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11.18.02 11:55 p.m.

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

  -Miriam Beard  

Previously in Xenology: Kate and I broke up. Pine Bush was possessed of space mutant lemurs.

Before M Moved Out
Emily has already moved out of her apartment. Of this I am certain, as I stole her trampoline from her apartment and have been vaulting around my living room for the better part of the week.
Nonetheless, this entry takes us to a more innocent time. A time before M moved out!!!
While walking between classes a girl whom I am going to call Mandolin - because I am very tired and wish to do so - approached me. I had not seen her in nearly two years and had heard that she, among other things, had had a break-down, moved to Long Island, and acquired a boyfriend in England whom she never saw.
Mandolin. It is not a very good picture.
So, good for her.
She informed me that she rather liked the video game my girlfriend (in the course of our conversation, Emily never had a name to Mandolin) was playing. I looked quizzically at her and responded that Emily merely directs my movements in the game, though the implied message was something along the lines of, "I have known you again for thirty second and you are already scaring me?" Understanding my meaning, Mandolin let fly that Alison, Tirtzah, and she had all spend a half an hour at Emily's apartment. That Emily invited them was wholly out of the question. She would consider none of them friends, nor would she think them enemies. They are merely strangers. I raised my eyebrow and Mandolin explained that Emily landlady had let them in and let them explore unsupervised because Tirtzah was interested in renting an apartment. I do hope it is not standard procedure in the world of apartment renting to allow strangers to poke about your renter's things. Though the three are a trustworthy lot for these purposes, it is still deeply skeevy. I was more than a little put off when Mandolin said Tirtzah was concerned that, and I quote, "the bed would contain my sex energy and would need lots of banishing." Evidently, Alison admonished this with, "At least it is Xen's positive sex energy." I am not at all comfortable with this. I muttered my general warning about the landlady in hopes it would reach Tirtzah's ears somewhat intact.
I suppose I should explain a bit of Mandolin's back-story and how she applied to the Xeniverse. If nothing else, this will provide a distracting anecdote.
It started, I suppose, a few months after Kate left me. This is not to say that our relationship was unromantic, but rather overly fond with repressed sexualization on Kate's part and overt longing on mine. This is merely context for the tale, not a part of the tale itself.
I had met Mandolin through Alison who, ironically, was trying to fix me up with Tirtzah to relieve my longing for Kate. Tirtzah was not my type. Actually, I had thought Mandolin was the girl with whom I was to be fixed up. This is not to say she was my type either, but wasn't considering it too deeply. She seemed to hold some attraction for me and that was almost enough. She stole her first kiss from me, a move she rather tearfully regretted, moments before she practically beat me for wishing to call her by her given name rather than the alias she had constructed based upon a sketch of an imaginary fairy friend of hers she idolized. Perhaps you can see the sticking point we had. After this, she had one of her male friends hold my arms behind my back so she could kiss me again. When I sought her friendship, she had a pretentious, naked friend of hers try to lecture me about my moral and ethical obligations to her. Worse, I had to walk across campus in the dead of winter without my coat to find her for this little lecture as my coat contained the keys to my car and she contained the keys to her room, which contained by backpack. It was like one of those Russian dolls.
She was actually the catalyst that began my vomiting when kissed against my will. The moment is still clear in my mind. I had paid a visit to Kate in her dorm room. We were quite alone there, though not yet suffering the sort of relationship where this would be the prelude to something regrettable. I cried on her lap, alternating between missing her and despair over my situation with Mandolin. Kate's advice was to stop both courses of action promptly. This didn't seem like an option, so I cried longer and deeper into her lap, savoring the sweet intimacy it brought as she stroked my hair to console us both. After I left her because she needed to be alone, I stumbled out of the building. The night air was cold enough that it almost hurt to breath. I fell to my knees, emotionally weakened. I expelled the contents of my stomach into the grass, noting that this was rather a teen melodrama effect when coupled with the gracefully gliding flurries of snow landing around me. An anonymous student walked by and asked if I was all right. I stood up without looking at him and sighed, "It has been a very long night."
As a side note to this apartment topic, I must unfortunately relay that the job that required Emily to move closer to it has informed her that it can no longer treat her as a full time employee, though she was only a week before. Her hours have been reduced to fewer than I am working at the library and she is desperately trying to find a new job. All of the jobs she is being offered would be extremely convenient and lucrative were it that she still had an apartment in New Paltz. As it stands, she is currently reduced to substitute teaching children in New Jersey. How she can bear this burden I dare never know.

Doctorate in New Age Music
In my film class, I noticed with shock that a girl was reading Silent Invasion by own very own "Dr." Ellen Crystall. Despite the fact that she was a teaching major, I approached her and tried to, very slowly, ask her why she was reading this tome. She responded off-handedly and a little frightened that she is a resident of Pine Bush and a teacher suggested she see what was being said about her town. Of course, she continued, she had never seen or heard of anything strange in her idyllic little town. I laughed and abruptly deadpanned, "How much are they paying you to keep quiet about this?!" She became more frightened, so I laughed again as though I were making a joke.
Right. A "joke."

Soon in Xenology: Grad class. Eileen. Matrimony. Compare and contrast between female characters that are reentering my life. M's lack of job (again). Kate's return.

last watched: The Graduate
reading: Alien Dawn
listening: The Best of Simon & Garfunkel
wanting: the forums not to be such a pain in the ass randomly.
interesting thought: lack of sleep makes me hallucinate.
moment of zen: getting a 94 on a test I thought I failed.
someday I must: have a pet.

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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