September 27, 2010

Secret Societies of the Morning F Train

Secret society of pretty girls who read Catcher in The Rye.
Secret society of guys who wear chicken shirts.
Secret society of vaguely familiar acquaintances.
Secret society of ladies who smell of butterfly milk.
Secret society of pretend sleepers.
Secret society of guys who carry briefcases but might be in metal bands.
Secret society of guys with beards who read Epictetus.
Secret society of quiet farters.
Secret society of contagious yawners.
Secret society of guys who nod to other guys even though they have no idea why they are nodding.
Secret society of artists who might be drawing you, but are actually drawing monsters.
Secret society of men who are probably pirates.
Secret society of humans from the future (this is how they study us).
Secret society of children (who are involved in too many secret societies to list in this forum).
Secret society of people who consciously make eye contact.
Secret society of people who studiously avoid eye contact(who by the way are involved in a fierce silent battle with the secret society listed above).
Secret society of people with broken hearts and other hidden wounds.
Secret society of listmakers who search out the invisible.

March 7, 2008

Things discussed with my van driver, Hal

1. How George Lucas' billions can't buy him a beard to hide the fact that he is chinless.

2. How a higher percentage of bowlers have beards than the general male populace and how bowling really SHOULD be an Olympic sport. How it is an ancient game of history and tradition and how people who bowl are good people, true of heart.

3. How girls really dig night time van drivers more than you would think and how night time van drivers have to be pure of mind to resist temptation.

4. How night time van drivers sometimes get together in the summer to shoot bottle rockets into the lake.

5. How it is very dangerous to shoot bottle rockets from inside the van because it is possible to blow a finger off.

6. How Jimmy keeps his blown off finger in a jar of formaldehyde.

7. How Jimmy despite being a late night van driver has women problems.

8. How Jimmy has no chin.

9. How Jimmy has a beard.

10. How this is all for the best, because although he is a friend ("since the middle of 8th grade") Jimmy is a bad guy with a black heart.

December 11, 2007

Children's Books I love

A friend who's baby is still a few months away from being born asked me for some suggestions for children's books because she wants to start building a library. Assuming she has the basic classics covered, here's a list of slightly less well known books that my sons and I love. Many of these books are out of print but can easily be found on Amazon, ebay, or on bookfinder.com. Here are a few to get you started...

The Birthday Party - Maurice Sendak
Little Blue and Little Yellow - Lionni
May I Bring A Friend - de Regniers
Where Everyday Things Come From - Aldren Watson
Tall Book of Nursery Tales - Feodor Rojankovsky
The Tall Book of Make Believe - Garth Williams
A Tail is a Tail - Katherine Mace
Rotten Island - William Steig
Doctor Desoto - William Steig
Today's Basic Science - Navarra and Zafforoni
Henri's Walk to Paris - Saul Bass
The Wonderful House - Margert Wise Brown
Choo Choo - Virginia Lee Burton
The Dead Bird - Margaret Wise Brown
The Line Up Book - Marisabina Russo
What Makes A Shadow?- Clyde Robert Bulla
Tiny Nonsense Stories
Goodnight Gorilla - Peggy Rathman

My general advice on buying kids books:

1. Always buy hardcover. A used hardcover is usually better than a new softcover. If your kids loves a book, he will read it hundreds of times. Softcover books just don't hold up.

2. As a general rule avoid celebrity authors.

3. Avoid modern "message" books.

4. Love the politically incorrect. The Tiny Nonsense Stories feature gun wielding kittens, cigarette smoking ducks, and pig families that sneak around scaring the daylights out of each other. Kids of course love these stories.

5. For vintage books, never worry about finding a first edition if you plan on actually reading your children's books. Your kids will want to bring them to the dinner table, they will bend them, tear, them and so on. This is how children's books like to be read. Just find the cleanest cheapest copy you can find.

If you are looking for more book buying ideas, check out this japanese site which always has a well curated selection of vintage visually spectacular kid's books... (the little links that read A-C, D-F, and so on show thumbnails of the covers)

May 27, 2007

Chronological List Of Maps I Carry In My Head

1. Map of a house in Houston on Langdon Lane. Includes three trees in the front yard and neighbor Jimmy's garage and backyard. Ends at the fence in the back. circa 1970.

