Strike Me Down

These are some of the blog entries that I’ve bookmarked in the “struck me” folder that I’ve been keeping off and on since March. There seems to be a fairly high ratio of death related entries. Rather than attributing that to some sort of death fixation, I’ll assume that death related articles are simply more fundamentally charged and likely to cause one to pause and think.

mike.whybark.com: Spaulding Grey at the Comet
what’s up, pussycat?: Moving On
Open Brackets: Appropriation
Erik Benson: post-redesign funkiness
Oblivio: Escape
eclecticism: The need for speed
In Passing…: 2 April 2004
Eeksy-Peeksy: Vertebrating
Open Brackets: Picturesque
onepotmeal: Upper management
bhikku: womad nomad
burning paper: “your name here”
Everyday Matters: Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand
onepotmeal: Lockout
Super Special Questions: ETHIOPIA 5: Bahar Dar: Awesome
Oblivio: Pavement
mike.whybark.com: Cafe de Paris
Open Brackets: Hand Me Downs
Eeksy-Peeksy: ITRW
geegaw.com: first day at home

Ash

My family stopped at a park or a rest area somewhere for lunch and my mom went off to gather Mt. St. Helens ash from the shoulder of the highway. It seemed unlikely to me that after so long, there would still be piles of ash just laying around in the open air. I expressed my skepticism to one of my older sisters, and she pointed out the gray powdery soil in the area around a drinking fountain where the grass had been trampled away. “There’s ash right here.”

The picnic had to have taken place in the early eighties — only a few years after the eruption. My mom was gathering souvenirs of a recent event. But to me, Mt. St. Helens was a historical event. The eruption had happened in my lifetime, but I didn’t remember it. Besides, there had been a filmstrip about it at school, and those filmstrips always seemed outdated.

Later, my mom seperated the ash into little plastic baggies that she labeled with fortune cookie-sized strips of paper. She passed the baggies out to the kids in her Camp Fire group and to relatives in California.

We Don’t Want Your Nuts

["Keep Drive Way Clear" sign]

We were just walking out the door, and the squirrel was foraging in the little patch of landscaping past the mailboxes. The squirrel would have gone unnoticed, but it jerked into motion just as we walked past. It spiraled down the tree trunk and scrambled across the ground, disturbing a flurry of leaves. Then it heaved itself over the ledge, pitched itself across the parking lot without touching the ground, and dove between the wire’s of the neighbor’s fence.

I had to replay the scene to figure out if we’d been doing something alarming enough to cause the squirrel’s to react in such a panicky unsquirrellike manner.

[low sunset brightened clouds]

It’s the Alternator

My car stalled out in the middle of an intersection after limping up the steepest part of the hill, through five lights, and around three turns with a failing battery. (I avoided signaling the turnes.) Two short pushes landed the car in an illegal parking space that was marked poorly enough that I could have defended against a potential parking ticket. The first push was orchestrated enthusiastically by other drivers and passers-by. But it took some effort to gather support from a second group after the flush of excitement over clearing a blocked intersection had passed. Samantha came along with jumper cables, and I chased off a carload of aggressive drive-by mechanics who wanted to do some cheap work on her fender. The jumpstart gave the car enough juice to get around the corner and into the first position of a parallel parking. We backed it in with a push but weren’t able to push it forward to line up with the curb. A group of girls was walking by and I asked them to help. They agreed and one of them yelled, “Girl power!” before pushing her shoulder up against the truck. The car rolled right into place, but only after I remembered to take the parking brake off again. It was actually a nearly perfect three-point parallel parking job, except for the getting out and pushing.

Today I went to the auto shop across from my parked crate of plastic and steel. It’s a small garage, but they had ten cars packed in there. I handed over the key and point out where the car is parked. I don’t envy them having to wiggle it out from between the cars that are parked tightly in front of and behind it.

Do You Realize?

New rule: Whenever I hear The Flaming Lips’ song, Do You Realize?, I’ll stop and make a note of what’s happening.

I’m at Bauhaus avoiding working on the NaNoWriMo novel. All but two people in the upstairs area are working on laptops. Both are women in their early twenties. One is wearing plastic barrettes in her hair. She’s positioned with her back to the windows. The other has short blonde hair and cat eye glasses, she’s cradling a cup of coffee in her hands and staring blankly ahead of her. There’s one table between them and they’re facing each other. The first girl is drawing in a little black notebook. The second girl just put down her coffee and began reading a small red book with gilt page edges.

While I was rearranging sentences in the last paragraph, a broad-shouldered guy with tattooed arms sat in the table between them and cracked open a textbook, and the first girl left.

Hopkin: Still Lost

["Lost Frog" poster]

These photocopied “Lost Frog” fliers turn up infrequently in different neighborhoods around Seattle. The two or three times that I’ve seen them, they’ve left me confused. These posters are more disorienting than an impossibly positioned Cold K tag.

The web got ahold of the flier two weeks ago, and it’s been circulating among different message boards. Some of them linked to this old Beans for Breakfast entry. Photoshop skills were flexed, and finally someone on Metafilter (and apparently someone posting on this gated Filepile thread) did some research. The startling truth of the flier — the convoluted back story — is that Terry lost his toy frog, Hopkin. (It’s probably not a coincidence that the flier in the picture posted here was outside a closed-down toy store.)

The final straight forward explanation leaves me just as puzzled as when I was trying to find some hidden motive behind the posters.

(Thanks to Kat for pointing me to the second Metafilter thread.)

Why

There’s a guy sitting at the window-facing counter at Top Pot. He keeps swearing and stumbling around, shuffling papers and spilling coffee. He only calls attention to himself occasionally, so he hasn’t been a nuisance. He’s talking to someone on his cell phone now. He just said, in a sort of whiney out-of-it voice, “Why? I don’t remember why I called you.” There’s a four inch thick textbook sitting at his side. It’s title is, “Gravity.”

It’s okay to write “textbook” as one word. This doesn’t go toward any sort of wordcount.

Giveaway and Takeaway

[flowers]

John offered to give a free print of one of his photos to the first five people to ask for one. I claimed one, and now I think I’ll steal his thunder pass the deal on. I’ll send out five 8″x10″ prints — one each to the first five people who ask for them.