+ to Blog 2.0 [aka Zippy The Fish]

BLOG 1.0

30 mar 2004 - I'll be out for a few days. Going to pop over to Africa, dropping by Scotland on the way. You can read my travel notes on peterschrock.com's latest feature "Zippy the Fish".

23 mar 2004 - Speaking of hornets, I woke up today to the sound of a million bees buzzing outside my apartment window. Really big bees. After the fog in my head cleared I realized it was not bees. It was just another episode in the ongoing horror series: The Attack of the Leaf Blowers. If I'm not mistaken, I believe they blow those leaves around at least three days a week outside my window and always before 7am. They were buzzing so loud this morning that I couldn't hear my alarm when it went off (which, I guess, is something of a mixed blessing when you think about it.) Whatever happened to the broom? And, now that we're talking about it, what's wrong with the leaves anyway? I've thought long and hard and I've decided: I'd rather have the leaves.

22 mar 2004 - In the news today: Ariel Sharon Kicks Hornet's Nest. In the news next week: Ariel Sharon Complains When He Gets Stung.

I understand there are some underlying neuroses involved over there, some revenge issues, as well as a time-honored tradition of shooting your neighbors if you happen to take a hankering to their particular homestead. I understand also that things are not always as simple as they seem, but in spite of all that, I know this: I had a pretty good handle on cause and effect by the time I was 6. What in the hell is taking Sharon so long to figure it out?

19 mar 2004 - Another amazing find! Jen and I were driving in the mountains this weekend and we ran across a real live Shoe Tree! Yes, it's true! No, we couldn't believe it either, but there it was. Living in California the wonders truly never cease...

9 mar 2004 - Don't mean to go all science geek on you but this is cool. Ever wanted to travel back in time? Download the a couple of those pictures and take a look at the past. It will make you feel small, I promise you.

25 feb 2004 - "Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return." I sat silently, with the mark on my forehead, and felt myself grow smaller and smaller. I was in a great room filled with hundreds of people, but the most apparent thing to me, sitting still, eyes closed, hands open, was the silence. It grew up around me like a plant, like a great sheltering wing, and it seemed to me that I was shrinking to become nothing more than a speck of dust. So much for my treasured individuality. So much for my towering intellect. So much for my needs and my plans and my time. I sat that way for a long time, listening to the music play quietly, letting the pieces find their natural places, rightly ordered. "Holy the name of the Lord! whose mercy embraces the faithful, one generation to the next." Happy and blessed Ash Wednesday, everybody.

14 feb 2004 - I am really thankful today.

13 feb 2004 - "It sounded like a welcome already overshadowed with the coming farewell. As in all sweetest music, a tinge of sadness was in every note. Nor do we know how much of the pleasures even of life we owe to the intermingled sorrows. Joy cannot unfold the deepest truths, although deepest truth must be deepest joy. Cometh white-robed Sorrow, stooping and wan, and flingeth wide the doors she may not enter. Almost we linger with Sorrow for very love." - George MacDonald, Phantastes. Read it.

8 feb 2004 - The little nephew is now a few weeks old and already he's on the superhighway to growing up. There were the funny sounds that he made during his first week that earned him the name "squeaker." But he no longer squeaks. In fact, he is more of a "bellower" now, which is good, I guess, but I think we all miss the squeaks a little. He's still tiny, just a little bigger than a cantaloupe, but definitely growing. His head is taking on a more normal shape. He's beginning to form his own opinions on things, especially when they have to do with food and poop.

2 feb 2004 - What do you do when the sky outside your window is crazy blue and the breeze is brisk and smells like the ocean and you're stuck inside banging on the glass like a big fat housefly?

30 jan 2004 - Yikes! It's been awhile since I've posted. Please forgive my absence.

Trust: All I really want to say right now is that, although I'm no bleeding heart left-winger, doesn't it rattle your cage a little to read this again a year later, understanding as we do now that it was apparently no more based on Real Life Fact than, say, a nicely illustrated version of Little Red Riding Hood, complete with Powerpoint slides and sound effects.

Also in the news, check out the super cool panoramas that these guys are making from the Mars pictures (scroll down little on the page). And the Everest shot isn't so bad either...

