January 12, 2005

Hyperlink Endpoint

As I mentioned recently, it's an odd thing, but I'm getting more referrers coming through various google search results each day. Looking through them today, seeing terms that take me back in time -- like my father's name, recovery room moaning, digiorno pizza, Rochester garbage plate, family dollar paper towels, and redneck neighbor -- it was very much like watching my life flash before my eyes. And I wondered, when it's my time, down the road a piece I hope, God willing, and all of that, if I won't skip the haunting visuals and simply sit back and let site meter do the work. 

Knockin' Robin

Something about this particular bird is worth sharing with you. She knocks. This particular bird first came to our house six weeks ago on a Saturday. I know, because that was a day I was trying to sleep in when Jenna ran upstairs proclaiming that something "Amazing!" was taking place.


Almost always my first words upon waking.

She told me that there was a bird knocking at our door. No I said, there is no bird knocking at our door, probably a woodpecker knocking on our house, go back to sleep--look it's early.

She kept at me. I begged her not to. I scored a rare win. I got to sleep.

A couple of days later after I'd dropped her at school at the ungodly hour of 7:30, I was home tapping a vein in my arm for some coffee, when I heard the knocking. Tap tap tap. TAP TAP TAP! I looked at the front door, and I saw her in the long window that runs along side our door. Knock knock knocking away on the glass, for what must have been a good reason, though I couldn't imagine what it was.

No woodpecker. A robin. Out of place in December, lows had hit 20, aren't they supposed to go someplace warm?

I walked to the window and moved the curtain. She was in mid peck/knock. I thought immediately of Shelley. How I wish she could have captured the moment. It looked like a real-life version of a Shelley Powers photograph.

Once the knocking robin saw me, she scurried up into the tree. She seemed to be waiting. But for what? I opened the door. She sat on the branch. I looked at her. She seemed puzzled.

Then she darted off to the house across the street and started knocking on their front window.

And I understood. She was saying this:

"Look people, it's fucking COLD out here--huh?! Could you help a bird out? Can't you see I decided to hang here for the winter? I didn't know the ground would freeze--I can't get to a single solitary worm, so toss some bread my way. How bout it?"

So I did what anyone would do if a robin were knocking. I got some bread, shredded it, and tossed it in the front yard. I didn't wait to see if she'd hop over to our side of the street and eat it. After all, it was fucking COLD out!

The next day, and about every three days ever since, the knocking robin comes by. I forget about her in between, but when I hear the morning window peck, I get some bread and toss it out on the front lawn.

I wonder how many of my neighbors are doing the same.

And I wonder when word will get around to other birds, maybe on your street.

Back to Qumana, Mama.

Back in Qumana, I'm trying out the Pro version. One thing that's really cool--I haven't tested it yet because believe it or not, all the blogs I write on are in Blogger -- is that if you participate in, say, an MT blog and a Blogger blog, or whatever blogging tool(s) are your favorite, you can post from a single interface with Qumana. I've avoided joining some blogs because I just don't have the time to learn a new blogging tool. I barely have time to write--and that should be the most important part of blogging. So it's attractive that this Qumana dealeybob will let me get used to one composition pad and publish to various types of blogs.

I also like the MS Word feel of it--some may not. I use Word about 12 hours a day, so flipping over and posting here is familiar, and best of all speedy.

Okay, let's post.

January 11, 2005

Come, Gag with Me

Yet another attempt by Big-A-Academia to market itself as hip and human by comparing and contrasting its genitalia to blogging's.

Stay tuned for details on the Blogging and Internalism conference, coming soon to a public restroom near you!

Self-Surgery 101

Sitting on the couch next to my grandpa, at five, maybe four years old, I picked the bottoms of my feet until they bled. I didn't understand it then, the picking thing I had. Really, I don't understand it now. Even though I don't pick as often now, there are times when severity makes up for frequency.

Sounds gross I know. But not if you're kin to it.

I think the appealing thing to me about picking at such a young age was having and hiding pain. Of course it hurts to walk on raw flesh. At the same time, I had to keep that pain to myself. I couldn't tell my mother--or wouldn't. Didn't even have a grasp on what I was doing. No this was a martyrish act. It was mine and mine alone.

Pleasure Drive -> Pain Consequence. In a then rigidly Catholic household, one admits affinity to neither. Especially if they're one and the same.

