Main

Life Archives

December 12, 2003

Judgement Day? No such luck...

I wonder if people embrace all those "end times" prophecies because it's easier to think about all the chaos being wiped clean, than trying to figure out a way past their every day problems. After all, if the world ends you won't have to worry about paying off those credit cards... You don't have to worry about losing your job or keeping a roof over your heads. Don't worry about putting your kids through college... they'll complete their education with the angels when the rapture comes. It kinda makes armageddon sound attractive. Of course, the "end times" have been coming since sometime very shortly after the dawn of Christianity. Banking on judgement day seems like a sucker's bet at this point.

Today my head is going in several different directions at once. Wrestling with some weird little Adobe Acrobat display issues, some weird little cgi issues, and then all the non-work related issues. Money, the near future, the less near future, the distant future. Some of it excites me and some of it makes me want to crawl under my bed and hide. But that never really works does it.

Last night Liz and I had dinner with my old friend Matt Brown. I think I've known Matt since the sixth grade... so a I guess that's about 23 years. We haven't really lived in the same city for about 20 of those years. It's funny how time and distance sometimes don't matter that much. Always nice to see Matt.

December 22, 2003

"They tried to kill us. They didn't. Let 's eat!"

Last night we had a little Chanukkah celebration at Casa Liz y Dave. Liz made her delicious and now world famous latkes. We also had some bagels that Jenni overnighted to us from Manhattan, some nice smoked whitefish and fresh lox. A nice small gathering with a few old friends and a few new. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring out the pickles until the end of the evening. These are no ordinary pickles... they're straight from Gus's pickle barrels on the the Lower East Side in NYC. Liz's grandfather used to buy pickle from Gus. Best pickles ever.

I spent most of the weekend glued to my computer printing wedding pictures so that they'll be ready to be brought to Milwaukee for Christmas. Not my favorite way to spend a weekend, but I procrastinated on it for weeks so I have no one to blame but myself. Next project... "thank you" cards for the wedding gifts.

Update on the Ipod Saga: We picked up the Ipods this weekend... sadly it turns out that my decrepit old mac will require the addition of a PCI ATA card before I can load another Hard drive into it. So now the whole process will go like this:
1) install PCI ATA card in Jurassic Mac.
2) install new 40gb Hard drive, attached to PCI card
3) install OSX (10.2)
4) update 10.2 to 10.2.6
5) update 10.2.6 to 10.2.8
6) install latest Itunes software
7) finally get to plug in the Ipod and pray it all works

Depending on the whims of Amazon and UPS, I might get this thing running before 2004. I am VERY impatient when it comes to new toys. Liz's is up and running so I've been enjoying it vicariously.

December 31, 2003

Old/New

This year, Liz and I spent a very nice Christmas in Wisconsin. I grew up in Milwaukee, and have always enjoyed coming home to it. It's an interesting city, one that has evolved in interesting ways since I moved away 12 years ago. Seeing family and friends there just reinforces the positive draw that it has for me. This year, the visit was different in some intangible way. Maybe because this year it may hold the future as well as the past? I don't know. Yet.

2003 has been a very good year. I travelled, I made new friends, I learned a lot about myself, and most importantly, I married the most incredible woman. That in and of itself would be enough to make this one of the best years of my life.

2004 is going to be interesting... I think there are a lot of changes on the way. There need to be, in order to move forward.

I'm not really one to make New Years resolutions... but if I was going to make one this year, it would be to dedicate myself to positive momentum.

Everyone have a safe and Happy New Years Eve. Don't drink and drive or I'll smack you.

January 6, 2004

Momentum

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 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.

February 9, 2004

You Want This?

Job hunting in a city that you don't live in is a little daunting. I'm building lists of potential employers, firing off my resume to companies that aren't even hiring, and crossing my fingers that someone eventually reads it and gives me a chance.

My current job is keeping me very busy at the moment, and absorbing a lot of my energy. We are in the final days of a social studies project that must go to print by the end of the week. It's been difficult to come home and spend more time looking at a computer screen. No one seems to be posting job listing for the kind of stuff that I do on the big job boards. That means that I have to scour every individual publisher's corporate web site over and over until something materializes. Plus check 4 or 5 of the major job sites... plus the Milwaukee and Chicago on-line classifieds. It makes my head hurt, but it's got to be done.

Liz is getting closer and closer to finding a good job in Milwaukee. She's got another interview this week. When that happens, we'll be moving fairly quickly... Possibly by April 1st. We'll both be moving whether I have a job or not. Financially, we just can't afford two apartments in two cities. So me getting a job quickly is an imperative. Scary stuff.

Tonight I'm going home and forcing myself to spend the night in front of the computer, whether it makes me crazy or not. Because it's getting to the point that NOT doing it will make me crazy. I am bad at chaos and uncertainty. I know that this is an important and necessary move that we are making. I know that it is a GOOD move. It still makes me jittery and stressed out. I can't do much about that, but seeing me jittery stresses Liz out. Stressing out Lizzie stresses me out. It's a nasty cycle, based entirely on the fact that we love each other so much that we hate to see each other wig out about anything. I have no idea how to break out of it, other than forge ahead until we get resettled into our new and exciting life together.

I apologize for subjecting you all to my little stress party. Please don't take it too seriously. I tend to vent in this blog more than I rejoice, so you aren't seeing all the good and happy things that light up my world on a daily basis. Writing has always been a good way to purge my frustrations, and unfortunately this seems to be where I occasionally purge. I'll try to include some of the good stuff occasionally too.

February 19, 2004

Ouija if you could?

Fred, one of my supervisors at work, just gave me a 70s era Parker Brothers Ouija board. He's getting ready to move and is cleaning out his house. It's the traditional William Fuld design on a heavy (nonwooden) board, and is in beautiful shape. I've always been both fascinated and creeped out by Ouija boards. I'm not sure that I want to hear from anyone on "the other side." I'd rather keep my metaphysical phone number unlisted. Still, I like the design, and the idea that something so simple and "low tech" could open a gateway that none of our technology could unlock. Not that I particulary believe that... I just like the idea. So I'll hang on to the Ouija board, and maybe I'll find a non-supernatural decorative use for it.


February 27, 2004

The Amazing Flying McBride

Last weekend was exactly what I needed... 3 days of "hanging" out in Providence with a bunch of really good people. No matter where we move, I hope we'll always be able to make it to Providence for these events. Spending time with those folks is good for both my head and my heart.

This week has been all about work... I feel like I complain about that too much. It isn't a bad thing. I'd definitely rather have the work than not, and we need the money pretty badly right now. Liz and I are both itching to get the next phase of our lives started, and doing this extra freelance stuff now will help make that transition a little easier.

Hopefully by the end of this weekend (or at least early next week) I'll have this freelance job finished and I can move on to the other things that desperately need my attention.

We have a visitor from the Great White North coming to stay with us next week. That should be fun... Liz has lined up a "judaica crawl" in Brookline on Sunday for the "Boston Jew Crew" followed by a feast at our house. I might need to stay home and work for the "crawl" but there's NO WAY I'm missing the feast!

March 8, 2004

Tick Tock

The gears are definitely turning in the weird Rube Goldberg machine that is our life. Lizzie is off to Milwaukee again this afternoon for an very promising job interview. I have a feeling that she'll get one of the two jobs that she is interviewing for... If so, that will pretty much cement May 1st as my last day in Boston.

Thanks to the guidance of The Dad-in-Law, we found out today that we're going to be able to afford a home in Milwaukee with payments much cheaper than our rent here. Room enough for Liz and I, the cats, and eventually our future offspring... It's still somewhat heartbreaking to me that the same amount of money wouldn't buy a 1 bedroom apartment in a crack house in Boston. But that's why we're leaving... following so many other people we know who finally cracked under the financial strain of the most expensive city in the Americas.

Is it weird that I already miss Lizzie? She's only going to be gone a couple of days, and she hasn't even left yet! I just don't look forward to going home tonight and not having her there. When I was single, I never minded being alone and having time to myself. Now,I've apparently developed a serious Lizzie addiction! Not that that's a habit that I EVER intend to kick... :)

March 29, 2004

Heckboy

I haven't been felling very "bloggy" lately... not sure why. I think maybe because I'm waiting for the big news. Things seem to revolve around waiting lately, and it makes everyday goings-on seem less than noteworthy. That's not really a good way to experience life, so I'll try to shake the mindset.

Liz and I went to see a free sneak preview of "Hell Boy" tonight. We both thought it was fun. Lots of action, cool effects, and a story that did a good job of explaining the characters while keeping the momentum going. I have to admit that while I'm a little bit of a comic geek, I've never really read Mike Mignola's HellBoy" books. I don't know how the fanboys will react... probably like fanboys usually do. "Hey! That's out of continuity! In issue 17, Abe Sapian said he prefered macadamia nuts to rotten eggs..." Oye.

