The death of a moon cowboy

I am a somewhat-youth with ideas and thoughts and too many dreams that sometimes overflow as these little dribblings from my fingertips. I guess you can try to collect and capture them.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cold is a state of mine

The train rushed over the tracks while the sun broke rhythmically through sparse clouds, paralyzed like cottonweed in the frigid hours of a mid-December afternoon. On my table sat a cup of hot tea and some warmed bread, serving to relax me as I sat upright with the back of my head pressed against leather. My favored coach, #49, appeared virtually empty. My compartment was built to accommodate four; I was a solitary traveler in an empty booth.

The fluid countryside streamed by the window and a coat of snow, freshly fallen from the midmorning storm, still covered those stretches of field that remained in shadow. The bare treetops glittered and the sun exposed the colors of caramel and wheat where it touched down upon the earth. My window was warm; I pressed my left cheek against it and closed my eyes.

The two-hour journey by train was familiar to me, as I traveled often between my villa in the farmlands of Sheridan and the low-lying office building in Canterville. My intentions were to take a week off for relaxation, to keep my feet elevated and candles lit, to bask in the glory of a new winter landscape away from the paperwork and calendar precision that defined my daily life.

I smiled at the conductor as he approached and clipped the end of my ticket. He wore a shortly groomed beard and had warm black eyes that drank me in like cocoa.

"Thank you," he said with a slow brush of his fingers against the brim of his hat, saluting. "I'll ring for some more tea for you."

"That'd be nice, thanks."

My eyes darted back and forth, surveying the coach, and then I fixed my gaze again out the window to consider intently the varying speeds at which the landscape passed. I dabbed a drip of spilt tea from my sweater with a fine maroon napkin—embroidered with a golden "49"—and was startled to hear a commotion coming from the rear of the coach. The muffled growls of an obviously dissatisfied man were unmistakable, as were the timid and more hushed tones of a woman's voice in return. Straining my neck in an unnatural contortion I attempted to see whence this fuss had originated, but was obstructed by the partial dividing walls that protruded from either side of the coach's center, leaving its posterior a curtained enigma.

Moments later the disturbance had subsided. I sat myself upright, picked up the book I'd been avoiding and resumed an apathetic daze studying its pages, until something altogether different drew my attention. A hustling form stormed daintily down the center walkway in a whirlwind of swirling skirt and a look of apparent frustration. Her form demanded the swift removal of my eyes from their bookside position and I stared her down wondrously as she passed. She had blonde unraveled curls that swept just over her neck and shoulders into petite, tufted ends of upturned exactitude. Her white skirt—envy of winter!—was slightly, elegantly puffed at the waist, and she strode so stormily in shoes fragile enough to disintegrate with a step. Her face was positioned away from me, obscured. I was immediately intrigued to know more of her, and I shut my book hastily so that I might observe her hurried destination.

She sought the end of the cabin that faced me, where she took seat with an older woman who'd been sitting alone; a conversation immediately began between them. Both women spoke and gestured about frantically, not quite audible over the clockwork clacking of the train. After several minutes of discussion the two women embraced briefly, and the girl who'd caught my attention sat back looking defeated.

With this, my passage had become momentously more entertaining, for I now had a subject with which to pursue the fancies of my supplanted boredom. Smiling, I leaned crooked against the window and folded my arms, keeping watch over the cabin. A female attendant arrived with a fresh cup of tea. I thanked her and she moved on without unpursing her inexpressive lips.

It was about this time that my girl stood again and began walking back, retracing the steps of her original flight. As her gait increased and the space between us closed, I was able to make out her face.

I was smitten the moment I saw her: the glow that clouded her movements, the way her lips pouted in ostensible disdain, chin tipped barely upward, an air of disregard billowing about her like fine ash from a chimney, neat blonde hair still flowing in those delicately curled piles as I had seen them only moments before.

