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08/01 Direct Link
The image is a scribbly drawing of a monkey wearing glasses. The monkey is standing on the seat of a chair, looking inquisitively at the viewer over the back of the chair while holding a mug of coffee. The monkey's right hand reaches up to scratch his head in confusion, the scratching indicated by the words "SKRITCH SKRITCH."

The pose indicates the monkey has been disturbed by the viewer while he was sitting at a desk. A computer monitor on the desk shows the home page of 100words.com, where the monkey was presumably procrastinating before writing his daily entry.

08/02 Direct Link
I don't know where this box of sandalwood incense came from, but it has been with me for many years.

In the box is a glazed ceramic tile with a flower design on it. There is a hole in the middle of the tile, so you can put the stick of incense in there while it burns. For some reason I am very impressed with the tile.

I never use it, though, because I don't know what occasion or mood calls for lighting it. I may be too practical for incense, I don't know. I really like the tile, though.

08/03 Direct Link
The object in question is a plush toy giraffe, four inches high. This giraffe was purchased as a gift for a friend's baby. When shaken, the giraffe makes a rattling sound. The expression on the giraffe's face is one of contentment and equanimity that I hoped would inspire the same emotional state in Baby.

I never sent the giraffe, though, because I was paralyzed with fear that, bent on self-destruction (as I imagine all babies are), the child would find some way to choke on or swallow this new friend, so it sits, quiet and content, on my shelf.

08/04 Direct Link
Running is miserable.

Yes, it's one foot in front of the other, but the main experience of running is that there is a voice in your head, the voice (according to a Radiolab episode) that is very conservative about trying to make you conserve energy, that non-stop says, "You need to stop, you are too tired," and you need to constantly fight and ignore this and keep pushing yourself to move forward even though nobody is chasing you.

If you're me, you feel gangly and clumsy and you worry that the sight of your flailing body makes other uncomfortable.

08/05 Direct Link
On a whim I decided to run a 5K in a few months, so I am training.

I can't describe a whim, because they are formed before you become conscious of them. There were probably a whole string of events that led up to that whim. Impressions, memories, conversations, posters, and more have been hard at work ticking away, throwing different things against the wall of your subconscious mind and seeing what sticks, and then it appears in your conscious mind and it seems that it has come out of nowhere. Whims and 100words entries come from the same place.

08/06 Direct Link
If someone wanted to describe the effect of alcohol to a person who had never tried it, I think he could do worse than to start with biology -- it interferes with the communication between neurons and slows down the nervous system in areas such as speech, motor skills and attention span.

There is a reason "feeling no pain" is a way people like to describe the effect of drinking, too, because there is an emotional component as well. Drinking "drowns" sorrow up to a point, but beyond that enhances it, which makes drinking a losing proposition in the long run.

08/07 Direct Link
I am familiar with a feeling that is difficult to describe.

It is a feeling of restlessness and frenzied dissatisfaction. It is a feeling that, like hunger or thirst, seems meant to motivate a person to fill a need, but unlike hunger or thirst, it is not clear what will satisfy the feeling, which is deeply unpleasant in nature. Attempts to fill or satisfy this feeling are made earnestly and sincerely, even though with time it has become clear that nothing seems to work. The only impossible thing, though, is to stop trying, so insistent and urgent is this feeling.

08/08 Direct Link
This is human skin. This specimen happens to occur around the RGB value 255,224,189, but that is neither here nor there.

A pattern of irregular interlocking polygons is visible upon close inspection, along with hairs of varying fineness, pores, glands for sweat and pheromones, etc...

It is soft and fragile to cutting and bruising, thus providing an inappropriate level of protection to the important human organs and fluids contained within it. Turtles and porcupines have the right idea, it seems. The "human condition" is in part characterized by a reaction to the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of this material.

08/09 Direct Link
I am six feet tall and around 165 pounds. My eyes are grayish blue. I have worn glasses since fifth grade. I have brown hair that gets curlier as it gets longer. I have tight hamstrings, such that I can touch my kneecaps instead of my toes, and what effect that has on my gait I can not say. More often than not I am wearing a blue shirt.

It is not for me to say what effect my entering a room has, but my guess is that it is minimal. I stare at my shoes upon entering a room.

08/10 Direct Link
I'm not sure about my neck. I've chosen to worry about it.

If the neck and spine were nice and straight, like a nice cylinder, it would be easy to tell, but I run my hand along it, feeling vertebrae and there's a fleshy thing, and what's that ropy thing, and The Mysteries Of The Human Body stubbornly refuse to reveal themselves to this coarse and clumsy examination.

I try to be conscious of holding my head up straight as if there is a string pulling it upwards, but is it really straight? It does not feel straight at all.

08/11 Direct Link
I sometimes wonder how people who are really outgoing and extroverted deal (if they feel that they have to deal with it at all) with the sound of a crowd of people talking.

