May 31, 2005

Memorial Day camping, part i.

Sometimes, when I tell someone I meet in an academic setting that I am a registered Assistant Scoutmaster in the troop that I belonged to as a youngin, they get confused. You know, we "bookish" people are supposed to be liberal and are supposed to shun organizations like the Boy Scouts of America who exclude people. It is concluded that I must be homophobic to still associate with the BSA, given the nation-wide ban on homosexual leaders. Well, dear readers, you already know that the opposite is true of me, so I won't try to convince you that homophobic describes me as well as shell-fish does. True, the BSA can be a little...backward sometimes. But while a Scout's three duties are to God, country and other people, one can earn the coveted religious medal in a number of religions that do not require belief in God per se these days, and one can find Scout leaders who are atheists, agnostics or whacko Transcendentalists (ding ding ding). While I do find the BSA's position that homosexuals are "morally unclean" and therefore bad role models for young boys (who, I suppose, haven't chosen their sexual orientation yet, right?) to be one of the largest dumps of bullshit I've ever heard, I still choose to remain connected with the organization. As anyone involved in Scouting would tell you, the whole movement is only as good as its individual local troops. More specifically, one's Scouting experience is determined entirely by one's troop. I supposed my own troop has an unspoken code about the homosexual ban that is similar to the one adopted a few years ago by the Boston area council. Scouting leaders have no damned business talking about their sex lives with young boys, whether such adventures be with women, men or kangaroos. That's that. It's not just "dont' ask, don't tell." It's "what difference does it make?" I would never talk to 11-17 year old youngins about my own sexual conquests, even though the BSA would seem to think that's cool, since I'm married to a woman. That's just inappropriate. I could get some people into trouble, but I know of a troop with a very excellent Scoutmaster who was lucky enough to have a man in his early 30s offer his help as an adult leader. Some church members phoned this Scoutmaster and swore that that this fella was gay and that it's weird for him to not be married or otherwise attached to a woman at his age, etc. The Scoutmaster in question said he didn't "give a shit" and that the man was great with the kids; they loved him; he got them to want to learn; and go to hell, nosey people. This is more or less the spirit in my own troop. Our troop never defined itself or the Scouts by who we excluded, but by whom and what we embraced. This is why I am still involved in Scouting and in my old troop. More than the schools I've gone too, my experience in Scouting has made me what I am today and has made me think the way I think. Are we a liberal troop? Hell no. There are only two Assistant Scoutmasters who have never served in the military, and I'm the only one who would identify himself as a "liberal." We have a retired Air Force transportation manager, a retired Army Property Book officer and Vietnam veteran, a carpenter and a PhD student in philosophy. We're a good mix. But you're probably tired of reading now, so I'll tell you what's so awesome about my troop and how it manifested itself greatly this past weekend in the next post.

May 27, 2005

Photo Friday: Symbol.

War statue. Baltimore, Maryland. May 2005. I'm off to a camping trip this weekend. They're trusting me to teach youngins about knife safety and how to build fires. Yeah. I know. Have a kick-ass long weekend, and tie one on for me.

May 26, 2005

Dirty feet.

Apologies for the sparse posting. I've been having minor adventures in Baltimore and enjoying every damned minute of it. This is what happens when you mow the lawn of a large Baltimore City yard with no shoes on. Regardless of how "dangerous" some old guy says it is to "cut grass with no goddamm shoes on" and regardless of the newly-hinged toenail, this is how I did it. Hell, any actual shoes I own are 850 miles away anyway, leaving me with two pairs of Tevas and some flip-flops. Anyway, I think it's funny to have some philosopher-type dude mowing a lawn in athletic shorts and a T-shirt, with stubble as long as the grass. Especially when this particular guy really knows how to mow a lawn properly and volunteered to do it because said dude lives in an apartment and doesn't get to mow a lawn. And mostly because he likes the smell of freshly-cut grass on his feet and legs. And the toe is healing nicely. I have cut off a large part of the nail, and what's left is no longer stuck to any sticky wound. So I can make it talk. I made my dad gag, and that's hard if you know him. This particular toe speaks with a strange German accent. He's constantly asking for black coffee and cookies. But he was not a Nazi, honest, or I'd stick the sumbitch under the mower. Psyche.

May 22, 2005

Chilling like old ladies.

