Friday, October 31, 2008



Yesterday's post appears to have been quite daunting.
Either Mercury is retrograde or people don't like reading 900 quotes in a row off a computer screen.

Yeah, it was probably Mercury.

Today's post is about the history of the QWERTY keyboard.

I had it on good authority that the reason our keyboards of today are created with letters in non-alphabetical order (commonly referred to as the "QWERTY" keyboard) was because the earliest models of the type-writer would jam up if you typed too fast. So when the machine was patented in 1872(-ish) the modern design of the letters was included as part of that patent.

The old gun-dog Remington made the first popular type writers. Perhaps there is an interesting connection there between guns and words --perhaps that is why we "bullet" certain points in a list? Maybe.

I have everything I need to mod a keyboard into this: modifiedkeyboard! but I was making it for Katie when she told me she couldn't actually use it at work. Perhaps I'll make the time ot finish it anyway and KEEP IT FOR MYSELF! mwaahaha!

also: doesn't it sound like that typewriter ad up at the top wants to make sexy-time?
I thought so.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quote Week Continues

Today's Word of the day is: Bildungsroman.
I just learned it thanks to Demain.
Thanks! Demain!

A Bildungsroman (german from the word bildungs = education and roman=novel) is a type of novel concerned with the education, development, and maturing of a young protagonist. Morality is wrapped in the definition somehow too.

A quick hop over to that teacher's bane Wikipedia gives us the plot summary and some quick facts:

Emil Sinclair is a young boy who was raised in a bourgeois home described as a Scheinwelt. "Scheinwelt" is a play on words and means world of light as well as world of illusion. Through the novel, accompanied and prompted by his mysterious classmate Max Demian, he descends from and revolts against the superficial ideals of this world, eventually awakening into a realization of self.

It was written in 3 weeks in the year 1919 (Perhaps Mr. Hesse was inspired to greatness by the Red Sox winning the world series over in America the year before? Mm? Probably not since the U.S. of A. declared war on Germany in 1917... come to think of it he probably wasn't much of a baseball fan.)

I have two copies of this novel, one of them I love. It has all my underlines and my marginal notations in it and the other, for whatever the reason (I don't like the font as much? It smells like dead people? I already loved one and therefore could not love another?) sits on the bookshelf ignored. A word of advice. If you ever have to write a paper on this or you just want to sound fancy mention Jungian psychology and how Hesse was really developing a character according to the principles of Jungian individuation.

Here are a few of my favorite passages.

"I realize today that nothing is so distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -38

Amen. And here is an excerpt from the Prologue that helps set our stage:

"No man has ever been entirely and completely himself. Yet each one strives to become that-one in an awkward, the other in a more intelligent way, each as best he can. Each man carries the vestiges of his birth - the slime and eggshells of his primeval past-with him to the end of his days." -x.

About father figures (Are you there God? it's me Margret.):

"This moment was the most significant and lasting of the whole experience. It was the first rent in the holy image of my father, it was the first fissure in the columns that upheld my childhood, which every individual must destroy before he can become himself." -14

I love this one:

"That which is within you and directs your life already knows." -74

I just wish I could trust it. And also:

"I wanted only to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self, why was that so difficult?"

"I walked lanky and half finished through the world -53 (A perfect description of adolescence.)

One of my favorites and something I often think of when uncorking a bottle of red:

"Neither of us know why you are drinking wine tonight." -52

"At times I didn't want the prodigal son to repent and be found again." -5

"The bird fights it's way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy the world." -78 (Teachers make a big deal about this past of the book. I found myself unimpressed by this part when compared to all the awesomeness that bookended it. It was cool but it wasn't knock-your-socks-off cool. Not for me anyway.)

"We create gods and struggle with them and they bless us." -105

I like that part much better.

And my absolute favorite and words I try to live by, even when things get complicated and muddled:

"You can't consider prohibited anything that the soul desires." -117

Right-o Hermann.
Good job on that.
You showed those goofs at NaNoWriMo how it's done.
And that wasn't even invented yet and you didn't even need a whole month!

Holy cow.

Now go read some good books MF-er's and send me your quotes!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jackie-o (center) and I at last year's party.

Last night the wind was howling.

I can't emphasize enough how frightening that is in my rickety little room out on the Gauntlet. It sounded like the wind was going to rip the rattling old screens off at any moment and whisk them off to Oz, Dorothy style. It was el creep-o. This is going to be one interesting winter that's for certain. Make that one cold and interesting winter. There is something about the Atlantic ocean in the winter that I find mesmerizing. Beautiful and foreign and dangerous. The water this summer was exceptionally warm. I'm not a big fan of swimming in the ocean. It's not so much the idea of floating in whale sperm and turtle poop that gets me, but rather, the fear of the chemical bullshit that mankind dumped in there.

That's the pause I take before that first big plunge.

The Gauntlet sits on a little spit of sand some rich folks decided to develop over the past hundred years. There's not a lot keeping the Atlantic off the front steps, as you can imagine. And last night, with the wind rattling my room the way it did, it just kind of made me pause.

And think.


But today's post is, in fact, about Halloween!

With a little luck I'll be able to take the twins trick-or-treating for their very first time! My cousin Corinne and I have walked my mother's busy, family-friendly neighborhood for the past 5 years or so with Josh and Taela all bedecked. I give the kids my flashlights (bringing an extra one from work so they won't fight over them) and we walk in lazy circles, all bundled up, collecting candy and 'helloing' the neighbors. Corinne and I sip hot cider with rum out of to-go cups and catch up on the family gossip. This year she and Marae are hosting their 2nd annual Halloween party a week after Halloween.