17 jan 2004 - Spent most of the day on a mini road trip to visit the valley where Jen and I will be married in a few months. My mother came along and seemed to be quite pleased with the location we've chosen. Which was a relief to me. I have to admit there's a peculiar sort of terror that comes with telling anyone about the ideas we've dreamed up, even more so my mother. What if she doesn't like the place? What if mom thinks that the whole idea is ridiculous? And then there's the event itself. What if the food is terrible and all the flowers are wilted? What if the band plays off key? What if the weather's bad and the relatives cranky? What if no one shows up? Whew. It's still six months off and I'm already going neurotic. Hope I can sleep tonight.

So, anyway, here's a cool picture of the valley.

15 jan 2004 - Yes, there is such a thing as a miracle: I have a nephew.

13 jan 2004 - So, why does it surprise anybody at all to hear that Bush wanted Saddam gone long before 9/11 came around? The noise the papers are making about this is ridiculous. Wasn't it obvious? Didn't anyone notice before the war that, as much as they tried, the Bush administration couldn't come up with any solid evidence linking Saddam to international terrorism? Hasn't it been abundantly clear that, for the most part, all those things that Powell said in front of the U.N. were, at best, exaggerations, and at worst, outright fabrications? Can we all finally agree on this fact: that the U.S. does what it feels like, when it feels like it, with little consideration for the rest of the world, displaying itself in all its wealth and self-absorption as the biggest spoiled brat around? By now, and after a year like we've had, that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. I'm not asking the Republicans to give a quarter to a homeless person or the Democrats to go to church every once in awhile. God knows THAT isn't likely. I'm just thinking would it hurt us that much to think about someone else besides ourselves every now and then?

12 jan 2004 - Here again is the one that started it...

11 jan 2004 - In keeping with an already established tradition here at peterschrock.com, here is something a friend of mine ran across in an old book, a bit of someone's life anonymously on display...

4 jan 2004 - Lots of snapshots and miscellaneous silliness from the Oregon festivities...

1 jan 2004 - I have spent around half of my life in Oregon and I have never seen it snow like it has this Christmas. We've been here for six days now after making an exhausting but rewarding lap around the country. Today, like Tuesday, we have cancelled all our plans and are staying home. The roads are bad and the snowplows slow to reach this part of the county. Instead we are playing card games (how old-fashioned!), making bead jewelry (how neo-hippie!), and keeping an eye on the thermometer (how East Coast!). Maybe we'll venture out to see a movie a little later -- the theater is only a few blocks away.

I have some good friends who live on the top of a hill at the end of a long, steep gravel road. Two days ago they got 18 inches of snow which made their road unpassable. That didn't stop us last night. We trudged upward through the snow to cheer in the new year at their house with hot drinks. Then we talked until 3am before going to sleep scattered on couches and rugs around the house. This morning we woke to a windy, misty morning with 6 inches of new snow. We put on our coats and hats and hiked the mile back down to the base of the hill to where the car was parked. It felt like an Adventure in the Frozen North to us, but it was just January 1 in Amity, Oregon. Then we tightened the tire chains around the rear wheels of the Volkswagen van and drove cautiously home only to find that the entire day's plans had been cancelled. Now we're all sitting around the house plotting our escape.

By the way, dinner at the in-laws-to-be was fine. We ate meat and potatoes in good Ohio fashion and opened presents all at once. Grandpa is funny and still sharp at 79. Grandma is fiery and full of advice, regardless of whether it has been asked for. She can also make a mean bowl of mashed potatoes. The house is warm and feels full of time.

24 dec 2003 - A few crazy days later and I'm across the country, in the heart of the midwestern United States. All it took was a few hundred dollars and a night of lost, "red-eye flight" sleep. We had the red eyes, that's for sure. The picture is Cleveland at Christmas, which, if you're not from around here, like I'm not from around here, you might expect to be a little bland. I'm not entirely sure what I expected, but it turns out that downtown Cleveland is rather beautiful in an "old American city, circa 1930s" way. We walked around on our first night here and, yes, my California-ized body nearly turned to ice within a matter of a few minutes. But I bought a nice hat, which made things better, and a terrible cappucino, which made my stomach hurt, so everything was nicely-balanced.

