someone else's thought
One good minute can last me a whole year.
One good minute can last me a whole year.
That answers that question. I'll let y'all know what my new snail mail address is.
If packs of giants with thyroid problems are walking cluelessly around Harvard Square, accompanied by a single miniature person, all wearing warm-up gear from distant universities, it must be ....
slide 0.5.00 loaded (Animation)
mask it 2_level0.slideShow_mc.slide0_mc.target_mc
...at least, it made me burst out laughing....
I'm really considering the moving-to-Angola thing....
Hey, Ohio: listen up! Do I have to exert the economic force I'm capable of exerting? Like I did with Florida? I know you don't want me to get medieval on your ass like I did with Florida.
I was fine with the getting older thing, really I was, sports car notwithstanding (I've wanted one since I could walk).
Even the first few grey hairs weren't a problem. But then I found one growing extravagantly out of my nose. Intolerable.
The pain of finding it was matched only by the pain of yanking it out....
New least favorite kind of angst: Super Bowl XXXIX. E-A-G-L-E-S!
When was the last time you listened to Enter Sandman? Christ. What a song.
If this fucking snow doesn't go away soon so I can bust Veloce out of its hangar, I'm going to go a little nuts.
Anyone who has personal endeavors to accomplish Thursday... should prepare for major delays and or make plans to accomplish those goals on another day.
I guess my personal Great Leap Forward will have to wait. I really was going to get it all done on Thursday.
Jeebus. This is not good reinforcement for staying up late.
FXUS61 KBOX 011333 AFDBOX AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION..UPDATED SEASONAL SNOWFALL CLIMO..
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA 833 AM EST TUE MAR 1 2005
...WINTER ROLLS ON AND ON WITH AT LEAST ANOTHER 2 WEEKS ENVISIONED BY THE MODELS AS A TOP 10 SEASONAL SNOW YEAR IS IN PROGRESS AT BOS/PVD...
Happiness is parking your winter car in front of your summer car, thus protecting (at least the front of) your summer car from the dreaded Soccer Moms.
Happiness is a wine rack full of Rogue Chocolate Stout. (With one Shakespeare Stout to...um, just because.)
A pull-quote, for when the article expires from boston.com:
Doubt aired on safety of I-93 tunnels
Engineer cites leaks, damage, lack of data
By Sean P. Murphy and Raphael Lewis, Globe Staff | March 15, 2005
The engineering specialist who led the investigation into leaks in the Big Dig says he can no longer say with confidence that the Interstate 93 tunnels are safe to drive in, according to a letter obtained by the Globe.
For a variety of reasons, some self-indulgent, some just plain good advice (belive it or not), I've been trying to make a list of accomplishments, unique characteristics, foibles, etc. About myself, I mean. It's proving quite difficult. I once said I don't really like being the center of attention, and despite a certain loquatiousness that overtakes me at times, it's really true. I don't like it. I'm willing (overeager, even) to zing and complain, but saying "I did this," or "I did that" is damned difficult. Someday I might understand why.
Long month, no posts. Where did April go? I've been away a lot, as a couple of my dearest friends got married in NYC (though not to each other). I was in New Orleans for a bachelor party. I drove a lot. The weather has improved incrementally. The Heels won the NCAA championship. The Sixers won't win the NBA championship. I've been spending a lot of time on a bid for a freelance project. My real job is about to get (even more) chaotic. I still haven't sold my old car. All last night, I sat on the levee and moaned.
I know it's nothing new, but.... jeebus!
...and I should really go to bed.
...of fat-free half-and-half?
Does anyone really think that the chemicals which replace the fat are healthier than the fat that got replaced?
If you want all those chemicals, why not just go with non-dairy creamer?
If you want something that's more-obviously related to milk than non-dairy creamer, but doesn't have any fat in it, why not use skim milk?
I'm no fan of skim milk, but at least it came from a cow.
I don't believe anyone should hold a cell phone while driving. But that goes double for you, Granny.
I'm here to talk to you about pine and perl, and Thunderbird.
I haven't been able to get Tiger's updated Mail.app to connect to my IMAP server. Which sucks. Because as ugly as Mail.app clearly is, I always thought it worked ok, and I had high hopes for the new version.
So instead of switching to (the lame, emasculated and inadequate) Mail.app, I decided to give Thunderbird another try. Works great, for the most part. PGP works well with it, it doesn't choke on large mailboxes, etc. I wish I could export filtering rules and copy them among machines, but maybe someday I will be able to do that.
The main thing, though, was the address book. I wanted to get my pine .addressbook into TB. But TB's addressbook didn't know what to do with pine's format, and could only convert Entourage and Eudora addressbooks into the LDIF format it preferred. So, how?
Tim has already heard me expound on this, but:
Do they drive VW microbuses because they're hippies, or are they hippies because they drive microbuses?
