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12.20.01 11:44 p.m.

The maker of a sentence launches out into the infinite and builds a road into Chaos and old Night, and is followed by those who hear him with something of wild, creative delight.

 - Ralph Waldo Emerson  

This Entry Features: so goddamn much it overwhelms me, aliens, red rings, government experiments, the word "terrorism" and "Bush" so I see those lovely hits from the government's Carnivore program, misused of public resources, lack of lights, long lines, a yard of phallus, no presents, Xen gets jumped over, lamentations I will laugh at next year, angel eggs, the search for angels, Heather, KC, morals

Length=15, Width=3.4
Gods, there is too damn much to write about. I had been putting off writing until I had the new computer installed and functional in my room. Today is the first day I can really say that.
We begin at an arbitrary point, because I personally think that it is both interesting and unusual. You do not tune in, if you will excuse the phrase, to read a mundane life. You read me, I would hope, because I am unique.
Here is the story. On the 16th, Melissa, Evan and I decided to explore Pine Bush. For those of you who do not know, Pine Bush was a UFO hot spot several years ago and is supposedly the setting for Whitley Streiber's books chronicling his abduction experiences. Melissa and Evan had taken numerous trips to Pine Bush to investigate, but never seriously (they didn't bring cameras or such). Still, they marked it unusual enough to return frequently.
We arrived around ten thirty. The entire town was essentially shut down, as they said it would be. Very few lights were to be seen in houses and it generally gave an ominous feeling. I, for one, think towns should almost always be somewhat active, being nocturnal and all.
After a little driving, we found the Jewish Cemetery. According to Evan, the Jewish Cemetery had been the spot where seekers used to wait to see UFOs. It was also said to be haunted and he stated that these two facts were probably not unrelated. There were hints at experiments with other dimensions, but nothing solid was stated. Melissa waited in the car, in case she needed to make a quick getaway should the cops arrive (she was going to tell them that she was lost or something to that extent).
Aside from being fenced in as far as I could see, the outside of the cemetery featured sporadic barbed wire that I got caught on once (not to worry, I extricated myself well). I asked Evan if he wanted to hop the fence with me to get better pictures. This idea did not appeal to him, as we had limited means and it was rather cold. We would another night. I got very dizzy and disoriented walking by the graveyard and said as much to him. It should be noted that I very rarely get dizzy and certainly didn't think a graveyard should provoke anything like that. We explored the perimeter until Melissa honked the horn accidentally and we took it to be the signal recalling us.
After this, we drove around more seeking evidence of... anything. They regaled me with a small sightseeing/story-telling session, informing me that a place we just passed was where they saw a very slow moving plane (not so unusual as planes from Stewart Airport can usually be seen) take a sharp ninety degree angle straight up. Or that they had attempted to come to Pine Bush once, but the police stopped them and said menacingly, "I think it would just be best if you turned your vehicle around now and headed home. There is nothing to see that way." We saw some odd buildings, like a large barn that was lit up from the inside and had tent-like walls (they equated it with the bee house in The X-Files movie). And all of the houses were very new and many of them were shuddered closed though obviously inhabited.
Melissa had to stop the car once because she, too, became dizzy and disoriented and didn't feel right driving. We serendipitously ended up on a street that is supposed to be important in the stories, though I didn't recall why at the time. We took many photos, though most of my digital ones did not come out well owing to the night. I did get a strange one when we were taking pictures of a plywood manger scene (Evan stated early in the adventure that we needed Jesus, thus...). One is the normal manger scene.
Above: strange red ring
As I am in the habit of taking multiple pictures because the originals do not always come out well, I took another. This one shows a glowing red ring on the upper left hand side of the screen. I did not see anything interfere with my taking a picture, and yet there definitely is an odd ring there. Evan took pictures of it as well, though his will have to be developed before we can see if it corresponds.
After I got home, I began researching Pine Bush online. Lo and behold, there was even more information that Evan had stated. All the places we had visited were practically holy sights for UFO researchers not five years ago. And I had been living not 45 minutes away from it all this time. As such, it is rather convenient that I am such a freak about the paranormal. Something like growing to the destiny your reality affords you.
I ordered movies and books about the Pine Bush UFO phenomenon through the library (this is what I am doing when I am supposed to be working). My co-worker spotted the book I pulled off the shelf about it and gave me an odd glance. It is possible I am not making the best impression upon them. But I have to be well-educated for the next time we go, with Emily in tow this time.
And there will be a next time.