Red Hat ladies at Baltimore's Flower Mart lask week. Old ladies love me. You have no idea. They always have. During my first year of college, I worked in the dining room at an upscale retirement community where the residents had semi-formal dinners each night. Despite my long red hair (I'm talking 90s rocker locks), blue fingernails (long story) and heavy smoking, the old ladies loved me. They used to call me "a gentleman and a scholar" which is funny coming from people to whom you just brought cranberry juice and ice-cream. Oftentimes, at cook-outs and parties, I can be found hanging out with the old ladies and the old men who would probably flip if they got a wiff of my religious or political views. I got drunk with some old Army guys in the fall of 2000 at a crab feast, and one old fella told me that it was my "duty" to vote for Dubbya because he would keep the United States military out of the affairs of other countries(!!). As long as you tell the old vets that you are an Eagle Scout before you tell them that you firmly believe in gay rights, married a black chick and are pursuing various degrees in the impractical [sic] field of philosophy, you can get along wonderfully and drink weak American beers -- and drink them under the table to win some respect for the "college boys." Too bad I can't hold my beer like I used to. Excuse my WWII vet stereotyping. I know, I'm a jerk sometimes. So this is my too-much-coffee and round-about way of putting something out there. Out here. Okay, so Blog Collective started around the time this here bloggy did. It used to have a lot of people, but not everyone had the time or motivation to do much blogging. The blog has dwindled down to Chris and myself. It's a damned shame, since it had some potential there for a while. So what? So we are working on getting it back together. And to do that, we'd like to have some select members participate. And a delicious re-launch. If you're cool enough to be reading this blog, you're almost definitely what we're looking for. Veteran bloggers and newbies are equally welcome. Check out the old archives (early 2004) for the potential awesomeness of Blog Collective. We bitched about stuff like old ladies and made the internet better. You know it could be awesome. Collective blogs are good things. If you are interested, please email me directly for details and such (see the link above). Please no "Dude, pick me" comments here. I'll delete them and add you to my "jackass" list in a Moleskine somewhere. And we'll say bad things about you on Blog Collective for everyone to read (not really). You don't want to be in that evil notebook of mine. When the end comes, you'll be glad to be one of my favorite people. I am a hugger. Yeah, you want a hug. You know you do. And some delicious homemade cookies and French press coffee from your favorite hairy-footed guy.

May 20, 2005

Photo Friday: Green.

One perk of being on the East Coast now is that I have a better chance of being awake for the Photo Friday challenge. Here is my entry for this week's challenge, Green. It is a photo of three sets of Teva-ed feet: my mother's, my wife's and my own (sporting the bandage over my latest minor injury). Mmm, you can smell that Teva rubber, fresh grass and those stinky feet, can't you? Please, oh please don't tell the ladies I said that.

May 19, 2005

Really, I do.

So I have a lot of photos to post. I've just been relaxing, watching late-night television and playing Call of Duty far too much lately to be posting much. That should change soon. Might. Most likely. There's just a lot of fun to be had in an actual city these days, when it's not quite hot yet and when you miss Baltimore and its people. Photos and good times, soon, I promise. And when have I ever let you down? I also have work to do on our collective blog that needs a relaunch or a deletion, the latter of which I don't think I can stomach. Of course, the "collective" is down to myself and my oldest friend Chris. We do need to change that. And of course Ikea. Yeah.

May 17, 2005


Apologies for the lack of posts. The drive to Maryland took longer than usual because we enjoyed it more. I usually just push through to get where we're headed as quickly as possible. While I'm not what anyone would call "physically fit" anymore, I do have some mean driving stamina. This time, though, we really just enjoyed having that kick-ass stereo in the new Focus and the landscapes and the smell of lilacs coming in the vents and the endless fields of wildflowers on the mountaintops. We also finally named our car. The other Focus was tentatively known as The Boat because it was small. Ironic, therefore funny. Etc. The Mazda, although fun to drive, was never our friend. We never named it. We do, however, have a name for it now. The Glass Car. Sorry, dudes. I've never been so glad to say Bye-Bye to a piece of metal and plastic as I was that damned car. I don't quite spit when I mention it, but you get the picture. Anyway, the current auto is called Snowball II. If you don't get that reference, you need more "The Simpsons" to enrich your life. Lisa has a cat named Snowball. It dies. She gets another one and names it Snowball II. And it's black. Second Focus because the other one died, in black, you get it. Clever, I know.

Roxy I.

One of my brothers has a new puppy. A pug. Those little dogs who are so ugly they're cute. Here she is when I woke her up with a camera in her face. (Didn't know the flash was on.)

May 13, 2005

Photo Friday: Space.

Quickly, before I hit the road, here is my entry for this week's Photo Friday challenge, Space. It is my bird house, three weeks ago, with what was left of last year's bird family's nest. Now, it is occupied by an extremely vigilant mother bird who eyes me hatefully at night from her peephole if I go outside. Too bad I'll be out of town and won't get to chart that new family. I'm out of here as soon as I get my crap into the Focus and enough coffee for 13-14 hours of constant driving. See you Monday.

May 10, 2005

Fear and loathing in Southern Illinois.