Do they drive like assholes because they're driving BMWs, or are they driving BMWs because they drive like assholes?
I'm more than a little disappointed that Jacko, um, got off.
Ah, yes. In that case everything's fine.
Cavaliers GM Pistons coach Larry Brown sure has a deep tan.
...Shouldn't all you little twerps be at camp?
Edit: Apparently, at some point, I typed the phrase "Should be fuckin', instead I'm bloggin'" into the title of a new post, because Firefox suggested that as an autocompletion for the original title of this post (which started with "Shouldn't").
Well. There you have it. Whatever the circumstances where, I'm glad I rethought that.
...throw ourselves into our work.
[It's Fugazi Month at rotorglow.com/blog. For the month of July, for no particular reason other than I've been listening to them a lot, each post's title will be a Fugazi lyric. I'll try to make it vaguely topical.]
I spent the whole day with Veloce today. That meant giving up the James Dean double feature at the Brattle, on account of me not setting my alarm properly. (See, I set it, but I didn't actually turn it on. Seems that's an important step.) I washed, clay-bar-ed, and waxed every inch of the little vixen, which means that I touched every square inch of it 3 (!) times. Well, except the roof, which only got washed and wiped down with 303 "Space Age Protectant." (Like Armor-All, but better.)
So, for the moment, it gleams like the Hope Diamond. It's as smooth a Baby's Butt. It's as Cute As A Button.
But the whole experience got me thinking, and not for the first time, about how I treat cars, and how everone else treats 'em. A few years ago, someone I was close to asked me what it would take for me to put (for instance) a coffee cup on the (hard) roof of my (=our) car. Instantaneously, I responded, "A 90% chance of a planet-killing asteroid within 36 hours." Her response? I think she rolled her eyes first, and only then chuckled at my creativity (=glibness).
And last weekend, Cynthpop and I went to the beach, and she finally got some insight into just what a lunatic I am about cars and car care. (I should say she knows all about convertibles, though.) So I thought I'd write down some of the more outlandish customs I've developed over the years, and the rationale behind them.
And yes, I know it's kind of a sickness.
After the jump:
[It's Fugazi Month at rotorglow.com/blog. For the month of July, for no particular reason other than I've been listening to them a lot, each post's title will be a Fugazi lyric. I'll try to make it vaguely topical.]
Gonna be some changes around here and over at rotorglow.com. I think it's time to give over to my Flickr obsession, for one thing, and do away with all those Flash based image viewers, slick though they are. This is facilitated in no small part by Daniel, helped me figure out how to get Flickr to talk to b2evo, so I'll be able to send pix over here, from there. Much more elegant.
Etc. So why am I telling you this? Dunno. I guess that's just how we roll.
More brilliance from Mr. Jalopy. He weaves the New Yorker, history of technology, great pix and an innate sense of what it means to be a "car person" into a wonderful description of why hot rods, going fast (or just "going"), dusty old parts and squinty old guys behind the counter add up to (and in fact give value to) "enjoying the ride."
white shirt coffeestain no sleep head cold coughing fit no hot water server crash broken code evangelical politics empty bed sour milk.
Correct! I'm at work.
Whatever else Celexa does or doesn't do to one's neural chemistry and outlook, it sure makes for great (=vivid) dreams.
Now, sleeping till 1530, as I did on Saturday, helps with that too. (The dream thing, I mean.) But I was again reminded of how creative I can be when I'm not actually awake. I increasingly find that the dreams are informed by real-life events or stresses; I know that happens to other people a lot, but not me, unless I'm popping pills. For instance, this past week the lease on my parking space ran out.* So I spent the 2nd half of the week scouring Craig's List looking for parking. I found a space close by, and went through more than a few hoops to see the space, decide to take it, find out it was already taken but be told there was another one available close by, go see that, decide to take it, get certified checks to pay for it, try to arrange to drop off the checks, then be forgotten about, etc. etc.
