Sunday, February 29, 2004

"Shine On You Crazy Diamond"

So I was sitting in the library yesterday afternoon, having found and checked out a bagful of books for my 20th Century Europe paper. I was waiting on Beth to finish her research, and she asked me to look at her latest paper for Tech Writing. So she hands it to me and I start looking at it, and she mentions something about, "Yeah, you can actually make real corrections on this paper, unlike the ones at work." I laughed and proofread the paper.

The irony of that only just hit me--the paper I can do the most to, because the NCAA doesn't restrict what I do with people who aren't athletes, is the one that needs the least corrections. Sweet, sweet irony.

In other news, I've got comics drawn for Monday and Wednesday. I'll hopefully get the comic for Friday drawn, too, and maybe have the little storyline I'm in the middle of wrapped up sometime next week. We'll see. We'll see.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Pink Floyd, "Shine on you Crazy Diamond, Parts VI-IX"

"Slowly Breaking Through At Daylight"

I woke up this morning--okay, this afternoon--in a bad mood, and I don't know why. I was grumpy, and not knowing why I'm grumpy only makes me grumpier.

I feel like a lifelong smoker who's given up cigarettes after 40 or 50 years, and the nicotine fits are manifesting themselves as snappish behavior and the urge to rip the juggular out of the throat of anyone who crosses me. And today, crossing me only requires the wrong tone of voice or the least little idyosyncrisy. For instance, the idiot who nearly backed into me in the convenience store parking lot because he wasn't looking when he was backing out. I was standing in the parking lot, cursing the guy out just under my breath (and only just barely...the urge to yell at him was almost overwhelming). Or the guy who was behind me in the parking garage when I was trying to park, who reved his engine and was driving (in my opinion) way too fast inside the parking garage. And then he's sitting there, blabbing away on his cell phone, waiting for the damn elevator even though we're only two flights of steps up from the ground floor. I wanted to scream at him several times, both for driving like a freakin' idiot, for yaking on the damn cell phone like it was an organic part of his body, and then again for being too damn lazy to walk down two flights of stairs. And then, despite the fact that I was on the ground floor well before he, he actually got into the stadium before I did, because he found a closer gate that was unlocked (there are only like two unlocked gates today, it seems, and he found the easier, faster one). So I was cursing under my breath, wondering how this moron got into the stadium before I did.

I have no idea what's wrong with me. I should be in a good mood. Yesterday was a good, albeit long, day, and today is absolutely gorgeous. I think it rained earlier--I heard rain when I woke up at one point, and the ground was wet when I left for work--but it's perfect outside right now. Just a bit of a cool breeze, the sun is shining bright, and the temperature is as near to perfect as I could ask for.

So why am I in such a foul mood?

Part of it is probably just my extremely messed up sleep pattern. There really isn't one right now, and I was awake for about 22 hours yesterday. That's a long freakin' day. I'm also a little sore. The hotel bed Friday night was not the most comfortable thing in the world (a bed of nails might have been more comfortable), so my neck and shoulders are still a little tight and sore. I'm also missing caffine. I had no idea how much soda pop I was drinking until I stopped drinking it, and suddenly the lack of tasty carbonated beverage is affecting me. It's weird--a liquid shouldn't have this sort of effect on my life.

Those are all just excuses, though, just rationalizations for why I feel like taking out my bad mood on other people. And I do feel like doing that, and having to sit here at work for 8 hours isn't going to improve that any. Thankfully, I'm working with Vicki and Ev today. It's hard to stay in a bad mood around Vicki, who has too much energy and has already seen more bitter things in life than I ever will, and Ev always helps me put things in perspective and offers plenty of sympathy. Ah well--it'll all work out. A couple of good nights' sleep, and I'll be right as rain...or ramen. I dunno, whatever.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Counting Crows, "Goodnight Elisabeth"

Saturday, February 28, 2004

"Rock The House"

Ladies and gentlemen, I own graduate non-American history in the state of Oklahoma. I am graduate non-American history in this state. Like some sort of latter-day historical ubermensch, I swoop out of the sky, present a paper, and win first place at the annual Phi Alpha Theta Conference with it. None can stand against me, and all who oppose me are crushed under my mighty black dress shoe!

So yeah, the history conference went well today. Got first place graduate non-American history paper for the second year in a row. Too bad I won't be here next year to do it again.

At least, I assume I won't. There's no telling.

In other news, my grandfather went in for surgery earlier today to have some blockage removed from his neck (his artery was like 90% blocked, apparently). According to my parents, who went to see him after they watched me present my paper this morning, he's doing just fine, and will be able to go home tomorrow afternoon, so that's good. Mom also felt the need (for reasons I shall never really comprehend) to describe in graphic detail exactly what the stuff they removed looked like. I won't be passing that information along, because it still makes me a bit queasy. But all's well with that.

Still no word from Ohio State or Wash. U. My patience is fairly strong, but it's also starting to run a bit thin. I'm tired of waiting. I'd really kinda like to know what my future holds. But I'm not giving up yet--perhaps I can email an updated vita with today's victory added to it to the heads of the departments at Ohio State and Wash. U. Worth a shot, anyway.

Oh, and I think I figured out what bothered me about The Passion of Christ. As I suspected, it's related to the violence, but it's not that it's a violent movie. That I can handle. It's that they never really give you any reason for why Jesus was so feared by the Jewish leaders. They never really give you more than tiny snippets of His ministry, and then it's never enough to really understand the depth of His teachings or His ministry. Admittedly, it's probably assumed that if you're attending this movie you already know all that stuff, but if you're attending this movie, don't you already also know what happens to Jesus? Admittedly, it would've been hard to make a movie about the last twelve hours of Jesus's life and also include prime cuts of His teaching and ministry, but a little more (in those tantalizing flashbacks that worked so well) would've put the violence into better perspective, I think.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Blues Traveler, "But Anyway"

Thursday, February 26, 2004

"I've Seen The Kansas Of Your Sweet Little Myth"

Went and saw The Passion of Christ last night. Many hours removed, I'm still not quite sure what to think about it. I know one thing for sure--it was a decidedly violent movie. Almost macabre in its violence, you might say, though I understand why it was done and why the violence bothered me.

