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January 11, 2006


"there will be one hell of a cocktail party"

Let us know when to raise a glass in echo.

So sorry, man.

She sounded like one hell of a woman, which I mean in the best of ways. I'm sorry she's gone.

I am so profoundly sorry.

I have nothing else to say except to share my own losses. I doubt it will help, but since i'm having my own tough times i can't really help myself.

I never knew my maternal grandparents: grandmother died well before I was born and grandfather was persona non grata. My paternal grandfather died when I was quite young. I remember quite clearly, however, the loss of my paternal grandmother, and the effect of her death on the family, especially my dad.

but the painful bits are that my wife's mother died just after we were married (in '94) -- the same day we landed in LA after our honeymoon we flew to Sacramento to sit by her deathbed. (thereafter, the first few years of our marriage were just a tad more difficult than we had been expecting.)

and my father-in-law just had a stroke. physically he's ok, but he's not turning much short-term memory into long-term memory. i don't know what his, or our, future holds.

someone much smarter than me once said that life is loss. i reject that notion; life is also joy and love and passion and children (for those who have them) and hope and dreams and victories and all the rest.

but somehow our spirits (ok, mine) are attuned to feel our tragedies more sharply than our successes. that sucks.

i'm sorry; i'm blabbing (blubbering?). Von, while you will always miss her, the worst will pass. this i know from experience. treasure the good memories and just wait for the worst of the pain to fade.

the irish were, as usual, right. very large amounts of whiskey can briefly help.

my deepest condolences.

Since you don't want warm condolences I won't give them. It sounds as if she wouldn't have wanted the mushyness of strangers on the internet.

However, I shall raise a glass to her. It's not gin, it's rum. I hope she would approve.

I'm so sorry. I'm having a sh-tty week/month/year, myself, but that's neither here nor there.

I'd offer hugs, were they wanted or useful. I'd offer whatever else I have on offer, were they wanted or useful.

None of it matters much. All that will matter, alas, is time. And it will take a year or so, at least.

I wish I had more on offer. I can only say that if one keeps moving, a better time will arrive, but the loss will never be gone. We just tend to learn better how to cope with it.

I'm so very sorry, man. So entirely very sorry.

Do whatever you need to do.

God knows I've not been coping so well with that sort of thing, and I've had practice, even.

I'm sure a better person than me can offer a better thought than sometimes the suckitude just sucks beyond all imagination and all pain, and all we can do is go through it, and survive, and then it's just a bit less non completely suckitude.

That's probably why I'm not a professional at helping with death, loss, and pain.

But if you were around, I'd hug, and let you wail and pound the walls, and do whatever you need to do, and then more. That's mostly all I know how to do.

Do let yourself cry as much as you remotely feel like, and don't feel in the least hesitant to just do it some more, and then some more, and then some more, and then just some more. For as many years as it takes. It changes nothing, save, perhaps, for a bit of our own sanity.

Cherish your kid. Try not to let it hurt him. That's my only other even vaguely useful advice. Try not to let anyone else be hurt, as best you can, by the pain. Because if you're human, that's apt to happen at times, and the only good thing left to do is to try to avoid that as best we can, and then forgive ourselves when we're imperfect about that, too.

Take care of yourself, as well. Don't forget that, either.

Cant say anything better Gary or Francis. Just want to let you know I read the post, some experiences people have are common but cant really be shared, we are alone in ourselves sometimes, but well, you know if I could say something to help, I would.

so sorry von

Wish there was something I could say, but there ain't. So sorry, too.

For now, we're only in this short life together, and that's a good part of why to lack full passion for full-throated attacks about politics, much of the time, at least.

It's all too short, and we all have too much in common, and that's what we need to remember, I think, more than who's right or wrong about this, that, or the other.

Those who act otherwise, I tend to think have suffered little loss, and in that I'm a bit judgmental, I'm afraid.

Less self-righteousness, I suspect we can all, everyone, use, and more compassion, no matter our opinions on political/policy sh-t.

I'm filled with gratitude that Hilzoy is still with us. I was deeply worried, because I do that, and I'm sorry for every moment I focused on trivial crap in the meanwhile.

Because the one thing matters all, and the rest not at all.

I should only be able to be able to remember that all the time, and not the trivial crap.

Playing Sweet Jane now. For everyone who's ever been lonely. Not a lot of info there, but the impulse is a valuable one I wish we could and would cling to more constantly, not that I'm an exemplar there. I'm just saying, and then going.

Because the one thing matters all, and the rest not at all.

Beautifully put, Gary.

For now, we're only in this short life together, and that's a good part of why to lack full passion for full-throated attacks about politics

I take the opposite lesson from the brevity of life, and from the demise, and impending demise of ones close to me.

Let's fight. First with each other, then with death. No quarter given, expected, or possible.

"Let's fight. First with each other, then with death. No quarter given, expected, or possible."

I'll just have to resist calling you the word I self-banned myself by by calling you, FRM.

I wish you greater wisdom. I wish you greater life. I wish you less pain than some of us have suffered, if that's necessary, and if it's unnessary, you simply have my sorrow, and my attempt at forgiveness.

Meanwhile, you add to my sorrow, not my joy, and I feel sorrow for that for you, too.

I hope you grow better. I wish you well.

As a trivial note, I love coffee, but it's possible some of us, myself most included, might do a tad better with a tad less.

Anyone want to talk about favorite music, or something more positive, instead?

It's not really my place to say or ask, but I have to wonder:
Felixrayman, have you experienced the death of a father, a mother, a sister, a brother, a nephew, a niece, a friend, a wife, a husband, a child, a beloved one, a person you cared about for whatever reason?

