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11.03.01 1:30 p.m.

If one looks with a cold eye at the mess mankind had made of his history, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he has been afflicted by some built-in mental disorder which drives him towards self-destruction. Murder within a species on an individual or collective scale is a phenomenon unknown in the whole animal kingdom, except for man, and a few varieties of ants and rats.

 -Arthur Koestler  

This Entry Features: KIA!, irrational supervisors, alliteration, pumpkin massacres, chinchillas, witches, the king of cups wants a party but it's not his birthday, meatless steak, Hindu spaghetti, commiseration,

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting
Last weekend, Emily and I went to the Tae Kwon Do qualifiers for the World Cup. Were she to win, she would be given a trip to Germany, I believe.
She made me get up at 5:15 in the morning. Are we all quite clear on how little of a morning person I am? Clearly I have good night vision for a reason and that reason has nothing to do with seeing sunrises (we hope...). It is odd for me to wake up before the sun rises. It is like you are seeing it from the wrong angle, and it is more primal and dangerous. The glowing pink seems to engulf everything and quickly blind all those riding off in the direction of it. There is a beauty to it, but the same sort of beauty one notes in an asp moments before you feel two hypodermic pricks rend your skin.
On the way to Yale College, the site of the qualifiers, I mainly affected the guise of sleep. Or, you know, I slept. The judges are still out on this, save that I did not feel any more rested when we arrived as you shall see.
We arrived for weigh in at 8:30. They made me pay, or rather Emily pay in my poor boy stead, $10 for my entrance. Bastards. I am like a caddy, I should get free entrance! I situated myself in the front row of the bleachers with all the sundry Tae Kwon Do items from the car. I figured this would give me the best seated view of the action. Oh, how terribly wrong I can be.
Emily warmed up a bit and visited me on the bleachers. I was happily awaiting seeing her do her form and spar. She informed me that it might take a little while. I figured by noon she might. I could wait that long.
It turned out that all of the action took place about 70 yards from the bleachers, behind many standing people and benches. Oh, loverly. I liked my seat.
I will spare you many of the gruesome details. I slept. A lot. In various corners of this elaborate gym. Among a thousand spectators and participants. Some of who were fighting and screaming. I was very tired.
So, Emily did not get to doing her form until 4:30. Before that, we sat, slept, and ate a greasy pair of personal pizzas (yay, I alliterated!). It was insanely boring. I took to staring at the mats in an attempt to summon forth hallucinations to keep me company. Stupid non-hallucinatory mats! When she finally was allowed to do her form, she did very well, winning the bronze medal which she had me wear for the duration of the event.
I thought, after her forms, she would soon be given the chance to spar. Never let it be said that I cannot be naive. Emily did not get a chance to spar until nearly 9. By this point, she had become friends with the only girl she had to fight and had analyzed this lass and her moves in great detail. When finally she got in the ring, she was kicking ass for the first minute... until the lass threw a head kick and her leg got stuck on Emily's shoulder, shoving her knee into Emily's nose. The Letter M let out a shriek and doubled over on the floor. I rushed over, though didn't have much I could do. I just touched her hand and knee and tried to help the paramedics. She got disqualified from the fight, because she couldn't go on. Seems unfair, since she was in excruciating pain. The paramedics iced her nose and told her she should go to the hospital because it might be broken. M said she couldn't remember anything that happened between getting kicked and sitting with the medics, which seems a fair testament to the Lethal (as in, of the River Lethe) effects of trauma.
On the drive home, I advised that she sleep so she could escape the pain. I was sleeping, because I had not eaten since 12 and it was now 10. My body evidently becomes very sleepy when not provided with food. Good to know.
Emily stated that this was the worst run event she has ever participated in, a sentiment I greatly agree with (though this was my first).