In a rather brash, and rare, display of confidence, I put my leg partially into the aisle, as a blockade—looking as if I meant a schoolboy trick and planned to knock her down—but it was merely a gesture to necessitate her attention. This maneuver was impossible for me to prevent, as the faculties of my mind had ceased to function properly and were then operating solely upon the instinctual forces of impulse and the hope of creating a fate that barred premeditation.

And work it did. At least, it garnered her attention, as well it should have. She stopped, turning her notice toward me with silent acknowledgement. The look upon her face alone told me that, although intended innocently, this behavior would most likely not be tolerated.

"I couldn't help but notice…" I began, stuttering foolishly and pausing to try and regain a sliver of composure, "…that you seemed to be going through some amount of difficulty, and I was wondering if you wouldn't mind joining me for a cup of this deliciously complimentary tea to talk it over?"

It ended up coming out more like a statement than a question, and I'm not quite sure she even knew a proper response.

Indeed, she must not have known, for she simply continued on without a reply, in a sort of completely artificial ignorance as to my existence.

What shock! Marked by my own congeniality! Made fool by my own sensitivity! Or perhaps it was the candid and intrusive nature of my inquiry that merited such a terse response. Whichever, she had had quite enough of something, and was glad to be traipsing back once again to the rear of the coach. I sighed. Ah, fate. In so brief a time I had let my imagination run rampant, savoring wildly the face of a beautiful creature, only to then immediately encounter a crushing blow to deflate my puffed heart.

Letting out a long, anxious sigh that blew the rushing adrenaline back into its stores for later use, I again lounged in my seat and checked my watch. It was 2:45 – hour and a half until arrival. I could make use of that excess time by resting, or by dwelling on the fact that I needed a more tactful display of intelligent conversation to use in informal settings. Thoughts wandering, my eyes fluttered shut.

... ...

A gentle nudge against my right hip straightened me from the depths of near-slumber. As I jolted alert, I was surprised to realize I was no longer sitting alone. The young girl had apparently sat exactly beside me while I was drifting off, and was now staring at her clasped hands atop the table.

"I'm sorry for my rudeness earlier. I'm quite flustered to say the least." Her sweet voice came out quickly and entered like a firestorm into my eardrums, bouncing across bone and tissue, unraveling hair-like structures until they stopped prematurely at some indeterminate crossroads in my brain and there remained, synapses stranded, calls unanswered.

I stared vacantly.

"I'm Genevieve." She held out her hand. I took it.

"Hello. Genevieve." I stated, hesitantly. "You can call me Finn." I cleared my throat. My eyes were stuck, unable to look directly at her.

"I can call you Finn?" She smiled casually. I thought I may have caught the glimmer of a wink, but it may well have been a creation all my own. "You see," she began, "it's just that my parents don't get along at all. At all! They bicker and fight like schoolchildren, they won't even sit anywhere near each other whenever we're out. So when I'm along, I end up commuting between them, back and forth, up and down—their personal messenger—while they take their frustration with each other out on me! It's ridiculous!"

Her voice peaked in intensity before she broke off, preventing her emotions from betraying her. She cradled her forehead with one arm, propped on the table.

"I should be quieter; I would rather that neither of them hears me complaining. My father is especially cantankerous today."

I forced my vocal cords to loosen. "I assume that he," I motioned to the rear, "is your father, and she," reversing the direction of my arm, "is your mother?"

"Correct. What incredible intuition!"

"Ah, yes. Well, I'm quite sorry to hear of all this. Sadly, both of my parents have already passed. And they got along rather amicably I'm afraid, so at this moment I'm suffering from a terrible bout of being unable to relate."

"Is that so? Well in that case I'll just be on my way." She made as if to get up into the aisle.

I panicked a bit and shifted myself toward her as she rose. My fingertips touched her upper arm. "I was only joking."

She looked back at me with a grin. "That I knew! I was only curious to see if it made any difference to you." Her smile!

"Well if that's the case, it does. Please, sit back down. "

She did. "Which is your stop?" she asked.

"Sheridan, the 4:15. I'm heading home after a week that's left me about as empty as an overturned bottle on a Saturday evening. Which is yours?"