Perhaps it would help if you told us of your personal pain. Please do.

I have to think that you are not expressing such pain on others for no reason at all.

People don't usually work like that, and I'm assuming you don't act like an ass for no reason at all.

If you let us know the source of the pain, we may not be able to help at all, but at least possibly you'll stop inflicting it randomly on us all, because, you know, that might not be the best way to go, it turns out.

so sorry von. raise a higball for me.

I'm so sorry, Von.

You probably already know this - but mourning is a process that takes time, and you have to let yourself take that time. Be well. Take care of yourself.

“Don’t waste good gin on tonic,” she’d instruct in a stage whisper, “and never trust anyone who drinks only vodka.”

Thank you for sharing.

or even better, a highball.

A request that you should feel no qualms about ignoring completely, but I'd love to hear a story or two about her.

It won't be the same, because my first kid -- a son, due this February -- will be there to see it. She won't.

It's not what you mean, I know, but I suspect in Maine this summer you'll see her reflected in thousands of ways in your son.

Sincere condolences to you and your family.

I'll just have to resist calling you the word I self-banned myself by by calling you, FRM.

Why? I don't care. You have my permission.

have you experienced the death of a...etc.


Perhaps it would help if you told us of your personal pain

Why? Mine's no better or worse than yours or that of a rat in the subway.

Point is, if there's something about this world you would like to change, well, the clock is ticking. Hurry up please, it's time.

two mysteries:

1) how can the infinite value of my father's life have vanished with his death, how can an entire positive mass and volume have dropped to zero? (Yes, we have memories. Don't talk to me about memories. After Death mugs you of all your money and roughs you up for fun, he laughs and gives you a *receipt* for it, just to emphasize your utter impotence. Here, sucker: this will help you itemize your losses).

I don't understand that.

2) how can the infinite value of my children's lives have come out of nowhere, preciousness and worth distilled from void? It's like the sun rising one morning when yesterday we were on a sunless rock in deep space. Warmth floods in, and life; new orbits of routine and meaning, a new gravitational center that far outweighs my own. (But there *was* no sun--just yesterday!) Suddenly something *matters*, more than anything has before. How could life have given me this? How could I have been so lucky? Is there any way to take this in and not feel mute gratitude? Is there any way to describe this and not use the word "blessing"? But I know for a fact that a few short years ago they didn't matter. They didn't even exist.

I don't understand that.

Gross violations of the conservation of mattering. No discernible principles, no symmetry laws, no hidden constants. No guarantees that the sums will even out.

Still--four years later, and the hurt is somewhat dimmed. Twelve years later and the joy grows unbounded.

I don't understand that.

I am truly sorry to hear about your loss.

I think you're really going to love your son.

It must have been a privilage to know her Von - may your son inherite her talent for enjoying life.

We still see my husbands father in our eldest. They missed knowing each other by a year and a half but would have loved each other so dearly - which is both a comfort and sad.

von, sorry to hear that.

Von, I am sorry for your loss.

Deepest sympathies, von.

I see the amount of time and attention my parents place on my kids, likely the only grandkids they will ever have, and see the flip side of von's comment. They know there's a good chance by sheer demographics they won't see them married, may not even see their Bat Mitzvahs, but they are trying their hardest to ensure that whatever memories my kids have of them are great ones. It is foul that von's mother did not get the chance to do the same.


I'm so sorry, Von.

When I lost my father last year I learned that everything really does come to an end. We have last meals, last meetings, last conversations. We need to make what we can of that time.

Very sorry, Von. God bless.

When my Dad died it forced a deep analysis of my own life, as these things tend to do. One thing that his death reinforced for me, a lesson he had taught explicitly but which was brought home all the more forcefully by his death - stuff doesn't matter. People matter. Stuff only matters inasmuch as it helps you to connect to other people, to enrich their lives, and to have your life enriched in return. It sounds like the kind of thing your Grandma understood. My deepest condolences.

So sorry von. It's coming for my mom and dad who are in their eighties. For my mom, now demented, death will be a blessing; obviously this was not the case with yours. As DaveC said, this a common experience we all face alone. Sorry.

So sorry von. It's coming for my mom and dad who are in their eighties. For my mom, now demented, death will be a blessing; obviously this was not the case with yours. As DaveC said, this a common experience we all face alone. Sorry.

Sorry for your loss, Von. As someone who never knew one set of grandparents, I'll offer one piece of practical advice for use after the initial wave of grief passes. Over the next while at family gatherings like the summer cocktail party, when everyone's memories are still fresh, take careful note of the stories and anecdotes so that when the time comes you can give your son a full picture of who his grandmother was.

von: I'm so sorry. I can't imagine the death of either of my parents: it would be like the world shifting on its axis.

Big, big hugs.

That's the thing about death, especially the death of a loved one (as your grandmother obviously was) - it does create that "blackest of rooms" inside you, and even though you KNOW the light will eventually shine in again, it's not much help in the darkness NOW. So sorry, von.

I'll raise a glass or three tonight in tribute.


Though the rest of the poem isn't applicable, the final verse of Edgar Allen Poe's "A Paean" always strikes me as perfect:

Therefore, to thee this night

I will no requiem raise,

But waft thee on thy flight,

With a Pæan of old days.

Good wafting.

I'd like to talk about Von, and his loss, in this thread, but I really don't know Von, although I believe I like him quite a bit, trivial squabbles aside.

I, of course, knew naught of his mom.

Lacking a closer connection, I can only offer myself, as usual, inappropriate as that usually is, and say that after a year, I'm only here.