Lines Behind Queues
As part of my birthday present and in attempt to get me a birthday present, Emily, Kelly, and I went to the city on Saturday of last week.
On the way down, we had the requisite conversation about how the skyline looked empty without the towers and how it was still such an enormous shock. I said something to the effect that there should be two black holes where the towers were. Emily quickly agreed, though I honestly have no idea what the skyline should look like. I more wanted there to be holes so I could tell what was missing.
We were going to look at the Christmas lights, which I naively imagined to be ubiquitous and overwhelming. I wanted the city to be blinking and undulating. It was really no better than anywhere else that I have seen. Except that it was overcrowded. Sacs actually had metal bars set up to keep people looking at their windows in line. And they were indeed in lines. Totally around the block. We had no intention in following suit. We walked by the windows and got the full effect. I started laughing when I realized that the music they had chosen to play was from "The Nightmare Before Christmas." A tasteful choice, to be certain.
We walked to FAO Schwarz, where Emily assured me my present was to be found. The line there was so bad that they honestly had a man with a bullhorn herding the crowd. And people were being herded. However, we had to play delivery boy with an item Emily's sister had left behind and didn't feel particularly bovine. So we hopped a cab far away from the cud chewing, with the reassurance that I would be getting a birthday present.
I have this thing with bad birthdays. I think a lot of people do. They just end up being disappointments. For example, the fondue in the shoe incident of a few years back, when I had to deal with Virginia hitting on Katie and me and puking. And the fact that when I had a little get-together last Sunday so my friends could have cake and whatnot, absolutely no one came. Not even Emily, because she had become too ill and tired. It was disheartening.
Anyway, back to the story. We eventually ended up in Greenwich Village. I had heard wonderful things about the Village. This is where artists were made and starved and wrote gripping plays about AIDS and painted mayors with elephant feces. This way a place to live. No, wrong. This is the home of the most sex shops per square inch. I had to shield Kelly's virginal eyes from three-foot tall dildos. This is not a nice place. I was lied to. Lied to, I tell you!!!
A present was never procured for me, though Emily got a new ball for her tongue ring that looks like a pink watermelon beach ball. I was promised a gift when Emily finds one.
On the way home, we, sans Kelly who had a bus to catch, talked about our early relationship. I think I gave voice to a lot of things I had been thinking and not saying. Like that I felt rushed into the physical side of being in a relationship before I was fully ready. She assented that I was right, though took mild offense at my assertion that she acted as though my will had little to do with the eventual outcome. Later, we expanded upon this conversation and she poured a lot of her soul out for me. As much is private and has little to do with me, let alone you vultures, I will only share what is directly pertinent. She basically told me that, in the beginning of our relationship, she forced the physical side because she was forced into the physical side in a prior, incredibly abusive relationship. In essence, I suppose, she sublimated these issues onto me. If she could do this to me, it wasn't so bad that it was done to her, likesay? She said she would apologize, though. I think she actually meant that she would apologize, but there were no words to express it. At least, I hope this is what she meant. Overall, it was one of those superb late night conversations that I thrive on when absence cannot occur to make the heart fonder.

Give Good Kia!
Friday, my technical birthday, was Emily's black belt test. I had spent the night at her house on Thursday for the express reason that she worried about sleeping. It is possible that little was accomplished by my having been there, but I didn't much mind having the pleasant company. Emily, understandably, went from being totally calm to nearly in tears all day. I mostly just reassured her when appropriate. I knew she'd kick ass at the test, figuratively speaking. She is the daughter her master never had.
Above: I am furthest to the left, fearing for my life
Positively no reason to fear.
The test itself took forever, though that may be because I was hungry and fully aware that there was a six foot sub sandwich awaiting consumption at M's house. Because she was testing for her black belt, they had her go nearly last. To my surprise, they requested that Emily do her flying sidekick (a kick over three people that breaks a rather large board on the other side) over me. I assented to the use of my body and assumed crash positions. While I have total faith in her abilities, I tend to have slight issues with any appendage that can break through wood being fired in my direction, even if it is my lover's foot. Especially then. Of course, she executed it flawlessly.
After a cute essay, her master presented M with her black belt. There was much crying. I mostly smiled and gurgled (hungry, you see).
Before leaving the gym, they had Emily cut a celebratory cake with a blunt sword. Oh, the festivities. At the actual party, Emily's therapist presented her with two $85, front row orchestra seats to Urinetown, evidently an edgy new Broadway play. I was amazed at the generosity.

I am 21. I can buy alcohol and rent a carpet shampooer... You'll note the lack of appeal. Most alcohol is far more reminiscent of doctor's offices and furniture polish than it is of a beverage (or, judging by my peers, lifestyle). And my monastic cell of a room (you know, one of those plush monasteries. With the computers and hordes of books. And swords) barely shows enough carpeting to even be worth a vacuuming.
I am the oldest I have ever been. What chronological milestone do I now have to look forward to? I suppose thirty? Thirty... You know, I was a teenager not too long ago. It is a good gig, though no one realizes that at the time. It is entirely possible that "college student" is equally, though differently, a good gig. It is too close to judge yet.
Twenty was such a nice round number. I was currency. I won't be currency again until I am fifty. Erm. I think a lot of my youth passed me by. I had far fewer youthful indiscretions than I think I should have had.