As I got older, my fascination with my own skin focused on my fingers, nail beds and cuticles to be precise, extending often downward from these peninsulas to the mainland of my palm.

Usually I used my fingers. Sometimes safety pins sanitized with a match.

I'm not sure if my picking switched from feet to hands after my father and grandfather died, or if there is any correlation to those traumas and my habit.

I expect there are not only connections, but dependencies. I pause on linking them conclusively though because I'm fairly certain the picking started before my father died.

It could have started when he was sick with cancer, though, which is what I now believe. I have always felt that my passion was more endeavor than dissociation, more a job than a respite. A hyperfocus of sorts.

I've often wondered--in my older and wiser 40s--if I was attempting some sort of surgery, some act of cleansing, perhaps for my mortally damned self, and if not for me then for him. My dad. His necrotic pancreas.

After all, my goal once any picking event began was simple and consistent: Even things out. Make the edges smooth. Heal the blemishes. No bumps, no growths. How elegantly, if not tragically, that links with my strong, invincible daddy having inoperable cancer. How else can a five year old make a difference, make it all better?

Perhaps, my obsession with my own skin isn't the result of a single event or trauma--rather a combination of them. This seems the most likely genesis to me.

The notion that neurotic excoriation, or skin picking, may be genetic is, to me, bunk. What the mainstream of psychiatry has yet to realize is that we inherit our family's traumatic wounds right along side of their DNA. And genes don't hold a candle to the scars you can touch, and the ones you can't.

Once my own picking moved up from my feet to my fingers, the secret was out. You couldn't not notice my bloody stumps. Especially during adolescence, around puberty, when my finger picking progressed at a frenetic pace. I remember one aunt, trying to be helpful, who told me that she used to pick her fingers like me, but that when she met a boy she liked he didn't want to hold hands with her because of her ugly hands. So she stopped.


Talk about setting my picking back 10 years: boys, ugly, hold hands, stopped. Trigger trigger trigger.

Like I said, she meant well, but it felt like shame. I wore it like robe.

Today, my fingers heal up in the summer. In the summer time, chapness gives way to moist, even skin. No more unsightly cracks that must be tended to, evened out. In the summer, a tan thankfully, though not permanently, replaces reddened, torn skin.

Amazingly, perhaps, in all this time, I've never suffered an infection from my escapades. I don't know why. I guess, despite my odd obsession, my hygiene always remained proper. I've also often thought that, in a leech-like way, what I do is homeopathic. It no doubt triggers the immune system, putting little germ fighting cells on high alert. Then again, I don't think that's so good for those little guys to stay hypervigilant like I make them. Let's not think about that right now.

Let's think about smoothing some lotion on tired hands and feet.

Let's think about you telling me a secret.
Connecting the dots: pediatric patients need dermatologists to unite healing between mind, body. (Special report: new frontiers).
by Hill, Suzette
source: Dermatology Times, March 1, 2003.
via: HighBeam Research
COPYRIGHT 2003 Advanstar Communications, Inc.

See also: The Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Launguage of Pain.

January 10, 2005

Shower Songs

Jenna's in the tub, which means it's song-time at the Apollo! She's now delighting me with a rendition of "I can't help falling in love with you..."

Feelings mutual, baby.

You can try these tips for brightening your mood:

Hot chocolate

Blue skies, funny people and a touch of helium

Counting the days till vacation

A warm glass of melon-aid

Knowing that they'll get theirs*

*allied recommended option


via: HighBeam Research

COPYRIGHT 2004 The Register Guard

He so savvy

Finally! You tie it all up in a nice wrapper that not only titillates (I never get to use that word while writing tech brochures), but also demonstrates once and for all that you remain five years ahead of the e-times.

You and I, Mr. Locke, have discussed this phenomenon during some 6549-odd (and I mean odd) phone conversations, most of which I should have been taping, what with long distance being free and all, but that’s another story. I’ve also blogged Gonzo Marketing some 107 times in my own weblog, never mind having started Gonzo Engaged in 2001 just to talk about the book.


This post on C-BLO is important, for many reasons, not the least of which is that RB has often, in our presence, slapped himself for taking a “two-year vacation.” Faaa, I say! He’s got another three years left to go before the Net catches up with him.

Kick your shoes off and relax, bro.

January 09, 2005

What have you done for me lately?

I said I would. And I did. I got a better price, and it's on its way.