Be kind to yourself, von. And know that people care about you, even people who seem to be only ASCII, because, actually, we're all flesh and blood, and those friends you've made with your words are, in fact, real friends.

Remember to do the little good things for yourself and your loved ones. It will all add up, no matter how meaningless it may seem for such a very long time.

Try to reach out, when you can.

That's one of the hard parts. Sometimes an impossibly-seeming hard part. That's only why I offer the reminder, which you should also ignore for so long as it annoys.

But you really do have friends out here, as well as the ones you know by sight and touch.

I just felt a need to say that again, because I have not so much better to offer.

"1) how can the infinite value of my father's life have vanished with his death,"

Forgive me, please, that my response -- not an answer, a response -- is simple: it didn't.

There was much lost, and that's clear, and graspable, and it remains with us. It is a great, gaping, screaming, hole in ourselves. It is infinite agony, as well.

But the infinite can not be taken away, and that is the value of the infinite.

Sometimes it's hard to find. Sometimes it's impossible to find. Often we are lost.

And thus the pain.

But the infinite value remains infinite.

von: again hugs and a group shoulder should you desire it.

Gary: You are a national treasure.

"...but since i'm having my own tough times i can't really help myself."

We're almost all clumsy at such times -- not you, me -- but I didn't want to let pass that I also offer only wanted hugs and good thoughts at you, too, brother Francis.

Life is hard, words are harder, and then it's short and over. Meanwhile we offer what we can to each other, and anything else matters not at all.

I'm sorry I don't have anything brighter or better to offer, and I really should just shut up for the rest of the day, obviously, but, meanwhile I offer the inadequacy, since that's always on tap.

Myself, I'm compulsively playing various songs over and over again today, because it's that sort of grey day here.

Anyone have any good songs to offer?

(This moment: the cliche Suzanne Vega.)

"Gary: You are a national treasure."

What, dutchmarbel doesn't appreciate me, nor anyone past the Great Firewall of China?

I keed. It's all I got. Although I can rub my stomach and pat my head at the same time, too. Someday, video. And then I will never worry about money again. (Did Star Wars kid, or the singing kid ever get any?)

I'm sorry: Dave is pulling my chips out now. Soon I will render "Daisy," and it won't be pretty at all. Though Kubrick filming it will make it so.

Gary: did you ever check out my gloomy music?

"Gary: did you ever check out my gloomy music?"

Some. Dialup at 49k or so, you know.

I'll try to remember to turn it on tonight, when I don't need to access the internet, although more likely I'll forget and hope to remember over the weekend.

Is there a small tattoo for Richard Thompson people to flash, by the way? I probably missed the memo, as usual.


There was a statement I read sometime ago that has stayed with me. It had to do with having a new baby and "seeing the faces of those I love within his." You will.

So sorry for your pain!

von, please take my sincerest condolences, whether wanted now or not.

Remember, the acceptance of human kindness is the only thing that makes loss bearable, that and the good memories that thankfully last forever.

Thanks for all the good wishes.

BTW, it was my grandmother on my father's side who passed yesterday morning. My mother is alive and well.

I happen to agree with von's philosophy of not liking condolences and what not. Not sure why, but they make me angry and standoffish. So instead of doing that, I'm posting the words I wrote on April 24th, 2004, if for no other reason than that this post brought them back to mind.

My grandmother died today.

Around sixteen months ago, we found out that she had lymphomic cancer. The doctors said that this particular type was very treatable, and that the life expectancy was ten years or more. Since grandma was 77 at the time, this didn't particularly bother her. Still, her first words to the doctor were "How do I beat it?" and I for one had no doubt she'd win.

But no one could anticipate the run of luck she had since then. After a successful first round of chemo, she continually took ill, with colds, pnemonia, etc, her body kept getting weaker. The cancer took hold.

Still, it was a shock. Three months ago, she was my grandma, the same as she ever was. Three weeks ago, she was walking, moving around on her own, eating fairly well. She was strong. One week ago, she was able to talk and move with some aid. Three days ago she could hardly open her eyes, rasp a few words, and smile at you. Yesterday she could only manage labored breathing, lapsing into a coma. Today, her body could no longer manage that.

I got the call Friday morning. I knew grandma wasn't doing so well; I had just vistited her that week. But I was still in the mode of thought that said if she could just get healthy enough for another round of chemotherapy, we still might save her. It was a shock, then, to walk in Friday afternoon and see her laying there, looking like an inmate from some German concentration camp. Her hair had long ago fallen out due to the toxins they injected into her to try to defeat the disease invading her body, but this was the first time I'd seen her without her wig. Her skin was pale, she was gaunt, her eyes sunken. My god, she'd lost so much weight. It was like looking at a stranger.

My grandmother has always been a pretty lady. Even late in life, she was tall, strong, her face largely unlined by care; what few lines that did exist were from smiles and laughter. But dying was doing its best to rob her of her dignity.

She was brave. She told us she wasn't in pain and wasn't afraid. My wife, with tears in her eyes, asked her how she was doing. A crazy, insane, almost thoughtless question, under the circumstances, but one you ask when words fail you. She smiled and said she's feeling better every day. She was always feeling better. She was always beating the cancer, if you asked her. Down to the last day she was trying to beat the bastard, this evil, cruel disease, and when she said so I believed her. But not today. Today, she was just being brave, not for herself, but for us.