Really, there was no more violence in this than, say, your average action/adventure movie. Each installment of LOTR probably had twice as much violence in it. But the difference was the spirit or the feeling of the violence. In LOTR, when you see Aragorn chop down an orc, you don't feel anything beyond, "dude, that looked really cool." It's almost cartoonish violence, not real in a way.

The violence in Passion was not that way at all. It seemed very real, very unnerving, and very painful. Whoever did the makeup and CG effects for this movie did a phenomenal job, I can tell you that much. I won't go into any of the gorey details; suffice to say, if you have a weak stomach, or are prone to feeling ill at the sight of blood, you may want to skip this. It's not for the faint of heart.

The other significant issue with the violence was that the majority of it happened to one person. In your typical action film, the violence is spread out. The hero kills or beats up a few dozen or a few hundred faceless enemies, or maybe suffers a few blows himself, or a bruise or a grazing bullet wound or whatever. But in Passion, it's virtually all happening to Jesus, and you really wonder how one person could withstand such abuse. And make no mistakes, he was abused. Severely. I noticed a number of people having to hide their eyes at key moments, and I can't say I blame them.

But what of the more important concerns with the film? Was it really unfair to Jews, was it really anti-Semitic? Did it fairly and accurately depict the last day of Jesus's life? Hard to say, really. Some of the Jewish characters in the film appear to be very wicked, almost caricatured individuals, Caiphas especially. They seem downright demonic, with rotten teeth and nasty expressions. They seem to goad the people into calling out for Jesus's death.

But then you also have Jewish characters who are not like that at all. For every Jew calling for the crucifixion of Jesus, you have another weeping as He is dragged and whipped through the streets. You have the Jewish man who is roped into helping Jesus carry the cross when He was too weak to continue by himself. You have Mary, Peter, and Mary Magdelene, who seem to have nothing in common with the Jews who call for punishment and death.

Really, it's hard to say whether it was anti-Semitic or not. Fact of the matter is, Jews did call for the death of Jesus. If you're making a movie based on Gospel accounts, and the Gospels say "this is how it happened," that's how you have to say it happened. Since the Gospels clearly indicate (at least, the Gospel of Matthew, which is rather more biased against the Jews than the other three) that Jesus was condemned by his own people, that's how you have to portray it.

Deeper issues--what does this movie do for faith? Personally, something about the film bothered me. I think it's the way it focused on the violence Jesus suffered, on the torture and pain He underwent. I know that stuff is important to the Gospel account, and to the whole death and ressurection of Christ. But should that be the point? I always thought the purpose of the Easter story wasn't that Jesus suffered these horrible, horrible things, but that He overcame them, that He rose again as He said He would. It's a story of hope, not one of anguish and pain and hatred. I almost wonder if this movie focuses too much on the violence to the detriment of the message.

All told, I am glad I saw the movie. It was a worthwhile experience, I think, and one that's left me thinking about what I believe and why I believe it.

In other, less religious news, I'm leaving tomorrow to present a history paper at the annual Oklahoma Phi Alpha Theta History Conference down in Lawton. I should probably figure out how to get there before I leave.

I'm also rather annoyed that Bob Dylan is playing a show up in Tulsa Saturday night, and I won't get a chance to go see him because I won't get back from the conference in time to drive up to Tulsa. I swear, school and my profession keep getting in the way of me attending kick ass rock concerts. First McCartney, now this. What's the world comin' to, I ask ya?

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: The Wallflowers, "One Headlight"

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

"Out Into The Cool Of The Evening Strolls The Pretender"

Today was significantly better than the past few days have been. I feel fitter, happier...well, happier, anyway. The other will probably have to wait until I've lost a wee bit of weight (twenty or thirty pounds or so).

I came up with what I'm going to give up for Lent--soda pop. I'm drinking at least a one liter a day, sometimes more, and that's way too damn much. So I had my last one tonight, and tomorrow it's quitin' cold turkey. I give it a couple of days before the caffine headaches start.

On a brighter note, though (I did say today was a better day), I got my first fanart today. First two, actually. Both of them came from Ping, and they're both of Earl the Archangel. The first is Earl in chibi form, which is my current desktop background. The second is Earl looking more like he does in Troubled Times, which is to say "bad ass." Needless to say, I was very flattered that Ping wanted to draw a character I came up with, and even moreso that she decided to draw him twice. It just really made my day, and I really like how Ping interpreted the character.

This also means that Earl is the official mascot of Dim Bulb. I mean, not only is he in all three comics, but someone other than Adam and myself has drawn him now. It's settled--Earl, Dim Bulb Mascot. We'll have to see if we can work up a background for that.

Work is relatively quiet. Admittedly, it's not even half over, but that's hardly the point, is it?

I think I'm going to try to see The Passion tomorrow night, if they have really late showings here in Norman. I know Jess, Beth, and Dom are all really enthused about the film, and I admit a curiosity born more of an academic, intellectual nature than anything else. I want to see if it really is as anti-semitic as some quarters claim. I want to see what he did with it. I guess I want to see what all the hype's about. There's also a spiritual part of me that thinks this could be a very powerful film and well-worth watching at least once.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Velvet Underground, "Oh, Sweet Nothin'"

Monday, February 23, 2004

"There's Always A Siren Singing You To Shipwreck"

I was talking on the phone with my mother earlier this afternoon, and she mentioned to me that our church decided to fire the youth direction, who has been at UPC for about seven or eight years now. Why? They felt her job could be done by a couple of volunteers from the local Baptist college.

Admittedly, Rachel herself (the woman who was the youth director) and the guy who was youth director when I first joined the youth group way back in 1994 started out as college students volunteering. But Rachel had become the full-time youth minister, and was doing so much with it--mission trips, gatherings, and so much more. The church's reasoning? Budget concerns.

It strikes me as sadly amusing that we keep thinking of the church as a business concern. Admittedly, the church has business stuff that it needs to take care of--payroll, monthly bills, etc.--but isn't a church supposed to concern itself more with its world mission than with money concerns? As long as the church still operates, does it matter if it makes or loses money?

Oddly enough, the church actually has plenty of money. However, most of the money we have is earmarked for specific things--erecting a new building, missionaries, things like that. The money's usually not donated to the church for the payment of the minister and other church employees. As my mom commented, we'll end up like the other Presbyterian Church in Shawnee ended up (before it merged with our church)--we'll have plenty of money that we can't spend, and no one attending the church. So many members have already left, so many will probably leave now that the youth director's gone, and God only knows how the poor interum pastor is supposed to handle all this.

