31 January 2006

Friday is my birthday.

And I love this poem, so it's getting posted.

40 poems in 40 years and 40 mules thrown in for good measure

Another century older,
my, my, where does the time go?
I can remember the good old days
when PM meant Post Mortem
and BC was short for Beelzebub's Crabcakes,
and I lived with 40 mules in the same house
with 40 wives
with 40 children each,
and when you killed somebody
they stayed dead
oh, the sweetbreads of nostalgia!

Now all it means to have a birthday
is another year facing the same failures:
children who never call,
40 ex-wives who call all the time
because the support payment's late,
insurance men who call
just to make sure the premiums keep coming
and to see if I'm maybe slipping
just a little bit,
and the people from the IRS
or the IRA
(I never could keep them straight)
who threaten me with nearsighted lawyers
with bad breath
and guns
and the lady who calls night and day
about that subscription to Time magazine
I ordered but haven't paid in years,
I tell them all the same thing:

It's not the years that give me chest pains,
chest pains and arthritis
and lumbago
and pins and needles so bad
I call them Caesar's spears
it's all the damn phone calls
the phone calls and the birthdays.

If I could afford it, I'd take a vacation,
by God I would,
someplace warm
with nude beaches
and a nightlife for when the sun goes down
and those fruity drinks with the umbrellas.

But who can afford it
when there's back rent
and taxes
and so many mouths to feed
and the goddamn phone ringing every five seconds,
who's got the time?

Maybe I should call in sick a day or two
make the old man take up the slack,
for a change.

Just lay in bed
all day long
and watch the news on TV,
nothing like a nice train wreck
or a double murder
to soothe the nerves
maybe the odd political debate,
or an old episode of Dark Shadows on cable,
even if it is
only a busyman's holiday
I could sure use a change of pace,
or maybe snuggle up with my 40 mules
and catch up on my reading.

I might even get to like this,
I might call in the next day too
and the one after that,
and the one after that,

don't tempt me.

- Craig T. Hathaway
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26 January 2006


This morning I found a snail on my windshield. It's little tongue-like body sticking to the cold of the glass. A tiny shell that couldn't have measured more than a quarter of an inch nestled on it's back. Moving along, making an insignificant trail only visible if the sun hit it just right.

How it got there, I don't know. Uncharted territory for sure. Making it's way across what must have been -- in relation to us -- the expanse of the arctic tundra. To snails the earth must be like the universe, infinite. You're never going to see it all and you just have to accept it. If snails even have a concept of such things.

There are all these places I read about or see online or on TV, these countries and cities I've never been to. How do I know they really exist? Right now, to me, the world is too big. I need to go. Leave and come back with stories of foreign lands.

I decided to take him/her/it to work with me. I was going to help it expand it's horizons. Live vicariously. I'd let it go in the garden out front of my building. It's better than anything our apartment complex has to offer. Maybe it'll make friends with some DC snails. Who knows, we were going on an adventure, this was good for us. A mercy kidnapping.

I couldn't imagine what was going through it's little snail mind. New places, scents, scenery, location. Has it ever been in a car before? Is it happy? Sad? Scared? Packing up and leaving the only world you know for what will probably be ever is pretty heavy. Being taken somewhere and forced to make a new home for yourself. Making a new you. Unable to see loved ones ever again. Change man, it's a head trip.

Still, it's better than the whiteknuckled commute I make everyday, alone. Surrounded by assholes, going to a job that only fuels my unhappiness. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

And it dawned on me, this situation I'm in, I can't let her come back just for me. If she comes back this has to be for her, because she hates it and is home sick. It has to be made clear. She's doing her dream and that dream has nothing to do with the same route everyday. Traveling, that's what it's about. Being free and going on adventures. I can't be the one who ruins that. I'd never sleep at night.

I'll check on Carl at lunch. That's the snail's name. Carl.
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25 January 2006


On the way to work someone's Fairy Godmother is standing at the bus stop. A tall black woman with a pointy hat. She looks sad, and cold. Green eye-shadow draws circles around her eyes like large clovers. The ruffles of her gold sequin dress peeking out from the bottom of her long, grey, puffy coat. Shoes of ruby red reflect the morning sun like twinkling stars. Her wings are under there somewhere, her wand probably stuffed deep in her pocket. Catching the 8:20 to where ever.