I walked in, and her eyes were closed. She was breathing easily. They said that if I leaned close I could talk to her and she could hear me. I leaned in, and kissed her head, and said, "Hi, Grandma." Her eyes opened and focused, and she saw me and smiled. Her smile. One of my first living memories is her smiling at me while she held me as a small child. And even though she was a quarter century older, and so very thin and frail and weak, suddenly she was my grandma again, and the stranger was gone.

She acknowledged me, and said my name. My vision blurred, and with great difficulty I told her how thankful I was to have known her, how good she has been to me literally all of my life. She was a good grandma; the best grandma a guy could ask for, and I took her hand.

She squeezed my hand, closed her eyes and smiled. And whispered "you were a good boy."

This is the best thing anyone has ever said about me. I cannot ask for a better benediction than that. I was a good boy.

Those of you that know me well, very well, know that I've struggled to reconcile my thoughts on spirituality and religion and God. I've had doubts and misgivings and anger directed in many directions. I still don't understand many things, and the things I do understand I realize don't really make logical sense, when you examine them under a microscope. But I think finally, I understand what faith is. Faith is this: that I know, deep inside, that I will see my grandmother again.

I miss her almost every day. There's a picture of her hanging on the wall at the foot of our stairs. It was taken at our wedding, of her hugging my wife, welcoming her into the family. If I happen to linger on it more than a brief glance on the way up to bed, it still brings tears to my eyes.

In response to Gary's call for a song, I'll quote the song that I found unusually compelling a couple months ago, and from which I stole the title to this post. The song isn't quite on point 'cause it's addressed to a significant other and not a grandmother -- after all, who writes songs about their grandmother? ('tho they should).

From Death Cab For Cutie's most recent:

Love of mine
Someday you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark
No blinding light
Or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark

If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
And illuminate the "no"s
On their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school
As vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised
By a lady in black
And I held my tongue
As she told me "Son,
Fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
And illuminate the "no"s
On their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

You and me
Have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes
Are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It's nothing to cry about
'Cause we'll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms

If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
And illuminate the "no"s
On their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Then I will follow you into the dark

More DCFC:

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
but while you debate half empty or half full
it slowly rises your love is gonna drown

which I guess might be an exhortation to focus on the love and not the sadness.

after all, who writes songs about their grandmother? ('tho they should).

Apparently 'Helena' by My Chemical Romance is a tribute to Gerard and Mikey Way's late grandmother.

I prefer your pick, though.

My late Nana would, too.

Proper tribute coming via non electronic methods - but so sorry my man. So incredibly sorry.

neolith: thank you for that.

von: i'm sorry for your loss.
first grandparents go. then parents.
it never gets easier.
i guess it's not supposed to.

in the face of this most difficult
of life's transitions
one of my comforts has been
a Dylan song called "Death is Not the End."
I played it when my father died.
Over and over and over.
It helped a little.

not the end, not the end,
just remember, that death is not the end.

best to you and your family, von.

Von - I will be sure to raise my glass in honor of your grandmother.

Before my grandparents passed away they asked us to celebrate their passing as best as possible. They asked us to gather the family, drink deeply, and remember fondly. With heavy hearts we gathered in Arizona on two separate occasions to respect their wishes. Each time it was the best of times and the worst of times. I know, I know - it’s not the French Revolution but that line describes the situation so well.

I suspect your grandmother to be the kind of person that would ask her family to mourn her passing by way of celebration. I hope you and your family have a chance to come together and share your memories with one another while having a drink or two in her honor. I do find it to be a fitting win to remember the loss of those you love.

"BTW, it was my grandmother on my father's side who passed yesterday morning. My mother is alive and well."

Well, naturally I take back everything I said.

(Yes, I have a black sense of humor. Inappropriate, at times. Many times. I do hope people know when I'm kidding, and, moreover, accept the whole deal, no matter the poor choice of timing, although usually I deserve a slap in the face from someone, it inevitably turns out. I live for the slaps, they tend to wake me from dreams. They should, at least, although as it turns out, usually not, I confess.)

I'm still sorry for your loss, Von.

Three out of four grandparents were dead before I was born.

My father's mother was a kind woman, and she was pretty much the person you could see in the world of Woody Allen's Radio Days, which is no surprise, given that he lived around the corner on Avenue K.

She didn't bustle much, because she was large, Ida was, but she was kind.

Her sister Gussie was vastly more active. I think she was still working to help old people in the old folks' home, at the age of 78 or 83, or some such silly thing.

They're pretty much all I ever knew of the grandparents thing.

One day, years after the parental divorce, my crazy dad called and said he needed to talk to mom. No, really. Someone died.

And that was that.

And that's what I remember, and that's all I have to offer, for now.

Probably not appropriate, as usual.

Slight expansion here. I apologize that once again it's all about me. I'd write about my memories of Von's grandma if I had some, honest.

I probably shouldn't have said anything at all, but my head is completely not on straight.

I send healing thoughts towards Hilzoy. I really must remember to focus on keeping my own insides closed, I suspect. It can get yucky in there, if one is not expert.

It's just me, but I find it difficult to pay attention to anyone who doesn't know the difference between an ellipsis, and a lot of dots.

I was greatly ashamed of myself when I figured that out at age 16 or so, to be sure, and understood how badly I'd gotten it wrong in all my writing before that. I looked back at everything I'd written, and thought, man, everyone has realized I am a complete f-cking moron, who can't write to save his life. Wow, how embarassing. Etc.

I grasped that I'd been making a complete fool of myself in previous writing.

On the positive side, I never thought writing in all caps added emphasis, even when we measured my age in single digits.

