I keep pretty busy during the school year, but as soon as I get a vacation I sort of collapse and can't get off the couch for a couple of days. It's for this I own a Nintendo. If'n I got a Wii I would play it for five days before it had to wait exactly ten weeks for school to end again. I'm not quite sure what'll happen when I graduate...
Back Monday. I'm in portland on vacation with the flu. Me and flu, oh man, I can't even tell you how great it is when we're together, I'm all "gaaaaaaah, blooooooah waaaaaaagh." And flu, man does he get crazy.
It's 2am now and my hamster, Jersey, is up at full speed on his wheel. Hamsters are nocturnal plains mammals that travel several miles in a night to search for food. In captivity my hamster gets on his wheel, runs really fast, gets off and eats something, runs really fast in the other direction, and has something to drink.
I think he's trying to simulate these things being far apart.
The cats, Samson and Toby, were really interested in Jersey at first. I observed about a year ago that cats do not like it when a large ball rolls towards them. I don't know if they can't figure it out or they're scared of getting squished or what, but they hate pilates balls and Jersey's ball when it's coming towards them. This means they'll stalk him for a few minutes as he rolls around the room but eventually Jersey notices and starts chasing them around the house. They still want to get inside his cage, but I think that's just because they like boxes.
Your lovely wedding present came today in a box large enough to hold a vacuum. Turns out it was only big enough for one kitty and when Toby tried to jump in after Samson there was a big fight. Samson is the dominant cat, she's all black and every so often we'll finder with tufts of Toby's orange fur hanging out of her mouth.
Still they're good friends, earlier today I found them sleeping in a sunbeam together, languidly cleaning each other's ears.
The note you included was so sweet, Lib, you don't even know.
On to the more business-like tone usual to catching-up email:
In answer to your question about living on the Republican side of town (and by the way when did you become such an old file on the subject of Eugene's geography?) our little place is unique. Starting out as a small shitbox with three bedrooms, owners since the fifties have improved fixtures and torn down walls until the house had hardwood floors, a brick bay for the pellet stove (rarely working but still nice to look at), and new double-paned windows. In making large spacious, well-appointed rooms for his primary residence, our land-lord ended up with an almost impossible rental property: it's a freestanding house in a charming garden in a quite part of town that can hold no more than one bed. There's one huge bedroom and an open living-kitchen-pellet stove area which will never again afford privacy. As a couple splitting the rent it's a huge deal for our own house, but for rent on a single unit it's through the roof.
When only one of us is earning it can be tough, the rest of the time it's a piece of cake, a short hop to the stores, right on the bus line.
I heard on the radio that almost everyone who talks to a financial planner thinks they'd be set for money if their income was just 40% more. From that perspective it's easy to see how despite feeling pinched I already make enough to keep a house with hardwood floors, two cats and a hamster, and a freezer full of ice cream novelties.
Google mail has a spellcheck feature and whenever I hit it on a long email and it says "no spelling errors found" I always feel like I've hit some sort of jackpot
Buying a suit is like buying a car: you need one, they're treating you like shit and you're paying way too much. Want to drive across town and see if the other place will be any better?
A Modest Proposal:
How the Eugene Public Library can increase the number of volumes in its collection and make more popular titles available without a single additional purchase.
To my dear friends at the Eugene Public Library,
I write to you today with an idea that will revolutionize our library. For years as a patron, taxpayer, and donor to the Eugene Public Library I have enjoyed your wonderful collection, great service, and beautiful facilities. I have been troubled, however, by two chief concerns. Firstly, I worry that despite the work of the Friends of the Library there are still too few books on the shelves, and secondly some of the most popular titles seem hardly to be on the shelves at all.
Thinking long and hard on this problem I have hit upon a solution that is as novel as it will be effective: the library should take new and popular books, cut them up into individual chapters, and place them on the shelves to circulate separately.
To help one fully appreciate the vast improvements in efficiency and circulation, let us take the recent hit Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as an example. The current collection stands at 65 copies with 33 available. Overnight, when the books are razored into 30 individual chapters the number of volumes in the collection shoots from 65 to 1,950. The number of volumes available will increase even more. Everyone currently holding a complete copy of the book would have only one chapter and 1,918 volumes would remain on the shelves waiting for the next eager patron.
Speed of circulation would also be greatly improved for each “title”. If all 1,950 volumes were checked out, patrons would no longer have to wait while someone reads all 652 pages but rather a single chapter which an adult reader could probably finish in one evening. Certainly the individual chapters might not be read right away or take a week or two to get returned, but that lag time can’t possibly be more than waiting for someone to finish a gripping novel.
Flexibility is one great advantage of this system. If a patron gets tired of waiting for a copy of Chapter 27, The Lighting Struck Tower, where beloved hero Dumbledore is killed by wicked magician Snape, he or she can always check out Chapter 28, The Flight of the Prince, which describes the aftermath of Dumbledore’s death.
