lørdag, april 28, 2007

If You Go...

While we haven't worn flowers in our hair (yet), the Muse and I are in the San Francisco / Oakland area. Back Tuesday eve so slim chance of an update until Wednesday morning.

Yes, that sound was your collective sigh of relief.

torsdag, april 26, 2007

Odd Eaves

I was droppin' some eaves over at the Frost at lunch. Dan served up a nice pinot noir (when I called for a wildcard red) and I housed the potato-puree pizza. Man that's good!

A power lunch was going on among eight people on the other end of the room. Dessert was ordered. They finished. Someone else was coming over for a quick chat so the youngsters at the table (the office wage slaves, one assumes) got up to leave. One man and two women would be left.

One woman called after the departing yout's, "And I'd like new spreadsheets."

"Alright," the poor guy said.

"This afternoon," she said.

Way to kill his lunch, lady.

So now it's the power people of the power lunch. The fourth shows up for the chat. Then the beefy guy at the table--the guy with the booming voice--says to the woman beside him, "I never would have said I noticed you wore a different shade of lipstick everyday. I didn't notice. Am I just dense?"

She said, deadpan, "Yeah."

"I had a feeling about that," he said. "The fact I even asked told me it was true."

In Brief

Things of late I've written in the comments sections at other blogs (meaning: still seeking a balance between work, life and writing interests):

From Night Editor's blog:

I was at a writer's party in Carbondale, Illinois. (It wasn't exclusively for writers, but we were always the thickest knot at any party, and probably hosted 90% of them.) I had thrown on some wrinkled t-shirt. It was clean, I swear, but I'd neglected to fold my laundry.

Behind, a man said, "Writers are the most rumpled people in the world."

I turned. It was a poet. And he was drinking from a bottle of Night Train.

Fire in the Brain
From Jana's blog:

I believe it was April - May of 2002 (possibly 2001) when my trivia partner Christopher and I went on a crazy tear at the old old Molly Quinn's. We played under the name The Headless Norsemen and wound up winning something like 6 out of 8 quizzes before the Quizmaster, one Bill Watkins, took a summer break from quizzing.

Though Christopher and I rarely enjoyed victorious quizzes after that, those wins were immensely satisfying and gave us a smarty-pants mystique with some of the other players.

There are periods in life where the brain is really firing. And when you get multiple firing brains in one space: magic.

from Lollie's blog:

...And I note that you chose to take the steamer to England but not Cleveland. Whither the Cleveland Steamer?

onsdag, april 25, 2007

One from the Vault: "The Catch"

I've been cleaning out some old writing files--including material I'd posted at the old Two Week Crush blog that I wrote with my friend Jen. One of my favorite entries was from 3 August 2004. It's called "The Catch" and recounts the wonderful story a woman told me as she ate dinner beside me at the bar of the now-defunct Molly Quinn's pub.

The Catch

It's amazing how people one does not know will launch into tales of heartbreak and all-around weirdness. But I guess there's no real risk of rejection or judgment when it's someone we don't believe we'll ever know. (It's that familiarity-contempt thing. Do you hate me?) And if we're lying, the chances of it getting back to people who can call our biggity bluff are greatly diminished. So:

The other night a woman told me a story while she ate steak. This was at the bar at Molly Quinn's. I was on my second lemonade--no joke, I been a good boy of late--and my bladder was ready to burst, but she started telling this story, and when the good vibe is there, I can't resist. I put my pen and paper away. I listened. Her story: She's 59. She's a teacher at a local school. Recently the storyteller found a cache of nearly 100 letters from an old boyfriend. She'd dated him when she was 17. He'd been 23 at the time. He'd asked her to marry him. She'd said yes. "But then, who knows?" she said. "It just didn't happen. I don't even remember why." So she reread all those old letters, and suddenly she felt as giddy as a teen. Love, sweet love! She used the internet. She found the guy. He's 65 now. She contacted him.

So 42 years later they get in touch. On the phone he says he still loves her, that he's always thought of her. He asks her to marry him. She says yes. He comes to see her, and it is right. But they begin getting angry phone calls. It's the man's ex-wife.

After nine days together he vanishes.

[About this point in the story I'm hoping she eats her steak more slowly. I don't want the story to end, and I get the impression it is only to last as long as the meal.]

Days go by. She's angry. Then he calls. He tells her about his ex-wife--"Some Korean," she says, "I don't know. She's got this problem with her legs. She's in a wheelchair. That's why she still lives with him, because he feels he's supposed to take care of her. Or so he says. They're probably still married. Who knows."

She chomps away. She spears a hard piece of lettuce.