April 6, 2004

I'll Take Manhattan

New York was a very good time, as it usually is. Jenni was the hostess with the mostest!

We took the Fung Wah bus from Chinatown Boston to Chinatown New York. What an amazing deal. Ten dollars each way! Nice big busses with fairly comfortable seats. Last night it got us home in less that four hours... I've rarely done that driving myself. If we sere sticking around Boston longer, I'd take that suckah all the time.

We rolled in to Chinatown Friday night, dropped off our bags at Jenni's place on the Lower Eastside, and then headed out to meet Liz's old room mate Amy. The three of us went to Decibel, a cool downstairs sake bar for some really delicious cold saki and a table full of tasty Japanese appetizers. I really like that place... kinda dark, dingy and atmospheric, with good food, great saki, and a thumping sound system. Afterward Amy took us to Lit, where she's apparently a regular because they let us in without paying the cover. We staggered home soon after, since poor Lizzie had only had about an hour of sleep the night before

Saturday we went to Brunch with Jenni at 7A. Did some shopping, stopped by Sacred to say "hi" to Brian, and then eventually met up with Lauren, Cora, and Samantha for some Italian food at Frutti Di Mare. We finished up the evening with a long night at Motor City. Somehow I always end up at Motor City... this time I was slightly tipsy and singing along to the Pixies with Amy. Go figure.

Sunday we slept in a little (since we didn't really get home until 3am) and then met up with Cora and Samantha for some feasting at Katz's. Best corned beef sandwich in the known world... it will destroy whatever you thought you understood about corned beef. After brunch we headed up to 23rd on a bagelquest... Liz bought extra luggage specifically for the bagels... Now why didn't I have one of those for breakfast this morning? Dang.

All too soon it was time to climb back on the Chicken Bus and head back to Boston. Moving to the Midwest is going to make these NYC trips much more difficult. But never impossible... It's Liz's hometown, so I'm sure we'll always go back for visits.

April 13, 2004

Germs and Spams

I'm battling a nasty cold that has left me foggy and useless. My manager is telling me to go home... I'm just trying to hang in for a 2pm meeting concerning a project I'm working on. After that, I'll probably bail out and head home.

I've finally become fed up with my email spam situation... I've started investigating some spam-filtering options for my Mac. Right now, it looks like the best solution will be Eudora 6.1 (with SpamWatch), If that doesn't work well enough, I can always add on SpamSieve later. Hopefully that will save me from of the frustration of the 150 or so spams a day that I'm currently receiving.

Anyone have other suggestions for someone working in a Mac environment?

May 12, 2004

Still Here

Life has been busy in all sorts of ways lately. There was a beautiful wedding in Philadelphia full of friends from all over the continent. There was a nice day trip up to Newburyport. In between, there has been a lot of craziness in the bookmines. Work and play, and occasionally sleep.

Still no news on the Milwaukee move. Liz just had a very good 2nd interview for a real estate marketing firm in Boston. Hopefully that will help pay the bills until we can find work in the Midwest. More importantly, hopefully it will mean that Liz won't be so unhappy with her work situation. Plus, we might even get to spend weekends together.

May 18, 2004

Purty Picture

I love this picture of Liz and I, taken at Shawn and Leah's wedding rehearsal in Philly, by master photographer Phil Barbosa.

Speaking of weddings... a big congratulations to the many couples who are finally getting legally married in MA this week. It's long overdue. I've ranted here enough about that subject, so for now I'll just celebrate with quiet jubilation. It was pretty amazing to watch the 10,000 people celebrating in Central Square Sunday night, when the City of Cambridge started issuing licenses at Midnight. I hope each couple finds as much joy in their marriage as I have in mine.

May 28, 2004

Mandatory Update

Don't know why, but I haven't felt too inspired to post here lately. We're still playing the "wait and see" game, but it looks like we'll still be in Boston (or at least the Boston area) for little while. Despite a constant search and many resumes sent, I've yet to get a single call for a job in the midwest. Meanwhile, my job here seems to be going really well, with a promotion just around the corner. Liz has done somewhat better with the process, but still no pay-off. We haven't given up trying, but we're also reinvestigating possibilities in New England. Possibly Providence. We're just trying to keep all of our options open and see where it takes us.

We've got a busy weekend planned... drinks with friends, visiting my bro and sis-in-law, hopefully seeing some old friends in Western MA on Sunday. Lots of groovy goodness all around. Happily, Lizzie has the whole holiday weekend off. That makes it extra-nice.

May 31, 2004

a valley full of pioneers

Liz and I just got back from a day spent wandering around the Pioneer Valley with my old friends Matthew and Michelle. I've known them both for about 17 years now... back when we were first-year students at a small liberal arts college nestled in the bucolic hills of Amherst, Massachusetts. That seems like a long time ago and a million miles away... and yet somehow.. not. Both of them, in there own ways, have always had a way of kick starting my brain and sending it off in new and interesting directions. In fact, (and I've probably never said this to him before) I think Matthew might have had the single greatest influence on my reading habits for a lot of my adult life. Looking at my walls of book cases right now, I'm seeing Steve Erickson, Kenneth Patchen, H.P. Lovecraft, John Crowley, Lucius Shepard, William S. Burroughs... just a few of the authors that Matthew pointed me toward over the years that had an influence on my young adult brain. Of course those books led me in pursuit of others, and so on and so on...

I'm sleepy and nostalgic, but the "lesson to self" this evening is one that I should carve in stone: "Spend more time with old dear friends."

June 25, 2004

Midwest Yo!

Tonight I'll be picking up Lizzie at the airport after her return flight from Virginia. We'll have about enough time to pack, play with the cats, collapse, and head back to the airport for our trip to Chicago tomorrow morning. My old friend Ari is getting married on Sunday, so we'll have a couple of days to catch up with my Chicago posse before rushing back to Boston on Monday morning. It's going to be a couple of days of busy booked-solid funtime. Sadly no time to make it up to Milwaukee, but it'll still be a rocking good trip.

I was digging through some old folders and found this little blast from the past...

That always makes me laugh. It is good to be easily amused.

June 29, 2004

Windy City

Having lived so far from the shores of Lake Michigan for so long now, I sometimes forget what an amazing, vibrant, yet down to earth city Chicago can be. This weekend was an excellent reminder. It was also much too short.

We were there Saturday through Monday for the wedding of my old friend Ari and his very cool fiance (now wife) Gail. Ari and I lived together (with about 6 other people) for a couple of years during college. Ari is an amazing chef and for at least a year of that time Ari was my personal cook. I was his personal dishwasher, so it worked out fairly well for both of us. About 12 years later, and we've each found newer and cuter cooks and dishwashers (sorry, Ari).

We had the excellent good fortune of being able to stay with our friend Matt for the weekend. Not only is he a great host, but as a life-long native he's one of the greatest advocates for the city of Chicago that I've ever met. Mostly he's just a lot of fun to talk to, and he understands the joys of drinking pints in the sun on a summer day. Thanks for being such an excellent host, and also for giving us some new tunes.

Our friends Sammi and Bill also came into the city to join us for pints in the sun. Last time, they were meeting us for pints in the snow at the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha. This time we went a little more urban stylee at the Pontiac Bar in Wicker park. Bill had three different types of digital camera with him... I just have to admire that in a person.

The wedding itself was quite beautiful. It was an outdoor ceremony at the the Garfield Conservatory, with the reception held inside. The Conservatory seems (at least at the moment) to be a weird mix between a botanical garden and Jurassic Park. Weird installations of dinosaur skeletons, often in artistic arrangements where scattered throughout the gardens. Beautiful and yet a little creepy, but fun. It was nice to reconnect with so many old college friends that I don't see often enough. It's funny how many of my friends from both Hampshire and Boston have ended up in the Chicago area. There has been a slow but definite migration. Who knows, maybe we'll be next.

July 8, 2004

Ear Ache My Eye

This is normally the time that Id try to recap in detail the events of the holiday weekend and the days that followed. Lately, my laziness at online posting has created a vast backlog of points of interest that I then feel compelled to try and capture in writing a bit too long after the fact. Because I use this blog as a personal journal, Ill take a second to make a list for posterity, then Im just going to move on. In no particular order:

  • BBQd lots and lots of meat on the grill. The highlight was the fresh cheesy brats simmered in beer and grilled to tasty perfection reminiscent of my Milwaukee childhood.
  • Spent a lot of time hanging out on the roof deck with various good friends, enjoying the weather, the company, and the joys of minty lemonade spiked with vodka.
  • Our friend Jason was in town visiting from Philly. He's good people. We miss him when he's not around.
  • Saw Michael Moores Fahrenheit 911. Definitely a film worth seeing, no matter where you stand in the political spectrum. It has its own bias, thats for sure. He asks you to make a few leaps of faith, but not very large ones. A lot of the information included at the very least begs further investigation. If youre a Bush supporter, Id encourage you to go see the film, and then write an intelligent article debunking it. I havent seen too much of that lately. Im open to reading it. Convince me that our government isnt as deeply corrupt as it seems. Please.
  • Watched most of Wizard People, Dear Reader, a very funny alternate soundtrack for the first Harry Potter movie. A paradox of baby-ness and power!" Fun!
  • Enjoyed a very good breakfast at the S&S Deli in Cambridge with Jason, Zubby, and Larissa.
  • Skipped the fireworks on the Esplanade.

