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Lyova by Lyova

May 20, 2005 11:48 PM

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You left the main road before noon, as the lorries and cars slowly disappeared and asphalt turned to gravel. It is a particularly hot August day. Men and women are working in the fields, their red faces gazing up from their labour to stare at your red Lada (the first in several hours perhaps). The hay is being stacked up by wooden pitchfork into neat piles that resemble men. The children are also here. In these flat grasslands, the road is straight and lined by trees that join arms overhead, creating a natural tunnel of rustling foliage, which throws its shifting shadows onto the path, as it filters through the odd ray of sunlight, a glitter of sun through the leaves, liquid light pouring in from above. There are horses too, pulling carts on the path, working in the fields. An old peasant sleeps against a tree, as his three cows graze nearby. Then the path forks off into woodland. Thick, ancient forests that stretch out for miles on each side. You guess at deer, boar and bison, though you will see none of them at this time, when the sun is high and everything seems asleep and silent - except for the creaks and cries of swaying trees. Every few kilometres, there are children sitting at the side of the road, selling the wild strawberries and mushrooms they have just picked in the woods beyond. And this reminds you of another place and time that you left far behind.

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The workers' gardens of Grodno, a piece of the country within the city. It is also August perhaps. You are sixteen. You go there with A. and pick yellow plums that seem to belong to nobody. It is very hot and silent as Sunday. There are old apple trees, all rotten and twisted as snakes, little green insects that you smear underfoot, the sound of children playing in the distance. You are picking wild strawberries with this girl you could never dare touch. The sex hangs heavy between you but you are too young to know this, and even if you did, you wouldn't know what to do. And these fruits that burst in her hands and leave them stained with their red ripe juice like blood. And these blood-stained hands that smell of summer, earth, sweetness and her, with which she is feeding you. But these things escape your innocence and your words are detached from the fruits and the blood and the avid look in your eyes that is that of children who are tired despite themselves, by the summer heat and the turbulence of their age.

Or another time, when you both roamed the streets in the dead of night. It is winter now and there is a thick cloak of snow covering the streets. The flutter of snowflakes in the air. The freezing wind biting at your faces. Her cheeks are bright red. Her hands are purple. you take them in your own hands to rub some warmth back into them - to no avail. The birches now merge with the snow, so that everything here is white and everything above is black. There is always this tension at dawn, when the chill hits hardest and you realize you will have to go home alone. All night you have been roaming furiously, to stop your limbs from going numb. You stop to say goodbye when you really want to say something else, but the words never came. And later, in bed, you fight the dreadful pain, as you start to feel your body again and your face is burning and your head is a fever of missed opportunities.

Some years later, there will be E. And with her you will dare. It is a very soft autumn afternoon and everything feels stale. You are on a park bench below a high wall. Fat leaves are everywhere. The winds are stirring up the first chills of winter, even though summer is barely dead. You sit close to her and try to keep your eyes off her lips, turning away each time she looks at you. And perhaps you think you kiss her out of boredom. But you see: you really can't be sure, because this has never happened before.

For three years, she will be your life. You dream soft dreams together, of a home, of children, of being old. Your head is on her knee, as you picnic in the same place that was once stained with the blood of wild strawberries. Only this time there will be no adolescent unease. Or a spring day that turned into a storm, as you ran through the park, shirtless, shoeless, singing out your heart in mad rapture to her girlish glee. One day she took a ribbon from her plaited hair and gave it to you. And years later and ten thousand kilometres further east, you suddenly find it in the depths of your old wallet. And this makes you cry.

You drive out of the birch forest and the landscape suddenly changes. There is water everywhere. Thick clumps of reed and flocks of swans beating their wings against the lake. A lone fisherman in a rowboat. Children splashing by the water's edge. The flatness has also turned to hills. The path is now winding. And you know it is winding home.

Home is where you had to hide her shoes at night, so that your father didn't notice she had stayed, when he went out to milk the cows at 4 am. Home is where you both picked wildflowers for her hair. Home is where you waited in anticipation, then angst and finally resignation, when the storks didn't return to their nest on your roof one sunny spring. And this ill omen sparked another, when E told you she was going West, to find a better life. Her parents were old and sick and she was the oldest child. Someone had promised her a modeling job in Germany... Only recently have you realized what must have become of her.