So what do I dream about last night? Parking. And groceries. And neighbors. And carrying groceries from my parking space to my apartment, and shaking my head in disgust at how everyone was crowding my space with their (lack of) parking skill. And a big Infiniti sedan which was apparently a present to myself to give me something to drive during the winter. And drive I did, around the old neighborhood in Media, PA, (in which, btw, I haven't lived since I was 13) where I hit 90 mph on a two block stretch, and reveled in all the trunk space compared to Veloce, and then the Infiniti sedan turned into a van with room for at least 12, and I was describing how much of a change it was from my Mazda, and saying why I loved all the torque of the big V6 (shared with any number of Nissan/Infiniti cars, like the 350Z and Altima). But then I was visiting my neighbor back in Cambridge to handover my keys (or something) for some reason, and we started making out. And after that there was a four-wheel "bicycle" that I was riding recklessly in Somerville, controlling with handlebar buttons for speed and braking (both of which functions, by the way, were spectacularly thrilling--these thumb-activiated triggers were super-sensitive), but not getting the steering part right, so I basically kept running into walls. I'd go for a test ride on a "bike" I was thinking about buying, and careen down a ramp onto the bottom level of a mall in Somerville, then try to steer but hit the wall. People I (barely) knew were there, having some kind of reunion. And some athletic person who was visiting from another coast was apologizing for not being able to score more cans of Coke for all of us, but she felt like she'd worn out her welcome with the hosts, so those of us who came late (presumably because our four-wheeled "bikes" couldn't be steered) were out of luck (at least as far as Coke was concerned). So we were left to escape the shopping mall by wading across a decorative reflecting pond which had a very narrow path of stones about 4 feet below the surface of the pond. If we couldn't stay on the path, we'd have to swim. Getting to the other side of the ornamental pond meant keeping quiet and not turning on a flashlight (wtf?) because all the people on the other side of the pond were trying to attract "sprites," which were these weirdly shy creatures of the night, and flashlights would scare them away. And then I was waiting in Somerville (yes, again) to meet up with my friends John and Katie because they needed some pictures taken of them after their wedding, but they'd carried all the equipment on the Green Line, and it involved a lot of film projection equipment, like the movies substitute teachers in 9th grade would show, but with the equipment running amok. So there were film reels spinning, and hundreds of feet of film ending up on the floor of my apartment--all critical to the photo shoot, but all equally uncontrollable.
So, parking was on the brains. Along with, apparently, a few other things.
I didn't use to have those sorts of dreams, but. Now I do.
Have you heard Federation X? I've been listening to them a lot lately. They're responsible for the quote at the top of this screen (at least as I type this--I might be changing it soon--mousing over it will tell you whether I have or haven't), and have exactly the right kind of rocking misanthropy, and kind of sound that only a trio with two four-string guitars and a fucking INTENSELY SAVAGE drummer can produce. Metal for the soul. Like the Dirty Three but with less (=zero) violin and still all those intangibles that make music so great.
It either fits or it doesn't.
*Which is more or less ok. I was starting to become frustrated with the lack of skill of my parking neighbors, and though the space was super-close to my apartment (and relatively inexpensive as these things go), I was getting close to needing to write a "Dear Neighbor" letter to people so that I actually had room to fit into my space. So maybe it was just time to move on.
Sometime last weekend, I got an anonymous note in my mailbox from my neighbors (no, not that one) asking me to "be a bit more aware" and turn down the music. The note wasn't dated, and it didn't specify the date of time of the offense.
Rightly or not, I've passed from "regretful" to "annoyed." In, like, a heartbeat. So I feel the need to respond. To both light a candle and curse the darkness.
Dear Faceless, Nameless Cowards,
So sorry I disturbed you, whenever it might have been. I'll certainly try to be more considerate.But you should know, at this stage, it doesn't always come easily under certain circumstances.
See, I'd love to keep the music quieter, but I find a little Spoon or Girls Against Boys helps me ignore the tobacco and weed smoke pouring under my door or (in happier, warmer times) through the window. But I'm sure you don't smoke, do you? That dope-ass Tiefschwarz remix of Kinda New and the first Federation X record are really great for blunting the impact of Clydesdale hooves high heels in the hallways. (I mean, shit...name a song that's in 7/8 that rocks harder than Song About The Sweet Lovin' Woman. You can't. There isn't one.) Do you still wear Docksiders without socks? (Hey, I'm just asking. I'm sure someone still does. I bet they're quiet, too.)
Additionally, I've been known to play music while people in the building are extravagantly sobbing or cackling (not at the same time--I don't think). I don't want to begrudge you your emotional turmoil, but I'm sure I don't have to worry about that, since you're not bi-polar, are you?
That you addressed me by my first name means this must really have been eating at you (enough to do some phonebook sleuthing). That you signed your note "Your Neighbors" means I can't figure out whether you're above me or next door or across the hall. Or whether you have a peg-leg, a deaf roommate (or 8) or a drug problem. Clearly you knew that.
But never the matter. For all that, and despite the fact that music is playing in my apartment 95% of the time I'm in it (which means there're a lot of times you don't hear it) I rather like it here, and I'll try even harder not to pierce whatever it is that insulates you from your surroundings. And anyway, you might be pleased to know that my 20-year-old amp has started taking days off now and then, so till I get that replaced I've got these big ol' canister headphones on. If you can hear the music now, there's something wrong with both of us.
Just don't confuse being "more aware" with "giving a shit."
Christopher T. Welbon
In the course of clearing out some old files, I found some...weird movies that I shot. This is one of them.
My friend Brian had a birthday this past Sunday, and we've known each other long enough that I feel comfortable (not to say "eager") posting this picture of him from our "college days," ready to "hit the town." I have no idea what the occasion was, but I'm sure that whatever ensued was ragin'.
