Ink & Paper

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Letter #1 here
Letter #2 here

November 23

Dear Wichita,

Slow day today, Sunday afternoon and I don't have to work today. Rainy outside, windy too, so I think I'll just stay in. It's, uh, 256 PM and I've only been up for an hour or so. I poured myself a bowl of cereal and wondered what kinda nightowl I am turning into, eating cereal at 256 PM in the afternoon.

I don't have TV here in my apartment but I have a small ghetto blaster with a CD player on it. Got a good deal on it at some pawn shop just a few blocks over. The antenna is busted off and the left speaker is kinda fuzzed out but I rigged up a coat hanger and that seems to bring in the radio stations. Not that there is much worth listening to. I'll surf the net for a bit, but that only makes me want to go outside after an hour or so. Maybe I'll nap. Or read. Or stare at the walls.

I worked last night at the bookstore. Nothing to write home about, but it was okay. Guten came in for a bit, did his thing, left. My coworker Amy is in the middle of breaking up with her boyfriend, again, and I don't care enough to listen to her freak out over what he may have meant with what he said three weeks ago. She's okay, kinda cute in a English-Lit way, but has a piercing through her lip. It was supposed to be in the middle of her bottom lip, but I think she went to a shady tatttoo place, and it is a little off, to her left. I told her it looked like a fish hook and she said I was small town. I told her that I may be small town, but that doesn't mean I can't comment on how she looks like a pike.

"A what? Did you just call me a dyke?" she said.

"Nothing. No. Jesus."

It was a slow night save for that. She ignored me for a bit after she thought I called her a dyke, but then she started up again about her boyfriend. I think his name is Chad. Or Brad. I don't really listen and she doesn't really care. Blah blah blah, she went. I just went to the back of the store and tried to figure out a way I could take a photo of the northeast corner of the main floor wall.

I'm laying down as I write this, my legs propped up against the window at the foot of my bed. I can see cloud and rain and mist, hints of buildings. I can see the water running in interlocking rivets down the windowpane. I can smell curry. I can always smell curry.

You know that feeling that you get in January in Kansas? That closed in, dark feeling that comes standard with howling prairie winds and snowdrifts? I'm kinda feeling like that today. People here say that it takes awhile to get used to the constant rain and cloud. I see people who have been here for years who don't even bat an eye at an insane downpour, but on a day like today, when it could pour, new arrivals like me tend to resemble hermits. I suppose I'll get over it.

Maybe I'll go out today after all, maybe buy some shoes. My old runners are starting to smell and besides, no one wears running shoes here, not unless they are exercising. Fashion nightmare, apparently.

Hey to Mary for me, ok?


A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 11:30 PM ~~ 1 bonsai trees

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Happy Birthday Megsy!

I'm sure the best thing about being 26 is getting to wake up next to me every morning. Must be something like waking up next to He-Man.




Stop fantasizing about Cross, Megan!!

Ted Danson, circa 1984?No?

Ah, c'mon!

Man, the only one left is....
Happy birthday Megan, love you lots. Obviously, I just compared myself to the gayest cartoon character of all time. That's devotion, baby.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:03 PM ~~ 3 bonsai trees

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A lighter side of the blog. Or, alternatively, me being bored on a Saturday afternoon. Better than Christmas shopping anyway.

1. An interesting and conspiratorial account of the rise and fall of Dave Chappelle. It is on the internet and no author is identified, so take it with a rather large grain of salt. But to further throw cliches around, where there's smoke, there's fire.

2. Jib Jab dishes out their latest song and dance with bush. Funny stuff.

3. Why you hate idiotic people. "UPS". Classic.

4. Steve Nash is obviously from Europe. Or Brazil. But not Canada. Cool.

5. I'm immature. And that is why the "Yelling Japanese Guy" kills me. Oh man.

6. Jeff will love this movie.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 4:51 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Two (this makes three) posts for Thursday. Read them all. I'm not doing this for my health you know.

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Letter to Wichita #1 here.

November 18, 2005

Dear Wichita,

Me again, except this time is 235 in the morning and I just got home from a late shift at the bookstore. David Gray is on the radio. He's British.

I'm not sure if I told you the name of the bookstore in the last letter I sent to you. It's called The Mighty Penn which (I think) is a play on that Bob Dylan song about Quinn the Eskimo. I could be wrong though, the owners have never given me a straight answer about it. Old hippies are kind of hit and miss that way, you know.

It was a quiet shift, Tuesday's usually are. Not a lot of people wanting to be out until one AM when they have to punch the clock at eight the next morning, oops, the same morning, just with enhanced exhaustion. But we still had a few night owls prowling the aisles, hunting for a hidden gem of a book. Travels with Charley, Catch-22, that kind of classic. No one bothers picking up Shakespeare anymore, something I suspect haunts them with memories of faltering grade eleven presentations on Hamlet.