"Marcus. We're visiting my aunt and uncle who we've not seen in the last decade. On my mother's side—of course, that's partially what's gotten my father into his current mood. They've spoken hardly a word to him in all their years of acquaintance. Due to a number of factors," she began counting them off on her fingers, "the grand distances separating us, my father's stubbornness and gruff demeanor—which he is not afraid to show others, and the fact that this particular aunt and uncle are obnoxiously wealthy and my father believes that it's held over his head anytime he's not around."

I paid little attention to the family relationships. "So Marcus is the 3:30."


"Oh, so soon! And we've barely just met! Well then, tell it all to me, fill me up with your angst and worries, I've plenty of time to spare."

"If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not actually. At least not more than I've already admitted. Sometimes it’s just nice to shift the subject, you know, to free the space in the mind that's been preoccupied with wasted thoughts for far too long. Why don't you tell me about Sheridan, or we can just enjoy the passing scenery, something along those lines? Either way, I'm already glad to have met you, Finn."

This was said with sincere kindness, and the affection that I perceived in her face was more than enough to thaw out the rest of my frozen heart, relating to my toes that sensation of sitting too close to the wood stove after a long day spent slogging through snow in half-eaten boots that leave one waterlogged and frostbitten.

"Alright then, let's have a look," I agreed, and we both turned our faces in unison to watch the beauty blooming beyond the railway.

In this manner we enjoyed each other's company for some time, occasionally contributing a remark of wit or some interesting minor aspect of our lives. I figured that as long as we continued to reside in our affable good nature, there'd be plenty of time to later exchange points of contact, thus ensuring further communication.

After fifteen minutes or so of that casualness, I determined to endear the fair Genevieve with my always-outstanding personality, and entered into doing so with blundering conversation.

"If I remember correctly, the town of Marcus has seen a slight downfall in population over the course of the last few years, if that's any consolation for your problematic aunt and uncle…" I started before sputtering out with the memory of her insistence on leaving the matter alone.

But I picked right back up. "Never mind that then! Say, did we ever ring for tea for the two of us? Wasn't that the grounds for my original invitation?" I purposefully perked my voice.

"Why we haven't!" She said. "Let's make sure to pull the conductor aside at his next passage."

Now, the utter oddity and horror in what followed still affects me to this day and serves as a constant testament to the complete lack of valor that I possess.

"Genevieve! I'd like to see you at once!" The muffled voice of her father rose up and over our heads, swirling about in its black magicked waywardness as it weaved a spell that must have surprised even fate itself. He somehow managed to sound both calming and unnerving at the same time, and Genevieve looked at me haggardly as she stood.

"I'd better see what he needs."

I took her hand in my weak, nervous grip. "Isn't there something you can do? Stand up to him? Ignore him?"

This statement was apparently uncalled for. "He's my father," she retorted. "What else is there to do? But please, don't go anywhere. I'll return shortly," she said as she turned and headed back to appease the old goat.

And those were the last words we ever exchanged.

I watched as her father took her hand in a gentle motion while he opened the center door that led into #50, the adjoining coach, and stole her off into oblivion.

This obviously startled me, and I hastened around to see what had become of Genevieve's mother. Her seat was likewise deserted. What had happened? Had she too switched coaches? Had she somehow drifted past me to accompany her despised husband and lovely daughter, while I was none the wiser? Was this due to Genevieve's social interactions with a complete stranger? My day had quickly decomposed into a heap of confusion.

I resolved to wait it out; after all, she had vowed to return and would live by that pledge! Besides, I had not yet asked her for her address, purposefully intending to do so once we had spent a few more moments together. It seemed there had been plenty of time before she was to leave the train. My watch showed 3:20. Time had proceeded at a lively pace just to spite me, and her stop would arrive in ten minutes.

In that same lonely compartment I remained and observed in misery as Marcus unraveled before me. After the train rolled to a halt, I pushed up against the window and watched as the heart of winter itself, the glorious daughter of a ridiculous, bitter couple of foolish old animals, disembarked from the train and was arm in arm with her red-faced father, while her mother converged upon them from two coaches' distance down, nose held high enough to suffocate the fog.

