Tuesday, May 18, 2004

"What giants?" said Sancho Panza.
"Those that you see there," replied his master, "those with the long arms some of which are as much as two leagues in length."
"But look, your Grace, those are not giants but windmills, and what appear to be arms are their wings which, when whirled in the breeze, cause the millstone to go."
"It is plain to be seen," said Don Quixote, "that you have had little experience in this matter of adventures. If you are afraid, go off to one side and say your prayers while I am engaging them in fierce, unequal combat."

—excerpt from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

We have baby foxes living in the ravine. Occasionally they trot around to the sliding glass doors and look in on us. The cats get freaked out when this happens. Constant rain here and everything is growing like crazy. The river is way up and the hummingbirds are back. Cooler today, and my first chance to post for almost a week..

Who knew that gmail accounts were were so highly prized on the internet? Not me. I just gave away my last invite and then did a search for "gmail invites" and came up with this link: e-bay auctions gmail invites. Pretty crazy shit, huh? I guess I figured that gmail would open up pretty soon to general users but maybe not...

Some super neat-o Doonesbury strips from the early days of the internet, via the man, who has a pretty interesting blog of his own about the history of dis thang we call the net...

Some basic information about the U.S. run prison system in Iraq, from a link found on spitting image, the razor sharp blog for our modern bloody world.

More Hitchhiker news: The official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie weblog and a quicktime clip of the hideous Marvin, the Paranoid android prototype.

T H E   U N E X P E C T E D   F R E A K

He was undeniably a freak, with whispy blond hair, a chinless face, pale skin and faded blue goggle eyes that stared out at the world with a frantic desperation born of some twisted personal history hidden behind nondescript clothes and a mild voice never raised.

I met him at the bike shop where I was having my bearings re-greased. I watched his dirty efficient hands fly as he hunched like a troll, his thin lips pursed in concentration. I saw him often after that; he had a small apartment over the shop and when I passed by in the evenings I would see him at the open window staring out. Sometimes he held a book and I thought he must be a reader because I glimpsed piles of worn paperbacks stacked against the wall. But most often he stood silently with his hands gripping the sill, the cracked white paint flaking off onto the sidewalk below, staring out at a world that seemed to give him pain, because his face was never smooth or calm, but always creased with deep frown lines and his eyes twitched in the light.

He was always alone. I never spotted him at any of the clubs or bars around the university. Once I ran into him at the supermarket, and in the line saw he was buying the cheapest food, unbranded stuff. I guess that was when I started to feel sorry for him.

Then one winter I didn't see him anymore. The owner of the bike shop told me he was in the hospital. He had a chronic condition and it was getting worse. A few months later he was dead. He'd taken an overdose of painkillers; the paper ran a small article. That was when I first knew his name, and knew also that it sounded familiar. I checked my old high school yearbook and found his picture. Funny that I didn't remember him.

I still catch myself looking up at his window sometimes, but it's always dark and there is nothing to see anymore.

© 2004 by Craig Snyder


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