Sunday, July 31, 2005

nice day in Berkeley

Just back from brunch at Saul's, a Jewish deli & restaurant around the corner from our house. Kent has been coveting a long salami and I said, "Get it!"

I'm feeling sleepy. Maybe I'll take a walk. Nice fresh air out there and some sun.

Before heading out to eat I played Luxor a few more times. I completed the final screen. Yay! A combination of strong playing and a fat dollop of good luck, I'd guess. Now I never have to play that damn game again.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Been having trouble sleeping. Some days this week I was half sleepwalking even while showering. I'm surprised I didn't konk out at my desk.

I called in sick this morning and went back to bed. Sundy joined me, which he usually doesn't do, being, I suppose, as I tend to toss & turn. But I was so zonked this morning even a sensitive kitty could lie comfortably beside me.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Let's say

your mouth hurts, so you escape from October by means of a thin wire looped several times around a blue beam that was balanced three years ago across a stern fulcrum somebody brown anchored in a favorite field thirteen miles from the county seat, the wind blowing back blazes, the clouds catching up mountains by their peaks and dragging them toward the sea which is dipping here into wine cups and spilling brisk brine on tablecloths that certainly used to be nicely ironed, tidy people assert, even though such cloths have, in the long trek across the continent, been on more than one occasion stretched over a sick infant when the sun was unfriendly, perverse even, driven by the insistence of an unholy rhyme.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

cherry ice cream

Kent is upstairs making cherry ice cream and watching Big Brother 6. His last batch of cherry was the best of his ice cream creations, yummy! I'm looking forward to tasting tonight's.

I've been playing Luxor again. And again. And again. I thought I was one screen away from completing the game but then discovered there was another level with several screens, each of which usually kill me 4 or 5 times. My play can blister but if I play too long I make bonehead mistakes over & over.

I'm working on a new long poem. I suppose it's a poem. I'm not so much thinking of it as a poem, whatever that is, as I'm using the line breaks because the character who is writing his story would use line breaks, the surface he's writing on being unlimited and unlined.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

Been fairly busy this hour. So it'll probably be a brief post.

It'll be nice to have self-check-out machines again. The line at the Circulation Desk sure does get long. It looks like they only have two workers this hour (unless somebody's on break) and the line is ten persons deep.

I've had two phone calls from patrons wanting to place holds on items via the website. It was easy enough talking them through the process -- though I had to renew one man's card before he could complete the process.

One of our summer teen workers in an orange shirt just pranced through the front door -- pranced! big grin on his face -- bounced up the stairs. Very cute.

A girl just asked, "How many books can you check out at one time?" When I said, "Up to fifty," -- her face, you shoulda seen it. Maybe I should have said, "You can have out up to fifty items." You can check out 5 a day for the next ten days, for example. Anyway, 50 seemed plenty to her.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Bought some new clothes today.

Instead of searching the closet for empty clothes hangers I looked for shirts I haven't worn in ages, shirts that have dissatisfied me for some reason.

I removed the unwanted old shirt from its hanger, draped the new shirt over the hanger and put it in the closet. The old shirts I wadded up and put in a paper bag by the door for Goodwill.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Khufu's Revenge

It's been nice to slow the blogging down for a few days. Been playing Luxor, the gameplay is rather like Space Invaders. You fire projectiles at a descending enemy. In the case of Luxor you're firing colored balls at other colored balls which are working your way toward you on a track (on some screens there are two tracks that intertwine). The track twists back and forth and you have to hit blue with blue, red with red, etc. When three balls of the same color form a line they disappear.

The hardest screen has to be one called Khufu's Revenge. No margin of error is available on that screen. Luck and unerring aim have to be on your side to clear it. In order to get from one level to another you have to clear several screens. If you fail to clear the 6th of 6 screens on one level you have to start over at the 1st screen on that level. This wasn't a problem, really, until Khufu's Revenge.

Say you are able to get past KR, right? I was able to. After probably twenty tries. But the other screens were hard, too, and I knew if I didn't clear the screen after KR I'd fall back behind KR again, trapped for 20 more tries. I appealed to Kent, who is much better at the computer thing than I. Isn't there some trick? Isn't there some way to return to the game before 'game over'? K looked for where the computer saves the play data and made a duplicate of the folder.

When I then did fail to clear the screen after Khufu's Revenge I was able to throw out the failed files and revert to the game as though I'd just cleared KR. Yay!

