Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

It sure doesn’t feel like Halloween in this part of the country. We have blue skies and are slated for a high of 76 degrees today.

I watched the latest episode of Rome on HBO last night. They’ve added lesbianism to the mix lately, and last night they added incest. I wonder if there is some historical reason they chose to do that, or was it just for shock value and to push the envelope? I do enjoy the show a lot. My favorite characters are Lucius Vorenus and Gaius Octavian for the guys and Niobe and Titus Pullo’s slave for the ladies.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

South Dakota Review

Yesterday I received my galley proofs for “The Necessity of Color.” I am pleased that my poem will take up eight pages of space in SDR because that way each of the six sections get to start on their own page. The poem works better that way and is more attractive looking.

I am amused by how anal I am. Today I emailed SDR my changes/corrections to the galley proofs. I quibbled gently over the line break of the epigraph, whether I needed a hyphen in the fifth section, and the spacing between a Roman numeral and a word in the heading of the sixth section.

The Fall 2005 issue of SDR, 43.3 should come out by late November or early December according to the letter accompanying the galley proofs. I didn’t think that I would see the issue until early next year.

I made some more progress on my sestina this morning. Much of what I wrote today felt like just filling out the requirements of the form with the six repeating words. However, I think I’m getting the narrative arc of the poem working this way. After I finish the remaining two stanzas, I’ll have plenty of time to revise energy and interest back into the poem.

By the way, for the benefit of my precious few blog readers (bless you), “The Necessity of Color” is a free verse poem. I’ve only been experimenting with stricter forms again recently. (Just in case by the remotest chance you were wondering and give a damn, I thought you should know.)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Odds and Ends I Find Interesting

Don’t worry about the world coming to an end. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.

--From a fortune cookie 9/25/05

If there is no God,
Not everything is permitted to man.
He is still his brother’s keeper
And is not permitted to sadden his brother
By telling him there is no God.

-- Czeslaw Milosz

Base Details

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You’d see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. “Poor young chap,”
I’d say—“I used to know his father well;
Yes, we’ve lost heavily in this last scrap.”
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I’d toddle safely home and die—in bed.

--Siegfried Sassoon

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sylvia Plath & Dylan Thomas

On this day Sylvia Plath was born in Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts. Today is also Dylan Thomas’s Birthday.


My wife has a subscription to Netflix. She signed up for the basic one movie at a time plan. We were getting the movies slowly at first, but now they seem to be showing up very quickly after we return one in the mail. I recommend Netflix. It’s nice coming home to a movie and having the option to watch it when it suits you rather than having to go to the video store and pick one out and return it by a certain date.

Anyway, my wife’s selection that we received last night was the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror. I agreed to watch this movie while I ate my dinner, not expecting much. We watched about 40 minutes of it last night before stopping it and doing other things. I was pleasantly surprised. The acting is pretty good, and it actually is scary—at least visually scary. I felt that tingling in my spine while watching the movie and felt a little unsettled after we turned it off. I’m a pretty jaded movie watcher, and my wife and I both agree that it is very difficult these days to make a movie that is actually scary at some level and not comically ridiculous (e.g., the Friday the 13th movies or the Halloween movies). I hold up as paradigms of the genre The Exorcist, The Shining, The Blair Witch Project, and The Ring.

I did find it implausible that a young family would move into a house where the violent murdering of children took place. The children even sleep in the same rooms where the children were murdered in their sleep. The movie tries to offset that by emphasizing what a magnificent looking house it is. A real bargin for the price. That is supposed to overcome the couple’s hesitations about buying the house.

I feel frustrated and intrigued that the movie last night actually got to me a little. I thought that with my rational, secular, and fairly non-superstitious mind that I am above those tingles and tightenings of fear and nervousness. Apparently not. These feelings and responses seem to bypass the neocortex and originate deeper in the brain, probably in the reptilian brain.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

John Berryman

October 25th was John Berryman’s Birthday. I found the entry below on my Poetry Speaks page-a-day calendar interesting.

Elizabeth Spires on John Berryman:

“I am interested in people in crisis,” John Berryman once said. “When I finish one I enter on another.” And crisis is continually reflected in his poems, not only in their subjects and attitudes, but in the nervous energy of his oftentimes broken, disrupted syntax.

