AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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worth a thousand words indeed

The living room is filled with crap. It’s the usual, end of the week, should have been cleaned and put away over the weekend crap combined with six large boxes that my mother sent. These boxes contain old yearbooks, favorite children’s books, oh so very many of my grandmother’s photographs, books I’m peculiarly unable to part with, a wide variety of knickknacks and keepsakes, and the box that I am currently staring down. A large box, wrapped carefully in a map of Berlin, both the top and bottom wrapped separately, so it can be opened at will. The question is, do I want to open it? I know what it contains, at least in theory. It is notes, cards and letters sent to me from high school through college. There are, I imagine, love letters, break up letters, meaningful and meaningless notes, personal birthday cards, and throwaway cards barely signed and without real sentiment. Do I want to go through this stuff? Should I shove it in a large envelope and file it away for someone to find after my death? Should I just burn it? Should I carefully sift through it a save out the pieces I may or may not be interested in reflecting in my old age? I’m leaning toward burning all the contents unread and unsifted.

Here is a photo I accidentally took this morning while messing with my camera:

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Really the photo is all you need to know about my last few days. Big time excitement, my friends, big bg big excitement.

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At least I have you, tomato

The proper order of things in the morning is: pee, find clothing, make coffee, drink a little coffee, make food, get on the internets.  If this master order of things is deviated from bad things can happen.  Like say if I start checking mail and blogs before coffee, I get sucked into the weirdest things.

This morning, while attempting coffee, I dropped a cup on my foot, tried to put coffee grounds in the coffee maker without first putting in a filter (caught myself just in time), started the coffee maker without putting in water, etc.   Now I really need that coffee.

My landlord does some lame things.  Not very many, or very often, in fact so rarely that I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt this time and blame the idiot landscaping guys.  The new complex next to us is almost finished and businesses in it are starting to open (YAY smoothie shop!).  The bushes in front of my yard are very hard to see around when pulling out of my driveway, or the new complex.  And though it does cause a loss of some of my privacy on my porch and in my yard, it is not unreasonable to cut them back so folks can see oncoming traffic when pulling out.  I assume my landlord told the idiot landscaping guys to cut the bushes.  I assume the landlord meant the bushes along the front of the property.  The landscaping guys–the same ones who tried to weedwhack out all the blooming tulips, who once cut the cable line where it comes into the house, who I really think are idiots–yes, those landscaping guys, cut down all the bushes in the front yard.  Thus even further reducing my privacy, and eliminating much of the shade on my porch.

The loss of privacy and shade is extra sucky because, as I said, there are now businesses going in next door, which means more traffic.  Previously we had lots of natural cover and shade around the porch and no people at all next door.  ARGH!  Also we just got a hammock for the porch.  Nothing says relaxing while laying on one’s own porch as people pass by and peer at you.  Ugh.

Yes, I am purchasing bamboo shades for much of the porch.  Yes, I am pissy about it.  Yes, I am sure it’ll all be fine in the end.  It’s out of my control anyway. I did ask the land lord to put a motion sensor light over our driveway, so at least the cars, hopefully, won’t get broken into again and I can have some light when I come home in the middle of the night. And hey, I can hear the guys out there banging around and putting it up right now.

GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP

Hmm, I have coffee now.  The next question is, should I have ice cream for breakfast or make something a little more healthy?

Despite the pre-coffee grumps, and yesterday’s mostly foul mood, there are definitely good things in my life.  Work is okay.  I mean, waiting tables isn’t rocket science, and the economy sucks, but overall, I still love it.  Whopperjaw remains charming and entertaining.  Which is awesome, but also he is cute, so I might keep him around even after the shiny charm wears off. Heh.  Poor Ladybug has been sick, but she seems on the mend and we’ve got the awesome Nashtastic coming this weekend.  And it’s Tomatofest!  And the weather report fo rthe weekend? “Sunny and delightful.” that is to say, not hot for the the tomato fun. Wheee!


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peekchures

I just realized that I never posted a link to my Seattle pictures. There are very few of them, actually. I either forget to take pictures, or some horrible psychological, deep buried, homesickness was going on and I was too paralyzed by it to take pictures, I’m not sure which. Anyway, the ones I did take are here. Mostly scenic, or of something I has some weird need to capture.


