Sunday, December 19, 2010

Scheduled Maintenance

If I had to blame anybody I suppose it would be Jessa Marko. Women have a habit of entering or leaving my life when I least expect it, and some time during the first week of November, Jessa appeared on the U.E.S. Drake in Cuban heels. Without her, I doubt I would have banged out the 50,000 words of "Breakdown" that are now awaiting 20,000 more.

At about the same time that Jessa was getting romantically involved with a cybernetics specialist, Grinder University not only appeared on the horizon but came thundering into my study like a freight train that, according to eye-witness reports every bloody Spring here in Kansas, sounds strangely like a tornado. I'll return to Grinder U in future blogs, but suffice it to say that 160 hours of November through mid-December were soaked up by the PLO8 course I put together.

And on my days off I was playing an average of 2,200 hands at PokerStars.

You'll notice that all of this involved being plugged in to a computer. Which has additional pitfalls such as little windows popping up saying things like "some people you've never met have birthdays this week." Also stuff about something called a "credit score," and a reminder from that I have unused "posy points."

Since I don't like the outside world during the months when there are no leaves on deciduous trees, this isn't all bad, but I have more than me to consider. Zoot the cat is meandering towards being Zoot the ex-cat and requires a considerable amount of attention. Which is difficult to provide when I'm doing what I'm doing now, and even more difficult when I'm playing poker. For example, there are now five PLO8 6-max players who are convinced I've added the flop bluff-reraise to my arsenal when in fact it was Zoot tripping over a banana and landing on the mouse.

Rufus needs a lot of attention when he's being normal-for-Rufus. The stress in the Kattery produced by Zoot getting increasingly creaky and me trying to avoid going bust has got the red-headed Stepcat even more jittery than usual. So when he howled at me the other day I made a point of asking him very politely if this could wait thirty seconds since I was in hands on six different tables. He replied that he really felt this issue should be addressed now.

And when I looked down at his pear-shaped form I saw a very unhappy cat sitting with his favorite piece of string. A piece of string that I had not used to play "swipe," "pin," or "fetch" for several days.

Turns out that it wasn't Jessa Marko's fault at all. It was mine.

I was contemplating all this a few hours later as Rufus crashed into the front door trying to trap the light of a laser pointer, and realized that I was absolutely fucking knackered. Emotionally drained. Anxious. Plain tired. Really not in good shape at all.

I really need two of me, but public opinion has come out very clearly on this one, maintaining that one of me is more than enough.

So I have developed the following plan. From 6 p.m. December 24th to 1 p.m. January 2nd I will be offline for scheduled maintenance. The computer will be off, my phone will be off, the front door will be locked, and I will be with the cats, or books (the kind you pick up and that smell funny), or the vacuum cleaner. Mostly there will be a lot of sitting and breathing.

If you really need to get hold of me, remember the following: If a problem has no solution, it isn't a problem; if a problem has a solution, it isn't a problem. In other words, you don't need to get a hold of me.

See you all next year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Someone Else's Wall

Shake it down again
Panic held at bay
By a sharp intake of breath
I did it in another tone
In the rafters there are
Bats in the belfry
Tell me

Why a word on
Someone else's wall
Will change my day
And an empty room
Can conjure you
The Sara who won't fade

Speed it up again
Putting life on pause
As a poem holds its breath
Found me in another room
In the cupboard there are
Cats ringing bells
So tell me

Why a word on
Someone else's wall
Will change my day
And an empty room
Can conjure you
The Sara who won't fade

And your name on
Someone else's tongue
Like Lucozade
And a morning dream
That summons you
The Sara who won't fade

And a thousand nights
I've thought of you
And wondered what you'd say
If I ever closed
My eyes on you
The Sara who won't fade

To Sara...