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After 9/11: Christopher Pratt's LiveJournal

The most remarkable thing about the weblog as a form may be its capacity for putting a personal spin on almost any news item. Pried loose from their packaging in the mass media, major events become both more and less important than you might expect.

Christopher Pratt

Issue #62, December 2002

Introduction by Charlie Bertsch

The most remarkable thing about the weblog as a form may be its capacity for putting a personal spin on almost any news item. Pried loose from their packaging in the mass media, major events become both more and less important than you might expect. You sense how the news affects people with no compulsion to perform for the camera. Pleasure and pain are more immediate, less constructed. At the same time, you also come to understand how we go on living in the face of the tragedies and triumphs that interrupt our daily routine.

The entries below are taken from, a not-for-profit site that foregrounds the interactive dimension to weblogs. Participants define communities and respond to each other's posts, often in great detail. Fascinating discussions take place on the "Comments" page attached to each journal entry. We can't show you the comments to Chris Pratt's posts here. But we can provide you with a window onto the experience of finding out that a catastrophe has a deeply personal dimension. Pratt's entries in the wake of 9/11 vacillate between reminiscences of a former lover metamorphosed into a national hero and commentary on everyday pursuits that stands in stark contrast to the solemnity that the mass media maintained for weeks after the terrorist attacks.

The Journal Entries, 9/12/01-9/26/01

Wednesday, September 12th, 2001

7:15a Damn

From the KTVU Web site:

Mother Spoke with Son on SF-Bound Plane

(OAKLAND) — KTVU/Fox 2 interviewed the mother of a victim who was on the hijacked flight bound for San Francisco, who spoke to her son moments before the plane crashed.

The victim's mother, Alice Hoglan, lives in the San Francisco Bay area. She says her son, Mark Bingham, was on United Flight 93, which was flying from Newark to San Francisco.

She says she got a call from her son just before dawn.

He told her he was calling her on the plane's airphone. She told KTVU he said the plane had been taken over. He said there were three men that told them they have a bomb. The line went dead before he could further elaborate.

Hoglan is a flight attendant with United Airlines.

That plane went down in Pennsylvania.

I met Mark in the Spring of 1991. We were both students at UC Berkeley; he was the president of Chi Psi fraternity and a key member of the Cal rugby team. Mark and I had, well, a fairly atypical college romance: I was his first boyfriend, and his first Bear. Mark was always fond of Bears. Although Mark wasn't exactly my type physically (he was tall, athletic, and, much to his annoyance, couldn't grow a beard), he was a hell of a lot of fun to be around — his intelligence and drive were truly rare and a joy to others. Before too long, his frat brothers took to calling me "Hairy Chris", and things were cool. I was lucky enough to meet his Mom early on, who took the news of her son's coming out with grace; she's a wonderful woman.

Mark was her only son.

7:00p Easy come, easy go

My $300 tax 'refund' check was just deposited this afternoon, and the $300 is now on its way to the Red Cross. I can't think of anything better to do with the money.

In the meantime, there is speculation that Mark and other passengers on United Flight 93 were able to do something to prevent the hijackers from crashing the aircraft into an occupied building. Knowing Mark, it's not only possible, but even likely. He was always on the reckless side — never so much as to endanger anyone, but it was always somewhat unsettling to be close to someone who could act so strongly when circumstances demanded. I'm not surprised by what I've heard in the media today, and to be honest, I'm proud of Mark, and proud of Alice for being such a good mother to him.

* * *

Thursday, September 13th, 2001

5:30p The day today

I thought it would be a lovely day to visit the countryside and my favorite winery as well. Looking at Microsoft MapPoint 2002 (thanks Dan), the closest hiking area to Bonny Doon Vineyard is the Fall Creek area of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Again, thanks to Dan, I was able to consult a copy of 101 Great Hikes of the San Francisco Bay Area, and this looked like something I could probably manage: 8.4 miles, 1,500 feet elevation change. About double what I'd done on Tuesday, but what the heck. I suppose you have to challenge yourself, eh? And I really need to be a bit more fit when I touch down in Australia next year — I won't want to finally stand at the trailhead of some exotic path in Tasmania and find myself saying "hoo-er, I sure am fat and tired and I think I'll go back to the campground and have a few meat pies instead".

