Thursday, April 18, 2013

You Can't Get There From Here

Hello again, and thank you for joining me. I come to you tonight from the campus of beautiful Rice University, here in the very heart of the city of Houston, Texas. From where I am standing, I can see the world-famous Houston Medical Center just down the street to my right. I can see the museum district off to my left.

Right there. See it?

Have you heard about Rice? All of us in Houston are so very proud of Rice University, and rightfully so, I think. After all, Rice is ranked consistently among the twenty best colleges in the whole country by U.S. News & World Report. If only I had the time and the words and the slightest inclination, why, I could really brag it up right-like.

Let’s hear it for them Rice Owls!

You’ve got to understand that I have a special place in my heart for Rice, because for the past few years, I’ve been coming here two or sometimes three or even four nights a week to run. You can generally find me in the evenings, jogging the trail along the university’s three-mile perimeter at a speed of roughly nine miles an hour.

This means from now on, whenever you see me, you should immediately think to yourself, “Now THAT’S a body by Rice!”

I wonder if the university would pay me not to say that…

On most nights, I come here and I park my van and I go jogging off through the oak trees, get back into my car and I leave. It’s healthy and it’s fun and – unless there’s a shooting or there’s a mugging or unless an owl flies down and hits me in the face (it’s happened!) – it gives me a little time to myself to think.

But then there are the nights that are different. The nights when I catch a glimpse of something else – just a hint of something fleeting, something dark and sinister and maybe even something other-worldly – right at the edge of my peripheral view. The nights when I know there’s definitely something else going on here, and it ain’t classes.

That’s when our wonderful little Rice University isn’t at all what it seems.

When it happens, it always happens the same way. It happens when, for whatever reason, I don’t make it all the way around the track. When I only make it halfway. When I can go ahead a mile and a half to my car, or I can go back a mile and half to my car.

Because that’s when I remember what Mrs. Kotsinadelis taught me in the fifth grade about straight lines and the shortest distance between any two points.

But Mrs. Kotsinadelis didn’t know shit about Rice University.

There is no way to get to there from here across Rice University campus. I can look at a map. I can follow the moon. I can bring a compass, some rope, a guide dog, and some flares, but I still won’t be finding a short cut across university grounds.

And if I try, well, if I try and I am lucky, I’ll merely end up walking for an hour or an hour and a half and wind up right back where I started. If I’m unlucky, I will eventually wander back onto the track to find that it’s three decades earlier than when I started, or else I’ve stumbled into a parallel universe where Mariah Carey has been elected President of the United States.

What you won’t see on any of the Rice promotional literature is that this campus is a trap, it’s a tangle, it’s a house of leaves. It’s strange loop of a maze that will suck you in and steal your soul.

Not that it’s not a fine university. Top twenty!

But I have seen things during the hours and the days and the months I’ve spent lost and wandering across this campus. Strange things you might not believe. Things you should not believe.

I have seen Jimmy Hoffa, Amelia Earhart, and the twelfth imam asking a minotaur for directions. I’ve seen walls appear from nowhere and solids turn to empty space in the blink of an eye. Straight lines that curve back on themselves and Gordian-knotted sidewalks as far as the eye can see.

So here I am on from the campus of beautiful Rice University, in the very heart of the city of Houston, Texas, and you should all join me in admiring it from afar.

But be warned.

Do not make the mistakes I have made…

And if this should happen to be my final blog post, well, I will let you draw your own conclusions.

I think I can see my van now. Just up ahead. Right where I parked it.

But who is that creepy, bug-eyed chick getting into it, and why does she look so damn familiar? Wait for me!


  1. QUIET! Did you hear that Snap, Crackle, Pop from the Rice University Campus

    “I only do what my Rice Krispies tell me to.”

    Upon some reflection, I began to wonder whether there might be some truth to this statement. Even more importantly, a horrifying question came to mind:

    ”Did the government embed subliminal messages in Rice Krispies to control the public’s mind?” Ridiculous, you respond? Maybe not, Grasshopper....


    1. Rice University is a real - if scary - university!

      If I had been going for a fictional one, I would have chosen Miskatonic.

      Or maybe not, seeing as how Miskatonic is in Massachusetts and I'm not making any Massachusetts references today...

  2. I'm such a sucker. Like when a band says, "hello, [place you live]" for cheap applause, I got excited because I used to work at Rice (not a professor, I was a fundraiser there). I've tripped many a time on one of the roots of the trees lining that dirt track. And you're right, there's no way to cut through that doesn't somehow just make your run defiantly longer. Glad to see you're back...right?