Genevieve looked back not once, but three times toward my window, while her father kept her arm snugly in his and nudged her slowly forward, and I—fool of fools!—prepared a vacant, soulless stare. All I could manage was to lay my fumbling palm on the window's surface and breathe hot gasps of breath where condensation should have circled. My feet were rooted in the train's underbelly; no avalanche could have moved me. The clanking beneath started up again as the train fired and started. My sallow cheeks halted the movement of my eyelids, leaving me presumably looking as lifeless as I felt.

A faint whistle screeched and cried somewhere off in that luscious countryside. My palm on the window—a place where the fading sun's warmth was welcome not even an hour prior—became pained with the chill of the frozen earth surrounding me, in that same dry ice that wakes the windswept mountain peaks. But this was all routine for me: the cold, the abandonment, the feelings of impotence and self-pity. It's been a state of mine for as long as I can remember. Cold has always been a state of mine.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I'm cold

It gets cold this time of year, when the sun goes down and the days are short. And I find myself wishing for warmer days, those days that will come with the dawning of the next Summer. And that Summer will be the Summer of 26 - 26 going on 27 - and while there are no two Summer-times in one age, each takes with it a little of our youth and tacks on a bit of our aging self. So I'll sit here and stay up late, wishing and groaning for some sunned chlorine to bathe in, while I chatter my teeth until they grate down to nubs, and I'll rub my arms and hands rapidly for comfort.

I want to shower and smell that stark bleach on my skin, the stench of summerly love and newly created memories, the flowering sunlight that nurtures us like milk from our mothers. I want to wade in oceans and watch my skin darken in shade from pale to burgundy in one afternoon. I think it best to swim, be it in water or humidity, and to hope for just one day, longer than the last.

But the seasons belong. As does the rain and all it brings in its cycle of water and life. For these reasons do I love the water and its reservoirs: the salted seas, the swimming pools, the rain and the snow, the lakes, the baths, the tributaries, and the river - of course the river. I will fashion my love for Autumn as it transitions all too quickly into Winter. I'll bask in the snow like a fallen angel awaiting my true love. And this I'll do as I know...

That glare belongs in my eyes.

Friday, November 18, 2005


This desert is Mojave,
all swelter and heat
and swishes and huts.
Its ruts and roads hold
the wooden weeds and cauldron clay, huddled near
the skeletal anthills and
the rescinding sidewinder.
That tireless howl. It prays
a monastery ritual, begs for rain.

This forest is California,
it peaks and timbers
and pales and twilights.
Its heights dwell above
the bungalow buildings and city cinders, shuttered in
the saline valleys and
the settling fogs.
That sobbing breeze. It fans
a bellows gust, cries for justice.

This life is origami,
all creases and folds
and cracks and fades.
It wades deeper than
the floating fortresses and stranded schooners, gliding above
the shingle nests and
the naked ocean.
That sea-borne wind. It moans
a sailor lament, pleads for mercy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The peasant

You. You are a craven
in a monarch's prison.
You reek of requiem;
your self-sufficient song
lays roses of guilt
on the casket throng.

You. You are no king.
You seem to think,
but we see no such thing.
We watch a wounded conceit,
and a slithering tongue
beguiling deceit.

You. You seek to use.
We have paid our dues.
We do not welcome you
with any fleck of honesty
or fervor or integrity.
We see through transparency.

You. Your gaveling hand
espouses no command.
No, not from us. Across the land
we've tilled, you've taken
from the weak. But now
our defiance has awakened.

