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in the hoosegow

Friday, May 28, 2004

you've got anteater face

At dinner last night we had a discussion about the ethics of using people's real names in your blog. I think it's fairly standard to use a pseudonym or the first initial, but if your readers know you, they're going to know who you're talking about, for the most part.

So the question is, should you avoid talking about your friends, loved ones and co-workers? What's left to talk about? A purely self-referential blog is going to be more boring than plain white rice.

We agreed that it would be better to keep anything really private out of the hoosegow, so a keen eyed reader might notice some slight editing of earlier posts and a future lack of reference to the dirty, embarrassing or hairy parts of my life that involve certain other people. However, if it's only my humiliation on the line, expect to read about it here. For now, you will have to make do with others' pain and suffering:
http://www.showmeyourwound.com [*warning:graphic]

Thursday, May 27, 2004

CMC update

So, since I posted the other day about reading the Count of Monte Cristo, I know everyone is dying to hear what's happening in the story. Here's a recap of what's gone on so far.

The hero of the story, Dantes, has landed in France. He's about to be married and be made captain of his ship when he is falsely accused of plotting against the king. He is put into the custody of a man who realizes that the letter that led to Dantes' arrest involves his own father, a supporter of Napoleon. He decides to save his own career and Dantes, of course, finds himself imprisoned. In fact, he's abandoned in the Chateau D'If for several years. Just when he is about to expire after not eating his food for many days, he hears a scratching noise. He decides that if the noise is an animal, it will stop scratching for a minute after he taps the wall near it, but then will start up again. If it's a man, the scratching will stop until nighttime.

The scratching stops until the next day. While he is waiting, Dantes realizes that he can dig out the mortar around the stones behind his bed. His tunneling leads him to the tunnel already dug by one of his neighboring prisoners. Faria is an Italian priest who's been in prison for over ten years. He begins to teach Dantes all of the subjects that he knows and helps him figure out who wrote the letter and why he was imprisoned. Faria masterminds an escape plan, but right before they try it, Faria has an attack and almost dies. Since he knows he's on his last legs, he gives Dantes his secret: the description of where a treasure is hidden. Dantes promises to stay with him until he dies and then he will escape and find the treasure. When Faria dies, Dantes hides his corpse in his room and puts himself into Faria's shroud, thinking he will dig himself out from the grave after he's buried. What he doesn't realize is that prisoners of D'If are not buried. When last we see our hero, the prison guards have hurled him off a cliff into the sea with a cannonball tied to his legs.

Stay turned for more gripping tales, or read the book your own damned self.


I am taking pictures of myself with my joycam, those polaroids that make 1 1/2 by 2 inch pictures, but I realize there is no film left. The camera makes a tiny explosive noise and then red dots appear inside, as if a paint cannister has exploded inside. I realize that what looks like ink is actually hydrochloric acid. Within a few minutes the entire camera has self-destructed, melted by the acid inside. It is pouring out onto my hands and I am washing and washing it off into the sink.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

the meaning of the Wasp

Maybe you've been having problems at work lately, or with your girlfriend, or you've just been feeling low. At such times it is natural to question things that you otherwise take for granted, such as The Meaning of the Wasp.

Many go through life without giving this topic much thought. You might pray to the Wasp every day, when you need special favors, or only in desperate moments. You might go to the Hive every single Sunday, only holidays or only when your mother makes you. You listen to the sermons, droning as they may be, but you avoid asking yourself the big questions: why am I here? what place do I have in the universe? what is the meaning of the Wasp? where did the Wasp come from? does it even exist? do I exist?

I am here to tell you the truth, my friend. As an ordained minister of the Universal Hive, I have thoroughly and intensely studied the Meaning of the Wasp.

It is simple and two-fold. The primary meaning of the Wasp is to feed and control the population of other creatures. The Wasp has more esoteric meanings, such as Existing to Exist, Existing due to Random Selection and Successful Existence Breeds Further Existence, and you can read any good book on genetics or natural selection to gain insight into these complex topics. For now, let us further examine the basic meaning.

The Wasp is a creature much like the Bee, but elongated and generally more handsome and pleasing to the eye. The Wasp, Bee and Ant all share a common ancestor, which we will call the Great Stinger. These three animals have done their best to dominate as many ecological niches as they can. Some crawl, some fly. Some go by day, others by night. Some eat leaves, others nectar, others rotting flesh. Some live in large, complex societies, building and living in huge protected nests, while others are solitary creatures, building pencil-sized nests in the ground or on hard surfaces out of paper or mud.