At later points, I grasped that many people have difficulty with writing in English, and it doesn't actually mean they are completely stupid. It's just something to learn, and we all have much to learn, most importantly to me, me. It's not as if I could carve wood, or paint, or do an endless list of other things, after all.

Kind of a handicap when trying to communicate with the writing in English, though, to not be able to write English well.

But kind to the handicaped we should all be, yes, absolutely. We are all handicapped in our own way, and I really really really want to try to be kinder, and not pick on people simply because they haven't made the effort. It's not as if I could flip myself over a proper high jump, or hurl a rock terribly far, after all.

Okay, simple point: three dots to an ellipsis, which is a simple bit of English punctuation. One more ends a sentence.

That's all that matters there. It is not actually complicated, but it does confuse most of us as we notice it. Three. Then four.

My apologies for, yet again, being obnoxious about it.

All I can say is that other people who have been professional proofreaders are surely far kinder people than me, and the fact that my day has sucked is no excuse whatever, so I'll accept my due scolding and spanking.

Given my day, I'll probably enjoy it as a pleasant change of pace, actually.

Carry on. Apologies. I have no good reason to live or contribute.

Sorry. Really. I should cancel, and that I do not is the complete reason I have to apologize, and be sorry for. I am not the person I need to be.

The fact that my attempt to post even that, with no links whatever, failed many times, and I'm reasonably sure it's the ObWings software and not something I did wrong, is apt to bother no one, I'm sure.

Is there someone who accepts responsibility for this blog, though?

It strikes me as an important question, if one accepts the blog seriously.

Who is responsible? There's no kitty.

Who is responsible? Who doesn't put it off on someone else?

Who is responsible?

Gary, maybe you could answer a question for me. I still have the email of an old friend from Iowa. I email him regularly. He hasn't answered in six years or so. If his email was changed or if his account is disconnected, would I be able to tell when I email him? It seems from my end that I am emailing successfully but maybe I'm just sending messages off into a black hole.

That post pretty much ended my own little pity party. I'm such an ass. What shall we drink to toast her?

Since some people have posted poems or lyrics, and I talked about Gerald Collier on some other thread, I'll put some lyrics here.

This one is about grief:

Forgiveness from Revenge / God never lived in my neighborhood

Can you see me now

am I close to you yet
or have you forgotten me all about me now
here on the ground

I'm holding up my end
of the bar again
tryin' to tell your forgiveness from
your revenge

God is great, God is good
God takes everyone except the ones he should
leave alone

I can't replace what I can't describe
the emptiness that's eating me alive
since you slipped away, since you slipped away

God is great, God is good
but God never lived in my neighborhood
the way you did

He should have left you alone

and this one is about feeling lonely and stupid:

I Know You Love Sleeping

Hey, are you as lonesome as I am

and can't we talk about it
I'm sorry if I woke you up again
I know how you love sleeping
but I was just thinking how your voice sounds in my head

Hey, do you feel as ripped off as I do
like we were taken, hook, line and sinker
I've had it, trying not to have a memory
I was happier just knowing I would
and I was just thinking, I'll just forget what I said

Gary, in all honesty i'm worried about you. you do not sound at all well. please take care.

Damn, I'm a moron.
The line I said was

but I was just thinking how your voice sounds in my head

should be

but I was up thinking how your voice sounds in my head

Even with preview I get it wrong.

Is there someone who accepts responsibility for this blog, though?

Yes, but there are precious few who accept responsibility for Typepad. For someone who's been out and about on the Internets, Gary, you seem to be having some trouble distinguishing between the two.

But to clarify, just about the only control we higher-order beings have is what gets posted, who's banned, and what gets deleted. And we're deliberately lax on the banning thing. If you don't like it, well, you'll be missed. We'd rather have you around, but, well, I find it somewhat more difficult to post on your blog than you seem to be having posting over here, so you might imagine that I'm somewhat immersed in an I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I moment. Really, the elevated level of upset is a bit baffling, given that you're currently in rather sparse company complaining on that count. But, shorter me: I doubt it's going to change anytime soon. Better it would be if you were amused rather than annoyed by it.

In other knews, I spent a couple of hours flying about in a Huey yesterday. New thing for me; probably old hat to some others. Amazing machines, those. Everything is manual, except possibly whatever aftermarket navigation systems along for the ride. I'm even more in awe of the folks who keep them flying for a living.

Everything is manual

*image of a stickshift and a chopper pilot trying to pop the clutch*

lily: It seems from my end that I am emailing successfully but maybe I'm just sending messages off into a black hole.

If you send your e-mails with a "read receipt" (Outlook will do this quite readily) you can find out if your friend is accessing them.

If you are sending e-mails to an account which no longer exists, you would get a bounce-back error message, within seconds of sending (IME).

Hope this helps.

Thanks Jes. I guess his account is active. Which is good. I'll try the receipt thing.

"Gary, in all honesty i'm worried about you. you do not sound at all well."

I'm rarely at all well. Sometimes I'm not bad, though, and sometimes I'm pretty good.

"...please take care."

I do. Kind of carelessly.

Thanks for caring.

I'm quite ok, actually. Not fine, but ok.

Physically lonely, but that's pretty much all that's really wrong.

Well, yes, actually I want a spiritual and intellectual emotional partner to stride down the corridors of life with, to open the doors with, and climb the mountains, swim the streams, sing the songs, howl at the moon, talk the talk, gently kiss and touch, to love, adore, and cherish, and then fall asleep in each other's arms, legs entwined, skin warming each other's flesh.

But other than that I'm fine.


I wouldn't kid about such things.

Still sorry about your grand-mom, Von.

