Monthly Archives: March 2005

Been in hiding

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Busy week, with a trip tucked in, so I’ve been out of touch with the world. Had to go up to Lake Placid for a couple of days. Originally, I was going to sneak in some skiing, but with the weather approaching 50 degrees and the roads turning into rivers from the snowmelt, I made the wise choice and left the planks home. That then left me with the dilemma of what to do: run, swim (the hotel had a pool), or bike. Could not decide, so I brought gear for all three. (Only ended up biking.) Remembered all that stuff, but completely forgot both my laptop and my Blackberry, so I was basically incommunicado for a couple of days, other than the cell phone. Something of a no-no in my world, but it didn’t matter in the end.

It was beautiful up there. Sunny, warm, snow in the mountains. The roads, as mentioned, were rivers, and there was sand everywhere, but I took the bike out anyway and went 24k before my toes got so wet and cold I couldn’t go anymore. Finally got to bike a little segment of road along the Ausable just below the village, a terribly beautiful little road that I’ve been wanting to ride for a couple of years. So lovely. Snow on the ground, the river flowing fast, ice on the banks, ducks in the water. Serene. Then when I got back, I had to get the sand out of everything . . . every cubic inch of the bike and myself. My shoes, my jersey, my helmet (!), my tights, certain very personal spaces. It was like coming in from a day at the beach, sand everywhere. I’m sure the maid wondered what was going on. (Hey, I cleaned it up as best I could!)

The week is almost over. Assignment for the weekend: get some gardening started! Every year, it’s Memorial Day before I think about digging stuff up, expanding some of the spaces, building new boxes. Dammit, it’s time to get it done!

A cry for help

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If anyone else has recently attended a Quark promotion and heard about the wonders of the “new” Quark (to which I can only say, about flaming time! Their failure to issue a decent upgrade is the only reason I need to keep running Classic on my Macs), and if said anyone also received a cute little carabiner/compass/clock promotional item with the Quark logo on it, please please please tell me how to make it stop beeping every hour. I’m about to go insane.


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So what did I do to welcome spring, other than pretend that a large rabbit brings Sweetart eggs and small items of clothing from Target into our home? I ate my weight in malted milk eggs, and all of us took a walk in the woods where there was such a profusion of robins hopping about on the forest floor that in fact it creeped me out more than a little. We had lunch at the Panera, which had a profusion of food and gave away all its baked goods to the last people in the store when they closed. (This means my co-workers get bagels in the morning!) Then we watched “The Great Escape,” always a fantastic movie, in order to get the taste of “Snow Dogs” out of our mouths. The kids liked it, but I didn’t, and was sorely beset by the waste of James Coburn, so we went sideways and watched “The Great Escape” to make up for it.

The other movie of the weekend, and in keeping with a spring theme if in title only, was “Pieces of April,” which the box billed as a comedy. The box was wrong, but it was a sweet little movie about a very very troubled family going to experience the first Thanksgiving hosted by their eldest daughter. Katie Holmes, as if I need to say more. Lovely little movie, one that I probably won’t remember in general, but from which little snippets will stick with us for years (such as sticking an entire onion into the turkey carcass, along with some bread mix and unchopped celery spears.) The poor girl doesn’t have a clue — but who did on their first Thanksgiving? I remember ours — it was hosted for friends, not family, in our walkup apartment in Syracuse. I still have the roasting pan we used, which had to be surgically altered with pliers in order to fit into the tiny oven. God only knows what else we made — there was consumption of mass quantities, I know that, and the night ended with an ill-advised stroll through a cemetery which was not even near our apartment. Since then we’ve gotten serious about the cranberry sauce, the birds are organic, and our strolls through cemeteries are strictly well-advised.

Kitchen disasters

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If you ever want to create an unbelievably rancid, awful smell that will spread throughout your house and give everyone a headache, leave a tangerine in a lunchbag, tuck the lunchbag away in a cupboard for three weeks, and then find it and open it up. Then run. It turns out that “try to wash out the lunchbag” will be the incorrect answer; the correct answer involves flame.

And then, having adequately aired the kitchen by this morning, I thought I would make oatmeal. Wrong! Not enough oatmeal, which is kind of a hard thing to stretch. Okay, plan B: corn sticks. I even have an egg, which is a rare surprise. But you know what? The corn meal recipe I’ve used 200 times doesn’t come out quite like normal. So we’ll see. But we may be right back to the cereal boxes in a few minutes.

