August 31, 2003

Bath Time for Darwin


Bath 2.jpg

-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:47 PM

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Cont.)

Picking back up where I left off on the pictures from our visit to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden a week ago when life intervened:

Calder 1942 Mobile.jpg

This is a "Mobile" by Alexander Calder from 1942. This one was created from painted wire, wood, and string.

Calder 1944 Fish.jpg

This piece, also by Calder, is titled "Fish." It was made from an assortment of materials including painted metal rod, wire, metal, glass, plastic, wood and ceramic. It was finished in 1944.

Calder 1954 Red Cascade.jpg

Another product of Calder's imagination titled "Red Cascade" is from the year 1954. It was created out of painted steel and wire.

Calder 1953 Reef Fringe.jpg

The last Calder I came across while at the Hirshhorn: a piece called "Reef Fringe" from 1953. According to the placard, it is Gouache on paper.

Archipenko 1915 In the Cafe.jpg

This is a 1915 piece by Alexander Archipenko titled "In the Cafe." Roger really liked the colors in this so here it is for all the world to see.

Hammons 1989 Untitled.jpg

This exhibit is by artist David Hammons, it is with out a title from 1989. It was made from glass wine bottles and silicone glue. Andrew, Roger, and I really enjoyed looking at this piece.

Jess 1988 A Western Prospect of Egg and Dart.jpg

Kneeling in front of this piece is Roger, despirately trying to find "Where's Waldo." Seriously, the placard states that this is: "photomechanical reproductions and jigsaw puzzle parts mounted on paperboard mounted on foam core" by someone simply known as Jess in 1988.

Close Up Deed And.jpg

Roger never located Waldo, but he did see a few other things buried in the artwork, such as this humorous Deed And sign. Unfortunately, the other pictures I took of Roger's finds didn't come out so well. Another sign read elevation sea level. There was also a rubber stamp that read upside and backwards the word guaranteed.

Nevelson 1972 Dream House XXXII.jpg

I really enjoyed discussing this piece titled "Dream house XXXII" by Louise Nevelson from 1972. It is made from painted wood and metal hinges. You can see me in the background chatting it up with an unseen security guard. Hey Desmond!! it was nice meeting you and good luck with your writing career!

Open Door.jpg

The back bottom of the above piece. Andrew took a snapshot of this because of something I said that Roger called "profound." What I said was you only (immediately) notice the doors that are open to you. This of course was coming from a person who had just realized upon seeing the only open door that they had filtered out all of the closed doors that this piece is almost entirely made up of.

Pistoletto 1967 Venus of the Rags.jpg

This has to be my favorite of all the non-Calder pieces available for viewing at the Hirshhorn. It was called "Venus of the Rags" by artist and creator Michelangelo Pistoletto in 1967. It was made from plaster and fabric.

Hodges 1999 This Way In.jpg

We also encountered a wall artfully covered in silk flowers titled "This Way in" by a man named Jim Hodges from 1999. The materials used to achieve the effect include silk, plastic, wire, and pins.

Paper Angel.jpg

Andrew made the comment upon seeing this exhibit that he felt the sudden, but controllable urge to lay down on top of the sheets of paper scattered all over the floor and make paper angels. I told him I didn't a problem with doing that as long as there were no prohibitions against entering the room and disturbing the contents of it (in other words do not touch signs). We didn't see anything of that nature. Roger did find a written invitation to take some of the fallen paper, if anyone so desired to. That was the assuarance I needed that I wouldn't be kicked out by my new pal Desmond or some other museum guard.

Paper Angels 2.jpg

Me, looking up, slightly embarassed by my own impromptu performance art. When I got up the thin paper kept sticking to the bottom of my feet. Even though I didn't seem to offend anyone, I wouldn't be tempted to ever make a repeat performance.

I almost neglected to mention that the exhibit is called "At hand" by Ann hamilton from 2001. We had to look that up online since all of my NiMH batteries had dried up and that left me with no way of capturing the placard.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 10:57 AM

August 29, 2003

New Xylophone

Check out my new xylophone!! Andrew and I ordered it online earlier this evening along with a stand and a few books to get me started: Modern School For Xylophone, Marimba & Vibraphone, Solos For Marimba, Xylophone Or Vibes, and Percussion Keyboard Technic, Marimba, Xylophone Vibraphone Bells. Everything should arrive here some time late next week. I can't wait to get started learning how to play xylophone. I hope I'll be good at it, Andrew is confident that I will be and I'm not quite sure why, but I don't want to let him down. I don't want to let myself down either.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 10:51 PM

Music Appreciation

I'm listening to Alice Cooper. I first encountered this on cassette tape I want to say when I was still in middle school. Regardless of when it actually happened, it was a very formative time for my taste in music. A friend of mine had it stashed in her bedroom and she told me when I happened across it that it was her older brother's. I can't imagine her ever having listened to this willingly, so I'm forced to believe what she told me about it not being hers. I was initially fascinated with the album cover art. It just looked like something that might be worth listening to. The title "Welcome to My Nightmare" was intriguing too.

Welcome to My Nightmare.jpg

I asked her if I could borrow it and she told me no several times. She eventually caved when she realized that I was just going to keep pestering her until she did. I hurried home and listened to it from start to finish. This to me was aural wall paper. I never returned that casette back to my friend. I now have "Welcome to My Nightmare" on CD. I can't explain why I sometimes have the inclination to listen to Alice Cooper, or for that matter anything else; I just know what I like. I have trouble even just describing what it is about certain music that I like. I'm taking a music appreciation class this semester that will hopefully change that.

In my music appreciation class I'm first being exposed to the basics: what harmony and melody are along with a host of other terms. Some of it has been difficult for me to grasp since I have had no experience with any of it. I never learned to read sheet music. I never had an opportunity to play an instrument as a child, even though I had the desire, it just wasn't in the realm of things my parents could afford to pay for when our first priority was to eat. Andrew has kindly offered to not only to tutor me (he's a band geek from way back), but to purchase an instrument for me to learn some of these concepts on and further develop my appreciation of music with. Last night we went and looked at a music store. I decided that I want to learn percussion, specifically the xylophone. As I typed that, I detected the distinct sounds of a xylophone playing on the last track of this CD called "Escape."

Soon I'll be learning all of the instruments of the orchestra, which I have had previous exposure to in an elementary school music class and in a middle school chorus class. So, things should be getting easier. I have some trouble visually telling a few similar instruments apart, such as the viola and the violin. Unless they are positioned right next to each other where I can compare the two different sizes (the viola is larger than a violin) they are virtually indistinguishable to me. I've been practicing with the Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra on my Enjoyment of Music Student Resource CD. I'm already pretty adept at telling the instruments apart by listening to them. Andrew and I practiced doing that in the car and I did well. Good thing, because I have test coming up on the 8th of September covering what the instruments look and sound like. Even before that there is a quiz on next Wednesday on Itallian terms found in discussions of Dynamics (soft/loud) and Tempo (speed or pace). I've already made a study guide for the quiz, but go ahead and wish me luck anyway :).

-- CrystalShiloh @ 01:36 PM

August 27, 2003

Unfortunate Mishap/Nervousness

This morning's unfortunate mishap in honor of the start of the new semester involved a bottle of Listerine with the cap not securely on. The mess has been wiped up, but I still have some remaining annoyance that hasn't quite faded away yet. On top of that, I'm really nervous about handing in my first paper for English. I worry that the professor might misunderstand me and there's so many different ways he could do that I can't possibly fathom them all. I'm intending on participating in today's discussion so as to flesh out anything I may not have done a complete job of in my short paper. It's all the about timing; finding the right time to interject my thoughts. They should be applicable to what has been said and somehow take it further. Unfortunately, I am not sure that anyone else will have had the same interpretation as myself. Which means I might have to speak up first. Also, I am thinking that no one else is going to want to be the first to express their ideas this early in the semester. I'll have to wait and see how it turns out.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 08:27 AM

August 26, 2003

"Happy Endings"

This is what I wrote for my first assignment for ENGL 325 that we were given on the first day of class. We were asked to respond to Margaret Atwood's work titled "Happy Endings" and I decided to consider in mine whether or not this piece is a story, if it does all the things that a story should do (why or why not), and whether or not it was satisfying to read.

Margaret Atwood's "Happy Endings" can certainly be considered a story. The statement John and Mary die, in and of itself cannot. That tells us the What, but says absolutely nothing about the How or the Why. The what is simply a description of events that may or may not have occurred. The How and the Why are much more difficult to get at; they apparently elude many mainstream authors. Some people actually find reading What, after What, followed by What to be immensely boring. I'm personally one of them. What may be something easy for a reader to digest (excuse the veiled pun), but it is in no way meaningful. It always boils down to the very same thing: John and Mary die.

A story is much more than a composite of words that make semantic sense when read together. It is a combination of What, How, and Why. While I was engaged (immersed would definitely be the wrong word choice here) in reading "Pants on Fire" by Nicholson Baker, I kept finding myself asking How and Why. How did what happened make him into a man? Why was it he only owned five shirts after four months on the job? Minds like mine want to know these things. Only conveying What transpired is simplistic. While I was trying to make sense of "The Zebra Storyteller" by Spencer Holst, I thought, "Now here is an author that prefers to expound the converse of the last. While he explains the How and the Why the What happens to walk up to him and he isn't at all surprised by it." He immediately forms an opinion of it and deals with it swiftly and appropriately. This author showed me that when you have the How and the Why the What just comes along naturally. Atwood's "Happy Endings" is not a satisfying story because it gives the reader a limited explanation of the How and Why at the end, but it is the very presence of those two elements is what qualifies it as a story.

