Wednesday, September 22, 2004


This is not the only place I chatter. Those of you who know me know that my general failure to update is not the result of a failure to have anything to say. I have lots to say and the fact that I don't say it all here only suggests that there are other places where I spill my thoughts.

One such place is a journal I have been keeping almost as long as I’ve been able to write. Every so often I will get the urge to read through my old entries and not too long ago I did just that. Specifically, I was looking up a trip I took in high school to Oklahoma for a student government conference. (For the gentlemen who never participated in student government: you're all fools. We were outnumbered three to one by the girls on this trip.)

I read through the pages of my journal that covered this trip and was disappointed to find that I never mentioned Nancy. Perhaps this is because I did not have a crush on Nancy. I have found, in perusing my high school entries, that if I did not have a crush on you, you didn't get much face time in my journal. Nancy did not get mentioned at all.

I did not know Nancy before the trip and I never saw her again after it was over, but for that week we were good friends.

Nancy, and I sat together on the bus from Tulsa to Branson, Missouri and decided there was something “off” about the trees in Oklahoma. We couldn’t figure out what it was, but they just looked wrong. We also decided that there was way too much open space and that when we were old enough and rich enough, we would return to that area of the country and build a single tower, paint it purple, run lights up and down it at night, and build no roads to get to it. The idea was to let people see it (force them to, really) but refuse to tell them its purpose or ever allow them to get near it.

We determined that the people running the shows in Branson, Missouri obviously had no idea what they were doing when it came to billboards and that the best way to get the money for our tower was to hire ourselves out as ad writers. “We could go into advertising in Branson” one of us would say, to which the other would respond, “Someone certainly should.” We also concluded that Branson itself was what happened when you crossed Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale. For the record, we decided we do not recommend crossing Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale.

Along the way there was the world’s second largest McDonald’s and an enormous hunting store where we took pictures of ourselves in front of a stuffed grizzly bear. There was the American Cowboy Museum. There was also an outlet mall and a real mall partially under construction where I bought my first pair of non-dorky clip on sunglasses. Of that trip I remember the first half best, all the touristy really random things we did, and I spent most of that time with Nancy.

Nancy introduced me to the joy of brushing a girl’s hair (Girls, take note, I brush hair. Guys, take note, most girls seem to dig that). She also, by having me brush her hair, got me the in I needed to brush the hair of the girl who I did have the crush on. As I said, I did not have a crush on Nancy. Perhaps if I’d been smarter, I would have. Perhaps not. She was no more interested in dating me than I was in dating her. Actually, I’m pretty sure she had a boyfriend.

Nancy was never catty or manipulative. Nor was she shy and fragile either. I wish I had written about her at the time because that would enable me to tell you now what she was, rather than what she was not. If I try now, though, I’ll assign her attributes I think she should have had and they won’t necessarily be the right ones. All I can really say is that she was real enough and meant enough to me then that I still think of her now after having only known her for one week nine years ago.

Do not misunderstand me, I do not sigh wistfully when I think of her and wonder what might have been. This is not a "lost love" story. It’s the story of a good, if brief, friendship that I would like to honor. I named a character in one of my books after her. It’s not a good name for the setting, though, so it’s not going to stay. I’ll have to find some other way to honor her. Until I find a story her name does fit, this will have to do.

Monday, September 06, 2004


I do not watch many TV shows. This year’s Olympics marked the first time I had turned on a TV without also turning on a DVD player or video game console since April. With a few exceptions (which I’ll get to in due time), most of my TV experience comes from walking through the room when my roommates are watching something. This does tend to broaden my experience. I know more about politics than I would otherwise thanks to my current roommates’ choice of shows. My previous roommate helped improve my sports awareness while his girlfriend worked on keeping me up to date in reality shows.

It is something of a trap for me. Though I tend to avoid activating the device myself, I have difficulty passing unhindered through a room where it is already on. I stop, I watch. At home it drives my parents crazy because I tend to stand behind the couch, always on the verge of taking that next step towards my intended goal, but never actually taking it. Whoever is there will finally get tired of having me watch over their shoulder and will ask (tell) me to sit down. If it’s my parents’ house, I’ll walk around the couch and sit. If it’s mine, I tend to climb over the back of the couch instead. Either way, I get sucked in. But only for that one episode. I watch, then go away, rarely ever seeking a repeat performance. There are, however, a few exceptions.

Occasionally, I will find a show appealing enough that I actually schedule time to watch it and will, of my own volition and without prompting, turn on the TV with the express purpose of watching said show. The Simpsons, The Tick, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and most recently Scrubs. This phenomenon only rarely occurs simultaneously. One show will begin to fail (Simpsons) or get canceled (Tick, Buffy) before I discover the next one.

I mention this because the new Scrubs season has begun and once again I find myself planning my Tuesdays around this event. Actively preparing to watch a TV show is a rare occurrence for me, a noteworthy event. So I note it here. It being an event I also like to share, those of you who live nearby are invited to come watch with me. Those who do not live nearby will just have to watch it on their own. Those inclined to neither, some explaining may be required. But converting you will have to wait. I need to go learn how to use my TV again. I have a show to prepare for.