January 30, 2006

Not cold enough.

So I must be crazy. We either walk or bike everywhere we go, and I am pissed that it's not"cold enough" for winter. We sold our car at the start of winter (December 1st!), and the dude at the dealership thought we were nuts. We sorta told him we were moving sooner than we are. Didn't want the nice guy to think we were trying to pull a fast one on him. "Yes, we're dropping a lot of money doing this. No, the car has never been in an accident. No, we don't owe any drug money. We are not trying to screw you over, nice man." Etc. But I think the dealership homey was crazy. It seldom gets very cold in Southern Illinois. Of course, this is only my third winter here, but I checked the almanac, and things are pretty normal. One of the things I got excited about when we moved to Boston was the idea of a long and cold winter. The first one was not so great. But the second winter (three years ago) was cold, snowy, and long. Perfect for me. People told me I was nuts, and I will admit that I was glad to see spring come that year (in May). Yes. Okay. But I don't think it follows from these or any other guidelines for human sanity that I am crazy for wishing it would get colder here, damn it. Thank you.

January 27, 2006

Photo Friday: Vanity.

I don't really like to take photos of myself, much less put them on the net. But here is me, without a beard, lit by a red lamp. Summer 2004. Bored as hell, and hiding from the heat in the AC. No, I don't live in a brothel. For Photo Friday: Vanity.

January 25, 2006

Men and women.

Stephen's comment makes me wonder why there is no science of the sexes? My wife does work in gender studies, and I know there is a new thing going on that is more or less the male version of feminism but isn't just dudes in an alley beating the shit out of each other -- or so I've been told. But I mean a science. Forget Mars and deep-sea exploring. They don't make our daily lives easier. At least not yet. But if those of us of the male persuasion understood those of the female persuasion (and vice versa of cource, lest I get labeled as sexist), think of how much easier life would be? How much better -- how much more time we might have to explore Mars and the murky deep if we didn't have to spend days a month trying to figure out our significant other or how to get one or why we don't want one. In the Bigoted States of America at least, there are myriad reasons that homosexuals have a tough time, so much so that I feel guilty for being of the other orientation, the same as those damned bible-fuckers. But at least you nice folks are lucky enough to not have the darkness of the opposite sex to muck with. Of course, even in same-sex relationships, there are certainly problems. It's not like women all understand one another or like I have a clue about my guy friends sometimes. So maybe we need a science of other people. But damn, that might take a while. I'll quit philosophy for it, though.

January 24, 2006

G2 mini.

I know, word about these is all over. But for anyone who doesn't read Moleskinerie enough (and why not?!), the new Pilot G2 Minis I was talking about this summer are here. Gary found them at Staples. And apparently, they've had them for quite some time at Jet Pens, in blue, black and red -- with good US shipping rates -- cheap!.Not to mention from Cult Pens in the UK.

True story.

A syndicated episode of "Frasier" tonight reminded me of a dream my wife had over the holiday. Apparently, in this dream, I was a cad and then some. I slept with eleven women (other than the Mrs.) and impregnated one or more, I don't remember which. I was not at all sorry in this dream. My wife woke up in a mood, and after prodding revealed the dream. She was pissed because of something I did in a dream. "But Honey," I pleaded, "if that really happened, I'd at least be sorry!" She was not amused.

January 23, 2006

On foot.

Some bridge that crosses Interstate 64 from Louisville, Kentucky into Southern Indiana. January 2006. We got to the mall in Carbondale on foot Saturday. Leg power anyway. We were going to bike the whole way, but we got out of shape over the holidays. I got softer and slower, anyway. Shame, since I was able to ride a good five or six miles at a time at a good speed and not get too winded. Anyway, we were too tired, so we rode about two miles to Faner and then walked the other two or three to the mall. It's all up hill to where our departments are, and we were pooped. I know, you fit Europeans are thinking, "So?" But we doughy Americans don't do anything like that. We don't walk anywhere. I live about five minutes from the market on foot. It's so close that I never ever bother to get my bike out to go there. My neighbor drove there yesterday. I don't know if it was because it was raining or because he's lazy (and I am, too, so don't take it like that), but he drove less than 1/4 of a mile, and he didn't even get a lot of groceries. I saw things on foot Saturday that I had never noticed in a car. Let's keep it at that. Streams that run through town, a huge motel I never saw before (I drive fast). Etc. There was one point where crossing the street got difficult and required some darting. While this sort of thing made me feel like a loser for some reason when we didn't own a car in Boston (because we didn't need one and didn't have the money for one), it doesn't anymore. I think it's funny, and it makes me feel a little braver. That's good, I think. We stopped by the liquor store and bought some local wine, at Walgreens and at the bike shop downtown to get lights for our bikes and more bungies. We wound up staying past closing talking to the nice owner, and I even found a tiny cable to lock my helmet to my bike so that I don't have to carry it around. Am I passing judgment on cars and car owners? Please, no. I'm beginning to view car ownership like meat: fine and good and very enjoyable, but just not for me. Believe me, I miss meat and wish I could eat it and feel Okay about it. It would nice to be normal enough to be able to order anything on the menu when I go out with people for dinner. In getting judgmental, I'm judging my Pre-December First (no more car day for us) self that was too afraid to do anything fun and who gave up the urge to travel because it meant scratches on the damned car. The guy who was too lazy to visit the market he lived across the street from for two years because, by golly, he's gonna drive the car he pays too much money for. The guy who was very lazy (and still is in a lot of ways) to try anything new. And a hundred other things I want to kick two-months-ago me in the nuts for.