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dreams, books, badness abounds

I had crazy stress dreams about moving.  Though this is a common theme for my stress dreams, it’s pretty clear where these came from. My loud, awful, crappy indie rock playing neighbors are moving out. Well, apparently they were supposed to move out by Saturday.  As far as I can tell they still aren’t out. From what I hear the new neighbors (two gay boys) We’re supposed to be moving in now -ish, but have to wait for the fuckheads to finish getting out. Anyway, I dreamt I was moving into some place I’d lived before (it looked like a combination of three places I’d had in Seattle), and I got half my stuff in only to discover the prior tenants hadn’t taken half their stuff, so I had to do all this work to move it outside, to fit my stuff in.  Then I realized I’d forgotten to tell my previous place that I was moving, so I had to come up with double rent.

Ugh, ugh, ugh, but on the plus side, in the dream, I had a job that sent me to the Caribbean occasionally.

This weekend I read Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. It’s the first Mieville I’ve read, and I have to confess, I don’t get what all the fuss was about. Maybe this simply wasn’t the book to start with, but I found it fairly tedious.  The whole elaborately created world was great and all.  Some of the characters were likable, and one even seemed to have something of a transformative journey (although unfortunately that coincided with making him unlikable to the reader). But over all the world building was a little sloppy.  There was no history of the place explained, which made it much harder to believe how such place could have come to exist. There were several places where the author directly went against previous statements he’d made about characters.  It was, in my perception, rife with little flaws.  And I can often over look that for good story-telling, or amazing world building.  Here, in this book, instead it just made me become increasingly annoyed through the whole book. the resolution at the end left much to be desired. Indeed there was little resolution at all.  Most characters had their lives completely destroyed, and the one seemed to have gone through some transformative sense of self turned out to be irredeemably bad, or at least didn’t seem able to understand the crime he’d initially paid for, and while accepting his punishment, he seemed more resigned than actually comprehending his crime and his punishment.  Over all, pretty much unsatisfying.  Also Mieville’s world here, while fascinating and quite clever at times, was pretty nightmarish. It felt so grim as to be entirely without the things that make city life wonderful and enjoyable.

As I do, I went a read the Amazon reviews after I’d finished the book.  I take some weird satisfaction in finding out if other people agreed with me.  The best one there starts “Overwrought, under-thought” which pretty well sums up the entire thing for me.  I mean, I didn’t hate it as much as that reviewer, but man, I’m feeling really unsatisfied after having waded through the muck of the entire book. Someone else said, “Five stars for imagination, two and a half stars for execution.” Which is perhaps a better description of how I felt about the whole thing.

Now I need to make my to-do list for the next few days.  And get lots done.  LOTS AND LOTS. So I wil feel satisfied with my days off. Vacations are for extra productivity, dontcha know. Although mostly what I want to do is pick a up book a know will be good and read Perdido Street Station right out of my memory.

Can someone tell me, are Mieville’s other books better? Did I pick up the one bad one? Or should I just skip all of them?


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don’t post it

This bit of tracking information pretty much sums up why I hate the USPS sometimes:

Date                   Time                 Location               Checkpoint Details
May 23, 2008     10:42:00 PM     MEMPHIS TN         SHIPMENT HAS LEFT SELLER FACILITY AND IS IN TRANSIT

Ship Method:      USPS
Status:     IN TRANSIT
Shipment Date:     May 23, 2008
Destination:     Nashville, TN, United States
Estimated Arrival:     Jul 14, 2008

Really? Are they WALKING it here from Memphis?


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open letters, no need for answers

Dear Obnoxious Fucking Work Client,

If I say I will call you as soon as I have the information, then I will call you. Do not call me every 15 minutes asking if I know anything yet.

no love,

me

Dear OFWC#2,

Yes, the website is down. No, I can’t do anything about it but call our web guy. I can not call our web guy if you keep me on the phone asking repeatedly if there is anything I can do. There isn’t. Trust me.

Sincere in loathing you,
me

Dear weather,

I am glad the rain is helping my garden. I am glad Tennessee is so green and I know we need the water. But man, today is hard enough. Can I get a little sun to break the grey? Maybe keep the depressing rain to only the hours before the sun comes up? I swear I will have a massive attitude adjustment as soon as the sun is out again,

Desperate and serious,
me

Dear entire male species,

You are frustrating and confusing. Sometimes I believe you are quite dumb. It’s a good thing you are so cute because otherwise, I might swear off you forever.

Love but with a bullet,
me

Dear self,

Just get over it already. Over yourself and your bad attitude, everything. Right now. I’m sick of it.

Yours in sisterhood,
me

Yeah, it’s one of those days. I might have to haul myself to the park or the mall or something and lunch and inject a little cheer into my day. Also how do I manage to forget that sake hangovers are proof that there is lurking, primordial evil in the universe just waiting to swallow my soul? It’d be great if I could remember this before I drank a bunch of sake. This is probably not related to my mood today, but maybe!