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I Thought I Smelled Something

The naughty kitchen radiator has struck again.

12:12 on December 28, 2001 image
Loser. Pathetic Loser

I am so pathetic. It's 9 PM and here I am still at work. Everyone else went home hours ago.

I have 30 slides to scan for Wednesday. They take 1 3/4 hours each. Do the math. It's impossible! Impossible if I want to ever go home.

And let's not forget that I have to burn the scans, after every 10 because the hard drive is full. That takes 25 minutes a slide, if the burner decides not to spit out a coaster.

If it didn't take 500 to 6 million minutes to transfer a slide over the network, I could burn them on another machine. But unfortunately, it does.

I am such a loser!

09:12 on December 17, 2001 image
There's Nothing For Me Here

I need sleep. I can't keep getting 3 or 4 hours a night and then work 16 hours, without lunch or dinner.

I am so tired, and hungry, and sore.

I want my bed. Actually, forget that. The floor is fine. Just five minutes....

04:12 on December 7, 2001 image
Who's a Fatty

Have you noticed the squirrels lately? They're getting really tubby! I've never seen such fatties!

11:11 on November 27, 2001 image
Things You Might Find in the Gutter

As I was walking home from the Howard stop tonight, I happened to look down and you will never guess what I saw sitting in the gutter.

A whole rotisserie chicken.

Just laying there. Not a bite missing. I can't help but wonder how something like that happens.

07:11 on November 27, 2001 image
It's Bizarre

Bizarre Chemical Discovery

10:11 on November 13, 2001 image
Reading happiness

I am currently re-reading The Wisdom Teachings of the Dalai Lama.

Each page is pure happiness. This little book brings everything back into focus. Reminds me what is genuinely important in life.

11:11 on November 7, 2001 image
Searching

The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.

- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

02:11 on November 1, 2001 image
Robot, Robot

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07:10 on October 31, 2001 image
Toothy

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10:10 on October 26, 2001 image
Freezing

I take back what I said about not wanting the heat to come on again.

I don't care if the whole place floods with smelly oil and brown water.

I just want to be warm!

05:10 on October 26, 2001 image
Behave

I have my eye on you Mister Radiator! You better behave. That means NO more barfing on my clean kitchen floor!

04:10 on October 26, 2001 image
Mr. Radiator Has Just About Had It

Something horrifying just happened in our kitchen.

We have steam heat radiators in the apartment. They date back to god only knows when. Some of the air valves on them say 1965, but I imagine that is just the year they were replaced when the old ones rotted off.

When the heat comes on, and it does once in a blue moon, we have come to accept the violent banging and shaking of the pipes, the sputtering and hissing of the air valves and the unpleasant odor. This is not the way steam heat is supposed to work, but when something is broken this badly, it's pretty much beyond hope. So we just accept it, because we can't afford to live anywhere nicer.

The radiator in the kitchen has never worked. It bangs the loudest, shakes the most, hisses and pants more than all the others, but it has never even gotten lukewarm. So we just avoid going in there, except to cook or make a quick snack run, because it feels like a meat locker.

Until today.

The banging became so violent it literally shook me out of bed. I ventured toward the kitchen. The hissing turned into a nauseating gurgling and popping.

It's dying, I thought to myself.

Then the smell....

OH GOD! The smell!

Like rancid oil mixed with 50 years of dirt and grime. All heated up real nice, just to emphasize it's stinkiness.

I was convinced at this point that it was just going to blow and retreated to the safety of the bedroom. There I stood, shaking from the cold, peeking around the corner at the belching radiator.

Then it happened!

Water began spewing out of the air valve all over the kitchen floor. Nasty water, reeking of things long dead.

I just stood there in disbelief.

Then I noticed the radiator next to my computer was attempting to following suit. But it could only muster up a small burp, resulting in a few drops of water and nothing more. But it has learned another trick, and is now oozing an orange, greasy substance from its feet. A very smelly oil, indeed.

So now, no matter how cold it gets in here today, I most certainly do not want the heat to come on again. I fear being burnt beyond recognition when the radiator 2 feet from my computer explodes. Or worse yet, having the entire apartment covered in smelly grease and boiling water.

And now I must go mop the kitchen floor.

This is no good! No good at all!

11:10 on October 25, 2001 image
Toasty Warm

The heat finally came on!

