mind eating time

now that I'm back in madison I've decided to go back to doing timed free-writing exercises every day. for much of this summer an internal logjam obstructed the flow of words, at least written ones. email languished and my blog entries aged as I diverted the remaining trickle into building the potato palace.

this morning I headed to steep 'n' brew, state st.'s ur coffeeshop, notebook in pack and goofy digital egg timer in hand. I got a cup of coffee first and stared into the ether. I waited for the cup to be empty then stared into the ether some more. I said hey to the guy who showed me how to change the security setting so I could use the wireless internet at another coffeeshop earlier in the week. I hit the button on the timer and watched it start counting down from 14:59. finally I scribbled my pen slowly across the page.

it takes me an hour to write for fifteen minutes.

what does my brain do the other forty-five? it talks to itself like a painfully self-involved homeless person, like an absent-minded driver chattering into a cell phone long after the connection has been lost, like a university professor lecturing to a roomful of students that loiter on the dull edge of consciousness. incorporeal words dance with abandon across my synapses while my fingers are paralyzed above the keyboard and the pen slips unnoticed from my limp hand. my mind eats time.


this just in

from the instant friends department.

your name: Barbara Frederick
yesorno: no
comments: Hello!

My name is Barbara Frederick and I'm a casting director - I saw your website today while doing research (Dork Club). maybe you guys can help!

Please read below:

Thanks for your time!
Barbara Frederick

Were You A Geek In School?

Were you a geek in school? Were you ever bullied, embarrassed, tormented, picked-on or humiliated? WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET EVEN WITH THAT PERSON ON TV?! Tell us your story, including whether or not you have videos, photos, or memorabilia of the time/people/incident and how we can get in touch with you. Shoot us over a photo along with your story to:
geekpower @ nashentertainment.com

call me paranoid, but the first thing that occurs to me is how do you know the joke's not on you? how do you know that the actual outcome of the show's promise of revenge won't end up with the "bully" getting the upper hand once again? dishonesty of this sort is a key element in several reality-tv shows.

or maybe I'm just offended that barbara didn't want to be my friend.

what's brown and sticky?

a stick.

today's joke brought to you by back 2 earth, organizers of excellent backpacking & yoga adventures in yosemite. proper sanitation is critical to protecting the back country so eric and ari made sure that everyone on the trip knew what to do when it came time to do it. one of their key points was that "pack it in, pack it out" applies to toilet paper as well as clif bar wrappers. a small zip lock bag, which can be hidden inside a paper bag for the squeamish, does the trick. sadly, many hikers and backpackers haven't learned this one.

the scatological meets the etymological in ari and eric's euphemism for doing your business: "I have to drop the kids off at the pool." I have enshrined it next to "I have to talk to a man about a dog" in my pantheon of obscure references to bodily functions.

are brown sticky things inherently humorous? it's not too late to vote! the infamous "is poop funny?" quiz from back in may is making a comeback, with a summary of the results so far.

here's the original quiz:


Avis was rolling a ball of sticky brown gunk that looked suspiciously like, um, a ball of sticky brown gunk, around in a bowl of toasted coconut.

"Peanut butter, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, raisins, honey, and of course, chocolate chips," he announced for my benefit then gestured toward the plate of balls. They looked a lot more like food after they were covered in coconut.


humpf! don't know what it's about, and it's not funny.
huh? don't know what it's about, but it's funny.
humpf! it's about poop. poop is not funny.
ha-ha! it's about poop. poop is funny!

I am years old.


the tribe has spoken...
poop is funny.

a total of 30 valid votes with ages ranging from 3 to 1000 were cast. overall, funny beat unfunny by a 2 to 1 margin, and "poop is funny" beat "poop is not funny" 3 to 1. julie says not only is poop funny, so is co-op food . jason demurs: he prefers that his food be kept far away from feces, fictional or otherwise.

poop is funny!


file quiz results under "people with way too much time on their hands."

today's highlights

  • I washed my sneakers. I ran them through the washing machine along with the bathmats. they look brand new. should have done that months ago --- you wouldn't wear the same pair of socks to the gym 30 times without washing them, would you?

  • I swam a mile. nicki, the coach for the master's swim sessions at the gym, kicked my butt with repeated sets of 100 yards, each one faster than the last. (she kept time.) after I got home I collapsed on the couch. then I stood in front of the mirror flexing my arms to see if I have any muscles yet. thanks to the swim coach and personal trainer provided by the gym I now know the names of all the muscles I don't have in my upper body.

  • I watched two episodes of farscape. bill and I are continuing our summer-long binge courtesy of the san jose public library and netflix, we're just about done with season 3. newsflash: watching tv, even if it's not really tv because it's on a dvd, reduces the amount of time available for other activities such as reading books. there's still one more episode to go on the dvd. and another season after this one.

I've done lots more interesting stuff in sunny california this summer, yoga & backpacking in yosemite, whale watching in monterey bay, shakespeare santa cruz, but somehow I never seem to get around to writing about it in my blog. go figure.

may all the numberless beings who are sick
be quickly freed from sickness

after a couple of days of feverish battle against an army of unidentified microbes my immune system has successfully returned my bodily functions to a semblance of homeostasis. this was likely just a passing virus, the only symptoms being a fever, aching muscles and joints, and some minor stomach distress. I had optimal conditions for recovery, my time is unstructured and I have almost no commitments, no kids needing breakfast and a ride to soccer camp, no binding financial constraints that force a tradeoff between time spent at work and money to pay the bills. yesterday after napping in the morning I went to the gym a block away, soothed my muscles in the hot tub then sat on a lounge chair by the pool and napped all afternoon.

and yet, even with free time, a lounge chair, a hot tub and a minor, short-lived virus, being sick is no fun:
it hurts. it's exhausting. it's boring.

sickness, old age and death, enough suffering is born into the human condition to last a lifetime. but somehow it isn't enough --- a cursory look at the news or a quick recap of the 20th century shows that the ocean of suffering is swollen many times over by human choices and human actions.

it doesn't take a fever of 101.5 to reduce much of human history to an incomprehensible hallucination.

At this very moment for the peoples and nations of the earth
May not even the names disease, famine, war, and suffering be heard.
But rather may pure conduct, merit, wealth and prosperity increase,
And may supreme good fortune and well being always arise.


more blog-O-rama
entries from 07.04