One of the cooler things to happen to me so far this summer, was that I had the pleasure of meeting a very dramatic emu named Queenie. I’ve never met an emu before, and my only frame of reference was the attacking emus in Dude Where’s My Car, but Queenie lived up to her name. She was like an aging Hollywood starlet. She would follow you around, but the moment you looked at her, she would look away. I miss Queenie, and the somber drumbeat sound that she would make as she walked around. Hopefully, I’ll see her again soon.
Monthly Archives: July 2010
(As told to me in a dream by Pioneer 10 – Kristen)
I have loved her for eight billion years. Think about that… Eight billion years.
At first it was so easy. I was fused with a sense of purpose, and much of my time was occupied by the work at hand. I had no sense of the infiniteness in which I now exist.
There are vast stretches of time when I consider that this is all a dream, that this darkness I inhabit is merely a fiction, but I do exist. They created me out of aluminum and boron epoxy tubes. Fashioned me into a being of sorts and gave me a name. Time was of the essence; they were racing against an impending solar storm that I would not have survived. Perhaps it was this speed, that factored into the way in which my parts were fused together, which in turn created the spark, in such a way, that at one moment in time, one inexplicable moment, I became aware.
I was to travel to Jupiter and take photographs. If I managed to survive that, I was to continue on to probe the solar wind termination point. This was only a best-case scenario, they would have been happy with a few snapshots of Jupiter and been well enough to go home and retire. There were so many of them, surrounding me at all hours. Their language bounced off my sides, I could feel the vibrations like waves, but I had no way of understanding their words, though I could sense their touch.
There was something about one of the technicians. I knew it, once I started to know things, which was again, hard to explain but one night, there it was.
It occurred to me that I had preferences. One of the technicians had adjusted my Ultraviolet Photometer and in that moment, I sensed pleasure. This initial move, of a few millimeters, suddenly shifted things into place, and I became aware of my internal organs so to speak. Meteoroid Detector, Trapped Radiation Detector, Helium Vector Magnetometer, Plasma Analyzer, Charged Particle Instrument, Cosmic Ray Telescope. The list went on a bit further of course, but you get the idea. From that moment on I knew that I could exert control over these organs, and if I did so, they would return to correct the adjustment. But more often than not, the touch of the technician was not the one I had desired. I began to break down, in a desperate attempt to find the source of my pleasure, until finally, she returned. Her touch was markedly different from the others, so gentle and caring. Fused with certainty and safety. I wanted her and only her. So, I set about undoing their work. If they sent one of them in to fix me, I would not allow it. I fought at every turn, until they realized what was going on. She was the only one who could make adjustments. There was no time for arguments. She was given the primary task and the others did not like this. When she was not around, I would hear them speaking. I could not understand their words, but their tone was filled with derision and jealousy. I knew I was making things difficult for her, but I was young, and full of selfish guile. I wanted her. And so I continued to manipulate the situation in my favor, though a sense of allegiance began to form within me. I found a way to work with her, to guide her to the answers that she was looking for. I would show subtle signs of weakness in areas that I knew she had missed. I made sure that everything she did was flawless. I protected her, as she protected me. Continue reading
When I was a kid, I had to spend six weeks with my father every summer. This annual hellish sojourn – which I came to think of as Shared Custody Row – usually spanned the latter part of July and all of August. I hated going to my father’s house more than anything because my father ignored me and my stepmother brutalized me. With my dad at work all day, I did my best to blend into the woodwork. I was like one of those Wall People from Flash Gordon, trying to stay clear on my stepmother who was Ming the Merciless. But summers without friends, activities, or pools proved to be quite challenging. There were really only three ways to kill time. The first involved daydreaming. I could eat up a solid two-hour chunk by imagining myself as Matt Dillon’s love interest in Over the Edge, the cult classic about urban planning gone wrong. The second involved reading books – anything with a Newbery Award seal on it was a surefire way to stave off misery for a few hours. The final time killer was a game called The Curious Silence. This was a very simple game that I invented: The object was to see how long I could go without saying a single word before my dad or Ming asked me a question, or became concerned that I was not speaking.
My record was five days. What was most interesting was the quieter I became, the more I seemed to see. And the more I saw, the more absurd everything became. I believe the medical term for this is disassociation, but I didn’t know any of that then.
Now, I know lots of terms, and I understand how it is that when summer comes I become quiet and still – only now – thank goodness – no one around me wants to play.
Work Hard. Play Hard. Eat Right.
These are big themes in our household, although I lobbied to change “Play Hard” to “Be Nice” – but was steamrolled (sigh). Anyway, now everyone can join in the “Eat Right” part by checking out Tubbs’ nutrition blog. It’s full of all sorts of useful information and is very helpful if you are looking to get healthier – or just figure out what cereal to buy for your kids.
If you’re like me, waking up on a Saturday morning to a mess of blood, bird feathers, and a decapitated carcass, is not your idea of a good time. Unfortunately, we have this cat Apple who suffers from blood lust. In the last month we have counted 7 rats (she leaves us the tails and intestines), 4 mice (decapitated of course), 1 snake (or large lizard, it was hard to tell), 1 baby rabbit (which was alive and screaming in the house and hid under the bed until we found it – legs broken), 3 mid sized rabbits (again, we were left hearts and intestines), and 4 birds (2 decapitated). All this from little Apple!
Cats are natural born hunters. They were first domesticated thousands of years ago, when people first start growing crops and storing food. The cat’s extraordinary hunting ability played an important role in controlling rodent problems. Over the years, of course, and with better pest control available, the role of cats in our society has changed significantly. However, Apple never got this memo and remains a lean, mean, killing machine.
pray v. to address a god with adoration, confession, supplication or thanksgiving
Defining theme: Chosen People
Favorite Son: David
Culinary Contribution: Matzo Ball
Big Moment: Moses parts the Red Sea
Essential Reading: I and Thou by Martin Buber
Defining Theme: Meek shall inherit the earth
Favorite son: Jesus
Culinary Tradition: Fish Sticks
Big Moment: Jesus resurrects
Essential Reading: The Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine
Defining Theme: Screw tradition
Culinary Tradition: Tuna Noodle Casserole
Favorite son: Guttenberg
Big Moment: King Henry wants a divorce
Essential Reading: The Mischief of Sin by Thomas Watson
Defining Theme: Good thoughts, good words, good deeds
Favorite Son: Zarathushtra
Culinary Tradition: The Kebob
Big Moment: Seven-year-old Zarathustra survives poisoning attempt.
Essential Reading: The Avesta
Defining Theme: Karma
Favorite Son: Krishna
Culinary Tradition: Chicken Tikka Masala
Big Moment: Lord Vishnu opened his eyes
Essential Reading: The Upanishads
Defining Theme: Scripture Alone
Favorite Son: Martin Luther
Culinary Tradition: Cheese Whiz and Olives on Rye
Big Moment: Charles V issues Edict of Worms
Essential Reading: Book of Concord