I gotta tell you about this one guy who was in tonight. He comes in most nights, actually, usually around 1230 or so, and stays for an hour or so. I've nicknamed him 'Guten', after Steve Gutenberg, as his clothes and hair are more 80s that you would care to think. He looks like a decent fellow, his dated clothes are always clean and ironed. Might be a manager at some lower-end business. Or maybe an assistant manager. Or maybe a psycho who enjoys cold showers, I dunno.

Anyway, he comes in and quietly walks the store, hands always clasped behind his back. He whistles quietly and peers about, occasionally pulling a book from the shelves. He never goes near the new books, only the used. As a matter of fact, the new book section is pretty much ignored after 800pm, that's when the trendsetters trade shifts with the nighthawks, who only seem interested in dog-eared novels.

Back on topic, sorry. Guten wanders about, never asking any questions or making any eye contact. It wouldn't be a stretch to suggest that he has no idea that we are even there. He has never bought anything, near as I can remember. He just wanders about for an hour or so and then wanders right on out the door. And no one minds. Imagine that kinda shit in Wichita. I suppose we would need a bookstore that stayed open past nine PM first though hey?

I really want to ask him for permission to take some photos of him while he wanders the bookstore, but I dunno how he will react. It would make a kinda haunting photo in black and white, at least I think so. You'd have to see the bookstore to understand, it kinda resembles a teetering collection of musty books, some which have probably been there since God knows when. A whole bunch of musty transcripts and water-damaged paperbacks, all stuffed in overwritten legal boxes.

Was that a lame story? Sorry if it was, I'm just trying to give you a picture of what my life is here in Seattle. The night brings out the special cases here, I guess that is the point of that little story.

I'm growing my hair out, no more of the flat-top regiment for me. It is getting fairly long now, but I will be happier when it gets long enough to look decent. Now I just look like a bum. Huh, for all the photographs I've been taking lately, I don't have a self-portrait to send along, show you my new haircut, or lack thereof. I suppose that is a good thing, that I don't have self-portraits laying about. Could be seen as arrogant, don't you think? Most of the artists here expect to remain undiscovered.

Anyway, yea, my hair is getting longer and despite me resembling a hobo, I don't mind the look. I wasn't going to grow it out, but when I stopped by a hair salon (la dee da hey?) downtown, they wanted to charge me $55 for a hair consultation. I don't even know if that consisted of actually getting my hair cut or not. Doesn't sound like it. That was about two months ago now and either through laziness, vanity, or poverty, I haven't considered getting it cut again. I'll get a picture and send it your way.

Och it is late now, 315 AM and I am supposed to get up before noon to work the early shift at the bar. I can't ever sleep as soon as I get home, some sort of work-induced insomnia. Ah well, at least I'll be outta there by seven, give me a chance to see the city at night, something I haven't had much of a chance to do lately. I think I'll mosey around downtown for a bit, take some photos and maybe grab a bite to eat at someplace new. I think I saw a jazz cafe downtown the other day while I was riding the bus. Looked eclectic in a blue smoke kind of way.

Anyway, hope all is well, I heard about the cold snap that you guys are suffering through. Zip up the coats and put on the mittens, as mom always said. It's wamer here, but raining. A kind of compromise, I suppose. As always, say hi to Mary for me, I hope she's keeping well.



A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 8:28 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Rick Mercer (yes that Rick Mercer of Talking to Americans fame) suggests that many Canadians would rather spend money on beer instead of childcare. Good chuckle.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 8:25 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Photo courtesy of T. Turner

November 14, 2005
Dear Wichita,

Thought I would drop you a note, say hello. It's been almost four months since I left, but it seems like only yesterday I was staggering down your three AM streets, drunk on the cheap booze college dropouts tackle every weekend. So close and so far, some days I miss you, some days I get too wrapped up in the bustle of everyday life here in Seattle to even consider it.

It's nice here, not nearly as cold as Kansas but we make up for it in the constant mist that soaks me to the bone. I guess you could say that I traded in my Wichita jean jacket for a Seattle goretex. I'm bartending three nights a week at a fairly reputable pub downtown. Not a bad job, the downtown location gives me some pretty good tips. I'm also working at a Mom 'n' Pop bookstore on weekends, which is pretty cool. We sell used and new and totally attract the eccentrics. I guess a bookstore that is open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays will do that. A lot of odd hours, usually late nights, but it gives me a lot of time to work on my photography.