Hapy Birthday, B.
(This pic barely scratches the surface, so if you need more proof of his greatness check out my Flickr set that attempts to document a particular weekend this April when he played a rock show and married Carolyn the most fair.
I'm back from a fun weekend with my parents. Their neighbors threw a retirement dinner for my father, which was good fun. The weather was fantastic, and there was much car-washing. Trip back was some kind of record; not much traffic, and the music kept the speeds tempo clicking along nicely.
Though I must say Connecticut continues, and probably ever shall be, a big pain in the ass.
During the pre-dinner cocktails on Saturday night, one of the daughters of the hosts, a firecracker of 11 or 12 (we'll call her G), was hanging around, bemused by the grownups and skewering their strange rituals. For instance:
People were taking photos (and by "people" I mean my parents), and after someone had taken a shot of me listening intently to a conversation, G burst out laughing and asked me "Why don't you smile??"
"I *was* smiling," I claimed, knowing that I probably wasn't.
"Noooo, you just looked, like, [makes long, frowning face]."
"Well, I was *kinda* smiling."
"[Giggles, more funny faces]"
"[Funny faces, vague protestations in response]"
This went on for a bit, until it was clear to both of us that I didn't have an answer.
My friend John recounted a recent trip through Chelsea, and ended thusly:
outside of one gallery on 25th or 26th street, there was a low window and inside you could see a guy working in his shop below ground. he was repairing pinball machines. it was one of those moments, fantastic and unrepeatable, when you wish you had a camera, and i instantly thought that if you were there you would have taken a picture. i don't think i can describe the sight well. it was past dusk outside and inside it was very well lit, with tons of old pinball machines and tools in various stages of repair and disrepair, the craftsman was holding a rag, wiping something, seemingly unaware that we could see him. probably most days, he has the shades drawn.
Meanwhile, I'll reach into the Way Back: After a train trip to/from NYC for Thanksgiving (the mere whiff of snow in CT on Thanksgiving Day made me prefer to deal with Amtrak instead of slushy traffic without snow tires), I had my first encounter with Zipcar. It's a neat service whereby you rent cars by the hour. The fee includes all insurance and fuel, and the process is (almost) completely automated. You reserve a car near you (or not) on the web. Head to the car at the appointed time, and wave your Zipcard over the sensor and it lets you in. Turn the key and drive off.
Most people, I guess, use Zipcars for grocery shopping or ferrying family or couches around. I signed up a couple weeks ago to be able to haul stuff bigger than loaf of bread. So I rented a Jetta for a couple hours to move my airconditioner, fan and a chair to storage. There're many cars to choose from, though I guess you have to plan well in advance to get a BMW, MINI or Mazda3 on a Sunday afternoon. Everything worked really well, and it feels very much like one of the perfect examples of Web-enabled e-convenience. Or something. I have yet to talk to an actual person; and more to the point, I haven't needed to.
For my birthday, my friend Simone had gotten me a ticket to the Sixers/Celtics game on Weds. So we went to that. It was quite a game, and though the Sixers lost (which royally sucked--but when you let Kendrick Perkins get 19 rebounds, you can't really expect to win), the stars did their thing. I'd never seen Iverson play in person (he was injured the last time I got to a Celtics game and they never seem to be around when I'm in Phila), and if possible, he looks even smaller and faster in person than he does on TV.
By Thursday, my new winter tires and wheels had finally showed up and I had them installed. I'll miss the other ones for the next few months of course, but the ride is now actually quite a bit nicer. And I'll actually be able to get around in the snow. It's actually supposed to start snowing any minute now, so we'll see.
As mentioned previously, I saw North by Northwest for the umpteenth time. And Kubrick's Lolita for the first. What a great fucking (um..) movie. So understated. So fantastically shot. Amazing performances. Etc. Finally saw The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Plenty of great Wes Anderson touches (and a great montage with Devo's "Gut Feeling" as the soundtrack), but not as gigantically good as his others. I will say it was kind of funny seeing Tony Shafrazi mutely playing an Arabian film financier (or whatever).
Central Kitchen is my current favorite restaurant (at least till I go to East Coast again). Aileen and I met up there Thursday night, and the cod-and-bacon fritters were earthshaking. Too bad there were only three of them on the plate; but Aileen let me have two of them, so I guess it's ok...
And since my dad brought some Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale up to NYC from Phila, thatt's been my favorite beer. I only brought a single bottle back with me on the train, but I tracked some down locally later in the week, and have continued to enjoy it throughly. Big, strong IPA flavor; a very reasonable (though completely dissimilar) stopgap till Rogue Chocolate Stout is available again.
I've closed the week with some freelance work today--woot--and am looking forward to a R. Kelly marathon tomorrow. With that in mind, I'll close here and try to get some sleep.
