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Saturday, February 27, 2010


love, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.
Suzie is pregnant as can be. I am amazed she doesn't squirt puppies out with every step. She has been extra needy, underfoot a lot, and prone to lick your face without warning. Debbie makes no attempt to moderate Soozer's behavior... she just sits there and takes it.

Email to reserve yours today!

Hopefully Soozers was a little picky, and Daddy was a handsome dog.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blood Drive

Blood Drive, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

     I gave blood for the first time in high school as a sophomore in ’84. Needles held no fear for me, the ex Allergy Shot Poster Child, and the novelty of being excused from school to be bussed to the rec department is one of my last memories before being asked to sever my relationship with the Houston County Board of Education. Since then, I have given blood many times. Things are a little different now, They no longer use the blue juice to see if your blood sinks, checking for enough iron. Nowadays they use a device that looks more like a blood sugar monitor. Another thing that is different is the prevalence of  invisible death, 2 diseases  that will kill you, and that you can only catch by exchanging essences with another human. There is also some brain eating disease connected somehow to spending more than three months in England, and/or  having used a certain pituitary growth hormone. It doesn’t seem to make sense to me. The Red Cross site gives some fascinating historical information and some interesting statistics:

  • 1pint of blood can save three lives
  • Every two seconds, someone needs a transfusion
  • In the United States, five million people a year need blood.
  • Less than 38 percent of the population can give blood.
  • Some blood components have a shelf life of only 5 days

     This poses some interesting logistics issues, further complicated by the fact that not all blood is the same, you can’t just suck out some blood from donor 1 and shoot it into recipient 2. This can kill people. The Red Cross has got a big job, and I’m sure I don’t know the half of it, but I wonder about the boundaries, if they are a reflection of politics and marketing as much as genuine safety. If you’ve had a recent tattoo, ever shot dope without paying a doctor to a assist or ever been intimate with someone else’s penis, while possessing one of your own, they would like you to remain a part of the 62% of the population that is ineligible. This is statistics at work. Each donor’s blood is tested for infectious diseases at one of the Red Cross’s five national laboratories. and I would like to think that they are effective. Could we not increase the amount of available blood while decreasing the amount of labor and resources need to obtain it by relaxing these guidelines a little?
     Being in the system, I have received 2 phone calls and 2 glossy, very nicely appointed mailers letting me know about this last Tuesday’s blood drive.  That stuff is expensive. I wonder if the eligible population was larger, could the Red Cross spend less on marketing, and shift some of those resources to something else? Perhaps establishing caches of disaster supplies near heliports, would be a good idea, as Arod in San Francisco suggested in a recent post. A more efficient disaster response could conceivably reduce violent crime in disaster areas, which would possibly have a slight mitigating impact on blood requirements. I don’t really know the answers to any of these questions, but from a stewardship perspective are we minimalizing our blood supply out of fear for public opinion on Red Cross safety measures or are the disease scanning protocols not as effective as one would hope, and do the risk categories provide a little statistical cushion needed to keep transfusion recipients from dropping like flies from AIDS and Hep C?
     Has fear been a factor in setting these guidelines? I wonder.

I haven't got all day, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Photographic filler


 I'm going through the archives...
     It's good to see a little light at the end of the tunnel. I haven't been able to write or photograph with anything approaching a level of healthy discipline, but the quarter is almost over. I did get a few unusual shots, by happenstance yesterday, and I really want to scroll the nasty story down the page a little. I noticed someone from Middle Ga.  viewed it 15 times yesterday, and nobody does that. It felt a little stalky.
     So here goes with a little photographic filler: 

     This was shot at the same firestation I took Colin too a few months ago, I'd never seen a fire truck stretched out, so to speak...

     This guy is a friend of mine from school, and this was shot very casually, but I think it's a striking photo, I was pleased.

Chris Cook, still oozing

The History club also had a guy drop by in an old top hat and give a presentation on Sidney Lanier, a poet and musician from Macon

Sidney Lanier


My First Fiction. This One is Pretty Dirty.