Anyhow, I reached Cowell park at 10 am sharp, and plunked down my $38 for a yearly state parks entrance pass accompanied by maps of the Fall Creek area. On the way back up to the Fall Creek parking lot, I stopped by the local organic foods market (this is after all just north of Santa Cruz) to buy a ham 'n' Swiss on an organic sprouted wheat roll. I had to stop by the wine section to ogle the new Bonny Doon wines just shipped in recent weeks — the Ca del Solo Big House White, the California Syrah, the Moscato frizzante, etc. — but I was able not to blow too much time there and get on the trail.

Ugh. I don't like going uphill. After the first ass-kicking stretch (only about 400' elevation gain, not really THAT much), I thought that I really should just blow it off and head back to the car. But... you need to have some sort of excuse when you're about to blow $450 on a case of wine, and I decided I didn't deserve pricey wine unless I got my sorry ass all the way up to the Big Ben (virgin redwood) tree, which was still 3 miles and 1200' feet up. And, somehow, I made it, with only a minimum of borderline scary chest pain — I did stop to rest twice (arrivederci panini!), and after the second rest I, after walking onwards, realized that I had stopped only about 50m shy of the Big Ben tree, the goal of my hike. Oh, I thought, well, that isn't exactly a spectacular tree, but at least this means I can start back down the mountain. Heading down a different trail, I passed by an old cooperage and other lime production ruins before making it back to the car at about 2.30 pm. 4 hours, 8 miles, one tired Bear.

Of course, my T-shirt was completely soaked in sweat at this point, but what the fuck — if Bonny Doon can't deal with it, they really don't deserve my $250. Upon arriving at the winery, I stormed in to use the bathroom (or at least the bathroom sink — wanted to get some of the grime off my hands before tasting any wines). For whatever reason, a woman whom I didn't like the looks of had pulled up at the same time as me, so it was clear that the staff thought we were either together or wouldn't mind doing the tasting regimen at the same time — this is always OK by me, but I decided I didn't want to do that, having tasted most (all?) of the wines on offer already.

I was able to hijack one of the employees to assemble me a case, but it started gumming up when they asked if I were a wine club member. I didn't really know what to say — I had been, up until I left Netscape and lost my good shipping address — so I said, well, uh, yeah, kinda... and they actually checked. Lo and behold, their system indicated I had moved to a state that wouldn't allow shipment of wines, so I was able to get back in the club (oooh, one more shipment later this year) and get my precious wine (a Marsanne, a recioto di Barbera, and a bunch of other funky-ass stuff). Hallelujah and amen, they even gave me a 15% discount on the case, which was certainly welcome — the Madiran (er, Heart of Darkness) had gone up in price from $10 to $15 for the 1999, and the new 1999 Cigare Volant had similarly gone form $25 to $30. However, if you've ever been fortunate enough to have either of those wines, you too would gladly pay the extra $5. Trust me on this one.

I'm not sure why, but I thought I would just say 'fuck it' and press on about the wines I'd heard they were making but which I didn't see in the store. Specifically, the new The Heart Has Its Rieslings wine mentioned in the Spring 2001 newsletter. No one had ever heard of it, but a Grand Poo-Bah of sorts overheard me, and she came forward from the offices themselves to joke that it was being labeled now, that it might be ready by November 20, and that they probably still had "3 or 4 bottles left" to sell me. After some cajoling, she agreed to take a layaway order from me for half a case, and call me when it was available for pickup at BDHQ. Yay! Who cares if it isn't the greatest wine in the world — how can you know without having tasted it? — the very obscureness of it will probably make me like it intensely.

I'm now back at home in front of the 'puter (obviously), and pretty tired (oooh, definite good-kind-of-pains in the legs tonight). But I'm also pleased that I'm now slightly less of a pie-eating lardass, and even more happy that I have thirteen bottles of various wines that are not only obscure as hell but possibly also very good. Seumas, when next you make it by these parts, one of the Cigares has your name on it. (Or if white wine suits you better, it's a bottle of the Critique of Pure Riesling then. Your call!)

* * *

Friday, September 14th, 2001

7:45a Hello. We are lame.

Amusingly enough, Bay Area radio was interviewing a "Middle Eastern" business owner by the name of Hoogasian or Oksayan (or something else typically Armenian) who had experienced a few threatening phone calls — and not even the reporter (apparently) understood that Armenians are not Muslims. Shame, because it would have been a good example of why harassing fellow citizens who appear to be from the Middle East should be condemned — those ass-clowns can't even get their religions right. Next thing you know they'll be telling Egyptian Copts to convert to Christianity. (Duh.)