So that was the weekend this week has been so far mostly unremarkable, accept for the awful and random earache that I got yesterday for no apparent reason. When I was a kid (4 or 5 years old maybe?) I used to have constant ear infections. Then my adnoids were removed and drainage tubes were put into my ears. The problem disappeared and I don't think I've had one since. Until yesterday. The pain got progressively worse throughout the day until I finally gave up, left work, and called my doctor. The doc said, "Are you running a fever?" No. I wasn't. "Take a hot shower, some Actifed, and some Afrin nasal spray. If your ears still hurt in a few hours call me and I'll get you some antibiotics. Then you'll need to come see me first thing in the morning. Actifed and Afrin? We had that. I gave it a shot. Sure enough, my tubes opened up, my ears drained, and presto! No more pain. Neat! Of course I spent the rest of the night knocked out on the couch by prescription medications. Just one Actifed leaves me in a haze for about 16 hours Luckily I had no heavy machinery to operate this morning.

July 12, 2004

Providential

Today is my dear bonehead Katrina's birthday! Happy Birthday, dear Bonehead! Katrina claims to read my blog, but she never posts comments... She is a ninja lurker. Happy birthday, Ninja Bonehead!

Saturday Mrs. Lizzie and I went down to Providence on a whim. Providence is a nice little city, with good restaurants, beautiful old New England industrial architecture, ivy coated college campuses, and plenty of urban grit. We spent some time wandering around Thayer Street, were all the shiny young college kids seemed to be hanging out, spending their summer looking cool.

Next we went downtown to University Tattoo where our friend Joy is one of the resident artists. It was nice to have some time to just hang out on the grass and catch up. I also spent some time talking to Dooz, the other artist at the shop. He does some asian-style work with beautiful shading that I quite admire, and he's a very friendly fellow.

We let Joy get back to work, and then grabbed some tasty indian dinner before heading over to our friend Frank's house. Even more friends over there, so more shooting of the breeze insued. We were introduced to jaw-dropping technological wonders that left my geeky little heart green with envy. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend a Saturday.

Sunday was a lazy day... despite the beautiful weather, I think I only left the house because our arugula had wilted. More was needed for Lizzie to create her wonder salad, so I shuffled off to the Stop n Shop. Otherwise, it was a much needed day of sloth. Sometimes, after much busy-ness and running about, sloth is the least deadly of the seven deadly sins.

July 14, 2004

Bubba Ho-Tep

Last night, I finally got a chance to sit down and watch Bubba Ho-tep, starring the always amazing Bruce Campbell in the role he was born to play. Campbell is a 70 year old rest home resident who may or may not be Elvis Presley. The King teams up with his only friend, a fellow resident (Ozzie Davis) who believes that he is John F. Kennedy, to defeat an ancient mummy in cowboy boots who is devouring the souls of the elderly.

Not exactly a brilliant film, but a good solid B-movie effort. Campbell and Davis make it worthwhile, taking occasionally lame dialog and spinning it into gold. Im going to let this one stew in my brain awhile then maybe Ill rent the DVD and watch it with commentary. There have to be some fun extras packed into this one...

July 22, 2004

DNC Creeping Up

The Democratic National Convention is only days away. By all accounts, the city of Boston is about to be turned into a nightmare world of gridlocked traffic, security checks, random searches, barricades, striking police officers, and drunken delegates swaggering around like they own the place. The media has been warning us for months that the only sane response any Bostonian can have is to "get the @#%$ out of dodge."

So do we listen? Heck no! Lizzie and I are like the old couple in the hurricane that refuses to evacuate. "It's our house and we ain't leavin'!" I have a suspicion that the hype and clamor about the coming DNC hardships is a little overblown. I'm one of the fortunate folks who live south of downtown Boston, and won't be too affected by the closings of North Station and 93. My particular stretch of the Orange Line should have full service, and will probably even run more often.

With that said, I'll probably still try to leave work a little early and avoid the heavily Convention-infested parts of town as much as possible. The News tells us on a nightly basis that the DNC could be an attractive target for terrorists attacks. Then they show us all of the precautions that are being taken to protect us. Does that make me feel safer? Not really. Like most of Boston, I suspect I'll be on edge next week. Loud noises are likely to make me jump. I'll steal suspicious glances at my neighbors as I ride the train. Then I'll feel guilty about it, and I'll try to remember what it was like when we never worried about attacks on our own soil. Weird times.

July 27, 2004

The DNC Has Been Veddy Veddy Good to Me

So far, the much dreaded DNC has had a mostly positive effect on my quality of life. My commute on the Orange Line has been speedy and uncrowded. I have yet to see a single bag search, although Ive heard that they are happening closer to the Fleet Center. The trains and stations are weirdly unlittered and shiny. Even the streets are squeeky clean, despite the fact that anything even resembling a trash can has been removed.

Ive been going out for long walks at lunch just to see whats going on. Yesterday I hung out and ate my lunch around the massive Falun Gong demonstration in Copley Square. They had some disturbingly realistic recreations of the torture techniques used by Chinese Government to persecute Falan Gong practitioners. I also caught the tail end of one of the anarchist marches down Boylston Street. It looked like maybe fifty people followed by about 30 cops on motorcycles who where stopping traffic for them. There were apparently no problems... the protestors were peaceful and the police seemed respectful of the whole thing. Aside from that, there wasnt a lot going on except an above average number of tourists with convention passes wandering the streets of the Back Bay to shop and ogle the FAO Schwartz teddy bear.

Today I took a different route, passing through the Public Garden and the Boston Common. The Really Really Democratic Bazaar was going on in the Common, with bands playing on two stages and lots of booths set up by... well, basically anyone who felt like setting up a booth, I guess. There didnt seem to be too much going on. It was early, so maybe it got revved up later. On my way across the Common, I ran into Dan P., an old friend from college. Hed come down to see the sights, and was on the look out for our mutual friend and ultimate hotshot power-librarian Jessamyn who is in Boston this week as an official blogger at the DNC. Nice to catch up with him a little bit. As it turned out, I had no Jessamyn sightings today. I wonder if Dan did.

The one thing that Ive found weirdly menacing this week are the unmarked helicopters that have been hovering over the Back Bay. I watched one hanging fairly low over the corner of Boylston and Berkeley for about five minutes before it wandered off, only to be replaced by another one that seemed to be just over Newbury Street. Maybe the Clintons where shopping...

September 14, 2004

I know...

I know... I'm a bad blogger. Things have been crazy lately and are only getting crazier. I promise to be better at regular posting when things calm down.

In a nutshell:
-Lizzie has started her exciting new job. She's going to be putting in long hours for awhile, but I'm sure all that hard work is going to pay off for her.

-the bookmines have been hectic, but I've managed to get all my projects under control and deadlines are being met.

-in a couple of weeks we're up moving to Salem, MA.. Salem is an interesting town. Lots to do, lots of actual history, and boatloads of psuedo-history and legend. I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say about all that, but I want to wait until I actually live there and can do my research before I start editorializing.

That's all I've got time for... gotta run home and pack!

October 22, 2004

Here are a few

things on my mind lately:

1) I'm not really a baseball fan, but it's hard to live in New England and not absorb some of the unbridled joy that has infused this region since the Red Sox won the American League championship Wednesday night. People around here are passionate about this stuff and have been waiting a long time for the Sox to get this far. The possibility that they might even win the World Series for the first time since 1918 seems to be right up there with the second coming of Jeebus Chrikey.

2) None of point 1 excuses the insane orgy of drunken destruction that occurred during the riots around Fenway Park after Wednesdays game. Flipping cars, setting them on fire, trying to toss trash cans through bank windows, and throwing bottles at cops is not the way to celebrate a victory. As it turns out, it IS a good way to get heavy fines and to probably be expelled from whatever area college you happen to attend, thanks to the post-DNC surveillance cameras that were mounted all around the ball park.

3) None of point 2 excuses the irresponsible use of "less lethal" weapons by some Boston Police Officers, resulting in the death of a 21 year old girl.. I understand that they were trying to control a riot, but firing pepper spray loaded hard plastic pellets randomly into a crowd at head level is just foolish. According to the papers, the Boston Police Department takes full responsibility for the girl's death, and the officers involved are personally devastated. Maybe this will result in a re-examination of how they use they "less lethal" methods. Apparently they aren't all that much "less lethal.."

