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08.21.01 3:35 p.m.

I'll keep it short and sweet. Family. Religion. Friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business.

 -Charles Montgomery Burns 

Lake Flaccid (cont.)
Okay, here is the deal (I was encouraged by M): My younger brother had been taking driving lessons for a few months. Finally his teacher decided that Bryan was ready to become a licensed driver and asked Bryan to pick a date. Bryan, in a fit of cluelessness, picked a day dead center in the middle of our vacation. A few days earlier or later and we would have been golden. But no, dead center, sinking the battleship of my relaxation. Erg.
The plan was, as far as I could tell, that one of my parents would drive Bryan home and the other one would stay with M and me for another day. M and I were happy about this plan. We'd get to ride horses (one of the events I most look forward to on vacation) and relax more. But, no. My mother, who somehow took upon herself the duty of driving Bryan home, decided that we should all go home with her. Because. There was honestly no true reason, except a vague sense that if she wasn't having fun, we wouldn't be having fun.
We got up bright and early the next morning and left. A vacation that felt far more like a small road trip.
Incidentally, Bryan failed the test.

Yes we have no Walrus today (Ren Faire)
It seems, quite unfortunately, that The Walrus will not be returning to the Ren Faire. At first the reason was given that The Walrus felt the Emily and I needed the money far more than she herself did, so she was bowing out for our benefit. Obviously, Emily and I couldn't allow this to be. We like our Walrus and obviously couldn't allow altruism on our behalf. More so when Rozalisa explained that The Walrus rather aspired to be just like her since a very young age. Very clearly, we needed to talk the lass out of it.
After some sad faces and talks, it more turned out that The Walrus wanted to be a normal girl for a little bit, playing lacrosse and what not, before becoming the future owner of a magick shop. This we could deal with, as The Walrus was evidently going to come in when she was not playing a sport. However, we have not seen her since, so I am not precisely sure what the deal is. I do so hope she returns, especially as Emily and I have to work separately and The Walrus's presence would allow us to have breaks. Plus, you know, we enjoy the lass's company.

The Importance of Being Invisible (Ren Faire)
Sunday, Emily and I were trapped in a deluge of ridiculous people who hated us. It seems something like seven people who hated one or both of us decided separately to come to the faire. We shielded ourselves as strongly as we could (I got woozy from the effort) and did our best to make it rain in hopes these people would leave. The latter effort never completely came to fruition.
Fortunately, either because they were ignoring us or because they honestly didn't see us, these people did not pester us, as tends to be their habit. Which certainly didn't bother us, we were glad to not have to deal with psychodrama. I think I could honestly say that, with the exception of a truly psychotic girl I dated briefly, everyone that ever wished me dead was in one square half mile. Huzzah for me!
What amused me intensely was that Emily saw one of the people who had hurt me in the past and stated that he was one of the most ridiculous creatures she had ever seen. To quote her, "His aura is just stupid." She also stated that he was a hybrid of Weird Al, Howard Stern, and Daffy Duck. The visual had me tittering the rest of the day.
By the way, I am fully aware that probably everyone of whom I speak reads the journal more religiously than my supporters do. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do.

