Zzzt zzzt zzzt

i gave the crows
ok like hang on
i got a new coat.
a friend was in town and it was cold and rainy
so i bought a spring coat
rain coat but not as warm as my winter coat
and a nice fabric so i don’t go
zzzt zzzt zzzt when i walk
you know what i mean
lightweight sort of trenchcoat looking
but no belt (those always get tangled up)
and black
but also no dog kibbles in the pocket
so i bought peanuts this morning
in the shell
for the crows
and the crows were all, every one of them,
man what is this?
people always talk about feeding crows peanuts
in the shell
and i used to feed them peanuts thinking
cracking the shells makes it interesting
gives them
something to do but
they like the Frolic! brand kibble better.
and they all hesitated before taking
a nut
they all looked at me
the way i look at the ceiling at night
when i can’t sleep
or the horizon when i get
into another fight with a loved one
fight or misunderstanding
or screw-up
i hope i sleep better tomorrow
i hope we get along tomorrow
i hope this builds character
i hope there is kibble again
but on the other hand
on the other hand
to be fair
and without wanting to jinx anything
i have also been very lucky
i have met interesting people
i am doing interesting things
i am doing things so scary i am still scared 2 weeks later
friends visit from out of town (see above)
if only i could sleep
knock on wood

The seven things successful people don’t want you to know!

  1. 3:50 AM give up, go take pee, look at clock, wonder if you’ll get back to sleep before alarm goes off
  2. 5:00 AM wife shakes you, says “your alarm” which would be unnecessary, since you’ve been awake since 3:50, except you can no longer hear the first couple higher-pitched cycles of the alarm so, ok. You turn it off and get up.
  3. Let in cats. Feed cats. Close 2 doors so sensitive cat is isolated from the less-sensitive cats and can eat in peace. Turn on coffee machine. Open windows to air out downstairs.
  4. Go check the trap line. It’s still dark. One dish of beer has a few slugs. On the way to the other 2 dishes over by the echinacea a slug somehow gets into your Birkenstock. You do the “A slug got into my Birkenstock” dance but he holds fast so you take off the sandal and flick him into one of the beer traps, kerplunk. A dozen or so of his buddies are in there too.
  5. That’s fewer than usual lately, maybe you’re making headway. Maybe they’re hunkered down waiting for the hot weather to pass. Maybe they’re on the tomatoes.
  6. You’ll never know cause you have to go eat breakfast (slice of rye bread, butter, ham, Greek yogurt with blueberries + honey)
  7. One cat wants out. No not that door the other door. Then another cat wants out, but not the door the first cat went out, the other door.
  8. You tiptoe around while you do all this so your wife can sleep.
  9. But she gets up to make sure you don’t forget to throw lettuce and blueberries out the window for the tortoise.
  10. Throughout all this you have the idea of distance in your head. Maybe you had a dream. Distance between galaxies is the same as distance inside atoms, between the nucleus and the electrons, it’s mostly empty space, you think. And yet we find each other.

Question upon question

The essential question is, precisely which pheromones are in the shower gel you use that advertises “With Pheromones!!!1!”.
Most people will want a shower gel with human pheromones, and not, say, moth pheromones.
Or tiger pheromones.
This morning I woke up at 2am and couldn’t fall back to sleep for a long time. Hours.
At 4:20 I woke up to my wife opening the window and making a big deal about how much it had snowed at night.
I fed the cats. I got dressed. I gave my wife a cup of coffee and went outside and shoveled snow.
I went back inside, took a shower, ate breakfast at some point, had a cup of coffee, got re-dressed, shoveled more snow, went to work.
At the train station my long underwear relaxed and slid down and gathered around the low-water mark of my ass which is uncomfortable and I went into the restroom and hiked it back up and since then so far so good.
I dunno, did the cold weather paralyze the elastic? Am I getting a teeny old-man ass? Do I need a booty workout? The long johns are new, I got them for Xmas.
Question upon question.


I don’t want to jinx anything, but I have been somewhat happy lately. The German word for happiness is the same as that for luck: Glück. That feels right.

Not sure why. Maybe I’m sleeping better.

Maybe it’s the phase of the moon. Austrians are strongly affected by lunar phases. The moon is currently full, and the road to work was full of crazy asshats this morning. Either the full moon turns about 25% of Austrians into really bad drivers, or it makes me cranky, impatient and hypercritical.

I think it’s sleep, though. I have a phobia of going senile. After observing the process in two relatives, I have the feeling that there are aspects of the onset of senility that one notices about oneself and either accepts or denies, and there are (and this is maybe worse) aspects that one does not perceive. And I have noticed myself forgetting words and names. I tell myself that I have done this all my life and it is just the fact that I am 50 that I connect it with senile dementia, but one still worries. And I did get all flustered at the music store recently and buy a stack of sheet music that I had eliminated, and neglected to buy the notes I wanted, and had to go back the next day and exchange, but that can happen to anyone, right?