So, What Happened To Her Nose?
Oh, glad you asked. Emily came to my house on Sunday to carve pumpkins with my family. We had some time beforehand, so we hung out with Melissa and her friend Matt. Originally we were going to go to Perkin's, but when we arrived, the two of them were lamenting the abundance of the geriatric in the diner, so we went to the Chinese buffet a few feet away. Melissa and Matt were under the influence of substances, which made them very fun company. Not much of note, it is just very fun to hang out with the otherwise aware. Melissa asked me later whether I was mad that they were experiencing altered consciousness. I told her it didn't bother me at all, that she is good company.
After the meal, Emily decided that her nose hurt enough that she needed to see a doctor. I called my parents and they suggested that we visit Medicus. It is the bastard love child of an ER and McDonald's. I'm not wholly certain the people who check you out are really doctors. If they are, they are not particularly good ones.
The Not-ctor checked M out and x-rayed her nose. He blathered on that her nose was going to fall off and they would have to replace it with a chinchilla... what? no. I mean, he said it was broken and bones were popping out. His advice? Take some antibiotics. Right. Because that heals broken noses on contact. He also gave her the number of a real doctor. So, basically, he served the same purpose of the Yellow Pages, except her wrote prescriptions. Handy combo.
So, we carved pumpkins, mine into Hell Baby! and Emily into a generically cool pumpkin. There was familial joy. She spent the night, because we saw a movie with scary images and a lame ending, so she had to recover from the idea that the ghost of Chris Kattan saves the vapid interracial couple.
The next day, we skipped classes so we could get her repaired. The doctor said that the Not-ctor was pretty much full of shit. No bones were poking out of Emily, though he did have to cauterize a blood vessel in her nose with acid. Eee! It should be noted that I was in the office for the whole procedure. Why? Because you, as my fans, would demand that I be there. No, really. This is the reason I gave. Emily was worried that the doctor would have to essentially break her nose and reset it, an operation her experienced the last time her nose became broken. There was relief at the lack of new breakage, though distress at the nasal acid and the fact that she was expressly forbidden to spar for six weeks. This mean that she will be able to spar two day before she tests for her blackbelt.

Despite the lack of a real job, I am having major issues with my boss at New Paltz. On Tuesday, she saw me and basically told me that I was lying in my e-mail where I told her that I could not be at work on Monday because I needed to take care of M. At this point, I did not know that when my boss saw Emily, she had taped up her nose under doctor's orders. When I left her, she was swollen, but looked okay. I explained that they cauterized her blood vessel, so my boss dismissed me and quickly yelled at me, stating that the paper is always gone after I leave my HOUR OF WORK on Fridays. Bear in mind, a person is there for two and a half hours before me and four and a half hours after me. Still, last Friday the cabinet was full of paper and I filled the printers up. I told her this and she said I was lying again and dismissed me.
When I went to work on Wednesday, she had sent me an e-mail, yelling at me again and accusing me of not going to work on Fridays. So I wrote her an e-mail informing her from now on that I would send her the exact number of reams in the cabinets of every lab I am in and taking digital photos of the cabinets what I would send her is she felt like accusing me again. Hopefully this will stave off her accusations because I do not see any reason to deal with this woman's actions.