Just so you know that I know, she is making fun of people who write plots.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 10:53 PM

August 25, 2003

First Day of Class

Everything was going well when I woke up this morning, bright and early at 6:00 a.m. What possessed me to ask Andrew to wake me that early, when my first Monday class isn't until 10:30 a.m.? Well, it takes me a while to become fully with it in the mornings and that can last as many days or weeks as it takes for me to get readjusted to going back to school. I was also concerned about what might happen if I was too short on time. Something invariably goes wrong for me on that first day back, but when I'm short on time it becomes all that more harder to deal with effectively. I got dressed and ready without a hitch. Andrew didn't monopolize the bathroom when I was looking to get in there. When I left the apartment I caught the elevator on its descent down to the first floor and my neighbor was inside and offered to drive me along with her boyfriend she was going to be dropping off at the Metro. As I was heading to the lower platform I could see a train - I couldn't determine which line it was - and I instinctively hurried to catch it. I got stuck behind some meandering people on the escalator and I ended up missing it. The next train came along and the marquee proclaimed that it was the Orange Line to Vienna - I couldn't hear the conductor's voice to verify that the information I had seen was correct. I was slightly pleased to see that it was less filled than I was expecting for 8:30 a.m. on a week day and happy just to be boarding a train. No sooner had I taken a seat by the door they began to close and the conductor announced that the next stop was Arlington Cemetery. I was on the Blue instead of the Orange. The marquee had lied to me. So, I disembarked at Arlington Cemetery and headed back toward Rosslyn on a return Blue. Luckily I had made this mistake before, so I quickly navigated through the station. When I got off I arrived just in time to miss the Orange train yet again. Two trains later I was headed in the right direction. Despite all the run around I arrived at school an hour early. I was fairly nervous so I went for a walk around campus to kill time and excess energy. I was back in the classroom fifteen minutes later and I tried to read some of Good Omens, which hasn't been a very cohesive book so far and I am not sure if that is the author's fault or my own. That book basically ruined my plans for reading a set number of others over the remainder of my summer vacation (I first opened it sometime at the beginning of this month). For whatever reason, I just couldn't get into it. Maybe I was distracted. I still can't. I've come too far to abandon it now, though. I have to finish it. Unfortunately I didn't get very far this morning reading it being as nervous as I was. My awkwardness lasted throughout the day. Fortunately, everyone else was just as nervous and seemed to pay little attention to me. Things will get better as we become more at ease with what we'll be doing over the course of the semester.

I have not forgotten to post the remainder of the images from the Hirshhorn Museum - I'm about half way through with thirty or so left to go. I'm dead tired tonight. I still have to fold the laundry when the dryer is all finished with it. Then I'm going to call it a night. If I get through my homework tomorrow at a reasonable time I'll upload the rest then.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 11:42 PM

August 24, 2003

Guest Spot: Zire Messenger Bag

Hi everyone. You may not know me, but I'm Crystal's alter ego. Today, while catching up on my duties (adding links) on a few weeks' worth of entries, I found that Crystal's beloved Zire messenger bag is now on sale. I'm pretty sure our (at least I hope someone enjoys some of my funner links) regular readers know how much this bag means to her. Let's just say that right now we are in negotiations over eactly what she can pay me to get it for her. I'm sure whatever it is, I will enjoy it.

-- Andrew @ 06:33 PM

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

I ended up choosing the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden as our destination for the afternoon. While we waited for our friend Roger to meet up with us, Andrew and I took some snap shots of each other and of the Calders (first name Alexander, an American artist, lived 1898 - 1976) I found within and without the Garden.

Andrew Charms.jpg

Andrew on a good hair day.

Crystal in a Green Tunic 2.jpg

Seis moi.

Crystal in a Green Tunic.jpg

Me up close.

Crystal's Butterfly Tat.jpg

The wind was blowing my shirt up, exposing my tatoo. Unfortunately, when we went to snap a picture of the occurance it failed to happen.

Calder Found Outside the Garden.jpg

I found this Calder on the way over to the sculpture garden and not while in it. The piece is referred to as "Sky Hooks", it was made from painted steel, and it was created in 1962.

Calder Found in Garden.jpg

This Calder can be viewed from at street level, looking down into the Garden. It is titled "Six Dots Over a Mountain", it is also made of painted steel, and it was completed in 1956.


A different angle on "Six Dots" with "Rainfall" down in front. The last piece was by artist Anthony Caro. It was made from painted steel in 1964.

Side of the Castle.jpg

View of the Washington Monument behind the left side of the Smithsonian Castle.

Hirshhorn Museum.jpg

The weather felt exceptionally pleasant outside: plenty of sunshine tempered by a cool breeze. According to WeatherBug the high for the day was 84 degrees.

Andrew with Roger.jpg

Andrew and Roger catching up with me.

Water Fountain.jpg

This is the large water fountain located in the back of the museum. Andrew, Roger, and I stood near it, facing in the direction the wind was blowing to cool off.

Andrew and Roger Under a Calder.jpg

This impressive Calder is located in front of the Museum. Andrew and Roger are standing together underneath it.

Didn't You Take it Already?.jpg

Roger and I on our way out from underneath the Calder (we had thought Andrew was all finished with taking the picture).

Roger Holding up a Phallic Symbol.jpg

Roger is seen here holding up a rather large phallic symbol. I neglected to record any information for this. Shame on me.

Ok folks, there are plenty more pictures left for me to offload, I mean erm upload, but my back is beginning to ache a bit from sitting so long at the computer. I'll post some more when the pain subsides and after I have eaten something substantial.

Critter With Mobile Top.jpg

Calder called this piece "Critter With Mobile Top." It was made from painted steel in 1974.

Yellow Tights.jpg

"Yellow Tights" is also a work by Calder from 1945.

There's *still* more to come. It'll have to wait, though. At the moment I'm nervous about tomorrow being the first day back to school and as a result my stomach is all knotted up. Andrew is now fixing us a little tea, then it is into the shower from there, closely followed by bedtime. I hope I can sleep.


This is "Mobile" by Calder from 1958.

Calder Unknown.jpg

And another piece by Calder, unfortunately I can't tell you more than that about this one. I again neglected to record the information in all of the rush and excitement to capture them all for posterity.


Also by Calder from 1955. It is known as "Zarabanda."

-- CrystalShiloh @ 06:17 PM

August 23, 2003

Non-Stop Saturday

Andrew and I spent the day cleaning up the apartment with our only real respite a run to school campus so I could pick up that last book I had been waiting on, locate the building Andrew's class will be held in, and check whether or not the student ID office was open. To be efficient, on our way back we hit the grocery store and then the video store. We rented Head of State and Chicago on DVD. We finally finished everything a short while ago. In addition to all of our weekend chores, I soaked my backpack in color-safe bleach, like I talked about trying. It seemed to do some good, I'm just worried it won't dry in time. I also painted my nails with the Maybelline Express Finish Glitter polish in Bolt of Blue I bought earlier today. I absolutely love the color. My nails dried very quickly in just the time that I have spent so far typing this entry. Andrew and I are getting ready to have a late dinner of chicken stir-fry and we'll probably pop Head of State into the player when it is all served up.

On the agenda for tomorrow: a co-worker and friend of Andrew's called this afternoon to make arrangements to do something with us. I have only met this person and his lovely wife on one occasion (they were guests at our engagement party back in March), but I took an immediate liking to them. Andrew turned the phone over to me because he prefers me to make plans. His friend wasn't sure what he felt like doing this weekend and I suggested that we look at sculpture. He seemed to like the thought of going to see a museum, but he decided to leave it up to me as to which one we'd tour tomorrow afternoon. I'm supposed to call him in the morning and let him know. I have narrowed my choices down to three: The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, or the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, or the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. I haven't made it out to any one of them yet, but I have been intending on it. It's so hard to choose!!

-- CrystalShiloh @ 11:49 PM

August 22, 2003

Re: Good Hair Day

Herbal Essence Pose.jpg

Crystal View From Behind.jpg

-- CrystalShiloh @ 09:30 PM

Good Hair Day

All in all I'd say that I'm a pretty low-maintenance girl. I rarely wear makeup, I don't wear the clothes that I do with the intention of keeping up with the ever-shifting trends, but I love going to get my hair done. It's just such a calming and soothing experience. I just got back from getting my highlights retouched. Leigh did an amazing job. She listened to what I had to say about my hair care regimen and gave me her honest appraisal of the condition of my hair, which had vastly improved since the very first time I saw her back in late February (I had some breakage at that time). While she ran her fingers through it, she prescribed a slight color change and a toner to give me an overall brightening effect. While she combed, separated, and coated my hair with the bleach and foil wraps we talked about the goings on in our lives. I felt that we were on a similar wave length, and I suppose that's why we've been friends since round about the second time I went to her. When she finished with that and it was time to check on how my color was developing, I got a kick out of how she flipped through the folds of tin like they were pages in a book that she was intently reading. When I left the red stage I was taken to the back to get all of that stuff out my hair. Someone other than Leigh handles that and I don't know what her name is. How wrong is that when you really get to thinking about it? I don't just let anyone that far into my personal space and usually we're on a first name basis. I decided I was going to change that. The woman was quietly instructing me to lean my head back and I acknowledged her with an okay or something along those lines, but I didn't stop there, I broke expectations - social conventions - between a shampooer and a shampooee (linguistic license, never mind that poetic shit). Responding to her evident accent, I asked where she was from, full well knowing she would tell me Mexico. I asked this because I can always connect with someone on the topic of language. She answered with what I expected to hear. I followed that up with the dumbest thing I probably could have (ok, I'm being a little brutal with myself): I asked her how long she has been in the United States now. If I was new to a country I certainly wouldn't expect that sort of a question from a grown adult, I would even potentially be offended by the implications. There might be a sort of inference there that I haven't yet conformed to how that particular society largely construes itself. Who knows what she might have thought. She did answer though, it has been three months since her arrival. After that, I couldn't think of much else to say to keep a dialog going between us. I did ask if she likes it here after what was an extended pause and it turned out that she does. She continued to interject my thoughts with her brief instructions and I complied. If she took my questions the wrong way, it wasn't relayed back to me in the way she took care of me. She pulled all the foils out in one or two swift motions. She got my hair all soaked in just the right temperature water and gave me a generous amount of shampoo. The way she rubbed my scalp I felt like I should be on one of those Herbal Essences commercials (although let me state for the record that those aren't the products I use in my hair). I had a lot of interesting thoughts while she was putting toner in my hair and seven minutes later raking it out with her fingers. A couple of them were apparently betrayed by my facial expressions and she automatically apologized. I had to explain to her that they had no relevance to what she had been doing, that it concerned what I had been thinking. After that I smiled and even laughed a few times. I can't now recall what was on my mind. Oh yeah I can, it happened when she was giving me my final rinse. She directed the flow of the water so as to avoid getting any into my eye canal, just the way my mother used to when I was little. It used to tickle back then when my mother did that and when this lady did it, it was no different. I'm not sure if laughed out sheer nostalgia or if I simply couldn't resist the impulse. Who cares? I rather enjoyed it. When we were all finished she told me thank you, and with pause for emphasis and what I hoped reflected sincerity I told her, no, thank you. Leigh took me up front to give me a trim while I was standing up because my hair was so long - I had no idea that it was that long - and she kept remarking on how good it was looking. She put some moose in it and blew my hair out straight. She told me before I took off out of her chair that she was jealous of my hair. She did a great job and she deserves whatever compliments I receive that are directed toward it. I should post some pictures later on this evening.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 07:17 PM