For several years you blamed her for leaving. For not writing. For breaking your love. You grew harder as you slowly realized she was not coming back, concealing your pain under a hard disguise, seeing many women that each reflected a part of her: a childish glance, a tall neck, a way of walking, a whiff of flowers, a tone of voice... And then, when you understood her story, you made your own in her image, tarnished your body, hurt your heart, drove yourself into exile. To escape her binds. To find her solitude. To take the time to think your stories over and hopefully, forget.

There is a bend in the path, a few birch trees, and peering from behind them, your family house, the place where you grew up. You will stop the car, get out, and as the gate groans its welcome, you will realize that nothing fades. That these stories are shelved along with the pickled mushrooms, labeled '1986', contaminated by the Tchernobyl disaster, that no one will ever eat and your mother will probably never throw out. So they sit there in the cellar, collecting dust, as every few years, somebody notices them and exclaims: "Iza, did you know that batch of '86 is still down there?" and she replies: "Yes, yes, I'll throw them out tomorrow."

By: Lyova | May 20, 2005 | Comments (20)

Perfect Summer Recipes by Willow

May 20, 2005 11:16 PM

Mid May in Portland is awesome. We get these brilliant, sunny days punctuated by sudden thunderstorms that last all of 20 minutes. After nine months of rain the sunlight makes people a little loopy. Pale computer nerds (like me) blink and grin on the sidewalk; every patch of grass is coveted by overnight frisbee enthusiasts. Shoulders are revealed by strappy tank tops, toenails are buffed and polished in anticipation of flip-flops. Everyone is talking about summer- making plans, hyping events. I get really caught up in it- thinking about weekends on the coast, day-trips to Mt. Hood, parties in Olympia. Then I remember that graduate school begins exactly one month from today, and I will be in class from 8-5 four days a week. My evenings and weekends will be spent reading. And writing. And then more reading. My studies will effectively gobble up my summer, and while I am thrilled about school, I can't help mourning the lazy summer afternoons I'll miss, drinking beer and eating Smart Dogs with my homies.

Because I love you dear readers, and because I will not be able to live out my grand summer fantasies, I have put together the following recipes for Perfect Summers, that you may follow them, and I may live vicariously through you. Each recipe is devoted to an artist or lifestyle that I romanticize, but that is actually pretty miserable when taken out of context. (Please feel free to create your own Perfect Summer and post it in the comment section. It'll give me more to daydream about when my eyes drift from endless pages of socio-economic arguments on public education.)

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JD Salinger Summer
*Go on road trip to undesirable location with people you've found off Craigslist (Bonus if car is un-air-conditioned/cramped)
*Invite the strangers into your home and serve them outdated cocktails
*Write cryptic poems with soap on bathroom mirror
*Befriend a child and seek her council on important matters

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Indie Rock Summer
*Purchase a small truck or large station wagon
*Find an ironic neo-folk artist to tour with (Bonus points if she wears Victorian-esque dresses and has a hypnotic voice paired with vapid lyrics)
*Do not drink alcohol. Drink soda- fancy soda
*All of your clothes must be a size too small. Remember- ironic rat-tails are the ironic mullets of 2005!
*Make out with ladies or men you know only from the Internet

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F. Scott Fitzgerald Summer
*Wear flowing white garments that drape just so (add feathers to taste)
*Drive drunk
*Fall in love with an exquisitely beautiful but emotionally frigid and ultimately unattainable man or woman. Devote your summer to impressing them with your sophistication and wealth. (This may require a pre-step: become wealthy and sophisticated)
*Drink gin. A lot of gin
*Be consumed by your own appetites

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Wes Anderson/Owen Wilson Summer
*Make gang by printing identical t-shirts for your friends
*Design a petty crime and construct elaborate plans and intricate maps to carry it off
*Fall for someone completely unexpected and inappropriate
*Sneak into a motel pool and go swimming at night
*Take up cigarette smoking

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Joni Mitchell Summer
*Go to Europe for the summer and talk about how much you love the ol' US of A
*Drink red wine with psychedelic poets
*Beat yourself up for driving men away with your depth and longing
*Wear silk underwear




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JRR Tolkien Summer
*Invent your own language
*Steal your sister-in-law's engagement ring
*Throw into fireplace
*Don't shave



By: Willow | May 20, 2005 | Comments (10)

A Day in the Life - The Chiropractor by Lois

May 20, 2005 09:32 PM

It's been a month since my last chiropractor's visit. In that time I have spent at least 10 hours a day working at the PC. In that time I have typed about 60,000 words. In that time I have typed god alone knows how many keystrokes. It's no wonder I hurt. So today I am off for my regular monthly visit to get "adjusted."