On an unrelated note, let me share a new (well, new to me) webcomic that I just finished reading today--Digital War, which I found through The Jaded and recognized as a prolifict poster on the Keenspace Forums. Digital War is an interesting read, and well-drawn. The current storyline is a quasi-LOTR parody with some nice twists, and the main character, War, rocks your socks. So go check it out. There'll probably be a link to it over at Dim Bulb as soon as I get around to it.

In other news, I finally beat Final Fantasy Tactics Advance this afternoon. Seventy-six hours plus of gameplay. Good game, though. Of course, now I'm without a game to play for the GBA, having beaten everything I have...oh, wait, except MarioKart. Still have that! But that's not really one you "beat," per se.

...yeah, need a new game. Or I guess I could start working on things like my thesis...maybe....

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Radiohead, "There There"

Sunday, February 22, 2004

"I Need For You To Be Reasonable"

My folks came up earlier today to bring me some stuff for next weekend. Just clothes, really, so that I have something nice to wear to the gathering on Friday night of all the stuffy historians. We're a rather musty bunch, really, and I wonder just how exciting a gathering of historians with nothing to discuss but small talk will go. Probably be lots of people talking about their research. Or politics. God, I hope I don't have to discuss politics. It's bad enough that so many of my friends are actually interested in politics. I can tolerate that, because we also discuss other, more interesting things. But these people whom I have little to nothing in common with aside from the fact that we're all halfway interested in the same broad, general subject (i.e., history)...I really don't want to have to talk politics with them. Or shop, for that matter. I mean, 90% of them are Americanists, not Europeanists. And the Europeanists are usually as dry, dull, and boring as the Americanists, except that they can be dry and dull and boring about so much more history than the Americanists.

Maybe I'll get lucky and there'll be an open bar.

All that being said, I am sorta looking forward to this conference. I enjoy presenting papers, oddly enough (especially given how bad I used to get stage fright when I was in high school). It's also good training for teaching, and a nice way to get my name out there (last year, I had professional historians I didn't even know asking for a copy of the paper I'd written...that's rather heartwarming, really). That sort of thing also looks good on your vita.

So yeah, mom and dad came up and brought me some new clothes. Rather nice ones, too. Then dad raided my CD collection. I think half of my classic rock CDs are now in his possession, and the only reason he didn't take some of the others was that Clif has them back at home, and Clif is currently in no place to be able to use or even have access to his CD collection.

In other news, I'm trying to battle my sense of depression and frustration in a traditional way--by impulse shopping. I bought an anime DVD I'd been wanting last night, and I bought a CD this afternoon before work (Soul Coughing's greatest hits...nifty set). So far, it hasn't worked as well as I'd hoped. Ah well--maybe I'll cheer up when Beth shows up later.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Radiohead, "2 + 2 =5"

"To Wash You Out From My Mind, Out Of My Consciousness"

Y'know how I've been complaining that I haven't heard a single word from any of the graduate schools I applied to? Well, I heard a word from one of them today. Unfortunately, the word was "no."

Yeah, the University of Wisconsin decided they didn't want me. On the positive side, they weren't my top pick (apparently I wasn't their top pick, either). I also didn't have any connections there. At Washington University in St. Louis, I've had a personal interview with the head of the History Department. At Ohio State, both my graduate and undergraduate advisors are friends with the guy I'd be working with, and both wrote personal letters to the guy at Ohio State on my behalf in addition to the standard letters of recommendation.

So what started out as a decent day turned out crappy. But until about 4.00 pm, it was a great day. I woke up early--not necessarily a great thing, per se, but I was getting up to go up to OKC to the Metropolitan Library's annual book sale. I found about a dozen books I wanted--everything from a book about the Second World War by Churchill to a collection of writings by James Thurber to Vonnegut. Then I came home and, instead of cleaning the apartment as I'd originally intended, I slept. Well, I really did need the sleep--I only slept for three hours last night. Then I woke up, checked the mail, got my rejection letter, went to Borders, found a book Wendy'd recommended to me, went to Hastings and got a movie I'd been wanting, and then came home. I had comfort food, watched anime, and vegged out. Then I cleaned the apartment, so it's not too bad now. Mom'll still have a small animal of the bovine persuasion when she arrives tomorrow, but my apartment could be immaculate and illicit that sort of response from her. She's my mother, after all.

Anyway, beyond that, not much happened today. Talked on the phone quite a bit, mostly with my parents but also with Jessica, whom I hadn't talked to since the 1964 concert a couple weeks ago. I also found a CD that my youngest brother, Scott, has been wanting, so I picked that up for him.

I just keep going back to that rejection letter, though. It's cast into doubt everything I thought was certain. I used to believe my life would move in a very linear fashion. I knew where I was, where I wanted to be, and I thought the path between the two was very easy, and very straight. Now I find there are twists, turns, and areas without guardrails. There are parts of the road with potholes the size of meteorite impact craters, and they're hiding in puddles so that I can't discern their depth. I'm starting to feel very anxious, very frustrated, and even more envious of my friends who've already been contacted by the schools of their choice and told they're going to be receiving a pot of money to come and get an education. Part of me wants to scream out, "it's not fair!" Another part is muttering, "duh, of course it's unfair. That's how life is."

I want to cry out to the universe, "You're not fair!" And I guess I expect the universe to respond, "Oh, I'm not? Well then..." It won't change anything, and probably won't make me feel any better about it, since the universe isn't going to change just because I say so. Stupid universe.

I don't want to be bitter again. I've been there, done that. Bitterness at the universe is a very pointless exercise, since the universe is rather apathetic to what we think and want. The universe is a bitch.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Soul Coughing, "St. Louise is Listening"

Saturday, February 21, 2004

"Just Thinkin' Of A Series Of Dreams"

So Friday was a good day. We got paid (always a plus), I hung out with Ev for his birthday (which was the 14th, but guess why no one was available to do anything on that day), and proved that I'm a geeky fanboy by purchasing the Megatokyo Volume 2 book at Hastings. Very nifty stuff, with a bunch of extras that aren't on the website. Now if they'd just get around to getting the first volume reprinted, I'd be set...

