Thursday, August 31, 2006


Crapola, I’m tired. Yes, I wrote my post awfully late last night, but that wasn’t what caused the lethargy. Gabe woke around 5 a.m. and decided to sound his barbaric “No.” If I could hear him, I knew the folks could, and once I opened my door I heard Mom say that he’d been noing for an hour, so I grabbed him and put him in the high bed. Yup, never done that before. Gabe slept on my side (after he got the idea that Daddy wasn’t in the mood for more negativity) and I tried hard to find a comfortable position that would keep him from falling off should he turn while not squashing Misty (I failed).

Speaking of Misty, she’s got a urinary tract infection along with a reinfection of Lyme Disease. My poor Shmist is on doxycycline and Batril, and I hope she’ll be better soon.

They're Here!

It’s way too late but I needed to say that the folks closed on the sale of their house in the morning and began their residence at 18 Stepping Stone Road today ... er, yesterday if you’re looking at the date this got posted.  They arrived in good spirits, which was a relief as I was wondering if they’d feel bereft of place being away from Bristol.  Even though we’re talking about Bristol, that crust of Northern Jersey that somehow wound up in CT, it’s where they lived for decades.  The house they sold today they occupied for twenty-two years, so I was expecting forlorn faces, but they were jovial and jubilant.  It was nice.  

I’m not sure how hard this transition will be.  I know that today it felt slightly strange to me that, where in college days it was I who would return to my parents’ house, they were coming home to mine.  

I’ve no doubt that this was the right thing to do.  I just hope we can all adjust quickly and live together peacefully.

It just occurred to me that line could be read the way it sounded in “Poltergeist,” though that’s really not how I meant it.  

The Luau of Cthulhu

StinkinGuy: How is call of cthulhuluhuluhulahoop?

shmigget: You know, that's an interesting image.

StinkinGuy: "A thick, unsettling atmosphere fills this ambitious first-person action adventure, which makes up for some frustrating moments and dated graphics with plenty of chills, variety, and originality."

shmigget: Rising from the turbulent obsidian waters, the Great Old One's turgid mass raised its hideous arms, placing the cyclopean circle about it's portulence, then with gyrations maddening to behold, began to undulate like a Polynesian girl at a luau.

StinkinGuy: You know what I have to say about that?

StinkinGuy: Giant ... sucking ... turd eater!

shmigget: I think I've got a story there.

shmigget: The Luau of Cthulhu.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Nervous Solution

After the tournament, I finally decided to see a professional about my anxiety. I had an appointment with my nurse practitioner, Jane Sutton, this morning.

I walked in expecting to hear that a daily med like a Paxil would be overkill and an Atavan would leave me too zonked to play, but what I got was more hopeful. I gave Jane the family history and told her about what happened at the shootout, and she was sympathetic. Turns out that her husband plays racquetball at the club, but I've never met him as he only plays nights. Anyway, she wrote me a script for Atavan, smallest dose, and she recommended that I start with a half and get on the court and see how it goes, just as I was planning.

I'm both excited and relieved. The shadow of my anxiety has followed me since childhood, and I finally may have a solution.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Busy Day

I need to figure out what's up with my sleep patterns. Once again I've fallen asleep on the couch, then trundled up to bed in a semiconscious state only to wake in the middle of the night and have difficulty getting back to sleep. I guess this is a form of insomnia. Tonight I finally decided to get out of bed and write instead of staring at my eyelids.

Busy day. After an abbreviated racquetball I rushed home so that I could take Mom and Dad to the bank so they could open an account. Both the builder and excavator were waiting on checks, so Mom and Dad were expecting to open accounts with a bank check they brought with them, but we learned that Citizen's Bank doesn't allow any activity on accounts with new customers for five business days. And that wasn't the only problem. The only option left was for Mom and Dad to sign the bank check to me and have me pay the contractors, but the bank manager told us that the bank check will take a day to clear, and even then the back room might put a hold on it. As of my writing this at 2:40 a.m., the money still isn't showing up in my account. I've never bounced a check before, and the amounts on these checks weren't small. If they bounce in the morning, people are going to be pissed, and that includes me.

After getting some work done, I went to the town hall to give blood, and while I was there I renewed Misty's dog license and got the building permit. The next time I give remember to remind me not to forget a magazine. I had to borrow a copy of Country Magazine from the Town Clerk's office, and while the pictures were pretty the copy, combined with the waiting, nearly put me in a coma. I got to see Jim Kelly on my way out, though, which was really nice. He remembered my name, bless him, and and we chatted for a bit about the SF convention that starts on Wednesday in LA. He's presenting and up for an award, so I wished him luck. He's not only a good SF writer but a good writer, one who understands the primacy of dialog and the importance of characterization, so I'm hoping he gets more recognition. He mentioned having us up to his house again, so hopefully that will happen.

Oh, I said I was going to talk more about the racquetball tournament this time. I guess insomnia isn't good on the memory.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Racquetball Tournament

So I played in my first racquetball tournament on Saturday.  I’ve been playing really well at the club recently, beating Helga for the first time (and by seven points), getting twelve on Bill, so about a week before I knew that the biggest obstacle I was likely to face would be myself.  When I visualized myself playing in an unfamiliar court against unknown opponents while being watched by strangers I’d immediately feel my stomach clench.  

I’ve had a problem with nerves since I was a child.  My anxiety attacks started young, and they continued to flair up, becoming especially bad in high school.  I used to wonder how I could be so prone to them, that is until I learned that both of my parents have suffered from them (yet they gave me plenty of shit about them), and the inheritance appears to stretch back to at least my maternal grandfather.

If you’ve never had them before, you’re likely asking yourself, “How bad can they be?  You get the jitters and then you take a deep breath.”  Unfortunately, the jitters we’re talking about are accompanied by intestinal cramps, nausea, diarrhea and cardiac arrhythmia.  

I hoped that this competition wouldn’t flip my freakout switch.  I considered medication, but Amanda said that Atavan would overly relax my muscles; I’d lose every match and just not care.  It was my first tournament so no one really expected me to do well, it wasn’t a major tournament in terms of its size, the only other person from the club with me was my doubles partner, Ron.  I had been playing better than ever in the run up to the event.  I felt there was a reasonable chance that I would be ok.

I realized I wouldn’t as Ron pulled into Nashua, NH and made our way down the streets to the Nashua Athletic Club.  The cramps and nausea arrived and I could tell the other symptoms were rushing to join them.  I hoped to spent my first fifteen minutes checking out the excellent facilities that Nashua offers, but I got a closeup of a bathroom stall instead.  

I took timeouts during the matches to try and relax just enough to better my very tense game, but for the most part that didn’t help.  I won one and lost three, one of which I likely would have lost regardless.  The guy who won my class was the son of an Open player, and he went on to play Cs and do reasonably well.  

Doubles was actually fun, and Ron and I didn’t win any of our three matches but we had a good time.  

Speaking of racquetball, I need to head to the club now.  Next time I’ll tell you about the matches I watched and some of the players I met.  

Friday, August 18, 2006

Breaking Ground

On Wednesday afternoon I got a call from Jay. He had his quote ready, and the numbers were good. After a call to my parents, Jay had the job. The next day he was here pulling up the fence. The backhoe arrived late in the afternoon and got parked in the front yard. Today, that backhoe broke ground, and it was a sight, particularly when it knocked down the trees.

Don't get me wrong; I don't get a happy watching trees meet their end, especially when their nice shade trees as these were. What was wild was the way it, with all of its tons of hydraulic might, could move with subtlety that bordered on gentleness. You expect a machine of that size to move in jerks and spasms of power, like a power tool; it's on or off, sleeping or screeching. But the arm of this machine made sweeping gestures, smoothly. It slowly pushed each tree down. No one yelling “timber,” no hard crash as the trunk hit the earth. It laid it tree down, then scooped up the base and dragged each one away. I hesitate to say dragged because it was almost a carry, the trunk just above the roots resting in the crook of the joint between bucket and forearm.

Watching that backhoe smooth a pile of dirt and pat it down made me wonder about the popularity of Mecha in popular culture. Do we love these giant robotic vehicles because they give individuals the abilities of a giant?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Yehoodi Radio

I’ve known for a few years about Yehoodi, but I didn’t know about Yehoodi Radio until very recently (maybe that’s because it’s fairly recent).  I’m not a hardcore fan of swing, though I like it quite a bit, and I’m digging the mix that I’m listening to right now.  

I only wish the shows, like my brother’s “Frankyboy’s Corner,” were available as podcasts, because scheduling my time to catch a show is so pre-TiVo, though for my bro I’ll do it.  Family takes such looking after :)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

When America Says It's Ok To Be a Bigot

You know how I've been doing the preliminary work for my parent's addition, and I finally got the plans a couple of weeks ago. For whatever reason, the designer wouldn't make copies, so I had to head down to a copy shop in Exeter that does blueprint copies.

The owner was an ebullient middle aged man, a true extrovert. I don't think he stopped talking, either to me or nobody in particular the entire time I was there. The news about Floyd Landis' initial positive test indicating heightened testosterone levels had been just been leaked, and the man --- I'll call him Tom --- quickly turned conversation to that topic. “Did you hear about this crap? Unbelievable ... well, not for the French. You just know they couldn't let another American win. They just don't have as much testosterone as we do. That's why they're all cowards and we've had to save their butts twice.”

I reminded him that Napoleon, who's island birthplace of Corsica was made a part of France before he was born, lead a French army to conquer all of Europe, to which he replied that all of the “real French men” must have died during the Russian winter. Clever.