Yes I know that the idea of me being anything close to "adjusted" is pretty funny but you know I didn't come up with the term. I blame it on American Chiropractic Association (ACA), making the world think that getting someone to pop your joints makes you adjusted. *rolling my eyes* Wouldn't you like to see the ACA and the American Psychological Association (APA) face off in one of those Celebrity Boxing matches to settle who gets to use the term? Maybe that's just a flaky academic's idea of fun. LOL Oh well never mind. Booming announcers voice "And now back to our story"

So at 7:30 a.m. I throw on some comfortable clean clothes. My usual work attire consists of chambray shirts and loose pants on cool days, and shorts and teeshirts on warm days. Normally I look a little nicer when I go out and about, but come on the chiropractor is not a formal attire venue. Especially since you know you are gonna get pulled on and pushed on and rolled out and maybe even electrified. LOL And I jump in my car for the 20 minute drive to the docs office.

I get to wonder the back country roads to Scipio Indiana, a great way to start out the morning. Right now the catalpa trees are in bloom so the road is littered with shed blooms after last nights storms. Catalpa trees are my favorite though most people around here sorta hate them. They get these long seed pods which as the tree website says, "can be a litter problem." But come on folks they are beautiful when they are in flower so you gotta deal with the litter later, so what.

At Scipio I hop on the two lane state road into metropolitan downtown North Vernon Indiana. Yes they really need to repaint The North Vernon sign. Can't believe the "C" in County is peeling that badly.

I grabbed this shot of the front window of the doctors office. It's a great optical illusion...the window the bricks the shutters the curving print on the glass. *starts to reel* Oh my

I've always wondered what the building originally housed. All I know is there is a keystone that says "1959." The year I was born, yes I am that old. LOL Which is kinda cool synchronicity - it's here I'm here. Sychronicity is everywhere.... everywhere. *manical laugh*

After waiting in the outer receiving area, I get lead into one of the two treatment rooms. The rooms are tall and small so the picture makes it look very dark. It's not nearly as Elizabethan as it appears, though the space certainly does have overtones of the torture chamber in this picture. Wait it does in real life too...though this is help you torture not just pain filled torture. Hummm or is it.  Hummm

The walls of this room hold some interesting prints of the human musculoskeletal system. And they are very freakystrange. One is a realistic drawing of a women with her bones superimposed on her clothing. *shivers* Very freaky. You can see a bit of her arm on the left of the picture. The others are anatomy drawings with different parts of the system highlighted by colors that I don't think occur naturally in the human body...at least not on large areas.  Like the poster on the back wall. I simply do not believe that the human buttox contains bright blue muscles...how could anyone wear white pants if this were true. I mean come on you'd have well...muscle lines showing though, at least on us very pale northern european types you would.

Ok so I get into the main treatment room and Trevor, my Doc, gets to beat up on me....and I pay him for it. Is this warped or what?

I had his assistant grab one pic of the "treatment" process. Trevor is realigning my right shoulder which gets far to much of a workout when I type and mouse...I'm VERY right handed. Which means more wear and tear since I work at a keyboard.

In the picture it looks like it hurts...well it does. But when the "adjustment' is done it feels so much better. No pain no gain.

p.s. This picture is not staged so that look on his face must be naturally occurring. I may be rethinking my respect for the man. LOL

What you don't get to see, cause pictures would have been too weird, is me laying face down on a table similar to the one pictured above, while Trevor raises panels in the bed and then pushes down on my back to kick my spine into correct position. THIS HURTS!  But without the process my back hurt much more. To much typing, sitting in desk chairs, and driving for hours to get to campus. What can I say wear and tear is not a good thing, it's the road miles...those long dusty road miles. LOL

Then I get to flip over on my back and he adjusts each of my toes individually. Picture a sadomasochistic version of "One Little Piggy, Two Little Piggy." Then he adjusts my ankles, knees, and hips. All of this helps to keep me on my feet and moving pain free.