January 22, 2006


Happy Birthday to my wonderful wife, who turned 25 yesterday. Until she starts lying about, and it is then perpetually her 29th. Not that she would ever lie about that. But she kicks ass, so she'd be allowed to lie all she wants. (Not that she will need to.) Etc.

January 20, 2006

Photo Friday: Pink.

We had a freakishly rainy and warm Christmas in Baltimore this year, but there was a clearing around dusk. I was staying at my parents' house in the city, and they took a ride to drive a family member home. They called the house to tell me that there was a rainbow to the East, to go on the balcony and take some photos. I did. This is what the world looked like that day, as if through a pink lense. And that's the rainbow above Hampden and John's Hopkins University. (One hundred percent undoctored.) Funny thing is that it's almost exactly in the direction of the building I want to live in when I move back to Baltimore this summer -- not the one in the photo, rather. A sign? My entry for Photo Friday: Pink. Click the small version for a much larger view. And check out another rainbow, this one over Southern Illinois in July 2005.

January 19, 2006

Things people say about my beard.

I suppose it's gotten a little ridiculous. I have not shaved since November 4th, for our graduate conference. Even then, I hadn't shaved in a week and expressed my intent to grow my winter beard to my wife. She insisted that I shave that day. So I did. Since then, we've decided to move to Baltimore, gotten rid of the car and have adopted a minorly different lifestyle and totally different outlook. I suppose that part of me is afraid this will all go away if I shave. Sorta like Sampson, minus the brute strength and whole hero thing. I guess I look strange. Etc. But how long can you get away with that, before you get a "real job"? I don't have any photos that I took of my beard, minus the one of Bowman and I from a few weeks ago. He's got some at his blog, though. Guess which one's me:) The top things people say about my beard, in no particular order: 1) Muslim/Terrorist. An un-named history professor said that I looked like a Muslim and that "when the Muslims take over," I'll fit it. Didn't know they were taking over, but I suppose it's better than the extreme religious Right. I get the whole, "You look like a terrorist," thing a lot. That's funny if you saw how short my legs are and knew what a wimp I am. If I didn't cap anyone at my father's step-mother's funeral, I never will. And I didn't realize that all dudes with beards were Muslims and that all Muslims were terrorists. Now I do. 2) A hippy. Yeah, I guess I've turned into one. Guess that's what I get for getting married barefoot and graduating from college naked (under my gown). Yeah, naked. 3) A lumberjack. I take this as a compliment. Tough and real. Funny that the first two people to mention this are muscular and each have a shaved head and scary beard and are both very very nice. Not funny, but interesting. The other one is a small guy. He could hide in my beard if he were so inclined. 4) A Thoreau scholar/Thoreauvian. One of the highest compliments I can imagine receiving. Though one person said it in the, "You think you're Thoreau, but you're not," kind of way. I don't give a shit, though, since she's an ass (no, she doesn't read this). 5) "Off the Pickle Boat"/Polish immigrant. Gotten that before, especially from my Library of Congress I.D. from January 2003. I'm exactly 1/4 Polish, so that makes sense I guess. Though I look exactly like my father at 26, and he's not Polish at all. So maybe not. My Polish grandmother exclaims, "What the hell do you think you look like?" "You!" I say. But I'm only kidding. Yeah. 6) Offers to shave by coercion or force. My Korean War veteran great-uncle (who is the coolest old guy around) told my Army Supply Division brother to hold me down and shave it. I asked my brother not to and told him I'd kick him in the nuts. But I think his decision not to pin me down and shave me comes more from a lack of desire to see my cheeks than a fear that I could actually get my leg up high enough to kick that tall sumbitch in the nuts. Or maybe he knows I'd never kick my brother in his fellas. I've gotten offers of up to $100 to shave it. But A) I'd rather have my beard; and B) I don't want to ransom anyone's children for $100 when they say they were only joking. 7) What tools it would take to shave me. Bowman's brother said it would take hedge clippers, and someone mentioned a sheep-shearing device. Don't know what you call that sort of clipper. 8) Evil/Good(Cuddly). I'm not evil. Thanks. Cuddly. I sure am that. Thanks. 9) "Damn, you're gonna be able to braid that soon!" Maybe. But that would hurt, and I don't want to have dreadlocks hanging from my neck, dude. I'm not quite a Viking. 10) The reddishness of my beard. Duh. I've had reddish-brown hair since I stopped being a blonde in pre-school. Thanks for noticing. Love you.