I feel like breaking out the hawiian luau in a box and partying!

It's now a balmy 55 degrees in here. Which is still 13 degrees; below is the minimum temperature by law our landlord is required to provide during the day.

06:10 on October 25, 2001 image
Proverb

To the illumined man or woman, a clod of dirt, a stone and gold are the same.

03:10 on October 25, 2001 image
My Insides are Shivering

Current weather conditions in the apartment:

53.1 degrees

I am wearing a big fuzzy hat, 2 pairs of socks, a fleece jacket and a blanket.

I swore, I absolutely swore when I moved out of that horrid apartment in Stevens Point, that I would never again have to use my oven to heat my apartment.

This is so wrong. It's sad that our landlord considers this to be an adequet temperature. Course, what does he care if I'm freezing. He lives in a nice WARM condo some where crime-free, roach-free, rat-free and clean.

03:10 on October 25, 2001 image
Yucky, Itchy

Ack. I am sick. My ears itch way deep down in the depths of my brain, my throat feels like I have brillo in it and my belly is practicing for a career in the circus.

Daniel has a way of always being gone when I am sick. Which i guess is good for him. But right now, nothing would be better than having him bring me a bowl of veggie soup with dumplings while I rested in bed.

01:10 on October 14, 2001 image
Outside My Window

It's quiet in the apartment, except for the sounds of rain.

As I listen to tires moving across wet pavement, I wonder where the cars are going. I imagine them full of friends, smiling, laughing, as they head for some interesting destination.

I find myself wishing I too had some place to be.

Instead, I listen to the rain, the tires, the voices in the alley and wish I was anywhere but here.

06:10 on October 13, 2001 image
Cold. So Cold

If hell ever freezes over, I bet this is what it would feel like!

Why do I always live in apartments where I have no control over the heat? It was 37 degrees last night and the landlord hasn't turned on the heat!

So cold. I may crawl inside the oven for warmth.

12:10 on October 5, 2001 image
Train Derailment

I keep having this nightmare about a train derailment. It's the fifth night in a row I have had it.

Everything happens so rapidly, it's hard to tell what is going on.

The train speeds past me, and suddenly explodes off the tracks. All I can sense is the shrill sound of metal bending and the acrid smell of burning.

I tend to have nightmares, lots of them, but lately they seem much more probable than before. And that makes them all the more terrifying.

02:09 on September 17, 2001 image
Nightmare

I had a terrible nightmare last night. I am emotionally drained, confused and still a little frightened.

I was heading for the museum, walking across the broad grass, smiling at the day. Out of no where, snipers started shooting at people enjoying the warm sun and the cool air. I took cover behind a 3 foot high concrete landscaping wall. The air was filled with screaming and the whirring of bullets over my head. People falling. Gurgling for breath. The woman next to me protecting her daughter with her own body, hit. They both collapse, eyes blank.

Then silence. Even the wounded ceased moaing and calling for help. I started to belly crawl toward the street, trying to stay under something and out of sight. Suddenly a large strong hand grabbed the back of my jacket and hoisted me out into the open. He shoves me inside the building with the other hostages.

Consfusion. Crying. Blood. Terror.

I stumbled forward and around the corner. There's a large television set up in the main foyer. The news was alerting the city of the attack. A map of the United States was shown, with many little red dots scattered about. These are other cities that were simultaneously attacked. So many.

We were herded into the lower level of the museum, a windowless maze of concrete walls and tiny rooms smelling of mothballs and chemicals. We are searched, our possessions taken. Finally we are assigned a dozen or so to a room, and locked inside.

Time passed, no one is really sure of how much time, weeks possibly months. Without a watch, time was meaningless in that dark windowless cell. We tried to keep track of the days by counting the meals brought to us. But by our extreme hunger, we realized that often days would go by before food was supplied, and then it was nothing more than thin sandwiches and paper cups of water. This ensured we couldn't use a utensil as a weapon or as a means of escape.

I awoke one day to the sound of voices, hushed yet excited. I opened my eyes only to be blinded. If it hadn't been for the sound of reassuring voices around me, I would have panicked. Slowly, my eyes adjusted and I was looking out at blue sky. A crisp, fresh breeze streamed in through a small square hole in the wall, where there had once been a large cork bulletin board. It had been torn off the wall revealing a square, black wrought iron door. A coal chute!

