Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: WEEK #38
Dear Mom,
Please don’t be confused by my “To Do” list. I was only writing it in the style of a football play. That is all.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: I WANT ONE
Dear KBezzie,
You’re right. Recliners are no fun if you don’t have kids to kick out of them.

I should test drive some. I do remember Bub and his test driving in high school. The Escort would never be parked in the same place we parked it in the morning.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear NikBudnik,
I saw the picture of the recliner you left on my MySpace page. You are a genius! I could take that recliner out into the woods with me, or atop a mountain.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Oh, we know all about you and your recliners. And, isn’t the proper name for your recliner (or any seating arrangement you use) “The Pre-Sleep Unit?”

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Birdie,
I’d lay down on the floor—but that’s where the spiders live.

I think you have an extra ‘i’ in your “convenient.”

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KathyB,
I will heed your warning. Although, I think I’d like to dip out of life for awhile right now.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Want One

recliner

If you didn't know, I don't own a piece of furniture that costs over $100. And the piece that did cost me that much is the world's crappiest futon, upon which I sleep. My computer desk is a portable picnic bench I picked up at a Sports Authority on sale for $15. My stool was $5. I have 3 sets of cubes all which cost me $15 a piece. My printer is on an upside down Rubbermaid tub--I'm gonna consider that piece free because the tub was bought originally to haul my belongings.

Desk
(By the way, my computer is facing the window now. And, imagine a screen and keyboard sitting where the laptop is now.)

Now, I'm not complaining. It was 100% by choice that I didn't invest in any real furniture. If I remember correctly, I ate my first Thanksgiving meal here atop a Rubbermaid tub and sat on the carpeted "dining room" floor. How cool is that? Seriously. How many jerks go around saying they're not materialistic, yet can't live without common material comforts? My story should inspire the masses to get rid of their earthly goods.

Until now. Because, people, you can't live without a decent chair forever. Last week, or the week before--I can't remember--my stress decided to camp out in my back. Oh, the pain. And, I'm pretty sure my lack of a real chair didn't help the situation. That is why I want a REAL chair. Something I can sit on and be comfortable. Something I can rest my weary body upon and read or watch my stories.

A recliner is the epitome of comfort. Check it: first it's just a normal chair. Pull the lever and VOILA! you've got yourself an ottoman. Lean back, and you're a step away from the comfort of a hammock (which will probably be featured on my wish list in the future).

In my next location, my cheapness and lack of funds will probably result in a chair less than a recliner, but a girl can dream.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Week #38

week38

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: WEEK #37
Dear Mom,
You can read what you want in the doodles. I’ll never tell what they mean.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Birdie,
You’re darn tootin’ I like the word "Yeti." You are going to have to tell me the story of why the ex-boyfriend is called “Yeti.” Unless, of course, it ruins the word for me.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Tracie,
Thank YOU for allowing me to share my book with you. Save your nails for later. You’ll have plenty of time to bite them in the future.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KBezzie,
You got the hang of saying “Yeti.”

And, you know what Newark is all about. Be there or be the sister who doesn’t pick me up at the airport.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: MY NATURE ESSAY
Dear Mom,
I do believe I have found that valve you speak of.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

PS. I like your onomatopoeia.

Dear KBezzie,
Hasn’t the dark blue background been gone for awhile? Anyway…

I think maybe this week I started to let go and go with the flow. It’s good to know I’m not the only person who has felt like this.

And, one day we’ll all have to meet up in Alaska and rock it.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: METABLOGGIN’
Dear KBezzie,
It’ll drop feeds? That’s no good. I do have them all bookmarked, too.

Heck yes I doubled my subscribers!

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Friday, September 21, 2007

Metabloggin'

bloglines

Yesterday, or maybe it was the day before, I finally signed up at Bloglines.com. I've known about it for some time, because I believe my dear sister, KBezzie, uses it. Really, it's fantastic. You subscribe to blog feeds through it. Then, when you log in, it shows you the blogs with new posts.