Being the lightweight that I am I disappeared last year in a puff of ninja smoke a little after midnight. (Translation: I fell asleep in an upstairs bedroom as the party raged on.)

This year I was going to go as a 'Gay Recruiter.' My brother's girlfriend monogrammed a white t-shirt with a little rainbow patch on the left breast with the word "RECRUITER" stitched neatly underneath. It's awesome. I was going make up a questionnaire and walk around with a clipboard determining the gayness of all the other partygoers but something came up.

Wacky-Jackie asked me if I would go as a couple with her.

She wants to dress up as Lindsay Lohan and have me dress up as that dykey-DJ chick she's been dating (Samantha Ronson maybe?). I find the idea hilarious! Jackie is about as straight as they come so her suggestion came as a total surprise to me. I think I can rock the shit out of that 'costume' though. I need to score some big-ass headphones and doodle on some arm tattoo's, but that's easy. I'll find some high tops sneaks and make funny faces at every camera. It's perfect. I think we'll slay the whole fucking party, man.

Off to troll the internets and gossip magazines.
If you've got any great suggestions for making my DJ costume better leave 'em!

This is going to be the scariest costume ever!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quote Day!

It's been more of a quote week for me hasn't it?
I used to post art, now I post quotes.
What will it be next week?

From Middlesex:

"The object was still too young for the effects to tell on her. She didn't have eyebags yet or stained fingernails. But the appetite for sophisticated ruin was already there." -336

"I never know what I feel until it's too late." -371 (Amen, brother. Amen.)

"And so do boys and men announce their intentions. They cover you like a sarcophagus lid. And call it love." -379 (Maybe they just don't know any better?)

And the one that made me laugh out loud yesterday:

"There is no evidence against genetic determinism more persuasive than the children of the rich." -297

But also, this, which sticks with me today:

"Ecstacy. From the Greek Ekstasis. Meaning not what you think. Meaning not euphoria or sexual climax or even happiness. Meaning literally: a state of displacement, of being driven out of one's senses."

Happy Golden birthday Justin! 28 on the 28th! Huzzah!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Top 100 Books

Thanks Carrie's blog!

Carrie wrote about the Big Read project. See here!

The Big Read predicts that the average adult has only read six of the following books.
Following Carrie's lead I will bold the books I have read.
You can play along at home.
No cheating.

* *
Top 100 Books

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible (...but not cover to cover)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37.The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne -
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz
57 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On the Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


Looks like I've read 30.75 of these bad boys.

The 0.75 is for Love in the Time of Cholera. I read almost the whole thing but it makes me cry and I didn't finish it. What if they don't end up together! And anyway they are, like, 70 now so what's the point?! But it is written oh, so, beautifully.

I found Crime and Punishment quite quotable but of course, being written in Russian originally, it depends on the translation.

"It sometimes happens that we find ourselves interested from the first glance in complete strangers, even before we have spoken to them." (p9)


"It was almost as though fate had laid an ambush for him." (p58)

I started Kite Runner but I just couldn't get into it. It's not that I thought it sucked, it just bored me so much I kept falling asleep. I don't read Jane Austen for the exact same reason. And the greatest book Steinbeck ever wrote -- East of Eden isn't even on this list!


Neither is Demian by Hermann Hesse and that won the Nobel Prize for literature!
The Catcher in the Rye is a stand-by favorite.
To Kill a Mockingbird should be re-read by everyone once a year. (Katie says so!)
The Little Prince is a masterpiece.
The Secret History is still sitting on my bookself.
I got about 10 pages into it and put it down. But katie won't take it back until it's been read, so I should just suck it up and allow myself to get into it.

I'm surprised Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy made the list but I'm happy it did.

Tana's only story about Phillip Pullman:

Back in middle college I had to present The Golden Compass (Book One in the Dark Materials Trilogy) to my children's literature class. Instead of standing up and reading from my notes I illustrated 5 key scenes, turned them into slides an
d presented it all as a slide show. Bonus points for creativity and nobody falls asleep.

Later that semester my professor, the great Susan Bloom, whisked me off to a reading Phillip Pullman gave in Newton. She made sure I stood in line to get my book signed and, when my turn at the table finally came she made sure I also showed him my sketches. Much to my hot-faced embarrassment he pulled my whole sketch book to hi
m, flipped through my pages and asked me if I do this for a living.

"No, I'm a student."

"Well you should," he said. His manager lady leaned over the table and flipped me her card. She asked me my name and scribbled some things down on her clipboard.

"Send me a copy of this," said Phillip Pullman handing me my book. "Please."

I told him I would but of course I never did.
You've never met a self-sabotager as expert as me.
Anyway, here is the one he liked best. I thought of polishing it up a bit but that wouldn't be right. It's from October eight years ago so... keep that in mind.

From this passage:

"The little boy was huddled against the wood drying rack where hung row upon row of gutted fish, all as stiff as boards. He was clutching a piece of fish to him as Lyra was clutching Pantalaimon, with her left hand hard, against her heart." (p.187)

I've got a tattered paperback copy if you'd like to borrow it and read it for yourself.
Happy Monday folks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

On Being Spoiled

The other night AP and Meghan spoiled me with dinner and lovely conversation.
I really wish I had thought to snap a picture. Instead, all I've got is one of AP and I hanging out on the Malibu a summer ago. We are wearing the matching shirts. Not sure why C.Mills isn't... Someday I'll have a picture of Meghan. I swear it!