Anyway, it was a good day, as stated, but a strange one. Ev and I had lunch at an international food store down the street from our apartment complex. Gyros, humus, and a bunch of other stuff with names I cannot remember, and which I could not pronounce even if I could remember. Most of it was just...odd, and not really to my taste at all. The humus was especially weird, and nothing that I would eat of my own accord. It was an interesting cullinary experience, but not something I'll repeat anytime soon or with any regularity.

Also tracked down a DVD for Beth that she's been looking for (the second Harry Potter flick, actually). Everyone we've looked, it's been bloody expensive (still like $23, which is ridiculous considering it really wasn't even as good as the first one). Anyway, found it used at a store today for $8, and it was in excellent shape, so I snapped it up. She was much appreciative of it.

In the morning, I'm heading up to Oklahoma City for the Metro Library Book Sale. My folks gave me a bit of money to purchase books specifically in this instance. My parents are really kinda weird, I've decided--on the one hand, my mother berates me for the stupid stuff I do (and the important stuff I should do that I haven't done) every time I speak with them. Then they turn around and spoil me, whether it's giving me money to buy random books or by purchasing me clothes specifically for the history conference next weekend on what I think is a whim. Which they actually did--there was a message on my voicemail from my mom informing me she'd purchased an "outfit" for me for next weekend. I only hope it's not a sailor hat and a jock strap, or the historical community could be in serious trouble.

Yeah, have I mentioned the history conference next weekend? I'm presenting the paper I wrote last semester for my 19th Century Europe class in an abridged form. Yeah, it's only 12 pages instead of 25. I actually couldn't cut anymore of the paper without losing vital parts of the argument. I'm curious to see how this one fares as compared to the one I presented last year, which took first place in the graduate non-American section.

On a related note, the paper I'm working on for my 20th Century Europe class this semester--which takes the Lord of the Rings and Tolkein and proposes that the novels actually reflect his own peculiar anxieties and concerns as a Briton in the 1940s and 1950s, particularly with the idea of the British race "failing"--I'm hoping will be good enough (and original enough) to submit to a Tolkein conference in England that's going to be held sometime next year. Can you imagine me presenting a paper on the Lord of the Rings in England? How much of a dream come true would that be? Dunno how likely it is, but there's always hope.

I've been in a weird mood the past few days. I wasn't able to really pinpoint what it was or why it was occurring until earlier this evening when I was briefly visiting with Beth. She's already heard back from both of her top choices for graduate school--Florida State and Miami. Both meterology programs (two of the best in the country, especially for hurricane research, which is what she wants to do) accepted her, and with impressive fellowships at that. She only sent out her applications over Christmas break. I also know that Amanda Erisman has already heard from at least Tulsa, and was accepted there with a good fellowship, if I remember correctly.

Yet I've not heard from any of my schools yet, and I applied back in early to mid-November.

I guess part of it is envy. Florida State--Beth's top choice--is offering her full tuition and a $22K living stipend. I'm sure Miami's will be similar. I don't know what Amanda's being offered by Tulsa, though I'm sure it's good.

Both of them are doing science--Beth is meterology, and Amanda is biology. Both are very hot fields right now. Meanwhile, history--and most of the rest of the humanities, for that matter--are flooded, bloated with too many PhDs. I'm an above average historian at least, but in a time when excellent historians are a dime a dozen, is above average good enough? One has to wonder. Perhaps if I'd pushed myself harder while at Ozarks and while here at OU, I'd be in a better position? Or maybe if I'd chosen a different field, one with some decent job prospects after graduation. Part of me does wonder what would have happened if I'd put forth a little more effort in areas that didn't come as naturally as history and the humanities do. Areas such as math, or science. Would I have as many worries and concerns about my future if I'd gone into one of those fields? Would schools be begging to have me attend instead of the other way around?

Admittedly, it's a fairly academic question, no pun intended. I went into history, not meterology or biology or one of those other "-ologies." I went into the humanties, knowing the job market wasn't great, knowing there were severe limitations placed on what I'd be able to do. But I guess I also thought maybe that the rules didn't apply to me, that the world would make way for me to do whatever I damn well pleased, and that everyone and everything would cater to my whims.

It's a nice dream, you have to admit, but it's not very realistic at all. It means there are many things I'm having to learn the hard way along the way, and that's never entirely pleasant. But I also think that, despite the obstacles I face, and the apparent envy I have of my friends who are getting these nice offers, I'll be content with my chosen profession. I'm not cut out for biology, or for meterology. I can't do accounting, or marketing, or computer science. I can write, I can think about things in a fairly abstract manner, and I can analyze documents and ideas in a fairly impressive fashion. I can do humanities. I can doodle a bit, and who knows? There may be some monetary future in that, though probably not enough to sustain me or feed me or anything. Perhaps enough to augment a real job with some fun cash, but that's about it. I'm learning to be realistic. I know I have some skills and abilities, and I know I have some limitations. Now I'm trying to figure out how to work with what I have to get around what stands in my way.

Now I'm learning to make the most of the abilities I possess.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Cake, "Love You Madly"

Friday, February 20, 2004

"Did Ye Get Healed?"

Life seems to be going pretty well. I really have nothing to complain about except my own laziness, something which could be corrected by either my acting like an adult or the right woman coming along and whipping me into shape. But yeah, things're good.

And yet...there's something hovering, just at the edge of conscious thought, something I cannot identify yet. Something intangible that haunts my nights and gnaws at my days. There's something wrong, and I don't know what it is. And that annoys me.

This afternoon, I learned the joys and glories and sheer addictiveness of website visitor statistic logs. Looking at the logs for Dim Bulb, it appears that we average about 40-60 unique visitors per day. That's actually more people than I know reading the comics, which makes me warm and happy in ways I can't speak about in polite company. The logs also provide a list of site referals, those sites from which people found a link to us. Most of them were as I suspected--links from The Jaded and from posts in various forums, from the two or three blogs that have linked us, etc. But there were a few sites--webcomics, usually--that had linked us without me knowing. I wish those who'd linked us would have told the Monkey or myself; there's a good chance we'd have linked them back. But it's flattering to know that someone out there that we don't know likes our stuff.

