Archive for September, 2005

Rules are simple, for Christ’s sake!

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

There are very simple rules, and DHL should never forget them:

  1. Do not steal candy from packages
  2. Do not let a package sit in LAX for days, regardless of plane and weight restrictions, especially when the package is a mere 6 pounder.

little moments

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

Lately I’ve had a couple of odd little experiences in the few blocks from the train to work. They’re nothing much, really. Perhaps it’s just that my life is so introverted that it’s easy for things that happen to stand out for me.

A week or so ago, a panhandler I’m friendly with at the train station smiled and held out a coin to me as I walked up to him. It was foreign (Dutch, actually) and so kind of useless to him right then, but it struck me as a beautiful little moment of role reversal and generosity.

Then this morning I hopped over a blind man’s cane (that sounds like a Tom Waits lyric, doesn’t it?). I was walking down the sidewalk a bit faster than the man and as I moved beside him to pass, he started moving towards me. The distance between the sweep of his cane, me, and the building on the left was quickly closing. I sped up and at the last second I had to hop over his cane away from the wall. Somehow it didn’t even occur to me to say something (plus he was having a conversation with another man). I realized later that I’d been enjoying it like a kind of ad hoc three second game. It’s possible, too, of course (and I like the idea), that he knew I was there and was playing a three second game of his own.


Thinking about these tonight, I was reminded of something I read in Life After God by Douglas Copeland :

I thought of how every day each of us experiences a few little moments that have just a bit more resonance than other moments — we hear a word that sticks in our mind — or maybe we have a small experience that pulls us out ourselves if only briefly … and if we were to collect these small moments in a notebook and save them over a period of months we would see certain trends emerge from our collection — certain voices would emerge that have been trying to speak through us. We would realise that we have been having another life altogether, one we didn’t even know was going on inside us. And maybe this other life is more important than the one we think of as being real — this clunky day-to-day world of furniture and noise and metal. So just maybe it is in these small silent moments which are the true story-making events of our lives.

A method for eating pistachios

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005

Fill a medium sized bowl with pistachios. Eat as normal, but place the empty shells back into the bowl. This way, it becomes a game to find the nuts amongst the shells – a game that gets harder the longer you play.

When you think that there are no more pistachios, you tell yourself that you will find another 5. Continue playing.

My experience shows that you’ll usually find at least another 10.

Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.

Monday, September 19th, 2005

In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, I humbly but lazily offer a single quote from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, because this is already pirate talk, and because I like it:

Mr. Gibbs: Curse you for breathin’ ya slack-jawed idiot. Jack. Mother’s love. You should know it’s bad luck to wake a man when he’s sleeping.
Jack Sparrow: Fortunately, I know how to counter it; the man who did the waking buys the man who was sleeping a drink; the man who was sleeping drinks it while listening to a proposition from a man who did the waking.
Mr. Gibbs: Aye, that’ll about do it.

Speaking of which, I happily found out they’re brewing an opus II for 2006. I am a great fan of Johnny Depp.

Now, back to work, ye scurvy dogs!

making poetry walk the plank

Monday, September 19th, 2005

In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, I humbly offer a translation of the classic:

There will be time, thar will be time T’ prepare a face t’ meet t’ faces that you meet; There will be time t’ murder and create, And time for all t’ works and days o’ hands That lift and drop a question on your plate; Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before t’ takin’ o’ a toast and tea

Terrible beauty

Saturday, September 17th, 2005

Like many people I’ve been following the news of what has been happening in the past few weeks in New Orleans and the stories of the people affected.

New Orleans flooding

I’m unable to articulate the impact it’s had on me. I can’t find the words to express my feelings and thoughts — ‘terrible’, ‘frustrating’ and ‘sad’ are much too weak. Maybe there are no adequate words.

Maybe there are things that we only understand when we see them. I’ve been struck and a bit disoriented by some of the images of the devastation that are both horrible and beautiful; images which captivate us by their beauty then stun us when we consider what is shown.

New Orleans fire

New Orleans flooding

Superdome during Katrina

Perhaps it’s simply that anything can be seen as beautiful when far enough away, or perhaps life always contains both terrible things and beauty. In this case it’s hard to see past all the sadness, all that was so stunningly terrible about what happened.

My hope is that even such sad times hold within them the seeds for positive change . Ways to help.

“Odd Thomas” by Dean Koontz

Thursday, September 15th, 2005

Dean Koontz is one of my favourite authors for fiction. I just finished “Odd Thomas” and enjoyed it very much.

It is the story of Odd Thomas, a twenty year old boy who is blessed with two special gifts. He sees the dead and has a sixth sense that gives him some psychic magnetism. He is also blessed to love and by the love of Stormy, his soul mate.

Throughout the book, we learn about the very unfortunate childhood and teenagehood of Odd. We learn of his encounters, past and present, with ghosts that want justice or tip him to help prevent crimes.

He tells us that Stormy’s destiny is to be with him forever. They have a card from a fortune-telling machine as proof; Gypsy Mummy had given it to them for a single quarter. They also have matching birthmarks. They are to be married in less than a week.

The last chapters were particularly gripping as I realised at the same time that Odd did, that Stormy had become one of the lingering ghosts. Odd must let her go.

<<The dead cannot speak, but Stormy spoke three words silently, allowing me to read her lips. I love you.
I kissed her, my dead love, so tenderly, so chastely. I held her in my arms, my face buried in her hair, her throat.
After a while, she put a hand under my chin. I raised my head.
Three more words.
Be happy. Persevere.
“I’ll see you in service,” I promised, which is what she calls the life that comes after boot camp.
Her eyes. Her smile. Now mine only in memory.
I let her go. She turned away and took three steps, fading. She looked over her shoulder, and I reached out to her, and she was gone.

Dean Koontz, “Odd Thomas”