You. Your crumbling walls
of rotted castle fall.
The sun's midday shawl
is spread; we shall fight,
and our foolish bodies will mark
the season of changing might.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The monarch

Approach on knee, and bend, and swoon
toward ha'penny feet, or his of doubloon.
Then stand, so soon - to throne and moon!
Oh, crown of gems with lustered kiss,
against the gnarl of knuckled fist.
His will should bear the marks of this,
the hand of servile labored sin.
His lineage stands as next of kin.
For a king's command the reign begins
with a feast fit for an unruly crowd.
While peasants starve and farm the ground,
he merely wishes more had bowed.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Darin turned 28 on Friday. We attended a little celebration in his honor (though we found later that we missed the actual celebration, it occurred beginning around midnite and stretching on until who knows when). It was nice, we lounged around Heather and Darin's countryside bungalow home and chatted a bit with Zack and Rebecca and (of course) Darin and Heather. Jarom, Bella and Sylvan were the babes of the party and made ruckus wherever they saw fit. Darin painted a marvelous work of prestige with Jarom. We arrived home late, but hey, it was Friday nite.

Saturday Amy and I helped Adie finish moving up to Nevada City. I got to drive a clunker of a truck, one extremely similar to my old friend of years gone by, the 85 Toyota who was more reliable than a faithful steed. The vehicle was rickety (to say the least), but I had a memorable time driving a manual and listening to my music through very minute headphones. At one point a little boy who reminded me of a young version of Adam Partain saw me and pointed in horror and mocking surprise.

I had never been to or through Grass Valley or Nevada City. They are out of the way towns, hidden in some remote distance that only calls to a certain type of individual, where the city folk stay away and cause their unique brand of problem elsewhere, and the enchanted soulful wander in the woods that border the thin fences in their own backyards. Adie has a bottom-floor flat out on a curving road, past the mandolin, with a gate and excited dogs and homemade meditation rooms.

We had a better time than I expected, I suppose. The drive made Amy sick, as it was all on Highway 49 without a strait stretch in sight, but we stayed a while and even slunk through the small downtown streets. I took the kids out for some air while Amy rested, and we stopped in a candy shop and a small bookstore. I've made a new mark on my heart.

On Sunday we drove to Coloma, to revisit the beauty we hurriedly drove aside the day before, and attempted to take some planned family portraits, with Bonny the photographer. As always they were difficult, we came up with a few prospectives, but none in quite the same way the vision had presented itself in the mind. It can't be denied how pretty it was, though. I've always had love for Coloma - how couldn't I? But this autumn festivity was something new to me. I guess I just hadn't ever driven through before at this time of year, with my eyes tuned to see things that really don't last as long as we always like to think. They happen each year, right?! These earthen leafy tones falling like snow from treetop peaks, the brisk weather and green grass with half-overclouded skies. Yes, yes, but each year ticks by, and pretty soon 'each year' becomes 'last year', and we're full of regrets and redrawn visions of the past that we never afforded before. I don't want that kind of memory. I want a sickly full mind, brimming to overflow with love and appreciation and passion, excitement for each and every thing that could possibly make its way into my life.

That same nite I helped Heather with installing her stereo. It was quite the fiasco. I have installed numerous car stereos before, I'll give myself that credit, but never before had I had such difficulty (right?). I attempted removing the dash trim that was bolted in from the rear, obviously not the correct method. Dad came over and helped me to figure out the easiest way to continue, and Monday after work I went to Best Buy to get the proper pieces and mostly finished the job.

So around 12:30 Monday nite, it was complete, though it cost Heather 40 dollars for parts and she insisted on giving me another 30 for my labor. I felt like she got the short end of the bargain. But she was quite glad to have a working CD-playing car stereo, and I was glad to be done (though we'll have to touch up the rough edges later).

I do feel bad, however, because Sunday nite when Dad and I were working on the car, Jarom would come out thrilled as ever, and in my frustration I became angry and shushed him aside, even bringing him into the house at some points to remove him from the scene. Self control!, evening of the emotions!...

Audio: Our Endless Numbered Days|Iron and Wine
Video: Saturday Night Live Goes Commercial
Text: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy|Douglas Adams

My word of the day: segue
[Why: I used to always think this was spelled "segueway" or "segway". Little did I know; I was shocked to find its true spelling.]

