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12.16.02 1:31 p.m.

I have a lot of fantasies about being tied up and spanked. I suppose it isn't very liberated, is it? What kind of fantasies do feminists have?

 -Bunny, Cannibal Women in the Avacado Jungle of Death  

Previously in Xenology: I had birthday parties that could fit in a phone booth. Zack sought solace from his break up with Veronica.

Come On, Party People
Here's the deal: I am feeling stultifyingly unmotivated, though I want to create a new entry. So, once again, I have had Emily make an entry to which I can respond. You dig?
M trying on clothes  
Walmarty fun
We spent much of the day lying in bed and ignoring the world outside my door. The Sci-Fi channel was playing Taken all day, we had cherry Kool-Aid, and macaroni and cheese. Really, there were few reasons to get out of bed prematurely.
The night before, we had stayed out late with the MeLiza conducting meetings in office chairs in Wal-Mart, consuming ungodly fried, frozen food, and playing Trivial Pursuit. I also chased Emily around Wal-Mart with an evil piņata and she accidentally did her sexy dance for a strange boy that she thought was me. It's a long story that doesn't get much funnier if stretched out. We honestly ended up going to sleep when Emily is used to waking up, which justifies how punchy she was being.

So we had a party for Xen, being that it was his birthday this seemed like the thing to do. Plus we're very into parties here. Originally all of his friends were invited though alas most of them could not come.
To be precise, the list of invitees included Conor, Flynn, Lauren, Kate, Eileen, Evan, Emily, Melissa, Zack, Liz, Anne, Jerame, and likely several others that are not currently floating around my head. Essentially, it was an open invite to anyone who would come in hopes that we would have a turn out that could not be counted on a sloth's toes.
We certainly are into the idea of parties, though. If there is a foreseeable occasion where a party might be slightly appropriate and we think we can convince people to come, there will be a party. As you can see, there won't always be guests. But there will be a party.
Incidentally, I don't feel that being twenty-two is much different than being twenty-one. I didn't expect it to, of course. My chronological age seems sort of arbitrary at this point. As long as no one can see me, I can pass for much older just based on my casual words. I don't see why it much matters.
This is owing to the fact that some had finals, some babysat, some were to far away and some were too flaky about the idea of RSVP to respond
Pretty much always the case. Luckily, my party was not snowed out, as it has been other years. Yet it does have the following disadvantages:
  • It is located in winter, thus snow and icy road can easily keep my guests from their appointed rounds. It also makes it much harder to hold a party, as it must take place indoors and there is little distance between my front and back doors.
  • It is located eleven days from that commercial festival, Christmas. As such, I frequently get combination gifts or my guests are too fearful of packed stores to get me anything. When I was younger and cared about gifts, this was more of a problem. Though Emily's combination gift of New Years Eve in Nathaniel Hawthorne's house in Salem is an immensely good gift for literati, such as myself. Plus, witches? Always a good thing.
  • It is always located during finals. Unless the guests need to take a break from studying invertebrate kinesiology, it is unlikely they can attend the festivities.
(xen perhaps you should leave that part out, i like having friends....)
Pah! They didn't RSVP ergo they are flaky. I have no problem with this statement. Flaky is hardly the worst thing one can be called. Everyone had been informed over a month in advance.
Still Melissa and Liz were there, and because Zack is a likable addition to the group dynamic we decided to take the party to him since otherwise he would not have been able to attend.
This is very true. Originally, the party was scheduled for Emily's parents' home but, after Emily's mother crashed Plabo, it was ruled for more logical to hold the party nearer to me and the majority of the guests. When there are only three other guests, it is easy to find the majority.
So off we went to J and C market which is a little like the village store in little house on the prairie without the evilness. It is cute and coffee shoppy and has good tea and organic meats. So there was music and cake (made by me; eaten by everyone but me) and a generally enjoyable time was had by all.
Despite having lived in this community all of my life, I was unaware of the exact location of Zack's deli. The city in which I live has this permanent stink of "ghetto" on it. Not a block from the location of Zack's store, a man was shot in an act of gang violence the day before I entered high school. I was mugged in the alley behind this store's location in tenth grade. The city is full of dangerous people, drug dealers and genuinely insane souls who have fallen through the cracks. It is not a nice place.
Except, evidently, it is. At least the section in which the J&C Market is located. It is phalanxed by upscale antique shoppes that require the additional letters and art galleries like impressionistic weeds. None of this existed when last I walked these streets. It was a conglomeration of shanty homes and condemned buildings. The only commerce that seemed to prosper was desperate citizen selling off their dirty belongings from card tables and a third hand store for people's forgotten and rightly unwanted possessions. When one looks toward the lone traffic light at the end of the block, one notes the Kennedy Fried Chicken (the ghettos unlicensed version of another KFC) and a bodega just as likely to sell one rolling papers (and items to go in the rolling papers) as groceries. The dividing point between the cultured areas is clear and is consistently being pushed farther toward the lower class section. The lower class, largely minorities in the majority, are pushed with it.
Zack's store  
Zack's store
Of course, I am a frightened white boy who doesn't like worrying about leaving my car in the main street across from the library. I like the idea that my city is, according to the propaganda pamphlets liberally strew among the Establishment establishments, a growing cultural center with cafes, art museums, and a night life that doesn't involve drive-by shootings. Do not think I am saying that I am right to feel this, merely that I am frightened and cling to that which is most civilized because it is further from fists to my temple in a brightly lit alley, yet seen by no one. I am frightened by the desperate and angry. My hands tighten to fists in the presence of the proudly ignorant. One who cannot be reasoned with becomes closer to the primal to me, and the truly primal is dangerous to me when I am unarmed.
It occurs to me that this could come off as racist, which I am not. Of course, few who purport to have an education will overtly admit to racism, so I will give my defense. I know that it is not a specific race that worries me. It is an extreme lower class that does. I am blatantly classist, though I acknowledge that not all in this class can be painted with the same brush. I don't dislike them. I just fear some of them as potentially dangerous and unpredictable, given that I work at a library in this community. It is important to know one's prejudices and understand the reasons so that one does not become a monster.