From the archives

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Every now and then, I realize that I just haven’t heard any Raspberries lately. And then I play them (the Collection CD, though believe me, I still have the vinyl), and for days and days and days I have the entire Raspberries catalog stuck in my head. Not necessarily a bad thing, but despite their hugeness thirty years ago and the influence they had on power pop in the late ’70s and the New Wave era, it’s hard to imagine there are a lot of other folks wandering around with “Go All the Way” stuck in their head through the day.

Random notes

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Best words you can hear from a 12-year-old on whom you’ve just lavished a fairly nice new present: “Dad! My new bike is SOOOOO perfect!”

My motto? Go hard or go home! Or both. Out on the bike today, first time this year. A little later than last couple of years, but within a standard deviation. Besides, soon there will be rain that I will use as my excuse for not getting out at all, so it’s strictly an ego thing. Did a whopping 12K, but did them hard and fast. Lots of fun. Fresh wheels for spring And were my new Mavic Open Pro wheels with Shimano Ultegra hubs worth it? Oh, god, yes. My new wheels are SOOOOO perfect!

I’m a shameless collector of views over at Flickr, where I take comments from strangers on my photography as validation of my existence. Hey, as long as they validate!

Something I learned from this weekend’s slumber party, which I’m sure I would have liked to have known back when I was a 12-year-old boy: 12-year-old girls fart. A lot. Loudly, and on purpose. Then they laugh about it, in clear contravention of the “no more fart jokes!” edict. That would have been nice to have had in the back pocket (so to speak) during any number of conversations with girls that began, “Eww! You are SOOO gross!”

Radio, radio

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Heard two very thought-provoking things on public radio lately. One, and I just don’t know what program it was on, was a very interesting roundtable discussion of religious fundamentalism. It had fundamentalists of several faiths discussing their beliefs intelligently and reasonably, and the whole thing was quite enlightening. Here were people who presented their views without trying to diminish the views of others, who weren’t spewing hate in the name of their beliefs, and it seemed somewhat of a relief to know they were out there, because it certainly isn’t the current image of fundamentalism. I’m non-religious and very much believe in each person’s right to believe whatever he or she believes in — up to the point where that person’s belief is that they have to convert me to their beliefs. I used to be patient with proselytizers, but I’ve now figured out that that only encourages them. Now they get told, “I have a religion,” and the door gets closed. (That’s a little trickier when they catch me out in the driveway, but I usually find a way.) And of course, it is in the course of these attempted conversions that I have my only contacts with fundamentalists. Between that and all the global fundamentalist-generated violence throughout the world, and the media’s general lack of enlightenment with regard to presenting topics of religion (like science, they haven’t figured out you can’t cover this topic by presenting opposing viewpoints), I have had a dim view of fundamentalism. So it was refreshing to hear from reasoned people who could speak of their faith without rattling sabres, threatening hellfire, and constantly invoking the name of their particular god/savior/whatever every fifteen seconds.

The other, decidedly more secular, was Terry Gross’s interview with Tim Curry on “Fresh Air.” She’s a great interviewer — not only does she do her homework, she actually listens to what people say to her. Then, based on what they said, she asks followup questions. That may not seem earth-shattering, but look around at interview shows. For great interviewing, there’s Howard Stern, there’s Terry Gross, and there’s just nobody else. Anyway, in the midst of talking about his appearance in “Spamalot” and the origin of “Rocky Horror,” she got him talking about his singing. I learned something I did not know, that boy sopranos, gifted with that clear beautiful voice in youth, often grow up to have no singing voice at all — that would be me. His singing coach, trying to get him into a falsetto, asked if he had been a boy soprano, and told him, “You’re in mourning for that sound, aren’t you?” Something I had never thought about, and yet there it is. Interesting.

Perception of Hungary

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One of the reasons I like looking at the search requests that bring people to my sprawling set of unrelated sites (weblog, several photologs, genealogy, and rollerblading guide to the Capital District) is that it sometimes amazes me that I even said the words that bring people here. But, yes, in fact, I did once say “perception of Hungary,” which strikes me, as many things do, as an EXCELLENT name for a band. Either brash ’80s commie rock or something enviro or trancey. In either case, not a band I would listen to, but they’re welcome to use the name. For a fee.

I’ve been collecting random search requests that have brought people to my site, and intend to string them together into a poem. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

The purpose of dollsthings made of nylongetting rid of urban possumswild angels ride tonightmineville new york minecreeps & waffles colombiatonya harding using le scissorspet sematary hamstringdorks on sledshaiku about sleds