Imagine all the time I'm going to save: instead of clicking through 32 different blogs several times a day hoping that someone has updated, I can just log into Bloglines several times and feel disappointment all in one blow that a lot of people haven't updated since noon.

And now I shall profess my love of blogs: I love blogs. Back in the day when every time you said "blog" you had to explain, "It's a combination of web log. Weblog. We-Blog. Blog," blogs were mostly used as online journals and diaries. I had a college friend who would write your full name in her blog if she was on good terms with you. But, as soon as she became pissed off at you (and usually for unknown reasons), you were no more than just your first initial. Like we didn't know who she was talking about. Real smooth. But, bloggin' has come a long way. It's not just for angsty high school and college students whinin' about friend drama. That's why I read so many. Quite a few are interesting and informative. So now I'm happy my love has one more accessory: Bloglines.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Nature Essay

Mid Point

Sometimes in creative writing classes, you’re tasked to write like a specific author or poet. Or, some punk Great-American-Novelist-Wannabe comes to the writing workshop with a piece styled after a particular story and on the top of the copies of their story there’s a little note: “**I’m trying to write in the style of Hemingway especially in his story “Hills Like White Elephants.” I’m most interested to know if I accomplished this and if the dialogue conveys the tragic situation without being overly emotional itself.**” I didn’t just put that in italics and sandwich it between asterisks so that you’d understand that it was a note on the story. No, this workshop member will actually do that—so you don’t confuse their note with the story, duh. And of course, other workshop people won’t have read “Hills Like White Elephants” and instead of pretending that they have (like I always did) or just not caring, they’ll have to ask about it. Then the Great-American-Novelist-Wannabe will flaunt their literary wisdom and all their previous study of the art of fiction. (They’re challenging themselves with unusual assignments. Who are you? You just wrote something—anything—and brought it in.)

This happens. And, realizing that I just may be one of those people, I’ve given myself an assignment. Inspired by the book I just finished by writers around my age, A Leaky Tent Is a Piece of Paradise, I give to you an essay about my place in the natural world.

Self Portrait at AF

Just recently, well a week or two ago, in midst of trying to finish grad school and figure out what I’m going to do next, I started to freak out. The last couple of months all I’ve been able to think about is where I want to work. “Where” as in physical location and “where” as in for whom. And it did me in one evening.

There are a few ways I deal with stress and it all depends on what’s causing the stress and what the weather is like. Eating, both binging and fasting, is one way. The healthiest way I’ve ever dealt with it is by putting on my tennis shoes and taking a super-brisk 2-3 mile walk (this is where the weather comes in because if it’s cold or raining (or dark) I’m not going to choose this option). The final way I deal with stress is by curling up into the tightest ball possible on my bed. This once resulted in sore neck muscles for an entire weekend. I chose to deal with the stress this last way that evening.

I wound myself around a pillow and stared at the wall, not knowing what to think, but thinking about my current situation—an approaching move out date, with no place to move, and my job that won’t pay the bills even if I worked full time. Then, it struck me suddenly, like most ideas do: a new way to deal with the ball of stress. I decided I was going to take a Mental Health Day. I would take a day the following week (because I’m a planner) and drive out to Amicalola Falls and climb the 600 stairs up to the top of the falls. It was the first thing that came to mind on how to attempt to heal the frustration of graduation and all the things I have to do.

Healing this frustration isn’t the same as the bad day at work that requires a stop at the ice cream shop for a milkshake on the way home. No, I was looking for something fun to do—something that’s fun for me. I was surprised that in my ball of stress, Amicalola Falls was the first thing that came to mind, because I hadn’t realized that hiking had really become a favored activity. Sure, I list it as one of my hobbies alongside reading, writing, and driving, but never in my life before moving to Atlanta had I ever thought to go hiking for fun.

In Alaska, if I wanted to have fun I did other things. There were the drives around town on the weekends with my younger brother and sister and the camera and we would stop at interesting sites, strike a pose, and take pictures. I did this with my mom once—up to Hatchers Pass, the location of a historic mine and many hiking trails, but we didn’t go hiking. My mom, sisters, and I would drive into the “big city” of Anchorage and have a Girls’ Day Out of shopping and going out to lunch.

