Tuesday, June 28, 2005

***in an effort to fix this whole font business (since the blogger workaround didn't appear to work for me), i'm about to try something. if i lose everything and screw it up, it sure was swell knowing you all.***

[UPDATE 10:12pm]
ok, so the good news is i didn't lose anything, but the bad news is that the thing i tried didn't work and everything looks the same. i don't know, man. my meager HTML skills tell me that things are fine in template-land; so, what gives?

i think i'm just going to go to bed and, when i wake up, i'll work a halfday and then meet ed and drive to winston-salem to see my girlfriends and, when i get back, i'll still have this shitty font.

last seen: the machinist
last heard: the dears '22: the death of all the romance'
last read: i mean, without makeup, Oprah looks like a bunch of razors in a plastic bag with a wig on top. yeah, they just made a mistake.

Monday, June 27, 2005

more and more things, by post and hand-delivered, keep arriving for me. everyday is christmas. a package showed up late last week from elizabeth. in it, i found a CD and some homemade baked goods (already consumed. lapsed time: 48 hours) and some tea and a little wooden chicken to sit atop my monitor.

then, yesterday, catherine made a pit stop in town, en route from winston-salem to charleston. we caught up on her chapel hill apartment hunting (mis-)adventures, then she left me some handcrafted CD magic.

this evening, i lifted the lid of my black tin mailbox hopefully and, lo, a postcard from japan. amber is nearing the end of her trip and enjoying herself.

work was easy today. i waded through neck-deep of emails. four hours passed by the time i responded and deleted and whatnot.

tangent= i attended my first comic book convention ever and i have a question. how is it that they can sell all of those bootlegged DVDs? there was a lot of stuff i wanted like old russ meyer movies and reruns of battle of the network stars. i actually saw mark's eyes light up when he spied an entire disc of lancelot link reruns, but neither of us could stomach the $20 pricetag for each title.

last seen: the man who fell to earth
last heard: the moldy peaches 'anyone else but you'
last read: [via minty] The launch of Blogger Images required a bit of new code that is causing some users annoying layout problems. Before launch, the templates passed our tests but because of the open nature of Blogger templates, we weren't sure which kinds of template modifications were going to be affected. We're hammering out the solution now and we'll update our help site with some workarounds today. (...and that's why you have to endure this ugly and too-big font.)
bonus: What is the answer to the insistence on American exceptionalism?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

today is my sixteenth and final day of vacation. tomorrow i return to waking up with an alarm and putting on a tie. these sixteen days passed quickly. when i think about all of the things i crammed into that time though, i certainly made the most of it.

last week, i fulfilled one of my resolutions by visiting derrick and kendra in louisiana.

derrick is a very old friend; kendra, his wife, i haven't known for quite as long, only about fifteen years. it turned into quite the reunion. i saw derrick's brother, chris, and three of their cousins--reg, ronnie, and andre--who drove up for my visit.

all of us went to college in new orleans together and it was with this extended family that i did a lot of my growing up. to see them again, laugh with them, catch up, to play with their kids was comforting and surreal. the most amazing part was recognizing all of the ways that we were still the same, even all these years later.

last seen: pretty in pink, ferris bueller's day off, sixteen candles [editor's note: i purchased those three DVDs last friday. can you tell i've been feeling nostalgic? PS- i would still marry molly ringwald in pretty in pink. yes, she's cute, but, more importantly, harry dean stanton would become my father-in-law.]
last heard: neko case 'look for me (i'll be around)'
last read: She was a raw, uneducated girl from the west of Ireland, with so little understanding of literature that she thought her husband’s writing idiotic, calling him affectionately simple-minded Jim.
bonus: godless america

Monday, June 20, 2005

i arrived safely back in town this afternoon and, in about eight hours, i'll board a louisiana-bound aeroplane. an ambitious to-do list sits beside me and, thus far, i've only managed to cross through one item (shave head). some things that are left are: sew loose button on trousers, pack bag, put sheets on bed, sleep for more than six hours. that last one will be toughest, but i can catch 40 winks on the plane.

below are some things i wanted to write more about, but the pesky, looming list prohibits it. maybe i can elaborate when i return at week's end.