Named after his father John Allyn Smith, he subsequently took the last name of his stepfather, John Angus McAlpin Berryman, in the wake of his father’s suicide. Thereafter, he became the American Everyman in extremis, struggling to come to terms, as the distress boy in “The Ball Poem” must, with “The epistemology of loss, how to stand up / Knowing what every man must one day know / And must know many days, how to stand up…”

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Great News!

I received an e-mail from South Dakota Review that they want to publish my poem “The Necessity of Color” in their upcoming Fall 2005 (43.3) issue. I feel especially honored because this is a long poem in six sections, so it will take up four to eight pages of space depending on how they format it. I should be receiving the galley proof to review in a few days.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Not Reading as Much

I’m not the voracious reader that I used to be. As an undergraduate, graduate student, and for about five years after graduate school I constantly had my nose in several books at once. I hungered for knowledge and hunted after wisdom. Within the past two to three years I’ve noticed a precipitous drop in the amount of reading I do. I suppose I can attribute this in part to a demanding full time job and the responsibilities of being married. Somehow my gut tells me that’s not the entire story.

I feel guilty that I don’t read more poetry and poetic theory. I probably read about four volumes of poetry a year now and about 50 poems out of literary magazines. I read articles in the AWP Writer’s Chronicle and Poets & Writers pretty regularly. I might buy a collection of essays or check one out from the University of Virginia Alderman Library about every other year. I sometimes ready theory essays in literary magazines. I read The New Yorker fairly regularly (almost always hate the poems published there but generally love the short stories and the From the Critics essays). In many ways I feel that I am getting by on all my past reading rather than my recent reading.

When I get off from work and I have any energy left for poetry, I usually choose to write my own poetry. Nothing wrong with that. After working all day I usually want to just relax and play video games, watch some TV, or read my “beach reading” science fiction novels. Basically, I just want to relax and escape. I also try to work into my week exercising at the gym two to three times a week, but I wouldn’t call that relaxing or escaping. That’s necessary preventative maintenance.

When I do read poetry, I don’t have a lot of tolerance or much of an attention span for poetry that doesn’t grab me by the throat. I know this means that I read a lot of poetry that is in an aesthetic that I am comfortable with, so I am not expanding my horizons much. However, I just feel that I have precious little free time in my life, and I want to spend as much of my free time as possible experiencing things that I enjoy.


I’ve noticed lately how many women love HBO’s Sex and the City. I heard a University of Virginia undergraduate student with the Sex and the City theme song for her cell phone ring. A woman at work has a Sex and the City screen saver. My wife likes to watch the reruns. I like the show pretty well, but I am amazed by how many women seem to miss the show—even mourn its loss like a friend has moved away. It seems that the show portrays for many women the ideals of contemporary women in America, and it showcases the virtues of friendship.
I saw in the latest issue of Poets & Writers the cover of Fence with the very attractive woman using her arms to cover her naked chest. I think Deborah Ager’s blog commented on this cover a couple of weeks ago. I think that I side with her in that reputable literary magazines should not resort to this tactic. We turn to higher brow culture in part to escape the “sex sells” media culture that is so prevalent in our society.

Friday, October 21, 2005

From my Poetry Speaks page a day calendar for October 21:

One of the obligations of the writer, and perhaps especially the poet, is to say or sing all that he or she can, to deal with as much of the world as becomes possible to him or her in language. --Denise Levertov

I’m not sure if I agree that writers are obligated to do this. What if you are only interested in writing about an aspect or two of the world? I don’t think as an artist that you should burden yourself to take on writing about the entire world if your passions don’t take you there. Levertov does say in this quote, “…all that her or she can….” Perhaps she is recognizing here that not all writers can do this or want to.

The emphasis on “all” is curious. I take this emphasis to mean that we should stretch ourselves to write about as much of the world as possible.

There seems to be an exhortation in this quote to catalogue the world or at least interpret as much of the world as possible. Does Levertov imply that writing is a way to preserve the world for posterity? Perhaps she means by writing about as much of the world as possible we will better understand the world and so will our readers.