It is a deafening roar, but this roar is made by individual people speaking at normal volume. The roar is made up of individual words, all of which mean something, and they are tossed out in the hope that they will mean something to those who hear them.

Having a conversation with this background noise feels like trying to catch certain individual rain droplets in a storm.
08/12 Direct Link
Sodium vapor lamps are cheap and energy efficient, which is why you find them in places like parking lots.

The dim light they give off washes the color out of everything, so you can just make out basic shapes in black and a nauseous shade of orange.

A night illuminated by sodium lamps loses its terror, but the terror is replaced by a bad feeling the world and everything in it is just really depressingly flat and ugly.

Tip: If you are feeling bad about life, make sure you aren't just standing in a sodium-lit parking lot or street.

08/13 Direct Link
They Live is not a good movie. Like most John Carpenter movies, I found the premise and the possibilities the premise represents much more promising and enjoyable than the execution of the movie itself.

I've seen the aliens from this movie everywhere lately. Instead of skin, they have a sort of blue netting covering red fleshy musculature. They lack lips, so both top and bottom rows of teeth are exposed. The nose is absent. Finally, their eyeballs are around three times larger than human eyes, silver in color, and where a human has pupils, they have an asterisk-shaped aperture.

08/14 Direct Link
I wanted to simplify my life, so I threw away all of my old and tattered socks, and I bought two bags of new socks.

The new socks are medium black crew socks, and are not dress socks, but I wear them as dress socks, sport socks, night-on-the town socks, and so on.

Unfortunately, the socks shed small black pellets that my vacuum does not recognize as vacummable. I estimate the socks have shed more in pellets by weight than they weighed overall when I bought them, making my new socks a life-complicating wonder of the world.

08/15 Direct Link
I witnessed some extraordinary body language today.

Imagine an attractive, well-dressed woman conversing with a man in a suit.

Her right leg was crossed in front of her left, so that only the tip of her right shoe's toe balanced on the ground.

Her left arm dangled on a filing cabinet, as if to block the man's path. Her right arm (and here is the really extraordinary part) held a cup of coffee, but with her arm fully extended, only it wasn't stiff or awkward -- she held it out in a way that I can only describe as "poised."

08/16 Direct Link
One of the worst things about the kind of insomnia that I have is that you awaken after having been asleep for a few hours, and then you're painfully stuck in that half-awake state in which you're unable to think logically.

So you're lying there, barely conscious, and you decide that carbonated beverages are responsible for your sad condition, and of course that makes perfect sense in the state you're in, and you spend the next two hours plotting revenge against carbon dioxide, which of course is a real thing that sane people can do in the real world.

08/17 Direct Link
This is fun because for a time my whole life and attention is circumscribed into this little box (3.5" x 2") and the little number beneath it, and I watch as words go into and sometimes out of it, and I sometimes smile while this happens, but mostly it just goes on without any particular feeling or thought process on my part. The mindlessness is what I really like. The feeling of being removed from not just reality, but from existence in a way, or rather by having my existence simplified drastically and put into small-word-box form.

08/18 Direct Link
I remove the ice cube from the glass, trying not to splash bourbon everywhere, and chew it up noisily, juggling it quickly between different mouth areas to avoid the pain of ice lingering on sensitive teeth.

If someone were in the room with me, that person would turn and give me a dirty look because of the noise, at which point I would explain that I didn't want my drink to get watered down any more, and, depending on who the person was, I would maybe get a lecture about not putting ice in my drinks in the first place.

08/19 Direct Link
I have a self-assembled chair in my apartment. The design is cool and the price was reasonable.

The chair comes with a similarly cool but problematic footrest.

It is somehow a magnet to people who come to visit. Everyone wants to sit on the footrest, the main body of which is just heavy cardboard that cannot support the weight of an adult human (feet are OK), so I find myself going "Aaaaaaah!" more often than I would like, hoping the volume and intensity of this sound will interrupt someone in mid-sit long enough for me to explain this.

08/20 Direct Link
In a previous job, I had a co-worker who, roughly six times a year, would ask me if I wanted a cup of coffee.

The first few times, out of a) a spirit of good fellowship, and b) an ever-present need for caffeine in my bloodstream to function, I agreed.

He would then pull out a small, dusty coffee maker from behind a bookshelf and prepare the vilest cup of coffee I have experienced. He seemed not to notice how much burnt, melted plastic was in the coffee, which I found surprising since it was the dominant flavor.

08/21 Direct Link
My frequent verbal usage of "the worst" to describe things or people comes, I think, from frequent viewings of Seinfeld reruns.

