Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I should go to bed early tonight

I'm very tired. Like malarial, anemic, mono tired. A red-eye to the East Coast, a late flight back, a sixteen-hour day of stress at work broken up by a bag of Sun Chips and a bottle of water, and I am ready to call it a wrap here and hope for the best on the reincarnation wheel.

Everyone's talking about religion these days. We'd like to remind you that we here at the Octopus have been focused on the question for a while now. We have our tentacles on the pulse of the nation. Maybe wrapped around the carotid artery?

I heard once that if you stimulate that jelly bean shaped node just under where your jaw meets your neck you can slow your heart rate down. (In fact, it's true. But you should be careful.) Indeed, I had heard that you could induce fainting by massaging these nodes. Every now and then, before the start of a high school basketball game, or before some early morning standardized test in a huge lecture hall full of fear, I would rub those nodes, and imagine that I could feel myself calming down. Often I combined this with mumbling some surah under my breath several times.

My mom made three little books of surahs for my brothers and me, with the Arabic and the English translations side-by-side on xeroxed sheets she had cut and slipped into what were meant to be small photo albums for 5"x7" pictures. She gave these to us on my recent trip home. I've been too scared to open mine yet. My mom told me to read surah Fatihah at least once a day. She said it was "an especially powerful" surah. She also urged me to go get a check up and check my cholesterol.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Invisible Hand Falls Asleep

An alter ego of the OG is guest blogging here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I haven't taken a shower for a day or two.

A Dickens World theme park is opening in England this month.

Al Gore is breathing fire and looks like he may just run. As you know, I am all for it.

If I had more time, I would be cooler.

I miss Hunter S. Thompson. I'm reading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 again; is anyone out there writing anything like that book about the current campaign? Who could?

Monday, May 21, 2007

OctopusLand: Free Your Hulk

This afternoon at lunch I couldn't remember the name of Mayor McCheese. I got him mixed up with Officer Big Mac.

The license plate on the Jeep Cherokee in front of me on Colorado at 10:20 tonight said "MO MAGIC". The local kids had tagged up the new Diet Coke Plus billboard above Swork on Colorado and Eagle Rock.

The 81 came rolling down the wet street, its LED headsign flashing "Eagle Rock" at me, reminding me where I was.

terrifying, faded memories

In the comic book, the scientist who became the Incredible Hulk was named Bruce Banner. This name was changed in the 1970's television show to David Banner. The rumor is that the show's creators thought "Bruce" was insufficiently masculine.

We all have a Hulk inside. The question is what we do with him.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Math Anxiety

I ate too much food. A big spinach and tofu salad. And then too many fish tacos. And then some chicken tacos. And then a few oranges. And then some bubble gum. I feel totally bloated and huge. Blechh.

Mrs. Octopus doesn't think I have anything to say today. She might be right. I did eat too much food. I have to take out the garbage. After that I need to work some leave-in conditioner into my scalp, which is disturbingly dry. (I blame the desert climate.)

Is there any outside to the universe? Because what would be outside the end of the universe? Just because it doesn't make sense doesn't mean it couldn't exist. Fleshy stuff floating in cranial fluid can't comprehend everything, including ultimate beginnings and endings.

Apparently, Kafka invented the safety helmet.

Suborder Apocrita

You can get married by proxy in Montana. I think we saw a baby rattler on a trail behind JPL this Saturday morning. Giant succulents are sometimes frightening. Is there anything grosser or scarier than a dead bird -- especially a dead crow?

I always worry a little, when an arm or leg falls asleep, that it won't wake up again. What if the bees all die?

I can't see the ocean from my office this afternoon because it's either too hazy or too smoggy. I can't understand anything the lead singer from Blonde Redhead says when she's singing -- not that I care. Is it just me, or is everyone just really tired of Björk?

Do large objects in space tend to drift apart or drift together?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Which is something I meant to remember.

It was the time of vehicles driving other vehicles places.

Remember when that funny running lizard was like totally a craze in Japan or something?

Walking by a group of men huddled under a streetlight outside a modern looking office building in Pasadena at 9 at night, their heads bowed and their eyes closed, a tall bald man saying "We pray to you, dear Jesus . . . ." The Scientologists giving free Stress Tests on Colorado in Old Town.

My feet sour after a day in a conference room getting papercuts, demanding answers, bickering, dying in the office air, knowing that this much coffee and this little sleep and water cannot be good for the kidneys and half a bagel until you feel you are not remembering things that happened a few seconds ago.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

L.A. Is Burning

Someone tossed some matches or a cigarette butt into some brush in Griffith Park around 1:30 this afternoon. Nearly nine hours later, approximately 300 acres have burned, and a massive fire continues to rage through Los Angeles' huge urban park. A huge smoke plume floated over -- and continues to float over -- the entire city, blocking out the brilliant May sunlight. casting a long shadow all the way to Pasadena. The entire city smells like smoke.

On the drive home from work this evening on the 2 north, I looked to my left and saw huge fires raging -- bright, nearly white orange -- on the tops of the hills of Griffith Park. The sky was black with smoke. Helicopters disappeared and emerged from the giant plume. Looking out from our windows here in Eagle Rock, we can see the flames in the distance. It's very unlikely that the fire will spread anywhere near us (the 5 freeway and the L.A. River are between us and the fire), but it's somewhat unsettling to look out your window and see a huge fire lighting up the night sky. It's a bit difficult to just brush your teeth and go to bed in these circumstances. (See this picture taken by Mrs. Octopus.)

The conditions here in L.A. have been ripe for a raging brush fire. We've had the driest winter on record, and early, unseasonal heat.

Welcome to the future.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Back East

I am posting this dispatch from my parents' bedroom in Connecticut. Work brought me out to Massachusetts this week, and I am spending the weekend at home with my family. An aunt of mine is in the hospital up here after surgery, so there are lots of other family members of mine in town this weekend as well. Everyone's worried about my aunt, and we've been spending a lot of time with her in the hospital, so it's not quite a happy reunion. All the little kids, however, are pretty happy to see each other, and they're relatively oblivious to the sad situation.

My parents have set up a computer in their bedroom right next to their bed. There's a printer on top of a dresser here. I don't quite understand this set up, but I don't live here anymore, and I guess they can do what they like.

It's a very pretty time of year here in Connecticut. Everything is in bloom. Living in L.A., I had forgotten how green Connecticut is in spring and summer, how much water there is, lakes everywhere, the towns clustered by the massive Connecticut River.

I probably shouldn't be hiding away up here in my parents' bedroom blogging while all my relatives are downstairs. More later.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day

The Octopus celebrates his third May Day in the blogosphere, wishing still for freedom from the bondages of savage capitalism. While, unlike many other countries, the U.S. does not celebrate Labor Day on May 1, immigrants to the U.S. have taken up the holiday as a day to protest for their rights.