After all the popping is done I get to change rooms and spend some time laying on a table that has a roller inside. The roller runs up and down my back loosening the muscle to help the readjusted bones to stay in their new positions. It feels a bit like being worked over by a commercial dough kneading machine. And yes I have big feet, big skinny feet, big ski feet as my brother says.

Sometimes if my back muscles are really tight they hook up electrodes to make the muscles activate while the rollers are working. While the process works very well it is a bit Frankensteinian. LOL AHRGGGGGG The secret of making the electrodes work it to make sure they turn up the current until you want to scream...then let it work for a few seconds and the pain deadens the nerves so it doesn't hurt any more. And no I don't like pain, this is not a masochistic thing for me, it's an offset a little pain here for much less pain later.

The frequent shocks are really strange...laying there being kneaded and receiving periodic electrical pulses. Hummmm I wonder if you could get a full body jolt by hooking the electrodes up to your head? May have to check that out on my next visit. *fake German accent* Dis could be wery intewesting.

So now everything is back where it should be and I have written my check, scheduled my next appointment, and am off to drive home to do more typing. Seems like a vicious cycle doesn't it.

Oh well, welcome to two hours of my day. Thanks for joining us and please come back next week when we will be investigating the proper way to test a melon for ripeness while standing on one foot in your local supermarket. Maybe I can wear a formal for that entry? But then again maybe not.

By: Lois | May 20, 2005 | Comments (3)

nada que nada by Mimi

May 20, 2005 07:23 PM

Today I spent 1.35 hours waving my behind erotically around a divorcee's groin area whilst talking about his ex-wife (bitch) and children (8 and 10), 0.45 minutes laughing with two 30 year old lawyers on their way to the Emmy Awards (hot), 8.0 hours getting yelled at by the boss (bitch), eyed up by wolfish loners (not), serving cocktails, dancing occasionally, listening to Bambi the new fucking waitress who's just discovered sex.

"Oh my. That man is damn fine. I'm gonna be havin' me a piece o' that after ma shift ends."

"He payin' for you to go to the Champagne Room?"

Bambi sniffs and flicks a ringlet from her eye, dislodging her wig slightly so that her afro peeps out jauntily from underneath.

"No. We talked about it and he decided we should jus' hook up after work."

There's a ripple of disapproval through the ranks.

That damn bitch is givin' it out fer free now. What hope is there for the rest of us, y'all?

When I go into work I switch off. I feel nothing, I have no opinions. I have no sense of shame, no emotion, everything closed, tucked neatly out of sight. In that way you become a negated space, a void for people to fill in however they desire. I'm Mimi the walking, talking doll, the paint-by-numbers English chick, whatever you want, I'll name the price. I'm the cute, young, private table dancer who makes people laugh and does things men in their forties only wish their first wives had taught them...(incredulously) Where do the kids get it from nowadays? (curiously) How many people you slept with Mimi? (nonchalantly) Oh only 2 or 3. I don't really believe in sex before marriage, letting a sly knee slip between legs, a breast stroke the side of a man's face, a careless sigh escape, look deep into someone's eyes -

They say you can always tell a liar because they can look you straight in the eye. Someone should tell these pricks that. "You havin' a good time Mimi? You glad we met? I'm different to the average guy, right?" But of course, mi amor, but of course.

How do I find this job tolerable? I don't kiss. It's Julia Roberts, it's pretty fucking woman, and the time when one Champagne Room client did slip his tongue in my mouth, I got drunk on tequila and cried and cried and cried. My body is not my mind. But somehow my mouth is supremely intimate. I use it to tease but never to clinch the deal. You learn to let everything else wash over you. You learn to deal with loneliness. You learn how to dance like you believe it, with tricks and lies, wielded by the experts - women. Life is a lie, it's all about lying. I defy anyone who can claim to live without lying.

The other day I thought I heard someone whisper my name behind me. Not Mimi, my real name, the one my parents gave me. I almost didn't stop, until I recalled vaguely, 'That's me'. There was no one there, of course, of course. A cliche movie moment. It's almost too easy, giving up my past life to take on this new one. I leave her behind, the student, the scholar, the graduate, the good girl, and become Mimi instead - writer, traveller, sex-worker. Somewhere in between are the parts I prefer to forget. And as strange as it may seem, the pain is all the more pure because of it.

Although I wonder, sometimes, if I really have left her behind, or if every time I gaze steadily without seeing into someone's eyes as I murmur another lie, another name, the emptiness gazing back is just a confrontation with the other me.

