Friday, December 29, 2006

Filed Under Curious Things Said to Me at Work Today

"You do sorta look like a raccoon!"

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Pen is the Sword

In addition to my typing proclivities, I can also write with pens. Given a choice, I use this pen. Relatively inexpensive, easily clipped in a back pocket, and divinely enjoyable to use, it kicks the ass of most pens in its class.

But this inkless metal pen has me hott. If you're searching for that belated holiday gift you never bought me, your search has ended.

Of course, I'll probably lose it, as I do most pens. But in the meantime, I promise to write you a lovely thank-you note.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Lots of people bummed lots of cigarettes

Lady and I have just returned from a crazy trip to Mexico, where we certainly did ride in the bed of pickup trucks with small Mexican boys. All the stories, however, take to long to tell for the average blog reader's attention span, so I'm going to wait. Instead, here are some journal excerpts from my trip to Europe this past summer, taken randomly as I turn pages of my journal and point at paragraphs with a pencil:

"We eat pizza and go to one of the bars that's showing the World Cup. We order a carafe of wine and talk to a couple in front of us who are on their honeymoon, and from San Francisco, and apparently exceedingly rich. [We] also make friends with some old woman who is studying in Italy for six months and came to Cinquaterra to meet up with her son's girlfriend (who, unbeknownst to the old lady but later revealed to Jordan, was actually banging a bartender in Vernazza and couldn't tell the mother for obvious reasons - i.e., she is supposed to be dating the mother's son). The game ended and we wandered and [---?] found an Italian kid (Marco) we'd met earlier (maybe) . . . entertained by the old men of the city. They played guitars and sang songs and gave out free food and poured wine down people's throats from huge clay containers. They danced in the street with the women passing by . . . "

" . . . people bummed cigarettes from me. Lots of people bummed lots of cigarettes. The evening was very upbeat and . . . festive. [Our] party had to break up because there were houses nearby and it was late and we were loud. So we went to the beach. I took off my shirt and shoes and pulled Jordan and the recently married Canadian guy around in a raft we found on the beach. We went to the dock/piazza thing and drank more wine and talked. I talked to Marco about American girls and Life of Pi, which he was about halfway through. Some young Italian girls were singing Green Day songs to Jordan. My head started spinning so I left."

"In Amsterdam, we make our way to Dam Central, and get there just about the time we're supposed to meet up with Katie . . . She tells us we are going to see Wolfmother in the evening, which is great, because we just learned about them from some Australians in Manarola . . . "

" . . . at some point I hear Jordan say, 'This sounds a lot like Primus,' and then somebody else says, 'That's probably because it is' and then I fall asleep."

Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm It!

I was tagged! By my very own co-blogger! What a dick!

1) At the ripe age of 17, I got me a case of epilepsy. This means that when I go cosmic bowling, and all the strobe lights start going crazy, I fall on the floor and convulse and squirm around just like a fish out of water, or Stanley having sex. This is a fun affliction to have because nobody can ever tell you why you have it, or what it is, or anything about it, really, other than that it is probably to blame for me being able to memorize pi to the seven hundredth digit. No joke, kiddies.

2) I also ran away from home once, Stanley. And I remember packing my suitcase full of all my Little League and pinewood derby trophies. And I wasn't sure which was going to be more important in my new life: merit badges or the bowling pin I got for having my birthday party at the bowling alley. I think I almost made it around the block. Who likes bold? Me too.

3) I never wanted to be a priest, because I like sex, but I did, at some point during my career as a Sunday School student, cheat on a test about Jesus just so I could get a glow in the dark cross. I hadn't studied for the test, so I had to cheat. You know how it is. Just like college. As I recall, I lost the cross on the car ride home, which sucks, because I'm going to hell for that, and I never really even got to play with it.

4) I don't mind shaking hands, but I never touch the door knobs on the insides of public bathrooms. It doesn't take much of an imagination to realize what kind of hands have been touching that knob. Hands that don't wash themselves after peeing. That's what kind.

5) In college, my roommate and I listened to Dark Side of the Moon before going to bed every night for an entire semester. It was deep.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

High Fives

Wow, this is harder than I thought. I'm supposed to tell you, dear internets, five things you don't know about me. Here goes:

1) In high school, I suffered the wrath of Epstein-Barr virus, which made me tired a lot, and I caught a new cold every week. It also caused me to get Gastroparesis. They took over six months to diagnose me, and they tested me for mono (Epstein-Barr doesn't show up on that test), AIDS, depression, and a number of allergies before getting it right. The best test? Eating radioactive scrambled eggs and then lying in front of some machine for 90 minutes reading Invisible Man while they watched the eggs make their way through my tubes.

2) I ran away from home. Briefly. After a nasty fight with my mom and dad about not going to church. Eventually I didn't have to go anymore, but it was quite a battle.

3) Contrasting #2, in third grade I declared that I would become a priest. Sister Shirley, the teacher, was very encouraging and phoned my mother about the decision. Oh, how things change. (Come to think of it, I maybe told this story over at unfogged; maybe not, though.)