-on saturday, my parents were kind enough to take me to see tony bennett. his voice is still strong and didn't seem weathered one bit. he even sang i wanna be around which is one of my favorite breaking-up type songs.

-since my last visit home, vintage swank opened on main street in my family's bucolic virginia town. i spent part of a morning trawling its shelves and clothing racks. i later found out that, prior to my arrival, my sister had referred to it as the jim store. [note: my immediate family calls me jim.]

-nine days worth of mail greeted me today. it was an impressive pile. my favorite thing was a betty hutton CD which christa sent. i haven't stopped playing it since i tore open the envelope. by the way, here's a link to christa's show, divaville. (...and PS- if you want a taste of betty hutton, go rent annie get your gun.)

-when my sister got married, she had a ready-made family. she brought a tiny dog named bella; whilst her beau brought a not-so-tiny dog named conan. my sister, finding the name conan a little too butch, has since bestowed a more effete middle name upon this dog to even things out a bit. drink almost shot from my nostrils each time i heard her call conan frederique!!!

last seen: THX 1138
last heard: betty hutton 'love is the darndest thing'
last read: The last of six hotels that Frank Lloyd Wright designed is listed on eBay for $10 million.
bonus: Balance out your collection with one CD, any CD, by Eminem and you have no idea how relieved he'll be. It shows you have an open mind... [editor's note: of course, there's a list for men, too.]

Sunday, June 19, 2005

one of the main things i wanted to do on this trip was journey to silver spring to see a movie--any movie--at the american film institute. this whole week, they hosted a documentary film festival which included many premieres and lectures and Q&As. i convinced my dad to join me on friday.

the woman at the box office confirmed our worst fears. it seems most of the tickets were reserved for press and industry types or folks who purchased full day-passes. the few remaining seats went up for sale 30 minutes before each show. for us, this meant a lot of waiting. we stood on line for over an hour, but finally made the cut for murderball.

the line beside our own stretched around the block, full of optimists hoping to see grizzly man and its director, werner herzog.

[sidenote: if you've not seen herzog's fitzcarraldo, go rent it now. i remember when tom first told me about this movie i had to see because they drag an actual boat up the side of a mountain.]

we never did spot herzog walking through the crowd; however, the director of wayne's world stood right next to us for a few minutes, if that counts for anything.

oh, one other exciting thing happened. a young woman came up to us while we were waiting on line, introduced herself, said that she was with NPR--which explained the intimidating microphone--and wanted to know if she could ask us a few questions about the festival.

when i try to talk about things i'm passionate about i have this tendency to become bumbling and inarticulate. the way i figured it, i could do that on my own just fine and without a nationwide audience. so, we declined. still, it felt nice just to be asked.

last seen: national treasure, happy is not hard to be, criminal, anchorman, murderball, the day after tomorrow, mr. and mrs. smith, be cool
last heard: the arcade fire 'haiti'
last read: aimee bender an invisible sign of my own
reading: bill bryson a short history of nearly everything

Monday, June 13, 2005

greetings from my two-week vacation. i am eating too much, growing a spotty beard, and sitting on my parents' front deck watching sunsets. they live on top of a mountain. you should come visit.

i've been lucky enough to spend time, separately, with each member of my family. daytimes apart from the group mean more attention for and from each one of them and i'm basking in it.

sunday, my dad and i drove into the city and watched the nationals win their tenth straight. they trounced the mariners in front of 38,000 people, all of us screaming and wearing red hats. plus, i ate hot dogs and drank a lot of coke, so it was a good day.

this morning, my mom and i went to harpers ferry where we walked in the footsteps of john brown, then ate ice cream and bought postcards.

