Friday, April 04, 2003


Finally got myself a haircut. A buzz. That #2 on the electric razor. The barber commented on how the top part of my scalp was thinning out. Thanks for reminding me.

Last Friday night, I went to another high school berk get-together, as Pong was scheduled to jet back to Oh, Canada! on the 12th. Joel couldn't make it because of an illness which quite predictably led to SARS jokes. (It used to be AIDS, then Ebola, then Mad Cow, then Mad Chicken. Seems like Mother Nature's autopurge protocols have been working overtime.) Discussions jumped from relationships, to anal sex, to homosexuality, to "what they don't teach you in med school" -- stuff we never would talk about as impressionable youths before the turn of the century.

I was able to go through around 20 pages of Jeff Noon's Automated Alice and felt proud of myself. As I've said before, I'm not very patient when it comes to reading fiction, so 20 pages to me is an accomplishment.

In Automated Alice, Jeff Noon adds a 'trequel' to Lewis Carroll's classics Alice In Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. He brings Alice to the future, 1998 Manchester to be exact, where pseudo-ditzy Alice risks her life and sanity to find her parrot Whippoorwill. In the 'future' Alice meets her cyber-counterpart Celia (built by a guy named Pablo who also built a robot based on Jimi Hendrix), is accused of the 'jigsaw murders' and is consequently chased by the Civil Serpents. Its a verbal romp, where Noon adopts Carroll's wordsmithy philosophical style and shreds the English language in witty ways. (Citizens being infected with Newmonia, computers being run by colonies of CompuTermites, etc.) I will admit that I could only take this mental assault in adequate doses.

I was also able to get a workout in. Given that I hadn't lifted in over three months, I took it slow. With eight-and-a-half pounds on each hand, I did around thirty minutes of shadow boxing to a pulsing dance beat. Now my shoulders, biceps, and upper back are sore. I good kind of sore, the kind that encourages me.

This morning, the neighborhood kids were flying kites, something I used to do in my innocent youth. There's something awe-inspiring in seeing those simple paper creations riding a breeze on a bright day. A feeling of reassurance. That things will be okay. A reminder that despite all things that exact prices, there are still some things that can be enjoyed for free.

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