* * *

Saturday, September 15th, 2001

4:30p Wotta coinkydink

I've spent the day not mowing the lawn (sorry, Dan) and instead gathering up mementos of Mark. Not exactly the most pleasant thing I've done this year, but it made me feel good — the few letters, postcards, etc. I have still make me smile.

Voyeurism Picture!

Of course, what I was mainly looking for was the picture taken of us at Folsom Street Fair in (I think it must have been) 1991. After looking basically everywhere in the house, garage, and basement, it turned out to be on the shelf immediately to the left of my PC monitor. Ooops. And, to top it off, Steve Kastner's business card (Parts Manager, Kastner Pontiac Olds GMC Honda) was the only thing on top of the picture itself. Talk about a coincidence.

Steve was a good friend I lost last year; he asphyxiated and/or drowned at Soda Springs up in Napa. He was 31, as was Mark; I had spent part of the weekend before his death at his cabin at Fife's during Lazy Bear Weekend.

The oddest thing is that I always thought I would lose friends to AIDS (which hasn't happened yet), but I never thought I would lose friends to dangerous carbon dioxide levels or in a terrorist hijacking of a passenger airline.

I'd better go mow the lawn before we head out for dinner.

* * *

Monday, September 17th, 2001

3:00p September 16, 2001

... was officially proclaimed Mark Bingham Day in San Francisco. Mark's mother Alice read the proclamation from Hizzoner Willie Brown himself at last night's gathering; it was a good start to the event. I got a chance to speak with Alice, although I did forget to thank her again for being such a wonderful Mom when Mark came out to here way back in the Spring of 1991. By the time I remember I'd forgotten to do so, she and the rest of the family were already en route to Pennsylvania on a United flight out of SFO.

Needless to say, the evening was simultaneously hugely enjoyable and personally very difficult. I was floored that so many people I knew from the years I'd spent with Mark were not only present, but that they were delighted to see me again. "Hairy Chris!" you'd keep hearing people yell from across the room who wanted to introduce me to their fiancés or who just wanted to be safe in knowing that all of Mark's friends were there.

It was understandably a pretty motley crew of characters: high school friends, Lodgers, a few Bears, some colleagues, etc.

One thing I always loved about Mark was his insisting on not ruling out any one social group in favor of another; he was perfectly at ease spending time at the rodeo with friends from the Rawhide, or hanging out with bruins at the Lone Star, or playing rugby with fellow ruggers, or spending time with his friends' children — they were all his friends, and I have to say I had never expected the feeling of camaraderie that stretched from one group to another. Sammy, Tony, Dylan, Dave, Staiman, all the Lodgers I knew from the early 90s — they were universally welcoming and happy to see me. Well, maybe not John Boyle, but he was probably too trashed to figure out who I was. Heck, even guys I didn't know that well (1F? Am I spelling that right?) came up out of nowhere and gave me bearhugs — amazing.

I was especially happy to see Paul — he seemed to be holding up under the strain as well as might be expected. Woofy as always, he took his turn at the mic and reminded us all over again in five minutes what a wonderful man Mark was.

Mali, Amanda, Damon, Cameron, Todd... all of Mark's friends from Los Gatos and beyond were there, and just as great as I remembered them. I never knew Damon could speak so well in public — guess everyone's grown in unexpected and unexpectedly good ways over the past ten years.

Mark's gone and there's no changing that, and I'm only just now realizing it. Dave, I think it was, said he still had the feeling that Mark might walk into the room at any second, and I have that feeling too; I'm starting to think I'll never be free of that feeling — and that's okay, because it's a basically hopeful feeling, a hope that things will eventually be set right.

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful evening, but again special thanks to Alice for raising such a wonderful son.

* * *

Thursday, September 20th, 2001

9:00p It had to happen...

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have now seen my first advertisement for Osama bin Laden toilet paper. As a few of you have have noted, I was reminiscing about the days of Ayatollah Khomeini toilet paper and "Hey, Iran!!" bumper stickers that feature Mickey Mouse flipping the bird... and lo and behold, they're baaaaaaack.

It's like 1979, only with fewer mullets!