Preparation For School

I have an appointment to keep this afternoon with my stylist to get my highlights re-touched and maybe a little trim. I'm getting the last few things out of the way and ready before school starts back up this Monday. I already know what I'll be wearing on the first day of class: tight black cargo pants, a black cotton shirt that has a mandarin collar and a red glitter Chinese dragon on the front, and primarily black (there is some red and white detailing) platform sneakers. My back pack is pretty much all packed. I'm not sure what books to bring on the first day, if any at all. I've just decided to only bring my light-pink binder filled with notebook paper until I have more of an idea. I have this office/school supply fetish so I have a wide assortment of pens, pencils, highlighters, and other assorted gadgetry stuffed into the front pocket. I am already predicting that my favorite pen this year will be my special edition platinum-barreled Dr. Grip Gel by Pilot. Do yourself a favor and get one or two if you write a lot. Uniball makes a pen called Fusion and the ink starts out clear and becomes either pink, black, blue, or purple. I have one of each color. Papermate blue and black medium point pens are a good solid standby. I have one of each. I still have a whole mess of those retro lead point pencils, that I used to buy at the school store when I was a kid, left over from last semester. Whenever a lead point goes dull, you pull it out the bottom and stick it through the hole in the top. Those are somewhat annoying because I have to be careful not to lose the tops to the erasers. My yellow mack-daddy highlighter is erasable. I intend to use this one in my textbooks to keep them neat. I have both an orange and a blue RoseArt highlighter leftover from last year that I will likely deplete on my hand-written notes. As far as gadgetry is concerned, I have and a silver mesh bag containing two aqua blue Papermate Liquid Paper Dryline Minis (in case one happens to run out at an inopportune time), a silver mini stapler, a silver staple remover, and a silver pencil sharpener. I have used plenty of Post-it notes in previous semesters, and this time I found a portable holder to keep them from getting bent or cucky. From the outside it appears to be a small book that closes securely when a stretchy band is pulled around it. When you open it up, two sticky pads sit inside of a box-like compartment; one ideally sized for use as either flags or page markers and the other, suited for perfectly ordinary purposes. There's also a little teeny ball-point pen. It might have occurred to you by this point in my description that I'm completely certifiable. You don't even want to know what supplies I'm neglecting to bring along with me to school. I'll likely wind up clearing some of this stuff out of my bag once I figure out what I'll feel most comfortable with using on a daily basis.

I still need to fill up my binder with paper, make out some tabs for it, pick up quarters (for bus fare), and figure out how I am going to tote my lunch around (if there's not enough space for all of my books there's clearly not enough for my Tupperware divided dish). I think I might try washing my cramped, soiled Jansport backpack again, only this time I'd like try it in the machine along with some liquid color-safe bleach. That combination might ruin it, I'm not sure. I would have to keep a close eye on it. No one has, at least not to my knowledge, posted a Zire messenger bag on eBay yet, but I'm keeping an eye out.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:14 PM

August 21, 2003

A Warm Afternoon

As I approached the Marine Corps War Memorial, where I often come to sit on a bit ground in front of a sturdy tree, the sounds blaring from outdoor speakers filled my ears. It was the same few notes being repetitiously broadcasted. I passed close by a gardener that I have grown accustomed to seeing from a distance. He had several water jugs nearby his boot-clad feet and he was slowly draining one of them over the roots of medium-sized oak. For the first time, he turned his head and we took a long hard look at one another: he was wearing a dirty red rag on his head and a thick, certainly heavy wooden cross around his neck. I proceeded on. I next encountered a young couple who appeared to be consulting a map. The girl wasn't very pretty, that is if you ask me, but then that is one of those words with a fluid definition that depends entirely upon who you consult. She was wearing a pink tank top and scratching an itch that apparently resided just underneath it. Neither she nor her male companion paid me any mind. When I had situated myself comfortably enough in front of a very tall oak, I raised my eyes and there the two were again, crossing my path. I haven't noticed too many other people out here on such a heated afternoon (when I last glanced at WeatherBug it was 94 degrees in Arlington). I am a bit toasty and the ants recently discovered my location and are now crawling all over my Fossil handbag and exposed toes. These aren't the sort that bite, so I only shoo them when they begin to tickle. I'm not so sure that the occassional spider who takes a cut across me doesn't have a penchant for humans and so I gently send them on their way by blowing on them. I've never been particularily afraid of spiders and that's likely because I grew up in Florida where there aren't too many species that can hurt you. However, Florida did have it's fair share, perhaps even more, of palmetto bugs. In case you unfamiliar with this insect, a palmetto bug is essentially a roach with wings. I don't like coming into contact with cockroaches and so too the bastards blessed with wings go without saying. The bells are now noisily bonging out the hour: 6:00 p.m. I'm feeling slightly less like writing now and more like retreating from the sun from behind the cover of my book.
-- CrystalShiloh @ 11:00 PM

Link of the Day

My pal MegaBurn selected my site as his link of the day. Here is his unrevised description that he posted along with my URL:

"CrystalShiloh - Personal website for a fellow IRC junkie from DALnet #virginia. She gets fan mail, I can hardly get people to sign my guest book! After reading over her site a bit I can honestly say I'm not surprised that she gets fan mail. She is young and, need I say, more attractive and intelligent then most. Her site offers a rough snapshot of her life along with information on interests, day to day events, and other tidbits. Functional aspects include movie synopsis's and, pictures and various bits of information about places she has visited. The site is well designed but the amount of personal information presented is rather alarming. I'm more security conscious then most but this is just too much. Definitely one of the better personal websites I have seen."

-- CrystalShiloh @ 02:11 PM

August 20, 2003

Re: Bomb Squad

I didn't happen to see a story regarding the unusual occurrences at the Marine Corps War Memorial last night on the 10:00 p.m. news nor did I find anything when I took a brief look around the web this morning. This likely means what they thought might have been a bomb, turned out to be something else.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 02:01 PM

Dreams About School

This is the second morning in a row that I have woken up to "A Sorta Fairytale" - Tori Amos playing over and over again in my head. Oh yeah, and even before that the dreams about school started back up again too. In this particular sequence, I was seated with 100 or so other students inside of a large lecture hall. A female teacher, standing out in front and otherwise directing the class, explained that we were about to take a exam on what we had covered over the entire course of the semester. I hadn't read any of the material. My brain was devoid of any references to what all she was talking about and it frightened me. The dream stopped making any further coherent sense after that.

This happens to me before each term begins. I haven't paid exceptionally close attention to when the dreams tend to taper off, but I believe it's sometime after the first week of class. I'm not any more anxious or nervous than usual. This just seems to be the way my mind prepares me anew after an extended break to deal with school work, show up for classes on time as well as prepared, and function according to certain time constraints. In reality, I stay a few steps ahead on my assignments for most, if not all, of my classes. I don't make a habit of skipping (I only missed one class last semester with good reason and the professor's permission). I'm never late, if anything, I am unreasonably early for my first scheduled class of the day. There have been a few occasions when I determined incorrectly that I wouldn't be needing to haul a particular text with me (my backpack only holds so much) when it would have been more helpful for me to have brought it anyway, but otherwise I'm always prepared. I experience the highest degree of difficulty when trying to conform to a schedule. My personal life always seems to suffer terribly. Inevitably, I end up cutting things out that I would much rather not.

I'm now playing Tori Amos MP3s on my machine while I consider further that last line I typed. I'm wondering how long it will be before I'll have to cut back on the number of entries I post to this website on a daily basis. I might not have to resort to that. After all, my priorities have been altered somewhat during this summer off. School obligations are still first and foremost, but staying sane has become a near second. I've been maintaining my mental health by transferring all my competing thoughts to this space. Usually allowing myself to go a little insane is a good tactic for keeping my grades high. I'm going to try another, more relaxed approach this semester and see if I do even better with that.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:09 PM

August 19, 2003

Bomb Squad

This afternoon I walked down to the Marine Corps War Memorial to sit back, read my book, and enjoy the wonderful weather we've been having in Arlington over the last couple of days. I spent about an hour and a half all told there. It seems I not only left in time to avoid the crowds that gather to see the Marine Corps Marching Band (they perform at 7:00 p.m. every Tuesday beginning in summer ending Labor Day) but also the bomb squad. Andrew witnessed some of the excitement on his way home from work and relayed what he had seen to me when he got in. According to him everyone who would have been at the park getting good seats before the show was barricaded out. Andrew changed out of his work clothes and we walked about halfway down the hill we live on to where a lot of people were gathered. We did so in hopes of overhearing the details of what was then transpiring. We learned that a suspicious package had been found and reported to the authorities. We noticed the bomb truck and figured out what was going on. I had to go put the laundry into the dryer and so we walked back up to our building. We heard a boom go off shortly after from inside of our apartment. We went back down to see if anyone was hurt. Measures had been taken to detonate the potential bomb. It's been a while since then and we're back upstairs now. They may still be redirecting traffic and not letting anyone into the park just yet, I can't really tell from this vantage. Andrew said he saw what looked like a news van drive by. I had been wondering if this would make the local news or not. Guess we'll know if it did around 10:00 p.m.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 08:16 PM

August 18, 2003

Blogging From My Handheld

This is a test.

Well, AvantGo did just what it was designed to do: download a web page to my Palm Zire, in this instance my Movable Type create new entry screen, and upload any new entries it finds when I sync back up to my desktop machine. Unfortunately, AvantGo does not automatically rebuild my files and so I still have to manually go to the create new entry page myself to perform that operation. It does save me the hassle of writing my entry on paper, later typing it into my computer, and then uploading it to my website. One particularly noisome feature of the AvantGo software is how it only gives me the width of five or six characters in which to type my entry. Someone who also uses Movable Type for their blog recommended using Memo Pad. Getting the data into AvantGo from Memo Pad is made possible with the copy and paste functions. I wasn't even aware that I *could* c & p on a Palm Pilot. I learn something new every day.
-- CrystalShiloh @ 11:03 PM

35 Wrules for Writers

I received the "Wrules for Writers" this afternoon via e-mail. Apparently, it was as some point posted to the Neonofftopic list that Andrew subscribes to and he forwarded it on to me. The author who deserves credit for writing this piece eludes me. Whoever you are, please don't sue me. I'm a broke college student and we both know that you cannot squeeze any juice from dehydrated fruit, lol. I found it rather humorous and just thought I'd do my part to pass it further along.

