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[21 Feb 2008|09:16pm]
I don't know what this is with John, really. I don't think it's being bored with him because he's overly serious as I felt a lot better today after going on a bike ride with Jen and he was cheerful and manic when he came home from work. I accidentally offended him so now he is not even talking to me, is holed up in his room.

I can't say I mind all that much. I am zoned out and listless. That period where I was energetic and full of new ideas is over; this is its inverse. I am not even all that excited about going back to South Carolina anymore (although that is hardly surprising). I have nothing to talk to him about. I guess I've been a huge bitch lately, as he keeps telling me. If that's the case it is more indifference than anything, or being too zoned out to interact properly.

I blame the weather, partly. It's going to warm up again on Saturday, though.

I responded to a bunch of craigslist ads for jobs today. Two part-time office work, a couple part-time receptionist jobs. Also, Jen and I stole from Wal-Mart. I felt very obvious at times but everything was fine.

My room is really messy but I don't care. I don't care about much of anything. Hanging out with Jen the past two days has been good, although I am slightly disturbed by how easily I pick up her mannerisms. Hers are similar to mine in the first place, which makes it easier.

I don't know how to get myself out of this mood. It only bothers me when I remember what I felt like a couple of days ago, or even what I feel like normally; on its own it is not unpleasant, because I'm too removed to be bothered. Agh, this is no good.
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[20 Feb 2008|08:45pm]
John is overcome with Charlotte love, or something, so he's in his room listening to lots of music I've never heard him listen to before, or it's been so long that I can't remember. Maybe it's a mix CD? Hmm. Jen is in the bathroom for the millionth time today and about to go to Guilford College for a lunar eclipse party. I think I will climb onto the roof to watch it--or maybe the Rape Shack roof. It is a steep, peaked roof, though, so perhaps not a good vantage point from which to watch what I imagine is a very slow process.

I am going to make a chessboard bandana. Cloth is really perfect, better than using a flexible cutting mat for a portable chessboard, as I'd considered before. I would like to make it tonight but I should get permanent fabric markers instead of using paint pens. I am using part of my bedsheet (I use only the fitted sheet, so it's just been sitting in the hall closet).

I've decided to keep Mouseteeth--she will come to South Carolina with me, at least--and give Ishmael to a shelter. These are both cats, in case this is confusing. I'm keeping the record player Boone left here and my bed. I will get rid of Jen's old computer chair, which I've been using as a desk chair, and give John back the beautiful yellow desk he got from Joanna and Barrett. I'm keeping Paul's sleeping bag and tent, which he left here back in early fall and hasn't touched since then, and Mike's sleeping bag, just because it is like a time capsule. He brought it to Bonnaroo last summer and so it smells like dirt and me, Paul, Mike and Jen's sweat. I like that it will likely smell like that for many years to come.

Things between me and John are kind of weird. I don't have anything to say to him and I suppose he has nothing to say to me either.

Taking Jen to Guilford now!
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[07 Feb 2008|04:09pm]
Oh, stomach. Why must something as delicious as an apple bring such PAIN.

Today I filed my state taxes. A little over three hundred dollars, hurray!
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[06 Feb 2008|05:55pm]
Oh my god, oh my god.

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[03 Feb 2008|08:15pm]
We put peanut butter on everything here. I made a sandwich and realized that it was a peanut butter and tomato one and I didn't realize what a weird combination that was. Agh, I feel sick. Boone always dumpsters potato chips and shit like that and I ate a bunch while trying to decide what REAL food to eat. I was progressively more and more overwhelmed by having houseguests, so that I spent all of today in my room, reading the comic Bone. Now I think I may go for a drive..just around town, aimless, with eventual dumpster-diving. I'll bring my computer so I can listen to the music on here if I get completely sick of the radio.
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[03 Feb 2008|02:13pm]
I've made these three times. The first time they came out absolutely perfect, but the next two they were pretty weird and the batter was crumbly. I realized (I think this is it, anyway) that it's because I didn't follow the instructions the second and third times, instead just mixing the ingredients together all at once. Maybe? I can't really remember what the texture of the dough was like the first time I made them. I should start taking notes when I cook. Treat cooking like lab experiments.