I'm often asked, "Your car is always so clean. How do you do it?" The question baffles me, and usually leads to a dialogue, in the tradition of Plato.
Me: Clean? It's not clean. Have you seen it latetly?
Them: Well, there's no snow on it. Do you park in a garage?
Me: Oh. Snow. That's different. I just brush it off.
Them [confused]: ...Brush?
Me: Yeah. Get this: They have these things called snow brushes that help get the snow off the car. It's amazing. You can get all the snow off the windows so you can see where you're going. And at some point, it ocurred to me that I could brush the snow off all the lights, so other people could see me...like, my brakelights and stuff, y'know? And at night? When it's dark? The headlights work way better if there isn't any snow covering them.
Them: Wow. Still sounds like a lot of work.
Me: Nah. Couple minutes, tops. Let the car warm up while you're doing it.
Them: Tell me more about the headlights. What are those for?
Some recent junk to throw out from the mental attic:
Item: I made some New Year's resolutions, and I'm not going to say specifically what they are. But, just for fun, some keywords, in no particular order: sleep, autocross, money, honesty, Winter Music Conference, action without consequences, badass, Eames, playing to win.
Item: I picked up a new copy (on CD) of AC/DC's masterwork Back in Black last week, and it's hard to overstate just how awesome that record is. Every few months I still pull out my vinyl copy which I got for my birthday sometime in junior high school, or whatever it was called where went to school. (As an aside, my original vinyl LP has only black-on-black cover art, with the words "Back in Black" and AC/DC logo embossed on it--perhaps inspiration for Nigel Tufnel's famous question?) Along with Computer World, I am always amazed at how much better music can sound when there's a diamond chip hugging the jagged (yet microscopic) curves of a spiral groove on a piece of soft plastic colored with carbon black. When that groove is in the shape of 10 songs, with 3 chords in the form of a few verses, a chorus or two, a couple of guitar soli and a bridge to hold it all together, with words about Satan, sour mash, hookers, and the everlasting power of rock in the face of death and despair, well....it's pretty tough to beat, even 25 years after its release. The CD sounds fine too, and is a spectacular album for driving.
By the way, you might laugh at me about all this, but I don't care. I know I'm right.
Item: Also, I learned that I can leave my apartment as Satan's bells begin to toll, walk to Hollywood Express and be back home before Brian Johnson asks to put his "love into you, babe" and kindly offers to cut someone's cake with his knife.... I never really knew just how long it took me to walk up there and back, but apparently it's really not that far.
Item: The windowsill at the head of my bed makes a perfect place to put a beer when I'm reading or writing. The mattress holds the beer on the sill and against the sash, and if I open the window a couple inches, the brew stays cold, at least in winter.
Item: Apple introduced Intel-powered hardware today, and the final CPU transition in computer history is underway. Meet the MacBook Pro.
Item: There are certain times when driving is as much fun as I've ever had with my clothes on. Or at least, fully zipped.
I had a fantastically gluttonous lunar new year dinner last night in Boston with Aileen, Ian and a bunch of others. They all participated in the special banquet, though I prefered to watch the jellyfish go by, and ordered a la carte. It was all quite delicious.
Now, I wish I could attribute my crazy dreams last night to all the wild food, but I actually continue to have nutty dreams pretty much every night. And this one from last night, though it may or may not be attributable to all the food, is representative:
I was at my parents house, and had been checking in on the neighbors' place for some reason or another. Suddenly, (or at least, as suddenly and bizarrely as usually happens in dreams) I was swinging (with one arm! I was super-strong!) from a very long chain out in the yard that was attached to a network of wires; the chain could slide along the wires, and I could cover a huge amount of territory. By shifting my weight, and pulling on the chain at the right moments (kind of like kicking/retracting your feet when on a swingset) I was able to swing, Tarzan-like, on this chain, sliding along the network of highwires, overflying 3 or 4 backyards in all direction. I orbited elliptically (as Kepler said would happen, though he was talking about, like, planets and stars and stuff), and really felt like I was flying. I had a great view down the long hill to the banks of the Delaware river (several miles away) over which I could see the sun rising as a giant blood-red ball just above the horizon. I called out to see if anyone at home wanted to see the big red sun rising over the river. They did not.
Oh...it is possible, (likely, even) that my flying, super-strong dream-self was not wearing any clothes.
So....yeah. Gung hay fat choi.
me: if I were Homeland Security Commandant Mike Chertoff, I'd be wearing orange Kevlar for a little while.