Aside from noting the gentrification of this section of Beacon, Emily and I ran into Pursia on the way to Zack's store. Pursia, as I am calling her, is to be a new co-worker of mine and auditioned for the play with Zack and Emily. She has skin the color of pictures of Arizona during the day and hair the color of those pictures at night. Next to her front teeth are points that give her a distinctly feline appearance and provoke me to ask as an aside, "Are we sure she isn't evil?" I am assured she is not though Pursia prefaced her first encounter with me by saying, "I know a lot more about you than you know about me." No name. No hello. Just that.
She was wearing a small knit cap when we encountered her and a long black coat buttoned to the neck. She was ebullient in the way that is just this side of extreme and asked if we would be attending a gathering of the cast at her house the following day. Emily made it clear that she had not been invited prior to this and knew nothing. Pursia made it seem as though this were an official function, so Emily was obliged to attend.
This is of course barring the fact that Melissa realised about an hour into the party that she hated one of the guys that worked there because he once told her off for no reason except that she was there. He in fact had never even met her at the time.
Ah, fun story. Liz very frequently baby-sits for a woman whose buff boyfriend is the brother to one of the current owners. Melissa had come over to assist Liz on this perilous task but had grown tired for the night and was driving home, leaving Liz to her duty. The gentleman in question ran into Melissa in the driveway and, clearly inebriated, asked her if she was leaving his poor baby nephew alone. Melissa explained what this man already knew, that Liz was there with the baby as she always is. Then, short of punching him, Melissa parted his company.
yummy cake  
Melissa enjoying the cake Emily made from scratch
Okay, maybe not such a fun story. However, it was rather amusing when I let it slip in conversation that this man was the lover of the other owner. Evidently, Liz and his family had not yet learned this fact. Perhaps they didn't know about the deli or had never visited their house. Or had never met him, because he certainly doesn't behave as though he is in the closet. If I was even a little sad, I think my family would know.
On a slightly unrelated note, an owner ordered Zack to get me as drunk as possible on good wine before I left. Everyone at the table agreed that I would be an excellent wine drinker, despite the fact that I do not much like alcohol. Still, a glass of red wine was before me and I felt obliged to drink it for politeness sake. Melissa insisted that I drink it "properly," which meant that I hold the glass like a brandy snifter and swirl the wine. I drank less than two inches of wine before I felt detached and bleary headed. Thus I tried to eat my meal and drink less in hopes I could sober up. I was cogent, just not totally there. I felt a trifle silly that my tolerance was so very low and eventually offered the rest of my wine to Melissa to swallow in one gulp.
Later on Cody the ex-girlfriend/friend/problem of zack's. (Xen will fill in on this since i wanna go to bed soon since i finished my finals today and am a kinda tired monkey head.)
I had mentioned this in a prior entry. Basically, Cody was there for Zack after Veronica broke up with him. They comforted one another. Lovely. However, she became much too clingy and, when Zack told her that he did not desire to settle down and have kids after a night of intimacy, told him that she never wanted to hear from him again. A few days later, she came into the deli and asked why he hadn't called and told him that he missed her.
yummy cake  
Hippy Art Day! Eek U old Xen
This brings us to my birthday. Several hours had passed when Emily went to the bathroom so I could get Zack alone and ask how M had done at auditions. To my great lack of surprise, he told me that she has an amazing singing voice and should definitely sing more. Then, noting a short woman with bottle blonde hair, he informed me that this was Cody. I excused myself to examine her in passing. She was, to my artist's eyes, unremarkable. Her features were attractive enough, but she seemed largely dull and common. I know I sound terribly rude and she was almost exactly how I had pictured her (save that she was taller by half a foot in my mind's eye), but she really struck me as the opposite of a girl Zack should be around. I think he agrees with this sentiment, though he considers her nice.
Prior to Cody's entrance, Zack had come over with his chrome-covered guitars and strummed tunes while speaking to us. It was one of those moments in television shows when you realize that the dynamic between the characters is perfect. It is a holy moment. I felt like I had discovered another part of my destiny, as I watched Liz ask Zack to play Green Day. I felt like a part of the artistic community. My English literature and film classes have done me a great disservice as it caused me to realize that all of the important figures in artistic revolutions had known one other for many years in advance. Thus, I am committed to the idea that I am going to be a part of the next group. I will not accept no. Being in this deli with Zack playing his guitar, Emily drinking detox tea, MeLiza teasing one another, and my counting syllables on my fingers to make the song Zack was singing into a haiku made me feel like this could happen.
Emily gave me 80s hair
After the party we went to angela's house in order to watch a dvd and hang out further. We ended up watching e.r. and explaining to those who are behind on the phenomenon what was going on and why.
Given that I have never seen this show, I caught on to the dynamic rather quickly, actually answering a question one of the regular e.r. watchers asked. This is honestly how I get through most of my classes. I listen to what other people are saying and give answers based upon the dynamics they are describing.
Angela had called Melissa's cell phone earlier in the night and we kept passing the phone off to different people representing departments in MeLizaCorp. When she finally got to Melissa, she complained and Melissa retorted, "Listen Miss, I cannot help how my calls get to me. Now state your business or I am going to hang up on you. I am a very busy woman." Oh, poor Angela.
Still, she had made me a birthday card by the time we arrived at her home, so she is a good sport.
Then the decision of what to watch was taken completely from our hands. On the television was the movie of choice ready and waiting for our perusal Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. This is quality television and was quite the piece of cinematic excellence. Needless to say I demanded that melissa sign online and order me a copy, I now own my first dvd and no dvd player. Sadness abounds.
Oh god, this is a quality cheesy movie. You need to see it. Despite the fact that it is supposed to be painfully stupid, they still include an allusion to Heart of Darkness.
Dr. Kurtz: All right, I was exploiting the Piranha women. You don't know what it was like. David Letterman, God, the horror... the horror of that show... the horror.