    1. Haha... I'm slowly getting back into the groove of things...

      A couple months back, I slipped on those little acorn things that cover the ground around Rice at a certain time of year. Ate it! Went sliding across the ground and ripped up my elbows and knees.

      I ended up wandering around the campus fort a good hour.


      It's proof I'm not smart enough for Rice.

  3. Welcome back, Katy.

    Running? Gave it up years ago. I walk. I garden. That's me.

    Acorns. Nasty little buggers....


    1. Hi, Will!

      Where is everyone?

      I never see any new blog posts by my old friends.

      Blogging is so 2006.

    2. I'm around. Just busy. It gets like that.

      I'd like to write more - maybe I should just take the time to do that; I've long said it's 'therapy by word'....

    3. My reader crowd has kind of wandered gone as of late, and my writing probably hasn't been up to par.

      But the way to get past that is to get past it, I think. Write myself out of the slump.

      I've gotta...

  4. Are you smoking something when you're running? Sounds like you're smoking.

    1. Haha...I'm breathing heavy because of the running, not because I smoked anything.

      For better or worse, my brain always works like this.

  5. Is it wrong that I imagine you pulling up in of those windowless rape-vans? That's not an insult to you, I should mention. It just sounds funnier that way.

    I'm glad I don't have to drive anywhere to run. However, my neighborhood is so weird. On one side of the street, there's a Wal-mart and a Jack in the Box and a Qdoba. On the other side, there's a 15 mile long wilderness trail with dirt paths and lakes and coyotes and angry wild geese that won't move out of your way. You haven't lived till you've been chased by an angry goose.

    Body by Wild Goose Chase.

    1. I don't have a rape van. It's a plain, run-of-the-mill Free Candy Van, which I've clearly distinguished from a rape van by spray painting "Free Candy" on the side.

      Qdoba was always my favorite character in "Return of the Jedi." The surprise in his eyes when he saw Luke had fallen in with the Rancor Monster was priceless!

  6. I didn't abandon reading your blogs willingly. I didn't have much choice, waking up in a Twilight Zone where I had been captured by Vietnamese nurses and restrained in a bed. They said it was to keep me from pulling out my vocal cords, but I know better.

    Sorry to hear about your fall. I imagine that could be quite painful.

    I've driven by Rice University many times. I always remember it as the college where, in the 60s, it was the campus where students were using plastic wrap as condoms. I may have been young when I heard that on the radio, but my ears were wide open. I considered working there as a janitor so my son could go to Rice but couldn't get that image out of my head.

    1. Plastic wrap.

      You heteros.

      Good to see you around, Cal!

    2. Good to be around. It seems that it was a close one. The doctor had my mom.making funeral arrangements for me before God raised me from the dead again. I have to say, though... it's starting to feel like roulette and each time it feels more like Russian Roulette.

    3. I think we're all playing Russian roulette. We can try and take care of each other and enjoy the time we have.

    4. Those are true words of wisdom, Katy.

    5. I won't start in with the lame "Live each day as though it were your last" quotes.

      That shit discourages people from paying their electric bill, which won't fly in Houston.

    6. Yeah, and if you have a heart condition, lack of an air conditioner in the Summer can kill you. I guess I can live like I were dying since that's basically what I'm doing. I already got all the bull riding and all those other exciting activities out of the way so my version of living like I were dying is to sit back, prop my feet up, and have a root beer while watching cartoons that someone told me to do to relax from a stressful day. ;)

    7. Hey, whatever it takes.

      People can be jerks and life will eventually kill me.

      So if I can figure out a way to make myself smile right now, I'm doing really good...

    8. If I switched over to Google+ comment on my blog, you could have +1'd that comment.

      Maybe someday...

  7. Sorry for the quadruple post yesterday. Blogspot WND my cell phone are like a box of chocolates. I never know what I'm going to get.

    1. ARGH! My autocorrect changes a mistyping of "and" to the dressed initials "WND!"

      I hope you're well and not straying TOO far off of your path to recovery.

    2. That autocorrect function on phones appears to be more trouble than it is worth.

      Not just for you - there is an entire meme on Tumblr featuring autocorrect horror stories and screensaves.

      Is there a way to turn the damn thing OFF?

    3. There is, but it really slows you down, especially if the keyboard is too small for your fingers. If you can get the first few letters typed in correctly, you can tap the right word from the display under the comment box and it will spell it out for you. If you frequently use words over four characters long, it's a time saver.. at least once you get enough of the words it left out into the dictionary. I AM still tempted to turn it off from time to time.

    4. Well, now that I see that it turned "dreaded" into "dressed" I may reconsider that.

    5. I was trying to imagine you dressed up in giant "WND" initials.

      Or maybe in the full words, "World Net Daily."