The Wasp must feed her young and she generally does so by bringing home juicy caterpillars, spiders or unfortunate victims. The Parasitoid Wasp brings her babies to the food, laying eggs in or on other insects. She uses her stinger to paralyze prey and also to drive away invaders. Unlike the Bee, whose stinger tears away after one use, the Wasp can sting many times.

It may seem that the Wasp is at the top of the predator pyramid. Who dares eat the mighty, stinging Wasp? Wasp young are soft, like bags full of vitamins and protein. Any hungry omnivore or carnivore will happily eat juicy wasp larvae.

There are other meanings of the Wasp. If you observe carefully, you can notice them on your own. Where would taxi cabs and college mascots be without the Wasp? Embrace the Wasp and her meaning will become clear...

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

great pretender here I am

I'm reading the Count of Monte Cristo right now. A few years ago I was working with the marc records of several novels including the Three Musketeers and decided I had to read it. It's one of those books that a lot of people in our generation have skipped over. When I got excited about it, I had to reach back to my parents' generation to find anyone who'd actually read it.

Anyway, it has everything you could possibly want: love, adventure, chivalry, dastardly deeds, loyalty, friendship, scheming, and lots of it to read. After I finished it I thought I'd try Twenty Years After, the sequel, but I never got past the first few pages.

The other day I picked up the aforementioned Count of Monte Cristo. I feel like I'm reading 3M all over again, but it's even better. So many things happened in the first 40 pages that I was immediately hooked, and I have hundreds more pages to read. I am in blissful readers' heaven, so much so that I drove over to M.'s house last night just to pick it up, then immediately drove home and started devouring it again. Can't wait to squeeze in a few more chapters tonight.

Monday, May 24, 2004

please PRINT

I leave work early to go over to my pal G.'s house. He is currently living with his girlfriend and I take the opportunity to check out their apartment. How I got in there without anyone being home is a mystery... Both bedrooms have beds and appear occupied (the rooms, not the beds). I wonder if things are going sour.

I decide, as you do, to take a nap.

I wake up at 3:30am, in a panic, not only because I'm wearing a pink flannel nightgown but because I've snuck into a friend's house and fallen asleep and now I'm sure to be caught. I walk around the house trying to figure out what to do and finally end up getting back into bed. G. comes in. He obviously knew I was there and seems oblivious to the weirdness of it. I notice he has cut off all of his hair. It's now about a quarter of an inch long, like a prison convict. I go back to sleep.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

loving, just a fond emotion

Working at the desk, a guy comes up and asks for information on photolysis. I begin looking for books on insects and discover a whole host of pamphlets that I've never seen before. I'm looking through all of them, some written by my old advisor, working and working and the guy goes away with some stuff and then I realize: photolysis is a chemical reaction that doesn't have anything to do with insects.

Even worse: I live with a bunch of other girls in the library. We all share a room with barely any space to stow our stuff. My colleague J. has a better room--she only shares it with one other person and has her own closet. People are pushing book carts through our room constantly and I can't get any sleep.

J. and I are talking about how overwhelmed we are at work.

Finally, I wake up.

Friday, May 21, 2004

rock with you...all night

I had the lamest, racist dream last night. Also, since I've been watching videos of the great black funnymen I have been saying things like "shut up bitch". M. finds this amusing but I've got to watch myself at work. I'm just not sure how my gay guy work friends would take it if I fixed them with a stare and said "nigga please". One of them would probably say "well slap my ass and call my Aunt Betsy!" but another would have to Ask Me Into His Office (dum dum DUM!).

In the dream, I was walking through a school, on my way to class. I'd seen this tall kind of scary looking black dude walking around and I was scuttling out of the way so he didn't notice me. The class all sat down and someone else said "Did you see that crazy guy with the glasses? I'm glad he's not coming to this class." Moments later, the door opened and the scary dude entered. Instead of playing it cool I immediately pushed past him and started hoofing it down the hallway, along with another girl. The hall was twisting and turning but we finally got outside through an emergency exit, where the band was practicing and J. was there, playing the sax.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

hmm hmm mmm hmm..i have no idea what the words are

One of my friends gave me a suggestion for an alternative way to end one of my stories that I've struggled with for a few months now. It was so simple. I wonder why I didn't figure it out myself...

I have a real problem with finishing personal projects. I am the most lazy, put-things-offiest person I know. I am completely unlike my co-worker who not only has time to do her own work, she thinks she can do everyone else's, too. She anti rubs off on me. She makes me want to do less and less until I sink into a vat of my own goo under my desk. No one would notice at first, since when I sit there quietly no one can see me anyway, hidden behind my giant 1975 era computer monitor.