And now that I am sleeping, I feel less confused. So there’s that. And there is also the thought that maybe part of my problem is that I’m surrounded by so many sharp people. There are all you smart people reading this. There are all my smart friends. Many of you belong to both groups, of course. There are the women in my family who have been kicking ass lately. Gamma, who turns 13 in a few days, was at the doctor recently for a checkup with her sister and her mother, where the following conversation ensued:

Doctor: Und was hast du für Beschwerden, Gamma? (What complaints (symptoms) do you have, Gamma?)

Gamma: Ich kriege viel zu wenig Taschengeld! (My allowance is way too low!)

Anyhow. Maybe I need to watch Fox News for awhile until I start feeling smarter.


One held the other one to the gouged wooden floor. It smelled of sawdust and stale beer, chewing tobacco  that had missed the spittoon, spicy chili con carne, bacon and eggs, but also… hang on, it’s almost lunch time. One just held the other one to the gouged wooden floor. “You, what, you want me to just lay it out for you? Tell you the way it is? You want me to be your daddy? You looking for a daddy, is that it? Is that it? I’m supposed to just spell it out for you?” Adrenalin made the first one repeat everything. He pressed the muzzle of a… of a what? WTF is a muzzle anyway? Does only a shotgun have a muzzle, or is it the business end of any gun? If he turns the skull of the second one a little and presses the muzzle of a Saturday Night Special against something, a temple or an eyeball or something, will gun buffs laugh? Would he press the barrel of a Saturday Night Special against the whatever-bone, or the muzzle? If he presses the barrel, does that mean he’s pressing the gun sideways and aiming it somewhere else? All the online dictionaries say “business end of a firearm”, but what do they know? And you can’t just whip out a shotgun, whip, like that, when you’re holding someone or some… some thing to the floor in a place where the floor smells like sawdust and whiskey and the other stuff. The first one turned the second one’s head to face him and, still holding it to the floor, pressed the muzzle of a Weimaraner to his eyeball.

“Answer me, you varmint,” he growled (he pronounced it varmit). “This thing has a hair trigger.”

There was a stage, and upon the stage a band, and the drummer struck a rim-shot on his snare-drum.

“I was holding a sleeping kitten,” the second one said. “It was twitching and making odd noises so I rolled it over, and noticed it had a boner, conical and red. I felt sorry for it, it reminded me of me somehow,  although I harbored exactly zero curiosity pertaining to the content of its dreams. All I could think was, you’re getting fixed tomorrow, enjoy it while it lasts. So, hell, no I don’t need you to spell anything out. Where the hell did that come from, anyway?”

“Beats me,” said the first one, holstering his Weimaraner, and leaning back against the bar. “Insomnia is a harsh mistress.”

This morning, in the circus truck

Clown:  So anyway, yeah? There’s this guy, Ev Williams something. And ten years ago he and Al Gore invented blogging or something. Blogger or something.

Lion Tamer: I know. Something dot blogspot.

Clown:  Exactly. And he had no revenue stream, except some ads. And it got real popular, and important, and sold for zillions to Google. And now he has twitter, and no revenue stream at all, and it’s real popular all of a sudden after sort of idling for a couple years or something.

Lion Tamer: And your point is?

Clown: Uh, well, I’m just curious that the same guy hits the nail on the head twice in a row, and this is way cooler than facebook, twitter is, in some ways, and I’m just curious what his, you know, business model is, who’s going to give him a zillion dollars this time. Did you see that? Was that a deer?

Lion Tamer: What?

Clown:  Your mother woke up at three this morning, and then she woke me up, and then we woke the cats up. So I’ve been awake for five hours already, okay? And I caught her jetlag.

Lion Tamer: I think I’m going to France this week. Did I tell you already?

The Sense of Being Stared at by Zombies

This morning, after being awoken by kittens at 4 AM after spending my first night alone while my wife was away on business and my children skiing with their grandparents and aunt, and kicking them out into the hall and ignoring their scratching at the door and then falling back to sleep and getting up at 5.30 to feed them and the big cats and then eat breakfast and feed the birds and clean litter boxes and take a shower and shave, I went upstairs to get dressed and standing there in the walk-in closet found the phrase “The Sense of Being Stared at by Zombies” in my head at the same time that I heard something scratching in the walls, much like the sounds taken to be rats in the ceiling or attic, I forget which, at the start of the novel “The Exorcist” (after reading that as a kid I lost any interest in watching the movie), and so stood there, wondering on the one hand what new resident this was I was hearing, a nest of martens, perhaps, or rats or birds or demons (when I thought of demons, another phrase entered my head: “The bad thing about slicing open demons is more demons come out”) and on the other what would differentiate the sense of being stared at by zombies from the sense of being stared at in general, and if it was humorous to imagine Rupert Sheldrake discussing the first draft of his book ultimately published as “The Sense of Being Stared At” with his agent, and his agent advising him to take out the zombies then it might be okay, or if I was one of those people who should not live alone for an extended time.