And by this discovery, we planned our escape. Fortunately, no one brought food that day, or they would have discovered our secret and moved us to a new, secure room. As night set in, we carefully opened the door a few inches and took turns watching the numerous guards and spotlights moving about. Once we had the timing down, small groups of us plunged into the night air and ran into the brush. We waited there until it was safe to proceed.

No one knew where we were going, or how much of the city was lost. Like rabbits, we hid in bushes, under fallen rubble, anywhere small and dark. Clinging to one another, in whispers we planned where to run next.

I noticed a sound building, like soft humming. It continued to grow, now the familiar oscillating roar of an airplane. Closer. Louder. Lurking underneath, a second sound, like that of a high pitched whistle. Now too high to hear, although I could still feel it, creating pressure in my ears.

Then a blinding flash of white and searing heat and I was awake, screaming.

I scrambled for the remote control, I needed to reassure myself that it wasn't real, only a bad dream. I needed the comforting sound and color of normality. As the infomercial materialized, I sighed and my body relaxed. It was ok.

For now, everything is ok.

03:09 on September 16, 2001 image
Like Scared Rabbits

I have been trying do the things I normally do, daily activities we all take for granted. Things that last week seemed like dull chores, now threads by which to hold on to something stable. Constant.

And it nearly works.

Until I hear a plane overhead. My stomach knots up and I cringe. Frozen. Waiting. Hoping.

The evil we inflict upon one another, will it ever end? This was all so unnecessary.

06:09 on September 13, 2001 image
Smoking Cell Phone Lady and the Pigeon Window

Directly behind our building is a three story condo unit. I don't know much about the residents on levels one or two, but I am entirely too familiar with the residents on level three.

The back balcony of this unit is adjacent from our computer room windows. They can see in here as easily as we can see them. We can also hear and smell them. I call the woman, smoking cell phone lady. She's loud, annoying and seems to think she is the all knowing, all seeing computer tech god.

In reality, she is nothing more than a smoking blabber mouth. Emphasis on smoking and blabber. And her computer knowledge is far from above average. Very far.

I'm listening to smoking lady try to explain to our non-english speaking maintenance man, Omar, that he needs to install a lock on our back gate. She insists that not once, but twice, criminals have gained access to her cable internet boxes through our back gate.

"They cut them off with SCISSORS," she screeches. "It cost 45 DOLLARS to have them replaced EACH TIME!!!"

Our non-english speaking janitor says "Not work there. Work for here. (Pointing to our building)".

She continues to monkey rant, cigarette dangling from her lip, insisting that our man Omar install a lock on the gate or she will contact our landlord.

Good luck lady. We LIVE here and can't get the landlord to fix anything! Two months of asking to have the pigeon window repaired has resulted in nothing. Nothing more than Daniel finally fixing it himself on Sunday. Same goes for the missing outlet coverplate in the bathroom, tub re-caulking and everything else in this stinkbox.

Oh, by now I hear your brain churning over and over..what's a pigeon window?

It's a window in our front hall closet that was installed in the 1940's, maybe earlier, it's hard to say since it's rotted and doesn't close. It's also leaky. It was boarded over, but the board cracked, leaving a space between it and the window. A pigeon took up residence in this cozy little space. I won't elaborate on the problems caused by said pigeon, but they were smelly.

So that said, if she thinks she is getting anything done with our gate or anything else on this property, she may as well do it her self, because I guarantee Omar Fantastic won't be taking care of it.

06:09 on September 10, 2001 image
I Love This Show

Samurai Jack

03:09 on September 10, 2001 image
VectorPark

Vectorpark

This absolutely rocks!

11:09 on September 7, 2001 image
Iron Monkey on the Big Screen

Iron Monkey!

I have no idea why they are releasing it in theaters now, it's been available on DVD for some time. But I don't care.

I am so totally there!

06:09 on September 7, 2001 image
Gramma Doe

I visited my gramma this weekend! She is the sweetest ever! She saw a bug, but could't catch it, so she left a note so we would know it was still about.

06:09 on September 4, 2001 image
Reading Rumi

Some nights stay up till dawn,
as the moon sometimes does for the sun.
Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way
of a well, then lifted out into light.