Wednesday, my final day of tests, I was spending time with Emily because I had a four-hour break. As such, we did some window-shopping in New Paltz. I had no intention of desiring anything, as I am rather in minor debt right now. (Incidentally, despite working at a job that pays be more money per hour than I have ever gotten before, I am much poorer. Erm). Of course, as I didn't want to want anything, I found something amazing. There were these two pendants. They were silver and roughly egg shaped. Inside was a picture of an angel carved into amber. I was amazed and instantly covetous of these items. I wanted one, immediately.
I fluttered over the store owner and told him I would like to look at them. The man informed me that they were old and Russian. They were intricately carved. Emily equated them with the rosary bead we had seen in The Cloisters. I needed to possess one, even if they did cost $85. Finally, I decided to call my mother and ask that one of these be made a Christmas gift for me. The man, unfortunately, would not accept credit cards, so I am still for want of one.
After this, we briefly visited Kate. She had informed me she had a birthday gift for me and I wished to collect. It turned out to be, shock of shocks, a Marcel Proust novel. Inside (after I opened it) she wrote that she hoped I loved this novel that touched her so. Or I could hate it.
We hung around for a little bit, joking and generally having a good time. We teased her about her Russophilia, as her head popped up when I mentioned the pendants were from Russia. The fun, however, ended for me when she informed me that she would be having her high school senior "friend" from Minnesota over for a week around new years. All alone. In her apartment. Essentially, this appeared to be a long distance booty call for a wee lad. Okay, granted, Eileen is a high school senior. But she is different and not the case. So I will thank you not to look at me like that. You know what a hypocrite looks like.
Anyway, I did not talk this news happily, though I think I was calm about it. I want Kate to behave in a more savory manner than soliciting sex from minors across state lines. I want her to have more depth than that. I want her to behave... well... more like Katie.
I think that this was not helped by my discovery of an e-card she sent me last year for my birthday. Bear in mind, she and I were not dating at this point and hadn't even had out kissy-cuddly-molesty stage. Yet, I got a card which read:

