Happy 2009

Fireworks are yapping away outside, impatient boys. In a couple hours I’ll climb the hill by my inlaws’ house and shoot off a few. Fireworks, I mean. May 2009 be a good year for all of us, with lots of peace and love and sex, and good health and jobs, and stronger unions, both labor and civil, and a serious leftward swing of the political pendulum, and funny jokes, and solar-powered flying cars, and grocery rockets.

What does 2009 look like for you? What do you wish for? What are your resolutions?

A Christmas Carol, reloaded


Tiny Tim: [Crawls into tight hiding spot] [To himself] I should be safe in here.

Act I

Scene I

Mrs. Cratchit: [Driving cleaning lady to her next gig] Sheesh, what’s that awful smell?

Cleaning lady: Factory? The car?

Mrs. Cratchit: It smells like burning. It gets worse every time we go around a corner.

Scenes II, III, IV

(yadda, yadda, yadda)

Act II

Scene I

Bob Cratchit: [We are outside the bathroom, he is inside.] Ow.

Scene II

Bob Cratchit: [Same location] Ow, my head. [Sound effects: Retroperistalsis]

Scene III

Bob Cratchit: [We are now inside the bathroom with Mr. Cratchit] [Sighs] [Sound effects: gurgling intestines] Ow, yet fascinating.

Scene IV

Mrs. Cratchit: [Street scene] How do you open the hood, anyhow?


Scene I

Bob Cratchit: [Struggles impotently with giant pine tree wrapped tightly in netting. Looks at base of tree, realizes it is way to fat to fit into Christmas tree stand] Sigh.

Scene II

Bob Cratchit: [Drinks aspirin drink. Arranges tools beside tree on picnic table: saws, chisel, mallet. Looks at axe, has vision of chopped-off fingers and spurting arterial blood, sets it back down.] Not with this residual blood alcohol. [Begins chipping away at trunk of tree with chisel]

Scene III

Bob Cratchit: [Places tree in living room, cuts away the plastic netting. The tree is about two feet too high for the ceiling. He clips off the tip, which is too fat to fit inside the ornament that traditionally goes atop the tree. He steps back and regards the tree, which resembles Olive Oyl wearing a crinoline dress and stretching out her arms] Next year, I must buy a tree earlier.

Scene IV

Tiny Tim: [From hiding place] Meow.

Mrs. Cratchit: Ohmigod.

Tiny Tim: [Crawls from underneath hood of Mrs. Cratchit's automobile, his fur badly singed on all sides, eyebrows and whiskers included.] Meow.

Cleaning lady: Whoa.

Mrs. Cratchit’s friend: I’ll bring you a cat transporter.

Act IV

Scene 1

[In the Cratchits' living room, which now smells like pine tree and singed cat]

Mrs. Cratchit: [sorting through Christmas ornaments] The vet said he’d be in shock for a while.

Bob Cratchit: I really should have gone tree-shopping earlier.

Mrs. Cratchit: It’s fine. It’s a nice tree.

Bob Cratchit: You’re too kind.

Mrs. Cratchit: The vet didn’t even charge me anything. Here, gold, silver, blue, purple but not so much red this year, okay?

Bob Cratchit: Okay.

Mrs. Cratchit: And I still need you to put the fiddly little hooks on all the chocolate ornaments. For some reason I bought hundreds this year.

Bob Cratchit: [Looks at huge pile of chocolate ornaments, which dance kaleidoscopically in his blurred vision, like the "bad trip" scene from a cautionary late-1960s anti-LSD movie.] Okay.

Bob Cratchit: [Begins hanging ornaments from tree, one by one.]

Mrs. Cratchit: And I like the red star atop the tree. We don’t always have to have that other thing.

Bob Cratchit: The red star does have an appealing communist look to it, doesn’t it.

Mrs. Cratchit: Maybe we’ll use it every year from now on.

Bob Cratchit: I wonder if you can get little hammer and sickle ornaments to go with it.

Mrs. Cratchit: Well, I’m off to do some shopping or something.