All Hallow's Eve
Wednesday was, as I am sure you all know, Halloween. Of course, Emily and I could not let this pass without celebration.
I hauled a goodly amount of my Witchcraft books to school, including some very occult oriented antiques. I had a very intense sort of spell in mind, and knew that I would be unable to find it in any of my Llewlynn published books, as they tended toward the basic and innocuous. Which is not to say that the spell I was seeking was malevolent, quite the opposite. Merely stronger in cause and effect.
Eventually, Emily found me in the computer lab I was using and we did a little cyber research, turning up little info of value (TV will make you believe there are ancient grimoires of unspeakable power uploaded to the internet). We printed out a few things, nonetheless, in hopes we could paste together a halfway decent ritual.
After this, Emily and I decided to get the requisite ceremonial wine. Well, Emily did this. I was merely there for moral and fiscal support, as I am still underage. I tend to forget, often, that there are still things that I cannot legally do. It seems as though there should be no door I cannot enter with a degree of finesse. Anyway, we chose a blackberry wine, because clearly any being worth hailing wants me to have very yummy libations for it.
We also decided that lunch was in order and decided to endeavor a meal at the new Mexican place in New Paltz. As we had little cash money between us, we ordered one chicken burrito to split. The clerk got confused, thinking we wanted some other Mexican flavored culinary disaster. We corrected her. Twice. When our meal finally came, there was about fifteen dollars worth of free food, more than enough meal for Emily and me. We were very happy and gobbled the victuals down with relish. Figuratively speaking, of course.
Often it happens to Emily and I that people will get confused and give us free items, especially food. We think this has to do with who we are, though we are not terrible sure whom that might be. Many odd things happened to M and me that day. When she was entering Old Main Building, she said a wall appeared not to exist, like it was a hologram. This occurred later, when she was driving my car home and my side view mirror winked out of existence for her for a moment. I had been getting weird vibes, especially while in OMB, to the extent that I lost balance and "fell" out of my head a few times while sitting in there. When we were driving to my house from New Paltz, she and I both spotted (in separate cars, no less) a costumed lass. And we both had this overwhelming desire to bite her. Emily complained/remarked that she recently had an immense craving to bite into meat. Given that she is a very guilty ex-vegetarian who still only allows herself fish and some chicken to survive, this came as a bit of a wry shock. I teased her that she was becoming a vampire. She disagreed, but her UNDEAD, UNBEATING HEART just wasn't in it.
When we arrived at my house, we relaxed for about an hour before exploring my basement and creating random costumes. She ended up wearing a knitted jack-in-the-box on her head, a large clown tie, and neon pipe on her head. She decided that she was Kundalini, a Hindu concept (possibly a sartra) that involves the energy that goes from the base of one's spine to one's skull. Or as M remembers it for testing purposes, the pasta that twists up her back from her stomach. I had my black trench coat on and was wearing a feathered bird mask. We decided that I was Horus, the Egyptian hawk god. Hey, we are too old to go trick-or-treating anyway. Might as well make the most of it by intimating high-brow concepts in our costumes.
We ended up getting hordes of candy, given the relatively innocent and youthful visage Emily can affect when the situation calls for it. Only one person asked about our costumes and I forced Emily to try to explain hers. I just told the person I was a bird god, because I thought it was far more fun to see Emily squirm than try to explain Horus. The only other resistance to our sugar extortion plot came from a woman who had her house brightly lit and told us, when we came to her door, that her religion forbids Halloween. I smiled and shut the door, because I saw the woman was about to proselytize to the Heathens and I wanted no part of it. I think this woman likely enjoyed her ruse, as she could have put a sign on her door saying she does not participate. Or she could not have all of her outside lights on. Seems likely that she just wanted to preach to the unbelievers that her god hates us.
On the walk home, Emily said that she saw, in great detail, the vision of people being burned during the Black Death in the nocturnal waters of the creek by my house. I did not witness any such visions, though she looked to me for substantiation that the burning of whole villages did, indeed, occur owing to the plague. It seemed an odd vision to have, especially on Halloween, since it isn't exactly something one can do anything about and I choose to believe visions are not had without reason.
When we arrived home, we divvied up the candy in a very equitable way. I got all the peanut butter stuff (which I adore and which gives her allergic reactions) and she got all the chewy, licorice, and sour stuff (which I don't greatly enjoy and which she loves). From there, we made small trading piles and created a miniature economy, assigning denominations values to the candies based on caloric content. No, actually, we just divided and had a small contention pile. But we could have made an economy. The Bible tracts that someone put in our bags would have had no value, as they were not even especially amusing. Jesus would at least want me to have Chick tracts.
After contenting ourselves with candy, we readied for the Samhain ritual we were going to perform. We were unable, however, to find the printout with Emily's notes on it. After searching for fifteen minutes, we decided to just make a new one (though it was nowhere near as good as the original). The ritual went all right, though not stupendously. I ended up shattering the vial of rebirth oil when I was trying to slice an apple in half with a sword and missed. It is possible that this is deeply symbolic. I choose not to look at the symbolism. Emily tried to perform the spell I desired, but the energy just wasn't there. We are going to work on the spell and see if any similar spell can be found. Worse comes to worst, we can rally energy up pretty well and have a penchant for free verse poetry. Hey, maybe it'll be like Caedmon and we'll become divinely inspired to know religious poetry. Or, you know, not.
Over all, it was a wonderful night. Emily is great to work magick with, which I suppose makes sense because she makes my life so fantastic.