Similarly, I was puttering around in the Keenspace Forum earlier today, and someone mentioned in a post their thoughts on Crooked Halo. See, many months ago, back when Dim Bulb was just starting up on Keenspace, I'd posted in the forum asking for feedback on the comic. I got a rather mediocre review from the person who looked at my comic, which sorta hurt, but not really, because they had decent critiques and I think helped me figure out what direction to take the comic. Well, today, that same person happened to post in a thread I'd started to plug Dim Bulb, and what they said flattered me.

To quote: "I remember giving you a mediocre review, way back when... And I have to say, I was sadly mistaken - I read Crooked Halo on a regular basis, now. (I really need to update my links page... again...)"

That left me smiling vaguely for the rest of the day.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Lapdog, "Won't Let It"

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

"She Don't Mind The Late Night Radio"

Well, yesterday I finally beat Battle Network 2. Kicked that final boss's ass, man! Woo!

So now I'm working on finishing up Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. I still have a bit left, and I've been playing for nearly 70 hours. That's almost three total days' worth of engagements, job switching, inventory perusal, and learning kick ass new abilities.

A friend of mine told me a mutual friend was having trouble last night, so I sent the mutual friend a random, exceptionally sappy email. She hasn't killed me yet with laser vision, so I can only assume she appreciated it rather than the alternative--wanting to see me dead in a gutter clutching an empty bottle of cheap whiskey.

Which isn't to say that isn't a distinct possibility sometime in the near future. Assuming I can find some cheap whiskey that I can afford.

I talked with both parents (separately) last night, and my dad mentioned the OKC Metropolitan Library is having its annual book sale this Saturday. He then said he was going to deposit $20 in my account so I could go buy books. The books at these things cost about a quarter to fifty cents. And he gave me $20. I am gonna have so many books after this thing...

The only drawback is that I have to drive across town to be at the Fair Grounds at 9.30 am Saturday morning. No sleeping in for Chuck!

Only half an hour of work left. It's rather quiet--everyone suddenly left, all at about the same time. So now the only people in here are employees. We're all sitting in a row at the computers, typing away and not interacting. It's sad and humorous in a weird sort of way.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: David Gray, "Faster, Sooner, Now"

Sunday, February 15, 2004

"My Heart Ain't Built To Stay"

And back to the grind with me, it is. I've been here three hours and looked at one paper, eaten one bag of peanut butter M&Ms (with help), eaten one bacon cheeseburger (courtesy of my coworker Vicki, who just got one for me on a whim when she grabbed her own food before work...which ranks her as one of the coolest people I've ever worked with), drank one Pepsi, and finished one Terry Pratchett book (Wee Free Men, which I was re-reading just for the hell of it). I've also drawn one comic, listened to one CD (working on CD #2), and had my tail handed to me in Mega Man Battle Network 2 by the final boss twice. And I wrote up commentary for all of the Troubled Times strips we've got archived so far.

So yeah, I've been sorta productive in the past four hours. Work's pretty quiet tonight, but that's fine by me.

Oh, there's a new short story over at Chirping Crickets. It's a story I wrote a few years ago, but one I still rather like. Go give it a read, and make sure to post comments. I like feedback. Lemme know what you liked, hated, were indifferent to. Give me something to go on, people!

Next on things to do for the evening is compile a list of what storylines I've done in Crooked Halo and send said list to Adam so he can work on the dropdown menu for the main page. He left me a nasty note via MSN Messenger Saturday asking me why I hadn't gotten on something he'd only mentioned in passing Monday or Tuesday. I haven't had a chance to retaliate and let him know I was away from my computer for three days yet, and that I'll get to it when I'm damn-well good and ready. Like, y'know, tonight. And for a man who waited four months before getting on the archive project, I really don't think he has any room to pester me, y'know?

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Jars of Clay, "Show You Love"

"Be Mine, Be Mine"

Well, another Valentine's Day has come and gone. I spent the day with Wendy and her boyfriend, Tim, and the evening with Beth (she was supposed to go tool around town with Wendy, Tim, and myself earlier, but was feeling under the weather at the time, and thus couldn't...heh...a meterology major, under the weather...I crack me up).

My trip home (Thursday and Friday) was quite nice. Thursday night, Wendy, Tim, and myself went to see the high school's dinner theatre, Lend me a Tenor. I was surprised at the quality of the performances--the show was stellar, and not just high school stellar, but of excellent quality period. The two male leads in particular had lots of energy and did a phenomenal job. Friday, I basically hung around home, got my hair cut, went to lunch with my grandmother, and did a whole lot of nothing. I napped all afternoon, which was nice.

Today (well, yesterday now), I got up early, went to ye ol' doughnut shop, and then headed back to the city to hang out with Wendy again. We went to the Omniplex, where I haven't been in nearly a decade. The place is still really cool, and actually quite educational. I don't know who developed that place, but they did an amazing job of making science interesting. We also caught a couple of the shows they do--one at the Omnidome I-Max theatre about the Lewis and Clark expedition, and then a planetarium show about the winter sky that was nifty (except the girl narrating had this annoying voice...very mechanical, and poor rhythm. She was talking in such a way that you knew she was trying to get out every sentence in exactly one breath, regardless of the length of the sentence). Then we went to the Myriad Botanical Gardens, which were very neat, very tropical (thus hot and humid--it was like an Oklahoma summer in the middle of February), and just all-around spiffy. After that, we attempted to visit both the state capitol and the governor's mansion, but both were closed to the public today. Instead, I showed Wendy and Tim my humble abode in the Norman ghetto. Wendy kept insisting I needed a cat, and I kept insisting I liked my furniture the way it was and my cables not chewed through. Then she and Tim headed out to go do the couple's thing for Valentine's Day, and I relaxed, checked email, etc. By chance, I ended up conversing with Beth via IM, and we decided (since she was feeling better after sleeping some) to have a movie night. We ended up getting three movies (they were 3 for $9.99 at Blockbuster): Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (which I hadn't actually seen all the way through before), Underworld (Matrix with crappy werewolf special effects), and Pitch Black (fun popcorn sci-fi). I rolled in from her place and movies about half an hour ago, actually.