Friday, September 21st, 2001

10:00a *pout*

Closer to Heaven is going dark before I'll get back to London, unfortunately. Then again, perhaps it's better that I didn't get to see it — the contents looked pretty cringe-inducing. What can I say? I liked Pet Shop Boys better when they weren't quite so gay. For better or worse, I find songs like Young Offender a lot better than, say, Metamorphosis. The slide from the subtle to the not-even-remotely-subtle just doesn't do it for me, and that could certainly be said about other things as well.

Specifically, I can remember a time (back when the Bear Store was above a firehouse and not around the corner from the Lone Star) when the public markers of Bear identity were few and far between: the hat, the T-shirt, the bumper sticker. If you had the hat and T-shirt — I did (I wore the T-shirt to work a lot, and Mark usually had the hat at that time), you almost never got a reaction out of anyone, but when you did, it was exciting because it was such an obscure thing. For my tastes, at least, earlier PSB was more interesting because everything was subtext, and if you picked up on it, it made it more immediate, more personal. Now it's just all out there in the open so that everyone 'gets it'; it feels cheapened.

Now, of course, you can buy practically anything and everything that's purportedly Bearish — next thing you know, there'll even be a special Bear china pattern available at that one place you always see at factory outlet shopping centers (the name escapes me — is it Mikasa?). I also remember a time when identifying yourself as a Bear would generally shock and upset most gay men (at least in the San Francisco Bay Area) — they seemed horrified by the idea that you'd want to fuck someone who was bearded, furry, possibly even a little soft around the middle. Now, it's a well established marketing phenomenon / target demographic, so it's just... ordinary. Nothing special about it, anyone can buy one of the 100 available T-shirts or 20 available hats, and play at being a bear for the weekend.

Voyeurism Picture!

Gone are the times when folks might have read Song of Myself and identified with uncle Walt's "bristling beard", or else they read Adam Mars-Jones' wonderful story, Bears in Mourning, and thought about Bears an a different light. Now, the talk is almost always only of sex and no longer of friendship or brotherhood, but I suppose that's okay too; I shouldn't be surprised that with a wider audience comes a broader topic.

The social mah jongg evenings upstairs at the Lone Star are no longer, and the space has been replaced by a Kwik-E-Mart of bear stuff. Still beats no Bears at all though! :)

7:30p Music

I have just finished up a multi-day buying binge from — it's been ages since I bought any CDs, and what the fuck, I guess it's about time.

  • Fantômas - Director's Cut
  • Preston School Of Industry - All This Sounds Gas
  • Preston School Of Industry - Whale Bones (EP) + tracks
  • Pet Shop Boys - Please, Actually, Introspective, Very, Bilingual CD reissues with bonus tracks, aaaack
  • Ovuca - Wasted Sunday
  • Cabaret Voltaire - Conform To Deform (3 CD Box Set)
  • Orchestra Terrestrial / Richard H. Kirk - Here And Elsewhere (Limited Edition)
  • Orchestra Terrestrial / Richard H. Kirk - Aural Illusions (12 inch vinyl)
  • Beck - Loser (12 inch vinyl)
  • Bjork - Hidden Place (DVD single)
  • Cabaret Voltaire - Remixed
  • Cabaret Voltaire - The Original Sound Of Sheffield - Best Of The Virgin And EMI Years
  • AFX - 2 Remixes By AFX (EP) 2 tracks
  • Aphex Twin - drukqs
  • Squarepusher - Go Plastic
  • Grateful Dead - Grayfolded
  • Max Tundra - QY20 Songs (ep)

And then, from WarpMart, a two-track sampler from the new Aphex Twin album. And then, some more PSOI stuff from the band's Web site. And then, thanks to Mathan, some PSB stuff I hadn't heard before. Bad bear, no biscuit. I shouldn't be throwing money around like this, but what the fuck. Besides, I hear the new Fantômas is really, really good.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2001

