October 30, 2006



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October 28, 2006

 hobo poetry


i had been looking forward to john hodgman's reading at the regulator for weeks. maybe even months. i adore him.

a lot.

too much, perhaps.

so it's probably best i just leave it at that, and say that the event did not disappoint.

here's a 24 MB video of him reading some hobo poetry ostensibly written by 'mindbender steve', a hobo whose poems always, always rhymed. (to the point of painfulness.)

and here is the poem in non-video form, which is found in the pulitzer-prize-winning book "the areas of my expertise"... follow along as you watch the video. (and yes, that is a bagpipe accompaniment you hear in the background. it was a weird night.)

A hobo always goes and goes
He does not stop to change his clothes
He rides the rails that he has chose.
Water pours out from a hose!

Do not show me tramp or bum
Tramp may ride, and bum's a chum
But both beg from the other one.
Kids: stop chewing chewing gum!

Neither works like hobo does
Carving coin and twisting fuzz
Into a pretty pair of gloves.
The past tense of "to be" is "was"!

A hobo he will never steal
Unless it is to get a meal
Or cash, or gems, or fur of seal.
Some Japanese eat broiled eel!

But saddest: those who do not ride
At all, but stand and die inside
As world spins on and throws aside
The past, and hope, and faith, and pride.
In one direction do trains glide
Not looking back, on windward side,
Across the continent's divide
The hobo rides and rides and rides.
I will eat anything that's fried!

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October 23, 2006


normally i just delete my blurry photos, but here are two that i figured were interesting enough to share anyway.

on friday i went with several dear friends to see amy sedaris. she's blurry in that photo because we were sitting quite far away. and she never really stopped moving.

the fellow on stage with her was a local thespian who acted as a sort of emcee. he asked her questions from the stage, made a craft with her (something to do with the squaw on the land-o-lakes butter package), and also moderated the audience Q&A. (which was the most painful part of the evening. some of the audience questions were not even questions, and not even about her. the most ridiculous was "what does stephen colbert smell like?" her answer was, "shrimp paste.")

as ridiculous as the Q&A got, she was cute and funny, and she deserves a medal for having the stamina to sign 500 books.

my other blurry photo is of the sign at a self-storage place which always posts quirky messages. the quality isn't so good because again i was shooting from quite a distance, and also i was driving a (slowly-moving) car.

i like that the employees (or owner?) of this place has a sense of humor. if i ever need to store stuff, perhaps i'll choose this joint.

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October 20, 2006

 someone help me decipher these...

...'cause they make my brain hurt.



thanks to terese for that second one, from columbia, SC.

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October 19, 2006

 mr. booze

my neighbors' creativity doesn't just manifest itself on the traffic circle.


my friend andy is building a wine bottle fence at the back of his property.

it rocks!

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October 16, 2006


ray & i took the day off and went to the fair.

neither of us had been to the fair in close to a decade, so we both considered this a relatively big deal. we bought tickets in advance (including 96 ride tickets!) and set out this morning around 11am.

we had been intending to leave much earlier than 11, but i rather badly injured my foot yesterday and wasn't sure i'd be able to go today at all. (the fine folks at urgent care told me they *didn't think* my foot was broken, and based on past experience i actually didn't think it was either. but since the pain was bad enough to send me to urgent care in the first place, i figured i'd better at least get an x-ray.)

anyway, i woke up this morning and it didn't feel too bad, so ray & i decided to go for it. i strapped my feet into my brand new high-falutin' sneakers and hoped for the best. and i did pretty good. i am quite the trooper. we managed to eat tons of stuff and rides tons of stuff before i finally called it quits around 7:30pm. not bad!

so let's see... what all did i eat? a steak sandwich. french fries. elephant ear! hot mini donuts. some phenomenal ice cream made by nc state agriculture students. a corn dog. was there anything else? i feel like there was something else. (rather, my stomach is telling me right now that there was probably something else.)

we walked every inch of those fairgrounds, though, so i probably burned a good 2% of the calories i took in. and, suffice to say, we skipped the fried twinkies, the fried oreos, the fried candy bars AND the fried coca-cola.

i wish i'd carried a camera with me, because some of the things we saw were spectacular. we caught a neat bmx bike stunt show, which was worth a photo. those prizewinning cows were quite impressive, too. the 5-legged goat deserved photo documentation, and yes some of the fairgoers were rather memorably dressed. but oddly enough, more often than not it was the signage that made me wish i had the capability to take snapshots.

mostly we just saw bad apostrophes (signs advertising "hot dog's", for instance) -- and we saw A LOT of that particular grammatical mistake -- but the one that totally befuddled me was the warning sign at one of the midway rides that read "guess with heart conditions should not ride." *that* deserved a photo. (what's more, we *rode* that ride.)

we actually managed to ride about 8 or 9 rides, and only two made me really want to vomit. (both forceably turned me upside down.) my favorite ride was the ferris wheel, so that shows you what my natural tolerance level is, but all in all i was much more brave than i thought i would be. neither of us was prepared for the scariest ride at the fair, though (the "turbo force" which cost 10 tickets and would have caused me to pass out).

it was a good day. but both of my feet now hurt really pretty badly, so i'm going off to bed.