So yeah, my Valentine's Day was pretty good. So good, in fact, that it never bothered me once that I'm single. It never felt weird, or depressing, or bitter, or anything like that. It was just a good day. I've been single on Valentine's Day for the past seven years, and this is the first one in that span of time that's gone by without me moping. I don't know if this means I was just too busy to ever think about it, or that I'm actually okay with being single now. I think it has more to do with the latter than the former, as I did spend a significant part of the day with Wendy and her boy, and as Wendy herself noted Thursday night, she was the walking embodiment of PDA.

And tomorrow it's back to the grind. Eight hours of work--ugh. Oh well--it's a significant amount of my paycheck, so I won't complain. Just need to find a new book to read, since I finished The Hobbit Friday night.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: David Gray, "Birds Without Wings"

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

"Good Lovers And Friends I Still Can Recall"

Hardship breaks my heart. And not even my own hardship--hell, the most I usually have to suffer through for my own sake is that such or another girl told me she wanted to be my friend rather than my girlfriend, or that I don't have enough ready cash to purchase the CD I kinda sorta want. I don't go hungry, I have a roof over my head and a vehicle that works well, I have friends and family who love me dearly, and I don't have much suffering in my life, truth be told. Most of my problems are brought on by my own stupidity.

So it hurts me instead when my friends are in pain, not least because I don't always know what to do about it. I don't have emotional problems (though my mother suspected I did when I was in high school...I think she finally figured out that was just teenage angst and anxiety and pressure over college choice), I don't have people stabbing me in the back (that I'm aware of), I don't have any sort of life-threatening physical condition (I'm overweight, but not dangerously so, and I'm working on that, after all). Some of my friends do. One is dealing with figuring out that friends are people who stay with you regardless of the problems, who encourage you to get the help you actually need. Another is trying to find out who they are, many years after they thought they knew. Some are dealing with things I can't even begin to understand, or even with things I can understand but on such a level that I cannot even imagine trying to cope with it. Maybe a couple of those friends are reading this, maybe they're not. That really doesn't matter. What matters is that they are my friends and I love them dearly, and will do anything within my power to help them in any way I can.

Admittedly, most of what I'm capable of doing is simply listening and talking. I've had friends cry on my shoulder; I've cried on the shoulders of my friends, usually over things that seemed vital at the time and now seem almost trivial and sophomoric. I've been the healer and the healed, the patient and the doctor. I've tried my hand at being an amateur psychologist, and only hope I've done more good than harm.

I'm not, to use a term I've picked up from Ev, an alpha. I'm not a leader, or a charismatic person who can inspire others to follow me into the very jaws of hell or anything like that. The most I inspire in people is maybe a chuckle or a groan, or a shaking of the head on bad days. A rolling of the eyes, perhaps. I don't think people take their lead from my example, and I'm not conceited enough to think anyone necessarily should (which isn't to say that people who do set a standard for others to follow are conceited...just that it'd be conceited for me to assume that I'm one of those people). I don't even necessarily know why I'm saying all this, or where it will go...these entries always turn out rather stream of consciousness, expressing whatever's on my mind at the time. Currently, said mind is awash with dozens of thoughts, and I feel guilty for thinking some of them. Part of me is thinking of the fun I'll have this weekend seeing Wendy and her new boy, and hanging out with them and introducing them to Beth (and then watching as Beth and Wendy gang up on me and destroy what little manliness I have remaining, which is currently wrapped around me in tatters and rags like a cloak of dignity or office). I'm thinking of the fact that they finally announced that the Star Wars trilogy (not the prequels) will be released on DVD in September, though I'm sure Greedo will still shoot first.

But most of all, I'm thinking of my friends. I'm thinking that there is very little I would not do for them. There are some friends I could probably be convinced to commit a crime for.

I was reading Ev's blog earlier, and he mentioned something about some of the people he knew: how they were willing to be active politically, to effect socio-political change, but were unwilling to act to prohibit a social predator from harming people emotionally because they were afraid of losing the benefits of knowing the person. In a simple twist of fate, to borrow a phrase from Dylan, I'm pretty much the complete opposite--you can hardly convince me to do anything to be politically active. I'll vote, but it won't go far beyond that. I don't care about politics. I don't think that's where I can effect any sort of major change. But I'll be damned before I'll let someone harm one of my friends. I don't care what the price may be. I'll suffer ostracism, I'll deal with public humiliation or whatever. I'll do what it takes, whatever's in my power, to defend the honor of my friends.

I was having a conversation with Beth last night along those lines, actually. She'd mentioned something about her brother once standing up to the high school football team when she was just a freshman in high school (which, since she started a year early and skipped a grade, meant she was about 12 or 13). Being the dork that I am, I piped up, "I'd defend your honor." I sat back and thought about it for a minute, and realized I really would. I would actually get in a physical fight to protect her, and I don't just mean protect her physically.

And that just made me think of the lengths I'd go to to protect those even dearer to me.

It's strange how strangers slip through quietly, and suddenly they're friends. How people we hardly know happen to be around for a while, and suddenly we seem to know all about them. There's a beauty and a simplicity to that which I'm just now noticing, but I'm glad I'm having the opportunity to.


Song of the Moment: Jewel, "You were meant for Me"

Monday, February 09, 2004

"Well, It Was 40 Years Ago Today..."

...the Beatles came to the USA...

Yes indeed, fourty years ago today, the Beatles arrived in America, on the Ed Sullivan Show, and turned music upside down.

Don't argue with me about this, I'm right.

No, they did not invent rock and roll. No, they didn't have as many #1s as Elvis, perhaps. But they achieved heights in music that have still not been reached by any other band. Fourty years after Beatlemania began, after four lads from the working class industrial town of Liverpool crossed the big pond, they are still one of the most well-known and easily-recognized bands in the world. A collection of their number one songs--songs which most everyone already had--still went multi-platinum a few years ago. More than half the nation witnessed their first appearance on Ed Sullivan.

The Beatles are, arguably, the biggest band in rock and roll history. No other band is surrounded in such myth as they. They inspired Dylan (and were in turn inspired by him), they opened the way for bands like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and countless others, and changed the way rock and roll worked. They wrote their own material, and ignored the plastic pop-rock of few years preceeding their explosion. Every one of their albums--with the exception of the Yellow Submarine Soundtrack, which really wasn't even a full-fledged album--is a classic. Most of them are downright essential to any rock and roll fan's music collection.