Whirled Peas
I ran the guided meditation/visualization at the PSU meeting on Thursday. Despite an overwhelming urge to speak to them on a level I would wish to be spoken to, I kept it fairly basic, just utilizing a rudimentary image to lessen their consciousness and then used the colors of the rainbow to encourage them to analyze their choice of pictures. When I first experienced this meditation when I was 15 or so, I had amazing results. The members of PSU? Less so. When I asked of orange, as I did of most colors, "What does it feel like? What does it smell like?" two shmedricks felt the need to say "Oranges!" as Emily reported to me. The fact that they couldn't even relax and be calm during a soothing meditation should speak volumes to you of what I have to deal with.
I have spoken to two Pagans that I have some respect for about their feeling of PSU. One is still a member (Reagan) and one is an ex-member (We'll call her Siam). Reagan actually more or less approached me. He is in one of my classes and sits in the general vicinity of where I often end up. He asked what I thought of the government of PSU. I initially though about telling him it was okay, or that I had no opinion. But I thought better of it nearly instantly. I confessed that I did not like that they were basically self-appointed and arrogant. For example, I was discussing the meditation with Emily beforehand and the treasurer felt the need to intrude into our whispered conversation and bemoan, "No side conversations!!!!!" So I shot him daggers, flipped him off, and said, "Can you hear this?" He wasn't saying it because we were disrupting the meeting, he merely said it because he is the sort that lets a modicum of power shoot straight to his head. I further told Reagan that I thought he should be in a larger role beyond the president's gofer, as he seemed reasonable and was certainly doing more for the club than she does. He told me that he had been, but the new president basically deposed him before the semester really began. Siam's lament was similar. She stated that she once liked the club immensely, but the energy was unpleasant now and she didn't wish to be a part of this sort of club (which I cannot fault her for). I told her of the president proclaiming that she really didn't know anything and possessed no books on any Pagan topic. Siam shook her head woefully at the ignorance.
I wish I could be something to attract more of the intelligent and informed Pagans on campus. But they understandably flee from this corrupt and largely useless institution. As such, the general public gets the idea that these creatures represent Pagans and thus do a great disservice. Erm.

Come On Party People
Last night I was supposed to go to a party at Kate's. As far as I could tell, this was a drunken punk sort of affair. I had full intention of wearing the dangerous pleather pants of overwhelming sexuality (or so Emily seems to believe). But, like many things these days, the plans did not go off as they should have.
I decided that, clearly needing back-up, I was going to bring the MeLiza. However, owing to my need to be familial and catch a free movie with my mom, I missed Melissa's call. When finally we got in contact and I had possession of the letter M, we headed over to Melissa's. However, we didn't get much further because Melissa's house provided us with food. It is so hard for college kids to refuse free food. As such, we never got to Kate's party.
However, at Melissa's, we ended up heckling porn. It was surprisingly amusing, especially when I went off on a tangent owing to the plot of one vignette, suggesting that I would create a porn wherein the actress had to perform two sex acts on the way there and two sex acts on the way back. I would call this masturbatory piece "The Cunterbury Tails." Emily looked like she was going to hit me, then concede to herself that I was pretty clever and said that she loved me. Aw.

Zack informed me last night that he and Veronica are again no longer a couple. Given the fact that not the night before he informed me of this fact, I had been telling Emily that I felt they were a destined couple, this was quite jarring.
I do understand the reasons that he gave, basically that the distance between them created a cooling of the feeling and he did not feel she loved him as much as he loved her. Still, I can't help but mourn the relationship a bit.
I think that, in the past several months (or perhaps just after the Kate debacle), I gave up believing in soul mates; in believing that two people were destined to be together. People can be imminently great together. But I feel too naive and unrealistic in thinking there is the pull of fate uniting two people.
I felt very right in my relationship with Katie and muse innocently about always being with her. Despite the fact that you were not around for Jen, I likely felt and mused the same. What conclusion can an educated being make? Well, I would venture that such a being will extrapolate that these two lasses, as much as I loved them and was in love with them at the time, were not my soul mates. It seems a very safe bet to make, does it not?
Now, I know the question that is on you mind, "Well, what about Emily? Do you think she is your soul mate, you poor confused bastard?" And the answer is no. Do not doubt for a moment that I love her, for I do. I have questioned that often enough myself, but I find a curious lack outside of her presence and cannot wait to see her again. My affections for her increase daily, especially when she is relaxed and not trying to be wonderful (for, of course, it is then that she truly is). She and I had a long talk Thursday concerning the future and the fact that I cannot say for certain that I will always be her romantic partner. There are very clear situation even now that would result in my dissolving our union. If I felt that I was holding her back from a path that would ultimately result in her happiness and fulfillment, I would step aside. If I knew that she loved another more than me, I, again, would leave her. But, to me, this is love. I quite honesty want her happiness over my own.
The other day, she apologized to me (though I felt it unneeded) and said that she is just grateful for every tomorrow that we spend together. After all, forever is nothing more than tomorrows in a queue, is it not?

Soon in Xenology: Sarah enters my world. Spells are performed. It snows.

last watched: A pepper spray ring on TV.
reading: Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, Tom Robbins
listening: Suzanne Vega
wanting: the library to call me.
interesting thought: relationships, like muscles, may rend and tear to grow stronger.
moment of zen: talking with M well into the night last night.
someday I must: act once more.

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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