Many screens are still fairly easy. And some take a few tries. Khufu's Revenge has appeared twice. The first time it was on an early forgiving level where you get all the right colors and the balls move slowly. The second time was the bad time. That's several screens back now. And I'm hoping hoping hoping it doesn't turn up again. If it does that's probably where the game will end for me.

And Karl Rove? Here's hoping his own tricks don't include this one!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Let's say

a beautiful balloon falls on your head. It's a large balloon. Large as a house. But your head, as of last night, is three houses long and two wide. People knock on the door but no one answers. You are trying to be quiet because you know the balloon's grandmother has an axe and if you don't answer the axe will swing against another neck. However, one of the people so insistent at your door of doors is the son you gave up for adoption when you yourself were adrift, back in those terrible days when boils flamed up on your eyelids and the lamprey on each arm was warm with your lymph. Those weren't the sort of days you want to own up to, even though you did pay off the mortgage and got a letter from the bank saying as much. Which bank was it? No doubt it also has been absorbed into the greater family of institutions greater and greater than all lesser gods, including your cats -- those still living -- and your parakeets -- those still nibbling at the bone wired inside the cage.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

Would I get in trouble for Info Desk Blogging?

Now & then in the news you hear about somebody being fired for blogging. Usually it's because they've said bad things about their employer. Or discussed things that happened on the job in a way that made the employer nervous. Surely, I've been circumspect here.

I haven't told any of the bosses at the library that I blog while at the Info Desk. Easy enough to find out, I suppose. If one thinks to look.

Woman just came in holding hand of blond toddler. Toddler hops, hops. As she turns her back to me I see sewn to her white Tshirt, at each shoulderblade, a hand-sized white wing.

D. Travers Scott is going to be reading in SF this Wednesday. I'm thinking of going. I just read Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and Scott's novel, One of These Things is Not Like the Others, uses elements from the Hemingway book.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

evil has no meaning

"The NAACP unfortunately in the 2000 campaign likened the president to James Byrd, who was a racist killer in east Texas, who the president brought to justice." -- Ken Mehlman, Republican National Committee Chair, via Eschaton

James Byrd was the black man dragged to death chained to a pickup truck in Bush's Texas.

Bush brought James Byrd to justice?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

to scrutineer

"[L]ike many of the competitors [in the solar car race], Cal's team needed to tweak things on its vehicle, named the Beam Machine, during the scrutineering process." link

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Life in Berkeley

The city closes off a small street around the corner on Thursdays for a Farmer's Market. They haven't been doing it long in our neighborhood. There are FMs on other streets that've been going for years & years. It's nice. Today I loaded up on tomatoes and squashes and peaches and got a watermelon. I cut some peaches after Kent got home but they weren't so good; juicy but tart.

The flesh around Flash's eyes was itchy & swollen so K took her to the vet again this week. Conjunctivitis, says vet. And he encouraged K to give Flash a tranq when she starts with the heavy panting. It's part of her therapy. The panting may overstress her chest muscles. So K gave her a tranq last night, a whole pill. In the past she's gotten a half a pill and then gone groggy on us. Last night? One pill? Three times she just fell over. She lost control of her pee. Dog pee, it seems, ain't anywhere near as nasty as cat pee. So. We won't be doing a whole pill again. Today she seems to be doing well.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Yesterday I mentioned seeing a "hot blond" come in the door while I was on the Information Desk.

Not long after I wrote that we had an incident involving a peeping tom. Sheesh. Makes one self-conscious.

I remember when I first became aware libraries were hotbeds of pervishness. I was working at the SRJC campus library and my boss was after a guy for peeking under desks, creeping out the girls who were trying to study. I didn't believe it at first. Doing what? And the guy my boss was after was someone I knew slightly who seemed like a nice enough person. Well, one day I was out in the stacks shelving books and, damn, our peeper was being so obvious. Squirming at his desk, dipping his head down to peep at the girl across the aisle. I gave him some odd looks and I think he got up and moved. That day or some other I remember my boss chasing the guy out of the library.

A library aide yesterday told me that he sees it far too often and sometimes now he will say something, something like, "Can I help you find something, sir?"

Monday, July 11, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

Here I am ten minutes late for my first regular Monday Info Desk slot. I have such a regular routine it's tough to remember variations.

But then I had a helluva time keeping track of my hours when I was an intermittent -- a substitute. I so looked forward to having a regular schedule!

And it'll be nice to settle into a regular Info Desk hour again. So far the hour's not been crazy. I've been interrupted several times but, um, that what's supposed to happen, right?

Forecast has several days of hot weather for us.

