log (2006/11/10 to 2006/11/16)

So in the hour between dropping the little daughter off at the Performing Arts Center and going into the main auditorium of the Performing Arts Center to hear her play in the Young People Who Are Very Good At Such Things concert, I wandered around through various doors and spaces, including some that looked as though they might have been supposed to, but didn't actually, have "Authorized Personnel Only All Others Keep Out" signs posted on them.

(As I said to the little daughter afterward, I don't know what I would have done if any of the tastier-looking ways had been marked that way; but I didn't get the chance to test myself against that temptation.)

The first questionable door that I went through was right next to the door to the main lobby restroom. It was one of those doors that's designed to be unobstrusive-to-invisible when it's closed, but it was propped open, and in the hallway beyond it (a hallway attractively more utilitarian-looking than the rather posh lobby) there was a piece of paper taped to the wall saying "Green Room" and pointing inward.

Well, who could resist that?

So the Green Room in this particular Performing Arts Center is way down some twisty concrete steps at the end of the hallway, along a very basementy corridor, opposite the soda machines. It has green-painted cinderblock pillars in it, and green drapes, and coffee and doughnuts and bagels for the performers (but, at that particular moment, no performers).

On the same long basement hallway as the Green Room is a big room with lots of clothing on racks and some laundry machines, and lots of very closed-looking doors, and darkish rooms with bulky things stored in them, and one small cramped room with a coffee maker and a small refrigerator and an old drafting table and a dusty stopped clock and a couple of large stones with faces painted on them and three spiral-bound notebooks with dates from about five years ago on the spines and a surprisingly large number of other things considering the size of the room.

And somewhere down there (I don't actually remember the route, and couldn't draw a map of all the places that I wandered into) there's another stairway, narrow and dim, with lots of graffiti on the walls from like graduating acting classes or something. The traditional place, probably, where casts or crews or classes write their names and goodbyes after the last party, laughing and being tipsy on the stairs.

(And if you walk around the building around the outside, to the garbage bins and the loading dock, and you walk up the steps to where the lady in the wool poncho is smoking a cigarette just as a man in a jacket opens a dented metal door from the inside, looks out, and lets it close again, and you go up very confidently and open that door again and go in, you find yourself right near that first door again, and the head of the stairs that lead down to the Green Room.)

And somewhere else down there (underneath the building across the road, I think; the second floor of the building reaches over the road where it goes by the main doors of the Performing Arts Center, and there were more of those tempting open doors leading to undecorated hallways opening from the sidewalk on that side also), there's a big (really big) echoey room, with stacks of those things that choruses stand on (risers, that's it), and some pretend brick walls and other props and backdrops, and some old chairs, and a magazine or two open face-down on the concrete floor, and stuff like that.

And over to one side of the very big room there's this somewhat big place, like maybe thirty-by-thirty feet, where the floor is eight or ten feet lower down (a big square or rectangular pit), with low posts around it and a chain going through the posts (not enough to keep anyone from falling in, just enough to call your attention to the edge). And reaching up out of the pit all the way up to the ceiling there are four big silver cylindrical pillars, some feet in diameter, with silver spirals or ridges spiralling or circling around them, resting on big dark metal machinery at the bases.

And I'll bet that that room is under some stage somewhere, and that big piece of ceiling lowers down so the actors can get on and off and props can be loaded on and off, and when the lights are dim upstairs and the fog-machines are running, demons and lost travellers and castles rise through the stage, up from the big echoey room with the piles of risers and the magazines face-down on the floor, up into the audience's universe.

Next time:

she thought, start a relationship with an alpaca, a vicuna, a guanaco - but never, never a llama. Don't ask.

the fire

Next time we'll do it differently; we'll dance more and have more sex and celebrate each moment as it melds into the continuum.

Hey there!

"discretely" or "discreetly"? or both?

Meat tenderizer is what you usually put on bee stings.

hello there. Come here my little friend.