     I kinda had to write it that way. It's offensive.
     Twice I have posted schoolwork here on the ol' blog. The comparison of Dunbar's Mask with President Carter's World was for English 102. I was actually impressed with both poems. It seems at some point, I have lost some of my hatred of poetry.The Homosexuality Post, I originally wrote for English 101. It is by far the most viewed post on my blog. There is no close second. This will be my third posted assignment. I believe it is  the first fiction I have written. Both my previous papers were A's but this last one has the highest numeric grade I have ever gotten, which is amazing. In the days following Aunt Judy's death, I was immobilized, unable to accomplish much, so this was written in the space a couple hours under an enormous feeling of pressure, without my usual visit to an English tutor to proofread my grammar, which is a little bad, since I am a high school dropout. The rush also forced me to finish before I could smooth some of the rough edges of the plot. I printed this thing less than 15 minutes before it was due. It takes 7 minutes to drive to this class.
     Robert Browning has a poem called Porphria's Lover about a man that strangles his lover with her hair so (I speculate) that her love, for him which he is insecure about, will be frozen into eternity. Yep. Pretty sick stuff . The murder of his woman is a theme Browning uses in more than one poem,..hmmm. I wonder If he resented the fact that his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning ("How do I love thee..."), was more highly regarded.
     My last writing assignment was to tell this story from Porphyria's perspective, which posed some interesting problems for me. 
  1. Browning has his victims cheeks blush after death. How do I do that?
  2. Much of the poem takes place after the murder. How does Porphryia witness it?
  3. What kind of backstory is needed to account for the shocking sequence of events?
     Porphyria's lover can be read here, It's not very long. I am mildly amazed that this is literature, but then I look at the Bible and there is some pretty disturbing stuff in there, too. My paper is a little more graphic then the Bible. I would never write any feminine first person story (remember, I don't think I've ever written a "story" ) unprompted, so this stretched me and possibly the writing sux.  Browning's poem is hellaciously shocking. 

     My own story is probably more shocking, and  a LOT sicker. Not everyone should read it. I am slightly dismayed it sprang from my head.

     Didja get that?  In my story the motive for Porphyria's murder is her promiscuity, a dysfunction resulting from being sexually abused by her father. The story also contains sex and violence. Together...  in an unusually nasty way (at least I think it's unusual. We don't do any of this stuff over here...). So consider yourself warned. Fairly.

Chris Rauch
ENG 202
12 August 2009

As Long as I Can Remember

I. Up the Hill
I run full tilt up the path in the rain, my boots throwing up handfuls of water. Each step displaces sheets of glass and flings them upward where they unweave into tiny diamonds, glittering in the light of the moon. They seem to float, keeping pace with me as my lungs suck fire from the frigid evening air. Slowly, they drift to the rear as I overtake the jewels my hurried progress has cast before me. I curse the weather, the transportation, and the opium. I curse my brokenness, and my inability to forget the man I was with before I married his best friend. I curse my inability to stay away from him. I‘ve acted like a stupid slut all my life, I think. 
“And what does that make you?” the voice in my head asks….

II. Aside

 I’ve had a little voice inside me for as long as I can remember. The voice doesn’t like me much. I can’t remember the voice ever liking me, but I noticed after getting married the voice sounded just like my husband, Jim. 
And my husband Bill.
As a matter of fact, The Voice sounds like whichever husband I’m on at the time. Whichever husband I’m married to, I mean. I’ve been married to 5, but I’ve been on considerably more than that (Hopefully, I’ve never been on yours, but it wouldn’t surprise me). I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.
Of all my husbands Ted  was different. The Voice never sounded like Ted. For seven years of heaven, The Voice did not sound like the man I was married too. For seven years, The Voice sounded like my father, not my husband, not the man I was trying to love. I really liked that, and I knew I wanted to keep this one.
I leave husbands. It’s what I do. I leave mine, I leave yours. I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. I go away. I go home to my father’s, and I never come back. I came back to Ted, though… Again, and again. What can I say? He was just different. Finally, Ted left me. Brokenhearted. Older. Wiser. Out of patience, tears, time, and money, the one husband I couldn’t bring myself to stay away from became the One That Got Away.
Now, two husbands later, I lope around the bend, and see Ted’s cottage bathed in swirling luminescence. I am amazed at the clarity of my night vision. Tonight, I resolve to tell him that I have married again. Some strange alchemy occurs as the wisps of opium float over the sea of adrenaline that surges through my veins, spiking at the thought he will be able to resist me, this time…that I am simply too broken to make this happen, that he will send me away.