Levertov seems to recognize in this quote that language has its limits: the limits of the individual writer’s command of language to convey the world and the limits of language in general.

Why does Levertov suggest that poets are more obligated than other writers to deal with as much of the world as possible? Unless you are writing a long poem, most poems metaphorically are a circle drawn over a small piece of life and amplified in language. I think this particularly applies to the lyric poem. It seems to me that prose is better suited to take on the world—novels in particular. Prose proceeds while verse turns (turns in on itself).

That’s enough of dissecting a quote that’s taken out of its context.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


A friend sent me this morning via e-mail a funny video clip showing various people falling down or being accidentally hit (e.g., a father being hit in the groin by his toddler daughter). After I finished watching the video clip, I started wondering why I found this funny. After all, I’m laughing at someone’s misfortune or pain. Why is this funny?

Some Thoughts:
1) These people are not being hurt in any serious or permanent way. At most they are getting some bruises or pain that will last a couple of minutes. The pain they are experiencing may not even be physical so much as mental—such as humiliation. If they were seriously hurt, I doubt that I would find it funny.
2) The people shown on the clip look awkward or silly in some manner. For example, a woman wearing a skirt does a forward roll down a slide and you see her underwear. A woman ice skating backwards falls into a boat prop on the ice rink “stage” and looks surprised and confused as the boat goes sailing across the ice with her in it.
3) Could the laughter be coming from a sense of relief that I am glad it is not me that this is happening too at the moment? We’ve all experienced at some point in our lives times when we did something that looked ridiculous or made us feel humiliated, embarrassed, or uncomfortable. Perhaps seeing a similar event causes us to react physiologically out of remembrance and relief. Instead of being expressed as a sigh of relief the exhalation is altered into a laugh?
4) Could there be some sadism underneath as a motive why we laugh? Do we find other people’s misfortune amusing as long as they are not seriously hurt out of some unconscious mild cruelty?
5) What people find funny differs. An overtly mean person may genuinely find it funny that a person slips on a sidewalk and cracks their head open. Some people find bawdy humor highly funny while other people find it crude or threatening.
6) When we say about a person, “She has a good sense of humor,” what we really mean is that she has a sense of humor similar to ours. We find many of the same things funny. The phrase can also means that she is a funny person to us or appreciates humor we appreciate.
7) We often laugh about things that are in fact quite serious or make us uncomfortable, or we have anxiety over: sex, burps, farts, defecation, attraction, rejection, disappointment, pain, etc. Notice from the brief list here that many of the items have to do with the body or are about physical or mental pain in some way.

The subjects of humor and laughter remind me of an observation about jokes. The punch line of a joke often works because the joke is going along on a predictable level, and then there is this felt drop (like a trap door opening beneath us) into another level of meaning, or there’s a surprise twist that we did not expect. This “gasp” of surprise is expressed as laughter.

Humor and laughter seem to be such uniquely human traits.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I dreamed this morning that I was traveling alone in Berlin, Germany. The city’s metro system was out of service, so I was forced to take the bus from the airport. This unanticipated change made it very difficult for me to know where I was going. My ultimate destination on this trip was Italy, and I was only going to be in Germany for about two days. Hence, I had not brushed up on my German prior to the trip, only my Italian. I was having a great deal of difficulty reading the bus route signs and speaking German. I kept hoping on the bus ride that I would see a part of Berlin that I was familiar with so that I could get my bearings, but the bus was taking its passengers far into the suburbs of Berlin. I ended up going to the end of the bus route and coming all the way back to the airport. Somehow I got to my hotel and was sitting in the lobby talking with some English travelers. Female members of the Germany military were wearing camouflage uniforms and milling about in the lobby.

The dream changed, and now my wife was traveling with me. She went down this grassy hill to do some shopping in the stores by a train station. I wasn’t able to find her, so I was slowly driving our rental car up and down the streets and over the grassy hill looking for her.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Elephant – Movie on HBO Last Night

Last night at 9:00 I watched a dramatization based on the Columbine Massacre.

A little history refresher that I found online:

On April 20, 1999, in the small, suburban town of Littleton, Colorado, two high-school seniors, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, enacted an all-out assault on Columbine High School during the middle of the school day. The boys' plan was to kill hundreds of their peers. With guns, knives, and a multitude of bombs, the two boys walked the hallways and killed. When the day was done, twelve students, one teacher, and the two murderers were dead. The haunting question remains: why did they do it?

