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Archive: June 2006

“hopeful in the church of the morning sun”

It was almost a week ago while I was traveling that I got an email from Steven saying that he’d found a baby bird dying in the hallway of our apartment. I thought that was really odd, but was just glad the cat hadn’t hastened its end. Then came my triumphant return and my day off work Wednesday and a whole lot of bird sounds. I went into the bedroom to find the cat entranced with the closet and quite a racket coming from within.

I was terrified for the bird, but managed to trap it in a shoebox and get it out to the balcony. It was weak, frail, featherless in spots. Its parents flew around but didn’t come near. It got out of the box and, terrified, threw itself off the edge of the balcony. While I don’t think it would have survived long anyway, it died soon after its fall and I buried it on the back hill. I cried a lot.

Clearly something was going wrong to let birds into our apartment, and since they were in the closet I suspected the problem was connected to the air conditioning unit there. There is a nest above and to the right of our air conditioning unit’s vent to the outside, but I think the actual connection must happen inside the brick, which explains the insulation that floats down to our closet floor.

Ever since then, it’s been like “The Tell-Tale Heart.” I wake in the middle of the night sure that somewhere I can hear a bird, an indoor bird, a dying bird. Today I had that same dreadful certainty but whenever I went to the closet, any chirping stopped. After vacuuming out all the insulation and clearing carpet space for birds to fall, I climbed up to see the hole that must be the way in.

Being sure in my heart that the birdsongs I heard were the equivalent of the call coming from inside the house, I finally had to set up a stakeout. I sat with my laptop for a while and, as I’d feared, there was a shrill sound from a box I’d moved out of the way in my cleaning. This one had feathers and personality, and could get itself off the ground a few inches when it flapped its wings. I kept it on the balcony until I was sure the parents had found it and watched them fly to the edge of the box, chirping wildly. When I released the fledgling into the bush below its nest, I couldn’t hear any more cheeping babies in the nest. I did see both parents as I walked back to the apartment.

It makes me feel like a freak that little birds have driven me to photo(blogo)journalism, but I wanted to have documents for when they weren’t there anymore. Maybe it’s because everything seemed like an emergency, like time was slipping away, but I wanted something that would remind me I’d done something (even if, since it’s a photo, that something was only look) and I think it worked. I can hear birds outside now and they sound plenty cheerful to me, but what do I know about birds?

“Well, it’s because the other 90 percent is filled up with curds and whey.”

Last night was for major travel, so tonight is for majorly early bedtime. I can’t go there without sharing the news that at last I found a copy of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness and it’s mine mine mine. Well, okay, and the real news you probably couldn’t pick up on in previous sentences is that I’m totally geeking out and it did in fact lift my spirits every time I picked it up, which is just amazing. So here are some of my super-spoilery happy impressions.

Steph from Lost at Sea plays viola and percussion (and probably something else prior to that) in Kid Chameleon and I’m so glad to see her again!

Lynette is straight, which really surprised me. Or maybe she’s not straight and is just fucking Todd to destroy him, which would be basically evil and awesome. I don’t suppose we’ll really find out. But hmm.

Oh, and speaking of which, Wallace’s new not-quite-boyfriend is the next ex, right? Because Ramona’s head lights up when he’s mentioned and she (intentionally?) misinterprets the chi trick Scott learns from him via Wallace, and even her response to Wallace’s plans to cuddle with him seems pretty much ambivalent. But if he is indeed the dark, mysterious man at the final concert, he knows Todd and is influencing him for non-vegan psychic reasons, at least during the Honest Ed’s fight. SCOTT, IT’S A TRAP! BEWARE! Oooooooh, divided loyalties! I can’t wait for more of it in the next book.

I love that Ramona reminisces in her underwear and the memory is so strong that she reverts to the tank top she was wearing then. It seems so real that she and Scott are in many ways less mature in their relationship than Scott and Knives were, though on the surface that seems not to be the case.

My favorite scene is just post-fight when everyone’s in pain and sad and yet looking to help or at least be aware of someone else. Envy may not be one of the story’s “good guys” (and recall that this is a story in which the top good guy has to beat people into oblivion) but she’s not the heartless bitch her ex and his friends might almost wish she were. The more plot there is, the more things in the social group get tightly incestuous and yet, while “everyone in this town is bitches, apparently” there’s an undercurrent of support and strength amid the heartbreak that just makes me want to wiggle.

And there’s more Comeau! I hope his ring from the future comes is something he picked up (can you use past tense for trips to the future?) while visiting me so we can share data and gossip because we’re the National Security Agency, though I’m not holding my breath on that one. But how awesome would that be? Call me, Michael. I know you know who I am.

So yeah, what I’m saying is that I’m really too old for this now, but I’m utterly charmed. It’s great that the wacky fantasy and the emotional frenzy have come to the forefront now. I mean, by this book when there are save points and extra lives I might have finally noticed that there were video game references instead of having to be informed after reading book one, but I’m not there for the geeky in-jokes, just the in-book in-jokes. I barely know the characters in any real sense, but I have such a fondness for them all the way down to the poor waitress who doesn’t want to be in a documentary and doesn’t want small and thoughtless tips. I feel so lucky to have these books that speak to me at a dopey emotional level and just make me happy. I like this happiness. “Today a child is born unto us, and his name will be bacon.” And it was good.

on the death of irony

I’ll correct this one for accuracy, which I still need to do with my previous post, but today’s scorn-inducing statement from Bush heard by me on NPR in my car is his mention of (again, non-key words may be slightly inaccurate) “the mission we are accomplishing here” in talking to Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki about that country’s prospects. Seriously, has he no shame?

on the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

I can’t find an official transcript, but what’s burned into my brain from hearing his statement live on the radio driving in here is that our prez sez, “May God bless the Iraqi people and continue to bless America.” I know I have the total lack of parallel structure there right because I immediately yelled at the radio, which is not something I generally do.

Yeah, now that we Americans have killed a terrorist by means of an air strike, that is what Bush calls “justice.” He still seems pretty keen on the trial of Saddam Hussein, which makes sense to me, but I guess blowing people up makes for better press conferences. However the really important thing is that now that this decidedly unsavory fellow has been wiped off the face of the earth we can finally start hoping that Iraq gets some special treats from God, who had previously been withholding his divine support for fear it might accidentally land on a Jordanian terrorist when he (and while I’m pretty sure Bush’s second phrase didn’t have a pronoun, let’s not kid ourselves about which one he’d choose) wasn’t paying attention or something. But hey, don’t let anyone forget who has God’s Most Favored Nation status. I was and continue to be sad and furious.