  1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
  4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)
  6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  7. Be more or less specific.
  8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
  9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  10. No sentence fragments.
  11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
  12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
  14. One should NEVER generalize.
  15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  16. Don't use no double negatives.
  17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
  21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  22. Never use a big word when substituting a diminutive one would suffice.
  23. Kill all exclamation points!
  24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
  26. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
  27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
  28. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
  29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  31. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  34. Avoid "buzz-words"; such integrated transitional scenarios complicate simplistic matters.
  35. And finally...

  36. Proofread carefully to see if you   any words out.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 02:07 PM

All You Can Bowl Sunday Night

Andrew and I arrived at the AMF close to 8:00 p.m. and we stayed the full three hours until 11:00 p.m. We exercised the entire value of our $12 spent apiece. The alley wasn't as crowded as we thought it might have been. A nice couple bowled in the lane adjacent to ours for a little while and that was pleasant. We cheered when any one of us got a strike or a picked up a spare. Andrew beat me almost every game, save but one when I rolled a 122 and bested him by only three pins. As the night wore on, I improved and Andrew worsened until finally he gave up and I bowled the last two games alone. It usually takes a while for me to warm up and get used to a new lane. I didn't bother to clear Andrew's name off the screen and I kidded around about playing for him. The first game Andrew sat through I rolled a 129 for myself and a 168 for him (see, I can't even win when I'm throwing the ball for him, lol). I think the 168 was the highest score I've ever had. I've never bowled as regularly enough to become very good at it. I seem to recall the last game I played for both of us ending in a tie of 104. It might have been 105. I was getting worn out by that point. Consequently, I'm feeling pretty stiff and sore in a few new areas today. We really did enjoy ourselves and will definitely consider returning on some other Sunday night for the all you can bowl.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 01:41 PM

August 17, 2003

Glow Bowling

Andrew and I kept our date to go glow bowling over the weekend. We went to the local AMF on Saturday night. The place was pretty well worn, but it wasn't as bad as some of the alleys back in Daytona Beach. It took the guy working behind the counter quite a while to cut the fluorescent lights off and turn the black lights and strobes on. He had to clear the leagues out of there first and we ended up waiting about forty-five minutes. The first game for both of us was free due to the inconvenience. Andrew won two out of the total three games that we played. He bowled very well for his first time with his new equipment.

Andrew 1 Pin.jpg

If you look carefully in the background you should be able to see the one pin Andrew left standing.

Andrew Arms Crossed.jpg

I like this picture of him a lot.

Andrew Returning.jpg

On his way back from having thrown his ball.

Andrew Strike.jpg

Andrew's first strike of the evening.

Andrew With Ball.jpg

Andrew holding his brand-new bowling ball.

Crystal Back.jpg

Me watching my ball as it knocks over the gutter goblins.

Crystal Dimples.jpg

This is certainly not the best picture of me ever taken.

Crystal Face of Defeat.jpg

That's the look I gave Andrew when he told me what the stakes were.

Crystal Gratuitous Butt Shot1.jpg

The first in a two-part series of gratuitous butt-shots Andrew took. My bowling ball looks a whole lot cooler without the flash going off.

Crystal Gratuitous Butt Shot2.jpg

The second image in the series. I was getting ready to throw my ball down the alley.

Crystal's Turn.jpg

Side view of me.

Yeah Right.jpg

I saw this and just knew there was no way I was going to be picking those pins up. I only hit the one on the right side.

I made a mental note when I read a sign advertising all you can bowl for $12 a person on Sundays and Wednesdays from 8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. When it is just the two of us, we can bowl a three games in about an hour, so that's a pretty good deal. We might do that tonight if we're up for it when the time rolls around. I don't know if I will be... some of my muscles are unhappy, but we'll see.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:51 PM

Re Re: E-mail From a Reader

-----Original Message-----
From: Crystal Pruitt []
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 9:57 AM
To: 'Dave'
Subject: RE: Perhaps one too many messages

Sorry about the day-long delay in my response; I wasn't feeling up to par yesterday. I wouldn't expect that you should feel any even momentary anger toward the man who came on to your fiancÚ. Anger applied to that sort of situation really does nothing to change the man's own natural instinct to react to a pretty girl. And why should it? The species has to be perpetuated somehow.

As far as what you wrote in regard to the IQ Test, I accepted a long time ago that inherently all are flawed. There is not a perfect measure of intelligence in existence. That understanding was lost easily enough when I had to discard my old number and replace it with a newer and much lower one. I gave this matter even more thought last night (which may have been giving it too much at that) and I determined that no matter what some test concludes about your IQ, you are always as smart as you are. Numbers don't adjust actuality, unless you want to open a discussion of self-concept, which I do believe does have an impact limited within the bounds your own personal potential. It is your potential that always remains the same. How well your brain functions can vary based upon how much sleep you've had, what you've ate, and what state your emotions are in, etc.

And no, I haven't found your writings to be didactic. Not that I am the final arbiter on how anyone comes across but myself. I am under the current impression that you give an honest assessment of the way things appear to you. There's nothing wrong with that.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 10:16 AM

August 16, 2003

Re: E-mail From a Reader

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 2:30 AM
To: Crystal Pruitt
Subject: RE: Longer Message and zip I'm gone

Immediately I feel like there is quite a bit for me to cover. Hopefully once I start writing this sensation will fade away. Initially, the most striking comment in your email involves your curiosity over my intention(s). I am not totally sure what my intention is. When I come home from work I sometimes find myself bored, lonely, or unable to communicate with people in my house. I live with my fiance and two roommates. I used to party, which means alcohol and marijuana were once my consorts. Now I do not relish in such activities, but those who surround me do. So after a night at work, I come home and seek sanctuary. Being a social creature I desire communication, but sometimes I cannot discover any bond with my carousing housemates. This is how our initial encounter took place. I came home and could not find meaningful conversation with my immediate friends, so I sought out some online stranger. In my boredom I fused word after word together into a meaningless jumble of imagery, something that obviously annoyed you. Not seeking to bother anyone, I retreated. Somehow I found myself upon your webpage a day or two later, and I paid attention, analyzed the situation, and here we are now. I enjoy responding to things, I like receiving responses back. On numerous occasions something on your webpage created a desire within me to speak up and comment in some way, but due to our initial negative collision, I stayed back. Finally here I am, home from work, tired (yet not sleepy), and in search for something to entertain me. My fiance went to bed before I got home. My roommates are gone for the weekend, and the only irregular noise heard since my arrival was a cat shrieking outside. I went outside, despite thinking about all those loud voices during horror movies (the ones that scream, "don't go out there"), and looked for the (perhaps unfortunate) critter, but could not find any such creature. Otherwise I can hear the snoring of my dogs (they did manage to bark for a minute after the cat's loud cry), the air conditioner, and the drone of the fish tank.

About your website. What I find interesting about it is the fact that you manage to show some emotion and personality, all while not trying to do so. You simply write and let your thoughts flow and through your actions, thoughts, and "desires" a viewing portal into your (excuse the word) "soul" is opened. You are not obviously trying to be anything (cute, intelligent, boring, mean, funny, what-have-you), but you manage to evoke my mind's curiosity. I can picture things about you and make assumptions once these images are created. I feel like I can sense things circumspect to what you are actually writing. Maybe I'm just crazy... In addition, your commitment to posting further intensifies my desire to read your webpage. The fact that I can expect one, if not two, entries a day makes me want to check up on the site. A few years ago I used to read journals on certain WebPages and I tended to lose interest because people would not post frequently enough, or would overwhelm me with an abundance of messages. So far you've stayed in a nice median.

That I.Q. test is not accurate. (I scored a tad lower on this one that I have on past ones) This test was shorter than most and I felt that the questions were a little more repetitive (or rather similar) than many other tests. I don't think it covered a wide enough spectrum of cranial activity to truly judge anybody truthfully... Then again does any test? Over the years a few various tests entertained my mind for a spell here and there, and they all tell me about the same thing. They always say that I am well suited to handle logic puzzles and math, but that I should avoid English. Unfortunately my passion lies in English. Perhaps the struggles we embark upon are what makes it all worthwhile. Or maybe I'm blowing delusional smoke up my ass.

I imagine you receive many random online messages. That is a sad aspect of the world. For example: Yesterday my fiance and I went biking on the Mount Vernon trail and at one point I was ahead of her and a car passed her (this was during the portion that runs through Alexandria) and some old dirty man hollered, "Want to jump in for a ride?" By putting your name and email address out into the world, you are invited a large cluster of people into your virtual proximity. Women are treated so poorly in this society. Most guys likely see your picture and think, "She's attractive," and off they go spouting useless sexual innuendo. Some men only need to know that a person is female and disregard all thoughts regarding appearance. Between these two breeds I can't begin to imagine the inane shit you must put up with. That is why I am amazed you even bothered to read my message. I too want to be understood, perhaps that is why I contacted you. Another voice listening through the void that separates us all from each other.

I used to place my writings online (like you do or partially do on your other website)... I still sometimes email them to friends, but no one ever reads them, and if they do the comments are useless, nothing more than drivel... I'm on email lists with friends, but everyone is so slack about responding to each other. I formed a writing group and it dissolved due to unanimous laziness. Sometimes I want to get past all of this and communicate with others. That is likely why I wrote to you. I'm impressed by your ability to do things and the apparent desire within you to attempt things. Now I want to check out the National Arboretum. I did not even know the place existed, although in hindsight, I did assume that there would be something like it. At my old college I used to check out the various greenhouses to learn about the various plants. I imagine the D.C. Arboretum will blow such memories away.

I will end this; I believe I wrote a little more than I wanted to. Apparently my concern regarding the width of this e-mail's footprint was well founded!

To remark one last time about my intentions In Bob Dylan's words (most likely misconstrued): Too much of nothing makes a man ill at ease.

Now I just need to figure out how to start my own online journal. Take care.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 2:35 AM
To: Crystal Pruitt
Subject: RE: Quick Message and zip I'm gone

Oh, and please don't assume that I'm a good guy... I do believe that in today's society such labels must truly be earned before any labeling badge can be worn.

Then again I feel that the worst thing about today's society is that we are told as children not talk to strangers. We begin life in fear of others, fostering paranoia, and from there the inability to relate (for some) intensifies.