Other Stuff:

1) We got real furniture delivered on Wednesday. An actual (non-salvation army) couch and love seat set. Very comfy! The cats seem to like snoozing on them. One of these days, Liz and I will actually have time to enjoy them.

2) Salem Halloween should be kicking in to high gear this weekend. That probably means I won't be going downtown very much. S'okay. This weekend the rock stars are coming through Boston, so we'll probably be in the Big City hanging out with them. Next weekend we'll indulge in the hard core Salem craziness at our friend Leo's party down near Pickering Wharf.. Should be pretty whacky. Close to all the Haunted Happenings events, but with a nice fire in the backyard to keep warm. That should be rocking good fun.

October 29, 2004

Hertz Donut

My Friday isn't off to a great start... I've got a nasty headache that I don't seem to be able to shake and I didn't have the pleasure of Lizzie's company during my morning commute. We usually ride the commuter rail in to Boston together, but this morning she had to drive in later for a trip to Restaurant Depot. She's working so much right now that I cherish every moment I can spend with her, even if it's on a crowded MBTA train.

Liz's new workplace, Limelight Stage and Studio should be opening on Monday. It's a really cool concept. Chock full o' fun! If you're in the Boston area stop by for some sake cocktails and full-on hi-tech karaoke madness. They've got a public stage and private rooms that you can rent with a bunch of your friends... record a CD, a DVD... theme-nights... Good stuff. You should check it out.

This weekend we have the double-whammy of Salem Halloween and the Boston Red Sox World Series Victory celebrations. I'm not even going to try to come in to Boston for the parade on Saturday. I'm happy for Red Sox fans all over New England, and I shared some of their joy when the Sox swept the Cardinal for their first World Series victory since 1918. Not so happy that I feel like braving the insane crowds and cold rain predicted for tomorrow though. I'll be saving my energy for Salem Halloween celebrations on Sunday. I don't even have a costume yet.

November 15, 2004

Year One

One year ago today, Lizzie married me and made me the luckiest guy on Earth. I couldn't ask for a more perfect partner, friend, lover, cheer leader, or center of my universe. Every curve ball that life has thrown at us so far, we've faced together. It's only made us stronger. I love you, Sweetie!

December 20, 2004

Icey

It's cold out. Cold, windy, and a little snowy. "Stay home, camp out in front of the TV with a hot toddy" weather. This would have been a good day to use on of my stacked-up and soon-to-be-lost-forever sick/personal days. But no... I'm a conscientious employee. I dragged my butt into work today. Employee of the year, right here.


It would be nice if this weather would pay off in the form of a "white christmas" but forecasts call for temperatures in the 50s Thursday and Friday. Sounds like it's going to be more of a brown and grey "earthtone christmas" this year.


This is going to be the first holiday season in over 12 years that I won't have to travel great distances to be with family and friends. Usually we head to back to the olde sod (well, okay, Wisconsin) to celebrate with my parents and extended family. This year my parents are coming to New England instead, partially because my sis-in-law in New Hampshire is too preggers to fly right now. Should be a fun way to surf the yuletide.

January 6, 2005

Happy Friggin' New Year

I haven't posted for awhile, and I think that's probably because I find the "first post of the year" a little daunting. The longer I wait, the more noteworthy things happen. At this point, so many things "of great import" have happened that the idea of trying to write about all of it has become vastly intimidating. The only way to get past that mental obstacle is to just forget about it and move on, without trying to recap in detail the last few weeks of my life. So basically, if you weren't there you're probably out of luck.


Nah... I can't get off that easily.


Here's a few brief snippits, just so I can move on:

  • Lizzie got laid off from Limelight.
  • Lizzie very quickly got about another job with normal hours and more security.
  • My folks came to New England for Christmas. It was really nice to have them here, and to spend time with my bro, sis-in-law, and the kids as well.
  • I got a weird stomach virus thing that made me feel like a big pile of crap for most of a week.
  • found out a friend's cancer went into remission.
  • spent a very quiet New Years Eve with a few good folks, eating , drinking, talking, and xboxing.
  • went down to Providence to welcome a friend to his new home in New England. Got to spend time with some folks that we never see enough of in the process.
  • crazy busy at work. May get promotion soon... or not until April. Depends on the whims of corporate budgets, I guess.

There... that's all you get. I'm now ready to start anew. Happy 2005!

February 26, 2005

Breaking Radio Silence

I know that it's been far too long since I posted here... for some reason I've been feeling really uninspired to write about my life lately. I've been working a lot, but I'm hoping that will pay off in the end. I suspect I'll know soon enough. Big changes are in the air. Hopefully they'll be more for the better than for the worse. I know that's all very cryptic, but I'd rather not give out too much info in public until I know what's what.

Last weekend I had a hideous case of something or other... fevers and aches that eventually just bottomed out into really awful cold-like symptoms and a bad cough. I'm mostly over it now. This bug seems to be sweeping my office, leaving a path of fallen sniffling bodies in it's wake. We had big plans to visit New York City last weekend, but I was way to sick, and poor Lizzie stayed home and took care of me. She also cleaned and unpacked the entire house. She's a superhero! And so cute!

A couple of weeks ago, on my birthday, I was blessed with a beautiful new baby niece named Jessica Grace. She's an amazing little peanut.

That's about it for the moment... I'll try to write more often. Winter is almost over... right?

March 26, 2005

Fortune Cookie

I'm very very bad at blogging. I haven't been inspired to write... or when I DO feel inspired, I'm nowhere near a computer or too busy at work to do anything about it. Hopefully things will ease up in a month or so and I'll get back to it.

Right now, things are busy at work. And a little frustrating. But one of the problems with public blogs is that it's never really wise to talk too much about your job. All I can do is make cryptic posts about how I'm hoping for something positive to happen in the next few weeks. Corporate gears grind very slowly, but April brings change as cycles begin anew. There. Now I sound like a fortune cookie.

Next weekend, Lizzie and I get to spend a 3-day weekend in Providence with a bunch of friends from around the country (and Canada) that we don't get to see very often. Can't wait! I need a little getaway.

April 11, 2005

Cryptic, but in a good way.

This is a little frustrating... I got some really really good news on Friday, but I'm not allowed to make it public for another week or two. I CAN, however make cryptic statements that will be understood by those of you who are "in the know."

The situation that I've been on pins and needles about for over three months has finally resolved itself... with the best possible outcome. It's a huge step forward for me and I'm looking forward to the new opportunities it will bring.

Since cryptic statements like that almost always spin wildly out of control, here's a few things that I'm NOT hinting at (at least at the moment):


- Liz isn't pregnant

- I'm not pregnant

- we didn't buy a house

- I am not going to be the new Pope

- I have not been called to testify in the Michael Jackson trial

- my album has not yet gone platinum.


I'm not denying that any of those things could happen in the near future... but none of them are what I'm alluding to above. Maybe I'll be able to say more next week.

April 16, 2005

Lifting the Veil

Now that it's been publicly announced within my company, I can finally say it... I've been promoted to Supervisor. It feels really good to be recognized for my hard work. It's a big move forward for me professionally and I'm really looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities it's going to bring. The extra cash will also help Lizzie and I put other plans into motion. I'm feeling really good about things right now.

Today we're cleaning the house in preparation for the arrival of our Canadian friends Rachel and Jill. Rachel is running the Boston Marathon on Monday, so she, Jill, and their partners and/or friends are driving down from the Great White North to crash at or quaint New England pad. This means a weekend of beer drinking, giant pasta dinners, and standing on the Marathon route screaming our heads off. Should be rocking good fun!

May 4, 2005

Crappy Blogger

I know I've said this before... over and over... but I'm a lousy blogger. I could blame it on the recent long work hours leaving me too busy to blog during the day and too tired to write anything coherent at night. That would really just be making excuses though. The sad truth is that I've been suffering from some weird form of apathy that has effected not only my blog, but also my emailing, and really all forms of on-line interaction. If I'm going to be absolutely honest, it's probably extends to off-line interaction too. If I didn't have Lizzie to drag me out of the house and make me interact socially, I'd probably have been a complete hermit for the last few months.


Now that the weather is getting nicer, the sun is setting later, and there is a light at the end of the very long tunnel of work that I've been digging through in the book mines, I'm hoping to starting reconnecting with the outside world. Will that translate into more frequent blog entries? Who knows.


My new position in the bookmines is slowly starting to take form, at least in my own mind. The actual job description hasn't quite been finalized yet, but I've been told that I'll soon be training another staff member to take over some of my production work so that I can focus more on project management and other areas. That will be good for all sorts of reasons. While it's nice to be the "resident expert" on something, it's not so nice to be "the only one who knows how to do it". That would be why I've been working crazy hours for the last few months. Time to share the wealth... and by wealth I mean crap ton of work.