My apologies for being hostile to the kitty. No, I don't grok Typepad. In Blogger, we simply open our template, and the software is ours, all ours, free to fiddle with as best we know how to. I don't know from Typepad, and thus don't grasp the lack of ability to reword whatever one likes. As described, it doesn't sound like the most useful of systems, but, then, I wouldn't know what to do with an open car hood, let alone why I'd pay for something I couldn't crack open. That might or might not be related to why I've never even tried to get a license. (After all, even waiting in line for the plain ID card can be a bit trying.)

I apologize for having frightened any horses in the street. It's entirely true that there are many times I shouldn't be allowed to be loose on the internet.

I'm really fine.

I'm an effing national treasure, doncha know?

Thanks for that, John Miller.

But, really, it's a new morning, and I'm ok. I hope y'all are ok, too, even if my writing can frighten. It's just writing, really. Reflective of me, who writes it, but, still, nothing worse.

The Ambien, aside from the great aid to sleeping it is, is all that's responsible for the frightening part.

Well, when added to me, I guess.

But that's all. Sometimes I'm just too damn poetic for anyone's good. Life is like a metaphor, but if I said anything more creative, you'd probably call someone up to check on me, and we really don't need that over here.

I'm fine, damnit. Fine.

Have a good morning, all.

(It's entirely possible that sometimes I go further than I should in popping my own hood, and showing the mess inside. I knew the job was dangerous when I took it. The pay stinks, too. Ditto the health plan. But, as ever, I digress.)

I hope you, too, are fine and ok. Would you like some of my banana-pineapple-orange juice? A muffin? I have butter and honey, if you like.

Okay, maybe Hilzoy is still on fluids only. No impossible temptations offered, if so.

"If his email was changed or if his account is disconnected, would I be able to tell when I email him?"

If the relevant system was competently set up, sure. Of course, not all systems are competently set up. I'd suggest checking with the sysadmin, via the relevant e-mail address. Try help@.

"Better it would be if you were amused rather than annoyed by it."

Repeatedly having my comments rejected is not entirely amusing.

I may not have been clear in describing the problem, perhaps. I hit "post" and the wheels spin, and nothing results but a blank page.

It has become a predictable result whenever I include more than three links, which is why I'm fairly convinced that it's related to some spam-blocking aspect of your software.

Sometimes it results when I include even only a single link.

Sometimes it happens with no link included at all, and this seems possibly random.

I am and have been experiencing this only on this blog. I do post to other Typepad blogs. Thus, I don't see any relation to anything on my side of the connection, or my own software.

Yes, it's pretty darn annoying. No, it's really not amusing, particularly after the eighth or ninth attempt to post the same comment. My sense of humor may, of course, simply be lacking. It was kind of a funny-once, if that, I'm afraid.

There was no hostility or otherwise unsnuggly emotion meant, Gary, just to clarify. If it came off that way, chalk it up to the usual Slarti-terseness combined with the late hour. Basically typepad frustrates me as well from time to time, but I'm not paying the bills and it does serve its purpose. Its purpose doesn't include annoying you; that's just a perk!

Kidding, me.

On the bonus side, I did have myself photographed in a flight suit. Try as we would, though, we absolutely could not scare up a "Mission Accomplished" banner. Maybe I'll post it, if the helmet head isn't too scary.

"If it came off that way, chalk it up to the usual Slarti-terseness...."

Hand me no chalk!

I'm apt to scrawl all over the walls, apparently.

Only in a vain attempt to entertain, but sometimes they want to come lock me up for that sort of thing.

I probably shouldn't be allowed to be free to associate. It tends to all end in tears.

(Note for the literal: I have never been locked up. I am not, despite appearances, psychotic. I just, y'know, babble excessively. I'm sure that someday I'll find someone again who will appreciate it. Although probably only with the sock in my mouth.)

Slarti-terseness, by the way, is absofragglutely terrifically descriptive. Let no one ever tell you you can't write. Although I'm sure they whisper that behind your back all the time.

"Its purpose doesn't include annoying you; that's just a perk!"

If you were only an unmarried grrl, I'd ask to see the perk.

Meanwhile, I make the coffee instead. Small substitutes, small steps, small tit--, er, oops, never mind.

Good morning! Clean mind, clean body, off to shower, as I'm sure you also wish to do now. Where the hell are Bob McManus and John Thullen, anyway? I never asked to do three jobs at once, I just wandered in, as it happens. I knew the job was nonsensical when I took it.

Where is that damn sock?

See, no one ever knows what to say to that sort of thing.

Understandable, but it's why I tend to sit in a room, alone, typing on a keyboard.

Anyone at all familiar with the music group October Project? I am, as I've been doing all year, replaying "Bury My Lovely."

Doubtless I should talk about politics, instead, but it's not forefront in my head just now, I'm afraid.

I must work harder.

Apologies. I repeat myself again and again. I rarely have anything new to say.

No, Francis, I'm fine. Really.

And as this isn't my blog, I really should shut up for a while again. I just like to chat at a party sometimes, but it's not my party, so, you know, I'll go for another walk now.

I didn't actually have muffins, by the way.

If you ever want to tell us more about your grandmother, Von, we'll all be listening, I think.

Oh, look, Alito, and stuff that matters.

I had a longer version.

This one simply says: test.

And that if this is "Jan 13, 2006 8:08:54 PM," wow, I've discovered faster time travel.

I'm sorry for your loss, Von. If I could think of something more adequate that would do some good I would type it.