III. Around the Bend
My heart beats an impossibly sluggish  metronome that sets the slow-motion pace of my pumping arms and legs. Even the law of gravity kneels to this magic, and I see suspended droplets (rain? splash?) in exquisite detail. Each is a tiny little world, a mirrored sphere reflecting the night sky, where  the Moon is alternately shrouded and revealed by wind whipped clouds with burgeoning  rapidity, punctuated by flashes of lightning. My thoughts gather speed  to match the wind I hear in the treetops, The husbandvoice is silent as we both observe the unlit windows. The Chimney mouth is mute, empty of smoke. Noiselessly, I push open the door, and see him, the love of my life, sitting in the cold anguished dark of a single candle. My eyes take in the room - the dying embers of the fire, the extinguished lamp. I am hours late. 
Has he been brooding all this time?

IV. In the Cottage
I move to the hearth. As I pass by Ted, my fingertips brush the meerschaum on the table at his side and note its lack of heat. He probably has not smoked since the fire went out.  I grab a few pieces of kindling and begin rebuilding the fire. As I work, I hear the occasional, sizzle as stray drips fall from my hands onto the coals. I know I cause his silence and dejection. Tonight, I am the source of his pain, not the pipe at his side. Tonight is my last chance, I think as I rebuild the fire, and warmth and light trickle into the room. Tonight is my last chance, and I will throw it away, like I always have. The Fathervoice mumbles a few choice comments.
My task completed, I stand and strip off my sodden outer garments, conscious of the heat radiating from the fireplace, my cheeks…and my sex. It’s unnerving, this lack of speech. I am terrified it is over.  I sit next to him. My voice breaks in synchronicity with my with my heart as I say his name and he doesn’t answer. Galvanized, I murmur love and endearment, as I unlace, rearrange, adjust. I half rise, swinging around to face him. Some trick of the flickering light keeps his eyes in shadow, denying me their message. My tears begin. I smile and I draw his arms around me, his face down to the juncture of my neck and shoulder. I murmur love and apologies through my tears, pleading, repeating old, worn promises . I grow desperate, hungering for a response, waiting, and wanting so badly.

V. Love and Death
It seems hours before he begans to move around me. I feel the arm I placed around my waist come to life, hardening and tightening,  pulling my skirt up on my thighs as the fingers of his other hand tangle in my hair, pulling me back as I sink to my knees in front of him.  He eases forward, expressionless.  He joins me on the floor in front of his chair,  pulling my head back cruelly, and burying his lips against my throat as his free hand continue the work of opening my bodice,  burrowing past layers, roaming over nipples harder than gravel.
My breath catches, quickens. He begins  sliding warm, callused fingers along one inner thigh to my center, pulling whimpers and sobs from within me.
“You don’t love me.” I felt his lips move against my throat.
“Oh, baby, I do!” I moan, soaring through the skies as I kneel on the floor, the pain in my scalp intensifying with my desire. He twists my hair into a cable, his fingers dance upward between my labia with virtuosity, playing a sonata on my clitoris. I surge upward toward my crest, and feel the cable of my hair pulled around my throat working between his lips and my skin as orgasms flood my senses…once, twice, and a third time. With each strangling jerk of my hair twining around my neck, I come again, dimly aware I can no longer get air, that my love withholds breath and life as I struggle weakly, his fingers slowing, and his flat cold eyes boring into mine.  
“You don’t love me.” Now he sounds like Daddy! 
As the world grows dark, and I slip from it, I feel Ted’s fingers twitch one last time, And I think he even touches me like Daddy!  and with this the veil is torn from memory, the images flooding back into my awareness.  I hear Daddy murmur love and apologies through my tears and pleading,  as he repeats old, worn promises.
I hear my heart stop beating, and I see nothing.