In other news, I am very very excited about the new revisions of the G5 iMac. If I can find one in stock, I'm picking one up this week. I've had the same computer (a 350Mhz G3) for the last 6 years, and while it still works, it's become more than a little obsolete. I've had to turn down at least one freelance job because my old aging machine couldn't handle it. Ironically, that job would have paid for a new computer on it's own. Such is life.

June 8, 2005

Lost time

Summer is here... so now instead of complaining about the cold rainy spring I can grumble about the heat and humidity. The meteorological grass is always greener...


Last weekend, Liz and I spent a really great and much needed weekend in NYC. We only really had a day and a half, but we managed to do a lot. We spent Saturday afternoon hanging out with my old friend and housemate Dan, his excellent wife Kathy, and their very handsome baby Henry. Dan and Henry took us to MoMA to take in some art. Next we escorted Amy to a cocktail party at the apartment of Liz's old friend Roman. It was mostly people in town for the Book Expo, all very nice folks made even nicer by Roman's lethal cosmopolitans. Later we met up with the Meep, who very graciously hosted us for the weekend, and our friend Jason. After some tasty and cheap Indian food, we made our ceremonial pilgrimage to Motor City on Ludlow for drinks. My old friend David met us for a few beers. That was really nice. It had been way too long since I'd seen the guy. He's one of those people who I've know since I was 14 .


Manhattan has a funny way of destroying my perception of time. Suddenly we were all having drinks at Grass Roots on St. Marks with Chloe and it was 3:30am. I didn't really become tired until I looked at my watch. Funny how that happens...
We woke up a few hours after we went to sleep and headed to the 2nd Ave Deli to meet James and Samantha for breakfast. Deli food is amazing for purging the toxins built up after a late night on the Lower East side. Not quite enough curative powers to prepare us for what turned into a nightmarish bus ride home. I don't really want to force myself to relive the details, but let's just say that our bus left Port Authority at about 2pm and we didn't walk in our front door until 11.


So now it's Wednesday, and I'm still tired from the weekend. I just never seem to get to bed early, so my sleep deficit keeps expanding. No good can come of this. I have a feeling I might be up late tonight too. I have to give a presentation in the morning on the wonders of the eBook and the magic of instructional technology. So far, I have a sketchy outline that needs filling in, so it looks like I may have homework tonight. No worries... I am a rock star.

June 15, 2005

Betwitched, but not bothered or bewildered

Living in Salem can be a little strange sometimes. With a population of around 40,000, it's somewhere between a large town and a small city. As such, it has it's share of town politics and city economic concerns. First settled in 1626, Salem has a long rich history, full of maritime exploits, great wealth, piracy, and other coastal New England charms. Oh... and did I mention witch persecution? That's where the weirdness begins.


Salem is undoubtedly most famous for the Witch Trials of 1692, when the town was caught up in the grips of a mass hysteria that resulted in the death of 24 people. Nineteen were hanged, one was crushed by stones, and 4 more died in prison. All for the crime of... witchcraft. It's a fascinating story, but too involved for me to get into details in a blog entry. I encourage you to research it though... it's interesting stuff. For the purposes of this entry, it's really only important for you to know that none of the people executed in Salem over 300 years ago were actually witches. None of them.

Flash forward to the 20th Century... Salem, MA embraces the Witch. I'm not enough of a town historian to know exactly when it happened, but I've heard it was some time in the 70's. Salem somehow became a center for modern practitioners of witchcraft and/or Wiccans (not necessarily the same thing, I'm told). They brought with them a booming tourism industry, in the form of witchcraft supply stores, wax museums, haunted houses, historical reenactments, and spooky walking tours. Not everyone is happy about this aspect of Salem's public face, but no one can deny that it's become a huge and positive part of the town's economy. During the month of October, hundreds of thousands of people bring their tourist dollars to our town to get the spooky Salem Halloween experience. Sure, it's a pain in the ass if you need to drive or park in town during those 30 days. Hard to get into restaurants, hard to do errands, etc. Lets face it, the Witch Thing is what sets Salem apart from every other Coastal New England town. Thanks to the power plant, our waterfront doesn't have the greatest view. We have great restaurants, but so does nearly every other coastal New England town. Don't get me wrong, I love Salem. There is nowhere in New England I'd rather live, but if I was a tourist and there weren't witch attractions, I'd probably just keep driving.


Flash forward to June 15, 2005... the official unveiling of the Bewitched Statue on the corner of Essex and Washington in Salem, MA, Witch City USA. The TV Land cable network has donated this 8 foot tall bronze statue of Samatha Stevens, the television sitcom witch played by Elizabeth Montgomery. Local reaction has been... mixed. Some people feel that the nose-twitching witch is an "inaccurate representation" of modern witchcraft, and an insult to their religious beliefs. Others feel it trivializes a great tragedy in Salem's past... Many people (myself included) think it's really just a funny piece of pop art that will probably make me smile when I walk past it on the way to work every morning. It has nothing to do with history, or a current religious reality... it's a freakin' sitcom from the 60s! The show wasn't even set in Salem, thought Samantha visited the town for a couple of episodes.
The months leading up to this grand statuary unveiling have been really entertaining for a cultural observer and discussion board lurker like myself. The chatter on Salemweb has been hilarious. Both sides of the argument got really wound up at times. At one planning meeting, an objector actually had a heart attack after debating the issue. Some of the Salem Witches have talked about protest, while others have planned a "Salem Witches Welcome Samantha" event. I think the later has the right idea... it's fun, it's funny, and it's the perfect opportunity to promote Salem and it's witchy fun on a National level. I'll try to nab some pictures tomorrow and post them.

July 12, 2005

Strange Day

I'ts been an odd day. Very much a rollercoaster, and as a result, not very productive. I'm not sure that I have the energy for trying to translate it all into written word. This outline is more for my own benefit, than anyone elses.

-woke up this morning feeling unrested. This has been happening a lot lately. I think it's weather related. The heat/AC contrasts mess with my system a little.

-Got to work this morning. Turned on my computer and was immediately greeted with the news that Keith Alexander had passed away in a bicycling accident last night. I never knew Keith personally, although I read his various online journals and postings. Lizzie knew Keith much better, corresponding with him frequently. They were working on a book together, to be published through her company. Keith was someone who I always admired from a distance. His talents crossed so many different areas, and he always seemed to have life by the balls. It is difficult to imagine that there was anything capable of killing him. He never suffered fools lightly, but was also more than happy to share knowledge and educate. Many of those who he would verbally demolish online would go on to consider him a friend. He died on his bike, doing something that he was passionate about. Small consolation for those who knew him. He'll definitely be missed.

- Went to the Macworld Convention during my lunch break an ran into my old friend Phil who I haven't seen in years. It's good to see he's still cranking out art and engaging in the pursuit of the interesting. The Convention Expo was a little lame, although to be fair my head really wasn't in it. I just wandered around a little and picked up some free magazines. Since Apple doesn't really sponsor Macworld Boston, most of the big vendors don't seem to bother. No Apple, no Adobe... Quark was there, but these days, who cares? The publishing industry has pretty much given up on Quark.

-Called Katrina to wish her a Happy Birthday and ended up talking to her for about an hour. I'm really glad that she and her husband Ken have moved to the East Coast. We'll be going down to see them in New Haven in a few weeks. Kat has been one of my closest friends for the last 18 years, and I've missed having her within driving distance. It was very good to hear her voice.

So that was my day thus far, sad, happy, unsettled.

September 23, 2005

Yeah, I actually posted!

It's been a long time since I've updated this blog, as usual. It's not really because I have any lack of things to write about... It's really more of a case of apathy. I go through periods where I really don't feel like sharing my thoughts with the general public. I seem to be in one of those periods now. I'll try to shake it off, because really good things are happening in my life and there is no longer any reason not to record them here.


Major Thing:


Say hello to out little bean...



Yup. Lizzie is pregnant! We've just past the first trimester and everything seems to be just fine. We're really really happy! It's something that we've both wanted. Of course, along with the excitement comes a healthy dose of fear and anxiety. Parenthood is going to radically change nearly every aspect of our lives. That's okay. Change is good. We don't know yet whether we're having a boy or a girl, but we'll find out next month. I keep catching myself referring to the baby as a "he". Wishful thinking or premonition? Dunno. I'm pretty sure I'll be just as happy if it's a girl.


Other Things:


We spent last week on vacation in Texas, staying with our friends Sandy and Steve who have a really nice house on some ranch land. Sandy was an amazing host, driving us all over the state so that I could get the full Texas experience. We made it to Austin (the Texas History Museum, the bat bridge, Eric, cajun food, live music), Houston (NASA, Melanie, Gigi, tex-mex, Mai's), and San Antonio (the Alamo and the riverwalk). We also spent a lot of time just hanging out by the pool, drinking beertinis (except for preggo Lizzie), and just relaxing. It was really nice to see all of the places and many of the people that Liz has been telling me about for years.