"Now he comes back," she says. He drives into town with eight boxes packed in his old Nissan. This is it: they've got a real chance. He's opening up. He confesses to a brief stint in prison (twenty years since at least) for a financial scheme. "Ha!" she says. "Did you know I loaned him the money for him to visit? A f-cking con." She drops back into the tale, though. They are together. They are happy. All is forgiven. But more phone calls come. And now the ex-wife is calling the school, trying to get this woman fired. "That crazy Korean b-tch was trying to get me fired!" she says. She pauses with one of those can-you-believe-this-sh-t? expressions. "Christ," I say. "Christ!" she agrees, pointing with a piece of meat on her knife.

After three days of this high-stakes emotional exchange, he says he's going up north. He says something silly about calling his ex from up there so she'll think that's where he is now. The storyteller shakes her head. "Oh, yeah. That would throw her off the trail," she says. "What a f-cker."

She's almost done now. She's on her last bites. She says to me, "And you know what he said at the end? Keep in mind I haven't seen or heard from him since. He's going fishing while he's up north. He tells me, 'I'll bring you back some walleye.'"

"Oh my god!" I say.

"F-cking walleye!" she says.

tirsdag, april 24, 2007

The Rest Hath Arisen

We've opened the pub (Merlins Rest), the Web site is coming along, and my buddy John Dingley (pictured above) can finally take in real money! Happy days, indeed.

An early 15 photos from our operations can be found here in a Flickr slideshow.

For those in the Twin Cities, the "official" grand opening happens Saturday, April 28. More information on events and such at the pub blog.

Back to work!

mandag, april 23, 2007

Perfect Day

Why don't I carry my camera with me more?

Saturday was a perfect day. The Muse and I had brunch with a host of friends over at Costello's. Big thanks to Keith, Kym, Flannery and Mike for getting out the word. (Josh: great to meet Charles. Scotty: total shock and quite nice to see you and Louise again! Kassandra: Always grand to see you and Tempest. Janie: Who would have predicted you and Steve popping through? Gary and Alice: You're just sweet, you know? Yeah, you do.)

After brunch, the Muse and I got out in the early season sun. It was 80 when the sun peaked out from the occasional clouds. Beautiful day. We went leisurely about the 8-hole frisbee golf course in Highland, then stopped over at the Como Park Conservatory to look at some flowers. It was crowded over there, and we saw two unlucky girls who had lost their kite in a tree--it was quite windy in the Park--but all in all people seemed quite happy with the day.

Soaking it up further, we went from the Conservatory over to the patio of the Happy Gnome and had a glass of wine.

Then, lo and behold, the phone rang. It was Rene. She, Don and "Bomb Diggity" Hulles were on the patio at Dixie's. So we finished up and met them for a glass of white wine and some conversation ahead of Don and Rene's Sunday flight to Amsterdam. (I think Hulles stashed himself in a steamer trunk.)

A couple hours and a shower later, we were back out to meet Suzanne and Scott on the patio of the Riverview Wine Bar for a couple hours of catching up.

To top it off, we popped through to say hello to the kids down at Merlins Rest (which opened only on Friday--Congrats John and Lee!). Great to see the kids happy and the business humming along.

It was really lovely not to work for a single minute for the first Saturday in a long time--not to mention (but mentioning) getting an entire day with the Baroness. I am now dearly looking forward to this coming weekend's trip to see Scott and Daniel (and perhaps Jakki and Andy) in San Francisco / Oakland. Woo!

Back to work.

fredag, april 20, 2007

Purr Box

Cats have this purring reflex. For lack of a vet's terminology, we'll call it the purr box. Their world is right: the cat purrs. You scratch behind their ears, you share with them your electric blanket in the winter: purring kitties.

But what if humans had an uncontrollable purr reflex?

You'd never be able to play it cool on a date. Your date would know exactly how you felt. Moments of silence? Nope. That's you with your wandering mind spoiling the moment with a throbbing purr.

The massive burrito I took on the other day.

Imagine the crises of teenagers as everyone discovers who the real nerds are! "I was in history class and we were talking about Abe Lincoln--and my purr box totally went off! I could have died."

The selection of a popular candidate for president at a national convention: imagine how creepy that auditorium would sound!

This thought sustains me.

Looking Forward To...

Meeting the Muse, Hulles and perhaps a few other roustabouts down the block at Frost tonight.

torsdag, april 19, 2007

Ignore Me

Moments ago I posted here that Merlins Rest, my friends' pub, will open on Friday, April 20.

Alas, it is NOT. Dammit. Will somebody please give me the updates? especially if I'm being asked to help with the communications work?

onsdag, april 18, 2007


While I'm finding hope a difficult thing right now, my jade plant keeps reminding me that we have blue skies and fresh air and that all good things are possible. Thank you, Bert (the plant). I appreciate you.

