Wednesday, July 27, 2005

What I'm Reading

The first sentence in this book had me hooked. Somehow it struck me as a strange and yet somehow perfect way to start a book. It set the scene, the mood and gave me an inner chuckle as well. I read it about 8 times before proceeding on to the next one.

"It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression 'As pretty as an airport.' "

About halfway through the book there's a brilliant conversation between one of the main characters and a humorless phychiatric hospital administrator who has just discovered the value of a good joke:

"Well," said Kate, "it goes, 'Why did the chicken cross the road?' "

"Yes? And?"

"And the answer is 'To get to the other side.' "

"I see." Standish considered things for a moment. "And what does this chicken do when it arrives at the other side of the road?"

"History does not relate," replied Kate promptly. "I think that falls outside the scope of the joke, which really only concerns itself with the journey of the chicken acros the road and the chicken's reasons for making it. It's like a little Japanese haiku in that respect."

Kate suddenly found she was enjoying herself. She managed a surreptitious wink at the nurse, who had no idea what to make of anything at all.

"I see," said Standish once again, and frowned. "And do these, er, jokes require the preparatory use of any form of artificial stimulant?"

"Depends on the joke, depends on who it's being told to."

"Hmmm, well, I must say, you've certainly opened up a rich furrow for me, Miss, er. It seems to me that the whole field of humor could benefit from close and immediate scrutiny. Clearly we need to sort out the jokes which have any kind of genuine psychological value from thise which merely encourage drug abuse and should be stopped. Good."

The book is by Douglas Adams. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul This is my first Adams book (no, I've never read the Hitchiker's Guide) but certainly not the last. I'd recommend this book to any of my friends and thank Laura for recommending it and Aaron for lending it, knowing full well he might not ever see it again.

Monday, July 25, 2005


You would think that somebody who has spent, literally, months living in a tent in various campsites would be an expert camper. Not so.

Every summer I think I should take my family camping. Then I am stricken with a sudden feeling of inadequate camper-ness. Where would we go? What do people do when camping? What do they eat?

In the time I spent camping, I was living in a tent somewhat out of necessity. With my friends on our way to Alaska. Or with my husband, basically doing the same thing a couple of years later. So the tent was basically "home base" and we mostly slept there. We ate a lot of sandwiches and dry cereal, with real meals provided for us by local restaurants.

I know how to make a campfire and heat up Campbell's soup, with s'mores for dessert. But people talk about Going Camping like it's a vacation and this to me is mystifying. I don't like the KOA-type places, with video arcades, swimming pools and hoe-downs. The idea of camping to me is to sort of rough it, live outside for a while. But what do people eat? What do they do? How do they make entire meals on a campfire? Do they have special equipment? Where does the coffee come from, if not the Dunkin' Donuts outside the campground gates?

*Sigh* I need a lesson on camping.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I am home from visiting Laura and we had our usual talk talk talk kind of visit. I laugh when somebody asks "What did you do?" We reconnected. We have a pattern (big surprise here, it started in college) of getting together and talking until we see blue in the sky. Then, like good little nocturnal creatures, we scuttle off to bed and shut our eyes before it's really day.

I thought it might be different this time. We did leave the house, to get food and a movie and a bottle of wine. Laura's sister had a bit of a crisis and so came down from Massachussetts for the night. So it was Laura, her sister (who I think is wonderful, and feel that she's a part of our extended family) and Laura's friend Aaron, who is helping out Sister by housing her cat for a few weeks to get through the crisis time.

We watched Dodgeball, drank some wine and talked. Listened to Iron Horse's bluegrass version of Metallica songs and some time around 3am, we decided it was time for bed. I thought - this is going to be the first time in *years* that we'll be going to bed before the sky is blue, but I'll go with it. So Sister and Aaron went off to Aaron's place to sleep and hang with kitty. I washed my face, Laura came out, I said "Hey, there's this book I want to show you" and read her the first page of it. Ended up reading half the book to her. The sky turned blue. We scurried off to our crypts and went to sleep - but not before Laura finished the book.

It was wonderful to see Laura. I have never been one of those people who has lots of friends. I have a small handful of close friends, who unfortunately all live too far for me to be able to call them up and say "Hey, I'm having a crappy day; let's meet for coffee."

During one of our conversations Laura said in describing somebody "This is one of those rare and special kind of friends - like you - who doesn't just come along every day."

I didn't get to say thank you. That means a lot.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A note on the Journey Series

It will continue, but I seem to be stalled on it at the moment. I promise to post it under the "Journey" title so you'll know it's part, but these Journey posts will be interspersed with posts on whatever else I feel like writing about at the moment. Thanks for reading!

