the first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it

  1. True or false: When someone hates you it is because:
    ...they're jealous of you?
  2. ...the things you say are frightening to them, because what you say makes them think about things they would rather avoid thinking about? possibly true
  3. ...they don't understand you? maybe true
  4. True or false: When you hate someone it is because:
    ...you're jealous of them?
    sometimes true
  5. ...the things they say are frightening to you, because what they say makes them you think about things you would rather avoid thinking about? false
  6. ...you don't understand them? false
  7. Have you ever been fascinated by someone who hated you? oh, definitely
  8. Since the human brain has defense mechanisms against feeling bad (meaning the brain lies to itself to avoid feeling bad about something it said or did), how can we ever know if we are truly being honest? I think that the appropriate question is whether we know we are being dishonest. We do still have the ability to know the truth about honesty, just not the dishonest realm. Right? So I guess the trick is to be honest, and the rest of it will take care of itself.
  9. How do we know our brains are not tricking us into believing we are good people when we aren't all good? we don't
  10. How highly do you value innovation? for its own sake, it's worth nothing
  11. Is there a name where all the people you've ever met having that name had something in common with each other (ex. all the Jens you've ever met had blue eyes)? pretty much every Renee I've ever met has wanted to murder me (for good reason), and Brians tend to be black holes (though there are two who currently aren't behaving that way, so maybe I've turned the corner on that)
  12. Are you focused more outward or inward? inward, definitely
  13. What is the most affectionate nickname you ever came up with for someone? if it's affectionate, then it's probably too personal to be thrown out here
  14. Are the questions STILL still interesting this deep into the survey? if they aren't too repetitive. The point isn't the questions, but the places where the answers take us.
  15. If someone else makes their decisions based on their intuition instead of on facts and proofs, what do you think of that person? it depends on the person. Just because I'm an intuition person, that isn't necessarily right for everyone.
  16. Do you trust your own intuition? of course
  17. Finish the phrase...
    ...danger is the:
    best drug
  18. ...just keep: coming
  19. ...never trust: a boss
  20. ...the way I live my life: sometimes works for me, but isn't a universal plan
  21. ...don't change: for me
  22. ...maybe someday: it'll happen
  23. Would you rather live in Frodo's world or Harry Potter's? ugh, I would--to paraphrase my dear friend--rather live in the porn realm!
  24. Do you believe that the dead are with us? If yes, in what form? not "the dead" as in, all of them. That seems a bit crowded and creepy. But certain people...yes. Definitely. My best guy friend, he's here. I can feel him in the sting in my eyes when I wish more than anything that I could talk with him, get a hug, hear his voice on the phone (or in my voicemail, making fun of me for not answering, again!). My uncles, too. A coworker from the library. An old boyfriend.
    Whether they are with me because they choose to be, or because I cannot bear to let them go--they remain..
  25. Are you made of timid stuff? 'timid' is part of my genetic if not natural or preferred make-up
  26. Is there anyone in this world who is not crazy? for sure. Lots of people can't give up control enough to be crazy, and it's pretty sad.
  27. What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it? short
  28. Can you mashed potato? no
  29. Can you do the twist? of course
  30. What does your family do for Thanksgiving..or, if you don't celebrate it, what do you picture when you think of Thanksgiving? lately we do a pretty mellow thing, get together midday for a smallish meal (turkey, potatoes, gravy, pie), and watch a movie or do a puzzle or both. Generally just me and my parents, because my brother's current wife is such a pill that we don't enjoy spending time with her and she definitely does not appreciate spending any more time with us than absolutely necessary.
  31. What is your earliest memory? playing in the yard with my brother
  32. Have you ever taken an IQ test? many, many times
  33. What'd you get? ...scores?
  34. What do you think of those things? I think they are generally known to be a valid method by which to measure intelligence
  35. How do you make 'fishcakes'? eeew
  36. Which is the better band..the Offspring or the Damned? Offspring
  37. Do you ever think about world destruction? nah
  38. Do you think humans are becoming more robotic? not in so many words, no
  39. Do you think we'll ever be replaced by robots? I think that a lot of lower-level jobs will probably be phased out eventually, but it won't necessarily be for the better
  40. What do you feel a part of? a family, friend groups, a company, a city, a state, a country (within reason), many other smaller groups within those groups--and an incredibly vital, impossible to describe, abhorrent to explain relationship
  41. Does it freak you out to know that yogurt is ALiVe?? no
  42. What current band do you think is doing something particularly interesting or innovative? I still like Elbow a lot
  43. Which is more important, books and cleverness or friendship and bravery? sorry, those things cannot be separated
  44. If I promise to miss you, will you go away? that question has come up more than once this week
  45. stool, ball, powder...Can you think of a 4th word that connects these three? yes
  46. Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? lots of little girls, for instance
  47. Why are blondes considered 'dumb'? not going there
  48. What's more important..intuitiveness/creativity or factual knowledge and practicality? to me? intuition and creativity
  49. Who are the two worst terrorists you can think of? complacency and fear
  50. What is Jello made of? love and wiggles
  51. Do you have strong opinions? yup
  52. Do you do what it takes to stand up for those opinions? questions like this are annoying.
  53. Have you ever been to a rally, protest or demonstration? If yes, was it effective and in what ways? yes. No, it was not, except that it made us feel better about our effrontery.
  54. When people say, 'yeah, it sucks, but there's nothing I can do', do you believe them? sometimes, yes
  55. Do you know what you can do to make this world a better place? sure
  56. Do you care? not your business
  57. Why is peace so important anyway? and that question is incredibly dumb
  58. Why is freedom important? surrender it and see for yourself
  59. Do you try to avoid anything involving work? there are days when I'd love to do that. But since they still trade me money to be there, I still go in and do the work.
  60. Are you in denial? thank God for denial, or we would all lose our minds
[From the 5000-question meme; this is the second half of the thirty-fifth part (questions 3351-3400). The title quotation is by C.G. Jung.]