Meghan cooked warm sweet potato risotto with subtle dimensions of flavor, fried tofu sprinkled with herby-things, crisp vegetables that snapped wetly in my mouth, and sliced granny smith apples to snack on. We had a bottle (or two) of red wine. I bought the first bottle because the word 'Minerva' was in the name. When I'm buying a bottle of wine under $20 I feel like I'm always sort of rolling the dice. Sometimes you get a great wine but most of the time it's middle of the road. Minerva is the goddess of wisdom so I figured she could inspire our night. Turns out she did.

AP strummed her guitar and told me about her learning process, much to my delight. Usually she's much too shy for those sorts of displays. We talked about our families, the nature of friendships and the history of our own relationships (my favorite subject!). At some point as the night was winding down I showed them my quote book. The old one with the torn black cover, and, as AP noticed, a "Gryffindor" sticker on the front. I imagine if I were at Hogwarts I'd be in Fred and George Weasley's year. Just as an aside.

This old black book of mine is as treasured to me as some of my most detailed and specific love journals. Should my building ever catch on fire I will leap from the rafters clutching as many of these ratty old leaflets to my heart as I can.

Some of the quotes are fun and whimsical, most of them are about love and finding oneself, and there's a smattering of poems, too. Of course. Of course. There are several quotes from Tom Robbins' Still Life With Woodpecker, some of which I'll list for you now. I'm sure there's a better way to present them but I'm just going to go ahead and write them, sans artifice.

"Funny how we think of romance as always involving two, when the romance of solitude can be ever so much more delicious and intense."

"It occurred to her that in every relationship in which she had participated, in every union older than a year that she'd observed, imbalance existed. Of a couple, one person invariably loved stronger than the other. It seemed a law of nature, a cruel law that led to tension and destruction. She was dismayed that a law so unfair so miserable prevailed, but since it did, since imbalance seemed inevitable, it must be easier, healthier to be the lover who loved the least. She vowed that henceforth imbalance would work in her favor." (214)

One of my great favorites. In response to the question 'how do you make love stay?':

"Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you comes with no string attached. I love you for free." (128)

"When we're incomplete we are always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we're still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. this can go on and on -series polygamy- until we realize that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter." (157)

And, since I'm listing half the book anyway I might as well add some snippets about lust as well.

"It's not at all unusual for love to remain for a lifetime. It's passion that doesn't last. I still love my first husband but I don't desire him. Love lasts. It's lust that moves out on us when we're not looking, it's lust that skips town - and love without lust just isn't enough." (144)

And finally, in the words of the Princess:

"I have an idea that love is a lot more exclusive than popular songs have led us to believe. Now lust, lust makes itself accessible to any clod or clone who can muster enough voltage to secrete a hormone. But, like you say, it doesn't stick around for long. Maybe lust just gets fed up with democracy after awhile, maybe lust just gets bored with the way it's spent by mediocre people. Maybe both lust and love demand something more than most of us have the stomach for. These days, certainly, folks seems more concerned with furthering careers than furthering romance." (145)

I lied. I am going to leave you with a more positive quote. Tom, if you are reading this. Don't be mad. Over the years I've led about a trillion people to your masterpiece so who cares if a half dozen folks read your excellent words here on my little piddling blog. Deal with it.

"I've learned something that many women these days never learn: Prince Charming really is a toad and the beautiful princess has halitosis. The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect but love can be (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn't that be the way to make love stay?" (128)

Amen, brother.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

See Any Fingerprints?

We had a surprise visit form Jenna J this morning. My phone rang at 7ish and I answered it surprised, even more surprised to find out her car had been broken into and she was robbed, then quintessentially surprised (Tana! that is not the way we use the word "quintessentially" in a sentence) when she told me she witnessed the whole thing.

"Yeah. I watched him do it," she said.

She stood stunned in her own driveway watching some crack head rooting around in her front seat trying to jack the radio and all her goddamn stuff!

"I stood there stunned for the longest time. I was frozen. I-I didn't know what to do."

SO she knocked on the neighbor's door and called the cops while still watching this guy try and make off with her vehicular valuables. The cops were absolutely unhelpful. Eventually they showed up, poked around a bit and left saying she'd have to come down to the station if she wanted to file an official report. I (who wasn't even there, mind you) felt like screaming "Hey! Officers! If you'd just get in your cruiser and drive a block or two you'd probably catch this guy! He left on a bicycle!"

But alas.

Robberies keep coming up in conversation these days. I'm surprised by how many robbery stories I have. The good old Jeep got broken into four times, twice they made off with the radio, once they made off with my GPS and flashlight (a real nice one too!) and once (I suspect it was the town bum or something) they just took my change and messed up my stuff but left my CD's and radio and flashlight and all the potentially valuable stuff.

One of the motivating factors for me getting a new Jeep to drive was partly because I wanted to have automatic locks. I am historically bad at locking anything I own. Pushing a button is easy.

But getting robbed can happen to anyone. As Jenna, getting robbed this morning, in broad daylight on a busy street just goes to show you.

Once, back in Mission Hill our roommate came home shaken and shaking -he had been robbed at knife point of the way back from the little bodega on the corner. And once my apartment in J.P. got broken in to and they took all of my roommates computer equipment -his new Apple, flat screen monitor and some recording equipment. We lived on the third floor, too, and we think they had to scale the house to even get in.