I pass a tractor trailer who's mudflaps have been worn down from where the spinning double tires had come in contact with them. They look like muddy underwear. The kind you'd get from playing in a creek all day when you were nine. Catching frogs and looking at a stolen copy of Playboy with your friends. Muddbutt is what we called it.

In the lunchroom I put a wax cup upsidedown on top of my opened can of soda and for a second I feel like I'm on an airplane. I get peanuts out of the vending machine for sixty-five cents.

Standing there by the sink, the woman next to me says, "Did you know the plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets?" I nod and drink more soda out of my soda-cup-hat.

I feel like I'm flying to California for the first time, on the descent, and my ears are about to pop.
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20 January 2006

Comatose & Ampersands

"When the table moves, move with it."

That's what the fortune in the fortune cookie said when I read it sitting in a hole-in-the-wall Chinese food joint somewhere outside of North Carolina. A gap in the chain-link of an almost forgotten strip mall. Just a road stop on our trip to Florida for Dennis' birthday. The neon 'open' sign in the front window flickering like you'd see far off lightning in an evening sky. Patrons shuffled in, just barely squeezing their breadth through the front door. From the looks of it, a Star Trek convention was in town.

At times like this you can't help but feel you're being watched. You expect the studio audience just out of view to rip up in applause over the protagonists' apropos moment of clarity. You expect the music to start and queue a well edited montage depicting choices in a life merely resembling yours.

And it was there -- sitting in a metal chair at a dirty table -- next door to an equally neglected liquor store, that I had the worst Chinese food of my life. The worst Chinese I've ever had, and without a doubt the most relevant fortune I've ever received.

But that's just me, it's how I am. I find significance in the most trivial of things -- often out of left field -- while off in my dalliances.

Florida was what I needed.

Filling my tank with some 90 octane R&R. Hitting the clubs on church street. Doing my best to keep my pallor out of the sun. Celebrating D's birthday. No Checks! Bourbon and Swervin. Sleeping on a skateboard bed, next to a taco bed. Waking up to the RedDog dropping no less than twelve pots and pans on the tile floor next to my head. Telling the GPS to "find nearest bitches" and having it pull up a bunch of banks. Two player PSP and movies in the back seat. Wok and Roll! Eating gatortail and finding out that gatortail is people. Gatortail is PEOPLE! The Guitar Hero tour of the east coast. Dennis' dad requesting that I play the song Fat Up. A hot tub crammed with six people. No faggot, real fucking fireworks! Eating excellent birthday cake.

I've been moving with the table for a couple of months now. I've seen and done things I never would have had I been content to eat my meal long after there was anything to support my plate.

That's what the cookie said.

Just outside the supermarket -- on a trip to get beans for the cookout -- the Florida sky at dusk looked like an upsidedown painted desert. I stood frozen in the parking lot silently wishing I could see colors like normal people do. Tracing the blue and orange, pink and lavender over in my mind.

Standing there, hoping my eyes would just work for fucking once, it hit me like I had just come out of a fourty-year coma. This is not normal for me. A situation and location I wouldn't have found myself in a year ago. I've let everything go.

By the time we got what we needed and headed outside, back to the car, the brilliance was gone, returned to it's normal blue. A moment, the sky and I shared a moment. Just for a second I got to see how beautiful she could be, and that's all I needed.
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18 January 2006

At The Art Show

The Details:

Alumni Show at Prince Georges Community College
January 19th - February 9th
Reception - Friday, January 27th 6pm-8pm

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12 January 2006

If anyone needs me I'll be in Florida

We leave tonight for an extended weekend. Another adventure. Hitting the open, midnight road. Unable to see past what little of the future our headlights illuminate. I look forward to sunny beach weather, drinks with umbrellas, big sunglasses, hot tubs, nightclubs and catching up with old friends. This is gonna be a good weekend.


It's a long ride but we have the effects to get us there in comfort. With three MP3 players between us, the only problem I foresee is a fight for airtime. I've loaded my PSP with enough anime to last me 'till the apocalypse, and just in case I live longer than that, I put some on my iRiver too. Dennis' birthday present from me was Midway Arcade Treasures for the PSP, of which I also have a copy. This means for the fifteen hour drive, some of that time will be spent playing two-player, wireless Gauntlet, Joust, Rampage, Marble Madness and Mortal Kombat 1,2 and 3. I also grabbed us some car chargers so we're gonna be set. Hopefully, all this combined with the bells and whistles of Sean's car means the ride will fly by.

I got some news yesterday that made me both happy and sad. Happy for the other party involved but sad for selfish reasons. I will miss our time together but her future is opening up before her eyes. She steps on a plane Monday, gone for what right now is an undetermined amount of time. This is not a decision at all, there is no "stay or go", there is only go. All of this was so sudden, and there we were behind it, stumbling and struggling to keep up. I wish her the best, this is a once in a lifetime thing.

I'm in an art show! Yes, for the first time in about three years a collection of my photographs will be on display on a wall, in a gallery, and not "teh intarwebs" kind. This is a physical building that you can touch and feel. I'm excited. I haven't felt this in a while. The feeling of putting yourself out there, out on the edge for open critique.

The show is at PGCC, my old stomping grounds, pre-MICA. I was one of about seven artist asked to be in an alumni show. I have five pieces in. It runs from January 17th through February 9th. The cheese and wine reception is Friday, January 27th, 6-8pm.

Anyways, that's it for current events. I'm packed and ready to go.

See you, space cowboy.
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09 January 2006

Raw Fish

It was dark by the time we drove down the streets of Annapolis. Sean's GPS, heated seats, and XM getting us there with all the accoutrements of a future I imagined as a child. We were comfortable in our afforded comfort. I was two beers relaxed. This has been a long week.

It is well known that Tsunami is not my favorite restaurant. In fact, most of the time I go out of my way to avoid it. Hearing it's name sends pin-prickles down my spine accompanied by a swelling, overwhelming sense of dread. I don't want to run into her. But mostly, I don't want to run into her and have her not be alone.

As prepared as I am, that's a day I'm still not ready for.

So of course, as soon as I heard Tsunami mentioned as the evenings activities I fought it. I fought it to the point that we were going somewhere else. And we would have, had the Ramshead not been bring-a-douchebag-get-in-free night. I gave in, Tsunami it was. Dennis had left his credit card there the other night anyways.

In the last couple of weeks, I don't know why it is, but I have resolved myself to eat sushi. I mean, really eat it. Really eat it and really like it. Raw fish and all. For me and me only, and not because it's the eclectic thing to do and I should.

I am determined not to starve in Japan later this year.

Well, I can tell you with confidence, the war is over. Sushi won. I officially eat raw fish. I know I had it in Baltimore a couple of months ago but this is the first time I didn't gag. The first time all of it made it in, and none of it came out. The first time I ate anything that had not once touched a cooking surface.

Sitting there, watching Dennis pull off the raw salmon from around one of his New York Rolls, I thought to myself: I don't want to be 'that guy.' (Sorry Dennis.) I then -- by candlelight, music by Franz Ferdinand -- stuffed a whole Metropolitan Roll in my mouth. I wanted the first time to be perfect. Doused in soysauce and covered in wasabi -- like a virgin new to sex -- I finally realized what I had been missing.

It hit me "like a switch." Like I had just turned a trucker cap around on my head, I felt something new. It's time to grow up now. Time to do new things. An innate power I had never noticed. The power of will. I can't wait to eat it again.

Actually, this doesn't come as much of a shock. Lately and clandestinely I've been going to the Hibachi place around the corner and eating seared shrimp. I steal away in shadow and secrecy. Like a convict dodging search lights in a prison yard, it's my little escape.

My mom is going to read this and pass out.

The war between me and seafood has been waged since before civilized man walked erect. With every ounce of my being, tooth and nail, I fought the mysteries of the deep. "I don't do seafood," I'd proclaim with proclivity. It seems the day had come for me to eat my words, raw.

I am a sushi eater. Every time I go I plan to get something I know I like as well as something new. I am going to expand my diet if it kills me.