VI. Epilogue

I observe from by the window, as Ted’s screaming shatters the night, drowning out the last remnants of the storm. I look down at myself and nothing is there.
I know what I have become. 
I feel tired despair, and the weight of life wasted as I find myself once again in the room listening to the labored breathing of my lover. I cry out. There is no sound. I cry louder, nothing. I watch in horror as Ted draws his knife and lay s the edge against his throat. I shout with everything I have, and he seems to react. I pour myself out, I tell him I love him, I forgive him, I understand. With each utterance, his eyes seem to open wider, the windows of his soul torn open as he searches for the source of haunting.  Finally I can see the man I know  and realize the madness has left him, though he believes himself still in its grip. The blade glitters one last time as he slices himself from ear to ear, and the blood fountains out in powerful spurts. Dropping the knife, Ted bends over, bathing my corpse in blood, loosening the hair from my neck. He lifts me in his arms, and takes his seat, his lips smearing blood and tears on my cheeks, a strange sigh coming from the sliced trachea.
Ted arranges my corpse in his lap, his heart slowing, his blood no longer pumping with the original force, but welling down his chest in a rhythmic ebb and flow. He places my head on his shoulder, and I watch the flow of blood trickle away to nothing as the light in his eyes goes out.
I sit (stand? float?) with our corpses. I see that I left my wedding ring on. Oops.
Ted never comes. His soul has gone elsewhere. People come. They close our eyes, They clean up our mess. Time passes. I find I cannot leave. No matter how many walls I walk through, I’m still in this room, waiting for Ted.  I’ve been here for as long as I can remember.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

A joke...

Bewilderment, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

   My blog addiction is screaming for release, and I've just reread Faith and Doubt by John Ortberg.  All of his stuff that I have come across is wonderfully thought provoking, and blogworthy, but I am behind schedule on soo many levels, so I will leave you with what Ortberg calls a "Cartesian Joke" :
Descartes walks into a bar. The Bartender asks "A shot of whiskey?" Descartes replies "I think not..." and poof, he disappears.
     So there. I think this is pretty funny, and I gotta go.

     The picture of Lil' Lily tickles me because in the Big one, you can see Debbie reflected in her eyeballs.
     Uh-huh. Dats what I'm talkin' 'bout...and BTW, I got puppies coming. Go ahead and email your intentions...- we can arrange a meeting in a few weeks so you can pick your's up.
     Please. 8D

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Etremely Rare

Etremely Rare, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.
     We get a few snowflakes every winter here, in Middle Georgia. The appearance of a little snow is a happy little occasion. Accumulation is kinda remarkable. This morning, there was frozen white stuff on top of the asphalt. We don't get that much. I just saw a clump of snow slip off my roof and fall to the freakin' ground past my window, like something from a movie.
     I bet Blood Mountain is incredible.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My House of Prayer

