Thursday, May 28, 2009

Marian the Librarian would be appalled.

It's a long lost cause I can never win
For the civilized world accepts as unforgivable sin
Any talking out loud with any librarian
Such as Marian.....Madam Librarian.

Marian, Librarian

Does anyone under the age of 40 know how to behave in a library anymore?

My students at Marquette never had any trouble, but that's because Marquette attracts nerds. :-) Pass the library at 2 a.m. and not only would lights be blazing, you could see students inside bent over books. Plus, by the time you get to that level, theoretically, anyway, you're civilized.

I actually was run out of the Rochester public library this afternoon earlier than I'd planned because of a group of about 10 teens who were laughing uproariously, talking and yelling loudly, dropping F-bombs left and right, and chasing slightly younger kids around. The RPL is a good size, at least, and there are places for grownups on the second floor, but I wasn't interested in any of the stuff up there (aside from the peace and quiet). Not only did I leave without getting what I wanted, I was so rattled I brought home another copy of a book I'd already checked out.

I miss things like basic courtesy. I wish they'd make a comeback.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Minnesota nice"

There are those who will tell you this is just another term for passive aggression, and that it relates to people who are smiling, helpful and pleasant to your face but talk trash about you behind your back. But, to me, anyway, it does seem there is a higher percentage of happy, friendly people here. (Maybe the lye used to cure the lutefisk has preserved their good mood -- that or the 10-month-winter brainfreeze. :-D)

I mention this because I heart Hy-Vee. I mean, after 2.5 years in exile, it's HEAVEN to be near a grocery store that actually sells fresh sushi. (I never could find it, on a menu or anywhere else, in CF. They'll happily eat roadkill, though.) And you gotta love a grocery store that has dieticians on staff that regular folks can make appointments with without having to go through doctors and insurance companies and stuff. But every single time I'm cruising the aisles and a worker is putting stuff on shelves or walking past me or whatever, rather than ignore me, they ALWAYS smile and greet me and ask if I need any help. And yes, that's part of their job -- but I've had jobs where that was expected, and I faked the hell out of it. I can tell from genuine. LOL

The other reason I heart Hy-Vee? Their express lanes. The signs above which say "12 items or FEWER."

A grammatically correct food mecca: I ask you: Does it get any better than this? :-)

One last Hy-Vee story: The little kid one aisle over from where I was, singing his own, made-up tune as loud as he could: "I love candy, I love candy, we love candy" etc, ad infinitum. So yeah, he was in the candy aisle, but hey, you gotta take your smiles where you can get them. :-)

Now playing: Melody Gardot - My One And Only Thrill
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, May 21, 2009

just a reminder

"No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be: am an attendant lord, one that will do to swell a progress, start a scene or two, advise the prince."
- T.S. Eliot

Being Armus

Just like Rick Reilly, I'm plagiarizing myself. Unlike Rick Reilly, I don't have a million-dollar contract with ESPN. That makes it not as bad, right? :-)

I wrote this on a mental health forum a few years ago, and I think it stands as a really good description of what life in the abyss is like. I'm bringing it up because I got some sad news about an old friend, and for those of you who don't understand how anyone could off themselves, maybe this will help.

I hope you are at peace, Clay, and were able to leave this world with the knowledge that you deserved better.

Does anybody remember the Star Trek: Next Gen episode where the black goo-creature murders Yar and (temporarily) eats Riker? I have it on VHS, because it has a lot of meaning for me. The black goo is named Armus (who stood down a 4-person away team AND Picard with no weapon -- not very well armed ), and he had abandonment and rage issues. I can't decide whether the special effects or the grade-school psychology were cheesier in that episode, but nevertheless, at the moment, I'm Armus, if only because I'm black goo.

Maybe it's because the cat has been pooping all over everything I own lately, but I feel like a worthless piece of doody lately. The black goo is choking me. It sits in the corner of my stomach, this little black ball, till something sets it off and it explodes and starts traveling up from my stomach to my throat, trying to choke me. I see and feel nothing but black goo. I think I must be the most evil person ever, everything is black and dark and enveloping. There is no good to me, there is no light, there is blackness and despair and hopelessness and evil.