2. Map of all the playgrounds in 75901. circa 1975

3. Map of a time capsule buried at 1430 Sleepy Hollow in Lufkin Texas. Problem with this map is calibrating 10 year old footsteps with adult footsteps. circa 1977

4. Map of the Whisper Islands, an imaginary set of islands that happen to float on the clouds off the coast of India. Islanders communicate between islands with balloons, kites, and model rockets. circa 1980.

5. Map of every road out of Burnet, Texas in a radius of 20 miles. Includes the road to Oatmeal, Texas. circa 1984.

6. Map of Macondo. circa 1986.

7. Map of the way to my brother's grave. circa 1990.

8. Map of all 5 ice cream shops in Shanghai. circa 1993.

9. Map of taco stands from Santa Monica to Glendale. circa 1998.

8. Map of all the major (and some minor) bus routes in Kham. circa 2001.

10. Map of "no-turn" routes (between our old house and a variety of destinations) in LA for my new wife who, while exceptional at most things, is directionally challenged. circa 2003.

11. Map of all the parks with playgrounds in 11201. present day

May 14, 2007

Existential Air Conditioner Crisis

Almost a full year ago I delivered Royal Sovereign air conditioner (3 days out of warranty) to be repaired at a place called Buy Rite AC Service on Avenue Z in Brooklyn..... This wasn't just any AC it's the one I use to cool my attic office where I spent way too much of my time. Today it's 65 degrees F outside, 85 up here.... These are the excuses given for the machine not being ready...

14 days: We’re waiting for the part from Royal Sovereign.
28 days: The part came in but it’s the wrong one. We have to call again.
35 days: They never sent that part. Maybe you could call them, because they don't call me back.
49 days: Did you call them? They never sent that part.
57 days: I have to check on that part.
55 days: The part was shipped from China or some freakin' place. We're waiting for it.
91 days: The part is in the Royal Sovereign warehouse in Jersey.
102 days: We still don’t have the part.
185 days: We got the part, but we’re closing up shop for the winter, you know in the winter nobody needs an air conditioner repaired.
190 days. We’re not open for the spring yet. Call us next week.
197 days. I moved the air conditioner to my garage it was taking up space in the shop, it’s fixed but we have to test it.
204 days: It’s too cold to test the air conditioner.
285 days: It’s being tested now, the gages are on it.
289 days: We don't do repairs on Royal Sovereigns.
295 days: We’re going on break, call back after the holiday.
322 days. Yeah, there was a leak, the guys have to take it apart again, weld some pieces together and repressurize it. It’s being tested now, the gages, are on it.
324 days: The guy who knows about that is out, call back on Monday.
327 days: We had to take it apart again, it was a mother to take apart. We’re never taking this brand again. But it should be fixed soon.
328: days: It will be ready tomorrow. Give my your number.
330 days: I have no idea about that, you'll have to call back and talk to someone tomorrow.
337 days: You know I'm going to personally take this thing apart myself because it keeps losing gas.
340 days: The guys are at lunch around the corner... maybe you should call back...

and so it continues....

April 11, 2007

Items found at the bottom of an old desk drawer

1. Unused ticket to a 1984 Minutemen concert.

2. A stack of wheat pennies and one buffalo nickel.

3. A post-it note found in a Barstow bathroom that reads:
"I am the man.
I am the mack.
I've seen the world.
This pimp don't look back."

4. A perfectly round black rock I picked up and put in my pocket on a 17,000ft pass.

5. Maps of Peshawar and Kiev.

6. One saucy polaroid of my wife in the tub from before we were married.

7. One note from a friend congratulating us on the daughter we never had.

8. One photobooth strip of my head dated June 1987.

9. A tube of Bestman Blowing Balloon Paste (unused)

10. One piece of torn notebook paper signed by my brother Christopher that reads, " Acids: HCL, H2SO4, HI, HBr, Nitric Acid"

December 31, 2006

My New Year's Resolutions, Age 11

1. Do more serious astronomy.
2. Cut more grass = Buy more records.
3. Build a pulley system in the fort.
4. Develop a network of hiding places.
5. Learn 6502.
6. Run more.
7. Hit some home runs!
8. Study the Aztec and Olmec civilizations.
9. Take black and white pictures of everybody.
10. Write down funny things that happen.