Have you been following this obviously phony but still endearingly phony thingie? [link]

Overlord Condition Raised. And it's work, too, not negotiating.

Hey! Here's my billion-dollar-idea-o-the-day: Ebooks By Mail. Brilliant!

What a wonderful story! In so many ways. A lovely little ending, especially. Thanks!

Thank you. *8)

Nothing wrong with a weblog that gets updated mostly on Sundays; Sundays are good days to do things like updating weblogs.

I went into the large and impressive New York City yesterday, to see friends. Didn't do anything particularly noteworthy seen from the outside; had some good Indian food for lunch and some amazing sushi for dinner, wandered around in Central Park, talked alot. Admired the big class cube of the midtown Apple Store, gawked at the oddity that is the Hearst Tower.

(One of us opined that it's an unforgivable piece of architecture, but I have mixed feelings; I mean, it's not as cool as having actual slimy tentacles bursting forth from the roof of an otherwise normal building, but if we can't have that...)

Didn't go to any museums (I hear they do have some museums down there), or ride the Roosevelt Island tram (as I've been meaning to do for two and a half years now), but did definitely have a good time, which means I might do it again sometime sooner than usual, and therefore have another shot at museums and trams and stuff.

But that's all just prelude to what I actually wanted to log about: slip-slide season.

On the way down I took the express from Croton-Harmon, which only stops at 125th Street and at Grand Central. But on the way back I took the local, which stops rather more frequently.

At one point we were chugging along (well, humming along actually; the line is electrified from Grand Central to Croton-Harmon (but not north of there)) and then we slowed down, and finally stopped.

I'd been reading my book rather than looking out the window, 'cause it was dark and all, and now looking out the window it seemed that we weren't anywhere in particular. There were some voices over the speakers, trainfolk talking to each other, I heard the word "reverse" I'm pretty sure, and after a couple of minutes the train started moving again, backward, south, back toward the City. After another minute we backed into a station (I think it was Ludlow) and stopped again, and the doors opened and zero or more people got on or off, and then we were underway again, northbound again.

The speaker came on, and the voice apologized for all that, and said that due to it being "slip-slide season" with the leaves on the tracks and all, sometimes the train didn't stop exactly where one asked it to.

Sort of humbling, I thought.

It happened again, at Glenwood, and the lady standing by the doors in my car, waiting to get off at Glenwood, seemed a bit perturbed when the train rolled (or, I suppose, slipped) right through the station and back into the night. And then when it finally stopped and backed up into the station again she laughed and shook her head.

So happy Slip-Slide Season to all!

Let's see. I wrote some (rather superficial really) notes on Lafferty's "Nine Hundred Grandmothers".

Steve sends (under the heading "Cthulhu Fhtagn") this: Mariners report new island in South Pacific. (Pretty odd. No reports of ancient inhuman temples jutting from the mud, but then there probably wouldn't be.)

Bill recommends this piece from P Z Meyers (I especially like the phrase "the womb mother of Paris Hilton's clone can be found in Big Macs" somehow, for sheer oddness). I not quite as purely sanguine about that brave new world as Meyers seems to be on this page, but that's probably the "real discussion" part that he mentions at the end.

A spam subject line I noticed (haven't been paying much attention to them lately, but for old time's sake):

Subject: irritability nutty

Expect to be surprised.

Let's see what else. I made a local copy of the story of Mitch and Ally's wedding that I posted to the bbs the other day. And Christy Stratton has finally struck out on her own.

And then there's the Ajax Toy, that I've been sadly neglecting. Let's do another brief anthology...

These extracts from the Ajax Toy were contributed by person or persons unknown. No consistency or identity of narrative universe is implied. Read at your own risk. Characters may or may not be Mia. You might want to read them one at a time over a long period, or alternately greedily gobble them all at once.