    6. Did I tell you that I'm banned from commenting on World Net Daily?

      No idea how it happened. I'm the most polite and even timid person they have ever had comment on there, and yet... banned. No explanation.

      It's almost enough to make a gal make up a secret identity...

    7. Well, being kind and timid is a sure sign of beingba commie socialist libtard. What did you expect? You have to walk in there with guns blazing and flag waving to last long making comments there.

    8. I try to find common ground with people. It's the only way I've ever been able to convince anyone of my position.

      "You are an idiot" doesn't seem to be very persuasive, in my experience.

    9. You have to say, "God bless America" and, "Support our troops" before you call someone an idiot. In fact, after making the first two statements, you can call just about anyone just about anything you like. Be sure to have a posse you can round up to make personal attacks on the page of the person with whom you're calling an idiot just in case the person calls you idiot back. That seems to be the official protocol of online Republicans and conservatives in general.

    10. I'm not even sure whether it's just conservatives.

      People who comment on political sites are CRAZY.

      It's not even safe to agree with them, much of the time.

  8. Hit in the face by an owl? Maybe if it was an Owl cheerleader then you would have something. Those pesky time/space rifts can cause you fits. There is one in my kitchen that usually appears on Monday mornings about 6 am. It usually steals my car keys

    1. The owl was crossing my path and misjudged my speed, I think.

      That sounds weirder than it was. As though the follow-up question for me would be, "If you saw the owl coming, why did you trust it to alter its course accordingly?"

      It happened pretty fast.

      No animals were harmed during the typing of this comment.

  9. You must be one of those Garrison Keillor's English Majors. Let me help, on the account of my have been playing sports there for almost 20 years now, k?:

    You just walk into the campus via one of the two dozen wide-open gates. Go straight towards the center of the campus, until you reach the one-way counter-clock-wise loop road. Now you have the chance to decide if you would take one of several buses that this private university offers to its students and guests. But given that you are an English Major, you will of course venture on via your own mastery of this universe.

    Walk towards the center of this loop, where you will upon the central axis of the entire campus, a two-way road in fact, leading you north to Kent at Rice Blvd, and south to Main Street. If you see a piece of the Berlin Wall standing outside the corner of the Baker Institute, then you are at the south side of this central loop. But if you find yourself staring at a bunch of young candidates for lesbianism walking in and out of a gym and pool facility, then you are at the north side of this said loop.

    If you parked in the visitor lots near the football stadium, then you should walk with the traffic at this gym and pool facility, which is due west. But if you parked along the many small side streets along Rice Blvd, such as Hazard, then you should go north along open fields where handsome guys play sports, though you wouldn't be interested in any of them any way. Soon enough you will be reunited with your van, or car, maybe even your motorbike.

    See? That was not so bad, not even for an English Major.

    1. First off... History major.

      Second, I have decided that the confusion is owing to the fact that Rice has FOUR streets running along it but is a FIVE-sided campus.

      Oh, and also that the entire campus lies on a rupture in the space-time continuum.

  10. Dear Katy, You are the love expert and I need to get your thoughts about something.
    Say a person #1 thinks another is just the hottest thing ever and goes on about how good looking they are (but person #2 knows they're only OK+) and about how lucky #1 is for having them etc. is person #2 the luckiest person ever or headed for a hard fall when person #1 gets their eye glass prescription updated or otherwise gets a reality check of some kind?

    1. Well, you're at least right about the love expert thing. Obviously.

      I think love might be sight-impaired, but it's not blind. I've never known anyone after a break-up who was completely shocked by their ex's fatal flaw.

      Never: "He turned out to be dumb as a rock. I never had any clue he was dumb until last week!"

      Never: "I never saw the fourth or fifth eye until it was too late."

      People always see the flaws, I think. If you find someone who is going to try and ignore the flaws, then you're lucky. But don't YOU forget the reality of things, even if they're willing to.

      Also, if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

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    1. I know this is spam, but I always let the entertaining spam through.

      This one got through because of "Within the you decide..."

      That's some Yoda wisdom right there.

  12. oh spam. how adorable. they liked my wise information about my dead cat today and that they would use my information wisely. why thank you for that.

    everyone should fucking well enjoy a dead cat asshole.

    anyway, glad to see a post and hope it's NOT your last. readers ebb ... time of year, etc. but they're always there and i'm not the best at being in touch all the time with all the mayhem in my life, but i think about you a lot.

    i adore you.

    a xo

    1. Thanks, Andrea. I need to figure out a blog reading schedule myself. Every time I stop by your page, I feel like I need to really do some catching up.

      Your videos are the best things ever. The one you did of y'all driving back home at dusk had me rolling...


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