- Rumi

12:08 on August 31, 2001 image
Sleep

O infinite deep I never knew,
I would come back,
come back to you,
Find you,
as a pool unstirred,
Kneel down by you,
and never a word,
Lay my head,
and nothing said,
In your hands,
ungarlanded;
And a long watch you would keep;
And I should sleep,
and I should sleep!

- Retrospect :: Rupert Brooke

01:08 on August 31, 2001 image
Green Monitor, Green Monster

I think it's time for a new monitor! It may be a lovely shade of green, but it makes working a bit difficult.

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And no, my desktop is not usually that boring. I just formatted my hard drive and haven't installed any of my geek-ware just yet. It'll be fancy, just you wait.....

And yes, there are 2 fuzzy pufferfish, a puffer clock, a green sea turtle, eeyore and a Totoro living on top of the monitors. Oh, and don't forget under the monitors are various puffers, slug pen, monkey and best of all

Tiny Godzilla!

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11:08 on August 29, 2001 image
Hamster Data

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Cozy Sumo!

12:08 on August 26, 2001 image
Mangled Toes

How many times can I roll over my toes while sitting in this stupid chair.

Apparently the number is infinite. How do you run over your own toes while sitting down anyway? Is it possible that my brain doesn't realize that my feet are in peril? Why are they always right in front of or behind the wheels when I move? Shouldn't I have learned not to do that by now?

11:08 on August 15, 2001 image
And Then There were Four

Techno-Geeky!

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11:08 on August 12, 2001 image
Appolinaire Poem

Come to the edge, she said
We're afraid, they replied
Come to the edge, she said
We're afraid, they replied
Come to the edge, she said
They came,
She pushed them,
And they flew.

- Appolinaire

03:07 on July 25, 2001 image
What's that

Could it be . . . the skunk ape?

That's right, the skunk ape.

11:06 on June 26, 2001 image
Back in Ames

Being back in Iowa is really weird. I was apprehensive about entering my apartment, since I have been gone so long. I thought maybe a band of rouge trolls would be living in my closet. Or perhaps something even worse.

But it was empty, just as I left it.

Feels strange none the less.

Currently, I am sitting in the ISU library waiting for my library exam to be graded. Then it's graduation.

Today is really strange. Everything from now on is going to be different.

03:06 on June 21, 2001 image
New Home

Oh boy, here I am in Chicago! And the ultra-fancy DSL is finally working! Speedy!

I have been scouring for jobs all day. Nothing everywhere I look. Someone must need a skull or a bug or some other science like illustration.

I need money. I need a bed and a bookcase. I have neither right now. Also, a desk for my computer, so I don't have to sit on the floor anymore.

I must find a job!

06:05 on May 17, 2001 image
Glorious Day

It is so beautiful today. The clouds are soft and flowing, the air warm and clean, the sky a deep blue comfort.

Perhaps it's because I am finally graduating on August 11th. Perhaps it's because in 120 hours I will be leaving Iowa forever. Perhaps it's because after 14 months and a few odd days, I will be with Daniel again. So close to all that I have been missing for so long.

Or perhaps it's just because the clouds are soft and flowing, the air warm and clean, the sky a deep blue comfort.

12:05 on May 7, 2001 image
Think Before You Act

It was bad enough when the Rio Grande stopped flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, but now the river is suffering massive fish kills. Probably due to lack of oxygen and raising temperatures in the now stagnant river.

Hmmm? Maybe we shouldn't be trying to raise cattle and irrigate crops in the hot, dry west. But of course, I forgot, there are so damn many of us that we have to farm in the desert to have enough to go around. All of us overweight, over consuming, over polluting morons.

Think of all the food that is wasted feeding livestock, so we can butcher them in the fastest and often cruelest manner possible to get them to our table. Think of all the pollution these farm animals cause, the bacteria they harbor, the antibiotics they are pumped full of...

Why not just eat the grain ourselves?

People seem to think that natural resources are infinite. We could never over populate or exceed the resources on this planet. Miraculous scientific breakthroughs will always come to save us.

How wrong they are. What a shame that no one will take any heed of this or try to do anything to prevent it in the future.

We are so doomed by our own blind ignorance.

03:04 on April 23, 2001 image
Pretty Kitty

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04:04 on April 21, 2001 image
JavaSquid

I am so in love with JavaSquid!