I can't sleep. I didn't get one lick of sleep last night, was up and down every half hour, went to bed at midnight and said to heck with it around 6 this morning. I drank a pile of caffeine and plowed my way through my freelance project, because I need the cash bigtime, but I felt like a fraud the whole time, like I really don't know what I'm doing, I don't know anything, I'm just a worthless piece of good-for-nothing crap. Everything is black. I've spent the last hour in bed, trying to fall asleep, and all I can do is rock back and forth and think about how rotten I am. I'm almost afraid to fall asleep; I don't know what it will bring. I DO know it won't bring rest and relaxation.

I had no idea that at this point I could fall back into the abyss so suddenly and deeply, but here I am. When I was in the hospital for so long, by the time I finally got conscious enough to know what was going on, the Sago mine disaster was going on. Daytime TV is gross, so I kept CNN on all the time, and of course it was all death and destruction, all the time. Right now I feel like those miners: I can't breathe, and I'm trapped. It's dark, and I'm running out of air, and I don't even have the energy to leave a note, like some of them did -- I'm too busy trying not to choke to death on black goo.

Can somebody tell me how I got here? I'm not sure I know. I suspect I will read this over in the morning and realize I briefly lost touch with reality -- I don't feel real right now. I feel like Armus. He was all alone on Vagra 2. They left him there, with his rage and his obvious issues. Troi said she pitied him, and he got ticked off. I understand. I don't want pity. I want relief. I can't cry. I can't breathe. I can't find any light. I can't stand myself; I feel like every cell that makes up "me" has something rotten in its core and I'm just an evil piece of crap.

I can't stand being mentally ill. I hate being this debilitated. I hate being sent into a tailspin by the dumbest d*mn things. I hate not being able to function like a normal human being, even when I'm expected to. I REALLY hate that people don't understand me! At all! Ever! (Well, except for other people in the same boat.) I KNOW I'm a PITA to live with. Being crazy makes everybody around you crazy. I just wish, when I got "crazy," that there was something to get me out of it, instead of having to slog through it.

Screw it. I'm going to go take a couple of Xanax and put on my relaxation CD. Maybe some nice New Age music will convince me I'm not Armus. But right now I think I could climb out of my skin with no problem whatsoever. One of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, once wrote a short story about people having evolved out of bodies. They kept the really good-looking ones in warehouses, and rented them out for parades and special occasions, but otherwise they went around the rest of the time without bodies. I want to do that.

Now playing: Iron & Wine - No Moon
via FoxyTunes

too much truth...

...both in the accuracy of what's being asked of the guy and that if you appeal to a journo's ego -- we all have one, even though we're generally flaming introverts -- requests like this can work. ;-)

Credit Ryan Pagelow, and go subscribe to Pressed.

Now playing: Eric Hutchinson - Food Chain
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 15, 2009

reasons for living never come cheap....

Everyone's looking, everyone hides
Everyone's telling everyone lies
We're changing the subject, we're turning away
Away from the heart of it all

You say you are happy
Do you think this is fun?
Well it's only a firefly to the light of the sun
You say this is living, you feel so alive
Well you know everything dies

Even my wonder, even my fear
Only amount to a couple of tears
There is a rhythm, it's near and it's far
It flows through the heart of us

Welcome to another day
It don't seem that different 'cause nothing has changed
I try to remember, try to remember
When we weren't just running in place
Reasons for living, never come cheap
But even your best ones can put me to sleep
What I am saying or trying to say
Is that there must be a better way


It's already in you, it's already there
You may disagree, but I don't really care
Did you ever find out, did you ever find out
What's at the heart of us?
Did you ever find out
Did you ever find out what's at the heart?

Tell me all your wildest dreams
You don't really care, you don't know what they mean
Raiding the closets, with skeleton keys
You know it's easier than you think


Your reasons for living are all very fine,
But they're leaving me cold 'cause they're not really mine
Did you ever find out, did you ever find out
What's at the heart of us.

I don't know
I don't know
--Duncan Sheik, "Reasons for Living"

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Someone asked me recently what my dreams were. After taking some time to think about it, I realized I don't have any. The ones I *did* have I either reached or surrendered, and I never came up with anything to replace them. It is very uncomfortable being adrift at a point of life where most people are firmly anchored instead.

I just woke up from the world's most transparent dream (kind of what inspired this). I left my wallet -- a very cute red leather affair with a kitty on one side and a martini on the other :-) -- at the library. (If you know what a reader I am, you'll know how appropriate this is, LOL.) They called after me to let me know, so I went back to the desk to grab it and was told that I couldn't have it -- they had to hold a series of meetings, etc to determine whether they'd give it back to me. There was this one really nasty chick I went back and forth with, and finally she hauled me off in a back room and told me how for the last year I'd been cold and uncaring toward her. She didn't much like it when I pointed out she'd been the same way to me.