I'm hoping it doesn't come to that.
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05 January 2006

Another Mix

Wow, double post today! And another list at that! I must be feeling frisky.

Made a mix again. this one is all electro and folk/acoustic stuff, with hints of texmex country. Kinda downbeat, kinda upbeat. All good! See if you can spot the Guitar Hero track.

01 - Even Rats - The Slip
02 - My Bay - Communique
03 - White Daisy Passing - Rocky Votolato
04 - Ultimatum - The Long Winters
05 - Something To Do With My Hands - Her Space Holiday
06 - Be Still My Heart - The Postal Service
07 - Spotomatic Freeze - We Are Scientists
08 - Letter To The East Coast - John Vanderslice
09 - Half A Smidge - Calexico
10 - King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1 - Neutral Milk Hotel
11 - Man On A String - Arizona Amp & Alternator
12 - If We Should Fall - Cub Country
13 - Me And My 424 - John Vanderslice
14 - Suicide Medicine - Rocky Votolato
15 - Talkin' Bout A Revolution - Tracy Chapman
16 - Casimir Pulaski Day - Sufjan Stevens
17 - Your Misfortune - Mike Doughty
18 - Title And Registration (Original) - Death Cab For Cutie
19 - One Great City! - The Weakerthans
20 - July, July! - The Decemberists
21 - A History Of Lovers - Calexico/Iron & Wine
22 - Cracklin Water - Giant Sand
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This is a gaming post

Or rather a post about gaming, not an actual gaming post. I keep that under the bed and only pull it out for beatdowns. But I digress.

In gmail today it was proposed that we compile a list -- since that's what people do this time of year -- of our top ten games of 2005.

As it turns out, 2005 wasn't too shabby for gaming. Some of my favorite games of all time came out this year and were easily added to the "big list" in my brain of things that I remember fondly. Digital memories, so palpable they are.

Here you go.

Top Ten of 2005:

01 - Resident Evil 4 - GC
02 - Guitar Hero - PS2
03 - Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory - Xbox
04 - F.E.A.R. - PC
05 - God of War - PS2
06 - Lumines - PSP
07 - Call of Duty 2 - PC
08 - We <3 Katamari - PS2
09 - Kingdom of Paradise - PSP
10 - Shadow of the Collosus - PS2

Honorable Mentions:

+ Counter Strike: Source - PC (new maps make it new)
+ Hotshots Golf - PSP
+ Quake 4 - PC
+ Mario Tennis - GC
+ Battlefield 2 - PC
+ Burnout Revenge - Xbox
+ Stubbs the Zombie - Xbox (for the multiplayer alone)
+ Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks - Xbox

Had I played them they'd prolly be on one of those lists:

+ SWAT 4 - PC
+ Psychonauts - PC/Xbox
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03 January 2006

I gotta get my car fixed.

My car, every time I want it to stop we have to wrestle. I hit the breaks and like a man locked in mortal combat with a two ton metal bear, it fights me. It fights me for it's dear life. With every intake left in it's manifold.

I hate car repairs.

I need new rotors for the front brakes. From years of breaking they have become warped and torn. That's easy, I can relate to that. It's something I can bundle my brain around. Also though, it seems to have developed a high-pitched whine. When I start the beast, it whirs to life and nags me all the way to my destination.

I just turn the music up.

Dennis tells me it's a loose belt and that it wont be that bad to replace. Hopefully it's not the expensive and ever elusive 'timing' belt. The belt which keeps my car in the present time. I'm told that if the things snaps, my car could go back in time and start the gears of the apocalypse. Old testament style, dogs and cats living together. The end of the universe as we know it.

It's not the money, well it is the money, but it's also, well... I can't be without a car. I need my transportation.

I'm thinking I might drop it in the shop when I go down to Florida on the 13th of this month. Yes, that sounds like a good idea. I think I will do that. Definitely.

We don't need dogs and cats living together, those would be dark days indeed.

EDIT: It would appear this can no longer wait, the car hits the shop this weekend. Friday to be specific. More problems have popped up. I'm not looking forward to this. If it's less than a $1000, I'll be really happy.
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