Gary, I'm guessing you're typing or bouncing around your apartment at relativistic speeds, which could explain the time anomaly. You maybe do need to take a walk or websurf about some noncontroversial topic that interests you and doesn't trigger any desire to talk/argue/debate or maybe clean the apartment or better yet, why don't you clean my apartment? (I just took time out from cleaning uneaten catfood off the kitchen floor. Next stop--cleaning the cat litter off the bathroom floor. We have messy cats.) Possibly you're just feeling lonely. It doesn't look like anyone is around here at the moment and I won't be around much longer either (cat litter, you know), so you'll have to entertain yourself some other way unless someone else shows up.

Great, cat vomit now too. Literally just now. This live time commenting could become addictive, I see, but I need to wipe the stuff up and go hunt down the Nature's Miracle spray can.

This blog needs more open threads. PTB, just open a post titled:"The thread that dare not speaks its name." or something.

But on the topic of mourning, and this is not intended to be light or disrespectful, the Dallas area is forecast for another 6 months of drought. 15 inches of rain in the last 13 months. As one who walks his dogs through parks and forests every day, it is a horrific sight to see the 50 and 100 year trees die, a nightmare. Worse than an actual desert is a landscape of skeletal trees and denuded bushes without snow or hope. The squirrels and birds are disappearing. The very air, at 10% humidity, feels lifeless and large, empty space. We have been about ten degrees above normal for six months, and although it is nice to have 60s and 70s every day, there is a sense of dread at nature gone wrong and a near terror of the upcoming Dallas summer. The clay and earth have become loose dust which films the furniture an hour after it is cleaned. They are spraypainting the golf courses. The drought is not an event but a condition.

A blasted wood of blackened skeletons in a haze of brown wasted earth reaching their limbs toward the sky in an unanswered cry for mercy. Death is where I live.

And after death come the flames.

God, Bob. I've been expecting the Apocalypse but I didn't realize it was here already.

We, on the other hand, are into rain, thirty three days in a row, I believe. Yes I know , Pacific Northwest, etc, but it usually doesn't rain THIS much.

"...or better yet, why don't you clean my apartment?"

Easy for you to say, given the mess in mine. My suspicion is that if we traded, I'd have the better part of the deal. Despite my current lack of cats.

I'm grateful Bob came round again. I'm quite in need of someone with a blacker outlook than I, just now.

This, too, will pass, but Bob will still be welcome.

(Bob, do you ever read the science fiction entries on my own blog, though?)

And, tangentially, I forget, but with great apologies, whomever it was who said here I should write my own Motion Of Light In Darkness.

That was one of the most flattering, nicest, things anyone has ever said to me in my life.

I was working on the eighth floor, while David (Hartwell) was editing it upstairs on... 14?, and the manuscript got passed back and forth quite a bit, because with a manuscript from Chip, it gets passed around (that I once had one for Stars In My Pockets Like Grains of Sand, long before it was published, when it was typed words on the page, and subsequently had it lost in the fire is one of my many crimes against humanity, but at least that one had a later version published; the copy of Paul William's original manuscript for Apple Bay is another crime of mine, although at least that, too, was pretty much published as extant; that my copy was typewritten, and freely given, and it was burned in the fire, however, well, I'll never, ever, ever, forgive myself; but I digress, of course).

Anyway, yes, Motion of Light. Considering it, I have actually known an interesting set of people. Beyond that, for now, I'll highly recommend Chip's books, instead, particularly because he's at least one hundred thousand times more brilliant and skilled than I ever will be.

I could discuss opinions of the pros and cons of all of his stuff, but another time. Motion Of Light was one of several I was thrilled to the core to have the slightest thing to do with, unlike most of the earlier and later work, which I only had the thrill of reading.

I'm pretty not much worthy to spot Chip's shadow, which is why having Iva answer the phone when I called, or hanging out in his apartment, or splitting a bed with him at the Baltimore Worldcon, and the like, pretty much are among the few things that justified my life, so far.

The calls from Harlan, and all the dealing with him, though, fun, too, if naturally trying.

Finding I was peeing next to Roger Zelazny, and later working on so many of his books, and getting to chat on occasion with him on the phone, were good, too.

I'll stop now, because, darn, too many names to cheaply drop, and I should have some sort of point when I do. If I could hold a candle to the talented folk I've had the privilege I've gotten to hang out with, that would be another thing. Instead, namedropping is just kind of shabby, really.

Especially because it's not a short list. That only makes it worse. I have never lived up to my potential, as mom never failed to point out.

Maybe someday.

Crap, whenever will I stop talking about myself?

Alito! Alito! News and politics! I am crap, and I matter not. Alito! Defeat him, at least by thumb-wrestling!

Now the sun sets, but Francis should, nonetheless, not worry. It's just the spinning of the earth.

Though I'm reasonably sure there's something f=cked up with my keyboard.

Okay, the obituary made me cry.

We, on the other hand, are into rain, thirty three days in a row, I believe

26 days so far. 33 is the record, for Seattle. Which is nothing, really. Otis, Oregon, on the coast, had 79 straight days of rain in 1997-98. And of course, Hawaii eclipses all those records.

But, you know, whatever it takes to keep the Californians back in California where they belong, I'm all for it. Like Jesus and the Mary Chain sang, I'm happy when it rains. It'll clear up in late June.

Like Jesus and the Mary Chain sang, I'm happy when it rains.

Like Shirley Manson and Garbage, are you only happy when it rains?

Um, DaveC, did you possibly leave me two telephone messages?

Someone saying they were "DaveC," did. If it was you, great. If I need to wonder who else might have done the deed, I probably should investigate.

Nice bit of a drawl, whomever it was.