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Fall away from this estate

We paused some in that torrid weather, finding solace within a cavity in the hillside where pure water trickled and we were able to drink heavily and go for a swim. Strength slightly renewed, we continued on.

We reached the large abandoned mansion after hiking up that snake of a mountain trail. The journey was long and strange, none of us were sure of our aspirations or of what to do next. Inside, it stretched high, past numerous stories and grandiose furnishings; it looked as if it were still lived in. The centerpiece of the building was fashioned around an old dumbwaiter that consisted of a large, thick wicker basket and some hooks with which to fasten it. It was large enough to be used as (and it sometimes was) an elevator.

Little did we know that the house was haunted. Our apparition was constantly creating mischief, and we feared her greatly, without knowledge of her method nor madness. We knew when she was approaching as the dumbwaiter would fire up and begin moving without any of us having a hand in it. The basket would be open, hooks glistening. The fired torches that lit the walls behind it would flicker and pant as if a subtle breeze continually ate away at them. The lighting in the house would jump about, and spectral chimes could be heard with the cranking of the old engine that turned somewhere in the shadows below.

This ghost was strange. I actually saw her face to face before I left that place. I had figured her to be an aged spirit, withered and horrifying, but she took on the form of a younger woman, complete with flesh and eyes and hair - nowhere did she display any characteristic that would give away her true nature. She acted as if she had similar tastes as I, though this seems ridiculous at best - it was simple phantom trickery, I'm sure, and she was toying with my mind in a ploy to achieve her utmost ambitions. I remember she claimed to like some candy I had brought - Goetze's caramel creams, my favorite.

I think the flash of red in her eyes always gave away her intentions, but her image is forever burned into the recesses of my memory.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A doused wick (or the real Dia De Los Muertos)

I just went out, and it's an amazing overcast, cloud-darkened but still visible and not-terribly-frozen day. I love it. This weather approaches perfect, to match my mood. Tolerable, knowing of better things, but dwelling on the less joyous. The breezes rubbed my ears, the trees shook my hand, and the pavement massaged my feet. It's rather nice.

I went to AM/PM and a jolly, Santa Clause-esque gangster of a cashier was quite friendly and welcoming. Come to think of it, I've met his kind before. The kind where on a worse day my mind may have unkind words or instant stereotypes to vomit, without parsing out the ramifications or considering the destruction of their nature. He was jovial and made me pause; why don't we all always hold the door for each other? Why don't we all always have a smile instead of a glare, or give the benefit of the situation instead of turning to road rage? Why don't we all always love the less-fortunate, donate charitably, compliment generously, give up our position in line, live for today but build for our grandchildren's futures? Why are we always so hurried? Why can't we see past our own noses? Why?

And I've come up with the answer! "Why should we?"

Audio: De-loused in the Comatorium|The Mars Volta
Video: does -wanting- to watch something count?
Text: my Communications textbook

My word of the day: civvy (pl.: civvies or civies)
[Why: It's used in a Decemberists song in a memorable way, and I was interested.]

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cemetery symmetry

Lie, they lay in spotted plots, intricately spaced,
where quarried stones bear the epigraphs of
the lives they confess. Stretching miles past flower
and tree, enclosed within the white picket wood of the
departed American dream - that which existed only
while asleep, when waking life was a misconstrued blur.

And fancy, they're treated courageously while blocked
and choreographed into exquisite oak, casually intended to
nurture the soil - that same soil which in turn only
welcomes more of their discarded kin, used for
nothing more than coins on eyes, formaldehyde.

Eight by six they stay, perfectly placed, as loved ones' tears
sodden the earth where weedy clover sprouts. These green
unwanted blossoms - the last remnant of a body misplaced, on
an occupied slat of decay; a desolate companion for earth's great
pockmarked face, all arranged in orderly fashion.

On the hallowed evening

Friday nite the 29th of October we put the kids to bed a bit early and ventured down to Lincoln to go to Stephanie and Ben Clark's annual Halloween party. Amy and Bonny dressed as faeries, while I dressed as a caveman-type. We arrived too late to participate in the limbo contest, much to my dismay, but there was plenty of food and music and mostly fun to be had. And in fact, after people had started to leave, Jake and I had a limbo-off of our own, and this year - I was victor. I was quite proud, my nimble but stout body performed rather well. Good job. And that was that.