Here are my famously hairy feet that cause one of my office-mates to refer to me as Frodo at times -- the famously sandal-clad or bare feet by which I am known sometimes by people who can't tell this guy from the other boring white dudes with glasses. So there I am today, going to the university to hand in my last paper and to get a signature from my advisor for my summer research project (on Thoreau, his Pragmatism, and Schelerian sacrifice). I take the stairs, as usual (I'm scared of elevators -- long story or stories, as it were). I catch my flip-flopped foot on the stairs and drop without grace, scaring the bejesus out of an undergrad getting off the stairs on the second floor. She asks if I am Okay, and I apologize for scaring her. I get into my office, put my gear down and feel something wet on my aching foot. I look down to discover that said wetness is warm and viscous because it is blood. My blood. It's all over my foot and shoe. And one of my toenails is blackish. I touch the offending toenail. It reveals itself to no longer be attached to my toe at all, though the unseen roots under my knuckle seem to be keeping it in place. Mfingddmnt it hurts. SoI do the manly thing. I get some paper towels from the nearest (stinky) men's room and clean up the blood. I wrap one around my bleeding toe and hobble down to my professor's office, hoping he won't notice my limping, cringing or bleeding. I hobble back to my office, put my leg up and decide I need to go home. I do. I clean up my foot. Then we go to the Bookworm and to Panera Bread for lunch. Both are stupid moves. The offending toe throbs, getting alarmingly swollen, and I'm gripping the steering wheel as if I want it to die by my hands as we speed home. Four Advils and putting up the poopy leg combine to help immensely. We wash the car twice and put the bra on, since we're leaving for Baltimore Friday morning. Have dinner and start a new book. Salvage the stange day. This is funny because my not wearing shoes always seems to render me exceptionally susceptible to foot injuries. The bone in my little toe is still in two pieces. I walked into a wall in Massachusetts, and I don't want to talk about it now, thanks. At any rate, I'm always stubbing or cutting or impaling some part of my feet/toes on something. It's not some principle that I'm usually not in proper shoes. My feet just get hot and like the air. Anyway, I also had my big toenails cut out when I was in high school. The doctor stuck me literally about a dozen times in each toe to numb them, though I seriously question whether that might not have hurt more than what he did after that. He used some wire-cutter-looking dealies (thanks, Homer) to cut the two nails in half. Then he pulled them out with pliers. To remove the roots, he used acid and hook-ish scraping thingies. It was less than fun. But it was extemely funny, to explain why my feet were wrapped in gauze: "Dude, I got my toenails cut out today." "No way." "Hell yes, wanna see?" "Hell no. Sick." With that in mind, you get to see the bandage, not the toe of today's mishap. For now. You're better off that way. And I don't really like to look at it. I know, I'm a baby. Sue me. Come to think of it, I had those babies removed on Friday May 13th. Eery, huh?

May 09, 2005

Fluvial excursions and why I rock.

In working on my last term paper today, I remembered a passage from Walter Harding's The Days of Henry Thoreau that made me want to get naked and go-a-swimming. He writes that Thoreau "took a boy's delight in swimming in the nude. As he walked through the woods on hot days, he made a ritual of shedding his clothes and bathing in every stream he came to. It then occurred to him it would intensify his pleasure to take his rivers 'endwise,' and so he began 'fluvial excursions,' wading down the rivers clothed only in a hat and occasionally a shirt to protect himself from the sun"(Harding, 296). Okay. Don't worry, SIU students, faculty and staff and Carbondaleys in general. This hairy dude is keeping his clothes on in public. I said I felt like doing it, not that I'd actually go through with it. I can be pretty damned modest sometimes. Yeah, really. In other news of the weird, do you know anyone who can wake up at 10:00 a.m. and write an entire term paper (for which only half of the research is finished) before 10:00 p.m., with a few hours of computer games, eating, television, an afternoon delight (yeah, I said it) and far too much internet procrastinating? Yeah, you do. Guess who. I rock. And I only needed seven cups of coffee and three Cokes to rock that hard. That hard. Well, maybe it's not that big of an accomplishment. I've done that before, with much longer papers. It's just another example of the rockingness of Johnny G. Live for it. You should. This all of course means that, after some early revisions in the morning tomorrow and a trip to the department for a signature and a turn-in, my relationship with the university is on hold for three whole weeks (almost four) until I get back from Baltimore during the first week of June and get rocking out on my summer research and studying for my preliminary doctoral exams. Don't fret, the blogging will not be on a break. I'll be here to annoy you and to remind you why you spared yourself from majoring in philosophy -- without cessation.

May 07, 2005

Stupid red shirt.