I never sought out nature back home. Sure, my family camped around the state in an old Thunderbird trailer, but I didn’t think about nature and the environment then. Sometimes the siblings and I would wander around Frog Pond and the Matanuska River behind our old elementary school. That was out of boredom. Never stress. My final summer, my good friend Michelle and I hiked Bodenburg Butte weekly. We called it the Butte of Confidence—we both preferred to ignore the ‘e’ on the end of the geographic feature. We both wanted to get exercise that would lead to having nice buttes of our own and the confidence it would give us. On those half-hour hikes up the butte, I didn’t want to get dirty or have any bugs attack me. No matter what the temperature was, I always wore my Columbia Sportwear windbreaker completely zipped up. Even though 70F isn’t hot compared to southern standards, with my windbreaker, I was sweating like a man in a fuzzy tree. At the picnics my college friends would have at the Chatanika River every spring before heading home for the summer, I whined about having to pee in the woods and was ever so grateful that Michelle at least had some hand sanitizer (and I didn’t care that it had glitter in it).

When you’re surrounded by nature and right in the middle of the wilderness, I guess you don’t have to seek it out. On a couple of my evening spring walks at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the resident fox crossed the street in front me. Once in the winter, on the same campus, I walked right past the resident moose with her calf. My friend Terry and I walked on the ski trails on the West Ridge area of campus one day and saw a fox and a porcupine only minutes apart. Terry curiously approached the porcupine and I followed while cautioning her to stay away because I had not a clue what it was until we got close enough to distinguish quills.

But, life in Atlanta isn’t that wild. Nature isn’t within walking distance of my apartment. The very first time I was beaming from having a fantastic time since I completed my two week road trip from Alaska to Atlanta was the first time I climbed Stone Mountain several months after I arrived here. My friends and I had packed sandwich supplies and stuck around for the Lasershow Spectacular. Now, a Southern-themed lasershow is worthy of anyone’s time and highly entertaining, but it was the mountain that got me. I bought an annual pass and the rest of the summer I climbed it once a week—like the Bodenburg Butte. During the two-week break from school that summer I bought a hiking guide and found other places. Amicalola Falls was the only one I liked enough to keep returning to and it’s now the place I run to when life is getting to feel like too much.

Top of Falls

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Week #37

week 37

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: HAPPY ANNIVERSAY, ATLANTA!
Dear Mom,
The bad always comes with the good. What can you do other than make peace with it?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mili,
The people we work(ed) with are truly unforgettable. Thanks to the miracle of the Internet and popular social sites such as MySpace, I’m sure we’ll be able to keep in touch with a majority of them.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear NikBudnik,
You better get goin’ on that bitchin’ white couch and jungle room. You could just get a 15’ zebra-patterned couch and kill two birds with one stone.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KBezzie,
Amicalola Falls and Stone Mountain are indeed not in Atlanta. But, neither are the Budnik 6 or Graceland. I did think about the name of my post, but I figured being located in Atlanta made all of those trips possible.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: CRYPTOZOOLOGY THURSDAY
Dear Mom,
You’re almost right. The picture of the turd is indeed that of a yeti.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KBezzie,
I will not be able to sleep without a night light for a month now that you’ve mentioned chupacabres.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Birdie,
Are you laughing at my ponytail? I seriously need a haircut, but my Vidal Sassoon student hasn’t ever called me back. So, I’m holding out for awhile.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: BOOK REVIEW
Dear Mom,
I’m glad that you agree that a tennis court is not nature.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Leaky Tent is a Piece of Paradise: 20 Young Writers on Finding a Place in the Natural World Edited by Bonnie Tsui

leakytent

First, I’ll say that this was a good book and worth reading. Then, second, I’ll say that some of the writers really pushed the “nature” into their worlds. A lot of the essays just seemed to be about finding oneself and nature just happened to be the setting. But, nonetheless, most of the essays explored the natural world—and the writer’s place is in it.