Regardless, I do promise to never place a razor into your apple or inject poison into candy... (Halloween lazily approaches)

-----Original Message-----
From: Crystal Pruitt []
Sent: Saturday August 16, 2003 2:37 AM
To: 'Dave'
Subject: RE: Longer Message and zip I'm gone

Before I read this you should see my latest entry. :)

-----Original Message-----
From: Crystal Pruitt []
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 2:40 AM
To: 'Dave'
Subject: RE: Quick Message and zip I'm gone

Has anyone ever told you that you're a beautiful malcontent?

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 3:25 AM
To: Crystal Pruitt
Subject: Never know what to put in this spot besides random debris

I must say no. Although I've been told that I'm a negative optimist. If that makes sense... I've been told that I want to much and that I am becoming "adult-like" after a long duration of childhood. I don't know, I'm mostly asked why I'm so quiet, which often leads to people asking me what I'm thinking, but hey if I'm so quiet, how can I tell you what I'm thinking without spoiling the silence? Please disregard the keyboard's clatter.

Hmm, I think my brain is beginning its shutdown process for the night... I don't mind you posting my email on your site, I suppose I feel surprised (and in some way honored) that you felt affected (perhaps that is not the correct
word) enough to allow my voice to intrude upon your Internet spot.

And I wonder if you noticed my "joke" tucked within my long E-mail? It was sort of masked (perhaps), but if you think about it, the "joke" is the most ridiculous part of the letter.

-----Original Message-----
From: Crystal Pruitt []
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 3:32 AM
To: 'Dave'
Subject: RE: Never know what to put in this spot besides random debris

Wait you can't go yet I'm almost done with my reply... ;) you've gotta read it, but I don't expect that you write me back until after you've had a long dose of sleep.

-----Original Message-----
From: Crystal Pruitt []
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 3:38 AM
To: 'Dave Turk'
Subject: RE: Longer Message and zip I'm gone

Wow, that was quite a bit to run through my parser. This was a quality response, definitely. I'm glad that you afforded me the time to write it. Intentions are a big thing with me; undoubtedly everyone has them whether they are cognizant of them or not. I just want to know if you, or anyone else who takes the first step into my life, is a good witch or a bad witch. I myself often lack reasons for doing the things I do most passionately. They're inexplicable by their very nature. I, like you, don't have many relationships beyond the one I have with my fiancÚ. Chatting online fills a void in my own social life without any "real" commitment. Reading this from you helps me to know where you were coming from. I was likely annoyed because it was late and you weren't making a lot of sense to me. I get over things like that fairly easily. In the future you should feel free to try another approach. Your comments are of course more than welcome. Andrew crashed almost as soon as we got back from bowling. I wasn't sleepy so I thought I'd finish up my entry from earlier. I've been listening to the constant drone of the archaic water-cooled air conditioning system and the sounds of my fingernails steadily tapping the keys.

I didn't think that you were crazy when I read that you try to visualize who I am based upon the information that I've provided you with, and even take that further and make predictions. I do that myself and I've found that those can be quite accurate. To be quite honest I write as much as I need to. I try to post something every day, but I know that realistically life comes up.

It is somewhat reassuring to hear someone else say that the IQ test isn't accurate. I don't specifically know what was wrong with it, but you're an exceptionally gifted writer.

Yes, I do receive many random online messages. I understand that by making myself available to those out there with similar questions to my own also invites many more who aren't looking for answers beyond my bra size. I agree with your assessment that, "women are treated poorly in this society." I believe that deep down everyone yearns for understanding. Only it's like one those cravings you can't quite place. You think perhaps it might be love and then after being scorned a few too many times you realize that wasn't it and you move on to eliminate the next potential thing. I think we spend a large portion of our lives in pursuit self-knowledge. The best way that I know of to attain this sort of insight is through someone else's eyes.

I can certainly relate to useless comments in relation to my own writings I have made available online. I mentioned in a recent entry that I hate apathetic people; well those are the kind you spoke of. I don't do anything unless I really want to be doing it. The Arboretum is well worth looking into. To start your own online journal your first stop might as well be Movable Type. That's what I'm using.

- CrystalShiloh

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 3:40 AM
To: Crystal Pruitt
Subject: RE: Never know what to put in this spot besides random debris

I am going to make myself a snack, my belly is rumbling. I definitely will wait for your reply, take your time. I did not mean to indicate that sleep was immediate, rather that soon my body would know slumber. And that my thoughts are becoming blurry as this psuedo-stasis becomes closer to reality...

On a related note... And to kill the time as I wait for my food to heat up. Yes it is a bagel. A big No-No for your diet plan. Tonight was incredibly surreal. I work as a waiter. I found myself telling coworkers that I felt like I was lost in a dream. Due to this surrealness I felt buffered from any potential anger (there are a million reasons to become irrate while serving), but damn I'm concerned about how weird my dreams will be after this night of bizarre happenstance.

-----Original Message-----
From: Crystal Pruitt []
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 3:48 AM
To: 'Dave'
Subject: RE: Never know what to put in this spot besides random debris

I am going to insist that you call your blog Beautiful Malcontent because I like it. I like it a lot and it suits you well.

I had soda earlier. My mouth feels yucky consequently. I thought I needed it to stay awake for bowling. That's why I'll still be awake (I at first typed this as "away", not "awake") for the rising of the sun.

I've done a stint as a server as well. I've been subject to the different ways that patrons can find to piss you off. Your dreams will probably be interesting if you have any at all.

- CrystalShiloh

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 4:02 AM
To: Crystal Pruitt
Subject: Perhaps one too many messages

Thank You for your response. I will reply to it another time if you don't mind, but actually this is in response to part of it. I felt no anger towards the man who hollered at my fiance. I feel that it's a shame that such things occur, but then again perhaps they should. One should not blame a lion for eating a rabbit. Nor should one fully blame a thief for stealing from your pocket. Nor should one become incensed over a pervert sharing his feelings. Perhaps it is a positive thing that he is able to share his inner "demons". Every living thing is trying to get by all while doing what feels right. I live next to this outrageously crude man who constantly calls his wife a bitch. He complains about his children, about his job, his life, and so on. He helps me with my car, all the while telling me not to get married. Constantly spouting off vulgarities as he speaks. The guy cracks me up, he is completely ridiculous, but he's getting by and finding something in it. And at heart he is a decent human being, despite his overwhelming (and often
obnoxious) personality. There is a layer of bullshit involved in his speech. We all enact certain constructs to protect us. In any event these constructs are our way of viewing the world and ultimately understanding ourselves. To fault the man for hollering at my lady-friend would be like faulting him for listening to Salsa when I happen to think Jazz is where its at. Or declaring that people who like Rap music are idiots, or saying that commerical music is complete rubbish. Yes I might think any of these things, but in truth who gives a fuck? Its all my idea of pursuing knowledge and understanding. Why? Maybe to actualize myself?

I too like Beautiful Malcontent, but I could never call myself beautiful, its too vain, yet I am not a modest person. I must pretend to be modest, while clandestinely being proud (nearly egocentric some might say).

The "joke" in my long E-mail involved a comment regarding the I.Q. test. I

That I.Q. test is not accurate. (I scored a tad lower on this one that I have on past ones)

Which is ludicrous. My first basis for the test being flawed was that I scored lower on it. Like its effect upon my ego is truly any indication of its value. : ) I thought the comment was so irrational that it deserved a momentary nod of merit, thus I placed it into the letter. Why am I writing all of this? I can't say.

I have this fear that the only reason I wrote to you tonight was because of this biography on Joyce that I'm reading. I'm currently learning about his initial encounters with Yeats and it makes me want to communicate via letter with others, perhaps I'm easily influenced.

My writing to you doesn't sound "preachy" does it? I'd hate to come off like a jerk or a buffoon. Although you might say its in my nature, if you deem it so. :)

-----Original Message-----
From: Crystal Pruitt []
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 4:10 AM
To: 'Dave'
Subject: RE: Perhaps one too many messages

I'll come back to you on that. For now it's whatever dreams may await me. Good night.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 11:56 AM

E-mail From a Reader

I appreciated receiving the following e-mail from Dave, a guy who apparently reads my site. I hope he isn't bothered when he sees this. I'm aiming for pleasantly surprised. I'd even settle for moderately surprised. If I get too many more messages like this I might handle them the same way and eventually create a category for them.

Admittedly, I did do some editing to my lengthier reply. In a couple of places I deemed my explanation insufficient and I had added one more comma than was necessary. Well, I *am* an English major, what do you expect?

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 1:19 AM
Subject: Quick Message and zip I'm gone

I wanted to apologize for IMing you a week (or so) ago. I wrote verbosely and then we concluded our dialog abruptly. Off and on I read your web page and I find it entertaining. I enjoyed that little emode test mentioned on your webpage, along with other various factoids, opinions, or daily tidbits that you present. It is my brief diversion from immediate reality. For that I say thank you. I sort of desire to start my own webpage, where I merge my writings, my thoughts, my journal, and whatever else together into a conglomeration. Such a thing might provide catharsis, for sometimes I require a way to deal with the chaos in my life. In any event, this is not your concern.

So let me conclude. Thank you for freely placing your thoughts onto my monitor. I regret the course our first and final (most likely) conversation took.

Perhaps this email hit the trash before it was opened. Who knows what people decide to peruse during these days of seemingly perpetual junk mail.

-----Original Message-----
From: Crystal Pruitt []
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 1:24 AM
To: 'Dave'
Subject: RE: Quick Message and zip I'm gone

I have a fan!! How cool :)

-----Original Message-----
From: Crystal Pruitt []
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 1:45 AM
To: 'Dave'
Subject: RE: Quick Message and zip I'm gone

Ok, now for my more serious response:

I'm not sure what was said during our brief encounter or even of what nick I would have seen you go by. I can be very impatient (to get to the point) and unfortunately sometimes also intolerant (with someone that messaged me on-line that doesn't seem to have one of those). I encounter a lot of jerks and I haven't worked out a secret code yet to filter the good guys in. If I was short with you, I apologize. Maybe we can try to have another conversation on some other level if I somehow know that is your intention. I'm pleased to hear that you find my website entertaining, I often think that I'm... no, not boring... What word am I searching for? I give up, but I will say that affirmation is usually always good :). You know, that fucking test really had my panties in a knot (the counter-affirmation that it was lol). I don't really set out trying to be interesting; I do aim to be understood though. That's very important to me. I guess that's why I put it all out there. I hope you continue to enjoy my site for a long time to come. It's worth a try to set up your own webpage. I say that because it's a good way to organize oneself. It's easy to run a search and see where you are at with your goals, etc.