The Girl With the Light-Blue Eyes
Last week, Emily and I went to China Buffet, as is our wont. Usually when we are there, we end up playing a game that is not totally a game wherein Emily tells me stories about strangers. I generally feel that she is actually seeing something in them, not just being creative. I know she feels the same, though might be less likely to admit it.
Upon being seated, I realized that my high school Film and Lit teacher was sitting near us. Instantly, the plan was set in my mind. I leaned over and asked Emily to tell me about this man seated behind me. She squinted her eyes in the fashion of one seeing through a dusty window and said approximately, "He works in a factory, I think. I know he is the supervisor of people below him. He doesn't feel appreciated by them or in his work. It is a small industrial place. He feels like no good movies are made anymore. I think his wife is dead." At first, when she was speaking of a factory, I thought less of her powers. But, with some interpretation, it actually is an accurate description of his job as an English teacher at Beacon High School. The comment about movies startled me thoroughly and I do believe his wife is no longer with us. So I do have faith in Emily's intuition.
Perhaps another example is needed. At least a few more stories that have occurred of late. At work, she and I have to walk through the row of psychics and fortunetellers to get to our boss and to get our wares for the day. One morning, while Emily was retrieving some mirrors for our booth, one of the psychics glared at her for a few second and screamed, "The fate of the world is in your hands!" and promptly ignored Emily when she asked for clarification. Emily has little luck with fortunetellers, as they normally refuse to give her readings. Much as she has tried, she has never actually received a tarot reading.
That same day, I had my tarot cards, which I was playing with. We got tired of trying to read the future, so I devised a game where she would guess which card of the Major Arcana I was looking at. Honestly, I expected that she wouldn't be able to. It wasn't my doubt of her, just my knowledge of statistics coupled with the complexity of the tarot cards in general. They are hardly Zener Cards. The girl did shockingly well. She had something like an 85% accuracy rate. 22 complex cards, full of symbolism and she knew which one I was looking at. Honestly, I find that amazing.
Rozalisa told Emily that she thinks M and I "work" well together, in a psychic/magickal sense. I am inclined to agree, especially as M says she can't do an eighth of the things we can do together. I don't know why this would be, but it might, in some way, account for our initial mutual attraction to each other in a room of hundreds. Or maybe I just thought she was really cute.
I do not feel I have enough knowledge to give any sort of definitive answers here. Frankly, this falls in the realm of doubt in my mind. Were I reading this, I would rather think the author was a bit spacey and I would be less inclined to believe what they say. I do not seek to convince anyone, nor attribute this to spirits or the like. This is just what is occurring in my life, I find it a fascinating phenomenon and seek to share it as this influences my world view. Never before have I encountered such an accurate psychic, though I doubt Emily sees herself as such, and I want to completely understand it. I did not do half so well at predicting about people or guessing cards as she, though she claims I have unusual talents that surpass hers. I shall have to inquire as to what these are, because I do not see them.

Conversations With Katie
Kate and I had a rather interesting conversation last night covering numerous topics that I am positive will play out in the future. As such, I will transcribe parts here and comment on them. This, of course, is heavily edited for length and content.

Xen (12:08:01 AM): How did [Tina and your talk about the apartment situation] go?
Kate (12:08:17 AM): Pretty good I guess.
Xen (12:08:42 AM): Do tell.
Kate (12:09:11 AM): I didn't lay down the law too much, because I am not completely opposed to Tina's opinions, but I explained to her that she is going to need to compromise some.
Kate (12:09:18 AM): But the real battle is still to come
Xen (12:10:22 AM): I gathered that Tina was going to lay down the law with you as well, so I frankly pictured a less pleasant scene.
Kate (12:10:34 AM): Apparently Tina stopped by the apartment earlier today and had a discussion with Jess, and I am assuming that Jess is upset about that conversation because when I got home just now there were like 5 notes stuck around my house saying "call Jess"
Xen (12:10:51 AM): Where are the grounds of the real battle?
Kate (12:10:52 AM): No there was no law laying, just frank discussion. Actually most of the time we just chatted.
Xen (12:11:47 AM): Kate, the cohabitation of JB and Tina already seems doomed. Will you grant me this may be so?
Kate (12:11:54 AM): Well sometime this week before Friday, all 6 of the people that are going to be living in this place are going to meet at the apartment and settle the whole matter. That's where the showdown will happen, and I think it will be between Jess and Tina
Kate (12:12:27 AM): I am hoping, and I expressed this hope to Tina who seconded it, that once this whole thing is settled we will settle down to mostly peaceful cohabitation.
Kate (12:13:25 AM): Tina has pretty much agreed to compromise, now I just have to get Jess to agree to the same, and see how much money Chris will chip into this whole mess
Kate (12:15:26 AM): I am already planning my speech that I am going to make before the meeting starts.... it will have something about the unfortunate situation of having to discuss money matters with people that don't know each other at all, and how money can tear the best of friendships apart and makes people crazy, and the speech will feature a plead that no one holds grudges this early on and on such a touchy subject. Hopefully it will do some good, although not much.
Xen (12:15:27 AM): This, superficially, seems to be working out well enough. I hope for all concerned that this appearance has deeper roots and it thusly going to work.
Kate (12:16:10 AM): Well, I am making it sound simpler now than it will be, because I am trying to encourage myself.
Xen (12:17:44 AM): I know you are and please don't let me stop you.
Kate (12:18:56 AM): There's going to be too many people living in this goddamn apartment. Have I mentioned that this is a small place? Very small? It is meant for 4 people, 5 tops. 6 people, 3 very stubborn and strong headed (JB, Tina, Chris), and one completely tactless person that is going to not hesitate in always backing up one of the stubborn people (Jeff). Julie and I are going to be hiding in our respective rooms with headphones on and the doors locked.
Kate (12:19:19 AM): But it will also be tons of fun sometimes. And I WILL have my very own room to retreat to, which is what it so very important to me.
Xen (12:20:31 AM): So we can trust you will not be shacking up with others, if only for the sake of your own crumbling sanity? ;-)
Kate (12:21:21 AM): Well there is a difference between having a visitor and having a roommate.
Xen (12:22:26 AM): obviously. In saying "shacking up" I meant a roommate.
Kate (12:22:51 AM): No roommate ever again.
Kate (12:24:58 AM): May I ask your opinion on one issue?
Xen (12:25:04 AM): do, please.
Kate (12:27:10 AM): Okay. All four of the people originally living in the apartment are supposed to put down a $800 deposit with the landlord, which they get back when they move out, if no damage is done to the place. Tina's parents put down 800, my parents put down 800, Jeff's parents put down 800. Jess herself put down 400, Julie's parents put down 400.
Kate (12:30:13 AM): If we tell the landlord that there are going to be 5 people living in the apartment, we have to put down 400 more in deposit. Jess wants to pretend we only have 4 people. Tina doesn't feel comfortable with this deception, especially since now we are actually having 6 people now. I am willing to go along with a lie, but also see Tina's point that 2 extra people might be hard to hide. How reasonable/unreasonable would it be to ask Chris/Chris' parents to put down the 400, or at least most of it, since he is going to be living in the apartment?
Xen (12:31:19 AM): I feel that is honestly very reasonable.
Kate (12:33:18 AM): Point Jess: If we tell him there are 5 people our monthly rent will be more and we will have to come up with another 400 from somewhere and we are all strapped for money.
Point Tina: If we tell him there are only 4 people and we get caught he almost definitely wouldn't kick us all out but he can use this as leverage to not hold up his end of the lease. Plus, her not knowing Chris at all, he could damage the place and walk away without taking care of what he did.