Speaking of hot ... had one hot blond walk thru the door while I was on the phone. I'm not one who gets excited by blonds in theory. I'm more likely to find dark attractive. But hot is hot. It was nice to be on the phone so my eyes were free.

Today's Info Desk questions have been pretty standard -- on what floor is this call number? can I change my address in the computer? what do I need to use the internet? ... that sort of thing.

"The air conditiong in here is great," a man tells me passing.

Daddy gives each child a video to return. Girl runs to closest drop slot, boy to the next. Boy drops his in then says to girl, "No!" Girl is trying to return DVD in Book slot. Daddy intervenes and girl gets to drop DVD in the correct slot.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

cat pee

One of our cats peed on a cardboard box of poetry books I brought back from my mother's house. I threw out one of the books (sorry A.D. Winans) but the rest I'd prefer to hang onto, I think. Pah.

There seem to be a lot of hints on the net for removing the smell, but they are mostly for fabric (carpets, clothes). Anyway, I'll isolate the affected books and see what I'm in the mood to do about 'em.

I suspect the urinator is the big fluffy one, Sutra. Why? Because Sundy is so sweeeet. And Sutra hates hates hates to be trapped inside. The revenge theory of peeing!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

wrestling the stump

The trees planted along the eastern fence of the neighbor's yard control the afternoon light in our yard. We also have trees planted along our eastern fence. Thus we have trees to the west (their yard) and to the east (in our yard) and one strip of sunlight down the middle during the middle of the day. It's a yard mostly in shade. This makes gardening problematic.

But we seem to like gardening more in theory than in practice, anyway. Frankly, yard work often depresses me. But the last few weekends (except the one we were out of town) I've gone out and cut away at the berry vines (two kinds) and invasive trees (the neighbor's trees aren't content staying on their side of the fence).

There's one particular strip of tree growth that's been working its way east; we've cut it back every year. Today I tackled it with the idea that I was going to root it out. Roots are the story. The trees send these fat roots under the fence and shoots lunge up along their route. There's been a stump six feet or so into the yard that's about the size of two fists. After I cut and yanked up all the smaller shoots I turned to this stump. The wood of this tree (I don't know what kind it is) is brittle. Typically a good pull breaks branch or root. But this stump was taking my weight and not budging. So I got a shovel and dug around it and tried again and nothing. So I kept digging. Where was the parent root? The ground was getting harder. At top the soil is dry and loose but dig down a few inches and you hit hard clay. This probably is a problem for the trees, too. Four or five inches down I found the root; it was about an inch thick (inch & a half?). I managed to wriggle the shovel tip under and pry. Again used my hands to pull at the stump and it wobbled. Again with the shovel and snap. The root broke.

There's still, of course, lots of root underground that can throw up new shoots. But there are no more stumps to stumble over. Yay!

Friday, July 08, 2005

queer flicks

I posted today about queer TV circa 1985 on my Dare I Read blog.

Then on his blog Charles Jensen writes, "I've been noticing lately how rampantly contemporary American cinema reinforces the 'norm' of heterosexuality. So many of the films I've watched recently have incorporated into their plots some kind of inane romance, affair, or love story involving heterosexual couples. This was never as unfortunate as it was in the recent Land of the Dead, where, among the walking corpses, two plucky heteros—one a freedom fighter, the other a virtuous whore—come together."

I wrote the following in Charles' comments:

I saw Land of the Dead (typed Lawn of the Dead, then corrected) last weekend also. My view of it is much more benign as far as its queer aspects. First of all it's a genre movie and those tend to rely on stereotypes. So you sorta give it that coming in. I don't recall any out gay characters in George Romero movies but you might want to check out his Martin, a vampire movie that's definitely queer. Romero cast black leading men when it was not the thing to do, especially in a horror flick. The lead in Night of the Living Dead is black. And Land of the Dead is by no means all white (except at the top of the bad guy hierarchy).

These days we almost take for granted the butchy femme carrying a big gun in the action movie but it was not always so. Romero included action women in his Dawn and Day zombie movies while standard Hollywood femmes tended to the fainting. Anyway, can't you give some queer cred to a movie with a chick who programs the missile launcher being called "Pretty Boy"?

