Short one today – like all Monday holidays, it’s a working day. The maw must be fed; coal must be shoveled. It began as a clement day, with genial temps and mild sun; the cicadas still droned, the sound of lawn mowers blended with the growl of the airplanes into one long metal yawn.  The water from the OIWF bubbled –

Oh, I forgot. OIWF update! They sent another bill, and this one was for the full cost. Again. I’d emailed back a fairly detailed account of my dissatisfaction, complete with pictures – I’d have sent an audio file of the noise it makes when it drains if I wanted to be cruel, but that sound haunts my dreams and I don’t wish it on them. Yet. They countered with a lower offer, and I told them what I’d pay them. Take it and go away, and I won’t call the BBB on you or put together a gigantic website about the project and help everyone googlebomb your company’s name so my account comes up when someone searches for info on your firm. Then, nothing. Then, a bill for the full amount. The next day, a call from a young lady inquiring when I would pay the full amount. She was very sweet. She’d been working for the company for only a week. I described the story so far, and did so without rancor; it’s not her fault, after all. She was horrified and apologetic, which I told her she needn’t be. She  said  she would pass it along. Since then, nothing.

And to think last year at this time they were just getting started. And by “getting started” I mean they’d taken out a length of fence, strung an ugly orange net, dug a hole in the yard and put a Bobcat back there for a week.


Suddenly the year doesn’t seem to have gone by so quickly.

I’m sitting outside in the gazebo now. There’s a filament from a spider that runs between two chairs, and I’m wondering how he did that; it’s not as if we have Leaping Spiders in these parts. He could have throw himself into the wind and waited until he smashed into something, then figured out what to do next, just like many of us in our twenties. Or perhaps the wind took him while he was working on something else, and instinct bade that he shoot a bungie cord out of web-gland . . .whoa: the light just caught the rest of his work. He laid another line down the chair to which he had flown, and drew a gossamer crossbeam. It’s all invisible unless the breeze lofts it into the sunlight. A hack writer could get nine more paragraphs out of this; the obvious metaphors are legion. Or I could conclude that it’s just typical nature: making it up as it goes along.

Yes, I am obviously part of nature.

Now I’m checking to see if there’s an actual spider attached to this project, or whether the web is the spider version of a novel abandoned after the second chapter. This will be the Hoover Dam of spiderwebs, if he finishes it, and I wonder how big he is. I don't mind bugs as long as they respect the laws: Be Small, and No Gross Parts. By that I mean: limit your limbs to six or less. One hundred skithery fluttery legs: sorry, you get the foot. As I’ve said before: it’s a good thing we don’t have insects the size of Labrador retrievers. Daily life would be different if you had to take a bat to get the paper every morning, just in case a beetle the size of a wheelbarrow scuttled up the porch, chewing on a rabbit.

I just saw another filament. As the sun moves it highlights the entire construction, and now I see that the web stretches across the chair, top to bottom. It’s not particularly detailed, and has substantial gaps – in insect terms, it's like’s draping a live wire across Nebraska in the hopes someone steps on it. But it’s fascinating to watch the filaments move in and out of the light like some sort of cosmic string that exists in several dimensions, appearing in ours only to vanish and appear in another. I can see it; I know it’s there, but I can’t see where it begins or ends.

Three paragraphs down! Six to go! I’d better take down the web now before I embarrass myself any more. Damn spider! How I hate it!

Here's something I found the other day: a picture from an upcoming bad movie about a secret agent kid called Stormchaser or Stormwhupper or something. It features Mickey Rourke, who I am sad to note has remade his face to conform with a "V for Vengeance" mask:

A goverment should fear its citizens, but its citizens should not fear its plastic surgeons. Wash your eyes out with this: the cast of the cgi Final Fantasy movie performing the dance sequence from "Thriller."

See you tomorrow. If you missed it yesterday, here's that Fair 2006 portfolio. Oh, and summer's not done.

Update: of course, it is.

Additional update: walked through the web tonight without even thinking about it.






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c. j lileks. email may be sent to first name at last name dot com.