On other fronts, me, I've said at other times and places, that I'm definitely only happy when it rains.


Yes, that was me, and my East Tennesse / Eastern Kentucky accent, which stands out here in the Chicago area, too. It was a busy day at work today, or I might have called. Wierd times, my company got sold last week, a bunch of people got fired on Monday, von's loss, hilzoy's surgery, Jeff Goldstein had some sort of major panic attacks (not a nice thing because you really feel like you are dying and added to it is the feeling that you are losing your mind, from somebody who knows), and then your anguish, and your ability to share or be maudlin or both.

So you foolishly or bravely gave your phone number to anonymous cowards like me, who have not really a lot to give in the way of advice or nooky. But I do sincerely care about my ASCII friends that are out there.

So well, I am not worried so much as I was before for you Gary. Things will get better. Von, my condolences, your grandmother sounds like she was a quite a remarkable woman.

"Yes, that was me, and my East Tennesse / Eastern Kentucky accent...."

Ah, well, good, then. I half-way wondered if it was the woman I've been chatting with for a few days whom I bravely offered my number, but who only wants to e-mail chat (wise her, I'm sure).

I'd halfway already forgotten that I'd also tossed it out here, since I'm brave, bold, and damn forgetful, not to mention that I'm listed in the usual public records/phone books, etc.

It was a charming accent. All I've done in the south is drive through. It is a loss of mine, though I do appreciate the loss so far.

I appreciate the call. I'll try to return it when I have something, anything, remotely coherent to say.

E-mail discussions of phone calls to me tend to work better, due to the fact that I'm on dialup, with warning, days of warning, actually, and can literally go weeks before I disconnect from the online, and check for the voice mail, I'm afraid, and hear phone messages, which are inevitably, save when DaveC calls, mortgage offers, which aren't so terribly useful.

So e-mailing me -- not that I necessarily check e-mail more than every few days, either -- to inform me of an incoming telephone call, is pretty likely the only way anyone will ever get me to answer Mr. Bell's fine machine, I'm afraid.

It was a completely pleasant surprise, mind. Though mostly a complete surprise.

Surprises are, to be sure, mostly good.

I'm sure everyone else would prefer we take this to e-mail. Not that I don't mind being a bit of an exhibitionist for the few voyeurs, but, really, they should pay for that pleasure, shouldn't they?

Okay, yes, everyone else back to Alito, politics, news, and at least we are all grateful for Hilzoy's return.

And my keyboard is still misbehaving. Nah nah nah nah, hey jude.

Naturally, though, I'd hate to think that people are reasonable, and only want to call me at special times.

Unpacking that slightly: there are all sorts of people I'ld like to hear from regularly, all the time, but the thing is, I'd rather not hear so much from the others. That's where it goes complicated, and we keep lists of friends, and so on. Some people we like, some people we love, and some people are just spammers. Or the sorts that send endless bad jokes they've heard, because that's the best they can do, and that's, well, just sad and sad-making. And so on. I wish I could do more for the latter, and it would be kinder to never even mention them, to be sure.

Everyone should, of course, want to call me all the time, particularly in the middle of the night with really original, or at least exciting sex fantasies.

Okay, they should be decent fantasies, and I do prefer if it's women making the calls. The men can call during the day.

"Decent" really wasn't the word I was going for, there, actually. Mistakes happen when it's all first draft. But it's how we learn to pick ourselves up, and then say no more than necessary.

In theory.

Wierd week for me, too. Start of last week I had zero valid charge numbers; now I have six. Maybe seven; I lose track. Was starting to actively dislike my job until the end of last year; now it's great with lots of opportunities to learn and do useful, new (for me) things. And just when all this happens, the wife gets a wild hair to move to Denver.

So, the resume's going out today. I doubt it the missile guidance bits are going to find much traction in the private sector, but it's possible that my smattering of experience with GPS could garner some interest. Well, we're not exactly in a hurry, so maybe I could transform myself into something more useful, or jobs could suddenly become good 'n' plenty at Lockheed in Denver. We'll see how all this pans out.

And, von, excuse me for not saying anything sooner, but it appeared as if condolences were not what you wanted. Assuming you've moved on a bit, though, I lost my grandmother just over a year ago and, well, the realization sort of clobbers you that they just don't build them like that anymore.

The loss is something you don't exactly come to grips with so much as find a place for in your soul. It's now part of you, so get comfortable with it.

Given that I've gone here, might as well address this:

how can the infinite value of my father's life have vanished with his death, how can an entire positive mass and volume have dropped to zero?

My answer is that the dead live on with us, for good or ill, in the way they've shaped our lives. That may not satisfy, but it's the best answer I've got. What your parents and grandparents leave behind when they die is you, plus the grief.

And again, von, grieve well, and know that we share that with you to the extent possible.

Sorry to hear of her passing, von. What a woman, and to be your grandmother to boot.

The current issue of the New Yorker features a wonderful essay by Roger Angell, which deals in part with his memories of his mother, Katharine White. I don't know you, von, but I'm sorry for your loss, and I think you and others might find the Angell essay as illuminating as I did--if not perhaps just now, then someday.

And just when all this happens, the wife gets a wild hair to move to Denver.

Any particular reason, or did she just throw a dart?

Any particular reason, or did she just throw a dart?

I've got family there: three brothers and my father. All of the family we had here have moved away; could be a hygiene issue.

Like Shirley Manson and Garbage, are you only happy when it rains?

Can't remember that far back. Ask again in late June.

All of the family we had here have moved away; could be a hygiene issue.

Well, Florida is America's Wang.

My condolences for your loss, Von.

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