When it comes to picking up language from The Media, I am very anti (that usage of 'anti' as a standalone adjective {which for some reason I find very compelling} comes probably from Jen Kirkman's frequent appearances on the Pod F. Tompkast {my "desert island" podcast} because it feels very Inauthentic (semi-humorously capitalizing words to emphasize the fact that you are referring to them in the most conceptual or Platonic way is very hot right now) to me.

08/22 Direct Link
I found myself searching for flights from JFK to Sydney. I hadn't planned on doing this, I just noticed the information up on my screen when I started paying attention to what I was typing. A round-trip flight in October would cost around $1,200. I want to go!

One odd thing I've noticed is that I really enjoy thinking about taking trips, but once I've actually purchased a ticket, I realize that I have to deal with plans and timetables and I become quite unhappy. I think having the option to travel is maybe more fun than travelling itself.

08/23 Direct Link
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, after I've had dinner and relaxed a bit, I head to the gym, usually around seven. The sun is still up on my way there, and it's still up when I'm finished and heading home, although lately it's getting much darker.

The late summer sky seems to have been painted by a watercolor artist who is getting more confident in her abilities, and she is starting to experiment with new techniques and more daring color combinations, no longer using the paint directly out of the tube, but mixing them together skillfully to invent her own colors.

08/24 Direct Link
For the first time in months I felt a cool draft from my open window just now, and my mind immediately made the association of feeling cold with putting on the black fleece-ish sweater that is supposedly made out of recycled plastic bottles.

It is extremely soft, and running your hand along the arm, feeling the fluffy, uneven texture, your fingertips picking up the size and shape of each individual nubbin of fleece-ish material, all while sending the message to your brain that this is almost as nice as petting a cat, is part of the fun of this sweater.

08/25 Direct Link
I know someone who has a Bernese Mountain Dog, and first let me tell you that this animal has the personality of a sweetheart and a cutie combined.

Second, let me tell you that the dog is black, with caramel and cream markings on his face and chest. He has communicative brown eyes that reassure you that although he is capable of effortlessly biting through your entire torso as a form of roughhousing, he really just wants to love and be loved, and possibly, if you have time, pull you and twenty of your friends around in a little cart.

08/26 Direct Link
I have here a jar of "artisan sauerkraut," purchased by my father and passed on to me, heirloom style, when he decided that I should rightfully have it.

The contents of the jar are cabbage and salt, and it does not take an artisan to combine these ingredients.

The main feature of this sauerkraut that marks it as "artisan" is the price, which is three times that of normal sauerkraut. The secondary feature is that they spent some money on a cool, grungy-looking font for the front of the jar. This font is too grungy for your mainstream supermarket.

08/27 Direct Link
The lamp is suspended from the ceiling by a brass chain. The shade is frosted glass, and there's a brass ring going around the edge of the shade.

The switch that activates the lamp is nearby, but I never touch it.

In an appropriately furnished apartment, the lamp would illuminate a table where people would gather to eat or drink or play cards, but in this apartment there is no table because I generally eat while standing over the sink, so the unused lamp that illuminates the bare floor is simply a reminder that I am in the wrong place.

08/28 Direct Link
My brother gave me a squash. Neither of us knows the variety of the squash. He says it is from his friend's garden.

The squash is bright yellow with beautiful green stripes running along its length, broad at the ends and narrowing in the middle. It seems a pity to cut the squash, so I plan to leave it on my counter for some time as a summer decoration before eating it.

The skin is tough and bumpy, which tells me the squash will last for some time. I can make summer stay with us for a little bit longer.

08/29 Direct Link
The first thing you notice is how small she is. Her existence in this world seems precarious, as if a breeze could blow her away. You worry about this.

The second thing you notice, related to the first, is how large her glasses look on her. It is as if they don't make adult-sized glasses that won't look comically large on a woman of her size.

The third thing you notice, once you are close enough, is her presence, which is formidable. You find yourself standing up straighter, wiping that smile off your face, and calling her "Your Honor..."

08/30 Direct Link
Someone nearby has leftover fireworks, and is shooting them off tonight.

For the record, here is what I would like:

1) A balcony facing the fireworks
2) Everyone I care about on the balcony
3) A tray of carefully prepared and delicious snack foods, made by me and several people from item 2
4) Another tray, probably of champagne glasses filled with cheap champagne or equivalent knockoff
5) Everyone is happy and enjoying the snacks and champagne-slash-champagne-ish-beverage, and watching the fireworks

What I have is that I am hearing the noise alone, but that's OK, too.
08/31 Direct Link
I wanted to practice describing things this month. Lately in my reading I have come across some well-written descriptions, and I wanted to try.

An ideal description is objective. It is different from an opinion. By that standard, I did not do a good job at all, because more often than not I got distracted and became very subjective about the thing I was describing. Also, sometimes I got very liberal about the definition of 'description.'

That's OK, though. Some of these were fun to write, and that is the real, overriding standard to which I am holding myself.