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January 2004 Archives

January 5, 2004


The year 2004 A.D. is already shaping up to be a year of monumental and brain-shaking changes in the life of Dave. I wish that I could say that I'm the kind of guy who embraces and grooves on change... and in the abstract, I AM that kind of guy. I love new trends, new technology, new ideas, new music, etc. When the change becomes more personal, it wigs me out a little, even when I know it's a positive change.

I've lived in Boston for 12 years now. I've been at the same job for over 6 years. The idea of completely packing up my life and moving it somewhere else, finding a new job and a new home scares the crap out of me on some level. Even if it's a place that I know and am comfortable with... But that's exactly the direction that I seem to be headed.

The plain truth is that Boston, a city that I dearly love, is slowly destroying me. Mostly financially... I manage to stay afloat, but only barely. The fact that I could own a six bedroom house in Milwaukee for lower mortgage payments than we pay in rent on a 2 bedroom in Jamaica Plain really eats at my soul. I don't NEED a 6 bedroom house... we could own a nice 3-bedroom for HALF what we pay in rent... HALF! Not to mention lower taxes, lower car insurance rates, lower cost of living in general. And those are just the financial reasons. In Boston, even with two decent incomes, we can't afford to buy a house that we'd be happy in. That's just wrong.

People have said, "Why don't you just move outside of the city? Like Fitchburg or something, then commute." First of all, it isn't all that much cheaper outside the city, unless you get WAY outside of the city. Second... I LIKE the city. I'm a city guy... Living way out in the 'burbs or rural areas would drive me completely mad. I like fresh air... but only in small doses.

So. Change is in the air. No lie, it makes me queasy. But I can live through that if it will provide a clearer and easier path toward a happy future. Just don't expect me to be smiling all the way there. At least not ALL the way.

January 6, 2004


Today I've been listening to the songful stylings of Mister Nick Cave. Maybe it wasn't the best choice. I find that my mood is easily influenced by music for better or worse. On a day when I'm over tired and a little stressy, "Murder Ballads" probably isn't the right tone to be setting. I switched over to the "Until the End of the World" soundtrack, which I find much more upbeat and uplifting, despite the fact that it's mostly about the end of the world.

It's been a busy day at the book mines, but busy is good. It keeps the day flowing and maintains the forward momentum. I didn't sleep well last night, and right now it feels like momentum is just about all that's keeping me vertical. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.

I did find time today to hoof it to Central Square to pick up our Marriage Certificate at Cambridge City Hall. It's kind of nice to have that piece of paper in my hands. I know it's just paper and doesn't really mean anything... Except that isn't really true, is it? It means quite a bit, legally. It means that if something happens to either of us, we are legally able to take care of each other. It means that Liz can receive my benefits if she needs to... It means that she can change her name if she wants to...

January 7, 2004

Insanely Great

Yesterday, at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco, Apple announced their new line of Ipods Minis. They are physically about a half inch smaller in length and width than their predecessors, come in a variety of pastel colors, and only hold 4 gigs. At a price tag of $250, I can't think of a single reason that anyone would go for this deal. For an extra $50, you can get a regular Ipod with 15gb of storage... that works out to a more than 3.5 times as many songs (1000 vs. 3700 according to Apple). So maybe it's a half inch bigger and doesn't come in different colors with a silly spandex arm band... So what? I'll be interested to see whether that takes off, or whether they just drop the price to something more reasonable.

All this brings up the real point of this post... the 15 gig Ipod. When I heard this was announced yesterday, I felt ill. Just few weeks ago, we got the 10 gig Ipod as a Christmas/Birthday gift to each other... for exactly the same price as the new 15 gig version. I figured that we were out of luck, until my friend Zubby suggested trying to exchange it. He even called the Apple Store and asked if it would be possible. To our surprise, Apple Dude said, "Sure. No problem. You just have to pay a $30 restocking fee." An extra 5 gigs of space for $30 sounded pretty okay to me...