December 31, 1978 10:32PM

related: 10 wishes for2006

October 22, 2006

Unhealthy Obsessions

Here's how you know what kind of collector you are: Most collectors at some point in their childhoods go through a rock faze. The garden variety collector will put together a broad selection of rocks, the usual stuff—feldspar, Mexican pyrite, sulfur, sandstone, maybe even a meteorite fragment... but the serious collector after putting together a rock grouping will fix one one specific rock and devote his time to finding all the variations of that particular rock searching out the rare and exotic examples.

My thing was geodes. My collection never got as big as I wanted but the thrill of cracking those mysterious round rocks open in the hopes of finding one full of rare black calcite or red amethyst never got old. For a time I could hardly have a conversation without throwing in a few good geode facts. That collection was lost at some point, but many others have taken its place.

Here is a list of things I don't currently collect but wish I did.

geodes
18th century volcano paintings
acupuncture practice models
wooden Tibetan butter molds
1960's Polish and Czech posters for American westerns
promotional photos of of 18th century morality plays
vintage Vietnamese desk fans
painted sideshow announcements for knife throwers and fire eaters
wooden artist model figurines
wooden radios
beheaded saint retablos
19th century dog portraits (must have the name of the dog as part of the painting)
World War II era military themed paint-by-number kits
pojagis
World War I pierced case watches
constructivist architectural drawings
19th century hand painted lotaria boards
1920's era unicycle promotional paintings
world maps from African public schools
taxidermied beetles and parrots
vintage English walking sticks
North Korean propaganda posters
1920's Japanese children's books
1950's Russian children's books
Soviet era tractor toys
Venezuelan figurines of Dr. Jose Gregorio Hernandez
Mongolian dice
partitioned letterpress typecases
and so on...

What do you wish you collected?

September 8, 2006

Entire contents of my pickpocketed wallet

1 Fortune cookie fortune: "Live the Dream"
1 Fortune cookie fortune: "Fly away. Go far."
1 Snapshot of Raul Andres at 6 months
1 Torn photobooth strip of a woman in chador (found on Atlantic Avenue near Court)
3 Credit Cards (each was used within an hour of the theft to purchase multiple $60 subway passes)
1 Rubber band
1 Paper Clip
1 Bandaid, transparent
Texas Driver's License
Several expired subway cards.
1 pencil drawing of a monster with three eyes and a unibrow made while waiting for someone to show up for dinner
1 partial blog entry written on torn hotel stationary titled "What's happening in room 312"
On the back of said stationary another partial blog entry titled "Why I would make a lousy aristocrat."
Assorted business cards, most with doodles of sea monsters on the back.
1 business card from a cabdriver in New Orleans with a "Places I must visit" list on the back in tiny handwriting.
A few dollars from the cash machine
2 business cards with cars drawn on them so I can play cars with my son any time.
2 wheat head pennies
1 buffalo nickel
A gift certificate to Barnes and Noble with 8 dollars left on it.
My secret—only in case of emergency—hundred dollar bill
1 lottery ticket from a few months ago, never checked

August 11, 2006

What to do if you are caught in a New York City downpour without an umbrella.

1, Step into a deli and ask for 2 plastic bags.

2. Double bag your wallet, camera, phone, etc.

2. Walk home.

3. Enjoy the rain.

July 23, 2006

Fate Loops

Fate loop: a situation in which every decision made leads to woe and another bad decision. Note that vacations become journeys only after experiencing one or more serious fate loops in which each decision takes you further from your destination.

Example of a travel fate loop:

1. Getting completely and utterly lost (so lost you can't find yourself on the map, or maybe you are without a map or the map is incomplete, or maybe your map is just totally incorrect. Maybe two cities are transposed. And maybe the inks on the map are mis-registered. Or maybe it shows a road that is not a road. Or maybe it is all of the above.).