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By: Mimi | May 20, 2005 | Comments (11)

"Mona Lisa" VS "Mullah Lisa" by Medya

May 20, 2005 02:26 PM

today I recieved a letter from an American friend, Jessica containitng a painting and a tape !

but you have no idea how Iranian post is.
they open your letters,and check it to see if it is islamic or not and if it doesnt be islamic they make it islamic for you .

sometimes these men's job in post office is so hard, just imagine somebody send you an american magazine, they have to cover every un-islamic photo in that magazine !
and sometimes their job is really great ! I mean sometimes they draw new paitnigs for you even better than the original one !
like this time ! this time the post office drawn for me a new Mona Lisa ! I invite you to see Iranian posts Art works (open both and compare them !)
(Wink)(Wink ,in the way that Ritchey winked)

1- Fist read the original letter

2- then the censored letter

By: Medya | May 20, 2005 | Comments (6)

As The Kind Snail Goes Earnestly About Its Day, So Are We Each One Step Closer To Death by ritchey

May 19, 2005 11:45 PM

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By: ritchey | May 19, 2005 | Comments (26)

so many questions... by James

May 19, 2005 03:51 AM

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so... first of all, i'd like to draw your attention to the newspaper. first thing you may notice how fantastical this article appears. please understand that it is usually much worse than this, newspapers in taiwan (and there are tons) are very graphic and visually oriented. At first sight, the Taiwanese newspapers look much more likely to contain fashion tips, star sightings, or stories about batboy than any real news; but something about this article was real news to me.

"Five people were poisoned after drinking Bullwild, purchased separately from several convenience stores in taichung, police said yesterday." -Five People Poisoned by Energy Drink.taipei times.05.19.2005.

At first this may simply appear as your average 'horrible crime', that as an american i am eagerly dedicated to reading, but i promise it gets much more interesting...
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"Police have so far found eight bottles containing poison. The caps on the tainted bottles had been replaced and all had stickers with the words 'I am poisonous. Don't drink', stuck onto them, police said."

so... this adds a rather interesting twist, and raises a load of questions. why would someone who wants to poison people, label it as such? Is this just a really awful and twisted joke? Will there be more? is it a political statement? who was it that they were targeting? the company? the consumer? capitalist culture and modern society? if so, who would think it was important enough to kill people or turn them into 'vegetables for life'? hydride is a horribly poisonous substance, how come no one has died of it yet? did they put only enough in each can to cause a stir? why does this make a difference to me? I NEED TO BE DISCUSSING THESE THINGS!!
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im so confused, but also horribly intrigued. for me, this means a lot. i can almost compare it to the two towers, and i really hope this event stirs up serious debate in taiwan as to the direction peoples lives have taken. it is all so horribly symbolic! even cryptic! of course this is very strange behavior, especially considering the horrible results and possible consequences if caught; i hardly need to stress that. but seriously, i half expect some maniacal messiah to surface out of all this. why would they want to do so much harm in such a random manner? is it really as random as i suppose? i've drank that drink before! so i guess, another important question to ask is "who would drink something that was labeled as being poisonous?" i, for one, would be curious enough to take a sip, which is exactly what one of the store's employee was thinking. look where that got him.

"People are concerned that tainted Bullwild drinks may still be available at small betel nut shops, which may not have withdrawn their stock."

WELCOME TO TAIWAN! i confirmed this myself just now with my handy dandy "not really turned off" camera (to be posted in comments, for a little reversal of my patterns thus far). a little trip to my local betel nut vendor (and no, i am not still chewing those) proved that betel nut vendors are just as hardcore and stubborn as i expected. if you are not familiar with betel nuts, there is much to tell. it is rather interesting that they would be the only ones still selling the possibly toxic beverages, when their prime product (the betel nut) is precisely that; a toxic nut. the main difference being that hydride wipes the smile of your face and leaves you dead in the streets, where as betel nuts give you a whole new smile and leave little red stains in the streets. of course i'd absolutely love to share more about these wonderful little poisonous nuts and the betel nut beauties, but that is hardly what's important here. I'd really like to hear more about what other people think, open up some discussion. of course i will update as soon as tomorrows paper is printed, if people are interested in hearing of developments in the case, i know i am.

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By: James | May 19, 2005 | Comments (40)