Or re-hire Mike Brown, and use him as a human shield.
clampants: This is like a good Benny Hill show
"this" being our government
clampants: And instead of busty nurses with seltzer, it's Dick Cheney with a shotgun
This past week was a strange one. It started out simultaneously awkward and hopeful, with a new employment caper I'm not prepared to talk about yet, and a reconnection with an old friend. There was a humdrum week in the middle, unremitting cold and vague flashes of something new (or at least happy and familiar). There were also some stupendous hijinks at the Phoenix with Tim and Albert, where a completely bizarre dude, upon finding out I was from Philadelphia, seemed to accuse *me* of stealing Ben Franklin from Boston. The week wrapped up with more friends (some new and fascinating) and bowling, a nice Sixers win against the Wiz (Antonio Daniels is still looking for his shoes), an utterly unfamiliar sense of well-being, a haircut, a huge and wonderful Tarheels win at Duke (check out Noel's dunk, Hansbrough's three, and Redick's bricks), and an intensely irritating Sixers loss to the Pacers.
So....lots of ups, and no significant downs (I'll trade a Sixers loss for a Tarheels win any day at this time of the year). And almost none of them were expected. And I rather like that.
I know I can look this up, and I plan to, but for now:
Can anyone help me figure out when (or more to the point, why) "issue" became a synonym for "problem?" My feeling is that it's related to the customer service industry not wanting to admit to "problems" coupled with a vague sense people have that uncommon words make the speaker sound smarter. (See, for example, that special patois that police officers have--"At that time, the perpetrator did hastily abscond with a late-model sedan, possibly a Ford or some other American vehicle").
When did we stop saying what we mean? When did we stop understanding what we're saying?
As Anthony Lane said about Yoda, "Break me a fucking give."
Check the first (unsponsored) hit on the results page for the best group of search terms ever.
I thought I had a lot of specific stuff to report, but I'm only coming up with a few things. Over the weekend Tim, Kat, Albert and I went to my friends Sam and Jenny's wedding. Some of you will recall that I left my camera at the last wedding I attended, so I don't have any pix, but the ceremony was lovely, the reception was great (and informative, as we all found out some amusing details about Sam's high school days), and the afterparty, soaked in 16 flavors of Rogue, was super.
I did some driving around to clear the head and grind the rust off the brakes, and wound up out in the suburbs for a cookout and (as it happened) to help give one Rocket J. Dog an entirely-unappreciated (by him) bath.
I took the long way home in the evening, and after a similarly frivolous top-down errand this evening, some things came into focus in new ways:
No night is too muggy for wind-in-the-hair motoring. No matter how hot the day is, by 9 or 10 PM, the weather (and traffic) is totally perfect for tooling around. Can't sleep because it's 81° in your apartment at 1AM? Go for a drive. Etc.
Convertibles make everyone think you want to talk to them. This is rarely the case, in my experience. There are exceptions, of course. The occasional "nice car" is harmless and welcome, and the brief exchange I had last night with the guy in the awe-inspiring '64 Galaxie 500 convertible was facilitated by having our respective roofs down. Convertibles are also great for spotting The Ladies, on account of there being no blindspots when the roof is down. (As The Robots have been known to say: "HEL-loooo!") But they also attract attention from clowns and weirdos, like those 2 lunkheads in a muffler-less 4-cylinder Ford pickup (sorry I didn't keep racing you guys, but I really don't have anything to prove to potheads in pickups, and running red lights isn't cool), or the club girls in a Maxima shouting "FATE! IT'S FATE! YOU KNOW YOU THINK WE'RE SEXY! IT'S FATE!" Um....yeah.
(By the same token, I realize that being cute probably attracts attention from clowns and weirdos too, but...)
There's also the matter of yelling at traffic, as I'm known to do. When the roof is down, other people hear you....
So, they're not really great cars for urban Shy Persons. (Urbane shy persons probably handle things better.) But, to cite one relevant example, those muggy middle of the night rides make it all ok.
Separately, if you're a law-student honky in a polo shirt, and you're flossin' a slammed G35 coupe with 20" polished rims, you really should ditch the HLS baseball cap.
Now, I know I'm a honky, and I myself am flossin' 17" polished rims (which look as blinged-out on my little car as those dubs did on that G35--it's all about the proportions).
But I'd never go to law school.
It took 40-some-odd miles, and 6 or 7 onramps, but I finally shook the crappy mood I'd been in most of the afternoon and evening.
There are 11 hairballs in the hallway outside my apartment, visible from my doorway. There are four others in the staircase leading up to my floor. And due to crosswinds and air pressure effects, one found its way under my door into my apartment. All of them are from the piano-playing cat across the hall.
Early in the morning a couple of days ago I had a dream that I was giving Carmella Soprano advice about credit cards. Tony was there, but didn't say much.
Today is the longest day (and shortest night) of the year. Which means the days start getting shorter.
I read a compilation of letters and emails by servicemen and -women in Iraq that appeared in a recent New Yorker. (The article itself doesn't seem to still be online, but there's a related multimedia presentation of some of the pieces, read by the authors.) Boy, do I feel discouraged about the shit-soup Our Gubmint has cooked up for us over there.