tomorrow is my sister's day-- we begin by visiting the spy museum then who knows what else. she is 8 months pregnant, so i probably won't make her walk too much.

the rest of the week features more museums, a little me-time and, hopefully, murderball with my dad on friday.

last seen: mr. and mrs. smith, the life aquatic
last heard: the raveonettes 'if i was young'
last read: For all the talk of a thin Democratic bench, it's a promising field: the breakthrough-but-reassuring woman, the foreign policy eminence, the credible populist, the seasoned veterans, the general, and the red-state moderate.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

the school district officially defines an academic year as 180 days. with end-of-grade testing completed on monday (day 179), tuesday was a bit of a joke.

teenagers wandered without passes, locker detritus was kicked into errant piles like paper snow drifts, a random assistant principal roamed the hallway armed with a bullhorn, no one paying much attention to him. it was chaos.

i stood out in the parking lot, watching buses pull away and reminisced about my own last days of school. how excited i used to be. how long and full of promise my summers seemed. for me, it was the promise of bagging groceries for three months and not scoring with chicks, but it was promise nonetheless.

at least, i don't bag groceries anymore.

for about 10 seconds, i felt like these kids weren't that different from me.

then second number 11 came and a bus passed with an entire row of kids hanging out the windows throwing gang signs to people in the library parking lot.

ah, the halcyon days of youth.

last seen: the big red one, the big country
last heard: a girl called eddy 'kathleen' [thanks, pinky]
last read: The K67 kiosks are, nevertheless, in danger of disappearing from public stage.
bonus: bzzzpeek [via metafilter]

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

several hours worth of asphalt passed beneath my car last evening; quickly, because of all the talking.

mark and i shared the three-hour-ride to the triangle and, just a few hours later, shared the same ride home.

i decided i don't take nearly enough day-trips. i either stew in my little corner of the city or i have to reserve hotels and take days off and generally make a huge production of things. day-trips are the middle ground, so i resolve to take more of them.

somewhere outside of hillsborough, i realized that i was in a really good mood. it was that same kind of clarity, that surprised self-awareness, that babies and hippies get when they discover their hands.

i worried briefly-- maybe good moods stand out now because the lemon face is becoming my norm. i hope not, but i finally decided to stop overthinking it and just enjoy.

mostly, i owe the good mood to all of the folks at robin's birthday party and the chance i had to hang out with a little baby. plus, at that very moment, i was listening to the district sleeps alone tonight and driving my cruise control car through miles of dark empty highway using only a tiny stick that juts off of the steering column. all of those things added up to my good mood.

i love driving my big silver sedan with that little joystick. it makes me feel like the boy in flight of the navigator.

last seen: the life aquatic, the west: episodes six, seven and eight
last heard: sidney bechet 'when it's sleepy time down south'
last read: cecil castellucci boy proof
reading: aimee bender an invisible sign of my own
bonus: All the male painters and sculptors would drink jug wine and beer and declare their sodden love to the same Wisconsin farm girl, a lithographer, her reddish-blond hair twisted in plaits above eyebrows that were blond to the point of invisibility and lips so bloodless they made her teeth look yellow.

Friday, June 03, 2005

the photos michael snapped at my inking last saturday are up. you'll appreciate the photos much better than the real-life arm which is still healing and, therefore, a scabby mess.

mmmm, scabby mess.

the trachtenburgs were in town on wednesday. it was a school night, but i managed to talk a couple of people into going with me. i didn't have a single drink, but, still, staying out past midnight made waking up for work on thursday difficult.

thankfully, i'm off today, so i had a chance to sleep in, then craft a couple of CDs for amber who craves new music for her upcoming journey to japan. if the rain clears, i may sit in the yard and read for a bit. if it doesn't, there are many, many netflixes to catch up on. tonight, it's chicken marsala with the jenns and the life aquatic. i love days off.

last heard: heikki 'still you don't know me'
last read: sam lipsyte home land
reading: cecil castellucci boy proof