2. Very bad food.

3. Hostile locals. (in this case a 4 or 5 year old kid in a playground who hissed at my son, "Immigrants aren't allowed on the slide. Immigrants are dirty." I replied for in a low guttural growl, "You're the dirty one you stinky pig face." Yes I harassed a kid, so sue me.).

4. Sick travel partners. (my nauseous pregnant wife).

5. A scary incident. (a gravedigger with a gimpy leg who popped out of a fresh grave in a deserted graveyard and offered me a beer).

6. Bad decision making.

7. Lost equipment.

8. Terrible weather.

9. And then when you are at your low, the discovery of something utterly great.

10. And finally escape from the fate loop.

July 9, 2006

List & Lessons

Chinese Triads
14K Moo
United Bamboo
Three Mountains Association
Fong-Fong Boys
Celestial Way

Finnish Metal Bands
69 Eyes
Ablaze In Hatred
Wolfchild
The Lust I Seek
Gandalf

English Covens
Ladies of the Heath
Children Of Hekate
Soul Guard
The Mighty Ones
Seidr Practical Group

Chicago Gangs
Almighty Harrison Gents
Conservative Vice Lords
Insane Unknowns
12th Street Players
Latin Kings

Camp Long Horn Water Polo Teams (1980's)
Neptune's Army
The Dudes
Barracuda Wave
Fugi Onyomammagi

Things learned while making these lists:

1. The proper way to kill a fellow triad member is to slash the disgraced member a hundred times (four hundred is better) and then to bury the person while he is still alive.

2. In order to be in a Finnish metal band, you must have "really good hair and for good hair you must shampoo regularly with mild shampoo or you get split ends. It is easy to forget this when you are on the road."

3. When choosing a coven "Sex should never be expected in return for training, nor should it be part of your initiation."

4. 40-45% of all homicides in major American cities are gang related.

5. In 1982 I still had my hair in wings parted straight and hard down the middle.

July 6, 2006

Open Letter

Dear Becky and Michael, godparents of our son,

I keep turning over the story you told tonight at dinner in my mind.

This much I understand:

1. You're at a Montauk restaurant with a group of people including Rebecca Romijn.

2. Becky is seated next to Ms. Romijn who is being kind of bitchy and actively not making conversation.

3. There's another girl there also being bitchy who claims to be from Detroit but obviously isn't from Detroit which is annoying to people from Michigan like yourself who know that 90% of the people who say they are from Detroit really aren't.

4. A fish arrives complete with head and tail and the faux Detroit girl offers to de-bone it, because she is an expert de-boner, but then declines when she discovers it's Becky's fish.

5. Ms. Romijn is not wearing underwear.

This part I fail to understand no matter how hard I try to wrap my mind around it:

6. Both of you are part of a human pyramid, 4 layers high, with the aforementioned people.

7. You are on the bottom of the pyramid.

8. You explain you were bullied into this.

June 16, 2006

5 Cabdrivers I've Met Recently

Gerardo Santiago Felix
(translated from Spanish) "I love her, man do I love her. Do you know every day I buy her roses and leave them at her door. She doesn't love me though. I am too old, more than twice her age. Maybe I am ugly. But every day I leave her roses and one day she will know my true love. I don't care how it takes. Do you know the constellation Orion. One day she told me this is what she looks for in the sky, so every night I pray to Orion. She has a boyfriend now, but I can wait, she's had other boyfriends. I don't interfere, and one day she will come to me. Wait a minute, that's her calling..."

Mohammed Islam
"People never talk to me, they think I am a terrorist because I look like Bin Laden so I am surprised when you talk to me. I hate Bin Laden. He says he is a prophet but look what he has done. Everyone in the world hates Muslims now. Maybe Bin Laden is an Israeli spy or maybe he is just a Saudi. Saudis hate Americans. In Pakistan many people love Americans. I love this country. I moved here 22 years ago, and my whole family lives here now, even my grandparents."

Bazyli Ochabski
"I love miniature trains. Not toy trains, but miniatures, you can ride them. On weekends I take the seats out of the cab and load it with my steam engine. All built by hand. I am a member of so many clubs and everybody wants to see my train so I drive to New Jersey or Maryland or Florida with my train to show it to club members. There is a really good club in Somerset Hills, New Jersey. We have miles of tracks. You should come. It would change your life."