I wish mis-aimed headlights could be added to the list of evils that threaten Our Nation. You know, so we could wage war on it.
This is the kind of thing one finds when one Googles oneself:
Whacky. I do remember saying that, though.
From Donnellon's column today:
"Hate the DH as you should, but understand as long as their league has one and yours doesn't, you are playing with one bat tied behind your back - and maybe both hands, too."
If I see you in the hall and say, "Hey, how are you?" I probably don't actually want to hear that you're "hungry" or "tired, hot and cranky."
But it's my mistake. So I'll stop asking, since I can't seem to count on you to stop answering.
And for fuck's sake, clean up the cat hair.
He whose friends have gas or charcoal grills is a rich man indeed.
Oh shit. This is me.
Well. How about that.
I've been in a generally shitty mood for a couple of weeks. Since I was a kid I've felt angsty about the end of summer, but recently it's gone beyond that for reasons I'm just now starting to understand, and will write more about soon.
But sometimes things break through.
As I was walking from the T to my office, I went past the semi-permanent greenish puddle on Beach Street (though it's much larger than an "puddle" might lead you to believe. And there was a carved wooden duck, floating, next to the waterlogged cardboard the trash guys refused to haul away. It was just floating there, not even bobbing because there were no waves on the puddle, no breath of air in the damp morning. And it made me smile.
Before I even got there, things hadn't been going well. I'd managed to lose my T pass between the staircase of my building (where I was when I double-checked that I had it with me) and the T stop, not 7 minutes away at a slow trudge. I stood outside the turnstile, checking and re-checking all of my pockets, my wallet, other stacks of bills, etc. I debated retracing my steps, even all the way back home, but was super late, and on some level couldn't even believe that I'd really lost it.
So I decided to just forget about it, and headed to the token booth to buy a token. One please, I said, putting a couple of bills through the slot. You look like you lost some money, said the agent with a bit of a smile, pulling the bills toward him. Well, I said, actually it seems I lost my T pass. Oh, he said, smile disappearing. He pushed my money back through the slot toward me, and I looked up. Go on through, he said, and hooked a thumb at the open gate. I was really shocked, and even more touched. Such a small gesture (that doesn't even affect him personally), but it really struck me. And I really needed it. I sat on the train, weirdly dazed, simultaneously feeling wretched and reassured all out of proportion to the cause and resolution of the whole thing.
My dear friends Tim and Kat had a baby this morning. His name is Miles, and he's a big one, as babies go. He's a tiny person--a whole person!--not very useful or convenient, or maybe even all that much fun at this point, but with stuff to learn and teach. Which is all a pretty big thing, for such a little...thing...to be facing and causing. And even from all the way over here, I'm a little awed.
"Awed." Yeah. That'll have to do for now.
Life's been pretty weird in Rotorland. I've been working a lot, for one thing, which always unbalances me a little. Hence (more or less) the radio-silence.
This is kind of allegorical, and kind of not, but:
I (re)connected (with) an old friend this week. I rewired the switch on the neon sign I got for Xmas in 1994. I'd been running it every evening for about 10 years when the switch broke. Since then, it's been dark, and I've moved it around my apartment, trying to keep it visible and in the way so I'd take the time to to find the right replacement switch.
Kept not happening, though. Freud, please call your office.
But last weekend, on one of my ever-more common trips to Home Depot, I finally found a switch that would work, and rewired the light. The switch doesn't fit perfectly, and I can't fit the cover plate back on over the hole. But the sign works (and hasn't caught fire), and I guess I'd forgotten how much I'd missed it. It's one of those things that always always made me happy.
Here the allegory breaks down a bit.
In other news, I'm finished with answering the telemarketers' batphone. Lesson learned. Yeah, I'm in the book, but the people who need to reach me (or by whom I want to be reached) have a different number.
"Take me off your list. If you have something to send me through the mail, I'll consider it, but I don't respond to telephone solicitations."
is everyone surprised that I don't know what you're "up to," or "doing," or where you are (with better than 1-borough precision)?
Crazy weekend. Really busy, really fun, really sad (this last is on account of a friend's mom's memorial service) and thus/somehow lots of thinking. I have this deep mental fatigue that's preventing me from stringing anything together about it, so I'll write about that later.
But one thing must go remarked-upon, and right now:
Seems I just crossed 10000 views of my photostream. Which seems like a lot, considering there are more pictures of vans than naked women.
This post will serve no purpose except to say how great it is to be watching hoops (Holy Cross is hanging tough with Southern Illinois, and the Cross has this guard who's, like, my size, but...tirelessly awesome), with some music playing (Portishead), a beer (the last of my Yards Brewing Company IPA) and the sound of the sleet pouring against on the windows. It's dark, and the sky has that bright brownish-orange glow.