I listened to my voicemail (I am lazy about checking it) and apparently my dad sent me a check. I will be able to finish paying rent and pay at least last month's late charge with that. It's a relief.

I actually feel like listening to 69 Love Songs but am in an okay mood. Strange, strange.
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[01 Feb 2008|01:38pm]
The meaning and origin of the phrase "Apr├Ęs moi le deluge":


I may be spending too much time online reading the dictionary.

Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching:

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kombucha [28 Jan 2008|01:02pm]
[ music | They Might Be Giants: Snowball in Hell ]

I started a new batch of kombucha last night. It's easy to make but some of the ingredients are hard to come by. This is all from the book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, which I highly recommend.

"Kombucha is sweetened black tea, cultured with a 'mother,' also known as 'the tea beast,' a gelatinous colony of bacteria and yeast. The mother ferments the sweet tea and reproduces itself, like kefir grains."

"The trickiest part of making kombucha is finding a mother. Ask at local health food stores. On the Web, kombucha enthusiasts maintain a Worldwide Kombucha Exchange at www.kombu.de, where mothers are widely available for just shipping costs. Kombucha mothers are also available from G.E.M. Cultures."

And here's the recipe:

TIMEFRAME: About 7 to 10 day

INGREDIENTS (for 1 quart/1 liter):
1 quart/1 liter water
1/4 cup/60 milliliters sugar
1 tablespoon/15 milliliters loose black tea or 2 teabags
1/2 cup/125 milliliters mature acidic kombucha
Kombucha mother

1. Mix water and sugar and bring to a boil in a small cooking pot.
2. Turn off the heat; add tea, cover and steep about 15 minutes.
3. Strain the tea into a glass container. It's best to use something wide; kombucha needs adequate surface area and works best if the diameter of the container is greater than the depth of the liquid. Allow the tea to cool to body temperature.
4. Add the mature acidic kombucha. When you obtain a culture, it will be stored in this liquid. Save a portion of subsequent batches for this purpose.
5. Place the kombucha mother in the liquid, with the firm, opaque side up.
6. Cover with a cloth and store in a warm spot, ideally 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 29 degrees Celsius).
7. After a few days to 1 week, depending on temperature, you will notice a skin forming on the surface of the kombucha. Taste the liquid. It will probably still be sweet. The longer it sits, the more acidic it will become.
8. Once it reaches the acidity you like, start a new batch and store your mature kombucha in the refrigerator. You now have two mothers, the original one you started with, and a new one, the skin that formed on your first batch. Use either the new or the old mother in your new batch, and pass the other one on to a friend (or the compost). Each generation will give birth to a new mother, and the old mother will thicken.


You can use white, green or black tea and I'm pretty sure a wide variety of sweeteners can be used in place of sugar--Mike and John used molasses for our first batch of kombucha.

Here's where the kombucha I started last night is fermenting:

And here's the mother Jen and Nick gave us last time they were here, which thickened and gave birth to a new mother (which I'm using) when we made our first batch:

It feels like a squid.

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[24 Jan 2008|03:46pm]
This is a really neat article about the mythology invented by homeless children:
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[18 Jan 2008|03:07pm]
News from two people I dislike lately: Charlotte told Boone that I slipped turpentine into a drink I gave her and my old roommate Alex left a comment on my LiveJournal asking about a check I gave him almost a year ago that bounced. I wrote a new check at the time but when John and I went by the house after we moved out I ended up just giving the check to John, since Alex owed and would likely never give him his share of the deposit. I must relate this story to Alex. He will no doubt find it amusing. Really, though, he'd better not fuck with me. We hardly ever had heat in that house and goddamn was he obnoxious. I barely spoke to him for the last two or three months we spent there.