S. Aungubolkul aka Mr. Bacon
"I hate this country because this country is weak. In my country we wouldn't have problem with these terrorists. Iraq is a joke. Every day America gets weaker and weaker. In my country I was Thai military and in Thai military we didn't play games. My nickname was Mr. Bacon because I would make them eat pork. [laughs] I made big mistake though, I fell in love with girl who wants to come to America. Now look at me. I am nothing."

Hitler Singh
"My mother wanted me to have famous name... all of us had famous names. My brothers are Chaplin, Churchhill, and Napoleon. Really. Some people get so angry you know but Hitler is my name so I am proud of it. The truth is my mother didn't know much about history."

May 17, 2006

Why.

1. Why did my parents make me take ice skating lessons in Houston where the temperature rarely drops below 80?

2. Why, even at the age of 4 and a half, did I allow myself to be put into a bunny outfit?

3.Why was I so damned slow?

4. And why, when all the other kids had skated far far ahead of me, did I decide play to the crowd by turning and doing series of hops, eventually passing the other bunnies now headed in the opposite direction, causing the girl I liked, Kelly Jackson, to call me Fooey Bugs and wrinkle her nose at me for the rest of the summer?

May 10, 2006

3 Things My Son Has Eaten With a Smile on His Face

1. Seaweed and cheerios.
2. Caviar and cheerios.
3. A dead bumblebee.

April 21, 2006

Things I have learned today

1. If your kid throws up (all kids spectacularly and unexpectedly throw up at some point. Our kid isn't much of a vomiter, but when he goes, it's all out) and you clean up the vomit with a towel, don't throw the towel in the laundry with other clothes, and then let the mess fester for a week or two because if you do this you will end up with an entire load of vomity smelling laundry.

2. One should never answer the question, "Hey did you take a picture of my dog?" with "You call that a dog?"

3. Even though you think you can zip out on the stoop in your boxer shorts without being seen (because it's early in the morning and who in their right mind is up at 6:00), you will invariably be seen by people you know. The embarrassment is magnified when, as you lean to pick up the paper, your 16 month old decides it would be funny to tug your boxers down causing you, in your flailing attempt to preserve dignity to twist and fall flat on your face.

4. It is not a good idea to let your son play with week old easter eggs just as he is developing his throwing skills.

5. When absentmindedly hitting your own head with a wrist guard beanbag that your wife made for you, watch out and don't swing it too hard because you might knock yourself right out of your chair.

6. Commenting on the size of another kid's head to his mother is never a good idea.

April 11, 2006

How guarantee I will not give money to your alumni association

1. Call when I am in the tub.
2. When I tell you I'm in the tub and not to call back for a while, call back a minute and a half later.
3. Ask about my wife, who you have met, and then refer to a girl I last dated in 1992 and haven't spoken to since.
4. Call me Ricardo. Twice.
5. Refer to me as a "buddy" after you've called me Ricardo (twice).
6. Ask the question, "What'dya say chief?"
7. Hang up because you have to take a "really important call".

April 9, 2006

The Last Few Days in Brief

1. Explored the High Line with Jake.
2. Took the Chinatown bus to Philadelphia. (tickets $5-$12)
3. At long last went to visit the Barnes Collection.
4. Reported to my wife that I might have lost my wedding ring.

Me: I think I lost my wedding ring. The last time I remember wearing it was in the Dominican Republic.
Jenn: This is a good one. Novel. Emotional and hard hitting. Very good. A few years ago you would have had me, but I know you now and I'm not going to get involved in one of your psychodramas.
Me: I've turned the house upside-down. It's gone.
Jenn: Stop. How many times have we done this? I know how it goes. The fear, the self loathing, the ever more implausible theories... and then the inevitable, "oh, here it is."
Me: But...
Jenn: I'm not listening.
Me: It's...
Jenn: Nope.
Me: I'm..
Jenn: Next.
5. Passed many accidents on the NJ turnpike. Stopped at the Grover Cleveland Travel Plaza.
6. Was in the subway (in the corridor that connects the F to the 2 at 14th Street) and heard a great rendition of Cool Water as a spiritual in the manner of The Mighty Clouds of Joy by a blind musician named Sleepy Joe.
7. Missed a picture through a subway window of a couple making out behind an umbrella.
8. Went to a party where I ran into a guy who was one my best friend's prep school roommate. The two haven't spoken in 20 years and both have sons named Harry.

