Saturday, April 10, 2010

In an attempt to avoid working on the presentation I have to give next week I began work on a novel that will use words beginning with or containing the letter V as much as possible and gender neutral pronouns. Here is a little sample:

Nervous though hesh was at the vista of having heris heart rent from heris breast, hesh valorously received the invitation to polonaise. Vim and lasciviousness pervaded heris deepest reverie, and upon that inceptive kiss every vexation became but a mere vestige. Vituperative utterances slide vainly from the vile tongues of observers, for the two lovers perceived none. And so vertiginously they valse together throughout time. Arms commingled as a nostrum to the vuln they’ve endured by the cleavers of duplicitous inamorata.

Tom's contribution:

Vita vilely vituperative vilified hesh viscera vying vainly with Victoria’s voluminous voracities.‘Vaunt, viscous vagina!’, hesh vowed aloud. ‘Very vacuous!’ viperous Vicky responded with repartee in vaguely vampish vogue. ‘Vrai ventriloquism, ne’est pas?’ Hesh veins vibrating vociferously.

And a collaborative effort by Benita and myself:

Vernon was livid and not at all relieved upon receiving an unsavory vasectomy from the vixensih doctor Veronica. Veronica was Vietnamese and played the violin most vaingloriously.
Vroom, reverberated the violet Volkswagen van.
Veil view vampire vicariously villain vulgar vulture venture VODKA vary vegan vegetarian vegetable virtue
“You vulgar vulture!” yelled the virtuous veganish vegetarian Slovenian as she swigged the volume of vodka with

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Tragedy of the Cosmos

My rose colored-glasses have been shattered
And as they begin to fall piece by piece from my eyes,
A shard nicking an elbow here
Another slicing a thigh there,
Bits of her character are sharpening into focus.

Upon that unceremonious introduction
I all too quickly became besotted by the warm and familiar feelings of love.
I supposed her faultless and inerrant
As one tends to do when smitten.

Of course it is insensitive to presume someone flawless.
Insensitive indeed, to presume one pristine
only later to be grieved
In finding a discoloration about her.
Swindled one feels.
But has it been forgotten, the tint through which one was peering?

Dreadfully unfair the sting of love can be.
How inequitable it is that some have the antidote to love’s venoms,
While others are fated to feel its full potency
Coursing through diaphanous veins?

Alas, this is how it must be.
For how would one know when to breathe
If the world weren’t eternally pitching a glass of water in the face?

Yet, I would gladly bear this Anguish,
This Lament,
This Suffering,
This Consuming Fervor within me,
For her.

An entirely selfish notion it is
But it is one I afford myself nonetheless.
This small thing I am spared.
To keep the blood in my veins,
To keep the air in my lungs –
To keep my heart from eroding.

In spite of the lot,
Some sparkle,
Some twinkle,
Some coruscation of rarity I still see in her.

It is for this reason I willingly absorb her abuses.
I gladly subsume the indecencies
So that she may,
Even for the briefest of moments,
Be untouchable,
Righteous I dare say.

Granted, this may only be the appreciation of
The slightest woman of all and sundry.

However inconsequential this morsel is
I will carry on,
Following my naïve heart
Wherever it may lead me.
To the most delusional,
The most fanciful,
The most quixotic of places.

And when I am there
I will bask in the warmth of another’s grandeur,
However fleeting,
However envisaged,
However evanescent it may be.

And I will give her
Her moment of perfection.

As vain as it is,
This is the gift I have to offer.
This is the legacy I hope to pass on.
To feel wholly, each Elation,
Each Despondency,
Each Confusion,
Each Chagrin,
Each Loss
And each new beginning.

To feel all of these things,
Feel them, but not to dwell upon them.
And to remember the great loves of life
And how they were made immortal by your hand.


It is 3 days until my 21st birthday. Typically a time of great excitement and rejoice in a young persons life. However, I can't help but feel melancholy. It is not the thought of growing old that has me downcast per se. Rather it is the realization that I will enter the 21st year of my life alone. Certainly I have friends and I have family and where I would be without them only the fates know, but I haven't a collaborator, or even the memory of such a person to carry with me into this newer phase of my life.

What is more is that on the actual day of my birthday, I fear I may be alone. What a doleful way to celebrate a birthday. Lisa is to be in Ponorogo, Benita in KL, James in Adelaide. Hopefully there will still be Tom, and banana pudding.

Today the sky was mourning with me. As I sat at the table and saw the drops gain in number and in speed I felt compelled to go out. And out I went. I went right out to the back garden, with the rain tumbling down, those cold, wet, globules pelting my skin. Frivolously attempting to pierce the surface. For what purpose, I am not sure.