I am also trying to finish a project I started during graduate school. I interviewed some librarians and wrote a paper but I've always wanted to publish it. I decided finally that I should just present it at a meeting and get it over with. If it's accepted it will be published in their proceedings and I can stop feeling guilty about it.

What I need in my life is a finisher. Someone who sweeps in and helps me tie up loose ends, wrap up unfinished business, break up with loser boyfriends whom I am just keeping around out of inertia (not my current one, I swear), eats the last piece of stale cookie bar that I can't bring myself to throw away and puts up the birdfeeder my mom got me for my birthday...last February.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

shadows of the night

A new twist. Usually my failure dreams involve me realizing that I've skipped a calculus class all semester and now have to take the exam or try to drop it at the last second. This time I manage to change it so that it becomes a guilt dream. Thanks, psyche.

I am working and living at home with my sisters and parents. I am also signed up for several classes at the community college, where my sisters are also taking classes. I have never gone, not even to the very first class, and I am torn about showing up to take the exams. Then I realize that I never paid my tuition, so problem solved. My mom tells me that she paid my tuition for me. This is my broke ass mom, the one who was out of work for months after her boss felt threatened by her superior job performance and fired her. I feel lower than a snake's belly. I tell her I will pay her back. I am also broke.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


So I updated my profile in the onion the other day to reflect my current status, location and interests in other people (not much, frankly). Right after that, I get an email from a very cute fellow here in h-town.

The funny thing is that I know my honey would want me to respond. He gets a kick out of things like that, but I don't like misleading people. Okay, I don't mind if it's in the service of getting myself or a friend employment. You have to milk the camel a little bit when you're called to duty to be a reference.

I don't misrepresent myself to friends, lovers or potential friends & lovers. Too quickly they will figure out that I am merely a boring whitebread tv addict with a running problem. There's nothing like seeing the disappointment in someone's eyes when you reveal your lack of interest in most swedish films or that your father and stepmother make what your mother refers to as "that ducky shit" and sell it at crafts shows.

Friday, May 14, 2004

it's my imagination

I'm driving home. I live in a big house in the country, and mine is the last house on my road. As I approach my street, I see fire trucks, cars, people running around, and the house next to mine is on fire. In fact, all of the houses along the street have been bombed and mine is the last standing.

I am in the house and the phone rings. It's 911 and the dispatcher is acting like I called him. I tell him that my house is going to be bombed and he's telling me to be calm but the line goes dead. I realize he is the bomber and I only have a minute to get everyone out of the house. I yell at my sisters to run. I see them sprinting out the sliding glass doors. I am frantically looking for my cats and running at the same time. Just as I get ten feet away from the house, I turn around. The house explodes--fire and glass are flying in the air and my cats are leaping toward me, fur on fire...

Thursday, May 13, 2004

behead myself

I'm visiting my family, staying down in the basement, and it's time to pack up to go home. I go downstairs and start rooting around in my bags. There's a lazy susan on top of a coffee table near where I'm standing that begins to spin around faster and faster, then slowly, then faster again. I hear a woman's voice say my name and I feel her touch my arm.

I run upstairs to tell my sisters and I am of course slightly hysterical. Apparently this has happened before but was subtle enough that everyone just ignored it. My sis says, "Well, you can't blame this on Karen V.!" This is apparently the person we believed was haunting us. She is very skeptical and I can see she doesn't believe me when I say "there's no logical explanation." My other sister makes sympathetic noises but she probably thinks I'm crazy.

I'm afraid to go back downstairs but I have to finish packing and I don't want her to steal my favorite shirt while I'm busy being a hyperventilating sissy, so I head back down.

I wake up paralyzed with fear, half opening my eyes to make sure I'm at home and there don't appear to be any ghosts around. Fifteen minutes later my heart finally stops pounding and I feel safe enough to go back to sleep without dropping right back into the same dream.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


My dreams are way too often a combo of xfiles, csi and work, often with my family serving as cast members. Last night I dreamt that one of my sisters (inexplicably Asian) had killed someone and hidden the body somewhere in our house. Police were swarming all over looking for it.

Now, the logical me is thinking, what, can they not smell the damned thing?

Anyway, I woke up before they found it or anything was resolved, but I do recall my sister using a bottle to pretend to smash the head of someone and I was trying to get her to stop before the police saw.

My recurring nightmare involves me being stalked by a man who wants to kill me. That's not so odd. I think everyone who works with the public has that dream. My man, however, is invisible. He's able to sneak in places with locked doors, sealed windows. When I was a child, the dream was slightly different. The man wasn't invisible or hiding anywhere. He was Ronald McDonald and he was busy killing people in my basement. Sometimes I'd find their body parts outside the sliding glass doors.

Happy dreams...