January 18, 2006

Roxy is sick.

I know it's weird to post photos of someone else's puppy on your blog. Sorry, dudes. My brother in Baltimore has a little Pug named Roxy. She's feisty. And now she's sick. Here's to sending her puppy well wishes. Roxy likes ice-cream and chewing on your hands. And humping her bigger-than-she-is stuffed bunny. Too bad I don't have any photos of that.

January 17, 2006

Li'l Edgar.

There is a shop on the Avenue in Hampden called Hometown Girl that sells Baltimore related gear. Much of this gear is Edgar Allan Poe gear. As if the name of our football team doesn't give it away, Baltimore claims Poe, regardless of his time in Virginia or his birth in Boston. So this makes sense. They also sell a lot of Rosie the Riveter gear, which my wife loves. She has a bobble head that my youngest brother got her last year. Hearing a rumor that I was drooling over them when I was home for Thanksgiving, the same brother hooked me up with the Poe bobble head and this cool little Li'l Edgar man. complete with comic. Well, it rocks so hard (almost as much as my brother), I thought I'd share the link to the flash version of the comic, available online and for free. Here it is.

January 16, 2006


Proving that I am not entirely just a bastard full of hate, here's a photo of a turtle. A tewwdul. Say it. Like that. There is a pond just outside of my parents' house, and in there live some very very large goldfish, large enough that the local falcon in Hampden ate one once. This falcon was devouring a pigeon in my parents' yard on this part very rainy Christmas day. Freaky. Reminds me a Mordecai from The Royal Tenenbaums, except Mordecai never ate any other birds (say bewds) in that film. Anyway, peacefully co-existing with the fish is a painted turtle named Slider. He's very old. This is him.

January 13, 2006

@#$% you, and...

So I had to go to the funeral for my father's evil step-mother today, after all day and night at the wake yesterday. I can say that because her family is a bunch of seriously unattractive rednecks who aren't exactly into blogs and could never figure me out, since I keep my last name off of here. And, as it turns out, the morons didn't even know that the bitch had a step-son, let alone that I or my brothers existed at all. Long story about how things got the way they were. Very long. And you know what? Thinking about something that bad happening to my dad (who is so very kind) just makes me want to stab things with pencils. People, too. It's not conducive to having a nice view of the universe. I know that several family members that I do care about read this blog, so I don't go into details. Let's just say that even Uncle Walt Whitman would have trouble with his sunny disposition if he knew the truth about this woman. So we're sitting there in a very very tiny church in the country. The preacher man invites people to come up and share memories. Some woman with crispy hair and a bad attitude went up and said a lot of things that just had to be about someone else. I gripped a hymnal and wanted very badly to go up and tell them all the truth. The way I figured it, half of the people there would have left immediately if they knew the truth. Totally. Right away. You know that I am not a person who finds himself particularly inclined to public speaking or much actual speaking at any rate. But never have I wanted to get up in front of a room full of people to speak my mind more than today. Honestly, it was respect for my father that kept me seated, not fear of redneck reprisal. My large-statured brothers were there. It's not like the old rednecks could take me. Then this cranky piss-pot of a woman tapped the coffin on the way back to her seat, and I imagined it falling over, which made me chuckle outloud from the back corner of the church -- my father's evil step-mother was a very large lady. The nausea returned then when the preacher talked about how this woman was who she was because of her faith. She loved Jesus, and that's why she was the way she was. Etc. Well shit in my salad, no paradise is worth it at all if I would have to live my life like this bitch. All of the times I've been tempted back to church meant nothing when I sat there and heard the woman who ruined my father's childhood and his relationship with his father called a fucking saint. The stupid preacher said he always saw light in this old hag. I think the dumb sumbitch mistook hell fire for goodness. Any god or messenger of god who would ever claim this harpy for his own and hold her up as an example for the rest of us (and this guy actually did that) is no god of mine. And that's not just because I was raised Catholic, either. It's strange to feel nothing when you look at the corpse of someone you've known your whole life. It's strange to go out to eat and drink after leaving a cemetary not to celebrate someone's life and to share joy that their suffering is over. I think that my parents, brothers and I actually celebrated that this bitch was dead today. I suppose we're cold and evil and going to hell. Hateful Catholics we are or were and all that. But I don't really give a shit. If you knew this women and what she did and how she lived when no one was looking, you would be complete scum to have anything to do with her or even to defend her. I keep hearing that it's "not right" to rejoice at someone's death. But I think people just don't want to believe that there are plainly evil and bad people out there. What does that say about God and the universe if there are such abominations? But I think that not taking joy at the end of an evil life is what's sick and "not right." Get over yourself. Take one for the team. And toast to the fact that the world is better since she's dead. What, are you gonna cry for people like Hitler, too? Or will people really maintain that there are no totally evil people out there? That's a lack of courage and a voluntary shutting of one's eyes. I might be mean, but I'm no sissy with this bitch. I'm not sorry to say that I'm glad she's dead. And judging from the many sets of dry eyes at all the viewings and the funeral and cemetary, I don't think I'm alone.

