April 24, 2008 :: Four day workweek. That's what the %$*% I'm talkin' about!

When I started this post, it was last thursday. See above for evidence of my procrastitude.

Today is my Friday. A good mantra for any day of the week, actually, as just thinking those four words kind of puts me in a freer state of mind than say, the galumphing dirge of Tuesday, or the anxious resignation of Sunday night.

I've had a number of post topics swirling around this week. Unfortunately, none made it past the planning stages as I am, in general, a bit scattered at the moment. Allergies and too much caffiene, probably. Brief highlights from the past 7 days:

- "So, I paid $35 for a $20 placenta." See: adventures in brewing your own spring wine. Any recipe that includes "donkey skin glue" and should sit on the shelf for 6 months before you add more vodka (and then leave it to sit for another 6 months before consumption) is probably outside my range of alcoholic beverage tolerance. I sucked down some home made absinthe once, and found I couldn't lift my arms for the better part of an hour. One drunken psychotic break in a lifetime is enough, thank you.

- Blake and my visit to the Variety Playhouse for Nick Lowe.
What a smart, charming, softly-self deprecating, catchy, sad, sweet, rockin' set, that was. Suck it, moody singer-songwritertypes with drooly end-rhyme lyrics, grandpa Lowe's got you all beat, hands down . I've got a serious greyhair crush going.

- A double girly whammy on Tuesday. This spot-on letter, and graffiti in the Variety restroom: "War is just menstruation envy."

- The introduction, in force, of the term "douchenozzle" to the lexicon. In the Loaf, from Mr. Rainey's mouth, and 'round the office.

There's more, but I have to go teach writers and designers about writing and designing for the web now.

Later, interweb.



April 17, 2008 - Two :: "Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon."

I'm feeling uninspired. And I'm telling the internet as if it'll somehow sprout wings and rush through my screen and anoint my empty, heavy head with an atomic burst of creativity. Feelin' a bit desperate and worn, I am.

What's worse, is when I'm here, in boring-land, I get critical and snarky. Over-excited by little arguments. It's why, a while back, I stupidly engaged the C-town yahoo group's angry internet lurkers into name-calling over the then defunct (and now happily revived) Village Pizza and its disinterested, flippant, apparently unhappy employees. I was told to go back to Marietta, to "get used to tattoos" and to stop my apparent practice of treating service folk like slaves. I maintain that all I want is a piece of pizza and a beer, and to feel a little less like I'm bothering the people paid to serve such things to sell them to me. (Well that, and that I have visible tattoos, I've both worked in the service industry and am marrying a member of their ranks, and I've lived in the city much longer than some of the holier-than-thou suburban-transplant gripers.) Regardless, the whole discussion was wrong and now I feel dirty for getting into it.

This rut-frustration is also how I've come to be overly-annoyed by a food-blogging discussion about who can rightly be called a "vegetarian." I don't want to draw traffic to the inanity, so I won't say which food blog. But, the discussion goes something like this:

Blogger: I think people who type themselves as "vegetarian inclined" or "pescetarians" or a "meat reducer" are essentially lying to themselves and should be lumped into the category with everyone else on the planet as "omnivores" along with those who eat meat at every single meal and pick their teeth with bacon between. There's no difference between two, and I can hardly conceal my elitist view of the entire construct.

Commenters: Uh, wait a second. Just as (as you've made sure to mention) choosing to be a vegetarian or vegan is often ethically or socially-charged behaviour, therefore, so can choosing to eat less meat be. It can also be something done out of taste, health, or concern for the environment. It's not an absolute - for one, because nearly nothing is. Anyway, if it were, it'd be like calling all Jews who don't practice Hasidim Gentiles.

Blogger: I'm going to completely ignore both the implications in my first post and your comments and get indignant and say that it IS an absolute, and then hide behind it. Here's all I want to know: can you call a person a "vegetarian" if they eat ANY meat at all. That's the only question.