Ok the audition. I auditioned for Sweeney Todd at the Depot Theater. Callbacks are tomorrow much to my chagrin. This is only unfortunate because I have been well known to lose roles at this point in the process. I suck at singing harmony and as an alto i am given little other choice which is unfortunate since i do believe that given the opportunity for learning I could quickly figure out how to do so. Still I am ahead of myself.
It should be noted that Zack and I, both honest to a fault, think she sings wonderfully. And it should be duly noted that James Lipton of The Actor's Studio agrees with us. So did the people who employed her as a child to be Tommy in the eponymous show by The Who.
So i heard of this audition the day of the event itself which gave me exactly 3 hours to learn a song and have it prepared enough to sing that night. Bear in mind it has been numerous years since i auditioned for anything and have since developed both stage fright and healthy dislike for the majority of people my age in theatre.
The stage fright is a recent development, in my mind. She hit puberty and went from being the star of every show that could be to a terribly shy young lady who reacted to the beams of the stage as a vampire does to a cross. No amounts of genuine reassurance seemed to totally disabuse her of her fright. Though people her age (read as: Christina Ricci) do suck.
Still i drove to the audition figuring on meeting thomm at his house before so that i didn't have to experience this trauma without him.
Note that she calls this voluntary act "trauma"? This thing she intensely wants to do? We will have none of this! It's not as though they are going to shove her into a meat grinder and make pies from the product!
Zack would of course be there but alas zack is no where near my thommy and i require a thommy monster for this kind of activity of abject fear. On my way to his house I got a phone call from thomm telling me that his teacher was an ass and thus was being forced to watch a movie he had seen before he was allowed to take his final and leave.
Yes, this is true. I asked my teacher if I could take the final so that I could go to an audition. He said, and I quote, "Fuck you. You are going to watch this movie. Now sit down." I was flabbergasted. I didn't know that teachers had the capability to curse at a polite student. It seemed some great violation of a cosmic code. He also was sure not to hand out student evaluation and the administration laughs off students who complain about him, so I see no recourse at the moment.
This left me with no idea how to get to theatre and without my safety net. This clearly means that I had to find zack and muster up all my courage in order to do this.
That's my brave little toaster!
I found myself at the depot theatre about 7:00 pm and quickly met all of those involved in this project. The music director said that auditioning formed those types of relationships found in disaster situations. the kind that are very close very quick and have an air of total desperation to them. This sums up the whole evening very well actually.
Rather an astute observation. I have always behaved as though I might go to my death when I audition. My mindset is a wholly different one and I am willing to go a bit farther than I would in normal life. Once I had to seduce an underage girl as a means to audition for a part and I did it without question.
So the audition itself went well I believe and call backs are tomorrow. Beyond that I enjoyed myself and have mixed feelings on the whole idea of being in a play. More than that i cannot tell you this evening since i took my medication like an hour ago. i quit.
And we thanks you for the pains it took, dear M.

(This was written a few days ago, so it is not technically correct. You get it nonetheless.)
I have been on winter break for exactly two days. All my papers are handed in, I have only one more final next Thursday that is going to be immensely simple. I am done and can spend all my non-work time relaxing.
And I am so tired of it. It has taken only two days, but I feel completely anxious. There is absolutely nothing to do. I read a hundred pages and am actually frustrated that I have nothing else to do. This is not the stuff of stories. Epics are not written about being so bored and full of energy that you do a sink full of dishes at one in the morning because it seems like something to do.
My medium requires a lot of thought and tapping of keys. Granted, I have installed and configured new software for my robots so they learn and created a chatroom in the forums. But I want to make vases or sculptures. I need to really work with my hands or I am going to go absolutely stir crazy. I have worked out so much that my muscles almost refuse to work. But not enough.
It is so bad that I almost look forward to the transparently didactic Boy Meets World that comes of as late night programming on the Disney channel. This can be blamed on Emily; I didn't even know the show still aired let alone that Cory and Topanga got married at some point. However, she sees some kitsch and nostalgic value to it.
I would actually rather be in classes than be sitting home doing nothing. Though I would much rather be going on adventures when I am bored. However, my friends have entered that zone wherein they must be responsible and attend to their jobs when they want to be seeking out egg Gurus.
None of this is helped by the fact that I am reading On the Road right now and would like nothing more than to take a very pointless road trip just in order to see America.
Also, it likely is a bad time because I get SAD (as in seasonal affective disorder) when it snows. This leaves me feeling like I will cry if I stop moving for a second. My house is also full of that holiday spirit that manifests itself as lots of pointless yelling and random stress. I need a break from my house.