But there I stood in the rain. The thunder sounding violently all around me. I walked into the grotto and had a sit. As I sat I had a think. The rain permeated that little grotto. As I sat there contemplating the events of the previous days the rain continued to drip upon me. What is one to think of things and people and places and events? Is one to think anything at all? Feeling as if I should cry I stared out at the garden, but I couldn't see what lie directly in front of me. The sharp jut of stone that hung down in front of me would only allow me the sight of things in my peripheral vision. I couldn't help but feel this was metaphorical. As I am hopeless with words, I dare not work one out, but metaphorical it must have been. Though the rain was disruptive, no doubt, all was green and moist and alive. I longed for my eyes to pour as the sky at that very moment. Alas, all I could muster was one slight trickle from my left eye. The tears were there in my eyes, little pools of sadness and pain, but only one tear would let it self come into existence. It trickled down my cheek and rested for some time at my chin before being consumed by the rain, losing its identity, its purpose, its originality, its significance.

And that was it. That was all that could be done or felt at the time. I'm still waiting for the moment when I am hit by the inescapable wave of emotion that is sure to come. I only hope the rain will be there to wash away the evidence of my lament.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I've had the worst week! We had to hastily move to Malang to search for a house, so I shoved everything into bags (and it turns out I've acquired more junk so it didn't fit properly), then we naiked the night train from Yogya and it took two taxis and a team of porters to get all of our stuff on the train! The ride was pleasant enough, although they left the lights on and a repeat of some terrible Indonesian pop music so it was not that easy to sleep...

When we arrived at the train station in Malang Pak habib was there to take us wherever we wished to go. He offered us two rooms at his place, and as I'm a "broke-ass" at the moment we jumped at the offer. We got to his house and the rooms were one step above prison cells. They were small and cramped, no fans, and the mattress on my bed was too small so there were pillows shoved in the extra space at the top end of the bed. Everything was damp and smelled musty. We had a short rest and then walked up the street in search of houses and nourishment.

We stopped at the first decent looking warung at the top of the road. There we had some mie goreng and got to enjoy the company of an overly-helpful Indonesian man by the name of Akbar. He insisted on accompanying us to look for houses. So, after our meal we set off for the neighborhood just down the street. Upon first walking into the neighborhood I fell in love! There were fantastic old statues and fountains that brought up memories of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and extravagant old houses that seemed as if they had been empty for years. It was quiet and the streets were wide and clean-- a rarity in Indonesia.

There was only one kontrakan there and we put in an offer immediately, but as Tom and I are not married, we were not wanted as tenants. This was very discouraging, but on the way out I took a chance and asked a young man if there were any other kontrakan there. Later that afternoon he SMSed us about a 4bedroom furnished house in the same neighborhood. It was his house! We stopped by later that evening to have a look. It was big and beautiful and perfect, but the asking price was out of our range, so we had to decline.

About 2 weeks before we left for Malang I had emailed a lady about a furnished house here. We contacted her again and met to look at the house. The neighborhood isn't great but the house is better than I could have imagined and it is furnished, with an oven! We agreed on a price and are bidding our time until we move in on Wed.

In the mean time I have been in Malang, alone. Tom had to go back to Yogya to retrieve the last of his things from the house there. Lisa was still in Bali and only just arrived today and the other two girls were...???

I've gotten lost more times than I can count. I got kehujanan. I fell on the sidewalk in front of a car full of people. I had to ride with a guy in an anguaktan while he tried to look down my shirt and make a date with me even though I told him I had a boyfriend in Spain. It took me forever to order a peperoni pizza, all because of a stupid semantics problem. I was denied an ice cream cone, and instead forced to have my ice cream in a cup because "belum menjadi es, ya." I had to pay a minimum 20,000 for a taxi when there was no minimum sign, and I hate having to take taxis in the first place. I was not allowed to eat my ice cream in the super market, even though they sell the ice cream at the super market. Every time I go into a store I have to hand over all of my belongings only to have to stand in a mile long line to collect them when I want to leave. It was Valentine's Day and not only was I alone in the relationship sense, but I was ALL ALONE in a new city while everyone was lovey dovey and happy. The hotel I'm staying at is currently undergoing construction. I had to pay for a room with AC, and then the AC didn't even work properly. And on top of all of this I miss James. AND I have to go to an opening ceremony tomorrow which I know nothing about. Not the time, the location, the dress code, the agenda... nothing. I hear I may be forced to wear a jilbab though, something I am not pleased to hear. And I'm pretty sure Pak Habib's wife hates me...

Basically, I hope things get better over the next few weeks or I fear I may have a break down!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Return from Ko Tarutao

I just made it back into Krabi from Ko Tarutao, a national marine park in the south of Thailand. The island was great! It was beautiful and mostly quite, except for several large groups of school children. The sand was the finest powdery whiteness I have ever seen and the water was nice and cool. The sea would have been perfect if it weren't for the stingy microorganisms. Pesky things!

Tom and I went for a cycle and a walk through the forest to a small waterfall with an inviting pool at the bottom. I had to do a little convincing to myself, but I eventually abandoned all reason and jumped in. I was worth it! The water was cool and clear and despite what the brochure at the visitor's center said it was very refreshing (the brochure had said it was a "defreshing pool").
There were fish and Tom is afraid of water anyway, but he jumped in after I bribed him with two large beers.

We walked back, claimed our bikes and cycled on the Ao San. This was a long and gorgeous beach with no people on it. We walked along until we found a shady spot to nap. Tom stole my napping rock, so I was forced to try to sleep on a rock in the water that was covered with barnacles and other sea creatures. It didn't work out so well so I woke Tom up and we headed back.