Weekend trip, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

     41 degrees and falling...Snow hopefully on the way. To see snow would make me wonderfully heartsick for the mountains. I keep several weather forecasts in my bookmarks, and its gonna get down to 23 degrees on the Coosa tonight, with a 70% chance of snow tomorrow and Saturday. I miss Appalachian solitude. I miss the feeling of loneliness and quiet that somehow sharpens the ears of my spirit, leaving me more receptive to the voice of love. To go a day or two without speaking, focusing on the simple actions of one foot in front of the other. To find my water, to gather my wood. Sometimes it seems I know a little more when I return. Money was terrible this last Christmas break, and these last two quarters, I have missed my trip to the mountains. I realize now, that I should probably prioritize this a little more highly. I have been telling myself that my fixation is foolish, a by product of entitlement and idolatry, that to escape to a place of loneliness and silence was a cop out.
     But perhaps not.
     Maybe that is just what works for me.
     I gotta say, sitting on a mountaintop in the cold windy dark, is (sometimes...) like that brief period of quiet static as the television moves from show to commercial... suddenly, you realize that someone is speaking clearly in the other room, but you have been unable to hear it until now.
     Much has happened in the last couple of years. I lost a Father and a marriage. I have looked upon some remarkably painful shit. My dog died (you would have to have a good dog to understand) . I have managed to survive school poverty, and make good grades. An infection nearly killed me. Aunt Judy died. Wonder of wonders I have not had a cigarette in 13 days. (I want one now, and have become as big as a house.) I have become painfully aware being hundreds of miles from my sister, and the shrinking number of people in this hemisphere with my blood flowing through their veins. I have also noticed my life is nothing like I wished for, and I would be embarassed to die, for my story to end here. I need to get busy. I need to figure a few things out.
     And I dream. Some of the things I see cannot be my idea, and some of them can't be anything else.

     I would like some time where I can bring these matters before God, in the silence of the days, as my boots pick their way between rocks and roots seeking a resting place for the evening. There, I will sling my hammock in the lee of a boulder, and build my fire. I shall make a little coffee and cook a hot meal. In the stillness between gusts through the passes, with my fire crackling in the sudden silence...Maybe I will hear the voice in the other room. I am so thirsty.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

December 14, 1942 - February 6, 2110 7:20 am

Day 7, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

     My Aunt Judy had a few challenges, in this world. She suffered from one of the childhood diseases, one that vaccines allow us to disregard. I cannot even recall its name or symptoms, but an extremely high fever left her brain damaged. Aunt Judy was one of those rare individuals who was profoundly aware of her retardation. She understood she lacked something she was born with, and she missed it all her life. She hungered for romance, a home of her own, the right to choose her own destiny, and the ability to think more deeply. She was intellectually gifted before this was visited upon her. She was like Moses, dying within sight of a land flowing with milk and honey, forbidden entry by her creator. Aunt Judy once said "God shit on me when I was a baby....and he has been doing it ever since." Judy's faith was unfrilled, like a primer gray body wrapped around 500 cubic inches. It didn't have a great paint job, but it would get there faster than my car. 
   After my parents divorced,  Grandma and Judy came to Georgia from Ohio. I guess it was to help take care of me and my sister. At that time Judy was in her thirties, with beautiful brown hair. She was hopelessly in love with Robert Urich. Me and Dad would call him "Robert Urine" and she would defend him, correcting us perpetually, always having the last word. Judy had blue eyes like my Father. I wish many things were different when it comes to Aunt Judy, There is a little guilt at how I treated her, and a little anger at how the world treated her. I am glad she is free, and I was there when she left. Everyone else has managed to slip away before I could get there.

Friday, February 5, 2010

10 Things to Think About Before Pulling the Plug

The view from the from the 4th floor, originally uploaded by use2blost.

According to the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics, the precise definition of euthanasia is "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering".*
     This has become more than  intellectual. The DNR protocols here at the Houston County Medical Center have three levels of `Letting Someone Die"  The questions I am asking are:
  1. Is letting someone die all that different from euthanasia?
  2. Are one or both of these Okay?  
  3. Is this analogous to other moral issues? (for instance, murder is bad, letting a murder occur when you have the power to prevent it is bad as well...They are on the same side of the Good /Evil line. Is euthanasia/DNR like that...both on one side of the morality coin, U.S. law nonwithstanding?)
  4. Where are you with all of this Christopher? Whats your opinion, and why?
  5. Does scripture speak to this?...More importantly, does God speak to this? (remember...God and scripture are not synonymous. Can you say idolatry?)
  6. Is there a  protestant interpretation?
  7. Does it differ from the Catholic?
  8. Do you give a shit about 6 and 7?
  9. What does it mean that you are to determine these things for a retarded person? What defines your responsibility in this situation?  
  10. Is this a good reason to have a cigarette ?
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