The back cover holds a warning: “This is not your parents’ nature writing.” I’m not convinced it’s anyone’s nature writing. Well, some of the writers are pretty hardcore. Sam Moulton’s 1581 mile trek through Canada is nothing to sneeze at. Nathanael Johnson’s “Putting In” is about his time spent being a whitewater raft guide, but more importantly realizing he’s never going to be like one of the people he idolizes. And, “It’s All Downhill from Here On Up” by McKenzie Funk captures the spirit of a bonafide outdoorsman. All of these essays fulfilled my stereotype of nature writing: set in the wilderness, about adventure, and all with an element of spirituality.

Other essays, not so much. I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’ll ever consider a tennis court, even the ones in “Courting” by Adam Baer, natural, or part of the wilderness. Nicole Davis recounts how she recreated one of the very first road trips in “The Road Already Taken.” While, she did camp along the way and I do love me a road trip, I’m not convinced that the road trip was about nature. Driving and hiking (read being in nature) are two things I enjoy, but they truly are two different things.

I say, read it. Most of the writers aren’t Annie Dillards, but it’s nice to read the perspectives of young folks.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cryptozoology Thursday

I went hiking yesterday and saw some kee-razy things. Today I celebrate cryptozoology. And to do that, I present to you the best game ever: "Or Just a Crappy Photo?!" Here's how to play: study the photo. Then answer: Is it a bonafide creature? Or just a crappy photo?

Let's get started.

CTlakemonster

Nessie's cousin
? Or just a crappy photo?


CTruffedcat

Mexican Ruffed Cat
? Or just a crappy photo?


CTthunderbird

Thunderbird
? Or just a crappy photo?


CTyeti

Yeti
turd? Or just a crappy photo?


CTbootcleaner

Boot Cleaner
? Or just a crappy photo?


CTponytail

Unphotogenic Ponytail? Or just a crappy photo?


CTworm

Giant caterpillar thingy that was like 5" long? Or just a crappy photo?

Um, I'm gonna answer this last one for you, 'cause this is bonafide. All kidding aside, this thing was sashaying across the trail. Yah, on my way back I watched out for this creature because I didn't want to have an unhappy run in with it.


Check out some good cryptozoology sites: The Cryptid Zoo and Cryptozoology.com.


Enjoy!

T. Budnik

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Atlanta!

atlanta

This is a couple of days late. I've been in Atlanta for two years and a couple of days (the 9th is when I first arrived). Since I don’t feel that this is a lasting residency, I present the Top and Bottom 10 Memories of Atlanta:

Top:
10. Participating in the 10K Peachtree Road Race.
9. Meeting and working with a lot of good people at school.
8. All of my co-workers here—past and present.
7. Walk-walk-walkin’ regularly year-round.
6. Amicalola Falls.
5. Stone Mountain.
4. Meeting my aunt for dinner while she was in town twice a year.
3. Visiting my oldest brother and his family in North Carolina.
2. Driving to Graceland. (Sorry, Budnik 6, I loves ya, but you’re not quite the residence of Elvis. Ah, you know I kid bekause I kare.)

Drumroll! prrrrdrrrrrrrrr….

1. Following my ambitions—for better or for worse!


Bottom:
10. Working part time and going to school full time. (But, of course, in order to do what you wanna do, you gotta make sacrifices.)
9. Ants. Ants everywhere!
8. All my glorious computer problems.
7.The guy who told me he fell off of his carport and blamed my gender for it.
6. The other sexist guys, to include: the man who assumed I’d become a teacher since I was in college and the guy who thinks women have a natural gift for cleaning toilets. Oh, and how can I forget the guy who called me “Toots?”
5. Traffic. Traffic everywhere!
4. The drive up I75 into Tennessee when I got stuck in traffic and had to pee like I’ve never had to before. Tennessee, damn you! You hold some of my best and worst memories.
3. Spiders. Spiders everywhere!
2. Any temperature above 90F.