4) I really don't like shaking people's hands. Not a germ thing. It just seems forced. High fives are okay, though.

5) I absolutely positively must have white noise to get to sleep. In the summer it's a fan or an air conditioner. In the winter, a space heater. This is a very inconvenient tick, especiallly while travelling. It took me over an hour to fall asleep after a gig Saturday night in Richmond. We were in a quiet room in my brother's apartment. It was hell.

Okay, lots of surprises, I hope. I tag Ryan (of this blog; but I doubt he'll do it), Beth, m. leblanc, and t(h)om. Ready, break!


I have a headlight out. Sort of. When first I turn my car on, it's out. But if I bang on the hood behind the light with just the right amount of force, it comes on. Which is a rather inconvenient thing to have to do everytime I drive at night.

But, when I'm in a parking lot, and someone watches in bemusement as I nail it on the first try, I kinda feel like the Fonz.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sir Mix-a-Bit

So, as I'm working on my Holiday Mix CD, I'm thinking there's either a flaw in the project, or a flaw in my mix-CD-making technique.

I've made a few mix CDs in my time, lots for the roommate, and a handful of other people, too. And I'm just now realizing how audience-specific my CDs are. With each song, I tend to ask, "Will [person X] like this/get into this?"

I feel so defeated.

And yet, onward. Three new tracks added. Love 'em or leave 'em. Fuck the protocol.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Maybe I'm Beachy

I tend to don some sort of facial hair. Standard fare is sideburns, with the occasional foray into moustachery and beardism. The current configuration is something like this:

Some say "Lincolnesque," though I don't think I'm gaunt enough. And "gotta get gaunter" doesn't seem like a very productive personal motto. Oh well.

There's no real purpose to my facial hair at any given time (though one time in college I claimed I was trying to reclaim moustaches from policemen and child molesters everywhere). It's just boredom. Or, I guess, playing dress-up.

But people's reactions can be pretty funny. This from over the weekend, at a gas station in Richmond:

Clerk: Why do you wear your hair like that [gestures around face]?
Me: Uh, you mean my beard?
Clerk: Yeah.
Me: You mean, am I Amish?
Clerk: Yeah.
Me: This is a gas station. I drove a car here.

On reflection, maybe I was a bit harsh. Sorry, gas station clerk. It was 3am. I was cranky.

Is it normal for people to inquire so openly about one's religious and cultural associations? Reading this entry I learned that the Amish may indeed have cause to visit a gas station after all (for a gas-powered tiller, say), so maybe that particular gas station gets a lot of New Order Amish customers. At 3am. Buying nachos.

Monday, December 18, 2006

We're, like, famous

Apparently, m. leblanc likes this here blog. In fact, she let it distract her for thirty minutes during an exam. Boy howdy, that made my day.

It's been a pretty crappy couple of weeks in a way. Stuff I don't feel like blogging about right now, but yeah, stuff. I've actually considered putting myself on blog hiatus for awhile, feeling sort of ho-hum about the state of this site.

But to learn that Ryan and I have successfully derailed (temporarily) a law-school exam? That breathes new life into the project*. Thanks, m. leblanc.

By the way, leblanc's blog is great. Funny, thoughtful, and well-written. Her post reminded me that I really need to get around to updating my paltry blogroll. There are at least ten other sites I've been meaning to link. Will do shortly, promise.

*The project is derailing law-school exams and always has been.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Placing phone calls today, I learned that Bobert and Danana are out of town, adding them to the ranks of other out-of-towners, including LC, Ryan, and Eire (formerly "Eek" but I'm angling for a better nickname). The latter three have left the country, Eire to Spain; LC and Ryan to another Spanish-speaking country that shall remain nameless, lest I forbid to Ryan the right to make up shit later on about where he's been.

I haven't been out of the country since 2003. Chile and some brief stays in Argentina, total of a about six months. And suddenly everyone's taking off without me to foreign climes.

Admittedly, I had the chance to go on either one of these trips, and for various reasons I could not. Still: I need to travel and soon.

Maybe Eire's proposed jaunt to Canada to get a stamp for my new passport (arrived!) will pan out in the new year. Never been to the Great White North.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Note to Self

When the suggestion arises that it would be a good idea to play a song by Blue Oyster Cult, it is time to set down slowly all musical instruments and to walk away for the remainder of the evening.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Unskilled Wanker

I've been feeling very incompetent lately. In the last several weeks, I've double-booked gigs on two separate dates, resulting in two cancellations; then I botched a book review when my computer crashed and killed it the night before the deadline. Last Friday, I forgot to bring a hi-hat stand to a gig, and last night I forgot a hi-hat stand and a snare drum for a gig that was one hour away. (On both occasions, generous drummers from other bands bailed me out—well, the guy last night bartered and ended up with a pair of my sticks and an extra drum head I had on-hand; fucking capitalist.)

I'm usually pretty good about details and managing multiple calendars, but all of a sudden, I suck. What the hell? It's not like I'm recently much busier or anything.