Yeah, photography, and not just random pictures at weddings and birthdays. I bought a new camera and am trying my hand at the 'art' of photography. That shit would never fly in Wichita hey? I know, maybe that's why I'm here instead. Nothing against Kansas but it wasn't much for the arts community and in Seattle everyone seems to have an artsy side to them. Or an outdoorsy side, one or the other. The girls here would be beautiful at a photography exhibit or crawling out of a tent after a night spent camping in the mountains. I'm just saying, is all.

I went to my first art show a couple of months back, a display of paintings by a local guy who calls himself Chavez, although he doesn't look at all Latino. It was interesting, I'll say that much. It took me a while, but I eventually figured out that the Seattle art community is broken into two camps, the corporate, big-money camp and the dirt-poor, struggling artist camp. Guess which one I fit into? I talked with Chavez for a bit, he seems like a decent guy and he is a pretty good painter too, sold some of his paintings for $200 plus. I'm still keeping my photography quiet until I figure out if I am any good at it. You probably don't care, but whatever.

I miss Wichita sometimes, mainly the familiarity of the streets and the up front personality of the people. Seattle has some good people, but they are harder to read at first. Everyone here seems to keep to themselves, or at least to their close circle of friends. I have met some interesting people here, but it isn't the same as when you've known someone since kindergarten. But I have only been here for a bit so maybe things will change.

I'm living in a bachelor apartment about a 20 minute bus ride from the downtown core, in a somewhat sketchy area of town. Not a bad place, the hot water is in short supply some days and the people across the hall from me cook with a lot of curry. But all in all, certainly livable. It gives me a sense of privacy, something I never felt in Wichita. Funny hey? Here I am, surrounded by thousands of people and living cheek to jowl with them in an apartment block, and yet I still feel like I have more privacy than I did in Wichita, where the empty prairie is never more than a half hour drive away.

I do miss the big sky of the prairie, but having the ocean so close is pretty nice, I gotta admit. I walked down to this area called Pike Place Market yesterday, a collection of pasty-white art kids and tourists hanging around coffee shops. Its pretty cool. I stopped for a coffee and read the paper, taking the occasional break to watch people go about their lives. Seattle seems to be a bit more contemplative that Wichita. Here I can sit and stare, think and watch, sipping good coffee, and no one finds me to be a bother. Coffee shops in Wichita are meant for old farmers who have nothing better to do than complain about the government.

Sorry. That was a little harsh. Kinda true though, you gotta admit that.

Anyway, the market is nice. I'll probably make it my haunt, maybe even look into apartments near it. Who knows, its all up in the air, which I am kinda enjoying. That is the main thing I love so far about Seattle, that the atmosphere seems a little more laid back than in Kansas. Hard to explain but it just feels that way. Maybe it is the rain that slows us down here, causes everyone to linger in the coffee shops just a few minutes longer. I don't know.

Anyway, its almost 1030 in the morning and I have to get going. I have a doctors appointment at 1115, just a checkup nothing serious, don't worry. I'll write again when I get the chance. Maybe even send some pictures if they turn out. Hope this finds you well and say hi to Mary for me.


Daniel. (Danny-boy!)

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:29 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Good post by Captain Flyboy on the violence in Sydney.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:56 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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LA Times
Stanley Tookie Williams, whose self-described evolution from gang thug to antiviolence crusader won him an international following and nominations for a Nobel Peace Prize, was executed by lethal injection early today, hours after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to spare his life.

In 1981, a jury in Torrance convicted Williams, landing him on death row. Initially his conduct was disruptive: "I gave this place hell," he acknowledged in an interview.

While in solitary confinement, however, he began a transformation, Williams said. At first he read voraciously - the Bible, the dictionary, philosophy, black history - and struggled to understand his past.

By 1992, Williams was a changed man, he said, deeply remorseful for the bloody rampage the Crips had perpetrated across America - and for the gang life that lured in one of his two sons.

In 1994, Williams left solitary confinement and declared himself a champion of peace.

With the help of Becnel, he wrote a series of books warning youths away from violence and brokered gang truces in Los Angeles and New Jersey.

.....Despite persistent pleas for mercy from around the globe, the governor earlier in the day had said Williams was unworthy of clemency because he had not admitted his brutal shotgun murders of four people during two robberies 26 years ago.

After the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for a last-minute stay Monday evening, the co-founder of the infamous Crips street gang - who insisted he was innocent of the murders - became the 12th man executed by the state of California since voters reinstated capital punishment in 1978.

With its racial overtones and compelling theme - society's dueling goals of redemption and retribution - the case provoked more controversy than any California execution in a generation, and became a magnet for attention and media worldwide.

A long list of prominent supporters - as disparate as South African Bishop Desmond Tutu and rapper Snoop Dogg - rallied to Williams' cause.
I am against the death penalty, especially in light of substantiated facts that cast a great deal of doubt on the infallibility of the US justice system's ability to kill guilty people. In the majority of cases, the taking of a life in retribution is nothing more than a soon-to-be televised expose of another of humanity's dark sides. Gandhi said that an eye for an eye will leave the world blind, and in Tookie Williams case, I find this to be more than true.