Plus I disagree that the cute male lead (worked for me!) hooks up with the gun-wielding prostitute. They never kiss. They never even embrace. They don't even exchange charged looks. The most significant looks between her and another male character, I'd say, are between her and Riley's buddy when she's sussing out their relationship. "I make myself useful," the buddy says. And Riley says later, "He's good with a gun." You might say Slack (the prostitute) adopts their language when flirting with Riley when she later says she too is "trying to make myself useful." Is she sexualizing an innocent remark or is something else going on? Yes, if there's a sexual component to the boys' buddyship it's totally covert but monsters and handicaps in horror movies have often been codes for queer sex -- and Riley's retard (fag?) buddy is physically damaged (horror movie code for the inner life). In this day & age we deserve somebody out & taken for granted. But I don't agree that the lead boy & girl "come together" in the breeder sense.

more on the above at skook

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

Nothing new in the "Hot Info!" section of the Info Desk Clipboard/binder. So I guess I'm not totally behind the times.

Starting next week I have a weekly Info Desk hour again so you might see more Info Desk blogging. It's 4-5 Mondays. I hope that's not a crazy hour.

The hour's first question: Are all the new books of the retranslations of Proust's In Search of Lost Time now available? Or have the last few not yet been published? I couldn't quite locate the answer. The Prisoner, which is the book the patron was seeking, is not listed in our catalog, nor is it listed in Penguin's catalog, Penguin being the publisher of the preceding volumes. I was hoping to find there at least some sort of publication announcement ... no luck. A line was starting to form so I sent the patron on to the Reference Desk upstairs.

During my lunch breaks I've been reading Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Frankly, I'm getting a little bored with it. Is it anything other than a travel diary? A slight memoir of an American living in Europe between the wars?

Looks nice n sunny out, breezy. The vat of roofing tar that for weeks had been smoking away at the curb seems to be gone. Whew.

I just checked out at one of the RFID stations at the Circ Desk. First time I've done that. Easy. I jumped the line for an old lady who'd already been through it once; an item was supposed to be on hold for her but wasn't. Fortunately another copy was on the public shelves so I found that for her. Now I realize if the item on hold shows up and the patron doesn't pick it up she'll be charged for not picking it up. Oops. If I remembered her name I would cancel the hold. Naturally, I do not remember her name. My nonphotographic memory -- a security feature!

Looks like we finally have enough DVDs that some are on the shelf now when people come in. Oddly the DVDs are now intershelved with the VHS tapes. Maybe that's why more are on the shelf. They're harder to find.

Update: Later I realized I did remember the title of the movie that was supposed to be on hold so I was able to look it up and cancel the hold on it. Ha!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


There's not a lot of good news in the paper (or the paper's website) these days, but when is there?

Nor do I have much to say. Not about what's on now, anyway.

I skip thru my usual blogs (kos, ron, gay news, and whichever of a long list strikes me at the time) but it's all motion and I can concentrate only for a paragraph.

I've discovered the library has taken to cataloging graphic novels in adult fiction so on break I sometimes wander the aisles scanning spines for something that looks graphic novel shaped. Today I brought home Jens Harder's Leviathan, a wordless book about whales & popular culture. Or something. I've just sampled and it looks interesting.

I went to yoga after work.

It's overcast and breezy out, I see.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


As you no doubt already know we're in for a battle over Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement on the Supreme Court. A nasty ugly mean battle. Bush will choose someone who wants to bring back the death penalty for homosexuals and the Democrats will say we'll vote for her if she just assures us she hasn't decided yet which homo she wants to shoot in the head. She will say, "I can't comment on a case that isn't in front of me." And the Democrats will say, "Well, okay, okay, Ms. Absolutely Fucking Incredible Patriotic Genius Who We Love And Before Whom We Will Bow & Scrape, just say, 'I will consider not shooting a homo in the head with a gun if the case before me makes that action seem really really inappropriate.'then you'll get 99 votes." And she'll say, "Senator, I don't deal in hypotheticals. But I will concede that I have seen a case that involved a homosexual and, after due consideration, I thought he deserved flinging over a cliff." 99 votes!

Friday, July 01, 2005

wrote a poem

I wrote a poem in my notebook. I was pleased with the poem. It's a new notebook -- I just started writing in it last week. It was fun to be pleased with the poem and I think the book is off to a good start. Many many blank pages ahead.

I filled the notebook I'd been working in for a year. I usually title the notebooks when I'm midway through. Typically a title will come calling and hang around waiting to be affixed. This time I don't remember thinking about a title at all. Not until I was only a few pages from filling the book did I realize it had no title. I flipped through what I'd written. Helen ... my mother's name. Mom died shortly after I'd begun the book. I'd written a couple poems leading up to her death and a couple poems after. Helen ... It's the right name for the book. So I wrote "Helen" in plain script on the inside front cover.