Kate (12:34:40 AM): I'm just not sure if Chris/his parents have that sort of money. I'm also not sure how reasonable Chris will be about it. He is a great kid, but he has quite a temper.
Xen (12:35:10 AM): Are you comfortable living with this company?
Kate (12:35:40 AM): With Chris you mean?
Kate (12:38:22 AM): Or with everyone?
Xen (12:39:45 AM): Yes, but with everyone as well, keeping in mind the interplay between them already. These little signals shouldn't be ignored, they could likely be a strong foreshadowing of what is to come. Which is a true shame as I know you had high aspirations for this when the planning began so many months ago.
Kate (12:42:40 AM): Chris I am comfortable with. He throws little shit fits that we don't take seriously, and then a few hours later or the next day he is fine, if a little sheepish. I know that there is going to be trouble between the different camps, and I regret this, but it is unavoidable in situations such as this. I just hope it doesn't end in Tina moving our or something. But if it does, it does. Once we are all in the apartment I am going to step out of most of these arguments, and let what happens happen.
Xen (12:43:49 AM): Will you really be able to? As I see it, the camps may seek you as a semi-official mediator
Kate (12:47:05 AM): I feel responsible to try to get things started on the right foot and act as a sort of mediator to introduce Tina to my friends, but if they're antagonistic after that I'm not going to get in the way. I am seeing this situation much like the boy's ["the boys," as referenced here, were friend of Kate's and her "girls" who ended up hating one another after a semester of living together] house, and I will be Jodi, the one who no one ever gets mad at.
Xen (12:49:38 AM): I appreciate your optimism with a wry smirk. :-)
Kate (12:50:25 AM): Oh come on, I have Jodi written all over me.
Kate (12:50:34 AM): (not literally of course)
Xen (12:51:29 AM): Comparing yourselves to the boys, especially this early, is inviting doom.
Kate (12:53:55 AM): Yes well, we are like the boys only better.
Kate (12:59:07 AM): Ya that is actually the one thing I am apprehensive about in the apartment. Having Tina and Stevehen and Jess and Jeff getting parental with me. That and the fact that I am more or less going to be living with 3 married couples
Xen (1:00:34 AM): Jess and Jeff are parental in your eyes?
Kate (1:00:59 AM): I guess not the one thing that I am apprehensive about, but the one thing I am really apprehensive about, once this initial meeting takes place
Kate (1:01:34 AM): Last semester Jeff got upset because I said a guy was hot.
Kate (1:02:27 AM): Jess gives me lectures on birth control and they both inspect every boy I talk to and give me their approval or disapproval of whether or not he'd be good to me.