From speed-reading a couple pages of the article, it seems that the movie was pretty accurate factually. I want to comment on the movie’s presentation mostly and its subtle interpretation of the events.

The movie intends to be an experimental, artsy film. There are lots of interesting things done with camera angles and transitions. For example, the camera often follows behind various students as they are walking through the school going about their business. The camera is focused directly behind them at head level so that you see the back of the student’s head and his or her upper torso. It is as if you are walking directly behind the students with only a couple of feet of space between you. Interesting as this is at first, the device becomes monotonous because each time we are held in this viewpoint well beyond a comfortable endurance. I read somewhere that video is an inherently boring media. This is true if you think about a security camera that just focuses on one spot and does not pan. You very quickly become bored watching the same view. Hence, in movies there are constant shifts in camera angles from panoramic to close up, focusing on one person then another, the person in profile, the person’s full face, etc.

I liked how this film spends time with several students, transitioning in and out of their lives. You get to know these students and get glimpses into their talents, friendships, hopes, dreams, and problems. You come to care about these students. Granted, some you like more than others. I think it is here that the film subtly emphasizes the waste of the murders. Youth, intelligence, talents, dreams, potential—all cut abruptly short.

I was struck by how large the school in the movie was. The hallways seemed endless. It seemed like the school was a maze on the scale of city blocks. Most of the rooms shown inside the school were incredibly spacious as well. You never saw the words Columbine on the school building or on the students’ clothing. There was some other name, probably a made up school name.

The treatment of the fictionalized “Dylan” and “Eric” in the film was interesting. They were portrayed as normal teenagers. They were not shown as blatantly evil. No maniacal laughing as they shot at people. No crazy eyes. No evil monologues about why they were doing this. No extreme outbursts of profanity. Instead, you are struck by how they are just normal and at times awkward kids walking through the hallways with guns shooting people, concentration and an almost serenity on their faces. That serenity was most unsettling. Earlier in the movie you see them take turns playing a video game on a laptop in which they shoot people in first person. It is the same calmness and concentration you see the next day in the hallways.

I don’t know if it was “Dylan” or “Eric” in the movie, but one of them was shown at length the day before the killing spree sitting at a piano playing music beautifully. I remember Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” in particular played with great feeling. The irony of this gentle and sad song against what you knew was coming was eerie. The same boy was also a gifted drawer, and you saw his artwork on the wall at a distance. You wanted to get a better look at the artwork because from a distance it looked like it could have violence in it, but you are not sure.

The movie offers very little in the way of explaining why the shootings took place. The only meanness either of them suffered during the movie was during a physics class. The same one who could play the piano so beautifully was having food or some other white gunk flung at him and landing on his clothes as he sat in the back of the class by himself while the teacher was lecturing on atoms. There is also a brief scene where Dylan and Eric shower together and kiss.

Beyond the terrible cold-blooded shooting of their fellow students (some of them obviously not popular like Michelle who is the first person killed in the library), I only recall two incidents where their evilness was bumped up a couple of notches. One of them comes across the principal or vice principal of the school. After pointing a gun at the principal while the principal is cowering on the floor and saying how the principal shouldn’t mess with people, he says the principal can leave unharmed. As the principal gets up and runs away he is shot repeatedly in the back. The other incident is at the very end of the movie. The other shooter finds a jock (who was one of the boys flinging food at him earlier) and his girlfriend hiding in the cafeteria’s meat locker. He steps into the meat locker with them and points the gun from one to the other while they try to either reason with him or plead with him. As he alternates pointing the gun at the jock then the girlfriend he says: inny, meany, minny, moe, catch a tiger by its toe…..

Two inconsistencies bothered me in the movie that were not explained. Where did they get the money to buy all of these rifles and pistols? They even order an semi automatic assault rifle the day before the shootings, and it is delivered by a fictionalized FedEx/DHL delivery company the day of the shooting while the boys cut school and watch Nazi documentaries on TV. The other inconsistency is that they take the new assault rife in the garage and take turns firing it into a woodpile. You assume that they’ve shot into this wood pile before, so why haven’t their been inquires by neighbors about gunshots and why haven’t the police investigated?