After work I rushed home, grabbed Lizzie and the hardware, and headed for the mall in Cambridge. The moment we got into the car, the previously quiet skies immediately started to dump a blizzard of snow on us. It was so strange... an instant white out. I started to drive in it and turned back, thinking no Ipod was worth dying for. We blamed Steve Jobs and his Weather Machine. He was clearly trying to prevent us from obtaining our upgrade. Fortunately, he must have been running his weather machine on an old Ipod battery, because within 10 minutes the storm had ended almost as quickly as it began. We proceeded to the Mall.

We walked into the Galleria ornery and itchin' for a fight. I was already over tired and starving, and was convinced that nothing good could actually come of all this. Wrong! The Insanely Great sales guy really took care of us and was very friendly about the whole thing. Go Apple!

We celebrated with dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Speaking of which, their leftover meat loaf is calling me to lunch... So thus ends my tale.


Addendum: I just got a call from my dear friend Meryl!!! She was calling from the airport in Bangkok, where she had just arrived after fleeing a bad teaching job in the armpit of China. She and her boy Gary headed to greener pastures and tropical paradise in Thailand. She says there is plenty of work for them there, so they won't have a problem finding employment. Go Meryl! It was really good to hear her voice.

January 12, 2004

Lizzie's Birthday

Today is Lizzie's birthday! Stop by her blog and say "Hi!" Tonight we're going to be celebrating the blessed anniversary of her birth by going to our favorite Ethiopian restaurant with some friends, followed by the drag show at Jaques. Should be lots of fun! The weather is even cooperating. It's up to a balmy 32 degrees F today... A nice (if brief) respite from the arctic blast. It'll be back later in the week though... and probably even colder than before. Looks like we're getting payback for the last few mild winters...

January 13, 2004

We Who Lunch

I just had a very nice lunch with my friend Nicole. She's someone that I definitely don't see often enough. We talked a lot about the perils of adulthood and our constant struggle with chronic laziness. We talked about how Boston drives out talented and educated young people (like ourselves... heh) with it's exorbitant housing prices and cost of living. Hell, we talked about a lot of semi-sorta dreadful things. Sounds really cheerful, huh? Actually it really was. For me anyway... and hopefully for Nicole too. She's a good egg.

In other news, Spalding Gray is missing. The news stories are not making it sound like there will be a happy outcome. Depression, suicidal inclinations, a death fixation... It sounds like everyone involved is expecting the worst. I'll keep my fingers crossed for him though... He's a talented guy, whether you love or hate his monologues.

January 17, 2004

Ice water

The brutally cold weather has finally left for awhile.. ironically it took our hot water with it. We woke up this morning to find that our shower running cold. A quick inspection of the basement found that our water heater was spraying and a small lake was forming. We called the land lord. No answer. We called the plumber. They said they'd call us back, but there was quite a backlog. Six hours later I called back to check in...

The guy almost bit my head off! It was pretty clear that he'd been answering angry phone calls all day. I was very friendly, told him I knew that they where busy and working as fast as they could, and that I just wanted to know if he could give me a rough estimate on when they might get to us. He calmed down right away, took down the info on the water heater and said he'd call my landlord and get back to me as soon as he could. I got a call back ten minutes later. The end result: probably no hot water until Tuesday. They need to order a new unit and then get it installed. They're still getting to calls from LAST Tuesday, but if they have another job in our neighborhood sooner, he'll try to get them to work ours in. I got the feeling that he appreciated not being screamed at, and would honestly try to get us taken care of.

On the bright side... we DO have heat. And our friend and neighbor Beth lives just two doors down and has kindly offered us the use of her shower until ours works again. At least we won't stink!

January 20, 2004

Boil me a bath

Well... it's Tuesday and I THINK we might have hot water again. The plumbers came by yesterday at 7 AM and installed a new water heater. Hours later... still no hot water. The plumber came back yesterday afternoon. He'd installed a defective water heater. He'd have to come back in the morning. This morning they show up at 8:30 AM, spend almost 2 hours in the basement, and announce the problem is fixed. If I come home tonight to no hot water, I will be one mean and cranky individual. Liz and are are out of clean clothing, have dirty dishes that are 5 days old and sticky, and have been relying on the kindness of neighbors for daily hygiene. That, combined with the other stressful stuff in our lives right now, has been making us both grouchy and depressed. A little hot water would go a long way right now. Doesn't seem like it should be such a big deal, but at the moment it really is.

