cube, at least three stories tall, and proceeded to play with the buttons controlling the rise and fall of the retractable shades on every side. Eventually, my fellowee arrived. I found him teaching me about the coast of Senegal, the vulnerability of its biodervity and the poverty of its people. He seemed to come from somewhere farther away than anything I have known, and I felt right meeting him in the commonly foreign ground of this unearthly glass cube-room. We discussed his presentation, and then he rehearsed and I critiqued, excited and a slightly set off firm footing by the chasm of differences that seemed to separate us--nonetheless, the experience seemed astoundingly successful.
"I love to make maps. This is what I love to do in life. Making maps every day."
An hour later, I had met Jose. His statement seemed kind of comical to me. What quirky interests people have. What inspires a passion for cartography?
Then he started to take me through his presentation. Images of 70,000 buildings destroyed, entire cities erased, 50,000 people killed by landslides in Venezuela in 1999. Venezuela's mountains sliding into the sea. And then he showed me 3-d zoning maps he had spent months constructing; maps that revealed where the most landslide-endangered areas were; maps that could deflect the fate of ill-placed cities and direct the safe growth of new homes.
I was not prepared for this. Jose is casual, uncomfortable with his (generally strong) English, fond of Michael Jackson jokes, and passionate about making maps with a tone of a passionate stamp collector or bird-watcher. He wears no signs of his own heroism. He just likes maps. A lot.
I tell him that his presentation is strong, and that his project is important, will get people excited.
"Excited," Jose smiles wryly. "This is the American morbosity. Morbosity--I don't know what it is in English, but like watching a tiger killing its meal, or like when the landslides happen in Venezuela, the reporters come in helicopters with cameras and crews and go to the straight to the destroyed cities and talk to the dying people and get back in their helicopters and leave."

I went to appeal a grade today from last semester. That was a mistake. My professor, who had never read any of my work, skimmed my final exam as graded by the TA, and told me that she agreed with my TA's garde. That I had not gotten the key point accross. I showed her my thesis that addressed it, and the key passages that supported it, she would not be convinced. I asked her if she would be willing to go over it carefully at some point and make specific comments on how I might improve in the future. She said that she would be able to do little more, short of rewriting the paper for me.
Then she decided to try to make me feel better. "You shouldn't worry about this. A B isn't so bad. You're a science person, right?"
"I don't really think that's fair" I replied.
"What's you're major then?" "Neuroscience. But I've taken numerous advanced history classes including a senior seminar and performed very well in them. In fact, this is the first B I have received."
"Well I think that's very unfortunate. You deserved to hear the warning signs sooner. But you shouldn't worry. This is probably you're first experience analyzing canonnical writers, and it is a skill that takes time to develop. And you've done a highly...adequate job."
I have been upset at this for some time--but looking back with clearer head some ten hours later, it occurs to me that much of the very positive feedback I have gotten on papers here has proved equally functionless, even if ego-padding is easier to take than assaults on my aggregate writing and analytical skills. I have, however, taken one writing intensive course where I felt challenged specifically and constructively--I went to that professor immediately after this meeting, and enlisted her to help me develop my writing skills, which I feel have atrophied along with my writer's-ego. We begin with a simple prescription. Practice.

I had seen them all before, but only in sequence. Now they surrounded me, bathing on their well-lighted white-wall mounts. I stood in the center, and lived through four months of Lucas's eyes in a single moment. Or at least I tried. I then stepped very close, and put my face near each photo--overwhelmed, knowing that he had known the out-of-focus smudge on the sidewalk as intimately as the rip in the old man's pants and the finely focused curve of his crooked smile and he had loved them all for months and months alone in the dark. I smiled deeply and cried.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Now raise your arms up and out, following your thumbs with your eyes. Roll your stomach up and in, open your buttocks. Lower your hips, push your pelvis out.
Now release.
Do you feel that?
Something beyond yourself? Beyond your mind and body? Beyond your senses?
A neuroscientist would call it the exchange of sodium and potassium and chloride
The Chinese would call it Chi
That life force
And here we will learn to concentrate that force
Like ET's finger

My first yoga experience has left me feeling light. Clear-headed. Alert. Relaxed.
Low pressure environment--"You can put your knees down any time. Do only what you are ready to do. This, too, is practice"--intense enough that I know I'll be sore tomorrow. Focus on breathing, stretching, and lower-body strength. The instructor drew in his breath and moved it about much like a martial artist might move his stick. When he spoke, I could hear him do this meditative dance with his breath, his voice moving through it.
His diverse referencing to light science and light Hindu philosophy emerged amusing and ludicrous and invested with the best intentions of instilling comfort and confidence.
No disciple am I, but I will go back.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

I just want to love

and write it

but I keep losing my retainer

the little one that goes over my lower teeth

are they still crooked?

hm. my right index finger tells me no, but my left index finger tells me yes, my tongue is non-commital, and a look in the mirror reveals little.

I need that retainer like a warm blanket and the battered stuffed teddy bear I left at home.

will they grow askew again without the gentle hug of translucent plastic and wire?

How comforting is a mold.

There is a hole in the pocket of my sweatpants. Just about the size of my retainer.

Maybe I put it in my pocket while I was running in the soggy Providence afternoon

and it decided it had had enough, and burrowed its way out, down the leg of my sweatpants.

It is saturday night. and I had planned on a jam-session, and, before that, some writing.

but instead I have spent the past two hours scouring my room, emptying my laundry bag, looking under couch cushions and into desk drawers not touched in months, haunted by images of my little retainer being overrun by a herd of SUV's on Wickenden Street, giving myself repeated mental floggings over yet another 200 dollar idiot tax.

Welcome to the mind of a neurotic ten-year -old. And they expect me to graduate next year and do something with myself. Whoever they are, I hope they find my retainer.