Observations: There are no Latinos here. This is a very conspicuous absence to one like me who lives in Mexico North. Everyone seems very average white, or big-city black. There are an awful lot of Chevrolets here. Let's not talk about eating out -- let's just say that I won't be finding anything here that remotely resembles the Pakistani lunch I had last week near the corner of Vermont and Wilshire in my hometown. I tried to buy a five dollar item with an ATM card today, but the store only took cash or check. That wasn't the strange part. The strange part was that the cashier and the entire line waited patiently while I ran across the store to get money from an ATM machine. When I met my first surly retail clerk later in the afternoon, after five days of friendly greetings at the register, I had to look around to see if I'd been suddenly transported back to L.A. By the way, it's "pop", not soda and 10 miles is "a long ways" to drive. When people sing along with country songs here, they mean what they say. Used record stores are cheaper here and the 22-year-olds working the shelves will actually come up to you and ask you if you need help finding anything. I thought it was a trick, or some marketing campaign, or something.

Spending the day with the in-laws-to-be tomorrow. From what I hear, that means good mashed potatoes and a lot of bad jokes. I'll fill you in.

18 dec 2003 - I can't wait until that peace and serenity and joy to all mankind part of Christmas kicks in. Should be coming along any minute now...

16 dec 2003 - "O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain: O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strenght, and honour, and glory and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the thrrone, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. Amen."

This may sound like the script for just another religious fanatic, but when you sing it in a room with 2100 other people, it starts to sound a little like heaven. (Here are some snapshots from our night at the new Disney Hall.)

12 dec 2003 - There's nothing like a club sandwich at 1 am, especially if there's a pretty girl sitting across the table from you.

In other news, we're coming up on the third Sunday of Advent, which means, for one thing, that I had better get my Christmas buying under way and fast. But it also means that we are halfway through the waiting. It's sometimes known as Gaudete Sunday. Here's something to think about:

"Gaudete, meaning to rejoice, is the old Latin name for this third Sunday of Advent, nestled in the midst of our waiting time of self-examination and anticipation of Christmas. It is a day of unexpected joy. Like the first hint of sunrise, this flicker of rosy light in the middle of winter darkness promises the coming, and coming again, of Jesus, our Day Star. Rejoice!"

4 dec 2003 - I had no idea that the World Hats Mart was just down the street from my new apartment! And to think that it would be right here, in little Pasadena, the official World Hats Mart. What a miracle! And they even have hats for men, women and boy!!

30 nov 2003 - My sister is having a baby. I'm sure you'll hear more about this later although I promise to try to keep the whole "Isn't it great I'm a uncle" noise to a minimum. That kind of stuff is always much more interesting to tell than it is to hear. She is due in February. My mother is quite cheerful these days, what with my upcoming wedding and my sister's pregnancy. This is what mothers live for, I think.

28 nov 2003 - Happy Thanksgiving Turkey Coma Day, everybody.

25 nov 2003 - I've recently moved into a new apartment, out of an apartment in which I had overstayed my time. It was a refreshing, frightening thing to move:when you live in one place for that long you tend to accumulate a good many things you don't need, some things, in fact, that you don't even recognize when it comes time to pack them in boxes. Who knew that I had an old, beat-up set of snow skis? I've never been skiing in my life. They must have sneaked in the door with the Ikea clothes hamper or something. And what about that box of rocks under my bed?

I discovered the best plan of action in cases like this is to head straight for the dumpster. I had great plans for yard sales and ads in paper, but in the end I gave away a few things, donated a few more to charity, and threw out the rest. It got to be a little bit of an addiction after awhile. I'm still throwing things out and I've been moved now for a month. It feels good, what can I say? What I do know is that my friend Natalie came over to see the new place and said it "looked good" which if you know Natalie, the Neatness & Efficiency Freak, is very high praise.

Anyway, I've moved into a studio apartment up two flights of stairs. It's the kind of arrangement that makes you want to think twice before you go on a shopping spree. I've got most of my things put away, given away, or thrown away. I hung some pictures last night. The light in the room is beautiful in the mornings which is important to me. A couple days ago, I spread out a bunch of apples on the worn hardwood floors and took pictures of them just to admire the light and the colors. With all the craziness, it's nice to come home to a place that is simple.

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