On a similar note, as Hurricane Rita barrels towards many of the places that I just visited, my thoughts are definitely with all of our friends on the Gulf Coast. Please stay safe!


Work is busy, which is always a good thing. I'm still playing "catch-up" from my week away. One of my new personal goals for the workplace is to update the documentation for everything that I do, so that I can more easily hand off work to other people. Too much of what I do these days is based on info that may not exist anywhere but my head and my scattered notes. That needs to change ASAP.


I had a really good visit from my homeboy Rich last month. We roamed around Salem and the North Shore, partying like pirates, and discovering that it's almost impossible to steal a tall ship without a team of oxen to haul it down the pier... Yarr.

I spend way too much of my time playing World of Warcraft. For those not in the know, its a Massive Mutliplayer Online Roleplaying game. Highly addictive and tons of fun. Fortunately, my wife and many of my friends also have the same addiction, so the understand me when I say things like, "Dude, my NE Druid just ding'ed lvl 40! I'm catching a hyppo to Darnassus to buy myself a mount. Woot!"


I think that's enough for now.

November 16, 2005

I know I always say this...

It has been a really long time since I've posted anything here... I need to jump start this thing. Starting now, I'm going to try to post something at least once a day for the next 2 weeks. I can't promise it will be interesting, but maybe it will get me back into the habit...

So what's new? Well, we've found out that we are having a boy. Despite rumors to the contrary, we still haven't settled on a name yet. I have a handful of girl names that I really like, but for some reason boy names are more difficult. I'm sure we'll figure something out eventually... definitely before he turns 6.

In preparation for the blessed event, we've been spending most of our weekends purging, rearranging, and cleaning the house to make it more baby-friendly. Progress is definitely being made. We've got huge piles of books and clothes either bound for ebay or donation. Furniture is shifting around the house. Things are taking shape. The clock is ticking, but i think we're in good shape.

That's a much catching up as I'm willing to write about at the moment... Trying to recap every little bit of the month that has gone by since my last post would be kind of ridiculous, and wouldn't be particularly interesting to either of us. Better I should just start fresh.

November 17, 2005

Confessions of a Book Fetishist

I love books. Not just reading... although I love that too. I love actual physical books. For some reason, I attach sentiment and meaning to the books on my shelf.. Sometimes its a connection with a particular time in my life. Sometimes its a connection with the person who recommended or gave me the book. Occasionally, it's the potential locked inside a book that I've owned for years but never read. My shelves are full of them. I've spent thousands of dollars on them over the course of my life, surrounding myself with printed words.

Lately, lack of space and disposable income have made me take a long hard look at my relationship with books. Making room for the impending arrival of our offspring has forced me re-evaluate my need to possess. A couple of weeks ago, I went through my entire collection and weeded out piles of books that I'll probably never read again or have never read in the first place. Then I separated out the books that I couldn't bear to part with, but didn't need on the shelves. Those went into the basement. It was both gut wrenching and liberating. But what about new aquisitions? Do I really need to own that cheesy sci-fi novel that keeps me company on the train? Do I even need to own that great Neil Stephenson series? Probably not. And ultimately, there are other more important ways that I need to spend my limited resources.

Fortunately, not owning books doesn't have to mean not reading them. Lately, I become reacquainted with an old love... the Public Library system. Jessamyn would probably smack me up side the head for taking so long to come around to this. What has really sucked me in is the Boston Public Library's online search and "hold" system. I can log onto their website and search the entire Metro Boston Library system for whatever I feel like reading. I can make a wish list for books that want to read but never remember when I'm actually at the library. Best of all, I can request a "hold" on a book anywhere in the system and when it's available it will be sent to the library two blocks from my office. I can even renew online. It's like Amazon, but free! As a result, I've managed to go over 3 months without actually spending money on a book. Sweet! One of the only drawbacks is that I sometimes have to wait awhile after a book comes out before I can get my hands on it. Another is that I find myself lugging around a lot more bulky hardcover books, since those stand up better to the rigors of library circulation. Small sacrifices. I'm making progress.

November 18, 2005

Teenage Lobotomy

The most interesting thing I've been exposed to so far today... a radio documentary previosly broadcast on NPR called "My Lobotomy". It follows Howard Dully as he embarks on a journey to find out everything that he can about the transorbital ("icepick") lobotomy that he was given as a 12-year old boy in 1960 by Dr. Walter Freeman. Freeman invented the procedure and performed about 3500 of them over the coarse of his career, often on people who were not suffering from serious mental illness. Dully interviews Dr. Freeman's son, as well as many of his patients and their families. At it's emotional peak, Dully gains access to his own personal files from Freeman's archives, including photos of himself with the icepick still inserted in his eye sockets. He learns about the reasons that he was lobotomized and is finally able to talk to his father about why this was allowed to happen. Gut wrenching and emotional. Definitely worth checking out. You can listen to it in RealAudio here.

Tonight my lovely wife and I are going to go up to Gloucester to catch the musical stylings of Mr. Peter Mulvey at the Fishtown Artspace. Peter puts on a rocking good show... you should go.

November 20, 2005

PRP=zero

Well, I've already blown the "one post everyday" pledge... I really meant to post on Saturday, but never quite got around to it.

Peter's show was really was really nice. He played in this funky little venue in Gloucester, MA called the Fishtown Artspace... a cool community orientated art education/gallery/performance space. Dogs and babies running around. Always good to see Peter.

Saturday we worked on the house a bit... and although I know that some progress was made it's in one of those phases where it's a bigger mess than when we started. I'm sure that we'll be able to put a major dent in it over the Thanksgiving weekend. In the evening we hung out with Paul, Beth, Dave, and Rita for some tasty chicken, homemade chips (fries... but they were made by and Englishman, so that makes them "chips"), and beverages . We spent much of the evening drinking, talking, and watching the food network. Paula Dean creeps me out... I think I've lost all of my punk rock points.

Today we ventured out into the world to look at cribs and steamer trunks. It's amazing how difficult it is to find a steamer trunk in this day and age. Apparently people no longer ship out with the merchant marines as much as they used to. When we got home we learned that the one place we didn't make it to (Kmart) has them on sale right now. I am writing about steamer trunks... all punk rock points out the window.

November 24, 2005

Feasting

We just finished an amazing Thanksgiving feast. Lizzie brined a turkey overnight and it came out delicious and juicy. She also made garlicky mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, giblet gravy, rolls, and incredible sage stuffing. Now I can barely move! We've got so much food that we'll be having Thanksgiving over and over again for a week. Now we rest, digest, and prepare for the pumpkin cheesecake to come. Truly a day of gluttony. Much to be thankful for.

November 29, 2005

So Sue Me

Okay, so I blew the whole "one post a day" thing. Raise your hand if you didn't see that coming.

So it's Tuesday, and I'm still not sick of Turkey yet. It probably helped that we broke up the feast of leftovers with a delicious dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant last night. Pho Lynn is an amazing "mom and pop" joint with some of the freshest and tastiest Vietnamese food I've ever had. Four of us ate an enormous gut-busting meal, including appetizers. Total bill: $33. That's about $10 a person with tip. It's located in slightly skanky downtown Lynn, MA, but not nearly skanky enough to keep us from going back.

Today I jumped back on the Turkey Wagon at lunch with a bowl of the excellent turkey soup that my talented wife created out of the bones of our Thanksgiving bird.

But enough about food... let's talk about reading. Now that I have sworn off book buying and given that corner of my soul to the public library system, I have become a slave to the dreaded "due date". The library gives me 3 weeks to read a book or renew it. Depending on how busy my life is at the moment, the majority of my reading happens on the train while I commute to work. This equals a total of about an hour a day of solid reading time, five days a week. Maybe a little more at bed time. If I have checked out a book that is 800 pages long, I will most likely not have time to finish it in 3 weeks. So I renew it... unless someone else has put it on hold. So what then? Do I return the book and put my name back in the que, possible waiting months to get another turn? Or do I hold on to the book, racking up late fees until I can finish it? It's a moral question, I guess. I'll leave you to ponder it, or not, as you choose.

December 5, 2005

The Perfect Todd

This weekend was fairly productive, in that we were able to move our home office down into it's new location in the dining room. We definitely couldn't have done it without the help of Dave, Rita, Paul, and Beth, who came over to help with the heavy lifting. Afterwards (it only took about half an hour), we celebrated with some tasty paella, beer, and maybe a little too much wine. Well, except for the Mom-to-Be , who abstained on everything but the paella.

Sunday was our first really snowy day of the season. We stayed indoors and watched the ensuing winter wonderland from a safe distance. I'm sure that there will be plenty of snow to trudge through this winter, probably starting tomorrow with a potential Nor'easter.