So this is how stupid I can be. I went to my office to work on my last paper today and to return two stacks of library books. It was warm, so I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, jeans and flip-flops. You know how you carry around some vague notion of what you look like on a particular day with you? (That's a great paper waiting to be written; don't steal my idea, sucka.) I ran around all day thinking I was wearing this shirt that I have in three colors (good sale) in red. So I'm walking to my car to go home this afternoon, and I look into the reflective windows of some engineering or science building, and I don't see anybody wearing a red plaid shirt. I said to myself, "Damn, where'd I go?" I thought maybe I'd gone vampire or lost my soul or something to cause me to lack a reflection. You know, it would be cool to lack a reflection. I could market that and ditch the PhD and get a job as a spy. I've always wanted to be a spy. All I saw was this dude with a shaved head and a green shirt. I really thought for a second that I was looking at someone else. But yeah, it was me. I was wearing a green shirt all day and never even knew. Forget the MA and BA in philosophy and Mensa and all that shit. I didn't even know what shirt I had on today. I don't think I can chalk it up to absent-mindedness, either, despite my usually being guilty of that. It was just stupidity today. Absent-mindedness would have had me strutting around campus shirtless and hairy. You'd have seen absent-mindededness coming hundreds of yards away. Hell, even I would seen absent-minded shirtlessness in the window. But not the green shirt.

May 06, 2005

Photo Friday: Action.

Photo Friday: Action. Sorry it's late this week. Busy day. Too much action. Har dee har har. No, dat ain't me.

May 05, 2005

Haiku for the end of semester.

Empty coffee cups In a mound on a dark desk. Be back soon, Baby.

May 03, 2005

Many things.

First of all, many thanks to Armand for his mention of this here humble blog on Moleskinerie today. And many thanks to the tons of new folks who have stopped by today as a result. I'd offer you some coffee or tea, but the internet has not advanced that far yet. Next time, though. Things are busy around the university these days, as you can imagine. Everyone in the philosophy department and the university situation at large seem much busier than I am, so everything seems to be swirling around me very quickly and blurily. I was happy to get away for a walk to the campus lake today, on a brisk spring day. I shot a ton of photos. Yeah. And that's one of the campus lake. I almost stepped on a duck. I made a red-headed woodpecker flee for the shelter of a maple tree. I trampled some wildflowers. And I scared the bejesus out of a poor painted turtle sunning itself on a submerged treestump. I think I accidently disturbed the whole scene with my clumsiness. Sorry, lake dudes. So, while I'm not going to cross the line and actually endorse downloading un-purchased (i.e., stolen) music via the internet (cuz I never do that -- right), I think you should aquaint yourself with a nice selection of tunes for some crazed-dancing, power-walking, fast-driving, love-making or term-paper-writing. Of, if you're like me, all of the above. Except power-walking. I'm usually shuffling along in flip-flops these days. Or sauntering in Tevas. Never power-walking. Never. I swear. Without further ado, get these songs for yourself to listen to somehow: 1) Simon and Garfunkel: "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" 2) Modest Mouse: "Paperthin Walls" 3) Depeche Mode: "The Love Thieves" 4) Kanye West: "We Don't Care" 5) Colin Hay: "Overkill (Acoustic)" 6) Lunik: "Most Beautiful Song" 7) Interpol: "Obstacle 1" 8) The Police: "So Lonely" 9) Melissa Etheridge: "Secret Agent" 10) Jane's Addiction: "Just Because" If you ask me very nicely, I'll email you one or two. Because Gmail rocks like that. That's how it rolls, B. What, you want Gmail? Ask me not-so-nicely, and maybe I'll give you a Gmail invite. Free. You see, you get the sweetest deals on this blog, baby.

May 01, 2005

No one reads blogs on weekends.

At least, I think that's true. So I won't feel badly about not posting all weekend and instead getting work done on a Sunday (how unlike me!). And you won't hold it against me. See how lovely we fit together? Less than two weeks left, and only one more paper to write (the short one) and one more to proofread. So you won't hear me complain about the busy-ness of this time of the semester. I hate when people bitch about that. "Oh, man, I have two twenty-page papers to write that I was too busy sitting on my ass to start all damned semester, and no one else has work to do." "M-fer, I hate grading papers for this assistantship that I would really complain about not having if I had to go into debt like Pragmatik did at when he got his MA because they didn't fund MA students where he went to school." Lucky me, I'm "on fellowship" and don't "have to grade papers," and I have never worked for anything in my life and certainly didn't work for this fucking fellowship. They just gave it to me because they liked me. Yeah, that's what happened. It had nothing to do with my GPA, GRE scores, IQ, transcript, recommendations from top dudes or "academic potential." Same with my Master's degree and my undergraduate degree and driver's license and everything else I actually worked for. Sorry you're not as lucky as me, sucka. Don't worry, dude, I'm not talking about you. Ass.