this is a mystery from which you will never recover

You are running away from everyone
who loves you,
from your family,
from old lovers, from friends.

They run after you with accumulations
of a former life, copper earrings,
plates of noodles, banners
of many lost revolutions.

You love to say the trees are naked now
because it never happens
in your country. This is a mystery
from which you will never

recover. And yes, the trees are naked now,
everything that still breathes in them
lies silent and stark
and waiting. You love October most

of all, how there is no word
for so much splendor.
This, too, is a source
of consolation. Between you and memory

everything is water. Names of the dead,
or saints, or history.
There is a realm in which
—no, forget it,

it’s still too early to make anyone understand.
A man drives a stake
through his own heart
and afterwards the opposite of nostalgia

begins to make sense: he stops raking the leaves
and the leaves take over
and again he has learned
to let go.

[Eric Gamalinda {1956- }, 'The Opposite of Nostalgia' from Zero Gravity]


it all ends in one of two ways: either someone gets eaten or something blows up

  1. What's the dilio?
    new pedicure in process, watching WLIIA, and contemplating what to wear to the party on Tuesday
  2. Where did the term 'dilio' come from?
    there was a dark period in the late 90s and early 00s when the slang thing to do was to rearrange perfectly fine words like "deal" into stranger words like 'dilio'. And there was a song.
  3. How many even whole numbers are there between -5 and 5?
  4. What words can you make using only these letters: E N O?
  5. What's the difference between foods that are low-fat and foods that are lite?
    "lite" has no factual meaning
  6. White or brown rice?
    white. Brown rice tastes like (and in all ways resembles) a building material. fehhh
  7. Can you be content if you are physically uncomfortable?
    yes, definitely. Else people with chronic illness would never be happy--and I know that's not true.
  8. What is the difference between discomfort and pain?
  9. What is the most uncomfortable thing you can think of?
    tonsillectomy recovery was pretty bad
  10. What do these names make you think of:
    ...Britney Spears?

    barefoot in a gas station bathroom
  11. ...Walt Whitman?
    "It is a painful thing to love a man or woman to excess, and yet it
    satisfies, it is great..." from 'Leaves of Grass'
  12. ...the Buddha?
    great admiration, and not much knowledge
  13. ...William Shakespeare?
    "But men may construe things after their fashion
    Clean from the purpose of the things themselves" from
    Julius Caesar
  14. ...Pablo Picasso?
  15. ...Adam Ant?
  16. ...Franz Fafka?
    something about cockroaches?
  17. ...Nietzche?
    "In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man's torments."
  18. ...Madonna?
  19. ...Orson Scott Card?
    the triples game
  20. ...Frieda Kahlo?
    Salma Hayek
  21. ...Salvador DalĂ­?
    I don't get it
  22. ...Lars Ulrich?
    "the cute one"
  23. ...Jim Henson?
    “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”
  24. What is your favorite game to play?
    'I Deserve Nice Things, Too'
  25. Are you quick to judge something as stupid just because you don't understand it?
  26. Are you obnoxious to others?
    some, yes
  27. Do you feel superior to anyone?
  28. Shouldn't people take a good look at themselves before they criticize others?
  29. Which is better and why: writing or saying obnoxious things about someone who isn't around to defend themselves, or saying it straight to them Which do you do more often?
    neither is great, since the basis of this--being obnoxious--isn't ever 'better'
  30. Do you apologize too often?
    only in the sense that my actions are worth apologizing for too often
  31. Does your mind play tricks on you?
    no more than anyone else's
  32. Have you read (any of):
    ...the Bible?