Crazy acrobatic thieves.

My window was smashed not once but twice.

Sometimes you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I was robbed once in broad daylight too, on a beautiful, warm afternoon.
I parked on Pond Street across from the Jamaica Pond and while I was having lunch there some guy used a lock puller to pop off my passenger side door lock and helped himself to my radio, art supplies, my entire CD collection, some clothes I liked and all of the change in my car. I was more upset about the fact that no one called the cops on him! There had to be a dozen witnesses. Women pushing baby strollers and joggers bouncing past. Would it kill you to pick up a phone people?!

Although, based on the never-helpful cops in town maybe someone did.
The world may never know.

I used to have a disproportionately violent response to being robbed.
This last time when they made off with my GPS and my flashlight I had the most disturbingly violent fantasies about what I would do if I ever found the person responsible. I won't get into it here but I got graphic. Nobody likes being slighted.

Anyway, Matt and I were able to help and that's cool.
I'm glad.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Cougar Hunt

Greetings from P-town!

Better late than never, I guess.
Women's Week was an interesting wintery jaunt.

We spent 2 nights --Friday and Saturday-- in Provincetown. I was the last one to arrive and the house was empty. Kerin had left me a key under the mat and just as I was pulling in I got a call from the kiddos asking if I wanted pizza. From Spiritus? Hell Yeah.

It was 7:30 and Kerin was already hammered and hilarious. We cracked some beers, drank some rum and coke (that was me!) and ate cheese curls while playing card games. "Asshole" I think. And Jena kept complaining about the rules -goodnaturedly- and was President one thousand times in a row.

If Memorial Day is gay Christmas on wheels than Women's Week is a sleigh ride in long fur coats.

The place was packed with 40 something's; single and together, table dancing and enjoying a taking-their-shirts-off kind of debauchery. (Yikes!) I'm not posting the topless pictures because WOAH! Awesome. Who knew the ladies liked to get down? We danced the first night. There are some pictures of Kerin and I getting ready to leave that I have absolutely no recollection of. I know I made it home at some point, though. Thank god.

Saturday we did some shopping. I got some new shades (don't you just love them?) and tried to find a suitable god-baby present. I'm not very good at this God-mothering thing but I'm trying! Greg the hung-over-but-still-fabulous boy from from the sunglasses shop gave me some pointers on where to go and what to get.

We "met" Erin Daniels and Michelle Cloonie both of whom are straight in real life but have catapulted to the top of lesbian pop culture, which may not be saying much because -lesbian pop culture? What lesbian pop-culture?

We watched the sox win against the Rays in Wave bar -a big video bar with a plasma screen in every direction you look. The effect was neat. Having the sox plastered in live-action all over the walls and at the bar, across the pool table, over the dance floor, above the exits and over the bathrooms was really cool. That's how it should be all season everywhere you go god-dammit! Ha.

We ran into J.D. randomly and hung out with her and her friend for part of the game which was nice. that's me and J.D. and Anne.

This one guy Steve was a spitter. The front of his shirt was covered in his own spittle. He'd be talking to us during the game and just spew! spew! spew! It was so gross. He kept touching our faces and shirts saying "Oh, you're so adorable!" "I just love you guys!" It was great. At one point he actually spit out his own over-chewed piece of gum -by accident.

We all packed our shit up on Sunday morning and headed out of Dodge.

I had a First-birthday party to get to and the rest of the troops had flag football. All in all it was an interesting Women's Week and my very first trip to P-town on not-Memorial Day. I'm calling it a success. Success!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunrise on the Gurnet

Almost everyone I know went to the Patriots game last night.

And although I understand the desire to switch gears in a post-Red Sox season world, football is just not my game. Instead, Matthew and I headed to the Halfway Cafe to split a salad and some soup and talk about our weekends.

Both his kids asked him to move back in with them, which tears his heart. I told him about the 40+ crowd down in Ptown and how Kerin and I joked about buying toy rifles for our nightly cougar-hunt. He drank Sam Lite which for some reason kept erupting when the bartender put the bottle down. And I had a glass of pinot. We watched a montage show of the greatest, most unbelieveable catches in baseball all this year. Third basemen racing into left field and catching it in the stands, shortstops leaping fully extended curling and hurling the ball to first for the out, or, my favorite, a second basemen from the National League bare handing a line drive off one bounce to rocket it to first for the out. Bare handed!

I'll take that over football any day.

Not to harp, but the things I love about football are the social aspects. It's why I go watch flag on the weekends. I like talking with the sdielined players, sitting with my fellow fans, and once and awhile looking up when everyone hollers indicating there's been some great play. I like watching my friends make fantastic catches, or blocks, or sack the QB every now and then but the game itself, who wins or loses, that isn't why I go.

And if I do go to Gillette stadium this year it'll only be in part to watch the Patriots win. Football fans are every bit as die-hard as Red Sox fans (maybe even moreso!) but I can't count myself among them. Not the die-hard ones anyway.

Just some morning thoughts.
Off to do some drawing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Man Hands

Last night Jessie thought it would be funny to paint my fingernails. Turns out she was right but you have to get past the creepy to get to the funny.

I do not have pretty hands.
Sure, I have capable hands, talented hands. Sometimes I even have strong, steady hands but never pretty hands.

This red is called "Friar, Friar Pants on Fire."
Jessie speckled it with black dots to make it look lady-bugish and I can't think of anything more silly. The truth is, I feel a bit like a drag-queen wearing fingernail polish. Some things just feel wrong. I might keep it on for a couple of days because seeing myself like this is unusual --it feels wierd. But soon enough I'll soak it off.