February 5, 2006

How not to take an impulsive road trip

1. Don't do much research.

2. Leave kind of late in the day.

3. Annoy your wife.

4. Drive 3 hours north away from sunny weather into cloudy weather.

5. Arrive to find the place you were going to visit closed.

6. Have your kid play on a rock before realizing your kid doesn't want to play on a rock.

7. Decide to make the best of it by taking a walk down a country road.

8. Have the country road lead to a garbage dump.

9. Get your wife carsick on winding roads.

10. Drive 3 hours back.

January 25, 2006

Places I've Lived

Places I've lived for more than one month (in the order they first appear, repeated cities asterisked):

Monterrey, Mexico *******
San Antonio, Texas
Houston, Texas
Lufkin, Texas ****
Burnet, Texas ***
Cuernavaca, Mexico
Princeton, New Jersey ****
Austin, Texas
Boston, Massachusetts
Eastbourne, England
Oxford, England
Shanghai, People's Republic of China
New York, New York ***
Amagansett, New York
Leh, India
Jaisalmer, India
Hanoi, Vietnam
Phenom Pehn, Cambodia
Langmusi, People's Republic of China
Beijing, People's Republic of China *
Ulaan Batar, Mongolia
Prague, The Czech Rebublic
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Los Angeles, California ***
Beverly Hills, California
Paris, France
Santa Monica, California
Orlando, Florida
West Hollywood, California
San Francisco, California
Brooklyn, New York

January 11, 2006

Gross candy ( I can't get enough of)

1. Chuckles (jenn brings them to me when I'm feeling blue)
2. Boston Baked Beans
3. Candy Corn
4. Nekko Wafers (normal)
5. Chocolate Nekko Wafers
6. Pixy Stix (always loved that Breakfast Club scene with Alley Sheedy)
7. Spice drops
8. Wax lips
9. Grape pop rocks ("entertainment for your whole mouth!" and no they did not kill Mickey).
10. Nik-L-Nips

January 1, 2006

Hello 2006

2006? Already? Seems impossible. Wasn't it just yesterday that I wrote an entry dated 1/1/05? I'm not sure I'm ready for 06. Hell, I'm not sure I was ready for O5. In fact the last year I was really comfortable with was 02. 06 seems like the future. But the future isn't really working out the way we expected is it? My kid doesn't know any of this. His days are still unburdened by time or thoughts of what could be or what might have been. He really enjoys eating oranges. Hard to explain how very much he enjoys them. The pure joy. Right now the only thing that compares is climbing up and down the stairs. Climbing is happy time... but no, right now at least, oranges rule...epecially Clementines. For him the future will be 2100 or 2200 which is funny because neither of those dates seem as far away as 2000 was from 1980. But here we are. 2006.

Here are ten free wishes for you:

I wish someone whispers you a secret for your ears only.
I wish you a good night's sleep being held by the person you love the most.
I wish a new song so good it makes you get up and dance on the first listen.
I wish you find forgotten money (at least a twenty!).
I wish you read a book that changes your life.
I wish a stranger will say something to you that will make your day.
I wish you do somthing you always wanted to do but never thought you could.
I wish you see a falling star.
I wish you a foot massage.
I wish you love for something as much as my son loves oranges.

December 20, 2005

5 dreams I had while sick with this stomach thing:

I swallow a gigantic hamburger bigger than my head. The hamburger inches slowly down my esophagus like a rat through a boa constrictor. Try though I might, I can't squish it flat. I wake up in a cold sweat when it gets past my stomach.

I'm sitting in my 4th grade class when I hear Bill Little, a kid who always hated me (and who I once secretly beaned with a good sized rock), giggling in the back of class. I hear him muttering my name. He's making fun of me. My face is hot. Then I taste something bitter. I know what's going on. Bill Little has poisoned my bologna sandwich with glass and lye. My stomach starts turning violently.