Xen (1:04:27 AM): I am surprised boys play so largely a role in your life, frankly.
Kate (1:05:13 AM): They don't, that's just it. I talk to a boy and they act like I'm considering marriage.
Kate (1:05:27 AM): That's how they're parental.
Kate (1:06:47 AM): It drove me crazy all last semester. There's this whole couple mindset that they come from that makes me really angry.

Kate (1:20:25 AM): That's just it, I don't impose on him. I'm not the kind of person who gets too drunk to take care of myself and then my friends have to take care of me, or something like that. If I were, I would understand the concern. As for his and Tina's worry that they are going to be parental towards the rest of us, that is exactly what I am worried about. Stevehen and Tina seem to be getting increasingly conservative and are increasingly taking a parental sort of view towards things like drinking and dancing on chairs. And if things exist this way it is not one person forcing a position upon another person, but simply two different ways of life coexisting.
Kate (1:22:15 AM): It may be as hard for you to understand as for Stevehen to understand, but right now I believe in being a college student.
Xen (1:22:56 AM): I can see it as such. If they have a more conservative worldview as you state, they will likely fulfill your concern and be blind to your point of view. I am telling you this because I think you are open enough to consider their perspective. I tried to explain to Stevehen that you wouldn't corrupt someone else, but he was emotional.
Kate (1:23:20 AM): I have too much energy, too much rage and too much emotion to be anything but a little fucked up now and then
Xen (1:23:51 AM): Why in gods name are you bringing me into this? I know you are a college student. I am not and I don't wish to be on your path. But it is YOURS.
Xen (1:24:12 AM): Whatever reasons you have to tell yourself. You don't need to justify yourself to me.
Kate (1:25:49 AM): It's just that I know you feel similarly to Stevehen. I mean you are just as, in my view, conservative, only you don't push your opinion onto me, which i thank you for
Xen (1:28:18 AM): Do not tell me how I feel. My girlfriend in not living with you I cannot relate to Stevehen's point of view. But I can see it as I could judge a characters motivation. For all your purported open-mindedness, you are not impressing me in this conversation. You do not know how I feel just as I don't know how you feel. We have been apart for months and a lot has changed for both of us.
Kate (1:28:42 AM): I didn't mean to make this some big thing. I'm just very protective on my life being my own right now. That's what going to CA was. But I didn't make it there. Once again proving that my life is not my own and that I can never really believe in myself.
Kate (1:31:09 AM): You told me that you relate to what Stevehen said. And I know that you do not think that drinking is a good life choice to make. That is all I was assuming about how you feel. Sorry to offend you.
Xen (1:32:43 AM): I do appreciate that. Thank you. I thought that you just wanted to be on your own and I respected that, especially as it might provoke some new writing from you. I was startled when you and Ross did whatever you and Ross did, because I thought that would entangle you and restrict your movement. Unfortunately, I think you life may not be your own for the same reason that you state wanting it to be. You are a college student. You have binds you cannot break frankly because America doesn't seem to be organized for drifting (I mean that nicely, I promise) anymore. You would need money and even then, you wouldn't have the freedom you seek. I wish I had any answers to this.
Xen (1:35:05 AM): I could relate to it as I can relate to Lestat. I can see it, but I am not there and I can't really know what is going on in his head. I think that drinking can be a good life choice, depending on how it is done. Melissa was dealing to middle school girls, but she made it valid. I stayed her friend because she knew what she was doing even when she was hocking most of her room and ODing. Anything can be valid if done properly.

That is all for now. More soon.

last watched: Shadow of the Vampire
reading: Lasher, Anne Rice
listening: Romeo + Juliet
wanting: time
interesting thought: few surpass illusions
moment of zen: Loving.
someday I must: finish an entry in time.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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