  33. ...the Koran?
    maybe a little?
  34. ...the Torah?
  35. ...the Kama Sutra?
  36. ...the Satanic Bible?
  37. Are these mystical texts or historical ones?
    that interpretation is personal, not universal
  38. Do you own any possessions that you hide from parents, friends, visitors? What?
    sure--my journals, a little stash of cash, a box of massively outdated love letters...
  39. Why does the cheese stand alone?
    because of the choices that he made, but also because of circumstances that he (The Cheese) cannot control. Read the book!
  40. Do you watch any soaps?
    ugh, no
  41. Have you learned something new today?/
    I have
  42. Have you invented your own style, just for you?
    I suppose? The clothes that I wear tend to be a little different from what most of my contemporaries would choose.
  43. Have you invented your own religion, just for you?
    in a sense, that's probably true, though I think that I'm unique just like everybody else in that one
  44. What files have you recently downloaded?
    I pulled some pictures off my phone for archiving on Friday night. That's as close to "downloading" as I get lately.
  45. Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard but I think:
    ...it should be the same for little boys
  46. Do you dance around a lot?
    not a lot, no
  47. Is the unexamined life worth living or not?
    ugh, definitely not!
  48. What are you like when you're at your most beautiful?
    probably sleeping
  49. What are you like when you are at your worst?
    pulling through the end of a long week at work, headachy and vaguely angry. Looking ahead toward a weekend where wishes don't quite line up with the results. Thinking about love and money, and wanting to bang my head against the wall because whether I'm at work or at home, it doesn't really matter.
  50. Why do you hide things about yourself?
    oh--do I?
  51. Why is anything 'too personal' to talk to others about?
    contemplate that the word "personal" probably answers that question in itself. Anyway, there ought to be some space between people, or there wouldn't be any mystery, any interest, or room to learn anything, ever. The entirety of life would be TMI. It sounds awful.
  52. Why should we be embarrassed, afraid, or apologetic for anything we think, say or do?
    embarrassment serves the function of reinforcing social limits. Fear is all about protection, and within certain boundaries it is incredibly valuable. Apologizing maintains social order and preserves relationships (also when it is reasonable).
  53. Can true freedom exist in this world of doubt and guilt?
    sure, but it is rare and maybe fleeting. But I think that it can happen.
  54. What do you have no control over?
    that's an impossible question to answer. But, a short list? Happiness, the future, my own weight, whether my phone will ring (but not whether I will answer it), when my headaches appear, others' reactions to my personality, and the weather.
  55. Do you own a vibrating pillow?
  56. How about a vibrating back massager?
  57. Can you dance away your emotional pain?
    uh, no
  58. When you dance, is it a celebration of life?
    that made me snort
  59. When do you feel the most immortal?
    I've reached a stage where 'immortal' is not something that I ever feel. My bones hurt, I'm sad, and I'm tired. There's no living forever through all that.
  60. Are you more of a painting, a poem or a song?
    a poem, I suppose? Or a song.
  61. Is loneliness a crowded room full of open hearts turned to stone?
  62. Is your heart ever stone?
    oh yeah
  63. Are we all together, all alone?
    no, I don't think so
  64. Does life end in a happily-ever-after way?
    nope, it just ends. Whether with a gasp or a shout, we each go out alone.
  65. What's the warmest part of your body?
    my head
  66. Are you more verbal or visual?
    what do you think?
  67. What do you long for?
    just someone who loves me enough to be there.
[From the 5000-question meme; this is the first half of the thirty-fifth part (questions 3301-3350). The title quotation is by Jim Henson.]


no one can know what goes on in the pale trappings of bedrooms, in anyone's secret, harrowed heart

Not them. Not even with the best
binoculars on the bluest day
could I have seen it coming.
Not with scrutiny's microscope,
or with the help of history or gossip.
Of all people, not them.
They hadn't fallen in love with others.
Not even a night of drink
or proximity's slow burn drove them
to lapse, say, with a coworker.
It means no one can know what goes on
in the pale trappings of bedrooms,
in anyone's secret, harrowed heart.
It makes time itself an executioner--
a fact I always knew
applied to couples
whose bodies contradicted
their Darling this, Honey that,
and even some who exhibited
true decency and respect.
But this is a mockery, a defeat.
My friends were perfect, perfect.
"Every married couple appearing together
in public is comic," Adorno said,
and I wrote "Stupid!" in the margin.
Now they're broken, finished.
Oh Adorno, you son of a bitch,
you perspicacious bastard,
sometimes what a cold eye sees
lasts longer than any of us.