A nickle drops through a hole in my pocket into a puddle. I reach after it and find the puddle deeper than I thought and very cold. Something in the water pulls me in. Suddenly I am under water and I can feel it crystallizing around me. Popsiclization is inevitable unless I can shiver myself out.

I am on fire. My hair, my clothes, even my toes. The only way to stop it from hurting other people is to eat it, so I force myself to eat the fire pushing my face onto it. I eat it all but inside it still burns leaving me smoky from my seams. I cough soot.

I wake up on an empty beach. The sky is blue, the water clear. I think, "This is pleasant. Ahhh. I must be better." S t r e t c h. I watch the waves lapping at my feet. And then I notice that the sand has been washing over me leaving me partially buried. I am immobile. "Still not too bad," I think. Then tide recedes and small black ants come marching in from the tall grass. They climb my belly and disappear into my bellybutton. I know then that this isn't over.

December 10, 2005

Things to note while carrying 4 dozen balloons down Atlantic Avenue

1. Wind is your enemy.
2. 4 Dozen balloons generate a huge amount of static electricity.
3. Static shocks hurt.
4. Low lying trees pop balloons.
5. Concertina wire pops balloons.
6. People will say "Happy Birthday!" to which you might answer, "It's not my birthday" to which people might say "go to hell."
7. Young kids might ask you "Can I have a balloon mister?" to which you might answer "I'm sorry these aren't my balloons." to which a child might reply, "Then what do you care, give me one."
8. The ribbon on the balloons can get wrapped around your neck.
9. When 4 dozen ribbons are wrapped around your neck and the balloons are blowing around, you might get strangled.
10. If you call out for "a little help" nobody will help you.

December 1, 2005

Abominable

You know the Rankin/Bass stop-motion holiday classic Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer that plays on TV every year around this time? It was on CBS this evening. I love the show as much as the next guy, but a couple of things have always rankled me.

1. Skinny Santa is mean, really mean.

2. The Burl Ives snowman plays his banjo during some of the songs, but there is no banjo on the soundtrack.

3. Charlie in the Box is terrifying.

4. Owls at the North Pole?

5. The Abominable Snow Monster should be bloody after having all his teeth ripped out.

6. Hermey is a terrible name.

7. There's nothing wrong with the doll on the Island of Misfit Toys so why is she on the Island of Misfit Toys? (according to this site the problem is psychological)

8. King Moonracer is an Aslan ripoff.

9. Yukon Cornelius is a Yosemite Sam ripoff.

10. Did I mention Santa is kind of an ass? Also, he only has 4 fingers. Terrifying.

As an aside what in the world was up with the "Ronald McDonald and I'm loving it" ad that appeared during the middle of the show? Ronald McDonald is frightening enough on his own, but hard rocking Ronald stage diving into the crowd is terrifying? Is the McDonald Corporation trying to hurt my mind?

October 3, 2005

3 Facts

1. Before 1847 the word gorilla does not appear in the English language.

2. Most mammals regardless of size have about a billion heartbeats in a lifetime.

3. Left unsupervised I can scarf down an entire package of gingermen cookies.

February 22, 2005

rules to live by

In the margins of a book I never finished reading I listed a manifesto of sorts, 100 rules to live by. The date was March 18, 1992. I won't bore you with all 100, but many years later the list would pretty much the same although the order would be somewhat different. Here are the top 10 by my 25 year old self.

1. Travel someplace that scares you.

2. Paint your walls even if it's not allowed. White is for sanitariums and prisons.... unless you are one of those people really really into white. Then explore the color white, there are endless shades.

3. Have mysterious projects.

4. Keep a journal. Write some of what you did...ie the facts of your life, but more importantly write how you experienced it.

5. Take more pictures than you think you need to. You're already older than you were a moment ago.

6. Vary your route. The most interesting stuff is around the corner.

7. Keep secrets (but on quiet nights after many years tell the person you love).

8. Don't worry about traffic.

9. Zero your debt.

10. There is more tragedy in the world than you know, but there is also more beauty. Do not ignore tragedy. Accept it, but accept joy with equal intensity.

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