I had considered writing about violence in creative writing class material, because I've been through many workshops and have taught a class of writers, and all in all have read awful material (awful in both content and presentation). But I'll hold back on that. I'm not really sure what value discussing it is--though I admit I scoured the internet yesterday in search of copies of Cho Seung-Hiu's crappy plays.

And then I think about how horrifying and sad it is. And then I read the world news and find 150+ killed in this morning's bombings in Iraq. And I think that we'd need one of these Virginia Tech incidents to happen every day in order to understand better what the Iraqi people are feeling.

I'm not saying Americans don't feel for Iraqis or that we shouldn't mourn for what happened in Blacksburg. I'm certainly not saying, "Let's have some perspective." Jesus. It's just that all these things are together in my head.

We're walking through it, man.

So. I shouldn't be reading Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road right now, but I am.

Moving on...


The non-work things I want to accomplish before going to sleep today:

* I want to send ephemera to Johnny G. in Chambana.
* I want to eat a too-big burrito with avocado.
* I want to take a walk with the Muse in the late-day sun because we have late-day sun now.
* I want to find a book to read on the flights to and from San Francisco next weekend (April 27 - May 1). Something light. No more end-of-the-world stuff.
* I want to find out who got voted off American Idol even though I don't watch the show.

The Hit Parade

Ireland: I am thinking about you--and how your map shape looks like a Care Bear doing a belly flop.

The most popular way into this blog is through a link to the map of Florida I have posted here.

It has been an unintentional stat-maker (particularly for hits from government computers). This makes me think I should do other things simply to gain hits (rather than readers, for who doesn't like numbers in their favor?). I might, for example, ask: Did Sanjaya have a connection to Anna Nicole Smith's death?

tirsdag, april 17, 2007

Bonnie and Clyde Parallel Park

Warm weather made it! It was warm enough that Elizabeth and Alanna (pictured above) were out in summer hats and having ice cream. Danette: Thanks for sharing the photo. Please don't move! I'll miss you, Mike and the girls bunches. Dallas doesn't deserve you!!

Credit Due: And big thanks to Elizabeth P___ for repairing my computer!! It was down Sunday and Monday, meaning I was down Sunday and Monday (most of the time, but never when I'm with the Baroness). Thanks, E. You are appreciated.

So. Yes. Along with the sunshine and ice cream we have gangs of robins. They played hell on my parents' car during their recent visit, and they really took it to this vehicle:

The Bonnie and Clyde Bird-Shit Death Car!!

As if the driver of this unfortunate vehicle heard my laughter, maybe even saw me remove my third-floor screen to hold out my camera for the photos, he got even as best he could by parking within an inch of the Muse's bumper last night. That's about two and a half feet closer than most people in Saint Paul parallel park to one another.

(Yes, we vastly under-use space.)

The view from Casa dela cK. Sunny days! Happy days, friends.

ps: Yes, it's cloudy and cool today, but it was sunny, wasn't it? The Muse and I even sat out on the patio at Frost and sipped some white vino last night. Or did I dream that?

søndag, april 15, 2007

If Cormac Were Sudanese...

If Cormac McCarthy were Sudanese, his novels would be an awful lot like this story from the BBC.

fredag, april 13, 2007

The Delicate Ballet

I slept only about 90 minutes last night. The Delicate Ballet, which is my financial system of survival, was performing thunderously in my head as I await the call that will tell me I can finally pick up my taxes and send them off to the feds and the state.

I was casting about numbers for the money that's departing on Monday--maybe, I don't know yet how much--the money that's coming in (so long as those three invoices are filled), the potentially disastrous mistiming that could occur, ways of sidestepping that timing problem, the secondary troubles that could result from that sidestep, etc.

A payment system emerged in my head, coupled with a work plan I've long delayed throwing in motion, and showed me how to be debt-free in two years. Ha! Was I delirious?

I took a break to think about square roots: 12 x 12 = 144 and 12 + 13 = 25; 144 + 25 = 169; therefore, 13 x 13 must equal 169. Again: 13 + 14 = 27; 169 + 27 = 196. Therefore, 14 x 14 must equal 196....And so forth. This is what happens in a head. Some heads. This head, at least.

Do fish itch? Ever? Or suffer dry-eye? Or feel cotton-mouthed?

I'm not sure if my feet are quite touching the floor today. The system of weights and measures in my head is off-kilter. My personal avoirdupois is all out of whack. The back left side of my head feels heavier. My face is thinner.

One summer while bussing tables at the country club the hostess, who was about 60, and who wore off-white clothes and had frosty-(and slightly yellow)-looking swept-up hair, and who used make up that gave her face a hint of a sparkle yet matte texture (just a ghost of a cousin of her muted sparkle lipgloss), asked me in a hushed tone if I thought that she had fatter calves than the 60-ish woman who had just sat in the dining room.