Drumroll! prrrrdrrrrrrrrr…

1. Squishing that giant cockroach in my apartment!

Enjoy!
T. Budnik
Week #36

week36

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: POP OPEN A COKE AND CRACK OPEN THE RAND MCNALLY
Dear Father Time,
Of all the people I know, I figured you would have done this drive. Hmmm…I probably inherited the driving bug from you.

Do you have a hacksaw I can borrow?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear JB,
Of course I’ll visit you in LA. You better be famous by then and hook me up with some free tickets to your show.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KBezzie,
Beggh. That is a gross story. I will never drink and drive topless—both in the sense of convertibles and clothing.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear NikBudnik,
I’ll save a seat for you. How far north have you gone?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
You’re gonna have to roshambo with NikBudnik for shotgun.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #35
Dear KBezzie,
You better be jealous of my Sam’s Choice sodas. I loves me a generic diet cola.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
When school is no longer filling up my planner, I’m pretty sure some wicked tales of homeless unemployment will line the pages. Or, if I can land a job, some interesting stories about a new location.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Week #35

week35

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Pop Open a Coke and Crack Open the Rand McNally

westcoast

Tonight I'm relaxing with an icy-cold Coke (really a generic brand), flipping through my road atlas, and thinking about where I need to go. I didn't get too far into the atlas before I came across California and remembered flipping through a "Before You Die..." travel book one day. The only thing that caught my fancy was the "You must drive the California coast on Highway 1 in a convertible." My trusty Rand McNally shows that Highway 1 doesn't last forever, but there is some type of road that runs the entire west coast of the U.S.. Hmmm, why only go as far as Highway 1?

I wanna do it all: from Mexico to Canada, but not in a convertible. I'm not a big fan of convertibles. They kind of freak me out. I like to have a roof over my head, you know to possibly protect my head if the car decides to roll. I know that some convertibles come with roll bars--those pipe-looking deals at the head of the seats, but really, is that going to protect your noggin'? I don't think so. My Taurus will suit me just fine. It's not like I can't roll down all four windows and and get the same messy-hair effect of a convertible.

The drive appears to be 1000 miles or so. That's nothing. The only questions I have are which direction should I take? That is, if when I'm ready to make the trip I'm not living closer to either end. Then, do I double back, or take another route? You know what Willie says, "seein' things that I may never see again." There's something about knowing you're on a one-way trip that makes you more spontaneous and appreciative of your surroundings.

So, I'm filing this in my "Future Adventures." Oh, yes, I will drive the length of the West Coast. It will happen. Anyone up for a ride?

Enjoy!
T. Budnik
Sundays I Write Letters

RE: PROJECT 25
Dear Ty,
I sure hope you help every newcomer to the South and politely correct their pronunciation of the restaurant that has such a difficult name.

I’m pretty sure I’m not lactose intolerant. I think it was the sugar.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: TBUDNIK.COM IS GOING LIVE
Dear KBezzie,
Don’t piss me off and you are indeed guaranteed a lifetime supply of me.

Haha! I kid bekause I kare.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
You’ve got a lifetime supply of T. Budnik. What are you doing with it?

Hmmm…I bet you saw the unveiling of the site at around oh, 8pm your time. Am I right?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Chrissy,
Thank you.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Ty,
Thank you.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #34
Dear KBezzie,
You wanna know what? I want to go to Greece someday. You wanna know what else? For the next 10 years I could technically go there on a whim—I’ve got my passport.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Don’t worry, there wasn’t anything on that page. If there was, it all would have just been highlighted.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: ALASKA, AN ELEPHANT, AND BOB BARKER
Dear Kaye,
Okay, so there’s an elephant in Alaska. That is the best part of the story. But, don’t you think it’s icing on the cake that Bob Barker wants to help it?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
I’m willing to bet in the time of woolly mammoths, not only was the land not called “Alaska” but the animals themselves were not called “woolly mammoths.” I think I just blew my own mind.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik