Monday, October 30, 2006

6 word stories

Wired magazine recently asked leading sci-fi and horror writers to contribue 6 word stories for publication. The results are great fun, and you can read these Very Short Stories on the web.

I've been writing lately about how And the Ass Saw the Angel is becoming about storytelling. Jae and I thought the idea such fun that we decided to try some 6 word stories ourselves. I'm going to post our best so far. I also encourage you to contribute your 6 word stories in the comments for this post.

Is the safety on? Guess not.

She wore opals for a living.

Jae and I together penned the next one.

Uncle Stumpy was just too slow.

And Jae authored:

Sirens wail. Always wear opaque stockings.

Post your masterpieces in the comments.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Linear and non-linear thinkers

We have a new neighbor. Well, there is a new owner of the house to the south of us. He's going to be renting it. In the last year or two we've tried to be more neighborly, so we invited Bob over for dinner. Jae made a tasty dish of black beans and rice, and he brought a bottle of wine. We had a nice meal and a nice time.

Bob was talking about linear and non-linear thinkers. He's a little bitter at what he regards as a bias towards linear thinkers. The ability to focus on something and follow it through to completion is valued over creativity. Jae and I kept looking at each other amusedly. I'm linear and she' s not. As an example, Saturday night is date night. When date night rolls around each week, we ask each other, "What do you want to do tonight?" My answers are things like go see a movie, go to a bookstore, maybe miniature golf or play a game at home. Jae's most recent idea was to oil ourselves up and wrestle while blasting ABBA.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dinner conversation

We were seated in the back corner of the Thai House. It was a little Thai restaurant that we went to often when we lived in our apartment on Gold. It was only 2 blocks away then. We went much less frequently after we moved 3 blocks further. This made it nostalgic.

The dining area was a long narrow room, a wide hallway, as much as anything. Jae loves to sit in corners, so we took the booth in the back. I was talking to Jae about my day at work, and I had been noticing for the last couple minutes that her eyes were unfocused and she had a fixed little smile on her face. She wasn't listening to me. I knew why, but I didn't know what to do about it. I kept talking, beginning to babble, a little unnerved by my faux audience. Finally she blurted out, "I'm sorry. I'm distracted."

I raised my right eyebrow, that being the one I can raise, and held my hand up in between our faces, fingers spread and palm facing me, and started talking about my day, again. She laughed, and so did I.

I knew what was distracting her. Jae had the corner, which meant I had my back to the rest of the restaurant, but I had sonically discerned that there were three people sitting in the the booth one back and over. It quickly became clear that there was a young woman, her father, and her new step mother. The young woman was talking with great enthusiasm and volume.

"Neither Dad or Mom wanted us."

"You didn't want them?" the older woman asked. I didn't hear an answer from the father.

"I'm sure that's where the abuse came from," she said with a tone that suggested a glint in her eye. I sruggled not to turn and look. I was sure she was grinning.

"You were abused?" the step-mother trumpeted, the way she might have said, "They gave you a ticket for that?" I could imagine her turning open mouthed to stare at her new husband.

The young woman chuckled. "She couldn't do it herself, of course. She forced Rob into the role of disciplinarian. He had to do it. It's almost not even his fault." As if Rob had accidentally torn her dress on the playground.

"I think this convesation might be hard for your father..."

"Oh, he's heard it," she replied, in the tone you'd say, "No worries."

She giggled when she said, "rape."

It went on all through dinner, in fact, they were still at it when we left. We got up from the booth and Jae was walking in front of me. I saw her head turn towards the young woman as she passed the table, and I KNEW Jae was going to say something. I looked straight ahead and was preparing to walk around her. She slowed, but then looked ahead and picked up pace. I resumed breathing.

When we were in the parking lot, Jae looked at me.

"I was so close to leaning on the table and saying, 'Thanks for the enlightening conversation.'"

"I know," I said. "I know.

Friday, October 20, 2006

My other blog

I've decided this blog is going to be storytelling, which is really what personal blogs are anyway. Plus whatever random scribbling I might do.

But there are some things I'm trying to work out, more portentous (and possibly pompous) musings about values and politics and religion. I've got this new blog now over at Lift Up Every Stone.

*I used the spell check on this post, and it didn't recognize "blog."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A giant stumbles

We were at Jeri's having lunch. I was having the chicken chef salad, my new standard lunch, and Jae was having an egg salad sandwich. It was all on my tab. I'm a regular, you see, and I have a tab. Jeri's is that kind of place.

The TV behind the counter was on, as it usually is if Jeri is blasting spanish or christian music. It was early for lunch, so the news was on instead of soap operas. I wasn't facing the TV, but a segement caught my ear. The AOL call center in Albuquerque was closing. It meant the loss of 900 jobs, and the closing would be in December, just weeks before Christmas. I tried to hide my smile. Craning around to see the TV, I saw the news footage of stunned employees milling around in front of the call center, and I refrained from pumping my fist in the air.

I work at a local Internet service provider. AOL has long been the 900 pound gorilla of ISP's, and in its conception, style and operation, is the antithesis of everything I believe an ISP should be. Not only that, but it makes life hell for other ISP's that interact with it as part of the Internet, especially us small fry.

As we were walking back to my place of employment, it was sunny, the air was crisp, and the leaves were all gold on the trees. Jae, even more beautiful than usual, looked and me and remarked, "There's a spring in your step." Yep, and the giant stumbles.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lips and Clips

We were driving down Washington after work. We always drive down Washington after work. It's fall and the light was fading fast, so we were rushing through the cooling early evening to get to the school playground before dark. I was driving, and I heard muffled curse from Jae. I didn't look directly at her because I was driving, but I turned my head a little and glanced at her out of the corner of my eye. She had both hands up to her mouth, and said, "Pull over."

"What? Pull over?" I asked.


I quickly signaled and turned right onto the next street. I parked on the curb and could focus on Jae for the first time. She had a large metal clip clipped to her lip. It was the kind of clip you use to clip a piece of paper to a board, and I'm sure that's what she had used it for, for clipping a drawing or painting to a board or piece of cardboard. Didn't seem like it should be that dangerous. I watched as she fought with it, wincing in pain. After about a minute she got it off. There was a definate dent in her lower lip. It was quite deep, more like a divet, though the skin wasn't broken.

"Got caught in the spring," she said.

I stiffled a laugh, but didn't really succeed. As I pulled away from the curb, she said, "Just goes to show you shouldn't use these on body parts." Then she clipped it to her right earlobe. "Ears are OK."

"Because they don't have any nerves."


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fascinating new blog

Full disclosure, this new blog is that of my wife, Jae. She's a terrific painter. Recently she started taking a picture of what she had painted that day. Now she's blogging those photos at Value Added Paper. It's fascinating to see these lovely pictures in their various stages. I've been watching for years, and I don't get tired of it.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A work day

A rundown of a saturday workday for Josh.

  • Got in about 5 minutes late, 9:05 am.
  • Decided again not to purge my main mailbox (now at 12,000+ messages) If I don't stay on top of it every day it reaches critical mass pretty fast and explodes to this rediculous size.
  • Checked the report on server backups that happened overnight (all good)
  • Checked the health of a mail server I recently deployed, did a little queue manipulation that I'll need to automate soon
  • Looked at the messages in the Network Operations Center (NOC) support queue, closed a couple, updated a trouble ticket and closed it.
  • Took my break. Jae packed me a lunch so I didn't get lunch. Walked over to Starbucks, sat in the sun, read the first essay in _The Portable MBA_, which I borrowed from our General Manager's office.
  • Started defining the procedure we'll use to migrate accounts from our current mail system to our almost ready new mail system. Timing is everything.
  • Delivered the offsite backup to the place with the vault. The guard was new and I was his first vault customer. Basically I trained him. Showed him what paperwork to use, told him, "No, you don't let me through that door." Explained that he should check my ID against the photocopy of my ID in the book in the vault. Then I sat in the empty, air conditioned, echoy lobby for about 15 minutes until he brought me the disk I was picking up in exchange for the one I dropped off.
  • I answered the phone a couple times when there was overflow. Didn't get bogged down into any desktop support, luckily.
  • Now, in the remaining couple hours, I should get the migration procedure into the company wiki, and review trouble tickets one more time before leaving for my weekend.

Regina Spektor -- Cult of Personality

I picked up a Rolling Stone recently, first time in a long time. While flipping through, stumbled on a small article about Regina Spektor. Eye catching picture. Yes, she's hot, but it wasn't just that. She radiated personality in a rare way, and the article supported the idea that she was quite a character. One review I read said she had more than enough charisma. Boy howdy.

I found her website, and its one of the most comprehensive artist sites I've explored. You can stream the music from all her ablums. She's very talented, a gifted singer, a piano player, quite a lyricist. The music keeps you a little offballance, though, and some people don't like that. I don't like it all the time, but I sure have been enjoying it. Very little of it is typical, except her most recent album, "Begin to Hope." The music is quirky and playful and not the usual thing.

And everything about the way she presents herself is that way. I enjoy the music, but there is more to it than that. She has the most successful website, graphic design, and promotion stuff I've seen for a long time. The first image that really got me was the cover of her album "Soviet Kitch." Then, in the section of the website titled "reginapolis," there is the 20 page PDF, "The Survival Guide to Soviet Kitch." Captivating.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Talon and Vixen

One of the many ways I know I'm not young is that I don't get "energy drinks." I drink coffee. Anyway, I was at a Circle K the other day, and there was a promotional poster for the 2 drinks of a particular brand, one named Talon, one named Vixen.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Classic Jae

I'm not much of a photographer, but I'm tickled by this picture. It is quintesential Jae, and I love that its an action shot.

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