[Stephen Dunn {1939- }, 'Their Divorce' from Different Hours]


if a pretty dress hides your true desire Fold it nice and slow, throw it on the fire

  1. What is man anyhow? just a combination of chemicals and electricity
  2. What am I? just some weirdo with time on her hands
  3. and what are you? I suppose I walked into that one
  4. You understand enough. Why don't you let it out? whose business is it but mine?
  5. What is less or more than a touch? a look
  6. Why should anyone wish to see God more than they wish to see this day? the heart has its reasons that the mind knows nothing about
  7. Have you guessed that after death you yourself would not continue? I think that's pretty clear
  8. Have you feared the future would be nothing to you? yes
  9. Is today nothing? today is...something
  10. Do you believe in a collective unconscious? yes
  11. Jung or Freud? Jung
  12. What is a 'fate worse than death'? loneliness
  13. What are the 5 main things you think about? love, money, sleep, the job, and the future
  14. Name someone you know: D
  15. What is the biggest thing you have in common with them? subtext
  16. Do you think that laws should be passed to regulate human breeding? sure
  17. Do you think they already exist in a subtle way? yep
  18. Why is it that so many people are demanding the death penalty as punishment for a wider and wider range of crimes? when people get freaked out about crime, and scared, they look for an answer. That's one of the answers that people reach for.
  19. Is it partially to weed the nonconformists out of the gene pool? uh, no
  20. What does it mean to be free? no charge
  21. What does it mean to be tamed or domesticated? no longer wild
  22. Is the human animal becoming more and more tame and domestic? not hardly. If you've seen the news lately, it's filled with heartbreak and horror (and disparity), not the opposite of wildness!
  23. If yes, what is causing this? not
  24. Are we becoming more or less free? less, definitely. Whether literally--by increasing laws--or figuratively through fear and reactionary behavior, we're surrendering and destroying freedom all the damn time.
  25. Are you embarrassed about your naked body? sometimes yes, lots of times no
  26. If yes, is that freedom? I don't think "freedom" enters into the equation at this juncture
  27. Are you the result of all of evolution up to this point? all of it?? No.
  28. The murderous person...how does he sleep? that's the sleep of the insane
  29. What are you focused on? holding my laptop between my feet, typing away, watching YouTube clips from Whose Line Is It Anyway?
  30. Have you ever admired wickedness? I fell ass over teakettle for wickedness about a year ago. It's quite a ways beyond 'admire'.
  31. Is the accomplishment of one person the accomplishment of all humanity? no
  32. Why or why not? how in the world could that be a yes?
  33. Is the imprisonment of one person the imprisonment of all humanity? REALLY no
  34. Why or why not? cut down on the kool-aid, dude
  35. We're just following ancient history. If I strip for you, will you strip for me? "Uh-huh-huh"
  36. Have you ever wished you had not so many clothes? "the great heaven knows"
  37. What is the balance between conformity and individual freedom? perspective
  38. What do these things have in common: nakedness, sex, killing, fighting, shitting, death? juveniles use them as anthems to attract attention
[From the 5000-question meme; this is the third third of the thirty-fourth part (questions 3267-3300). The title quotation is from "Strip" by Adam Ant.]


you spun like a dervish with rage

You always knew you wrote for him, you said
He is the father of my art, the one who watches all night,
chain-smoking, never smiling, never satisfied.
You liked him because he was carved from glaciers,
because you had to give him strong wine to make him human,
because he flushed once, like a November sunset,
when you pleased him.

But you didn't love him.
You thought that was part of the bargain.
He'd always be there like a blood relative,
a taciturn uncle or cousin,
if you didn't love him. You'd hand him poems,
he'd inspect them, smoke, sip, a business deal,
and that would be that.

Then he went away and you hardly noticed.
Except you were happy, you danced on the lawn,
swelled like a melon, lay naked long mornings,
brushed your hair more than you needed.
Your breast grew pink and silky,
you hummed, you sucked the pulp of oranges, you forgot
all about words.