This weekend was a raving success.
The women I went to Ptown with were hilarious and fun, and despite not having dressed warmly enough we had a great time. This was my first time seeing Provincetown get ready to close its doors for the winter. Usually I see it shaking itself out for the summer. All the shops had end of season sales so I bought myself a new pair of sunglasses.

We "met" Erin Daniels and Michelle Clunie from the L-Word and Queer As Folk respectively. I have always liked QAF better than the L-Word.

I'll post the Ptown pics as soon as I get them.
Not having my own camera is such an inconvenience sometimes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Finally Friday

I can't believe that fucking game.

Moreover, I can't believe I did not watch one pitch -one inning- one ANYTHING of that goddamn history-in-the-making unbelievable comeback Red Sox game!

And don't even get me started on the fact that my brother was there.
Andrea was too!
And yesterday Uncle Paulie (sounds like a Mafia nickname doesn't it?) offered me tickets!
But at $300 for the set I couldn't afford it. I'm pretty sure they were the set 19 rows behind home plate, too.

It stings, it stings!

But yesterday was my god-baby's first birthday. And Aunt Bonnie is up from Florida which makes my mother a happy mess. She floats around the kitchen laughing at everything and smiling all the time. I just love seeing her like this.

And things I didn't know about Bonnie --she can cook creatively. I guessed at this a little bit when her and Hutch were up for the 4th of July and she whipped up this delicious pasta salad --now, I am no fan of pasta salad. Where I'm from you boil some noodles and add Italian dressing but this! This was remarkable! It was an explosion of fresh crisp veggies, tangy and sweet and tossed with pepperoni! I ate helping after helping of that stuff off a paper plate walking to the beach.

Last night we had cake. My father wanted chocolate cake but we only had vanilla. After whipping up a batch of cupcakes Bonnie took the leftover batter to the cupboards to see what she could do and after some trial and error (melting hersey's kisses and rooting around for cocoa powder) she found a box of Swiss Miss powdered chocolate, added that and the melted kisses bits to the vanilla and viola! I'm telling you it was it a concert of fluffy sweet chocolaty cake goodness in my mouth.

So, bottom line, I wasn't at the game. And where I was, being the Gurnet where I don't have cable and can only watch whatever Brazilian tv show The Rabbit and Gabriella are watching at that particular moment, I opted instead to watch nothing. I packed for Ptown and texted Patrick to tell me how the game turns out and at 12:20ish in the morning I got a call that they had actually won. From 7-0 Rays in the seventh inning they came back to win in triumphant fashion 8-7.

It's hard to believe.

And now, finally, it is Friday. I am off to Women's Week in Provinctown for the weekend where I'll get my drink on with my favorite band of gays (minus a few key players --you know who you are) and hurry home to a one year old's birthday party Sunday afternoon.

Peace out cubscout.
And Go Sox!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

19 Days and a One Year Old

Bush's reign is almost over... let's hope.

Here is a shockingly apropos article from the satirical "newspaper" The Onion written in January 2001. It's turned the corner from funny to frightening because everything it jokes about came true!! War, recession, you name it. And here we are poised at the cusp of what is turning out to be the most important election of my lifetime.

Now, I am a fervent supporter of Barack Obama. It's no secret. I join his facebook groups, I have donated money to his campaign, I am practically in love with the man's wife (Michelle, if you're reading this I think you're the next Jackie O. but smarter and more beautiful!!). I think what this country needs are more open, intelligent discussions, less segregation between Democrats and Republicans and more unity. After all we are all Americans --black, white, gay, religious, agnostic, young, old, conservative, independent, you name it.

I don't know much about politics.

I haven't watched a single debate -I usually catch the highlights somewhere on the internets the next day. I laugh at Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's SNL skits that poke fun at all the candidates (Mostly Sarah Palin) and revel in the fact that CNN (!!) gets in on that too.

But laughter and facebook aside, here is why this election matters to me:

The Supreme Court.

The next President of the United States will elect at least one Supreme Court Justice. As I'm sure you know there is no term limit on the SCJ's appointment, it's lifelong. So the effects of having another Justice Roberts or another Justice Alito (both very fundamentalist Republicans) would matter not only for this administration but for the next and the next and the next.

Consider South Dakota.

Up for the November ballot is a reform making abortion illegal statewide except in the case of rape or incest or if the woman's health is in danger as a direct result of the proposed abortion. To prove that the woman's health would be in danger she must first see a doctor and get a note. How many hoops should we make our women and girls jump through?
"The rape exception requires that the rape be reported to law enforcement and that DNA evidence from the child be preserved for a match to the perpetrator. The incest exception contains similar requirements. Rape and incest made up 0.4% of the abortions done in 2006."
-Washington Post

I don't have sex with men so I'm probably not in much danger of becoming pregnant any time soon. But I am a woman and the fear of being raped is something I am aware of, something I feel occasionally; especially at night, especially in unfamiliar neighborhoods, but not exclusively there, either. Personally, I know enough women that have been abused by the men they knew, the men they had no reason not to trust until, suddenly, they had a reason.

Rape is fucking scary.

So what if I were a woman in South Dakota?