Commenters: What? Good god. You started this. And what we're railing against has nothing to do with the "term" applied to eaters and non-eaters of meat. It's more complicated than that and you know it. You're f**king with us now.

Me: AAAARARRRRRGGGGH! Why are you spending time on this ridiculous topic? Why are you sucking me into it, when I should be figuring out how to inspire myself out of this muddy rut I'm rolling around in? Just put something in your mouths and shut up. I'd suggest some ground chuck.

And so it goes. Ergh.


April 17, 2008 :: It's only a misdemeanor. Milledgeville Asylum, Milledgeville, GA

Urban exploration is suddenly everywhere. Wonderful pictures in Harper's this month of the decimated Detroit schoolbook depository building (legendary in the break-in-and-take-a-few-pictures circle). A CSI New York episode that takes place in the New York subway's fabled City Hall station--a place that, stale and shuttered, watches silently as the 21st century speeds by on the 6-train but never stops. Bldgblog's post the other day about future urban ruins--fascinating (a brilliant blog in total, by the way). It was even all over that recent summer blockbuster that shall remain nameless for its terrible plot holes and overly-wrought drama and anticlimactic ending rife with sneaky religious overtones (or so Blake tells me, I didn't really feel that last part).

Of course, because of all this attention, there will be people who will call the cold, crawling feeling of awe and simple sadness that you get once you open the doors of somewhere long-forgotten trite and overwrought and the "wrong" response to have...blah blah blah, everything anyone knows about is done and over and therefore stupid. Ugh.

Who cares. I happen to know that there's something
absolutely gut-twistingly sexy about both ends of the urban exploration experience, that not feeling some goose-pimply response must mean you're somewhat dead inside.

First, there's the feeling of doing something you shouldn't, of trespassing on others' property, of opening long-locked doors, scaling fences, hiding camera flashes in the dark. But then, there's what time and weather and neglect does to our built environment--places often well-planned and solid. Places that in real, daylight life, when the intangible presence of humanity is everywhere, seem immovable, unchangeable. After we've all left the building, en masse, we find these places very different and transient taken over by nature and emptiness. As pack creatures, as needers of companionship and noise and diversion, it's frighteningly unsettling to be both smacked in the face by time standing still and time marching on all at once. And it's awesome.

I took the picture above a few years ago on a trek with my friend Stephanie to a place called Milledgeville, home to a state mental facility which is now partially abandoned. The empty buildings range from turn of the century to mid 60's in construction, and every one we entered was a museum exhibit of nature climbing over man. Paint hung in swags from drooping ceilings. Dark shadows suggested previous fires and ever-leeching water. Rust and a crunchy layer of decomposing building materials were everywhere underfoot. It was terrifying at times, a bit melancholy at others, and wildly beautiful the entire excursion. Here's the flickr set that documents some of our trip.

Here's another, from one of my favorite abandoned places.
And here's the site of probably the best of the best of the sneakers and photographers of dormant buildings.

My point, I guess, is that I don't think urban exploration is nothing but a cheap thrill. I don't think it's relevant to discount the emotions we feel when we unseal the past to see what time has done with it--sadness, awe, inspiration, fear, melancholy--they're all just right.

I think it's perfectly human to want to sit at the intersection of time and place and feel both change around us.

And I think I'll be doing it every chance I get.


April 10,2008 :: The phones go marching one-by-one, hurrah...

My head has been crammed full of work this week, and therefore not so full of posting ideas. Fortunately, I came upon a fantastic list on Mighty Girl that has restored my faith in this week. (A side note: That's a blog I check in with quite often, because she's smart and creative and has a sense of grace about what she chooses to say and how she chooses to say it that floors me. Something a lot of blogs I read simply don't do, to the point that I'm sure some of them enjoy the hate mail and the controversy more than the opportunity to broadcast their lives freely to the world.) That's another topic entirely though.