I really can't say anything about them that hasn't been said before. I cannot do the body of their musical work any justice by reciting an endless litany of their biggest hits. But I still want to say that they have been and will continue to be my favorite band ever. No other will ever compare, not even the Yeti. There's just no way any group of mortals could ever compare with these gods of music.

I'm sad that George and John are dead. It leaves this empty spot in music that shouldn't be there. But their memory lives on in their music, and the legacy they built holds true. It's cliche, but I still think the Beatles themselves summed it up best:

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

No truer words have ever been committed to music. No truer sentiment exists. The Beatles are our social consciousness, expressing the emotion and sheer joy of life that we all look for. They are our bards, even so long after they're gone.

Go on, listen to a Beatles song today. Do it for yourself, and for them.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "Yesterday"

"Losers: The Soundtrack"

With the immanent day that single people dread upon us, I thought it might be appropriate to share a selection of songs I put together a few years ago when I was bitter. I call it Losers: The Soundtrack, and I think if you look closely, you'll see a bit of a theme.

1. Soul Coughing--The Idiot Kings
2. Beck--Loser
3. Cake--Friend is a Four Letter Word
4. Ben Folds Five--Song for the Dumped
5. The Police--So Lonely
6. Seven Mary Three--Cumbersome
7. Green Day--Nice Guys Finish Last
8. Three Doors Down--Loser
9. Bob Dylan--Positively 4th Street
10. The Beatles--I'm a Loser
11. Smashmouth--Why Can't We Be Friends
12. Sting--She's too Good for Me
13. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers--Even the Losers
14. Reel Big Fish--She has a Girlfriend Now
15. Semisonic--Gone to the Movies
16. Radiohead--Creep
17. Moxy Fruvous--Hate Letter
18. Five Iron Frenzy--Pre-Ex-Girlfriend
19. The Police--Can't Stand Losing You
20. Edwin McCain--Sign on the Door
21. Santana--Winning

The thing about a lot of these songs is that they're ironic, or at the very least tongue in cheek. Some of them--such as the Semisonic tune, the Edwin McCain tune, and the Bob Dylan one--are on there mostly for the thematic content, even if the titles aren't quite so close. The Soul Coughing tune is on there mostly because it has a good groove and fits in theory, because I'm usually the king of morons when it comes to asking girls out. Plus, it just feels right as the opener. The Smashmouth song actually has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the songs thematically, as it's a plea for interracial harmony. But as Adam pointed out when I first put this set of songs together, it takes on a whole new meaning in this context. As for the Santana tune...well, I've always thought things should end with hope. And I really couldn't resist juxtaposing "Winning" with all the losing. And it ends the album on an upbeat note, which I do think is important.

A second volume of this has been in the works for a couple of years now. I've got enough songs to make it, I just don't happen to like all the songs as much. There are several that will definitely be on there, but a bunch of the songs I found were pop-punk/emo crap that was way too whiney. This isn't about being whiney--this is about poking fun at my situation in life, about laughing at it and moving on. This is about having fun.

Anyway, if you feel so inclined, try to assemble those songs. It's a fun little trip.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Santana, "Winning"

Sunday, February 08, 2004

"Run For Your Life"

Well, I survived the run yesterday morning up in Ponca City. I didn't have to stop and walk, and I didn't puke afterwards. Finished in just a shade over 35 minutes, which isn't too bad when you consider it was early in the morning and about 10 degrees outside.

Then last night was the 1964 concert. A splendid time was guaranteed for all, though the audience wasn't as energetic as previous 1964 concerts I've attended. Ah well--the music was still good. It's fun when you can actually sing along with every single song (Beth also gave me a funny look a couple of times when I did a little mouth riff along with George's guitar solo. Then she'd say, "You really like this song, don't you?" To which I'd reply, "I like 'em all!"). I think even Beth, who's not really much of a Beatles fan (though she did know a couple of the songs), enjoyed herself. She was smiling quite often and sang along on the songs she did know, at least, so I can only assume that means she had a good time.

Busy week ahead of me. I need to get some stuff done on research papers, clean the apartment (I think FEMA said something the other day about declaring it a disaster area and getting me federal relief), and on Thursday head to Shawnee to hang out with Wendy. I'll probably drag her and her boy back to Norman on Friday or Saturday (whichever they're free during), and make them meet my friends here (i.e., Beth). I'm looking forward to getting to see Wendy; it's been many, many months since our last time together (which was back in early July, if memory serves).

Oh, and at some point this week, I still need to do the Crooked Halo archives. Weee.

Correction: the Phil Collins album was not called In the Air Tonight, but rather Face Value. Those responsible for this error have been sacked and shot out of a cannon.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "She Loves You (yeah, yeah, yeah)"

Thursday, February 05, 2004

"Hey Now, You're An All Star"

I got an interesting email today. It was from Keenspace All Stars, a website devoted to "acknowledging the best of Keenspace," to quote the site. Interestingly enough, Crooked Halo was one of the comics on their list for the month. I have no idea who nominated or voted for me, but I'm very, very honored. I'm in the company of such Keenspacers as Count Your Sheep, The Jaded, Mixed Myth, Fallen Angel Used Books, and Reasoned Cognition. Anyway, for those of you reading this (you probably also read the comic, I'm assuming), thanks for reading Halo, and I'll try to maintain a level of quality that deserves such recognition.

In other news, I got an old Phil Collins album on CD today. It's No Jacket Required, which was one of my favorite tapes when I was younger. The album's chock-full of great tunes that I know by heart and still remembered, even though I haven't heard most of the songs in years and years.

I remember when that tape was part of my usual musical regimine. The other tapes were Collins' Face Value (another great album), Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever, Into the Great Wide Open, and Damn the Torpedoes, Led Zeppelin's ZOSO (Led Zeppelin IV, the one that had weird symbols for the title), the two Traveling Wilburys albums, and the Black Crowes' Shake Your Money Maker. These were the albums that I constantly listened to until I got a CD player and CDs.

When I wasn't listening to those tapes, I was in the living room listening to dad's records. He had lots of great stuff--Beatles albums, the Eagles, Electric Light Orchestra, solo stuff from the former Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and others that I can't even begin to remember without going back in and looking at them. Granted, I mostly just listened to the Beatles records...the number of times I sat there with Help! or Sgt. Pepper's filling the headphones and my ears are too many to count.