And of course, in this midst of what feels like failure, there are lots of little successes, too. Last night's gig was in Harrisonburg with The Other Band (who's remaining nameless for now; I think they might change their name soon; well, they should at least). Afterward, we were pulled aside by the club owner. We gathered in his back office as he sang our praises and told us of his grand plans to have us back a bunch and "blow up" the Harrisonburg music scene. Everyone in the band was in very high spirits. The guitar player, whom I met just 9 days ago, hugged me. It was a very celebratory mood.

[Sidebar: The Other Band is trying to get me to make them my priority, which has its ups and downs. On the one had, I'd be playing music that's not very challenging and a bit more mainstream. So it's must less freedom than Truman Sparks (the current main band). But there's a real opportunity for actual financial success. The Other Band could probably make it big. Their sound is broadly appealng, and they execute very, very well. (There's at least one music degree in the group, not that a music degree is a necessary key to success, but it helps.) So now is a time of great hemming and hawing for me.]

Anyway, I left the gig very shortly after we finished playing, because it started snowing in Harrisonburg. Packed up my drums (excluding a hi-hat stand and snare drum, ahem), said my good-byes, and hit the road for a contemplative hour's drive home.

Fast forward to this morning. I had a dream I was buying something and couldn't find my debit card. I woke up and indeed it was missing. Then I remembered opening a tab and getting one (1!) drink at the bar the night before (it was free beer but not liquor, and one must drink bourbon if one is to play rock music). In my haste to leave, I forgot to close my tab, which only stupid drunk people do but fucking hell, I was one-drink-in (I had a free beer, too, actually, but still, this is over several hours). So today after work, Eek accompanied me back to the 'burg to pick up my electronic money card. Because I suck at life, you see.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My name is Ryan, and I don't have the internet

Not having the internet is sometimes hard. And for you, lovely friend, for someone who is actively reading this blog, and, if I may be so presumptuous, someone who is actively reading a lot of blogs (because, let's be honest, gentle reader, Wry and Stanley is not your only stop whilst you should be working (although it might as well be!)) - for you, not having the internet is unfathomable.

But I do it, friend! I make the sacrifice, and it only affects my life in that I am now no longer connected to any form of media whatsoever, because I don't watch TV, and I don't get the newspaper, and, while I do get Time and Newsweek and Money, I don't read them. They just sit on the coffee table. So when you mention that Mexico has a new King, I don't know what the fuck you're talking about. No joke. I am no longer connected with any other human being sans those who choose to see me face-to-face, which is a remarkable few. In that way, and in many others, I'm like your grandmom.

When I do use the internet, though, it's like a big deal. I write down the sites I want to visit all week, planning how I'll use my web time when I mooch cable modems off my friends and loved ones. I make mental notes of things I need to do online. Buy Christmas presents, check out vaccine information, look at the coast of Norway on Google Earth - those were the things for today. But I didn't do any of them.

Because when I get down to the nitty gritty, it's like I've forgotten how to use websites. I check my email, sure, and I check this blog (and sometimes update (but not as much as you'd like)) and then I stare at and don't know what to do. When I was in college (and had internet) I could spend months perusing ebay or talking shit on AIM, but now I get 7 minutes into my internet time and just want to read. Read! WTF?

Rhythm Methodist

I've been rehearsing with this band that needed a fill-in drummer for an upcoming gig in Harrisonburg. We rehearse in a church basement, a space we have access to through the keyboardist, who has the inestimable connections that come with playing in the church band (despite being a rabid atheist; go figure).

Now, I don't consider myself particularly profane. Sure, I drop the occasional "Goddammit", but I tend to be a good personal censor. I never swear in front of my parents, and I rarely curse at work.

In this church, I am helplessly sacrilicious. I can't help but to sound like a sailor. Maybe it's because we're playing Teh Rock Muzick, but, fuck, I'm going to get us kicked out.

Friday, December 01, 2006

"But I am real!"

Last night Eek invited me to see The Velveteen Rabbit out at this theater in Barboursville. It's really great—for kids and adults. Great costumes. Interesting set design. All around, a really fun show. Check it out. It's playing for the next three weekends.

(Going in, the only thing I remembered about the story was the burning scene near the end, which was super scary to six-year-old me. I'm happy to report that this staging's treatment is much more benign but still effective.)

Afterwards, we went to the recently re-opened Blue Moon Diner. They've remodeled and it's got a full bar now, in addition to many of the old menu favorites. Eek got an adult milkshake(!) and a grilled PB&J (which, yeah, come on, that's gotta be the best follow-up to seeing a play about talking stuffed animals).

They've also got a decent wine selection, and if you order a glass of wine, they bring you this 8-oz. carafe thing, ensuring that (a) every glass of wine gets the same serving size and (b) the consumer gets a little extra tipsy for the same low price. This is a great idea and should be immediately at all wine-serving restaurants everywhere. QED.

Full disclosure: yes, this whole post is just a roundabout way for me to ask Ryan out on a date.