You're most welcome. I'd give it another shot before you relegate any hopes of further communication to the recycle bin.

- CrystalShiloh

-- CrystalShiloh @ 02:37 AM

Top Ten Vexations

  1. Very windy days. I hate fighting to walk against the wind, ending up with mouthfuls of my own hair whenever I say anything, or worse having it stick to my lipstick.
  2. Being woken up by our cat Rand in the middle of night. She does this because she has no concept of time, only of hunger.
  3. And then not being able to get back to sleep. Can anyone sleep when they're frustrated? I sure can't.
  4. When the water in the shower changes temperature erratically. I can think of another shower experience that was even more annoying, but thankfully non-recurring: I was shampooing my hair when all of sudden bam!! A piece of the shower head came flying off and hit me in the head. With that piece off, there was not enough water pressure to rinse my hair out. I had to run dripping wet in a bath towel and soap in my eyes to my neighbor's apartment to plead with her to borrow her shower.
  5. Noisy sleepers. Andrew not only snores, but lately he's started to click. Must be the zip disk click of doom reincarnated.
  6. People who take up more than their fair share of the bed or blanket. Only *I* can get away with that.
  7. People who do not clean up after themselves. I don't really have anything to add to this one.
  8. Clearly discerning the noise from a piano, that the neighbors who live upstairs and over one apartment from me, regularly play. We can hear it from both Andrew's room and my room. When we first moved in three years ago, I thought I was hearing things. I began to investigate. I checked all four of the apartments on this floor by standing outside the doors and listening intently. The noise wasn't emanating from any of them. I spoke with each neighbor individually and inquired whether or not they could hear a piano being played through the walls. Each answered yes, but had no idea who might be so audacious as to have a piano in an apartment building. Later, I happened to be in the stairwell when the music started up again. Following the sound, I climbed the stairs past my floor all the way up to the sixth. It was somewhat difficult to tell from which apartment I was hearing it, but I finally determined that was coming from the apartment above and across from mine.
  9. Apathetic people.
  10. Being messaged by random people who, without even so much as taking a glance at my profile, proceed to ask me everything that is specified in it.
-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:42 AM

August 14, 2003

Re: IQ Test

I re-evaluated some of my answers after I had a short cat nap (I only had approx. 4 hours of sleep last night) without any assistance, and I did much better. I'm a lot happier now with my results, but I'm still not sharing them, lol. When Andrew came home we sat down and compared our answers to the Emode test. He had figured out the two that had given me a headache. What I mainly missed turned out to be the questions mathematical in nature. I've never been good with numbers. This time I was dubbed an "Insightful Linguist." That's much more precise than the "Word Warrior" from earlier.

Emode Insightful Linguist.gif

Quoting from the e-mail this image was attached to, "This means you have the natural fluency of a writer and the visual talents of an artist. You also have a creative and expressive mind."

Andrew's comment now: "See, I told you so."

-- CrystalShiloh @ 10:10 PM

IQ Test

I was searching the 'net for local bowling alleys (for my glow bowl date set for this weekend), and I even found a page that looked relatively useful, but my attention was detracted away from it by one of those noisome pop up ads. It was an ad for an IQ test offered on the Emode website, the self-proclaimed "#1 destination for self-discovery." More to the point, it's a collection of those little tests you can usually find in such magazines as Cosmo. It may be the case that these have a little more credence, but I can't personally attest to that. I went with the impulse to click on it and proceeded to answer the forty questions. The majority of them were simple, but two really had me stumped, numbers 26 and 35. Rather than let them drive me insane, I just gave my best guesses and waited somewhat impatiently for my score to be tallied. After signing up for more spam, I mean an Emode account, I received them. No, I'm not going to tell you what I got. I will tell you that I wasn't happy with the results. I was further humbled when I found out that Andrew scored was 4 points higher than mine. In addition to discovering that I'm a moron whose IQ apparently plummeted since the last IQ test I was given in the fifth grade, I'm a "Word Warrior."

Emode Word Warrior.gif

Quoting from the e-mail that this image was attached to, "This means you have exceptional verbal skills. You can easily make sense of complex issues and take an unusually creative approach to solving problems. Your strengths also make you a visionary."

Andrew's comment on the situation: "Geez, isn't being smarter than 98-99% of the world's population enough?" Why no, it just isn't.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:42 PM

Early Morning

Every now and then, when I have Darwin out of her cage late in the evening, it gets to be about time for me to get myself into bed and so I bring her along with me and keep her warm while we sleep. Last night was one of those nights. The iguana found herself a nice warm spot where my right arm was draped across her body and her head was laying on my chest. I had a dream where I was pulling out what I thought at the time was a bottle of wine from under my arm and I at the same time I physically pulled the lizard out of the spot she was nestled into. Something felt wrong and I woke up straight away. Obviously, I stopped what I was doing. The time was then 4:30 a.m. I tried to get comfortable again, but I wasn't able to return to sleep. Eventually I threw off the blankets, arranged Darwin so that Andrew was then warming her, and went out to the office to type up this entry.

I haven't been up this early since probably the beginning of summer break. Amazingly, I'm not that tired after only four hours of sleep.

Andrew just got out of bed. It seems the cat started to meow right after I had left the room. We have her on a six and six o'clock feeding schedule and she doesn't let us forget about her breakfast time. I'm disappointed because I was hoping for at least a few more minutes to myself. My solitude never lasts long in the early morning, but I like to use this time to read or write. I had intentions to pick Good Omens back up after I finished this entry, but I am now having extreme difficulty concentrating with Andrew moving things around and making noise. It'll have to wait until he leaves. I haven't done any reading since August 1st. I think I just burned myself out on it for a while and needed a rest. There's no way that I will still be able to meet my goal of five more books before the 25th of the month, not that I won't at least try.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 06:21 AM

August 13, 2003

Andrew's Gift From His Sister

Andrew and I don't often go out to eat anymore because we have such a hard time finding places that serve paleo foods and it can also be pretty pricey. On Monday night, it inadvertently slipped my mind to take the meat out of the freezer to thaw in time. When Andrew phoned from his cell on his way home and I told him to meet me downstairs so we could leave right away for the grocery store to pick a substitute meal up. While he was waiting on me, he checked the mailbox and found that a card from his sister Leslie had arrived. Since she never knows what to buy Andrew for his birthday, she sent him a check enclosed inside the card. Andrew decided to let her treat us to dinner at the Olive Garden. We had to compromise on what we ate. I ordered water and Andrew had unsweetened tea to drink. Andrew wanted the salmon since we rarely have fish at home (I don't like seafood, but since we need to have omega-3 fatty acids in our diet, we take fish oil capsules instead) and steamed vegetables. I ordered the stuffed (with Italian Cheeses) chicken breast, which complied with the diet more than anything else I could find on the menu (ignoring the salmon). While we were waiting for our order to be served we were given some salad and bread sticks. I had requested that the dressing be placed on the side and declined the grated cheese when the waiter offered. We're not supposed to eat any dairy at all and most salad dressings have salt and refined sugars listed in the ingredients label, which we also try to avoid altogether, but it is slightly more difficult to do so. We're not supposed to be eating grains either (at least we should limit our intake) and I've probably missed that the most since we began this diet. We decided to indulge. I personally couldn't believe how salty the black olives in the salad were. We usually buy the canned sort and rinse the salt thoroughly off in a strainer in the sink. Andrew thought the bread was salty. That was about my upper limit for salt tolerance. It's amazing to me how well my body has been adapting to the paleo diet. When our meal arrived, Andrew's steamed zucchini and squash were topped with a sauce containing butter. I seem to remember that there was nothing unexpected about the fish itself. It was seasoned with lemon and pepper. Andrew gave me a bite to try and it was so good I actually insisted on being fed another. My chicken had the cheese in it that I was aware of when placing my order, but without my prior knowledge it arrived served atop some pasta (which is made from grains), and those salty unrinsed black olives were in replete supply in the pasta sauce. We completely destroyed our diet for the evening when we ordered dessert and brought it back home with us: raspberry swirl cheesecake and chocolate lasagna. It's okay that we did because it's not a habit with us anymore.

After we dropped by home to put the dessert in the freezer, Andrew wanted to go over to the Sports Authority, which is located in the same complex as the grocery store that we still needed to visit in order to pick up some meat to have with our breakfasts and lunches the following day (we eat meat at every meal). They were having a sale and we had discussed and decided over dinner to get Andrew the bowling ball, bag, and shoes, that he didn't get before his birthday, with the extra money his sister sent him. He picked out a pre-drilled, fourteen pound, and very colorful (mottled with bright oranges, yellows, greens, and blues) Ebonite Zoom Glow ball (it reacts to ultra-violet light). He expressed some concern about the ball slipping off his thumb (the hole is just a little too big) so I found an Ebonite Ultra-grip Rosin Bag to help him out with that. The price tag said $49, but we later discovered at the checkout that it really was on sale for only $36. The bowling shoes Andrew deemed the most comfortable and the least eyesore-inducing were size 9 ProV2s, on sale down from $39 to $20. I found a really cool retro looking black cloth bag by Brunswick for $11.99 to stash it all in. Andrew was happy with it and so we purchased it for him. My Brunswick Cosmic ball has deeper colors that Andrew's, but it also glows when exposed to black light. We have a date to go glow bowling this weekend. I can't wait!

-- CrystalShiloh @ 01:37 PM


I didn't make time to write an entry yesterday. I had plenty to say, just plenty of other things to do. My day had consisted mainly of cleaning my room and doing laundry, interspersed with some continuing work on my websites. You'll probably notice that my color scheme is new, unless you've never been here before. If that's the case, I invite you to read my biography. For those who have been following this blog for a while, let me just explain what I did the day before yesterday that has me expecting an influx of visitors. I now have my website set up to begin sending update notifications to two separate blog update monitors: and If you've never been to either of those sites before, and you do enjoy reading and keeping up with other people's blogs, I suggest that you check them out. There's one more thing that I have been working on, along with Andrew's assistance (that I am extremely greatful to him for): a new blog to serve my pictures. It still has some issues left to be resolved and many more pictures to be uploaded. When I'm eventually satisfied with it, I'll place a permanent link to it in the sidebar.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 10:25 AM

August 11, 2003

Creative Commons License

From this moment forth, until further notification, any entries I publish to this website ( are not only automatically copyrighted, but hereby also associated with the following Creative Commons license. Please see the full legal code if you are in need of further elaboration.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 05:13 PM

Bringing Down the House

Our friend did indeed join us last night for dinner and a movie as we had hoped she would. The meal was excellent; we marinated turkey breast in a mixture of lemon, oregano, garlic powder, and olive oil for a total of four hours and then broiled it. Andrew made a side of steamed baby carrots flavored with lemon and dill and with my assistance, a nice garden salad. Our guest was kind enough to bring along a round of rosemary olive oil bread. We don't normally eat grains, but this was a special occasion.