I wonder about the film’s title: Elephant. Maybe it’s referring to how an elephant never forgets? Maybe that saying about people ignoring the elephant in the room?

Monday, October 17, 2005

I had a pretty good weekend overall. My wife and I went to a most excellent Thai restaurant on Saturday. We are very fond of their steamed dumplings and pad thai. The restaurant has very unique tables. The table surfaces have swirls of color on them than remind me of tie-dye shirts. Hanging over the little bar in the restaurant are four very attractive cobalt blue cylinders containing light bulbs. Last night my wife and I went to a historic restaurant called Toliver House. This restaurant had been closed for some time, and it recently reopened under new management. I was pleased to see that there is a fresh coat of paint on the outside of the restaurant (the previous owners had let the exterior go), and the inside was tastefully decorated. The food was good, but I was a little disappointed. My wife and I agreed that the mashed potatoes and rolls were the best things we ate.

I did some more work on my sestina yesterday morning. I’m excited about the project and look forward to working on it some more.

Today’s weather in Charlottesville is my favorite kind of weather. It’s sunny, a few clouds in a blue sky, a light breeze, and cool enough even at lunchtime that you need a light jacket or a long sleeve shirt. Autumn has always been my favorite season.

All poets, all writers are political. They either maintain the status quo, or they say, “Something’s wrong, let’s change it for the better.” --Sonia Sanchez

Friday, October 14, 2005

Quick Rejection

I received yesterday a rejection from a high profile literary magazine. I mailed the submission 11 days ago. That is a very quick rejection. It makes me wonder if my submission was even read. This literary magazine last year wrote on my rejection slip that one of my poems survived their first round, and they encouraged me to submit again in the future. I think they had my submission for at least three months last year. So, I’m feeling a mixture of confusion and feel insulted over this.

At least I heard back from them. I have some submissions out there that are pushing eleven months. As I said in a previous post, I’ve come to learn that it is a waste of time to contact literary magazines after six months. In my experience they have either lost your submission, or they haven’t bothered to send you your rejection slip.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I’m at work today and feel about 85%. Most of my cold symptoms have ameliorated. I left work about 1:00 yesterday and just collapsed on the couch when I got home. Plenty to do at work today since I left early yesterday!

I’m considering sending out one last batch of poems on Monday. I need to review my Excel submission spreadsheet and confirm what I remember has been out there for some time without a response. This last batch would be some of my weaker poems in comparison to the two previous batches. One poem in this third batch though is strong and probably has the best chance of being accepted out of the group.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I’m definitely sick, probably with a cold. I dragged myself to work today, but I am unsure if I will stay the entire day or leave around noon. It all depends on my energy level. I’ve noticed that I crave high-fat foods when I’m sick. I’m not sure if it is comfort food, or there is a biological reason why my body wants it to help boost my immune system. I absolutely have to come to work tomorrow to finish September month end financials.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Well, I didn’t do much writing after work yesterday. I was a little drained and not in the greatest mood, but I went to Starbucks to write anyway. After I parked my car and started walking towards Starbucks, a middle-aged woman got out of her oversized SUV and practically pushed past me to make it to the door before me and get in line. She then didn’t have the courtesy to hold the door for me but let it shut in my face. Not a good start. I almost ripped that woman a new one for her rude behavior, but I resisted because that would put me in a really foul mood. Then the Starbucks barista showed me that she had dropped the lid of the caramel container in my drink, apologized, and said that she would need to make my drink again. Fine. I browsed the coffee cups and went to the men’s room to wash my hands. When I came back to the bar I noticed that she was turning her head away from the drinks and coughing, and she was sniffling. I thought, “Oh, great! Her virus hands are going to be all over my drink.” When my drink was ready I picked it up, and it was very light. I ordered a Venti with no foam, so I was not going to accept this drink as is. Not for $4.20. I told the barista that I ordered my drink with no foam. She had to make my drink for the third time. I was about ready to lose it at this point, so I walked over to my table where my bag was and started setting out my laptop and books. The barista handed me my drink with a free drink coupon for my next visit. I appreciated the coupon. That helped. The funny thing was my drink was all sticky from where she had spilled on it, and there was no cardboard jacket on the drink. Sigh. So, I got up and went to get napkins and a drink jacket.