You never get a 2nd (3rd, 4th) chance at a first impression.

Back in my Junior year of University, post-nasty relationship breakup, I was spending a lot of time on the 6th floor of my building in the Quad, with my friend Chris. Chris and I never were a couple, although the rest of the world (including my mother) was sure we were sleeping together. We were just great partying buddies, and spent most of our days together. One evening, I walked out of his room looking for his next door neighbor, a funny guy we called our "party favor." We'd invite him over when we needed to be entertained. He always obliged. I found him on the stairwell with some goth-looking chick who was wrapping rolls of toilet paper around the banister and had made it down almost to the next floor. "What are you doing?" I asked. "Wrapping the banister." came the reply from Neighbor Boy. "Why?" I asked.

Goth Chick looked at me with some serious attitude. "I'M DRUNK, OKAAAYYY???"

Uh, yeah. Fine. Be my guest. Bitch. Chris and I returned to his room.

A month or so later, my younger sister was up visiting me for the weekend the night my ex-boyfriend decided to kill me.

I'm not going to go into the details of our year and a half long relationship, his neediness, my ending it so I could become myself again and not the person I was turning into, his stalkerish behavior, his crazy 8-page letters...

Approximately 6 months after I ended our relationship he decided one night that if he couldn't have me nobody would.

My sister and I were getting ready to go out for the evening when Psycho Boy busted in to my 4th floor room weilding a gun. My first instinct, insanely enough, was anger, not fear. I was furious that this idiot would intrude on my life like this and threaten ME. He shot out a window, shattered my mirror and was chased out of my room by some complete stranger from two floors up (no police, nobody else even responded to our screams), who chased him down four flights of stairs and out into the courtyard, where he lost him. My hero.

Psycho Boy stayed missing for several days, during which my sister and I were treated like a liability and I was forced to move into a new room. A month before the end of the school year, with everything else going on in my life, I had to move the entire contents of my room two floors up. At least I'd be on the same floor as Chris now.

So my sister worked with me, helping me carry stuff upstairs, and we worked into the night, for I had been told by the University that I was to be out of my room that day. We carried my boxes of stuff, milk crates full of records and books, clothing in garbage bags... Almost done, late in the evening, we were carting my mattress up and out of her room walks Goth Girl. "Nice fucking time to start moving in," she says and walks to the bathroom. My sister shut me in my new room while I vented vociferously about this bitch, who does she think she is, if she had any damn idea WHY I was moving, against my will, into a new room, and doing it all night... Yeah. I was pissed.

Later that night, close to 2am, who do I see walking down the hall but My Hero. I stopped him, thanked him profusely for helping out even though he had no clue who we were, if the gun was real...any of it. Just a brave, brave man. I was giving him the update on where things stood when Goth Girl walks out of her room again and says, in her by now signature bitchy tone, "It's 2am. Move out of the hallway!"

We moved out of the hallway and that was it with Goth Girl. Three strikes, she was done in my book. She better hope she never runs into me again.

A week or so later, all settled in, sister gone home, I was hanging out with Chris when he suggested we invite DebbiefromAlaska to come hang with us. She's cool, he assured me, and as Neighbor Boy was not around, we thought we could use some entertainment.

Chris and I walked into DebbiefromAlaska's room and guess who her roommate was. Right. Goth Girl. Chris invited DebbiefromAlaska to come hang with us and said to Goth Girl "You can come too, if you want."

The look I shot him could have melted the Polar Ice Caps. She joined us.

Somehow, possibly due to ingestation of slightly illegal substances, the mood shifted and I found myself sitting on the floor of Chris' room talking to Goth Girl. Whose name was Laura. Who was having some trouble ending a relationship with an abusive asshole of a boyfriend.

The heavens opened up, pigs flew, hell froze over...we clicked.

Fifteen years later, I count Laura as one of a very small handful of true, close friends. I'm leaving tomorrow to visit her overnight and I can't wait. We still laugh at the series of events prior to our becoming friends. Turns out Chris really wanted to invite DebbiefromAlaska over because he wanted to get in Laura's pants, and the only reason she came was because she SAW the look I gave him when he invited her too. And still, every time my sister sees her, she says

"Nice fucking time to be moving in."

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Lots happening Chez cjblue...sorry for the silence. Summer seems to have descended with all the craziness that brings. I promise to resume posting in the next few days and in the meantime, I leave you with a quote from a good friend:

"I like my coffee like I like my men. Big dick."