We all thought the movie Bringing Down the House was hilarious. Peter Sanderson, who was played by actor Steve Martin, is a divorced lawyer and not a particularly fun guy. He meets a female lawyer (Queen Latifah) in a chat room who is seemingly not only intelligent, but gorgeous. The picture he was given shows a blonde being interviewed in the foreground, outside of what looks to be like a court house. She tells him her name is Charlene. Peter misrepresented himself to her slightly, describing his hair as "boyish." Both consent to meet each other in real-life. This was set to occur at Peter's home in the suburbs, across the street from his prying neighbor's house who also happens to be related to his boss.

Peter spends considerable time getting everything all prepared for his date, setting out the meal, trying on an array of clothing, and creating an atmosphere complete with candle light. When Charlene arrives, he saunters over to the door with champagne in hand. Standing outside was entirely not what he had been expecting: a big black woman wearing cutoffs. She enters and inspects all of his considerations, particularly the food and the candles. Peter quickly detours her from the meal and extinguishes the flames. Charlene turns out to be an ex-con, who pores over law books while locked up in the pen, that wants Peter to help her make an appeal because she's been framed for armed robbery. He insists that she make her departure and she vehemently refuses to do so peacefully. Once outside again she begins to yell loud enough for the neighbors to hear all about Peter's contrived baby that she supposedly gave birth to and he subsequently abandoned. His neighbor (Betty White), upon hearing the clamor, comes outside to investigate. Peter assures her that there was nothing out of the ordinary, but he has to allow Charlene back inside for the moment. When it occurs to Peter to phone the police and just have her removed from the premises, she pulls out logs of their conversations she had with him from inside the prison. Instead, he shows her to a guest room where she spends the night.

The next morning, Peter lures Charlene into coming outside with the talk of bagels accompanied with discussion of her criminal case. There are no bagels and when she discovers this, she turns to run back inside, but Peter has slyly locked the back door behind them. He also carefully disposed of all evidence of their conversations with one another, from her copies to the records on his own hardrive. Her things are waiting for her atop the garbage can. Peter left her like that to go and pick up his children from his ex-wife's house. They were supposed to accompany Peter to Hawaii while his ex goes away on a lover's retreat. No one in the home is precisely thrilled to see him, least of all his ex-sister in-law. Peter had to cancel their trip because he has this new multi-million dollar account he is trying to land for his law firm. His ex-wife's boy-toy comes to pick her up. He's significantly younger than her and at one time he even caddied for Peter. He's all over her from the moment he walks in. Despite appearances, the two divorcees still harbor feelings for each other.

Peter returns back home with his children to find that Charlene has taken over his house. She has some thugs posted outside that are collecting admission for "charity" that Peter has to get past. He threatens to call the cops again and they let him in, at no charge. There are all sorts of people he doesn't know having a good time in his pool and inside. He finds Charlene getting a weave and ahead at gambling. They exchange words and Peter ends up getting tossed into the pool. Shortly after that, the people started to weed out. Charlene was cleaning up the mess they left and Peter convinces her that she should leave. After she gets her money back from Peter's son she does just that. The rest the movie is spent vying for the heiress' business, getting Charlene's name cleared while maintaining appearances, and forging relationships with the right people.

I received an enormous sense of satisfaction from watching the fight scene between Peter's former sister in-law and Charlene. They both kicked some serious ass, but in the end, Charlene prevailed as was only right. I'm not sure this is a movie that I want to run out and add to my collection as soon as it premiers in the previously-viewed DVD section at Hollywood Video. I'll have to wait and see how I feel about it then.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 02:45 PM

August 10, 2003

The National Arboretum

Yesterday afternoon, Andrew and I abandoned our responsibilities and ventured over to D.C. to visit the National Arboretum.

Corinthian Columns.jpg

There, we viewed the twenty-two Corinthian columns that once stood at the east portico of the U.S. Capitol.

Column Top and Bottom.jpg

This is a shot of a column top resting directly on a bottom.

Pink Water Lily

The aquatic gardens, located just outside of the visitor's center, feature many different species of koi and water lilies. I thought this pink one turned out rather nicely.

White Water Lillies.jpg

The white ones were washed out.

Chinese Lantern 1.jpg

Here is one of the Chinese lanterns that Andrew and I encountered in the courtyard on our way over to see the bonsai collection.

National Bonsai and Penjing Museum.jpg

The entrance to the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum.

Bonsai 1.jpg

A bonsai tree. Andrew made the comment that a few look like there should be smurfs living beneath them.

Chinese Pavillion.jpg

The entrance into the Chinese Pavilion.

Chinese Lantern 2.jpg

Here is the second of the Chinese lanterns Andrew and I found nestled in the trees.

Bonsai 4.jpg

Another bonsai tree.

bonsai 13.jpg

The best looking bonsai at the exhibit, imho. It struck me as looking like a miniature forrest. The white wood is driftwood.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 07:26 PM

August 09, 2003

Plans for the Weekend

According to Andrew, Comcast cable has been down since sometime last night. I awoke at 6:15 a.m. to a crying cat and came out here, jiggled the mouse, and there was no Internet connection. I checked the modem. All the right lights were blinking. I restarted my machine. Nothing. I woke Andrew up so he could tell me how to restart the gateway (which can only be accomplished through software on his machine unless I just want to brutally cut power off to it). That brings my story back around. So, needless to say, I won't be able to upload this entry anytime soon. It's 7:17 a.m. now. The cat's crying just started back up in the other room. Andrew is shushing her. I hope he gets annoyed with her enough to make it all the way out of bed this time, because we have some things we need to do even before we can think about the things we want to do and that makes for a pretty full day.

Earlier this week I decided that if there is enough time to go around, I'd like to go see the National Arboretum. The original Corinthian columns removed from the U.S. Capitol in the 1957 renovations form an "acropolis" there at the arboretum. This park is also home to the National Bonsai Garden and an expansive collection of herbs. Ever since I caught a bit of the movie Karate Kid on television, I've been in the mood to look at more bonsai, first hand. I hope that we'll be able to make it over this afternoon.

I'll be phoning my friend today to remind her that she is to come join us for dinner and a movie tomorrow night. We'll be watching Bringing Down the House. I'm looking forward to spending some more time with her.

The Internet connection is still not up yet, and neither is Andrew. I'm going to go put the kettle on the stove and make us both some Mental ClariTea.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 03:51 PM

August 08, 2003

Hot Links

Andrew has been going back through all of my blog entries and making some things into hot links. I encourage him do it because I find that what he picks to link is really amusing. For instance, there was a word in an entry from yesterday afternoon, lowery, that he chose to link to it's lookup on Seeing that made me laugh because I had just encountered the word for the first time myself that very morning, while catching up on the last few missed days of my Word-a-Day calendar. Last night Andrew went back through my last ten or so entries and did his thing. When he finished, I checked out what he linked and what to, and I saw on the Palm website that they were running a promotion on the Zire. Unfortunately, I purchased mine well before the beginning of the promotion. I would have liked to have received the bag with mine for free :(. It looks bigger than the pink Jansport backpack that I'm currently using. It's definitely a cute bag, but it picks up dirt and marks easily. Last semester it got a lot of that and I know of no effective way to clean it off. Hopefully, someone else will get the free offer, decide that they don't really want the bag, and sell it to me via eBay (for very little). I'm not sure that's very likely to happen, but we'll see.

Just so you know, I am the one that created the links on this entry to demonstrate that I haven't forgotten how to. You don't write web pages for some nine years and suddenly lose all memory of how to something that basic.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 10:31 AM

August 07, 2003

MLK Inscription

Tuesday night Andrew and I walked over D.C. for the purposes of getting some exercise. We had talked about seeing the inscription that was recently made on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that commemorates the spot where Martin Luther King was standing while he gave his "I Have a Dream" speech forty years ago. The skies outside were looking lowery, so we clad ourselves in rain gear, I grabbed my digital camera and my mostly water-proof pouch to tote it in, and then we set off. We had just about reached the Arlington side of the Memorial Bridge when the clouds let loose. Andrew popped open my Chococat umbrella and held it in between us and we kept on moving at a brisk pace. The lightning was rapidly approaching and we were audience to an astounding visual display. When we reached the Memorial, there was a throng of people lined along the top step. Many were trying to get good shots of the lightning over Lincoln. I had reservations about ascending the wet marble and then trying to squeeze in past everyone. Despite a rude woman who shoved herself into the same open space I was going for we didn't have any problems. I tried to get my own shot of the lightning (to post here, of course) and I was disappointed to discover that I had left my compact flash cards back at home in the hard case. I found the ranger on duty and asked him to direct us to where the inscription was placed. The spot was unlit and we still were hunting around for it when another young couple came up and asked us where it was. We told them that it was supposed to be somewhere around the area we were looking in and they located it before we did. The words had blended in easily with the wet marble. The following were the five etched lines that we came to see:





AUGUST 28, 1963

Satisfied, we started back. Before we made it very far down the steps, we witnessed a woman fall down a few of them. She wasn't seriously hurt, though I'm sure she was at least bruised. Making our way back home the rain stopped.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 04:07 PM

August 06, 2003

Andrew's Orientation

This is another one of those entries on the run. The time when I wrote this was about 6:20 p.m. I decided after all to join Andrew this evening for his graduate orientation at GMU. I just went along for the cookies, lol. There was quite the spread when we first walked in. Right now we're sitting around waiting for an advisor to call Andrew in. He's looking pretty bored and not very anxious. Every now and then he catches my eye and gives me a little smile. I don't think I can handle any more sugar tonight - cookies be damned! All I want is a nice, healthy salad. Hopefully Andrew will understand that we can make his b-day dessert some other time. I think he's had his fill of sugar, too. Andrew is next up. He has pulled out his Palm Pilot and he is playing with it. I forgot to mention that earlier as being another of his birthday gifts. It's a Zire 71, and unlike mine, it has a built-in digital camera and MP3 player. It is also expandable. Nah, I'm not really jealous because I picked out the lower-end Zire for myself, it suits my purposes just fine. It does tend to suck that I can't backlight this one (like I could with my trusty old M100). Okay, I admit being somewhat jealous that his is COLOR (Tetris just looks dreadfully wrong in black and white). Oh well, I'll live. Alright, you can call us in anytime now folks. There are only three others left in the room with us and it seems one is on his way out. Finally!!