Speaking of weather, I was really bummed out to hear that Boston's Channel 7 weather guru Todd Gross has apparently been fired after over 20 years on the job. I always liked Todd Gross. Not just a talking head, this guy has a serious passion for meteorology and seemed to enjoy shairing that with the public. He even had a special section on the WHDH website for weather geeks, supplying some of the arcane data that meorologists use to make their predictions. I don't pretend that I understood it all, but it was always fascinating to read. An actor portraying Todd appeared in the film "A Perfect Storm" , about the giant storm of 1991 that sank the Gloucester fishing boat Andrea Gail. Todd was the weather consultant on the film and was, I believe, the guy who originally labelled it a "perfect storm". There has been no explanation for Todd's apparent dismissal, and all mention of him has been completely removed from the WHDH website. I'll miss you Todd... hopefully you've just gone on to better things.

December 14, 2005

Baby, it's Cold Outside

I have a bad feeling that this is going to be a rough winter. It's already been unseasonably cold this month, even for December in New England. This morning it was the kind of cold that makes the slightest breeze feel like razors being drawn across your face. Bitter cold... and with the projected hike in heating costs this year, that bodes really ill for all sorts of aspects of my life. I'm not going to let this devolve into some kind of sob story about seasonal depression, financial stress, and whining about the cold and the dark. It is what it is, and my challenge is to come up with creative ways of handling it all. Unfortunately, hibernation is not really an option. Note to self: No Hibernation!

Things in the bookmines are just about to get crazy busy at the worst possible time of year. Everyone is using up their remaining vacation time on or around the holidays, myself included. Unfortunately, that means that I have to make sure a number of project deadlines get met in the next few weeks, despite the fact that we're going to be understaffed and our vendors will probably be slow to get us what we need to do the job. Oh well.... those books won't mine themselves, will they?

I'm looking forward to our holiday trip back to Milwaukee. It's been a couple of years since I've been back to my hometown, and I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family who I never see often enough. Unfortunately, I'll probably have to skip a visit to my old favorite watering hole, Landmark Lanes. Last time we were there, the cigarette smoke was so thick that they needed a fog horn and a light house to guide people to the bar and keep them from stumbling in front of the dart boards. There is no way I am subjecting my wife and our unborn son to that kind of toxic atmosphere, much as I miss it. Maybe in these enlightened and health conscious times, the air in the Landmark has cleared? If so, somebody please let me know.

December 23, 2005

'Tis the Seasoning

Safe and Happy Holidays, everyone! We're off to Milwaukee to celebrate in the land of beer, cheese, sausage, family, and friends.

February 8, 2006

Feet in the air and head on the ground

I have a funny relationship with my blog. The longer I go without posting, the harder it is for me to post. It's a weird and unexplainable psychological block. It's been a really long time since my last post, making this one particularly difficult for no apparent reason. For the record, I sometimes have the same difficulty with calling or writing to friends who I spoken or written to in awhile. I have no idea where it comes from or why, but by publicly acknowledging it here, I'm hoping I can stare it in the face and get past it.

So basically, if I haven't called you or written to you in awhile, it's not because I don't love you and/or miss you. It's because I'm a weirdo. But you probably already knew that. I'll try to be better.

So here's a basic update:

Baby - Everything seems to be progressing smoothly on that front. The baby seems to be happily and healthily hanging out in Lizzie's womb, wiggling, slam dancing, and otherwise building up momentum for his big debut in April. We're making progress on his room, as can be seen on Lizzie's blog, and I think we'll have everything in place for the wee lad when he shows up.

Work - The Book Mines are busy right now. Tight deadlines on my projects, employee reviews to write and revise, and lots of preparations to be made to ensure that everything runs smoothly while I'm out on paternity leave. Still, it's all under control, even if it means putting in some extra hours. No complaints.

Life - I have the most amazing wife in the world. Not only is she doing all the hard work of carrying our unborn child around with her 24/7, but she manages to do it with grace, beauty, and a level of sanity that impresses me on a daily basis. I'm a very lucky guy.

February 27, 2006

Cold as Ice

It is really bone-chillingly cold out today. Minus ten wind chills. The kind of cold that makes your skin hurt after just a few minutes. Fortunately, I watched the weather report and dressed accordingly. I have thus far survived the frosty weather thanks to a nice warm scarf that my Mom crafted for me, and a pair of really cool gloves that are heated using ones own breath (also from my parents). I'm lucky to have wise Wisconsin parents who love me and do not wish to see me become a Dave-cicle.

Even armored as I am against the cold, I think I'm going to hold off on the lunchtime errands that I was planning to run today. They can wait a few days until things warm up a little. The Book Mines are warm and cozy. Well, warm anyway.

I've been working a lot lately. Good work, interesting work, but still work. Trying to get a lot of things wrapped up before the baby comes and dominates our lives.

Just 4 weeks until our "due date", so realistically Alex could decide he's ready to make his debut at any moment. He hasn't shown any signs of wanting to do that yet, but you never know! Still much to do to prepare, but we're getting there, and most of the important pieces are in place.

The cats seem a little weirded out by this whole pregnancy thing. They know something is going on, they just can't figure out what. Last night, Kali jumped up on the bed and crawled under the covers with us. He's never done that before. He just snuggled up next to Liz's belly and purred. It was very cute.

March 24, 2006

Tick Tock

So it's Friday... and still no bouncing baby boy. Every time we see a doctor, we are told that next time they see us they'll probably want to start inducing labor. They tell us there is no way this baby is going to wait until his due date to arrive. This is probably a good thing. Poor Lizzie is exhausted and uncomfortable, and already bored with her doctor-mandated "modified bed rest". Our next appointment is on Monday... I guess I should be grateful to have one more weekend (maybe) to make sure the house is clean and well stocked, to pay bills and do taxes before my brain becomes totally consumed by a new infant. Still, I just can't wait to meet this little guy.

I got to talk to my dear friend Katrina the other day, which was really great. She's also very very pregnant, so it was nice to compare notes.

Back to work.

April 27, 2006

Sleep Deprivation and the Grim Meathook Future

Sleep deprivation is turning me into a boring conversationalist... While I've got just enough energy to hold things together at work and still do a competent job, my brain just doesn't seem to have enough juice these days for casual conversation. It's very very weird. I can talk about job specs and file processing procedures and make sense. If I try to have a conversation with a friend about something I saw on TV last night, my words start to slur together (or drop consonants) and I lose my train of thought. Hopefully my friends will give me the benefit of the doubt for the next couple of months.


I've never been someone who functioned well with anything less than 6 solid continuos hours of sleep. Eight is optimum, seven is pretty good, six is doable. Even a minute less and my brain starts making sacrifices. It is only because my amazing wife takes the majority of the night feedings that I'm coherent at all. They say your body adjusts to the lack of sleep demanded by an infant and allows you to survive these first few months. It would be really good if that adjustment would kick in sometime soon.


In this somewhat altered state, I've also been subjecting my brain to small doses of Warren Ellis'snew forum site Die Puny Humans. It's all about tracking our sad progression toward the "Grim Meathook Future". Good reading, but not exactly heart warming. Having a new baby, it would be much nicer to believe that the world is moving towards an age of peace and enlightenment. Unfortunately, all you have to do is watch the evening news to see that things are likely to get a lot worse before they get better. But enough of my sunshine and daffodil ranting...


Because I think it's important to visually document this early part of my son's life, I'm considering buying a camcorder. I've found a good low-end Sony Digital8 camera (DCR-TRV280) that I can pick up for about $250. It would let me transfer videos to my computer so that I can edit them and burn them to DVD. Now I just need some freelance work so that I can pay for it. Even then, I'll probably need the money for daycare and other baby related expenses. Hrmm... I guess I'll probably stick to still photography for awhile.


Anyhoo... back to work.

January 2, 2007

2006 Wrap-Up

I guess it’s time for the obligatory 2006 wrap-up post…

As a year, 2006 was kind of a personal rollercoaster, but I suppose most years are. Here’s a break-down of the good and bad highlights that leap to mind. Or at least the ones that I’d post about in a public blog. I’m sure that I’m forgetting some highlights, but at least it’s a start. If I think of more, I’ll add them later for posterity.

GOOD: Alexander! On March 28th, Alex was born and changed our lives forever. Every day with him has been an adventure. It’s amazing to watch this kid growing, learning, and developing into a sweet little human being. He really is an incredibly great kid.

BAD: Alexander’s operation. At just a few weeks old, Alex needed surgery. We spent a long awful night at Mass General, with just one cot for Liz and I to share, sleeping in shifts. That, and subsequent tests, have been the hardest part of parenting for me. Seeing my son in such discomfort was really rough.

GOOD: Alex’s Health. Despite early worries and aside from the above-mentioned surgery, Alex was a very healthy little boy in 2006. Hardly more than a sniffle. Liz and I were also fairly healthy, with nothing more serious than an occasional cold or stomach bug.