Even way over here in liberal Massachusetts I want someone in the justice department fighting for me. I especially want my Supreme Court to be the staunch defenders of justice and safety that they ought to be. I think the people in my family, and maybe yours (especially the women), should pay particular attention to who we elect this year, because as it was written in the Washington Post, "If what happens in South Dakota doesn't stay in South Dakota, a woman's right will depend on whether she has enough gas to drive to the next, or the next, or the next state."

"...[McCain] told the women of "The View": "I want people who interpret the Constitution of the United States the way our founding fathers envisioned for them to do so." This prompted Whoopi Goldberg to ask if she should worry about being returned to slavery."

Thankfully slavery is not up for review but cleaning the air, protecting American workers and pensions, creating jobs for the middle class -- all that stuff is. And so far McCain's been silent when it comes to answers. He slings mud a lot, though. In case you didn't already know --he's against Roe vs. Wade and wants to overturn it. He wants to set the clock back women's rights by several decades and if he gets elected you can bet he will. Maybe "The Onion" will write an article about him that I can cringe about in 4 years time.

Okay, that's enough.
I'm stepping off my high-horse soap-box now.
I just thought you should know.

For me, this election isn't about flag pins on lapels or name calling, it's about real scary motherfucking shit. And we-- the American People are going to do something about it.
So get out there on November 4th and vote.


(And happy birthday little Bryce! Who can believe you're already one year old? Not me.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The wheels are turning

Yesterday afternoon after his hour long bath with the groomer Bailey sprang from the truck still smelling like skunk but significantly less so. In between telling me what a good boy Bailey was and how he was hardly afraid of the loud blow dryer at all (Bailey can be quite a queen sometimes) the groomer explained that skunk oil bonds to the hollow hair follicle and that we'd have to wait for him to shed the affected furs for the smell to fully dissipate. Water acts as a catalyst, she said, so when it rains or he gets wet the smell will come back in full force.


At least that explained why every time I washed my hands yesterday I smelled like skunk, too. I must have gotten a fair amount of the oil on my own skin as I scrubbed and clawed him yesterday at dawn. The best cleaning solution according to the groomer is a mixture of Dawn dish washing detergent (blue) with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Tomato juice doesn't work and neither does vinegar, allegedly.

Now here, as promised, are the Jeep wheels. Matt spent the weekend making the as-yet-unnamed Jeep mechanically sound, mounting and balancing the tires, lifting the whole rig up using the big springs and new shocks off my old Jeep and custom bending duel exhaust. Don't be jealous. I didn't ask him to do any of this, he just offered. He loves me. (Okay, be a little jealous).

When everything is said and done this truck will be more Matt's than mine.
We'll split custody.

Without further ado:

This machine is called a glass bead machine. It uses compressed air mixed with a very fine sand (called glass bead) to blast the rust warts and imperfections off the original metal parts without damaging the metal. So the wheel goes from dingy and rusted to perfectly shiny.

After that I wash the wheels and tape them off with my painters tape. I prime them in the spray booth and let that set up over night. In the morning I come back in and spray a base coat of white paint, let it dry and finish it with the metallic blue. I use my Iwata Eclipse BCS airbrush as opposed to an HVLP gun because it's detail work and there are lots of tight corners.

When we peel the tape I've got 4 wheels that look silver and new. I spray on a thick coat of clear using a couple cans of Duplicolor's over the counter clear coat. We let that harden over night and Viola! Wheels. They look pretty bad ass if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


"Skunks stink..."

Mr A. woke me up this morning to say Bailey had been sprayed by a skunk.
It was 4:30 or so and pitch black out. Cold. I was very tired and the sun was no where near up.
He ran out the door as I left for work, said Mr A.

My hands, my fingers, everything on me still smells sour.
Even though I changed my clothes after I bathed the dog in the icy pre-dawn three times, used vinegar (we had no tomato juice) it's absolutely all I can smell.


Dogs will be dogs I guess.
So, rather than attempt to regale you with tales of my terrible morning I'll just post a picture or two and peace out for now. Check back tomorrow for more on the wheels. They came out great.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Golden Twilight

I did this self-portrait early in the summer when the golden twilight still filled my room at 6 and 7 o'clock at night. Driving home last night down the rocky Gurnet road my heart sank. It was only 6:30pm and already very dark. Another month and I will be driving home in total darkness.

I expect my color palette will also change.

The blue block mornings of late are all it takes to remind me I am not in a golden twilight sort of mood any more. What mood I am in isn't clear yet. But it is not golden.

Monday is a holiday so I probably won't be posting for a while. If I can later today, I'll post pictures of the Jeep wheels. I sandblasted them to hell yesterday and my arms are incredibly sore. I'll post pictures of the glassbead machine. It's got big gloves similar to Homer Simposon's Nuclear Power Plant gloves in the opening credits of the Simpsons. You'll see what I mean.

More to come.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman just might be the only man on the planet who can make me squeal with delight.

I have been watching the online readings of his latest work The Graveyard Book which is creepy and wonderfully entertaining. For 45 minutes at a clip I am purely delighted. What a fantastic storyteller this guy is. What an idea-brain he has.

When talking about how he came up with the idea for The Graveyard Book he said he was watching his son ride a tricycle around a graveyard near their house, and it reminded him of Mogli in Rudyard Kipling's A Jungle Book. What if, thought Neil, instead of a boy being adopted by animals, he was adopted by ghosts instead? What would that story be like?

For the past few days when I sit at my desk to type up some work orders I click the play button on Neil's video face and listen to him tell me that story. I cannot wait until the babies are old enough for me to read aloud to them as well.