I've been hearing variations on this theme since elementary school. My mother, Jacqueline, is French. She was born in Paris in 1939, but was quickly moved to a small village named Beaugency for safety as the Third Reich invaded. On June 10, 1944, as the Allies attempted to halt the retreat of German armor across the Loire River, Beaugency was bombarded from the air. One of the bombs landed in the backyard, leaving three of my relatives dismembered and the house containing my three year old mother flattened. By providence, a few of the collapsed rafters fell upon each other, leaving a small pocket where her crib stood.

Forty-six villagers died that day, but the bombs failed to cut the bridge. A local farmer, however, used the opportunity to amass agricultural explosives and made the bridge impassable. I imagine he must have been pretty nervous as he assembled those explosives at the middle of the bridge, knowing that another Allied bomber could return at any moment to finish the job.

My grandfather felt the deaths of his family members deeply, but like my uncle who was in the Resistance, he understood the necessities of war.

But the people who call all the French cowards don't care about my family history, so I don't tell them anymore. I stopped doing that years ago after one of the Franco-bashers said, “Well, it's still true.” People who are bigoted aren't going to change that easily, and most of them never.

As I stood in Tom's copy shop I got to thinking something that hadn't occurred to me in all the previous incidents of the kind. Tom would likely never have said, “All the Blacks are cowards and weaklings and that's why they got sold into slavery.” Or, “If those Jews weren't such pussies they wouldn't have let themselves get gassed.” In American society in 2006, it's not acceptable to publicly display prejudice against Blacks or Jews. Your everyman/everywoman recognizes that's totally wrong. But it's ok if the group your hate speech is directed at is French.

Of course, the French aren't the only group that American society gives special hate dispensation, but they do seem to be the most freely hated. Maybe that's because they're viewed as snobby and elite, so they don't get any of the points that a nationality that's viewed as working class might receive. Or maybe it's because their most recent governments have often been at odds with ours.

Whatever the reason, I'm tired of turning a deaf ear. If you want to bash the French government, French fashion or French food (but that would be crazy) then be my guest, but if you're going to have a bigoted moment and slur all the French then I'm going to jump in your ass with both feet.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Adventure Dream

I had a great dream three nights ago, not the typical adventure dream; this one felt more like a video game.

I think it was my brother Steve who first called them "adventure dreams," those sleeping fantasies in which you're a super hero or a super spy. Steve was lucky enough to have lucid adventure dreams, so he got to be The Human Torch and make his own fun. Fly around Manhattan defeating megavillains while being in full control of the script. Nice work when you can get it. The closest I ever got to a lucid dream was in the Matrix and I got to beat the Jump Test.

My adventure dreams, in contrast with my brother's, involve some minor mystery and action, but nothing cooler than that, but this particular dream had a bit more. It started with Mom being missing, and a few clues leading to an elementary school. Amanda joined me on the hunt, another unusual element that felt very coop, and we found a labyrinth of weird industrial rooms beneath, sub-basement under sub-basement, until, after mucking through one especially dark and dank rusted out room, we looked through a grate and found a squeaky clean hospital floor.

A couple grates later and we'd found some uniforms, and we were walking around what appeared to be a working hospital, one whose windows showed us at least ten stories above the ground. Amanda, knowing how to act like a nurse since she is one, played her part perfectly. I, on the other hand, started making too many mistakes for my comfort. In either a moment of wisdom or a fit of panic I hid in a side room, only to see my mother walk by. I followed her to her room and started to formulate a getaway plan. Unfortunately, it's about here that Gabriel woke me up.

Maybe this dream will recur and I'll get to learn why they wanted Mom in the first place.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Wow, it's been almost a week since my last post. Me bad. I wish I had a good excuse like The Buggles shanghied me into a studio to cut an updated version of “Video Killed the Radio Star,” but really I've been unusually tired, and Amanda and I were finishing the first season of Rome (Just watch it. It's excellent).

So why tired? Well, I've been playing racquetball extra hard lately because I finally signed up for a tournament. Ron talked me into doing “The Beer and BBQ Shootout” over in Nashua. Yeah, as you can tell, it's all about hardcore racquetball. I'm doing D singles and Ron and I are doing B/C doubles. Here's hoping that Ron can get his arm back because he's been skipping a lot lately. Speaking of Whacketball, I finally got new gloves and goggles, and get this, the gloves actually fit! The goggles have the good padded nose guard and vent holes, so maybe I'll never have to play through fog again. Except for the fog in my mind.

I did some running around over the weekend to get the final set of building plans and copies of same (More about getting the copies later), and I've met with Jay Eddington and George Trojan. Hope to have quotes in a week and a half (and hope and pray those quotes are reasonable).

Remind me to tell you how The Lost Experience has lost its way, and the copy guy.