The Seimens is still hard to get your hands on. So I went HP.

Stay tuned: From Sidekick to HP Ipaq 6315 Pocket PC.

64 MB SDRAM, 64 MB Flash ROM, Integrated GSM/GPRS, WLAN, Bluetooth®, Camera, Phone.

The HP iPAQ Pocket PC h6315 with service from T-Mobile is equipped with integrated 3-way wireless capabilities (GSM/GPRS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth® wireless technology) to give you high-speed wireless voice and data connectivity at work, at home, and on the go. The removable, snap-on thumb keyboard lets you easily compose emails, notes, and MMS/SMS messages.1,2,3,4 The built-in camera allows you to take pictures, view them on the bright 3.5" color screen, and share them instantly via email or MMS.


Improve productivity with Pocket versions of Microsoft® software (Outlook, Word, Excel, and Internet Explorer for Pocket PC)

Wirelessly make and receive phone calls on the go 5

High speed wireless access to the internet, email, and corporate networks 2,3

Send, receive, and reply to corporate and personal email wirelessly 2,3

Removable, snap-on thumb keyboard lets you easily compose email, notes and instant messages

Take and send pictures in an email or MMS message 2,3,4,5

Safeguard data from power loss or device resets with iPAQ File Store

The Absence Of...

It isn't just the fence. More, really, the striking green manicured lawn that has overlayed its traces. A pasture, more a lawn now, unending, that looks as if it has always been there.

Not just the absence of the fence, then, but the power of what erased it, rolling acres of green grass, each blade so even, regimented, evidently striped by a riding mower, not even a mound or hole where the posts once stood.

It's not just that I don't see the fence, it's that I can't even trace its path from memory.

It's not just that the fence is gone, but that it has been replaced by acceptable, planned perfection.

It's the discontinuity in me -- between the shock that ripples through me still and the ordinary outward pattern that begs to take its place.


That one did it. Have to sleep now. The elusive 30 in 30 goal still taunts me...

The Untelling

There was a lot I didn't tell you about our trip "home" recently, to Rochester and Buffalo. It's taken me a while to digest the trip, the onslaught of memories. Onslaught, like slaughter. Mmm hmm.

I went back to visit our farm house on Atlantic Avenue, blue now. Who would paint the house blue and leave the barn red? Who would let the silo go that long without its top? Who would take down three acres of plank fence that my father and grandfather built, one rail at a time, handkerchiefs and muscle-man undershirts to soak up the sweat, always in the summer, the horses breaking out, time to fix another rail?

How did it come down? In pieces over time? Hired help to knock down the posts? If I looked hard enough, could I find a wedge of whitewashed post an acre or so back?

The fence, that was hard, the absence of, so much loss in the space where it stood. So many trips in tennis shoes with glasses of ice water for Dad and Grandpa, so comfortable sitting cross legged on the hill between the barn and the house watching their muscles work, a team, son and father-in-law.

How could they know as they hefted the rails that inside a year they would both be gone. One. Three weeks later the other. What kind of sense does it make to take them, and now the fence?

No one knows the preciousness
of things touched
before we come upon them.


Inside your fears
are mine
wonder how yours grew
if I fed them
sure I did.

How do I take them
Hold them for you
you from me
hands empty
heart full

Used to and Fried Green

I used to do this thing where I'd try to post 30 posts in 30 minutes. I never ever made it. Once or twice I think I got 20 posts in. A couple of time I did 30 posts but it took two hours.

Reason I'm saying this is it'd be fun to do it again, and I don't know why I haven't done it in such a long time.

Lately I'm lucky if I even get time to blog.

I went to a friends' house with Jenna tonight and watched Fried Green Tomatoes while Jenna played with a neighbor girl. I never like watching a movie twice. I'm a one-time chick. If I've see it, there are probably 20 other movies that I haven't seen, so why would I want to re-watch a movie? But tonight I did and I was surprised how much I'd forgotten. It was cool to remember that something was about to happen without knowing exactly what. Then once it happens, I'm all like "OH YAH! That was the best part!"

And I think I said that about five times.

I love the south

I just do.

For the folks who got here by searching for "strawberry tongue"...

Your kid has strep. You will get to know the look of that tongue well. You'll see it coming a mile away next time. Or maybe you'll be lucky and he'll never get it again.

Take him to the doctor and get some antibiotics.