8:15a Lone Star report

  • The Fixodent is, alas, gone from the urinal. Now, there are only hockey pucks, er, urinal cakes, which have lost their smell.
  • The Pilsner Urquell tasted strange - kind of sugary. Not pleasant. My recommendation: just go straight for the Guinness. You can't go wrong there.
  • Someone has tacked up last week's BAR (the local gay rag) along with another, smaller picture of Mark. They're under the huge American flag on the wall next to the pool table.
  • There was a bachelor party earlier on the evening, which resulted in a fair number of guys having tiny lavender glitter sticking to their faces. Now, I have no idea why gay men would have a bachelor party. I mean, what's a bachelor party without strippers? And have you ever heard of Bear strippers? I didn't see any strippers.
  • I'm also confused by the whole notion of gay marriage. Maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I thought being gay was all about dicklicking in public restrooms. You know, like at the Greyhound station. (And you can watch TV for 25 cents afterwards, but I digress.) Why would two self-respecting homos want to have a big ceremony? Maybe they're just too cheap to buy their own stemware at Crate and Barrel?
  • Once again, the bartenders all know my name at this point, and it's always kind of surprising. Of course, they've been serving me for basically all of my adult life, so I suppose it had to happen eventually.
  • There was lots of pot smoking. This always amuses me, because where else but The City is it more or less okay to do massive bong hits in a public bar? Even funnier, this meant that we were able to use words like "the chronic", "kind buds", and "the mad skillz". (For the record, I don't smoke.)
  • Why, oh why, do so many people drink vodka and cranberry? Mixed drinks are bad enough, but why go for something that basically tastes like Robitussin spiked with rubbing alcohol?
  • Topics of conversation included but were not limited to: reminiscing about Mark, Central Valley vato slang (?orale!), Beck!, things strangers do that are annoying, whether or not person X is cruising person Y, and when exactly the Lone Star opened up in its present location. (We couldn't figure that one out. If anyone has any idea...)
  • The place is as good as it ever was. Good lighting, great selection of draught beers, good friends. All in all just about the only bar I know where I actually feel like it's like an extension of my own living room, albeit with signs warning you that the police are issuing tickets for public urination. So: Why aren't there other places like it? You'd think there would be a friendly Bear bar somewhere else, but every place I can think of is dark, noisy, more leathery than Bearish, has expensive domestic beer in cans instead of good quality brew from the tap, etc. Or is there someplace I haven't been to yet?

6:00p Today's eulogy

If you're interested in reading Senator McCain's eulogy for Mark, it's now been posted to his Web site.

* * *

Sunday, September 23rd, 2001

9:30p Waffle

The other day it occurred to me that I have never successfully baked a waffle.

Sure, I've tried different batters prepared in different manners — from Costa Rican overstocks of ?Cruzstez Ol?! scammed from Canned Foods Grocery Outlet, to those Bisquick gizmos that look like yellow talcum powder packages, to "Waffles from Alice Walker's Fanny"... I've even tried my grandmother's recipe, which was so incredibly old-fashioned you actually had to wait overnight before you could use the batter. No matter how fresh the eggs, how pure the spring water, how winter the wheat, I have repeatedly failed, suffering through scorch marks, soggy middles, holes in the grid. Presumably, I'm more of a pancake person.

Even so, I have accumulated a wide and historically important selection of waffle grilling devices of varying shapes, sizes, hygiene levels, voltages, and quality. There's a wide range of special commemorative waffle irons, several of crumbling Bakelite with fiendish plugs designed for the now obscure Albanian double grounded outlets once common in Macedonia. (That particular model happens to bake asyphilitictly syphlitic Enver Hoxha into your waffle; it's one of my least favorite, largely because the butter tends to pool in his eyes too easily.) There's the special Kraftwerk model, which seems like every other model, at least to the untrained eye, but upon closer inspection, it appears that the scores in the waffle have actually been molded from Ralf's hand-cast magnesium alloy touring chain itself. The licensing fees are said to have cost even more than the Expo 2000 jingle did, but I have no proof of these outlandish allegations.

Rather predictably, there is also a tiresome Alessi condition of wafflers inspired by famous artists. I've followed the recipe for the Dali iron, substituting surimi for lobster, but somehow the Mae West Lips waffle wasn't particularly appealing. (I'm not a fan of tongue burritos either.) The Rothko waffle wouldn't hold the syrup — it just ran directly off the square and onto plate. The rest of the collection were fairly humdrum as well — the Hirst waffle iron will remain in its package until I need to embalm something, I don't want to cut myself on the Francis Bacon model. Strangely, however, I do suspect that the Mondrian is actually an ordinary Toastmaster model shipped rotated forty-five degrees to the right.