January 09, 2006

Bye bye.

So my father's step-mother died yesterday. If you knew the story of my father's screwed up childhood (way worse woman than the chick in Cinderella), then you would understand why this is more of a cause of inconvenience than sorrow. Or maybe I'm cold hearted or some such. But I'm not alone in not being especially sad. Hell, I won't talk about some people's reactions to the news, which were far from what you'd expect on hearing that a family member died. But my father is upset because his father is heartbroken. Though a complete bitch, she was his best friend. Being also married to my best friend, I can at least imagine part of his sadness. And it hurts me to see my father upset. However, I can't decide if it's sadness over seeing his own father so distraught (which I feel a little, too -- after all, he's my grandfather) or something akin to the end of Frankenstein, in which the monster weeps over his fallen creator, even though the two were enemies.

January 06, 2006

Joint blogging ventures.

One week ago, a dozen folks hit some bars in Baltimore's historic Fell's Point. Two of these lucky folks are bloggers. One even wore a Blogger T-shirt. The other is sexy. Both took photos of the other taking photos of the other at The Greene Turtle. It was historic. I present to you, Bowman. In all his glory and camera-dom. And Bowman presents yours truly: me (click that because you know you love it).

January 04, 2006


I've ranted about how much I like what's going on with The Avenue in Hampden, where I grew up. Here, here and here. Hip and urban and all those other buzz words the cool kids like. But it means that it's safer. Good coffee (best in Baltimore actually). Book stores. Etc. But why get rid of this cool mural? I remember that it used to scare me when I was little. Then it was restored and lovely. I took this from the second floor of the Royal Farms headquarters, within a block of each house I lived in when I was a kid. Seems that some dude who's gonna come in and pretend that he "saved" Hampden (like I here a certain restaurant owner, er, accusing of claiming) is putting in lofts and did away with the mural -- not to mention displacing local gems like New System Bakery. How much is too much? And, dude, any chance you need a philosopher-type fella to live in your lofts in exchange for starting a blog about how you're making a ton of money, I mean, saving Hampden? Just saying, you know, I might know someone...

January 03, 2006

2006 is the fix.

Some of the crazier members of my family wishing the internet a Happy New Year. I'm boring. I only wore eye glasses. And I think I'm shaving my beard when my wife goes out of town in two days. Maybe. If she's lucky. Love and kisses (again) to Mr. Rev. G-money. Word is bond. Bong. Etc. Don't do drugs. Dey is bad.

January 01, 2006

Happy New Year, Crackers.

Yeah, so my brother decided to slip me extra vodka. Asti. Etc. So I'm totally like totally in the mood to love you all right now. In Baltimore. In the living room. At the home of my family. Far from my own home and gear and bike. And isn't my control of the shift key and punctuation just astounding? Yeah, I know. You don't have to tell me. Please eat a lot this year. Please. Please. I beg you. And please America, please please please be more sensible. I'm being nice saying it that way, too. You know what I'm talking about. You know. War, etc. You idiots. Not you though, dear reader. The other idiots. You know who you are, you shitheads. Love and kisses. Mostly just love though. My wife is a gorgeous but jealous lady. You know how it is. At least you're lucky if you do. If not, that sucks. Sorry about that. Happy New Year and stuff.