First Impressions
In one of my classes before school ended, the topic of first impressions came up. I threw in that everyone with whom I was voluntarily close I had liked intensely upon meeting. Thus, for the purpose or back story and needless character inflation, I will detail these impressions.
Emily has the benefit of being the only character to be introduced to this narrative after it started. Thus you could, in theory, just read this. However, in the course of fairness, I will rehash my first impressions. It may have been her hair that first caught my eye (a phrase that seems painful). She had amazing, long locks of gold. Woven by Rumplestilskin himself gold. I sat transfixed, grateful that Tina and I had needed to get new seats. Next I saw the sunlight glinting off her pentacle and realized that I had something about which to talk to her. I just felt immensely smitten immediately. Evidently this was mutual.
Zack I met in high school. Nick wanted me to hate him because his older brother had taken Nick's place in the school play when both he and I came down with separate illnesses during the same week and were unable to fill in for one another. Zack was a freshman, much more fresh faced but distinctly Zack. He had long hair in a little ponytail and I couldn't help identifying with and liking him. Of course, the fact that we hung out all the time in drama helped but I just felt this bond with him the moment I saw him.
Conor I had met through Alison. However, I had seen him before this in a terrible play at his high school. He played a mad scientist quite amusingly. I just wanted to know him. I didn't know how or why, I just knew I needed this. Months later, Alison and I had found one another again and started seeing one another. On one of our first dates together, we gathered all of her friends within a two-mile radius to hang out. We walked up to the door of Kendall's boyfriend and out stepped this blond elf. I was jubilant, as I had so wanted to know him and now I did. He and I hit it off incredibly well, as I'm certainly you know.
My first meeting with Kate occurred under odd circumstances. I had actually spoken on a superficial level with Kate for years. She sent me, along with several of our mutual friend, humorous news stories with her own sarcastic commentary. I didn't think much of it at the time, I just appreciated the e-mail. We had near contact several times. I actually was asked to call her house once to tell her parents where their daughter had run away. However, our first real encounter occurred at a music story in the mall. Some terrible band was playing, which was the pretense under which I was to meet up with Tina and her friend Kate. I had spent the day home sick with a bad cold, but I begged my parents to let me go. After loading me up with cold medication so I didn't drip on the store's carpets, they agreed. When I saw Kate, I was immediately taken. It should be noted that I was still dating Jen, or Kate would have been taken immediately. I didn't know until Tina stood next to her that this was the lass I was to meet, though I was relieved I wouldn't have to chat up a stranger. I was on a lot of cold medication, so I was acting slightly off and having a hard time concealing that I was attracted to Kate. Evidently, she thought I was going to kiss her at one point. I have no memory of this. Jen appeared soon after, unbidden, but my bond with Kate was created.
Sarah and my meeting has been well explained. She just had this light in her. She is covered, so I will move on.
Eileen, though I am not sure that I am close with her now, was one of the stranger attractions. When I met her, I was eighteen and with Katie. Very much in love with Katie. However, my new fifteen-year-old co-worker at the museum was terrible intriguing to me from the first moment my eyes dances over her face. I would look forward to working with her and, though she was often made to do dirty work at the museum, insist that I help her out. I rejoiced at taking lunch breaks with her. She had a depth of knowledge that I didn't know one so young could possess. I actually stayed working there for a few extra months because I didn't want to lose my contact with Eileen.
I'm not sure what I can say about Tina. My opinions of her were biased because I was in my serial monogamy phase and liked her. However, I feel it is unfair to really recount my first impressions of her because I cannot guarantee they are accurate.
When I met Stevehen, it was on a double date of sorts. He was with this girl who looked a bit like a gnome. As I think the journal attests, Stevehen is an irreverent guy and wont to crack jokes at a moment's notice. The gnome was a very serious girl, permanently in that phase where everything is of deadly importance. I didn't really understand what the attraction was. Katie and I instantly took to Stevehen and felt that he would blossom more once he was free of this unsuitable match. Lo and behold, this occurred six months later when Tina and Stevehen found one another.
Melissa, I have always known and always liked. Except when she stole a heroin addict away from me. Though in retrospect, I am not unhappy about this. However, it happened so long ago that I can't accurately explain how I felt when first I met her. Though it did occur in the same store where I met Katie.

Soon in Xenology: Getting along with Kate. Second Thanksgiving. The call back. Donnie Darko.

last watched: Donnie Darko
reading: The Truth
listening: Amnesiac
wanting: to act again.
interesting thought: I can be remembered.
moment of zen: seeing myself as part of a whole.
someday I must: see Kate.

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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