Off to sand blast some Jeep wheels...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Hard Talk

The other night during the Red Sox game my cousin, the adorable, potato-shaped redneck, shouted at the Angel's "I hate that fucking faggot!"after some disappointing play led to them getting the lead.

"Excuse me?" I said.

"What? Oh," he said realizing what I meant, "You know I didn't mean it like that."

That's when we started to have the conversation. You know the one. Where, as a gay, I am required to explain to my usually good-hearted loved ones why it's not okay to say things like "I hate that fucking faggot" even if we both know, that in this particular instance, you weren't really commenting on that man's sexual orientation.

I am always dumbfounded in these situations.

I do the best I can to explain why that sort of language isn't okay. Especially because you didn't mean it that way. The fact that you can say it without thinking about it is problematic. If my cousin had said it intentionally he and I would be having a very different conversation just then. So, I tried to talk about how name-calling is linked to violence, how this sort of language has permeated our culture so thoroughly it's become a kind of white-noise hate-static... but, the truth is, I realized, I don't know exactly why that kind of language is so bad.

I mean, in my heart I know why; I know that the language of hate is tied up in violence, I know that using words like "faggot" and "queer" and phrases like "that's so gay" all contribute to the unspoken notion that being gay is not okay -but at the time (and even now it seems) I couldn't explain it properly.

I didn't have the right words.

Katie and I are going to a Prideworks conference in New York in a few weeks. Among the sessions listed is one called "That's So Gay," Is Not Okay. Of the three sessions we're allowed to take I'd like to sit in on that one. Even though I hate having that conversation I know I will continue to be in situations where I will have to have that conversation, so having some of the right tools in my word-shed can't hurt.

In the meantime I'll keep trying to educate myself so I can educate others and hopefully the day will come where I won't have to have that conversation anymore.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ode to the Weepy 27's

Katie was right.

Of course she was.
When she sent me this this sweet, melancholy article about a dog named Harry she said I would be in tears by the end and she was right. She nailed it. I was choking back small salty sobs, reading aloud to Matthew at the end of our day yesterday.

This condition, this weepy-faced sob-fest didn't start recently though, oh no, and it's not reserved for stories about dogs either. It's been like this all damn year. I'm calling it the weepy-27's. Stuff just feels sadder the older I get and my friends seem to agree. Things that wouldn't make you cry at 24 or even 26 suddenly feel emotionally crippling --for instance, watch me the next time I'm talking about the babies. Just talking about them sends some signal to my tear ducts and they start working overtime. Remembering their giggles from this past Saturday and the tickle fest and how they spontaneously start singing "twinkle twinkle little star" is all it takes. Or, like now, when I'm marveling at the remarkable difference in their pint-sized personalities it's enough to get my eyes a plop-plop-plopping.

I mean, what is this?
Is it normal?

Don't even get me started.

Today is Marcie's birthday. Happy birthday Marcie. I can think of worse ways to spend a birthday than traveling the globe, sliding from train station to taxi cab. My advice? Beware the weepies. They sneak up on you, especially far from home.

But as for me, I am looking forward to being 28. November is right around the corner and my birthday falls on a Friday this year. That's fun. Marae and I started talking about going to Peru and journaling on the train ride to Machu Picchu (there's a deal on TravelZoo or some such site for wicked cheap). Last year we spent our birthday's in Egypt. Marae wanted to be in denial on the Nile for her 30th and I was along for the ride. I grew my hair out for two months leading up to our departure but everyone there still thought I was a guy. We'd be walking down the bazaar at Khan el-Khalili and random vendors would hit on Marae and link arms with me saying in broken English "Oh, you a lucky boy! Lucky boy!"

We nearly peed ourselves laughing.

I could see myself sitting crosslegged in the gorgeous Incan ruins pondering creation.
Maybe I'll look into that some more... after I get some real work done today.
Happy Tuesday.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I was driving up Beacon street early Sunday morning on my way to pick up Meg when it hit me; this is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Every skinny sidewalk tree was dappled orange and yellow and red. People brushed by the front of Matt's gigantic truck which I am still driving wrapped up in sweaters and scarves, long coats were buttoned to chins, ipod headphones poked out of the collar of almost every green line rider as they climbed off the train. It was truly lovely.

And I missed the football game completely. 9:30 is just too damn early for football in my opinion. Meg and I sat in beach chairs side by side and did the Herald crossword puzzle with a little bit of help from everybody. Tina came up clutch in the end with that final block of words we just couldn't puzzle out. Annoying to shop with? CHOOSY. We had the 'sy' and Andrea just kept repeating "'Meghan' -does 'Meghan' fit? Try 'Meghan.'"

It was kegs and eggs but I was in it for the pumpkin bread. Anne makes an addictively delicious loaf. The chocolate chunks complete it. And we sipped some ice cold mimosas in red plastic cups looking up every so often to watch the other games happening all around us. The sign I made for the Fighting Irish ("Go! Mara go!") didn't help very much. They lost to the yellow team.

All in all it was a terrific Sunday.
When I got home to the Gurnet no one was there. This rarely ever happens. And we had no power so I went to start the generator and the cord snapped. It fires up like a lawn mower and I hadn't noticed that the cord was frayed. I explained to The Rabbit later that my humungous muscles were the cause. I just don't know my own strength. Eric brought home chinese food with cashews cooked in a sugary brown sauce with celery and carrots. Bailey threw up on the rug. I had taken him for a long run (he ran - I trotted in my heavy winter gear) along the marsh grass. God damn he is so fast! He raced and lept and once, from out of nowhere, he bounded off the top of a high wooden wall collapsing in the sand at my feet, shook himself off and kept running. Running for that dog is as natural as breathing. He's got a good life, I think.