Diane had a way about her that made me think she kept a very clean home and always had full dishes of white mints.

With a look of incredulity on my face I said, "No." That put an end to it and Diane seemed happy.

This same woman once asked a guest--former Bears safety Gary Fencik--to sign an autograph. It was during a golf tournament barbecue. She handed him a paper plate.

And I'm sure I've mentioned this before: at her home, she kept the corpse of a departed bird, a parakeet, I think, in tupperware in the freezer. And from time to time she would peek in and remember.

Much as I do these people from the past. They are playing in the mist of my mind today.

When I was a child I loved standing outside while my mom or dad put gas in the car because I liked to breathe the air around a gas pump. When cars were warming up in winter, I liked to sneak back into the exhaust cloud for a moment. That lovely monoxide, you know.

(I was admonished for this habit, please know. I may be an idiot, but my parents aren't.)

Fumes, indeed, but intoxicating ones. I'm running on them. And my brain is on fire.

I want to send out article pitches but know I cannot do that in this state. Must sit with the article I'm working on. Be patient. Stay with it, this coughing baby. Sit in the steam beside the bath. See it through.

torsdag, april 12, 2007

Vonnegut is Gone

Kurt Vonnegut has died. Sigh. He was a weird dude. I really did like a number of his books.

(I realize I can still like a number of his books.)

tirsdag, april 10, 2007


This cold annoys me. I feel like one of those inflated head people on the Sudafed commercial....

Put that tiny violin away! I'm just sayin'.

fredag, april 06, 2007

Crimewave: Où est Shaft?

Been gone, baby, gone with so many projects, so much to do for finalizing taxes, so little sleep, and plenty of little dramas--the freshest of which being the rather rude smashing of one of the Muse's car windows last night. This happened in the same parking lot in which one of my taillights was smashed.


I'm having revenge fantasies.

Boars Town

So prior to discovering the vandalism, Hulles, the Muse and I were at Frost, and Tommy was making drinks, and we started riffing on various songs and movies, replacing "boys" with "boars." I love this game. It left our faces hurting from laughter.

"Boars don't cry"
"Boars on the Side"
"The boars are back in town"
"Where the Boars Are"
"I know what boars like (I know what hogs want)"
"Let's hear it for the boar!"

And my favorite, Duran Duran's classic "Wild Boars." I'm particularly fond of this one because I think about the deep, computer-altered voice drawing out "Boars..." after Simon Le Bon cries "Wild!" (with a slight echo effect).

All this laughter was wonderfully capped off by Tom's news that he hopes to put a version of this drink on his summer menu and name it for our friend Lol. The drink name Tom is suggesting: Dali Lollie.


Famous French-Dubbed Exchanges from American Cinema

Person 1: Ferme-la!
Person 2: Je parle juste de Shaft!

(Thanks to Lollie for helping on this)

tirsdag, april 03, 2007

The Tax Man Cometh!!

It's tax season, I had my first meeting with my accountant, and am now putting together the final, necessary receipts to send off my schtuff. The accountant looked at his computer screen and said, "Go find those receipts."

"What do I owe?" I said.

"Find the receipts first," he said. "I don't want to tell you want I'm looking at."

(No worries, Mums and Pops. I reserved enough cash to cover the "no deductions" worst-case-scenario! I think.)

All in all, things are okay. I seemed to have almost understood what was needed in this process.

The Bird

As I met with the accountant, a small, plump, orange-beaked bird kept hopping into the tinted window. Finally I had to ask. The accountant told me that he'd done some research and found that some of the bird's antics were to collect bits of fibers, grasses and cobwebs that had built up on the window in winter and early spring. The bird then transports them to a nest in a nearby tree.

But sometimes the bird just stands there headbanging on the glass, having mistaken its own reflection for a rival bird in this the mating season.

So as we went through my finances the bird kept joyously flying into the window while in the larger office around the corner the owner of the firm was laying down a serious bluestreak about a client he'd lost it at.

He was saying, "Every year! Every year her shit is all fucked up! I've had it!"

I suppose this is every accountant after four months of handling taxes, but in the public's defense, we aren't accountants. If we were, we wouldn't be coming to you.

My accountant was sitting there with an expression that seemed to convey, "Let's pretend we aren't hearing this." And I sat there with an expression of bemusement and a quiet resolve to never meet with the top guy.


This frittata, baked by the Muse, was AWESOME.

Unconnected to it: I will probably incorporate my business later this year for tax purposes. It'll cost $1100 or so, but it'll save me $3000 - $5000 in filing next year.

Any suggestions for an incorporated business name?
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