Andrew's application was successfully approved by the advisor we went in to see. He is now a non-degree-seeking grad student currently enrolled in one class (Intro to VHDL) at GMU. I'm very proud of him!

-- CrystalShiloh @ 09:53 PM


Sorry to disappoint anyone if you've been patiently waiting since July 31st for me to follow up on viewing the movie Solaris. To tell you the truth, I was no longer intent on writing a review of it after I'd seen it, but I really hate leaving ends loose. According to Andrew, it deviated quite dramatically from the book. Lem didn't intend for it to be interpreted as a love story. I had a hard time following along. Andrew made me feel a bit better about that by telling me that the book gave the audience a lot more to work with. So, I am not even going to trouble myself with trying to recap the plot. Maybe I'll give the book a chance when the movie has completely seeped from my memory banks.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 03:31 PM

Andrew's Birthday

Today is Andrew's twenty-eighth birthday. I don't have any surprises planned. We don't like surprises. Andrew has already received all of his gifts in advance (most of them on or around July 12) and he was the one who picked them out. I did have some suggestions to start him off with, though. He decided he mainly wanted things for the kitchen, such as the seven-piece set of J.A. Henckels knives with storage block. It didn't include steak knives or kitchen shears so we had to purchase those items separately. He also found a neat little cutter that has two parallel half-moon blades that is good for mincing. The name of it is Mezzaluna and it's made by Fiskars. It takes a while to get used to. To accessorize the new non-stick wok we also bought some bamboo cooking tools that won't scratch the protective surface. Beyond those things, the only other thing Andrew got specifically for his birthday was while we were visiting my mom down in Orlando at the beginning of June, which was a Nostalgic Stereo System (with CD player and AM/FM radio) by Memorex. It is deliciously retro looking and he had a difficult time passing it by. He let me have his old stereo, which appropriately enough, he had gotten for his last birthday :). It's nice to again have tunes in my room.

I have been wanting to also get Andrew a bowling ball and shoes (ever since I discovered that he, in fact, likes to bowl), but there just isn't enough time left to do anything much with them, now that school will be starting so shortly. I'm afraid they'll just sit on a shelf for six months, by which time we'd need to have the holes re-drilled for his fingers because he is quickly losing weight. Time is also rapidly diminishing and it feels like we have still so much to compress into it. I'll just have to save that thought for Christmastime. Perhaps when my mom comes to visit us then, we can get Andrew properly outfitted and all go out bowling together. Sounds like fun. We had such a blast driving down to St. Pete (where I grew up and my brother still resides) from Orlando to meet up with my brother, his girlfriend, and her son. We bowled several games that night. I hope mom can make it here, we miss her so much.

Anyway, happy birthday, Andrew. I didn't get for you a card or a cake, but you specifically asked me not to. We'll bake up some key lime (his absolute favorite foods always begin with these two words) bars together later on this evening after you get back from your orientation at GMU. I look forward to it. I love you!!

-- CrystalShiloh @ 02:41 PM

August 05, 2003

Uncooperative Kitty

It's been a pretty dry (as in dull, it did actually rain for a bit earlier) day around here. I straightened the apartment up some, did the wash, and gave the cat a b-a-t-h. As far as I know she is still sitting over on her cat post doing what I'm sure she considers a better job of cleaning herself than I did. I tried to take some of pictures of Rand, but she kept moving her head just before the flash would go off or pointing her eyes down at an angle, making it impossible for me to capture them. She's not happy with me at all. I'm sure she'll get over it though. At least she is not as linty as she was.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 06:15 PM

August 04, 2003

Re: Re: Weekend Plans

Andrew just finished reading my last entry and e-mailed to say that the graduate degree program he hopes to be eventually accepted into at George Mason University is actually Computer Engineering. His undergrad is in Aerospace Engineering with minors in both Math and Computer Science that he received from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The course he plans to start out with, as a non-degree seeking student, is Introduction to VHDL. Don't ask me what the acronym stands for. It is being held on Thursdays. My classes, as you may recall, are on Mondays and Wednesdays. School is going to further limit the time we spend together. That doesn't make me any less pleased with the decision Andrew has made. I'm happy for him and I hope he gets out of school this time what I feel that I am.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 03:15 PM

Re: Weekend Plans

How I imagined the weekend would go isn't exactly the way it turned out. Andrew and I ended up going over to the school campus on Saturday to pick up my school books and we even managed to return with most of them. Nothing has yet been assigned yet for the Introduction to Classical Music class that I'm signed up for. We did, however, pick up the book Andrew's class will be using while we were there. I haven't mentioned it here before, but he's beginning his Master's in the fall. I can never remember the name of his degree program, never mind what the individual class he signed up for is called. I'll have to ask him again and write it down this time. Anyway, we did all that along with locating buildings and their room numbers as well as some further school-related shopping for clothing and supplies. I don't have the energy to describe each individual item. So just forget it. Speaking of which, my friend forgot that she was to come over for dinner and a movie on Sunday so we had to reschedule for the following weekend. Some work was accomplished on Chemical Butterfly (I thank and love you, Andrew), but I never did crack Good Omens back open again. Instead, I opted to begin reading Intellectual Foundations of China by Frederick W. Mote, a professor at Princeton University. This book is assigned to my Chinese Philosophy and Religious Traditions class by Dr. Ro. I'm getting that jump on my school reading after all by neglecting completing my summer reading (5 more). I'll say it again because it is worth repeating: I'm such a nerd :).

-- CrystalShiloh @ 01:49 PM

Gay Marriage?

Yesterday, while flipping merrily through the channels, I paused on Fox news to give my thumb a bit of a rest. Whether or not gay marriages should be made legal was being explored by proponents from both ends of the political spectrum. The underlying question seems to be how to define the term "marriage." People overly concerned with family values would respond to that with something similar to the effect of: an alliance between two people formed for the sake of having and raising children. Here's where I loudly clear my throat and make mention of all the couples who do have the option to marry legally that do not take that step for the (sole) purposes of producing offspring. Undoubtedly, some would say that they did it entirely out of love (and not purely for the sake of what tax breaks couples only begin to reap after they've had said offspring). There's another perfectly plausible reason why two people might want to make their relationship with their partner legal. That is to gain additional access to health care benefits for their would-be spouse. Getting back into the right wing of things, if this were how the United States government also defined marriage, then logically any two heterosexual people regardless of creed and color would be permitted to wed with the tacit understanding that they would then get on with the baby making procedures. How would our legal system ever have knowledge that it was never really the couples' intention to agree to that? There are also those married couples out there that desire to have their own kids, but for physical limitations cannot, still to be considered. So, narrowly defining marriage just won't do. You can't just cut a substantial segment out of the population like that with an inadequate definition that only applies to some.

Now that it is readily apparent that the current scope of the term marriage accounts for more than just those who marry for the sake of having and raising children, let's discuss for just a moment why a definition like this is favorable to some individuals. It's actually painfully obvious. This definition deliberately perpetuates gay exclusion from taking the vows of matrimony. It just isn't something the whole of society is ready or willing to accept as being perfectly natural. That's why gays don't already have that right; the love that they have for their partner is construed within the U.S. as being something perverse. The stigma associated with gays exists to detour people away from that lifestyle. Fathers and mothers fear that their own sons or daughters might turn out to be gay. It is also feared that if it were condoned the population growth would ultimately suffer.

Okay, I think I have now arrived at a place where I can tell you my thoughts on the whole matter. How I define the term marriage is a ceremony where two people forge a union on the sum basis of qualities found in the other participating party. Those qualities could be anything, such the person's ability or likewise inability to have children, etc. It doesn't really matter what they are to me and I don't think it should to the U.S. government either. I further believe that the government should take a more liberal interpretation of what the word represents and not persist in barring gay couples from sharing in an age-old tradition that even precedes government sanction.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 11:39 AM

August 01, 2003

Weekend Plans

My plans for the weekend are as follows. I intend to take a trip out to the school campus on Saturday so I can purchase what of my textbooks that have already been assigned to my classes and locate the rooms that I am scheduled to meet in. On Sunday, my friend that came and visited with Andrew and I last weekend will be joining us again for dinner and we'll be viewing another Miyazaki film. I haven't decided which one yet. Sometime between all of that, I need to get some more work done on my websites. I decided to pick Good Omens back up last night and I also want to do some more reading in that over the weekend.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 09:41 AM

Resolutions Update: August

When I began keeping this blog last month I made a point of sharing my resolutions in my second entry. I want to take a quick look back at those now and see where I am at with them:

  • I committed to stop smoking. From May 30th to July 18th I wore a nicotine patch. I no longer need cigarettes themselves, nor the patches that aided me in quitting.
  • I committed to stop biting my fingernails. I don't any longer, not since around March 2nd.
  • I committed to read more. I've read a total of eight books so far this summer (one was not on my list). Considering the two trips out of state I had to make (one anticipated, the other not) and the visitors that stayed with us (not anticipated) I'm not doing so badly. There is still about a month left remaining and I want to try and read another five more.
  • There were a total of thirty-one days in the month of July, of which twenty-one I wrote entries for. I didn't begin writing in my blog until the first week was already past. From that time on I missed one day and skipped two more. I still managed to end up with a total of twenty-eight entries. It looks like I am doing well with my commitment to keep a journal.
  • Lastly, I made a goal to put more of my time and energy into doing the things that I enjoy. I specifically mentioned that I wanted to watch less television. There's really only one station that I watch and only on weekends - that's TLC. I also wanted to fully complete the mandala coloring book, but I have yet to do so. However, there are four more pages that show some progress made. I have twenty-six, out of an initial forty-eight, left remaining. I have been spending a significant amount more of quality time with Andrew. The puzzle that formerly resided underneath my bed has been completed and since dismantled. I played one board game with Andrew and his visiting relatives (Parcheesi). We tried to play a video game at one point, but on that night we were just too tired. We've made it over to D.C. twice now.The first time we visited the Freer Gallery and the second time we viewed the corpse flower at the U.S. Botanic Garden.
-- CrystalShiloh @ 09:26 AM