Eventually, her bosses forced her to give me my wallet (aka my identity) back, but she was awful about it.

Did I mention this was a very transparent dream? ;-)

Ugh. Much more I want to add, but can't put it into coherent thought right now. Also not sure I want the entire planet reading about it. Back to bed for now, to sleep -- perchance to dream.

Now playing: Duncan Sheik - Reasons for Living
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, May 9, 2009

plus ca change.... ca meme chose.

Nallwood Junior High School yearbook, 1978-79 (8th grade).

And I quote:


I'm really glad I got to know you. You're a real fun person. Take a little advice: Don't express your opinion to Dr. Brown {principal} if it could hurt you. OK? Take care. Good luck.

Julie Hagel

Julie, hon, if you happen across this -- I'm still an opinionated bitch who stands up for justice where it isn't being served. Dr. Brown was the least of it. I grew up to routinely piss off an archbishop. :-D

Now playing: Beastie Boys - Song for the Man
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 8, 2009

gotta love it...

5 days removed from the northwest Wisconsin home of Leinenkugel's, what do I see driving down the main drag through a southeast Minnesota town?

A Leinenkugel's truck in front of a bar.

You CAN go home again. Sorta. Maybe. :-D

Saturday, May 2, 2009

ok it's alright with me...

...some things are just meant to be
It never comes easily
And when it does, I'm already gone.

Eric Hutchinson video

So. At some point early-ish (I hope -- we'll see if I sleep through the alarm ;-), the computer is coming apart and getting tossed in the car with the rest of my stuff, and off I'll be on my next adventure.

Farewell, Chippewa Valley. In junior high, we had this stupid saying, "it's been real, and it's been fun, but it hasn't been real fun." I bring it up because it applies. My two-and-a-half years here have been ... interesting? Yes. Real? More than I'd like. Fun? Here and there. I'm glad I took the chance, because it helped me define what I *don't* want, but overall? I ain't gonna let the proverbial door hit me in the ass on my way out.

I *will* miss living two blocks from Olsen's Ice Cream. I'll WAY miss living 3/4 of a block up the street from the Leinenkugel brewery -- not just because of the free samples :-), but the people there are pretty awesome. Peg and Jake Leinenkugel in particular always were exceptionally kind and gracious toward me.

I'll miss what passes for a "zoo" in Irvine Park. I'll miss that every single high school kid Gordy Schafer hires to work at his grocery store is polite, smiles, and genuinely is happy to engage you in conversation beyond "paper or plastic?" (It's the adult cashiers who are surly.) Hell, I'll even miss that special aroma of cow poop. (Live in the country long enough and it grows on you, believe it or not.)

I already have been missing the folks on the school board and my friends at city hall.

What *won't* I miss? The provincialism. The complete absence of anything resembling diversity, whether in culture, attitudes, or people. The fact that although, as people got to know me and my work and I became a more familiar presence around town, my not having had 5 generations of my family established here and a street named after Great-Grandpa, the former mayor, hurt me. I never really fit in because of it. Nor did I really fit in at a workplace where 3/4 of the people on staff had grown up here and had already had a decade or two on the job. I suppose it's that perpetual fish-out-of-water feeling I had here that I'll be happiest to shed.

All in all? I guess I'd call it a wash.

Now playing: Supertramp - Goodbye Stranger
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 1, 2009

this is just...evil.

Not 30 seconds after hitting "publish" on my last post and going to check for recent updates on my blogroll, I found this.

The "haul you off into a spare office, read a prepared statement, then escort you out the door" model sucked, I can attest -- but this is just ... wrong. On many, many levels. My consolation is that karma is a bitch.

Baltimore Sun cans 4 journos in middle of assignment

did i miss something?

Is it "Syndicated Cartoonists Gripe About the Death of Newspapers Week" and I just didn't hear about it? Not that I mind or anything -- whatever helps the cause. If it can make me chuckle in the process, so much the better.

BTW, the unofficial motto of my high school paper was "All The News We Could Find." :-D Whoda guessed way back then that even the venerable New York Times would be in deep financial trouble? And the Baltimore Sun -- which has broken its share of stories and won its share of Pulitzers -- just canned 61 people, including 15 editors. It is ugly times in the biz. :-\