After all of the above, I was not in a good place. I was probably hypercritical at this point, but Starbucks seemed very noisy, cold, and there was a loud fly buzzing by the window where I sat. I decided that I needed to calm down before I even tried writing, so I wrote in my journal and read some. About a half hour later Starbucks became quieter, and I moved to a better seat away from that damn fly. By the time that I was fully calm and started working on my writing, it was getting dark outside, and I was becoming tired despite the caffeine. I stuck it out a little longer then decided to head home.

I have an idea for a sestina that I would like to try. The challenge of the sestina intrigues me, and I think the subject matter would be a good match for a sestina. I wrote one years ago as an undergraduate. I’d like to see how I would fair now.

I think I am getting sick with a cold. My throat is scratchy, and my nose is runny. I know I can’t blame the Starbucks barista yesterday because colds take a few days to develop, but I can’t help thinking she didn’t help matters. Food workers should not be working if they are sick or getting sick. I hate being sick! This week is a bad week to get sick. I have September FY06 month end work due Thursday.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Not Writing and The Butterfly Effect

I didn’t do any writing over the weekend. Sunday morning I thought that sleep was more important than getting up and going to Starbucks. I was kidding myself thinking that I would write at home. There are too many distractions at home: video games, books, and television. This is probably the main reason I don’t write at home. Besides wanting to sleep in on Sunday, I also considered gas prices and how necessary the trip really is.

I brought my laptop and plan to write after work. I’m not sure which of my poems in progress I want to work on. I don’t feel excited about working on any of them, and I am at an impasse on a couple of them.

I assembled some submissions last night. This was the only productive thing I did regarding my writing over the weekend. I was going to mail them this morning, but I forgot that today is Columbus Day. I’ll have to mail them tomorrow. I like to date the cover letters with the day that the submission actually gets mailed. I’ll have to live with being one day off. I keep meticulous records of my submissions in an Excel spreadsheet at home. It’s the finance side of me that compels this.

I have no idea what I want to do for my next poetry coaching session on Sunday. I don’t think I’ll want to send her a poem.

A number of the blogs that I read regularly have had interesting lists on them. I thought that I would try one.

1. I am tall.
2. I have grayish-blue eyes.
3. I enjoy good health most of the time.
4. I was born into a respectable middle class family that loves me.

I wasn’t able to finish the above list. I found myself thinking that there are a number of things that I like about myself and would not want to give up, but I would want to increase them. For example, I have above average intelligence. I would like to be more intelligent. I am a creative person. I would like to be more creative. I’m a fairly wise person. I would like to be wiser.

There’s something inherently suicidal about desiring to change any part of who you currently are. If you tug on one thread, the whole tapestry of who you are unravels. If it was possible to substantially change one or more aspects of yourself, you could argue that you would become substantially a different person through a domino effect. Perhaps it would only be your memories that would ground you and prevent the changes from being utterly revolutionary.

It is also inherently suicidal to wish that you had done something in your past differently or that luck had dealt you a different card. Who knows how that one change could have impacted your subsequent life? That one change may have had very unpleasant consequences, and you might prefer your life as it is in comparison. I guess that I am contemplating the Butterfly Effect or the perils or time travel and meddling with the past. I understand better why it is so necessary to come to self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. Perhaps all is as it should be and as you really want it to be. So, am I contradicting myself by not finishing the list above? Am I saying to myself that I have not achieved full self-acceptance and self-forgiveness? Yes.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Rolling Stones – Part 2

Well, someone called in a bomb threat during the concert while the Stones were on stage, and this stopped the show for about 45 minutes. The local paper says about a third of the stadium was cleared out while bomb sniffing dogs searched the stands and stage. The show went on after that. There are also reports that traffic was a nightmare last night. People were sitting on I-64 for over an hour trying to get off the interstate and head towards the stadium. I wonder if all of this will put a damper on future big name talent coming to Charlottesville. They will definitely need to do something about the traffic flow if they have a future concert like this. My theory is that some disgruntled person sitting in traffic got pissed off that they were missing the concert and called in a bomb threat out of revenge or to halt the concert so that they could have some extra time to get there.