Happy Birthday from all of us!! ..all 5 of me. We all wish you a happy birthday from the bottom, top, and middle of our hearts. Aw hell, our whole heart. I guess your birthday already pretty much happened, but I hope it was at least a little bit happy. I hope you have a happy 20th year. You will be receiving a birthday present (and Christmas) from me after I return from London. I love you.
I mean, yeah, the "I love you," truthful though it was, hurt like hell then and stings now. But the message on the whole speaks of a different person... no, it doesn't. It is the same person; she just doesn't say that she loves me now. This was a bad example, I think. And it is late.
I'm pretty much upset because Kate having this booty call makes me actually have to think that she can be a sexual being without me. And that... it's a lot harder for me to conceive of being one. A lot of you didn't really know me when I was with her, but I had zero sex issues. Sex was the intensely pure, almost magical act.
Kate having her "friend" over for a week, during New Years, no less, bring her sexuality onto my turf (what do you mean her apartment isn't my turf?! Anywhere close to where I live, work, or go to school is my turf according to the Geneva Chocolate Convention). It's a lot easier to think that the ex-girlfriend who led you on and who you romantically loved for three years (never mind that we only dated two year and three months) isn't a sexual being outside of you. Yeah, I acknowledge that she was bed hopping between roommates and likely more when she was away over the summer. I have seen the picture of her nude bathing in the hot spring with Virginia and him. But that was very far away, you see.
These are fucked up things to say. This, too, I acknowledge. It I could steal back from her what was taken from me during that interim when we were not together and I couldn't be with anyone else, this would be a different song. It isn't as though I want to be with her. And it isn't as though I don't want her to be happy, which actually came as a surprise to me.
Wow, this topic got perverted. I started talking about angels I want and now I'm... ... I rescind my initial statement, this is wholly on-topic. Last night, Emily and I had another one of those wonderful late night conversations when words seem to disappear. Somehow, and I can't explain how because mental connections are loose at times like these, we got on the topic of people I would honestly want to be with. I think this had to do with the fact that I look at people and try to be attracted to them to see if they are attractive. It's an experiment and mental exercise. Anyway, I found that I can decide someone is attractive but there are so precious few people I can actually conceive of wanting to lay lips upon. Five people that, were the circumstances differently aligned, might play a different role in my life. Not that I currently want to be with them or will in the future. Merely that they have shown themselves to be the rare manner of human that embed themselves in my chest. I enumerated five in the thousands of people I see daily.
  • Emily, of course, as I do lay lips upon her and she is my strange bedfellow. She appeals to me sense of the supernatural. To my humor. To my intelligence. To my sense of adventure. I can't imagine anyone else who I would happily and confidently hunt aliens and ghosts with and also kiss.
  • Eileen, who I think I will love for a very long time, hopefully forever. She appeals to my love of art. To my sense of innocence and beauty. To the part of me that weeps watching American Beauty. I am very happy, and a little jealous, that she is having the sort of relationship with Jared where they watch French films and walk in a flurry upon exiting the theater.
  • Sarah, who has held my adoration longer than anyone else in my life. I have watched, from a distance, her become nothing short of a goddess. She is my siren. She appeals to my sense of fierce beauty. To the part of me that runs my tongue over my canines during reading Anne Rice. She breathes magic. I, too, want her to be happy, though I currently disapprove of her "wanting of the sex" attitude. A bit out of jealousy, because I thought she has an immensely provocative edge as this completely sexual virgin, and a bit out of concern that this won't make her happy.
  • Kate. Yes, I know. Put the stake down and let me explain, as I did to Emily. Somewhere, deep inside Kate, is Katie. Wednesday, during the pleasant, gently teasing moments together, everyone saw Katie. And Emily couldn't blame me for having so loved that girl, once. In transferring files over to this computer, I found cards Katie had written. A file of her kissing the screen. Pictures of us together. Today my brother finally developed the roll of film from one of our proms together. And I knew love for her. Some part of me can't stop loving this girl that was and I have a hard time saying that is wrong if it provokes this sort of passionate response. Eileen asked me today who my greatest muse was, and I told her it was Kate, though that wasn't always a good thing. So, yes, I admit that I can still find Kate appealing (note that doesn't say Katie. Intentional.)
  • Heather. Yeah, I know you haven't a clue who this is. She has been gone for quite a while, though she gave me sagacious advice about the Kate situation last December. I, of course, ignored her. She was one of the most amazing girls I had ever met, which I knew for the first moment I set eyes on her, dressed as a maid at the Haunted Mansion during the only summer season they ever had. An actress. Passionate but so gentle. Sweet in a way I don't think I have ever encountered. I am sorry to say I haven't heard from her since she gave me the good advice.
  • KC. Another unknown for you. So sad, too bad. She was witty. Confidently attractive in a form some would think awkward. So honest. Wonderful sense of humor. I had seen her in several plays at a local high school when I was that age. She always played these great female characters, like Fred from "Once Upon a Mattress." I met her in person when I was going out with Katie. I was on break from the museum and found her browsing through the CD rack at a store. I passed two or three times, trying to steel myself to talk to her. When I actually did, I was shocked to find she was as big a fan of mine as I was of her. We became great friends and talked on the phone occasionally. Katie was quite irritated and became jealous (one of the only times she was jealous). I have not seen KC in years either, through I try to give her a call every Christmas break without success.
So there we have it. What do they all have in common? Artistry. Not a one among them isn't an artist of some sort. Actresses, writers, singers, poets, a filmmaker. Great success at one's gift(s) is highly appealing for me. Beyond that, the similarities are few and/or inconsequential. They are all female, obviously. They are all Caucasian as far as I know (wouldn't matter if they weren't and it never before occurred to me that they all were). No, wait... I think Sarah is partially Native American. And I used to think Kate was Asian, before I met her. Scratch that one. They are not all the same age range (well, they are between 17 and 23, but those are very different ages), eye color, hair color, and body type. Can't possibly be physical. They all display above average intelligence, in my opinion. So, for future record, I like passionate, artistic, intelligent girls.
And you know what? Even that is inadequate. I used to have a list. I'm sure it's in a prior entry. This list explained everything I supposedly wanted in a girlfriend, in order to prevent me from having to actually date because my standards are so high. Didn't work, of course. I fell quite arse over teakettle (it's very late, this makes me giggle) for Miss Eileen. Anyway, a person could possess every quality stated there and I still wouldn't want them. Or they could have very few and I could think them wonderful. I have been pondering this too long. Tomorrow, I will write more coherently. If I missed something you want me to write about, you know the address.
Moral of this story, I want the angel egg!!!!!

Soon in Xenology: I see the inside of Sarah's apartment and hope that she is the girl I grew to love. I love too much and get terrible hurt. I get presents. An orange wrapped in aluminum foil is dropped.

last watched: The Daily Show Christmas Special
reading: Night Siege Dr. J. Allen Hynek
listening: J. Todd Adams read Fight Club to me
wanting: The angel egg
interesting thought: heart strings can become near impervious if exercised properly.
moment of zen: seeing the angel eggs
someday I must: order alcohol at a restaurant.

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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