The red sox lost in extra innings last night. If they won that would've been the end of the series. For whatever reason I thought it was a best of 7 but it's a best of 5 instead. If you are wondering the answer is yes, I did photoshop that picture of Coolidge corner up there (I know, it looks so real doesn't it?). I wish I had a photo of yesterday's drive but alas.

I'm going to go sand my Jeep's brush guard now. She's almost complete.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Good God, I'm Exhausted

I started buffing out the clear coat last night.
Oh my good lord that's hard.

The polisher is a ten pound plug-in machine that I am terrified of using. Every piece of literature I've read about doing auto body work screams at me not to "burn through the clear coat," which means that when you use this heavy, jerky piece of machinery what it wants to do more than anything else is destroy everything you've worked so hard to paint.

The purpose of this devil is to buff out the impurities in the topmost layer of clear coat.
You cannot do this work by hand. That would be like trying to power wash the side of the State building with a squirt gun. Completely ridiculous.

So I have to use this thing that terrifies me.
Dorothy Thompson says "Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live."
Well, Dot, I'd like to disagree with you there.
But I have to learn to do this stuff sometime.

So there I am last night, staying late, arms aching trying to pretend I know enough about using this machine not to wreck my life and I get about half way around the Jeep when something clicks and I get it. I have this moment of understanding when I can actually see the formerly uneven, orange-peely clear coat become transformed and melt and shine! Like glass! In a spot right under the rear window. The whole process suddenly makes sense to me and with that Epiphany comes the realization that everything I had done so far isn't quite right. I have to go back and re-do all of it.

Seriously, my arms feel like they are going to fall off.
Somebody call the Waaaahmbulance!

But. If I'm careful this will be the last stage in a very long process.
So, I've got to suck it up and get back out there and make this little blue devil my bitch.
Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Soxtober in Full Effect

Did we win last night?
The fumes must be getting to me. But that means the Jeep is actually done!
Except for some polishing she's all painted!!

The shop stunk like clear coat -which is a sickly sweet sticky smell that gives you a headache unless you use a breathing mask. But boy, was it worth it. I came in this morning after spraying on two heavy wet coats and damn if she doesn't shine! Matt and I peeled off all the tape and paper marveling at how clean the lines were, how the clear makes the metal flake in the paint sparkle and I have got to say, headache or not, this rig was worth it.

Matt took me to dinner down the street at the Hideaway Cafe where all the bartenders look queer. I watched the Cubs bungle their lead and ex-sox players Derek Lowe and Manny Ramirez appeared to be having a great time. I don't care what anybody says about Manny dogging it at the end of the season. He was one of my favorites and I'm glad to see him having fun. Just last night he beat the all-time world record for most home runs in the post season (25 career total). If he wasn't happy in Boston anymore than he just wasn't. At least the man can still have fun playing baseball. And I'll tell you, his Manny giggle just melts my little heart.

And Derek Lowe! How's HE doing! He looks like he lost a ton of weight and I'm guessing it's because he's stopped drinking 'til he blacked out. Good job Derek! Looking sharp, man! And boy does your curve ball drop!

The sox game was on way too late for me. I was only half paying attention to the Globe in the bleary-eyed coffee store this morning, but I think we won. It looked optimistic. One more baseball-related comment- The Sox are playing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Does any one else think that's a ridiculous name to have? The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim? I mean no other team in ANY professional sport is named after TWO cities. That's like saying they're the Boston Red Sox of Springfield. What?!

Somebody fix that so I can stop bitching.

In the meantime, if you're looking for me, I'll be reveling in how really sweet this little of Jeep of mine came out. Now it's Matthew's turn to play. He'll be lifting the wheels, throwing on some big nasty tires, adding a remote start, installing the front brush guard --all the mechanic-y stuff that he does so well.

All in all I'd say it was a hump day well spent.
Go Sox!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Angels Are Singing

Or maybe that's the fat lady warming up her pipes.
I think I am ready to call this beauty done.
The icicles came out nice, the website name looks crisp and clean, what else is there?

I may forgo the gym tonight and stay late to clear coat this whip. I'll have to see how I feel come 5 o'clock.

Matt and I had dinner last night at AP's place. The fabled Avalon or, as I put it at dinner, The Mystical Land of Fairies. Somehow I just don't think that nickname is going to stick. People don't know a good nickname when they hear it -- like "Jelly" for Jacoby Ellsbury. Get it? "Jelly!?"

That's okay, neither does anybody else.

You know, it's hard being the shortest person in the group. Everyone last night was 6 feet tall except me. Which is fine normally but try as I might I couldn't finish dinner; I just couldn't fit all that deliciousness in me. Turns out I have a tall personality but a short stomach.

Airbrushing is fun. I really enjoyed myself yesterday sitting on my little blue stool and laying in highlights. I'm aware that all this vehicle stuff has been a welcome break from the devastation I feel at having lost so much of my book to the Vista meltdown. It's been more than a week and we still haven't recovered everything. I don't even know how to go about recovering my .psd files but I'm praying that I can. I ordered another external hard drive to keep trying since we filled up the first one.

We are just going to do this one step at a time and do our best not to freak out. That's a solid plan I think. And pretty soon, I'll have something nice to drive. Happy hump day.