For those who are unable to come into the library often to pick up each new chapter, the hold system would provide useful assistance. By putting a hold on all thirty chapters one at a time, each time typing in his full library card number and 7-digit PIN, When the patron visited the library, the chapters most recently returned would be there waiting for him. Which will it be this time? Chapters 4, 5, and 7? 2, 19, and 20? Or even 2, 3, and 4? The patron might prefer to put only one chapter on hold at a time, stretching out the enjoyment of J.K. Rowling’s prose for months.
Of course, the demand for the first few chapters would be higher than for the last few. As people grow frustrated with the new system and give up reading “divided” books and possibly the library altogether, there will be plenty of copies of chapter 30 to go around. Very few copies of chapter 1 would remain, of course, making it most likely that the chapters would arrive in reverse, creating a Memento style backwards narrative, or at the very least at random, creating a fractured 21 Grams style narrative.
Imagine how full the shelves would seem! Clogged as they would be with all but the first few chapters of every book in the collection, patrons could experience the joy of finding a copy of that summer’s bestseller still on the shelves before they realize that chapter 1 is not available.
I am confident, however, that you at the library will dismiss all these concerns, just as you have already done with your DVD collection.
A quick perusal of the DVD shelves shows that my idea has already been put to practice: shelves laden with discs 4, 5, and 6 of the third season of popular TV shows, the middle volumes of miniseries, and rarely a volume 1 to be seen. Shows with “heavy continuity” like Homicide or 24, where later episodes are nearly meaningless without having seen earlier installments are broken out from their original packaging and placed as separate titles. Would anyone like to see only the episodes “2:00 PM” through “7:00 PM” of taught thriller 24, without ever watching beginning or conclusion of that show’s 24 hour cycle? Certainly not, but that’s how it’s made available, just in case someone might. Patrons are given a choice whether they would like to reserve all the discs of a shows season and receive each at random or put one on hold at a time, wait the days or weeks, watch the four episodes in one evening, and go on the list for the next disc.
The result of this grand experiment? More titles on the shelves, higher circulation numbers, and patrons who would once have waited agonizing months to watch their favorite shows can now see the whole season out of order over the course of several months.
I know it may seem hard to take the blade to the most popular books in your collection. The system may seem arbitrary, a bureaucrat’s innovation that serves no one well. But I trust when it comes time to cross the line where we slice our solid, whole stories into separate chunks for no reason, we will take a look at the DVD section and realize: there’s no line to cross, we’re already there.
My name is Toby Fee. I live in Eugene, Oregon where I’m a student at the University of Oregon studying mainly art. I produce a monthly newspaper called The Bell that is not available online.
some of this information is now out of date, 5/18/2010
The hardest part of doing The Bell is the moment I finish an issue. Layout happens in the dead of night. It’s 3AM, I’m watching the first copy come off the printer (generally with f***ed up print margins, natch), and while I should be thrilled or even relieved I’m just tired. The whole day afterward I’m giving people copies and they’re reading and enjoying and I should be happy but instead I’m tired.
Anhedonia, a fancy term I picked up from Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, makes it very difficult to act as I should around The Bell. Criticism is hard to take, I can’t enter into a dialogue without feeling that everyone is apathetic to my work, and that people just take copies out of politeness.
By the time I’ve recovered, it’s time to work on the next issue, and there’s no time in between to luxuriate in being done, nor am I very excited to distribute copies.
Whoooo! That’s enough with the kvetching. It is also at those tired moments that I realize how good it feels to be doing something. I don’t have to tear down the work of others to feel good about my own, I don’t have to comment or rip off classics to do something I feel is worthwhile, all I have to do is keep working and bang, I’m an artist.
The sad part is that I had to try like five times to get a screen capture of this because I kept screwing up and dying. It's weird, though, I don't know what's changed but these early Nintendo games seemed so hard when I was 10, now it's effortless, and every death is just a mild frustration. Maybe it's just my point of view that's changed.
An ex-girlfriend of mine once made cheese in our refrigerator. Bookish, she was exactly the sort of person you’d want stranded on a desert island with you to teach you all about compasses and wind currents and what it is you’d done to make her so angry just now. So the process of making cheese from a gallon of milk involved straining and I think some heating but it basically amounted to leaving milk in the refrigerator for several weeks past its out date. The result was a sort of crumbly chevre.
Since then I’ve been a lot more brave about dairy products. Coming in to work tonight I discovered that all I had to eat for the next six hours was a bag of xylose (the fat man’s trying to lose weight, I know, funny), five York peppermint patties (which I hate), and a tub of cottage cheese that had been knocking around the basket of my bike for a few days.
I am not by nature a gross person. I do not eat with my hands or burp in public, so it’s a little hard to admit that I have just now finished a pound of cottage cheese that expired five days ago and has, since that time, been kept at room temperature.
I’ve got a slight tingling on my tongue, and I’m wondering if the computer lab might be my last visual memory before a lifetime of blindness.
Still it’s better than York peppermint patties.