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October 14, 2006

 this is my sad lament

when my work schedule changed 4 or 5 months ago, the amount of time i was able to devote to reading blogs reduced significantly. back then, during the course of the workday i could easily browse through the list of the "people i've met" and many of the "people i haven't met" and still somehow manage to get my work done. it was a beautiful time in my life.

don't get me wrong... i do LOVE my new work schedule, but i just don't have the time to devote to the internets the way i used to. i'm busier now. i actually get more satisfaction out of my job these days. i'm leading that purpose-driven life, i think. (actually, i just made that up... threw in a bestselling title to pump my image up a little. it sounds good, right?)

anyway, i'm busy but i can still manage, as you can see, to find a few minutes here and there to pump out a lame post about shoes or church signs, but it's clear that the content here has significantly decreased since my schedule changed.

but what i really really miss most is reading all you bloggy people. i'm lucky if i can find the time ONCE A WEEK to read your posts. often it approaches two weeks before i can find the time to check in with you. (and i haven't visited the "people i haven't met" in months.) even my best friends who blog... i just can't make it over to your space anymore. how did i ever find the time before? it's incomprehensible to me now, the way my life used to be.

and consequently i feel really out of the loop. i'm very, very sad about that. there are so many wonderful, lovely, funny creative people who i consider my friends that i feel myself becoming distant from... largely because i don't have the time to read the blogs. i'm not really sure what to do to fix it, either. i feel myself becoming detached from you all, and it makes my heart hurt a little.

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October 12, 2006

 for once... practical shoes!


how sexy are THESE?!?! huh??!? am i right???

seriously, this was a pretty monumental shoe purchase: it's been 5 or 6 years since i've had a good pair of athletic shoes. and those i bought off the rack at DSW or something, with little thought to what the shoes did (or didn't do) for my feet.

these, however, came from a small local sporting goods chain, where a very kind salesman was happy to measure my feet and subject me to several other tests (which happened to indicate that i overpronate). i also learned that my right foot is narrower than the left, though it is also a half-size bigger. who knew?

i've become pretty religious about my morning walk (and am even considering starting to jog) and i figured it was past time for me to invest in a stable pair of athletic shoes. and these feel great. they almost propel me in each step. pretty cool.

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October 10, 2006



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October 07, 2006



i like this sign. it almost makes me want to be a methodist.

right across their driveway is this:


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October 03, 2006

 don giovanni

ray is singing in the chorus of the opera company of north carolina's production of "don giovanni".

many important people think this is the greatest opera ever written. and this production by the OCNC is going to be pretty cool... handheld cameras, tv screens, modern-day clothing. have you seen the press this staging is getting?

performances are this thursday & friday night ONLY, at meymandi concert hall in raleigh. you can buy tickets here. you won't be sorry.

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October 01, 2006

 pride and prejudice

the neighborhood just to the south of mine recently had a traffic circle installed at one of their busiest intersections. and because those people are ALMOST as cool as us, they've also decided to start using their new circle as a place for public art:


here you see a purple bench, a green table-like thing, an old lamp (on the ground) and a big metal pole with a cardboard box on top. on the four sides of the box appear words: YOUR. CRAZY. ART. HERE.

a nice start, folks. :-)

now on to MY neighborhood circle:


i wasn't sure what this meant until i saw the following message appear on the neighborhood listserv:

the little patch of public space known as asphalt island is one of the few public spaces remaining where free speech can be expressed. most of the installations are self censored. the installations are often fun, quirky, light hearted, but always family friendly. the circle is often a celebration of everydayness, and the installations follow guidelines set by the city.

on saturday morning the traffic circle contained a bio hazard of pink kryptonite in celebration of gay pride. that same morning before 9 a.m. a note was placed saying "PLEASE REMOVE THIS UGLY SHIT." (NOT a family friendly note) just a few minutes after seeing the note the diversity tower of pink kryptonite was torn down/disappeared.

what is deemed "UGLY SHIT" is low cost art. because of theft the pieces are low cost or found objects. most people installing something in the circle know that objects may be stolen or vandalized.

what is so hard about seeing an object for five seconds as you drive by? is anything thought provoking offensive? not everyone will like what is placed in the circle but the pieces do build community. they encourage discussion. they invite others to participate. whoever removed the pink kryptonite dictated what everyone else got to see (or not see).

we are very disturbed that today, the day of gay pride, was marred by an incident of intolerance. free expression is not about universal approval, and it's also not about one person's disapproval.

full of pride,

another message followed, a half-hour later:

the pink kryptonite was found in a nearby garbage can. people should be careful how they dispose of bio hazards.


(RABiD, by the way, stands for "Renegade Arts Brigade in Durham")

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