So all in all, it's been a good day. My run today was good--it took me about half an hour to run around my neighborhood and then around campus, so that's roughly 3 miles or so (because that's about how long it should take me to run three miles, even if I'm running a 10 minute mile, which I think I'm moving faster than that). Also took Ev up to Circuit City in OKC to exchange a DVD player that didn't work, and that worked out well for him (they gave him store credit, which was better than what I thought would happen--I figured they wouldn't even let him exchange it period). All told, life is pretty good, and could be much, much worse.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Phil Collins, "Inside Out" (it was always my favorite song on the album)

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"Be Mine, Be Mine"

So I went to check my mail this afternoon, and found a package in my mailbox. This came as something of a surprise, as I haven't ordered anything of late and was unaware of anyone planning to send me a package. Yet there were my name and address on the package, clear and discernable. I took the package inside and opened it, and found an old Valentines' box. The box itself looked to be about 15 or 20 years old, but again my name was written on it. No clearer as to why I had this package than I was before, I opened the box.

The contents of the box turned out to be Valentines from various members of my church. Seems they'd decided to send these little packages full of Valentines and candy to all the church members in college. It made me smile and was very sweet of them, and made my afternoon very nifty.

And since life can't let me go with positive points, it had to hit me with something annoying. Mom got my bill from the university today, and I'm only enrolled for 8 hours, not 9. Which is stupid, because the class I should be enrolled in 4 hours in is currently only set at 3 hours. I know I changed it to four, though--I still have the email the computer system automatically generated when I changed my hours. So tomorrow I get to pester the registrar's office and get them to fix it so I'm enrolled like I ought to be. It's not going to be difficult to get done, just tedious and time consuming. It's a nuisance more than anything else.

In other news, I've been playing Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for almost 70 hours now, and I've just now finished half of the possible missions. I'd like to beat all 300 missions, but I don't know if I'll have the patience for that.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Van Morrison, "Queen of the Slipstream"
"Will I See You Give More Than I Can Take, Will I Only Harvest Some?"

Today's been good if relatively uneventful. I finally got a decent night's sleep last night, after spending four hours driving home and then eight hours at work (which was also, thankfully, uneventful). Then I slept for like 10 or 11 hours, and woke feeling very refreshed. I'm still a bit tired, but that's okay, because I'll get another good night's sleep tonight.

Anyway, all I've done today were the dishes, run, and watch The Dark Crystal with Ev. I'd forgotten just how good the Dark Crystal was, especially considering it's all done with puppets. Jim Henson was a genius, and his work was always top notch. The Dark Crystal is probably one of the best fantasy films I've ever seen. I'd almost rank it up there with LOTR and the Princess Bride.

My run was actually pleasantly good. I ran far--once around the neighborhood and then around the entire campus, which is quite a bit further than I usually run on a given day. I really think that if the races my dad keeps signing us up for were in the late afternoon, I'd kick ass. Does make me wonder, though, why all of these races seem to be in the winter, early in the morning, and around lakes. "How uncomfortable can we make these races?" one race promoter asked another. Replied his companion, "Make it early, cold, and in a place where the wind can sythe through their clothes and freeze them to their very core."

In short, the folks who come up with these things are evil and didn't have me in mind when they were planning...the bastards.

Class and work tomorrow. Ev says that the Oklahoma Primary is also tomorrow, but I'd have to drive all the way to Shawnee to do that. I don't really know much about any of the Democratic candidates (I'm registered Democrat), and don't feel that I'd be making any sort of educated contribution to the proceedings. I'd prefer to actually know a bit about what they're all campaigning for and all that, but since I'm not likely to discover this between now and tomorrow morning, I'm going to exercise my sense of civic duty and not vote with absolutely no idea about the person I'm voting for.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Sting, "Heavy Cloud No Rain"

Sunday, February 01, 2004

"It's Too Late To Stop Now"

Well, I made it to Ozarks and back in one piece, despite my best efforts to fall asleep at the wheel several times there and back. I think next time, I'm going to try to get more than four hours of sleep before I get on the road.

Though I wonder when the next time I go to Ozarks will be. Things have been odd since I graduated. During the first several trips, it felt as though I'd never left. I arrived, I settled back in to my position within the group and went with the flow of things. But ever since about graduation last year, it's been...different. Each visit makes Clarksville feel more and more alien, more distanced from me by time and experience. I'm not saying I'm bigger or better than the people at Ozarks...far from it, in many cases. Rather, my path has diverged now, and is meandering in a different direction. Granted, I'm not exactly sure what direction it is yet, but I feel more like an outsider with each visit.

It doesn't help that people keep leaving. In July, we said goodbye to Chris and JP, who headed to Seattle. James soon left for Fayetteville. Heather left in December. There are about four or five people still at Ozarks for whom I care deeply enough to want to visit, and one of them's in France right now. I saw the others over the weekend.

But for perhaps the first time since I gradutated a year and a half ago, Ozarks didn't feel like home. I've been feeling increasingly like an outsider, but it was always negligible, subtle; this time, it hit me full-force, and it saddened me.

I know we always have to move on and go our own way. I just wanted my way to parallel my nearest and dearest for a bit longer. Every trip back has always been suffused with a slightly wistful, bittersweet tinge, but this time, it was almost overwhelming. Maybe it's the fact that three more of the people I visit are graduating in May. Maybe it's a rememberance of things I should have said, and now may not have the chance to say. Maybe I'm just ridiculously nostalgic. Whatever the cause, I'm rather depressed now, and it feels as though I've reached the penultimate chapter in my relationship with Ozarks. I'll probably only go there another time or two between now and when Clif graduates, if I even get to attend his graduation. I don't know where I'll be this time next year, or even where I'll be this summer. The future is so uncertain, except that I know that Ozarks is rapidly becoming a part of my past, not a part of my present. I don't necessarily want this--like I said, there are still people I care about deeply there and want to see--but I'm not sure how I'll be able to actually see them.

I'm not really articulating these thoughts very well. There are people and things on my mind that I can't really express, proving yet again how form forces certain restraints upon content. Few things are certain right now, except that I'm desperately missing my friends, and it feels like I've suddenly lost a home.


Song of the Moment: Van Morrison, "Caravan (Live)"