It has always had loved the velvet tact; perhaps its mother has had consumed velvet or perhaps its skin has had just felt like velvet. It could not be remembered completely. Like a dream that tried to remember, its fragile memories of she was how much the head of an distant breath of the lion tooth that already is jumped before that you obtained here.
She had twin girls and called them Tabula Rasa and Amygdala, strange names for back then. They two were as dissimilar as chalk and cheese. There was even some speculation that they might have had the benefit of different fathers; benefit yes, for one father was almost certainly the Lucas O'Grady who no mother would chose to be the father of her grandchildren if there was any possible alternative.
"Voi gradiscono venire sopra al mio posto? Forse faccia una certi pasta e pesto casalinghi? Avete piantato del basilico questo anno? Ho il resto degli ingredienti, persino semolino genuino. Semolino, amo quella parola. Suona cosi tanto piu romantica di il frumento alto a terra." "Funzioni tutto il giorno per una ciotola di tagliatelle, semolino piu meglio vi porta un certo amore!"
His light green eyes caught hers for a brief, a very brief moment, just long enough to change the course of her life forever. While she looked at him she missed flagging the taxi that would have put her at the airport in line next to the man who would have funded her IPO and fathered her first two children. But she liked his light green eyes.
His lit green eyes caught hers for a brief, a very brief moment, just long enough to change the course of her life forever. While she looked at him she missed flagging the taxi that would have put her at the airport in line next to the man who would have funded her IPO and fathered her first two children. But she liked the fire in his eyes.
He hadn't intended to kiss her. It was to be lunch in the city, that's all, she in from Boston and he down from upstate, meeting at the station. Review some notes, a few revisions, lunch. "Do you remember that time in Jaypur when we got so giddy and almost fell off the roof?" He leaned in, "I, it's Jaipur with an I." He did remember, of course. All too well. Fresh air can be so intoxicating.
Speak to me not in riddles/ Give me instead the poetry of life/ The music of the quaking aspen/ The rhythm of the grass growing long beneath my feet/ No, speak to me not in riddles for I understand nothing of them.
Tempus fugit. Tears turn to glass and bounce like diamonds on the early morning ice. Plum blossoms by the eave.
"I can't breathe...I can't breathe..." He rolled off of her, sated. She liked this she thought, liked the weight of his manliness. But one day it would be the death of her.
The warm rain swept up the slopes of the tea gardens releasing the delicate perfume of the blossoms, and she remembered the late summer of her discontent. Not discontent really, more like restlessness; a restlessness of body, of soul that women in that ill-defined space between children and grandchildren sometimes fall prey to...the time of the tiger spirit.
So what do we learn from this little ajax toy? Look under rocks. Notice the small things. There is beauty in the ephemeral.
She had gotten a job as a taste-tester in a poison factory, not her dream job to be sure...
She had done her part for academe; married an educated man, fostered a voracious appetite for words in their daughter, now grown, now educated. Her own practice of the sport though had she left sadly lacking. So now, alone, when evensong echoed through the empty chambers, did she hear only the evensong of the guttersnipe.
"Would you like me to try to seduce you now? Y/N?" "Darling, liebling, cheri, tesoro, querido...pick a card, any card." She was confident now that she could trick any man in any of the standard European languages, trick them into divulging their secret passions, their middle names, their mothers' middle maiden names, who they save the good whisky for; a real modern day Mata Hari was she.
12. Are you doing what makes you happy? Y/N?
Hair like rhetted straw, eyes like two spent racquet balls; what a strange and luminous beauty was she. Mirror mirror on the wall... and even so, once upon a time. She picked up the cross bow with her stick-stick fingers, tentatively scraped the strings of the magic cello and such music fell out, it stilled the flight of the moon.
She loads the words in one by one and lets them tumble out like keno balls, again and again and again. They used to call this machine an automaton, but what it is called in this new world she doesn't know. No matter, she likes the way the words line up, making sense of the disorder in this small room.