I've been poring over my two cookbooks for the past half-hour or so, copying down recipes. So that's basically what I'm doing today: cooking and baking. I'm going to make tomato sauce, baked zucchini, pancakes, molasses bread and strawberry bread. I've already made the strawberry bread before, never made the others. I think I'll also attempt naan again, too, since I didn't know how to do a couple of things that the recipe required of me and as a result it came out really weird. Also, burnt. Here's the strawberry bread recipe, it's so fucking good:

Paula's Strawberry Bread

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
20oz strawberries, sliced
1 cup vegetable oil

Combine first five ingredients; mix well. Combine eggs, oil and strawberries; add to dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour batter into two greased and floured 9x5x3 inch loaf pans and bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes two loaves.

We keep finding strawberries when we go dumpster-diving. I'm glad to have found a really good use for them.

I may also make ginger cookies using this recipe. I made some using another recipe a week or two ago but they came out pretty weird.

Ohhh, so much food. I suppose the most useful thing I'm going to make is the tomato sauce. We have four packages of pasta but have yet to use any of it. Well, off to the corner store to get a small container of milk, a can of tomato paste and some onions.
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[17 Jan 2008|12:45am]
I decided that the only books that I refer back to or re-read often enough to justify keeping them are:

-poetry books
-dictionaries and other reference books
-instructional books
-collections of short stories
-books I have yet to read

I love reading poetry although I don't do it all that often. I sometimes get really into it and read nothing but poetry for hours at a time, but not much aside from that. I recently discovered two poets whose work I like a lot: Sharon Olds and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Olds' poems are simple and easy to understand but she describes things beautifully. Ferlinghetti's are both serious and playful in a likable, non-gimmicky way. I like Yusef Komunyakaa a lot too but that's nothing new.

"At the Screen Door" by Yusef Komunyakaa

Just before sunlight
Burns off morning fog.
Is it her, while she know
What I've seen & done,
How my boots leave little grave-stone
Shapes in the wet dirt,
That I'm no longer light
On my feet, there's a rock
In my belly? It weighs
As much as the story
Paul told me, moving ahead
Like it knows my heart.
Is this the same story
That sent him to a padded cell?
After all the men he'd killed in Korea
& on his first tour in Vietnam,
Someone tracked him down.
The Spec 4 he ordered
Into a tunnel in Cu Chi
Now waited for him behind
The screen door, a sunset
In his eyes, a dead man
Wearing his teenage son's face.
The scream that leaped
Out of Paul's mouth
Wasn't his, not this decorated
Hero. The figure standing there
Wasn't his son. Who is it
Waiting for me, a tall shadow
Unlit in the doorway, no more
Than an outline of the past?
I drop the duffel bag
& run before I know it,
Running toward her, the only one
I couldn't have surprised,
Who'd be here at daybreak
Watching a new day stumble
Through a whiplash of grass
Like a man drunk on the rage
Of being alive.

"Songs for My Father" is another of my favorites of his.

"Birthday Poem for My Grandmother" by Sharon Olds

I stood on the porch tonight--which way do we
face to talk to the dead? I thought of the
new rose, and went out over the
grey lawn--things really
have no color at night. I descended
the stone steps, as if to the place where one
speaks to the dead. The rose stood
half-uncurled, glowing white in the
black air. Later I remembered
your birthday. You would have been ninety and getting
roses from me. Are the dead there
if we do not speak to them? When I came to see you
you were always sitting quietly in the chair,
not knitting, because of the arthritis,
not reading, because of the blindness,
just sitting. I never knew how you
did it or what you were thinking. Now I
sometimes sit on the porch, waiting,
trying to feel you there like the color of the
flowers in the dark.

"The End" by Sharon Olds

We decided to have the abortion, became
killers together. The period that came
changed nothing. They were dead, that young couple
who had been for life.
As we talked of it in bed, the crash
was not a surprise. We went to the window,
looked at the crushed cars and the gleaming
curved shears of glass as if we had
done it. Cops pulled the bodies out
bloody as births from the small, smoking
aperture of the door, laid them
on the hill, covered them with blankets that soaked
through. Blood
began to pour
down my legs into my slippers. I stood
where I was until they shot the bound
form into the black hole
of the ambulance and stood the other one
up, a bandage covering its head,
stained where the eyes had been.
The next morning I had to kneel
an hour on that floor, to clean up my blood,
rubbing with wet cloths at those dark
translucent spots, as one has to soak
a long time to deglaze the pan
when the feast is over.

And Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poems are goddamn long, so here's "Autobiography" and here's "I Am Waiting."

I also just ordered the book Archy and Mehitabel by Don Marquis, since it was on Amazon used for only a quarter and it's hard to find. Two of my favorite poems from that: "Mehitabel's Extensive Past" and "The Song of Mehitabel" and "Certain Maxims of Archy."
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[16 Jan 2008|09:01pm]
Tiny cat muscles seizing up as I lift her off of the computer keyboard. I don't have much energy today. Mike and I stole from Earth Fare, drank stolen kefir and read comics at a store where we didn't buy anything. All in all an enjoyable day.


I am ridiculously excited about this. If it does snow, an event I've come, as a result of growing up in South Carolina, to regard as incredibly improbable, it'll be the first time it's snowed this winter. Wonderful wonderful wonderful and it's bound to be a beautiful day. I'll have to set my alarm so I get up fairly early and can enjoy it (and photograph it!) as much as possible.

I guess that's the only important thing about today, and it's something that hasn't even happened yet. I plan on taking in my massive new winter coat in the laziest way imaginable--scissors plus safety pins--and stomping around in the snow with my camera and a half-bottle of red wine. Or gin. Mmm..gin.
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I might as well be playing Pong [14 Jan 2008|12:29pm]
This going online, going to sleep, going online thing is like obsessively playing Pong. I rip off the blanket covering my window while still in bed and imagine the cats using sunlight to raise their body temperature and feel warmer, like plants use it to make food. It just makes me feel colder.

Last night we went on a very successful dumpster-diving trip, acquiring lots of peppers and tomatoes, some decent strawberries, about a half a dozen loaves of bread and four bottles of delicious, delicious Odwalla juice.

Yesterday I got a call from my temp agency about a receptionist job that lasts six to eight weeks and takes place during "accounting season"--the period before taxes are due to be filed, I guess, so March and part of April and maybe part of February, too. It's eight dollars an hour and the hours are pretty awesome: 2pm-8pm. I just wonder where it is; I can only take jobs that I can bike to. Not that I'm going to get this one, it's far from a sure thing, but if it's not within biking distance I can't even consider it. Also, our lease runs out on April 6th so if it extended beyond that and if I decide that I don't want to keep living in Greensboro, I'd have to find someplace to stay.

Regardless of my concerns it's pretty exciting as I would like to be working as often as possible and saving up money in the last few months before our lease runs out. I still need a job this month, though. I guess I'll have enough money for rent once I get my last paycheck..oh, not really, because I only worked three days. Agh.

This morning I put in my recently-acquired DivaCup for the first time. I couldn't get it to pop open but maybe it'll work alright so long as there's a good seal. It's a lot softer and thinner than the Keeper, which, having only used a Keeper before, is pretty weird. I would compare the Keeper to someone shoving their way through a crowd until they get to an empty space where they can spread out as much as they want, and the DivaCup to someone who only takes up as much space as they need to no matter the circumstances. Despite this unfavorable evaluation of the DivaCup's character, I am not yet decided.

Well, off to make tea and read Zodiac.
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I smoke pot, but THIS is ridiculous [13 Jan 2008|03:06pm]
Well well InsaneJournal. I guess this is the closest approximation of GreatestJournal available to me in these dark times.

I'm sitting on my bed watching Mike's feet through John's open door. His second toe is the same length as my little finger and he is constantly doing things with them--flexing his toes, picking up things on the floor, tapping them like he's playing piano or his feet are dancing around. Although right now they are still and hovering just off of the floor.

Stormy, beautiful day.

Mike's feet.

Unlike the stormy day pictured above, today, and yesterday, and the day before, were grey and depressing. Are there things to do are there are there things to do. Is there a reason to get out of bed? I suppose there is: to transfer my reading of Neal Stephenson's Zodiac (AN ECO-THRILLER) to the papasan chair in the living room.
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