                           And when you were
absolutely ignorant,
                                 he came back,
his jacket of ice flashed white light,
his cap of pallor bent toward you, genteel, unsmiling.
He lit a cigarette, crossed his legs,
told you how clumsy you were.
Ah, then, love seized you like a cramp,
you doubled over in the twist of love.
You shrieked. You gave birth to enormous poems.

He looked embarrassed and said how bad they were.
They became beasts, they grew fangs and beards.
You sent them against him like an army.

He said they were all right
but added that he found you, personally,

                       You howled with love,
you spun like a dervish with rage, you
kept on writing.

[Sandra Gilbert {1936- }, 'The Return of the Muse' from Kissing the Bread]


I like you; your eyes are full of language

  1. Name three things that would make really bad ice cream flavors: cinnamon, bubble gum, or banana
  2. Would you try a jelly bean if its flavor was:
    ...toasted marshmallow?
  3. ...fried chicken? no
  4. ...black pepper? no
  5. ...grass? maybe
  6. ...sardines? ugh
  7. Did you know that you can get these flavors of jellybeans at harrypotter.com? nope
  8. What's at the center of the Earth? solid iron core
  9. Have you ever wondered where holidays come from? no - it's pretty obvious
  10. Do you think there should be more movies shown in 3D? ugh, not at all. 3D movies are nauseating.
  11. Are you just another brick in the wall? we're all just another brick in the wall. That's the curse, and the fate.
  12. Are you cautious and tame? sometimes. Sometimes, like today, I grab my life by the balls and damn it to squeak
  13. Do you like to eat at Subway? they do make a nice meatball thing, yes
  14. Is 42 the meaning of life? I'll have to get back to you on that
  15. Would you agree that a blade of grass is nothing less than the journeywork of stars? I'll think on that and get back to you
  16. Do you want to die? someday, yes. If the alternative is what I see way too often: hell yes.
  17. If someone was studying 'the humanities' what the hell are they studying? really. Like that's any way to learn something that you obviously need to learn. Here's an idea: how about you look it up? Here, here, here, here, here, here, here...
  18. Do you want to diet? want? No. Need? Yes.
  19. What is colder, your feet, or the floor? my feet. It was not warm today and I've had cold feet since the morning.
  20. What is older, your mouth, or the door? my mouth
  21. Are you more beauty or more beast? beast
  22. Are we there yet? not by a long shot
  23. Scantron or handwritten tests? handwritten
  24. What's that sound? "Money" by Pink Floyd
  25. True/false: To the maggots on the cheese, the cheese is the universe. false
  26. What's the best treat to bring with you to elementary school for your birthday? chocolate chip bars
  27. What would you expect to learn from self-interrogation? "self-interrogation" is another way of saying "keep an honest journal"
  28. When you feel cold, does eating warm food help you feel warm? it can
  29. Does being true to yourself mean saying 'screw everybody else, my shit is more important'? no, that's not it at all. Being true to yourself is about not lying about what you're thinking or how you're feeling, relaying those things honestly--to yourself if not in its entirety to anyone else. It's not about taking advantage for your own gain, but actually the opposite: really being yourself.
  30. Have you reckoned a thousand acres much? I have no idea what that's supposed to mean.
  31. Have you reckoned the earth much? again, incomprehensible
  32. Have you ever had a vision? not in the visual sense, but in more metaphorical ways my whole life's been filled with them
  33. If you have a vision or belief and someone else has a conflicting vision or belief, how do you tell which one is valid? Are they both valid? “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
  34. Why is everything based around proof and facts instead of intuition? "everything" is a very large word
  35. What is the grass? carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus?
  36. Have you ever supposed it is lucky to be born? sure
  37. Is it just as lucky to die? could be?
  38. What is it that you express in your eyes? “What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.” [Walt Whitman]
[From the 5000-question meme; this is the second third of the thirty-fourth part (questions 3233-3266). The title quotation is by Anne Sexton.]

you bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen...the people you have loved

Lock and Dam No. 7; 18 Sept. 2006
Adam at the Green Mill; 17 Nov. 2007
Lighting of the Square, Woodstock IL; 24 Nov. 2007
Blumen Gardens; 7 May 2011
the dramatic apartment (in DeKalb); 13 June 2011
rain at the DeKalb apt; 21 June 2011
steamy beef soup; 27 June 2011
Chris; 1 September 2011
[the title quotation is by Ansel Adams, and reads in its entirety:

You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.]