11:04 on April 12, 2001 image
Mini Donk

Ok, my mind is made up. I am going to get a minature donkey.

And I am going to bring him to Petco or PetSmart or whatever "bring your pet in the shop" kinda place is near me, so he can pick out a hat. And some treats. He will be really naughty, knocking things off the shelves with his tail. Then the store owner will ask us to leave.

I am so totally getting a minature donkey.

And I am going to feed him carrots everyday!

03:04 on April 11, 2001 image
Methane Hydrate

As none of you know, I am extremely interested in the role Methane Hydrate may have played during the last ice age and in mass extincitions 55 and 183 million years ago.

While digging around for new articles on the subject, I found something even more intersting. The discovery of a new animal living within methane hydrate deposits!

04:03 on March 24, 2001 image
Aurora

Beautiful! Earth's double aurora.

04:03 on March 24, 2001 image
Smart Little Amoeba

Amoeba Midwives, who would have thought?

04:03 on March 24, 2001 image
The Woolies Are Here

Well, I guess I am a genius. I just confirmed my suspicion. The beasties are here in Ames.

Lucky me!

TSE Sheep sent to Ames, Iowa

03:03 on March 23, 2001 image
TSE Infected Sheep

Earlier this week, three dirrerent flocks of sheep were seized and sent to Iowa for study. They are thought to be infected with a strain of TSE. Forms of TSE include BSE, Scrapie, CWD and Creutzfeldt-Jakob.

Now, if I had to guess where these sheep were sent for study, I would have to say to the USDA lab here in Ames.

02:03 on March 23, 2001 image
Please Stand By

Stratospheric Research Group

Well, boys and girls, it appears we are experiencing technical difficulties with the stratosphere. I suspect this can not be a good thing.

06:03 on March 6, 2001 image
February Storm

It thundering and lightning here right now.

How entirely strange. In February. In Iowa.

09:02 on February 24, 2001 image
Claw Thaw

I think my hand is getting better. I have a lot more dexterity in it than I did just a few days ago. I am even typing with it today!

I promise, I will never, ever cut double thick illustration board with a utility knife again. I am saving up for a nice mat cutter.

I have been going crazy with my hand out of service the last two weeks. I was working on a 72 hour chicken embryo in Photoshop when I injured myself. Now it looks like I will be able to work on it again pretty soon!

I am so excited!

01:02 on February 23, 2001 image
Gripper Claw

Well it's been two weeks and my gripper claw is still not working right. Although the carpal tunnel does appear to be improving. I can actually hold a pencil to write for short amounts of time, but it hurts horribly.

And I still don't have refined motor skills to allow me to draw. I couldn't even make a line. It was all wobblie and crooked.

Stupid claw. Why won't it behave

01:02 on February 22, 2001 image
SafePlaces

How cute is this?

07:02 on February 21, 2001 image
Ice Day

Lucky Best Day!!!

Another snow day. Or should I say ice day. We had one the 29th of January too!

Everything is covered in a quarter inch of ice. I spent an hour just sawing at the ice on my car door so I could open it, and another hour chipping away at the ice on my windows. I probably could have done it faster if I had two hands, but I did my best with just the one.

Course when I got on the interstate, I realized what a mistake it was. The roads, like my car, were also thick with ice. So I turned around and came home. Everything is closed today anyway.

But I really wanted to get to Des Moines to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon again. Maybe tomorrow....for now I will cozy up with a mug of tea and ChungKing Express.

05:02 on February 9, 2001 image
Carpal Tunnel

I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel overuse syndrome in my left wrist today. Seeing as I am left handed, this makes things complicted. The splint I have to wear is cumbersome and makes even the most simple of tasks near impossible.

If I don't improve, I can expect physical therapy. What a mess.

I can't even hold a pencil to write. Not to mention anything else to draw or paint.

My arm and hand feel like they're constantly "asleep". It's beyond irritating! I keep slapping it, trying to knock out the pins and needles, but there they stay.

Mad I tell you! It's driving me mad!

12:02 on February 7, 2001 image
We Were Friends Once

I can't be the same thing to you now
I'm just gone, just gone
How could I say goodbye
How could I say goodbye
Goodbye

09:02 on February 5, 2001 image