On a brighter note, last night we went to see Gomez play at the Paradise with Beth and Paul. It was a really good show. They rocked their little British hearts out, bless them...

January 22, 2004

motion sickness

Liz has a job interview next Friday... in Milwaukee. She's already booked a flight for a week from today. This is a good and positive thing, but also terrifying. Things seem to be moving very fast, and I'm not very good at dealing with fast and major changes. This move is something that we both want, but the logistics are daunting. Just the packing alone is a nightmare. Even harder is the idea of leaving a decent job that I enjoy to try and find a new job in a new city during a lousy economy. I know that I can do it. I'm good enough at what I do that I should be able to find someone to hire me. It just feels like a lot at the moment. We haven't even got our wedding "Thank You" notes done, or all of our wedding pix printed. I'm freaking out a little.

Just a little though. This stuff will all work itself out, and it will be a positive step toward the future that Liz and I both want. I just needed to vent and this seems like an okay place to do it. I need to kick myself into gear and start getting stuff done, to ease this transition as much as possible.

January 26, 2004

rambling man

This is me... feeling somewhat uninspired and listless... but still trying to make a journal entry. Lets see how it goes.

All in all, it was a good weekend. A party at Sue's house in Stoughton on Saturday night, made extra nice when our friends Ryan and Amy showed up. Sunday Marty and Tanja drove in from Worcester for a movie and dinner. We saw the new Tim Burton movie "Big Fish". I wasn't really expecting to like it, based on a few reviews from friends. I was pleasantly surprised. Great Tim Burton visuals and an interesting look at storytelling and father son relationships. It does a little bit of over the top heart string pulling, but not so much that it bothered me. After the movie, we went to Addis Red Sea for the best darn Ethiopian food in Boston. Just can't get enough of that stuff.

Today I'm back at work... I should have worked on Saturday, but I find myself less driven to impress folks at work, now that we've made the decision to move. Not that I'm slacking off... I'm just not so motivated to go the extra mile. Today is busy, and I'm multitasking my butt off. Rearranging my workload on the fly to compensate for broken printers and confused editors... Rock and roll.

My biggest fear about this upcoming move is that I'll have to take a fairly large step backward career-wise. As I search the job listings, it occurs to me that part of the reason I always said that I couldn't move to Milwaukee was that there are almost NO publishing jobs there. There are PRINTING jobs... but it's kind of a different ball game with different skill sets that I haven't yet acquired. Living in Milwaukee is probably going to mean starting over at the bottom in some regards, and that's a problem. Of course, the alternative is commuting to Chicago. That would be lousy, but doable for the right job at the right company. All academic, since so far no one is calling me back anyway. The worst case scenario would be having to take a job at the crazy print company. Good company, but a bit of a creepy cult-like corporate culture. The hours are evil too. Mandatory 12 hour night shifts for half the year. Not too compatible with having a family, or even a significant other that you like to spend time with... But if it came down to survival, I'd have to do it. Hopefully it won't come to that.

Enough about me... what about you?

January 30, 2004

Mars Needs Water

It's been a very long day, full of plumbers and long hours at the bookmill, and missing my wife. Fortunately, it ended with some much needed El Salvadorian (I think) food and beers (I know) with Mike at the Brendan Behan. Drink and good conversation is always an excellent way to turn a bad day around.

On the way home, a strange hispanic man pulled over and tried to entice me into his chevy. He might have just been a nice guy offering a ride to a neighbor on a icy cold night. Or he might have been after my goodies. We'll never know. I was a little drunk and in a good mood, and decided that I'd be much better off enjoying the walk through Jamaica Plain. Safety Pup says "Never get into cars with strangers, kids!"

Now I'm back at the crib, missing Lizzie, but I'm warm and I have a purring cat on my lap, so things could be worse. Tomorrow will be another hectic work day, followed by a party at a co-workers house. That should be a kinda fun. More fun if Liz was here.

About January 2004

This page contains all entries posted to Dave's Headblog in January 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2003 is the previous archive.

February 2004 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.