A man, noted and nominated for his work to keep kids out of gangs, has been put to death. Yes, he did kill people in the past and I would have no problem having seen his sentence commuted to life in prison. But it can't be overlooked that he took his time in jail not to waste away or further gang violence, but to write children's books and negotiate peace treaties between warring gangs.

A man must be made to pay for the crimes he commits, of that I have no issue. But should a man's moral fibre stop being judged once the cell door locks behind him? If Williams had killed again in prison or had continued to tout the gang lifestyle, then his execution probably would have been less controversial.

But he changed the direction of his life and the lives of thousands of children, for the better. He never did admit guilt for his crimes, something that certainly worked against him as the seconds ticked down, but his progress and his dedication to his new anti-gang message seemed to factor little into Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to allow the execution to proceed.
Schwarzenegger said he saw no need to rehash or second-guess the many court decisions already rendered in the case, and he questioned the death row inmate's claims of atonement.
The guilt of Williams was never in doubt. Nor, apparently, was his execution, at least on a political level. But from a humanitarian perspective, I do feel that Williams at least attempted, as best he could from San Quentin, to atone for his crimes. Yes he could have admitted guilt, but lots of guys admit guilt and don't attempt to prevent kids from choosing a devastating path. Talk is cheap and actions speak a hell of a lot louder.

I know that Williams' positive actions, hard as they are to judge, will speak far into the future with regards to the children who read his books and choose to stay away from gangs. The government may have taken this man's life, but they cannot take away the societal benefits of his post-conviction accomplishments.

For more information on the death penalty, please consult Amnesty International.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:21 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Now you can hear my rants instead of merely reading them.

Rants + Podcasts = Podrants

Lucky you.

Jay talks about Quality vs. Quantity during the Christmas season.

Each one will be about 3 minutes long and archived on this very website. Oooh.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 8:16 PM ~~ 7 bonsai trees

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I hit a deer once on Christmas eve while driving home from the Kobly house. I don't know if it lived or died, I couldn't find it when I got out to look. It was 3am or something, and bloody cold. I hit it on the rear flank, so maybe it didn't die.

I don't think about it a lot nowadays, but right afterwards I couldn't sleep real well for a week or so. I drove out to where I had hit the deer the a day or two later and looked, but couldn't see anything. I still wonder if I did kill it. I hope not, deer running through snow-covered fields is nothing less than beauty in motion.

30,000 dead Iraqis

That is the estimate that bush gave today when he was asked by a reporter how many Iraqi civilians had died since March of 2003 when the invasion started.

30,000 men, women, and children.

In July 2003, the total population of the Yukon territory was 31, 060.

The fact that 30,000 largely innocent people have died in Iraq is absolutely sickening. What is even worse is that the number could be and may be much higher, as an official body count is not kept by the US administration. Some estimates have it as high as 100,000.

I don't know how bush sleeps at night, I truly don't.

I may have killed a deer 4 years ago and I still feel guilty as hell about that. bush may have set into motion events that led to the deaths of 30,000 or more people and he shrugs it off and keeps on keeping on.

Fuck, what a goddamn world.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:31 PM ~~ 1 bonsai trees

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Apparently a ring turned up at Coloniale after the wedding. It is engraved, but we can't figure out who it belongs to. If you know of someone missing a ring, or can pass this on to someone else who was at the wedding it would really be appreciated. I'll find out what the engraving is and we can go from there. Call me or leave a comment if you have any information!

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 3:44 PM ~~ 2 bonsai trees

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Did anyone ever see that terrible movie Escape from LA?

Escape from NO?

Reality tv of the future, meet your perfect setting.

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I just finshed watching parts 2 & 3 of a History Channel miniseries called "Guns, Germs, and Steel", based on the book of the same name written by Jared Diamond. I have yet to read this book but will be doing so in the future, as I have only heard good things about it.

This series, what I saw of it anyway, gives you a really unique perspective on why the Western and Europeon countries dominated in their exploratory years and shaped our modern world. I suspect the book is even more in depth. It was fascinating.

This also looks like a good book. Robert Fisk (link at left) is a helluva reporter who puts his ass on the line to get the story. Not too many like him anymore.

More 'best of' 2005 books can be found here.

In Iraq War news, I found this more than a little disrespectful.

And so we begin another week. More below for you non-weekend readers....

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I added about 7 or 8 new blogs/time wasters under the "over the hills and far away" section of my link list, or blogroll if you will. I did it only because I know that you need something to do at work besides actually working. Jeff.

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