In recent years, I've hooked up with some of the mostly Los Angeles-based Bear crowd, many of whom seem to have great fondness for anime, computer animation, graphic design, and Hello Kitty. I've dedicated a special cabinet to their finds, ranging from the mochi pounder — I doubt it makes waffles, but it is an appliance, and the mochi pounding stick itself worth of appreciation — to the usual glut of Hello Kitty and Badtz Maru wafflers, pink and black respectively. I have not used these yet, but when I do, I believe the batter will require a splash of orange flower water to more accurately sync with Kitty-san's oh-so-kawaii face.

However, the only iron I do use on a regular basis is a nondescript, somewhat upscale model whose flash chrome and tasteful matte black plastic can only suggest a purchase at Williams-Sonoma, or perhaps Lecter's. It has several switches, some small red and green blinky lights, a hinge, and a swooped curve in back from which batter can never be extricated. Perhaps the designers were hoping for an eventual display of the iron alongside the ovoid Sony TV of the 1960s one sees in ramshackle mmuseumsesign musuems in cities better known for their bowling alleys; perhaps they were subtly suggesting that a perfect device would be an insult of the eyes of God, modifying the iron in the manner of mediaeval sculptors who intentionally made mistakes in their iconstases so that it would be impossible to keep it clean, pure. Perhaps they were simply incompetent. In any case, it's the best of the lot, and I'm proud to be its owner. I'm still going to make pancakes instead, though.

10:00p I can't believe this

There is actually an ad for a "bi-curious circle jerk" in the back of the BAR.


* * *

Monday, September 24th, 2001

5:00p Leeks... and beer?

The checker at the store was a little bit surprised — I think I may have won an award for the most ridiculous combination of any two items at the supermarket today. Now eating: nasi goreng (hence the leeks) with extra sambal oelek (hence the beer).

* * *

Wednesday, September 26th, 2001


11 miles is a long way to walk, especially if you're looking at 1500' elevation gain. Even so, I managed to do it, even as the first rains of the season broke across the South Bay. I traversed the whole of the Almaden Quicksilver County Park, and found that it isn't particularly interesting. Tailings? Yawn. It's supposed to be tons better in Spring when at least there are wildflowers; I mostly saw pampas grass here and there fucking up the chi of the native landscape.

I'm down to 238#. This is from 280 shortly after returning from New Zealand last year — those (#@* Kiwis and their cut-rate gourmet restaurants really did a number on me. What's it like? Well, I don't have many clothes that fit. I feel stronger. I look... different. Best of all, I'm not having the problem with my fingers falling asleep while I'm asleep, which was painful.

Day after tomorrow the Marmot and I are heading down 101 and then "across the Grapevine to LA" as Pavement once sang. Gonna spend the weekend relaxing, hopefully swimming, enjoying the company of good friends and maybe even some bean dip or something similarly exotic. Maybe there'll be a walk in the mountains, maybe there'll be a trip to IKEA, but mostly I just wanna see my friends and hang. (Dude. Did that sound too Californian?)

Oh, and Dan's birthday is next Tuesday. I can't decide between the novelty fish tie or the World's Greatest Marmot Snoopy desktop award.

6:00p I'm watching.

There's this most amazing noise going on our back yard right now. From where I'm sitting, I can't see much of the yard — just a few plants, part of the deck, the clotheslines, the garage — but there's something out there making noises I haven't heard before. It's kind of a squiffly little pockety noise. I'm watching the sliver of yard I can see but there isn't anything entering the frame just yet; meanwhile, whatever's going out there is getting to be a tad squirtier as the evening wears on.

One of the problems with growing a beard is the reduced efficacy of the infamous "beating off" noise most people know how to make by grabbing part of their cheek and slapping it back and forth. You know, that babbity babbity noise that either offends the other kids on the playground or gets those same kids laughing at the reunion twenty years later. I like my beard very much, but I'm telling you: the wobblepuckery noise just ain't the same as it used to be. When I try to do it now, it mostly sounds like the "beating off" noise you may have heard from an overly drunk college roommate who's just snuck in after failing to Get Some, and who's under the very mistaken impression that you're fast asleep. You know, that sad little whackspankery that you just know isn't going to end in the usual shy grasp for the dirty socks, but which will wind up in turning over against the cold dorm concrete wall and wondering why s/he just didn't want to be with you tonight.

You know, it's probably the pond water pumping over at a different level after the rains. Never mind.

Christopher Pratt just spent the better part of a year touring Australia. He lives in San Jose, California. You can e-mail him at or, better yet, check out his always-entertaining on-line journal at

Copyright © 2002 by Christopher Pratt. All rights reserved.