Scenes 2, 3, 4, 5

yadda, yadda, yadda

Act V

Scene 1

Bob Cratchit: [Pets Tiny Tim, carefully.] What the hell were you thinking?

Scene 2

Bob Cratchit: [Pets Tiny Tim, carefully]

Scene 3

Bob Cratchit: [Regards tree, now fully decorated] She’s right, it’s not that bad after all.

Scene 4

Bob Cratchit: Sorry, Tim, the vet said we can’t let you out for a few days. You’ll have to go on your litter box.

Tiny Tim: God bless us, everyone.

It’s the holiday season

The cat yacked in our bedroom at 2.30 am. It was just a kitten, but due to an inherent acoustic law of the feline digestive tract, sounded like some huge animal. I figured since it was only 2.30 I would be able to fall back to sleep afterwards, and who doesn’t like to fall back to sleep? I got up and stepped on something furry. REEEEER! Sorry, pal. Felt like a tail. Got some heavyweight paper towels from the kitchen downstairs, followed by optimistic cats. Turned on bedroom light to wipe it up. Just a little puddle with something festive in the middle. Either tapeworms are getting fancier, or it had eaten a length of holiday mylar. Disposed of the evidence. Went back to bed, and stared at the ceiling for two hours, just about falling asleep at the moment Alpha’s alarm went off.

Voice recording request

As previously mentioned a couple days ago, I need recordings of you reading your shopping list/shopping receipt for a composition I am working on.

The composition is for theremin, voice (spoken and soprano) and cash register.

I need voice recordings of people reading, say, the last ten or so things they have purchased, with or without prices. I.e., “milk, $2. oranges, $3″ or “automobile, €20,000″. Or whatever. “Shirt, stereo, earrings, kitten.”

Please mail to metamorphosist@gmail.com.

Thanks in advance.

Careers in Science, III: Thaumatology

As luck would have it, the thaumatologist is diagnosed with viral pneumonia for the holidays, necessitating a change in plans at every level of magnification.

On the plus side, the thaumatologist’s parents just got two new sofas, so the thaumatologist can flop on new furniture for the next four weeks.

On the minus side, the thaumatologist and the thaumatologist’s sister had to listen to their father, who has an out-of-order lumbar disc, try to organize their mother and their grandfather to move the sofas: 1.5 old sofas out, 0.5 old sofas upstairs to the thaumatologist’s room, 2 new sofas in, until he finally gave up and took an end of a sofa, which however didn’t stop him yelling things like, No, turn it so it goes through the door the skinny way, it’s too wide to go through the fat way, or, No, your end first, not my end first, or, You’re pushing me down the cellar stairs, and other common bulky furniture-moving phrases.

The thaumatologist is probably happy the weekend is over and she has the house to herself for a while.

Hey, listen

I need your voice again, for another one of those compositions.

I promise to do a better job with the voice track this time.

Please mail me a recording (metamorphosist@gmail.com) of you reading your shopping list, okay? In your native language. The last time you went shopping. Groceries, or hardware, or seasonal holiday gift items, or whatever. It can be as long or as short as you want.

Thanks in advance!

Deadline, let’s say deadline sometime in January, okay?

Careers in Science, II: Acarology

(We did algedonics yesterday)

The acarologist has probably a pound of the little sonsabitches in his hypoallergenic pillow alone. He can’t hear them but he knows they’re there, and pounds more in the hypoallergenic mattress. Thank god they don’t have wallpaper or a carpet. His daughter coughs at the other end of the hall. She can’t sleep because being horizontal makes her cough, and she refuses to sleep sitting up. He thinks of all the jobs he never would have survived had he been as picky. What time is it, eleven. His wife said she’d be home at midnight. What the name of pere ubu are the kittens doing out in the hall? And who thought the pulsating sleep light feature on the ibook was a good idea? If he squints his eyes shut tight in the darkness, and then opens them real fast and wide, he can see blue rings that look as if they were scratched into film emulsion.