I’m contemplating sending out some more submissions on Monday. This batch would be a different set of poems than what I sent out on October 3rd. By now the October 3rd submissions should have reached their destinations.

I had a dream a few nights ago about the federal government putting something in the water to make cats act like they have rabies. Our two cats were impacted, and they were in very hateful moods, trying to scratch us whenever we came near them to try and take them to the vet. They also started running around the house at full gallop. In the dream this started happening around the country and caused distraction and then later chaos.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones perform tonight in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia’s Scott Stadium. Trey Anastasio, the former Phish frontman, is opening for The Stones. Hard to believe that we are getting world-class entertainment in this relatively small city in central Virginia. The Dave Matthews Band performs here now and then, but Dave Matthews is from this area. I think REM played here when they were more of a college band.

I’ve read that an army of 500 roadies has been in Charlottesville since Saturday building the massive set and seating area for the concert. Scott Stadium is expecting a crowd of about 55,000. There is a 70% chance of rain tonight, but the rain should be intermittent. I hope it doesn’t rain tonight at all or rains very little.

The concert has been the talk of the town for the last week. The Hook, one of our entertainment weekly newspapers, devoted nearly an entire issue to the concert and issues surrounding it. I’m not a big Stones fan, and I’m not going to the concert. However, I’ll be very curious to see how it all turns out and if this is the start of making Charlottesville a major concert venue.

I think concert tickets are ridiculously expensive. Stones tickets were going for $100 to $350 each. I remember going to some concerts when I was in high school and paying around $40. I’d have to practically worship a band to want to pay today’s concert prices.

I bought some Starbucks coffee on Tuesday. It’s official now. Their French Roast coffee is my favorite out of their regular offerings. I like the Komodo Dragon coffee as a distant second. I tried their Anniversary Blend last month, and it is pretty good. You have to be careful not too scoop too much coffee in, or the Anniversary Blend comes out nasty. My absolute all time favorite Starbucks coffee is the 2004 Special Reserve Coffee I had last year. Man, I still have fantasies about how good that was! It prompted me to e-mail Starbucks corporate and tell them how much I liked it. I received an e-mail back from a Starbucks employee thanking me for my comment, and he said how much the staff in his department liked it as well. I got the sense that they will probably bring out a 2005 Special Reserve. All the coffees mentioned above are considered bold coffees. I’m a bold kind of guy!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Not sure what I want to blog about today. Usually I have something on my mind that I want to record or explore.

I’m getting annoyed with how I keep writing about submissions in this blog. It feels like whining. I’ll refrain from whining today.

How can you nominate someone for the Supreme Court who has never been a judge? The Wall Street Journal pointed out yesterday that of the 53 Supreme Court justices appointed since 1900, 23 have had no judicial experience. Among the most recent ones: Earl Warren, Byron R. White, Arthur J. Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Lewis F. Powell Jr., William H. Rehnquist. The WSJ lists as the source the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I took half of Friday and all of yesterday off from work in observance of my birthday. My wife made me a homemade card that was very touching, and she made me birthday fudge brownies. She was also very generous in buying me a CD, a pair of jeans, a couple of paperbacks, and a Best Buy gift certificate. My parents and mother-in-law were also generous.

We’ve had car problems with my wife’s Neon for months. This past weekend we traded in the Neon and bought a new white Toyota Corolla S. We decided to buy a new car because we are sick of car headaches. We wanted a high quality vehicle that will need few repairs and has good gas mileage. My wife is very happy with the car. My only complaint about it is that the front passenger seat doesn’t have a lot of legroom. You can’t put the seat back as far as I would like, and there is a hump on the right side of the floor so you are limited in your feet placement if you have big feet like I do. I was serious when I told my wife that if we go on a long car trip and she’s driving that I will have to sit in the back seat. Her quip was that I should do all the driving on long trips then. She’s not a chauffeur.

As planned, I mailed yesterday some additional submissions since I haven’t heard back from my previous submissions. I included my new villanelle along with three other poems. I sure would like to receive an acceptance before the year is out.