BAD: financial stress. For various reasons, 2006 was a difficult year for us financially. We barely managed to hold things together and keep ourselves fed, clothed, sheltered, daycare paid for, and bill collectors off our back. There wasn’t room for anything else. This was not a year for disposable income. I hate living so close to the edge, especially with a child to care for. It stresses me out. A lot.

GOOD: we have a financial plan, and barring major catastrophe, we should be in very good shape and relatively debt-free in just a few years.

BAD: My Aunt Leisa lost her struggle with cancer in December. She was good person with a great sense of humor, and will be deeply missed by her family and many friends.

GOOD: Many of our friends joined us in parenthood over the past year. Liza and Jill, Katrina and Ken (on the same day as our baby was born!), Meryl and Gary, Tex and Beth, Carrie and Dave, Dan and Kathy, and that’s just naming a few. 2006 was apparently the year for pumping out babies. Crazy!

BAD: On Christmas eve, our sweet cat Kali passed away. He was a really beautiful, loving, and good-natured little guy. I still can’t believe that he’s gone. We really miss him.

GOOD: Liz started a cool new job doing very interesting stuff for an organization that seems to really appreciate her. It looks like it’s going to be rewarding for her on lots of different levels. And if that wasn’t enough, this organization actually HELPS people!

GOOD: Career development. My job has been slowly evolving, with increased responsibilities and challenges. By rising to meet them, I think I’ve laid the groundwork for good things to happen in 2007. Only time will tell, but signs and portents indicate positive change.

So like I said… ups and downs. I often get frustrated and fixate on the bad, but really 2006 carried more than it’s share of blessings for our family. Losses too, certainly, but I suppose that’s part of living. Really, most of the “Bad” above (with the exception of the passing of loved ones) could have been so much worse. At the end of the year, I have an amazing wife and child. We have enough food, clothing, and shelter. We have our health. We have bright prospects for the future. All blessings, for which I'm profoundly thankful.

So bring on 2007 already.

March 16, 2007

On Not Blogging

While I really like the idea of keeping a blog, it's pretty obvious that I am, in fact, no blogger. I've been thinking about why that might be, and I think it boils down to these bullet points:

1) I'm fairly busy, between work and parenthood. The time between when I get home and when Alex goes to bed is pretty much spent exclusively hanging out with my son. He's way more fun than blogging. The time after Alex goes to bed is mostly spent eating dinner, cleaning, taking care of bills, etc. And admittedly, watching some TV. That's right, sometimes I'd much rather watch Battlestar Galactica than blog.
2) I sit in front of a computer all day at work, and don't really like to do it that much when I'm at home.
3) I'm not a public person and don't really want to be. Unless I know you, I don't really like to share.
4) It takes me awhile to compose my thoughts in writing, and usually the time commitment involved outweighs my desire to write anything in a blog.
5) The parts of my life that I would be willing to post on a public blog would really be of no interest to anyone, including myself. So why bother.

With that said, I have no intentions of deleting this blog. It will stay here... and I'll probably even post to it occassionally. I might try to keep up the book posts, just for my own reference. Who knows. We'll see.

April 12, 2007

So It Goes

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

(from “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater”, 1965)

- Kurt Vonnegut 1922-2007

April 30, 2007

The Walking Dude

People have told me that babies often go from crawling to walking overnight, as if a switch has been flipped. Saturday, Alex's walking switch definitely flipped on. He had been "cruising" for awhile, moving around the room holding on to furniture or walker toys. Saturday, he just let go and started staggering around the house like a drunken sailor. He also successfully crawled up an entire flight of stairs, with a very nervous dad following inches behind. I think we need to kick up our baby-proofing to a whole new level...

Alex is really enjoying his new mobility, and as a result, was in a great mood all weekend. Very smiley and social, which is a good thing, since we had such a social weekend.

Sunday, we drove down to Dover to see our friends Tex and Beth, who were visiting from Chicago with their excellent baby Spencer. Tex and I were college and post-college housemates, so we've seen each other go through a lot off changes. He knew me when I had hair... and a beard. Now neither of us has much hair. And we're both responsible working professionals with families. Who knew?

August 23, 2007

Hallelujah

I'm sitting in my office this morning, trying to build a soundtrack around my day that will make the work flow more smoothly. Through the magic of iTunes on our shared network, I'm able to wander through the music collections of my coworkers, checking out new tunes and rediscovering old favorites. It says something about my mood today that I'm gravitating toward a weird mixture of Concrete Blonde's "Bloodletting" album and Leonard Cohen.

I love music, but if I have to be honest, it is rarely a medium that reaches deep into my center and holds on. More often, it's a river that flows around me and maybe helps to carry me downstream for a mile or two. It makes the journey a little more pleasant. Occasionally though, a song comes along that grabs me by the collar, punches me in the gut, and then rearranges my head. Even if just for a few minutes, it alters my brain chemistry . Usually I can't even tell you how or why. What can I say... I never really learned the right language to explain the way my mind works.

Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is one of those songs. It's been covered by a bazillion artists, including Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Rufus Wainwright, Bob Dylan, Bono, Bon Jovi, and Nerdcore artisan Beefy. While some of those covers are quite good, none of them resonate in my brainbox in quite the same way as Cohen's original 1984 recording. It's something about the timber of Leonard's voice paired the backup singers, and the way they deliver the simultaneously sad and exultant poetry of the lyrics.

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

I want to thank Katrina for introducing me to Mr. Cohen's music back in... oh... 1988. For that, I forgive you for camping out to get Grateful Dead tickets... heh.

So that's one little piece of what's kicking around in my busy head today. Another piece would be Warren Ellis's first novel, "Crooked Little Vein", which I'm about 40 pages from finishing. That deserves it's own post... maybe later today or tomorrow. Wouldn't that blow your mind? Another blog post?

September 11, 2007

Rime of the Ancient Mariner

It's a rainy morning in Downtown Boston and I'm listening to Iron Maiden's "Powerslave" album while I work. Go ahead... laugh at the bald ex-metalhead. For me, Maiden is kind of like comfort food. It reminds me vaguely of my teen years in Milwaukee and old friends. Every once in a while, it's nice to embrace nostalgia.

Feeling vaguely unsettled today... mostly because of the date, I think. Not much to be done about that. It will pass, as it does every year, most likely without incident.

Alex is getting bigger, smarter, and funnier everyday. Also stronger and faster. I'm dreading the bitter winter months when it won't be as easy to take him outside to blow off steam. Sure, it's fun to play in the snow, but lately our winters haven't been that snowy. Mostly just cold, which really isn't that much fun. I'm sure we'll figure something out. Lots of trips to the museum probably.

In the picture below, Alex enjoys a hammock on his first camping trip in Maine! The dirty face is from rolling around in pine needles....

October 3, 2007

Friend Killed in Action

Lizzie posted about this more eloquently than I'm able to at the moment, so I'm just going to copy and past and apologize when I get home:

When we lived in Jamaica Plain, we lived on the top floor of a triple decker. We had this great roofdeck.. and we had great neighbors that we shared it with for several years. One year, Ciara and Jenny grew a forest of tomatoes up there. We laughed alot because there was barely room for anything but tomatoes. There was alot of tomato sauce that year. We shared many a beer and cigarettes on that roof deck with Ciara.

We just found out that Ciara was killed in Afghanistan. It is possible that she was killed because she was a lesbian. One bullet through the head, in a non-combat situation, wearing civilian clothing, near the church she worshipped at. There has been a call from Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry for a full investigation. There is no way she committed suicide.

Dave and I are very sad to hear this news. Ciara was.. awesome. She was sweet and kind and helpful. She gave so much of herself to everyone around her. Including all the animals she used to feed from our front porch (this only became a problem when the skunks wanted to be fed, haha). She especially loved the bunny family she shared with her partner Jenny, the bunnies even had their own room.

Although we havent spoken to Ciara in a couple of years.. we definitely thought about her and treasure the time we were able to know her.


When I saw her face on the news this morning, I didn't want to believe it was Ciara. She was such a genuinely nice person... very kind, incredibly funny, and seemed to be utterly devoid of bullshit. She put people instantly at ease, and seemed to know everyone in the neighborhood.

We lost contact with Ciara not long after moving to Salem, but I've thought about her and Jenny over the last few years and wondered where they ended up. Hearing this just makes me very very sad. My deepest sympathy goes out to Ciara's family (who she spoke of lovingly and often) and to everyone else who's life she touched.

I hope that her death is properly investigated. According to her family, Ciara made some comments before her death that seemed to indicate she had uncovered something in Afghanistan that put her life in danger. It's also possible that she was murdered because she was a lesbian. Either way, I hope there is some measure of justice. Ciara deserves at least that much.

About Life

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Dave's Headblog in the Life category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Geek! is the previous category.

Photos is the next category.

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