For the weekend, we decided to brave the battle zone of Apple Hill. Amy had already been a couple of times this year, but for me it was a 2005 first. We briefly stopped at High Hill Ranch to gather the rather famous kettle corn - a six dollar bag that we halfway polished off within an hour, letting about three pounds of its contents sit somewhat unpleasantly in our bellies - and then continued on our merry way. The kids took intermittent naps, so we took that excess time as a privileged moment in which we drove around Apple Hill proper, something we've never done before. We made our way out past small orchards and farms, on Camino backroads that lengthened on and on. We are so lucky, with all this beauty in our literal backyard, and this only the first time we'd even attempted to trek out so far. We stopped at El Dorado Orchards after Jarom woke up, and all four of us went on a small train ride around two very small duck-occupied ponds. The weather was perfectual and it couldn't have been more inviting. Jarom nabbed a pear for a quarter and then we took our trail to Abel's Acres, taking the usual babyfaced pumpkin photos, feeding the dwarf horses with clover, and watching the kids ride toy John Deere tractor-bikes and hop about the bouncehouse.

So then the festive day arrived. Halloween! Again, the hairy hoodmask made its way onto my head, and I arrived in town just as the sun split and downtown Placerville's Main Street turned into a blockaded festival of children and costumed madness. Lines stretched behind each shop's door, and we pushed Bella in her stroller while chasing Jarom to each new doorway of candied ecstasy. He proclaimed "trick or treat!" with a vigor I could only previously imagine. I don't recall Halloween being as personally fulfilling and satisfactory as Jarom experienced it. Having such excitable and spirited children really changes the way I see new things, and even the way I remember older things. After we filled those little orange pumpkin cauldrons with priceless bounty, it was time to leave and head to the trunk or treat at Camp Nauvoo.

The Pleasant Valley ward had a mini Family Home Evening prepared in which chili and cornbread were provided potluck-style, and this presented me with the maddening half hour wait before the true trunk or treating began. Children flew in all directions and it was apparent that mayhem would overtake the evening. We bobbed for doughnuts in the air, and then made a few trunk or treat rounds to expand upon our already growing inventory of sweets.

At this stage, the day-long festivities were starting to wear on the impressionable young wildren, and we headed home to feast and get them ready for bed. They ended the night with screams and shouts, fittingly, and slept like angels after a long flight home.

It's interesting to remain close to home, where I grew up and went to high school, the only place where I can run into old friends and pseudo-friends and see what the future held for them in their highly distinct lives of an alternate dimension. We see where people end up, and who they end up with. The only difference here is that I have some slight vested interest in their bouts, whereas another town will only hold strangers and newcomers and everything they've done will be foreign to me at the start. I saw Bryan Brazelton and his wife Megan (formerly) Todd - as Mario and Luigi - and their daughter Lillian. I saw Stephanie Fairchild at Camp Nauvoo, -hardly- recognizing her but feeling a moment of fleeting time joining me and her in the vicissitudes of time. A few days prior we saw Ty Blankenship waitering at Lil' Johnny Di Carlo's; he had married Lacy Reid and had two children, he mentioned that Shane House had married Katie Millen.

Time is a cruel prankster, and yet at the same time a melancholy gentleman with a white cane and calloused knuckles.

Tuesday night I met the family after school and we saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Sunrise Theater's cheap showing. The kids liked it.

Audio: Figure 8|Elliott Smith
Video: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory [2005|Tim Burton]
Text: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy|Douglas Adams

My word of the day: dovetail
[Why: It was used in an interview with Mike Strayer, and he didn't know its meaning for the context it was used in. I rarely, if ever, hear it used in any conversation or writing. It is definitely a more obscure, odd use. The funny thing is, the very next day, my English professor used the same word!]