"It's lovely here, lovely." They gazed out over the Balkan countryside from their vantage point, the flat roof of the abandoned orphanage high in the Carpathian hills. Their search for records was proving fruitless, this remote address their last hope. "Lovely, but no use," he sighed, the disappointment catching in his throat. "No darling, don't say that. We're here, together, that's worth something."
Darling, liebling, cheri, tesoro, querido... she could now seduce any man in any of the standard European languages and with a little effort a few of the more exotic ones as well. A modern day Mata Hari was she. Her day would come soon, she was sure of that. Meanwhile she'd persist in trying to flirt with the pizza delivery boy even though he insisted he didn't speak Italian.
"Darling, won't you please join me on the terrace?" Darling, won't you please join me on the terrace?? What was she up to? They had been on-again, off-again lovers for twenty years and there wasn't much they hadn't done; this must be something new she'd thought of. He followed her through the french doors; straight into the barrel of a gun. "Hey baby, good one, that really looks real."
She lay back in the long grass and felt the April heat penetrate her bones. This was her place, her sanctuary. She had brought him here once but she hadn't let him make love to her, not here, not in this place of eternal innocence and possibility.
She counted off the days like beads on a mala; one hundred and eight days of suffering. Jellyfish bites really hurt.
When I crack my ankles, the rocks sing. When I crack my fingers, the centipedes squeal. When I crack my big toe, the eggs weep.
She wore her sorrow like a badge of honour, there in her hollow eyes for all souls and heaven to see. The pursuit of happiness concerned her not. She was sorrow, all sorrow, all feathery blackness and boney black boots; a widow's weed in the garden of love.
Do fictional characters have the Buddha nature? Ah, such a question. Only a realized master could answer such a question; only a realized master could ask it.
She could barely decipher the words on the scrap of paper that fell out of the charred leather notebook. Would she even recognise the author? She hardly recognised the script; a thousand years ago it seemed. Everything was different now; these treasonous straits, this ravaged burnt land. But, even so, she still wished she had someone to love.
"Darling, we should pick up some more bagels while we're here." She felt his fingers pressing rhythmically into her palm. "Yes, darling, bagels." But her ears were hearing different words than her hand was now feeling. She struggled to appear the casual strolling lover while desperately trying to remember the code. /Operative...at...two...o'clock...armed...likely...wired/ Oh dear, not this again.
The river would be breaking up soon now. In the still evening she could hear it crack, heaving like a great whale struggling to suck air. The return of movement to the land after the long winter always made her restless; a fever for which there was no cure save going to town and finding a man.
The yoga of transformation... She let her mind rest there, uncomprehending, embracing the confusion, then releasing it. Point no point; a rocky outcrop, a red bridge.
The calculus of transformation... She let her mind rest there, uncomprehending, embracing the confusion, then releasing it. Point no point; a rocky outcrop, a red bridge.
Point No Point; a rocky outcrop, a red bridge. They leaned over the railing, the surf below them crashing onto the rocks, then sucking back; mesmerising. "Darling do remember when we stood exactly here on our honeymoon?" Was she being disingenuous, or just daft? Of course he remembered; he remembered wanting to push her off, her and her whole crazy family. Things were better now, somewhat.
There had been no sex either that rainy day when she stood on the stones at China Beach and cried and cried and cried. Then the stones had disappeared, then the beach even, and the lemon sharks were left slinking among the trees and killer whales were peering into car windows. Then the tide went out.
He had never been her lover. Yet still she remembered the touch of his skin, the slope of his brow, the way his eyes shone as they reflected the green flickr of the display. She had wanted to put her hands on the flat of his back, feel what he felt, feel the energy that he teased from the old machine.
She took the old theodolite out of its case and polished the lens, thankful, once again, that she had thought to hang on to it. Especially now that the laws of physics had changed.

(Readers might want to compare the first of these with the last of the previous set. No conclusions should be drawn or judgements inferred from the inclusion or non-inclusion of any text, or any version of any text, in the above. And there are still lots more, and lots of input-box input that I haven't posted (but always appreciate), and all sorts of other things lying scattered about. Complicated, isn't it?)