The last night we were on Tarutao we camped out on the beach. The was very breezy and would have been great, but I was a little uncomfortable sleeping on the ground with my backpack as a pillow so I didn't get much sleep. We went snorkeling one of the days, but I didn't see much of anything. The water was too cloudy and I was a little creeped out. I was hoping to see a whale or some turtles :-(

I managed to read two books and picked up another about the history of the banana. I'm really looking forward to reading it!

We head to Phucket tomorrow to do some last minute shopping before heading back to Indo. Tonight I will feast on the delicious curry in Krabi!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 1 in Thailand

I flew into Phucket yesterday with Tom and Samira. We had nice meal and then headed straight for the bus station where we hitched a ride to Krabi. We woke up early this morning and went on an elephant trek. The elephants were great and I sat on the neck of one with my legs just behind her ears and road like that for a while. They were very gentle and used to the path. The path cut through a rubber plantation and then just through some jungle from there.

Once we finished the trek we headed for the Tiger temple. We carried some bags of sand up the steps to a cave and "the big tree." We climbed around the limestone caves a bit and then walked through the jungle. It was quiet and we saw a tortoise hiding in the leaves.

Once we had explored everything near the cave we began the steep journey up the mountain to a temple at the top. There were 1,237 steps! Some of them were nearly straight up. It took nearly 2 hours, as I am very much out of shape, but it was worth it. The view at the top was great! Plains on the one side and then great limestone cliffs on the other. The ceiling off the lower level was quite low and I was being careless and ran straight into one of the cross beams with me head! I was dumbfounded for a few beats and then the pain started to kick in. I was half laughing half crying and now I am sporting a nice bump just above my left eyebrow.

There is a giant statue of a crab here and I have decided to start a collection of photos of giant crustacean statues. Other than the most delicious penang curry I have ever tasted, there is nothing else to report for the moment.

We leave bright an early tomorrow, on our way to Ko Tarutao. Very exciting!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Shooting in Pumpkin Seed Valley

This is a story from a newspaper about my Great Grandpa Brown's grandma, my great, great, great grandma. She lived to be 103 and still had the bullet in her neck. It was near her juguler so they were not able to remove it.

Chimney Rock Transcript
Bayard Co., Nebraska
May 9, 1890

On Friday forenoon May 8th a terrible tragedy was enacted across the Platte in the Pumpkin Seed Valley, Banner County, some 16 miles directly south of this village. Charles Clark, a young man of 23, a somewhat noted character in the neighborhood and semi-desperado of the Cowboy Order, shot and wounded Miss Eunic McIntyre, a lady of 25 and then deliberately fired a bullet into his own brain. He died instandly. The cause of this insane act was in maddening passion-love. Clark desired to marry and Miss McIntyre repulsed his advances and utterly refused to become his wife. The beginning of the affair is said to have originated in Missouri when they were much younger. Coming to Nebraska a few years since a location was made on the Pumpkin Seed, where Clark followed the avocation of cowboy while holding down a claim. Miss McIntyre and her brother also occupied claims in the same neighborhood. Time passed on and Clark became infatuated and at different times had proposed marriage and had been rejected. He has written teh lady upon several occasions, and only a day or so before his terrible death and written her for a definite and final answere to his suite in wihch he threatened her life if again refused, also saying they would both die.

At about 11 o'clock a.m. on Friday, he visited the cabin where Miss McIntyre resided and upon her refusal to comply with his request, pulled a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver and fired. The first shot entered the front edge of the left armit and ranged upward following the left collarbone, stopping at the latter third, directly below where it could be distinctly felt. The second shot entered the anterior armpit of the upper half of the arm, ranging upward and outward, missing the bone altogether, making a clean exit.

Miss McIntyre, in atempting to escapre, ran out the south door, but Clark ran around, met her, coolly inqiring if she was seriously hurt. She fell to the ground, exclaiming "Charley, you have killed me," and feigning death, knowing he would shoot again if not deceived. Believing her to be dead, Clark seated himself on a box near her, twice placing the gun to his head in a hesitating manner. After moments of delay, however, he crossed the room, placed the revolver to his had and pulled the trigger, the ball entered the center of the right parietm bone ranging upward, backward and slightly upward. A Mr. Oliver, an old and feeble gentleman, witnessed the shoting and remonstrated with the assassin but his efforts were ineffectual.

The affair created intense excitement in the neighborhood and the wonder is that Clark failed in killing his victim, he being accounted the best shot in the Valley, often exhibiting his skill as a marksman and boosting his ability t shoot anyone on sight, but this instance he failed.

Miss McIntyre is represented as a lady of refinement and culture and is highly esteamed in the community. She passed through a terrible excitement and trial with true bra ery and fortitude.

Drs. Lonquest of Bayard, Lamb of Redington, and Sherer of Freeport were summoned and the lady was cared for, the ball extracted and she was made comforted and will recover.

Coroner Fletcher and the sheriff of Banner County took charge of Clark's body, holding an inquest resulting in a verdict of suicide. His remains were buried in the Pumpkin Seed Valley.