Somehow, in cities, stormy nights are weirdly bright.
It's all perspective.
Today was one of those mixed bag days that demands a deep breath, a beer and a lot of effort to process (and avoid breaking something over someone's head).
I vacated my apartment today, after 8 years in it. That's at least 7 years longer than I thought I'd be in it. When I took it, it was a bit of a salve, "nicer" than I needed, more than I could really afford under the circumstances. But it worked out well for a while, until it didn't. I've dragged the move out for 3 weeks, but (as mentioned earlier) there was a lot that needed to be done. But now I'm done with it, and working on settling into the new place, which is fucking chaos at the moment. And in that sense, it's no worse than the old place, and has actual hope of being comfortable at some point soon. So, a definite hard-fought win there.
Speaking of "hope" (but not "hard fought" or "win") my fellow Democrats (and a shapeless yet revolting clump of "independents") have managed to drop a runny, steaming turd on Teddy's grave by electing, either through apathy or active shortsightedness and stupidity, a knuckle-dragging teabagger to the Senate. This stings on a number of levels. There's the obvious threat that only having 59 votes poses to the accomplishment of everything we as a country need to do in order to become as great as we used to be, as great as we could be, and (mystifyingly) still think we are.
Adding to this is the indignity of Ted Kennedy's seat--Ted Kennedy!!--allowing for the unraveling of all this work. It won't only be Brown, of course, but it's the thin edge of the wedge that allows other incurious and unsophisticated assholes in the Senate to fuck things up. And the fact that it's *this* particular seat is really galling.
And speaking of incurious assholes, there's something really galling to me personally about the apparent (based on today's election) profusion of them in what has almost always seemed to me to be a forward-thinking state (relative to most). It's something I've hung my hat on for a long time: politically, Massachusetts for the most part seemed to have its head on straighter than other states I've lived. Now I feel not a little bit betrayed by simpletons who claim "disaffection" and call for tax revolts, agitate to "stop the spending" and yell that "socialism does'nt [sic] work." (Seriously, I saw that on a sign among a bunch of Scott Brown signs on a house in one of the outer suburbs.) That so many FUCKING IDIOTS exist in general isn't a surprise, of course; Frank Zappa said that the most common element in the universe was stupidity. No, what's painful is that so many FUCKING IDIOTS exist *here*, which I'd come to think was one of the last bastions of what counts for intelligence anymore.
So *now* where am I going to go? At least most of my stuff is still boxed up.
For perspective, there's Haiti. I missed the first 48 hours of the Haiti crisis, but have done some catching up since then, and it's absolutely horrifying. There is always someone worse off, but it's hard to imagine who's worse off than Haiti. Spending a little time thinking about that underscores the "first worldness" of so many of our problems.
Certainly all of mine.
I saw a great band on Letterman last night: The Heavy. Kind of like The Make Up crossed with James Brown. And it's been a long time since I heard anything really new that I liked. Dave even made them do an encore, which I haven't seen in a long time. So that was good.
I managed to hurt my (clutch) knee today, by wearing a pair of shoes that I uncovered at the back of a closet while packing. I have too many shoes, and didn't need to wear these in particular--indeed, I'd been splashing around in other ones all morning--but they were just the right kind of snow boot/shoe crossover I needed for the slushy weather and the mission to a client meeting I had today. (Can't drive in my actual snow boots...) So since I'd just excavated them, I figured I'd wear them. Except it'd been so long since I wore them that the rubber sole had petrified to hard plastic.
I noticed this as I headed down the hall. They made an unfamiliar, loud, plasticky (rather than rubber) sound in the new hallway. I remember thinking, "hmm, bet the first few steps outside will be slippery." With the first step I took on the wet (not even icy) sidewalk, I tested the traction, just like I do in the car. Except this time I wasn't ready for the result. One foot slipped, and the other knee bent sideways in a way it's not supposed to as I tried to catch myself. In automotive terms, it was like poking the gas to test wheelspin, only to end up tail-first into a light pole.
So now I'm gimping around, mostly ok if I don't make any particular movements--such as the ones that are generally required when stepping over packed boxes, or trying to lift or unload them.
Having too many shoes feels like a first world problem of the highest order. Wearing the most dangerous of them is just silly. Or payback.
Or maybe there's nothing wrong with the shoes and it's just my clumsiness and age combining in new an unpleasant ways.
And finally, for now, age: Been thinking about it alot, but a new angle came to me a couple days ago. I've spent a lot of time (mostly) silently bitching about a new decade. But I've spent very little time thinking specificially about how much of my 30s actually sucked. Pretty much the first half was pretty awful. A third was fair to middling, and a fifth toward the end was pretty great. So instead of bemoaning this new decade and the injuries it brings, I need to occasionally remind myself how awful the last one was.
It's all perspective.