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The Lasagna Burglar

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I failed to mention the break-in of my apartment a week or so ago. It was probably the oddest crime I’ve seen before, as the only things taken were boxed, frozen lasagnas and pizzas in my freezer. While taking nearly $80 worth of food, The Lasagna Burglar completely overlooked the stereo on the floor, and also decided to leave behind my frozen salmon and Reese’s ice cream. So if anyone spots a starving Italian who abhors music and hangs around college campuses, please let me know.

The Lasagna Burglar

The reason I recall this story is because when I returned from my week in Alaska, I came to my door and found a note that said my locks had been changed. After the break-in, the police came and the locks were changed back then, so this is the second time in a week. This meant that the key to my home did not work. Also, it was Memorial Day, which meant the offices were closed, and I had to sit outside my own house for nearly 2 hours waiting for someone to break me in. Obviously, the burglar had an easier time getting in my home than me. The exhaustion brought on by all the flying had me seriously considering a brief career change (<—).

Coincidentally, I discovered the magic way to make these apartment maintenance crews move. In the third call to them, I simply made my voice sound upset, at which point they began recording the line (you know they are doing it when you hear a low beep every five seconds). I then said, in an exhausted tone, that if I am not in my home in ten minutes, I am calling the campus police to break me into the apartment for which I pay rent every month, at the manager’s expense. The crew was there in five minutes to let me in.

This is the sort of thing that happens to us writers and ends up somewhere in a book. Strangely enough, my book is filled with burglars, though I hadn’t previously run into one before — so I suppose I could just think of this as gaining experience in the field.

But somewhere out there, this fellow is still loose, munching away on my food. Beware, all frozen dinner enthusiasts. No freezer is safe whilst The Lasagna Burglar runs free.

10 Things I Learned At Home

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  1. If you get a tattoo in college, you’re out of the inheritance.
  2. A five year old can make a song out of anything (aka: beans and stinky rice! beans and spice! stinky kinky winky dinky you’re weird stinky! )
  3. Don’t take too much colloidal silver.
  4. Good pencils are hard to find.
  5. Dad can’t give permission for food or computer time.
  6. The piano is an instrument of angels and an instrument of torture simultaneously.
  7. Same goes for the violin.
  8. Winter gardens don’t work.
  9. If you want peace and quiet within the next two hours, don’t mention any of the following around my sister: Scarlet O’hara, Gone With The Wind, cats, or the Nancy Drew movie.
  10. Beans and rice are a complete protein.

Online masters programs can make your work from home a lot better.

First Post of 2008

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And thus they drive away and usher in my new life.

It all feels quite strange, though the strangest feeling of all is one I did not expect. My mind, for some reason, still thinks that a week from now, they will be coming back to pick me up: but in reality, I could be spending the next few years of my life here. It makes it hard to unpack when your mind tells you it’s a waste of time because you’ll just have to pack it all up again.

I’ve got most of the most important stuff out and ready, though the other shipmates who live in the apartment are nowhere to be found. pirate shipLuckily, I have my own room and the internet is lightening fast: however, it is quite disconcerting to see evidence of someone living here and yet no one is around (especially when that evidence is a stack of steak knives on the counter).

Things are much quieter, and though I thought before it would be easier to hear myself when things were quiet, the silence seems to press upon me louder than any sounds from where I used to live. I have a certain feeling that the experience of the first week here will leave a lasting impression upon not only me but upon my writing, possibly because when I write, I seem to project wherever I am in life onto my characters. Since writing the second book will be spent in this place, I sincerely believe that my new life will affect it in ways only real life experience can, and perhaps bring out something I hadn’t imagined before.

All the silent noise also makes it quite hard to climb into bed, knowing when I wake up there will be no one around to wish me a good morning. However, things seem to be lightening for me already. First things first, I got my stereo out and hooked two of the speakers up so I could drown out the irritating silence. Flipping through the stations I found something I liked, only to discover it was Delilah. Certainly not something I wanted to hear when I was down enough as it was. So I flipped to the country station and caught the rough vocals of Johnny Cash, singing:

My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn’t leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don’t blame him cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me “Sue.”

Well, he must o’ thought that is quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a’ lots of folk,
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I’d get red
And some guy’d laugh and I’d bust his head,
I tell ya, life ain’t easy for a boy named “Sue.”

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I’d roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I’d search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name.

hillbillyWell, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town and my throat was dry,
I thought I’d stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon on a street of mud,
There at a table sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me “Sue.”

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother’d had,
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old,
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
And I said: “My name is ‘Sue!’ How do you do!
Now your gonna die!!”

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
And he went down, but to my surprise,
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
Kicking and a’ gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell ya, I’ve fought tougher men
But I really can’t remember when,
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,
He stood there lookin’ at me and I saw him smile.

And he said: “Son, this world is rough
And if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn’t be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you’d have to get tough or die
And it’s the name that helped to make you strong.”

He said: “Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn’t blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I’m the
cough-cough that named you “Sue.'”

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
But if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but Sue!

Far away from home, but at least I’m still in Texas. All is well.

End of the Year 2007

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Tis the end of 2007, a time which brings about so many new things and ends so many old ones.

It is the last week of the year, and also my last week of living at home. Friday is move-in date at the new apartment, so everything is to be packed and in the truck Thursday evening. We shall drive for five hours to the destination, unload and look around a bit: and then my family will climb back into the trusty white Suburban and drive back home without me.

I’m leaving a huge shelf of nearly a hundred CD’s behind- most of them albums from when I was 13 or 14 that I still have from my old show. I’m leaving that and my old stereo from when I was 13, along with gobs of junk; but I’m taking my big writing desk with me, even if I have to stuff it into my new room. That desk has been with me through three houses, my first novel, my old stories and two radio shows. It stays with me now into whatever is meant to come my way in the year 2008.

This next year is predicted to be one of the biggest of my life so far, since it almost seems that all I have done over the past few years has lined me up for 2008- everything is ready to burst now, and the preparations are all ready to launch. It feels very strange to write those words and realize that by December 31 of 2008 I will come back to this page and perhaps nod wistfully, and remember so many things I did not know today would happen in the next year. It is also interesting to look back on December of 2006, and realize how many enormous things I had absolutely no clue would happen in 2007 awaited. From my blog back then:

Everybody says 16 is the best but it wasn’t for me- I had chicken pox on my birthday, and it went downhill from there. 17 though was the best year so far, up next to 15, which was also one of my favorite times… so any brainless scarecrow can see some sort of a pattern to this. Every other year is good, every year in between isn’t as good. 15, 17 good…14, 16, 18 not as good. Whether it’s linked to the year, or to my age, I don’t know yet. This gives me an amazing amount of hope as the Good Year is coming up when I turn 19. So who knows what’s gonna happen?

Luckily, big things happened for me at 18 which partially disprove my theory: and now I am 19 and back on track. I have a whirlwind week ahead of me, and my next post will probably be the first one of 2008 and the first one in my new apartment. So many new things all at once. And luckily, it is to be a Good Year.

And thus we pass from 2007 into the great and unknown 2008.