Anyway, the very awesome proprietress of that blog has been running through what she's calling 'mighty lists' - 100 things to do in her life, and 100 "worth it" instances--things she hopes to see during the oft-fabled "life flashes before your eyes" moment. I mean to make both lists, but I think first, I need to pass the idea along (it's incredibly humbling and inspiring to rummage through your memory this way. At least, I think so), and I also think I need to start with the second list first. I think I need to know what I've already loved so much before moving on to what I'd love to do next.

Here's a sampling of others' "worth it's".

Here's a couple of mine.

Gathering eggs with my ancient, German great-grandmother; shoving tiny hands under the brooding hens and feeling their warmth--like living hot water bottles.

Watching on a cheap color television in an attic apartment as my words, my stories, are spoken by a news anchor for the very first time.

Playing guns in the woods with four rough-and-tumble boy cousins.

Backing a tractor trailer up my parents' 1/4 mile-long driveway, my father laughing as I clip every tree along the way.

Walking through the dingy bar toward the blonde musician in the brown fedora, first-date butterflies choking me speechless.

Being shown a hidden room--below the attic floor, under a trunk--in a for-sale Victorian home, and gasping as I peer down into the spot where fugitives once hid from their masters' bounty-hunters.

Unlocking the door of my 120-year old house, stepping inside, and saying out loud, "this is mine."

What's your 'worth it's?'



April 4, 2008 :: Capturing a good floor, wherever I find it.

Happy Friday. I'm off to the Atlanta Brewing Company happy hour to watch Mr. Rainey tear it up in a beer factory on a stage made of pallets.

Speaking of Mr. Rainey, if you can't embarrass your partner in good fun, what can you do?

Second from the left. Electric blue is SO his color, don't you think?



April 2, 2008 :: Two loves.

Blake and Ollie.

Damn, I'm lucky. 'Nuff said.



April 1, 2008 :: No Tomatoes Allowed. Boulevard from Memorial Ave.

So, the wedding thing's gotten closer. Time-warp closer, since we first decided to get married in fall of '09 and now we've upped the big day to spring '09, in the spirit of curbing both of our procrastitative natures. (That's not a word, no. But neither is "hangry" really, and it's possibly the best descriptor ever.)

So, I'm thinking more about it. And I think I'm becoming a bridezilla. An anti-bridezilla.

The entire wedding machine pisses me off, to be honest. It's a financial coup perpetrated on the female gender that surpasses the level of the great Valentines' day swindle by many tens of thousands of dollars. If you're of the XX persuasion, you're expected to have princess dreams, lose 20 pounds to fit into that $4000 dress you'll never wear again, and choose accouterments befitting the virginal saint you are. (You ARE, a virginal saint, right? Or, if you're not, you're willing to pretend to be one for 9 hours, right? Right?!) If you're a guy, and you either don't have the means to provide such a feast of bling and bounty for your bride-to-be, or simply don't want to, you're a balless schmuck doomed to be dropped when your girly-girl finds someone who's a better provider. Oh, and if you've got visible tattoos, you're obviously a slut. (That links floors me, by the way.)

When I was a kid, I didn't have the dreams about white-veiled splendor and perfect skin and banquets of food I can't eat because I'll split the back of my Vera Wang gown. So, I'm interested in how it feels to be swept into the wedding frenzy and feel obligated to play over-done princess for a day. Does everyone else want this? How un-validated must you feel in your everyday life to need to be adored like this, plastically, for under 24 hours? Is it something that drains out of you once you pass 18 and figure out that even prince charming farts and snores and doesn't present you with flowers upon every meeting?

It's a stupid argument to have with myself, really, because no one is pushing me toward these things. Well, they might be, but I'm not listening. I'm just curious about who these people are that spend the "average" $30,000? Where are they getting that money, and what is it getting them, in the long run?

All I have to say is thank goodness for these people. And them. Especially them. And, oh my, them.