What I Did On My (end of) Summer Vacation

September 9, 2008

I have just returned from a week long vacation to cleanse my palette of the summer workathon.

What did I do? Vacation in Maine? Relax on the Cape? Hike the many trails here in the Berkshires?


With the help of my very talented carpenter father, I built a shed for storage with a playhouse for the child on top. Behold!

Here is a view of the shed door side:

Here is the child, surveying her domain from on high:


And here she is relaxing with a little light reading:

So there it is. It was fun and exhausting and I feel like I’ve done something with my time.

For my next vacation, however, I’m going somewhere and doing nothing. I swear.


Back From Ohio and Still Shaking……

August 24, 2007

OK. So after a week in the solidly red state of Ohio I have to admit that I had forgotten what the experience is like. Here are some highlights:

  • My cousin informs me that his 2 year old son will not be allowed into my other cousin’s house where my daughter and her new found 3rd cousin friend are playing because “my boy ain’t going to be playing with no fucking dolls.”
  • That same cousin’s wife tells me, in all seriousness and feeling very open-minded, that she thinks Adam Sandler is funny, “even though he’s a Jew.”
  • A stranger that my brother and I played golf with goes on at length about how even though Bush may have made a few “small mistakes with this Iraq thing” it’s excusable since he’s had to spend “so much time cleaning up the mess that Clinton left behind.”
  • Any public place with a television that is not showing ESPN is showing Fox News.
  • My parents don’t have cable, so they only get 6 channels. Two of them are full time religious networks owned by mega-churches.
  • And the countryside is littered with billboards for these mega-churches, crusades, biblical quotes, anti-choice slogans and other nonsense.

On the upside there are a lot of indoor water parks and roller coasters in the part of the state I was in.

My parents are considered very liberal for the area (although I would consider them moderates) and I’m stunned they haven’t been run out of the area by a crowd of pitchfork and torch wielding morons. 

So to recap: I had a great time seeing my parents and family, showing my daughter the places I grew up and going to theme parks.

I had a terrible time being reminded of the reasons I couldn’t wait to leave in the first place. It was an eye-opener. Living safely ensconsed in the liberal stronghold of MA has warped my view of things. If Ohio is any indication, the country is most definatly NOT swinging left. Or maybe Ohio is just a lost cause.

Whatever the case, conservatives in my homestate make the ones we have here look like Kennedys.

Some Random Thoughts While I Have a Minute

August 9, 2007

The comedy show was a big success and a hell of a lot of fun. I didn’t advertise much this time, but I’m planning more in the fall and I’ll get the word out earlier and farther.

I’m still in the midst of one of the busier summers I’ve had in a while, so the posts will  continue to be sporadic for a while longer.

I’m heading out to Beautiful Ohio next week. (OSU grads stand and sing here). I haven’t been there in years. My parents usually travel here to see us (well, to see the Grandkid. I just happen to be here) so it’s time to go the other way.

I’m having one of those stretches of time where everything seems to break. It’s running the gamut from a leaky faucet I can’t seem to fix to the transmission in our mini-van that costs way more to fix than I care to mention.

I recently had a lovely evening in the back yard of a neighbor drinking and talking with many of the bloggers on my blogroll and some other great folks from the area. Thanks for the hospitality, Greg. And Ross, great to finally meet you. I’m taking you up on that Rotary lunch soon.

My latest musical obsession is King Crimson. Especially the 80’s and 90’s lineup of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin. This is Prog Rock Magic, folks, with a paranoid edge that makes David Byrne look downright well adjusted.

More later, perhaps from the wilds of the Lake Erie shore.

Summer Sucks

June 22, 2007

It’s my busy season here in the Berkshires. Long days adding up to long weeks becoming long months. The unfortunate thing about my profession is that when everyone else is digging the great weather and frolicking in the lakes and streams, I’m calendar watching for September and a brief respite from the insanity.

So make me jealous, Dear Blog Folks, tell me your great summer plans, fun things that you’ve done already and are going to do in the weeks to come. Let me live vicariously through you.

Bring It On!!!!!!

I’m Back and I’m Ranting

May 24, 2007

OK. So I know in my last post I said I was coming to the end of my busy period and would be posting more and then…..nothing for almost three weeks.

I spent a week working an installation in New York City for the High Line Festival (Never did see Bowie) and then another week relaxing at Cape Cod (Sorry, Tom. I feel like a traitor for spending so much time at the eastern end of the state, but the fish is so fresh!!!!!)

Anyway, I’m back now and I swear I’ll post more. To echo Tom B over at Mortar Bend, the Blog world here in North County has been a bit quiet and tame. So here is my contribution to the cause:

I am the first to admit that we have a less than perfect country and certainly right now we have some seemingly insurmountable problems. However, every now and then I come across something that shows me how stupid rich and pampered we are as a society. Things that we take for granted in our society that would be unthinkable almost anywhere else in the world.

A few examples:

  • Yogurt in a Tube: Because messing with spoons is such a hassle. And a bowl? Forget it. That’s just asking too much.
  • Poker on TV: Come on. It’s people playing cards. Are we so lazy that playing cards for ourselves is too much effort? “I’m too tired to play cards. I know! I’ll WATCH OTHER PEOPLE play cards.” In HD.
  • Soup in a Re-closable Container: When this little gem came out, the tag line on the commercial was “Finally. Soup is easy.” Finally? Operating a can opener sending you into fits of exhaustion all these years? Adding that can of water just sending you over the edge? Which brings me to one of my all-time favorites:
  • The Electric Can Opener: Can it get any worse than this? It’s OPENING A CAN!!!! Do we really need to involve the burning of fossil fuels in this process? Are we condemning the polar bears to an early extinction so we can avoid a possible finger cramp while opening our cans of Nacho Cheese Sauce (contains real cheese flavor!) and Nine Lives Gourmet Cat Food (contains more actual food than the cheese sauce!)?

Surely there are other observant curmudgeons out there that have noticed these things. Let’s have them.

And it’s good to be home again.

So That Happened…..

March 19, 2007

Without going into too much detail, let me explain where I have been.

About 3 weeks ago I started working on a project that took up all of my time, drove me to near exhaustion, made me a stranger to my wife and child, sucked away my will to live and brought life as we know it on this planet nearer to extinction than any here can imagine.

Ok, perhaps I exaggerate, but damn I’m tired.

I survived and the project was completed successfully, to everyone’s satisfaction. Art was made, much to the chagrin of the “Old Guard” I’ll not doubt,  and in the process the local economy was given a boost as this particular artist works on a grand scale and both buys and hires locally as much as he possibly can.

So I’m back and hope to be a bit more regular in my posting. Thanks to Greg for the shout-out over at his place.  (Welcome back, buddy. Dust off the clubs, spring is coming. I can feel it, snow be damned).

Let the Geek Games Begin (and A Little Music Talk)

February 16, 2007

The other night me and The Little Missus had another couple over to indulge one of our geekier compulsions: Board games.

Boy, we hit the geek mother-load with this one. The game we played is called Settlers of Cataan. For those of you unfamiliar with this nerdy masterpiece, the object is to create more roads, settlements, cities and other bits of civilization than your opponents, screwing with their chances along the way. 

That’s it. If it weren’t a board game it would be a curriculum. Players gather commodities that can be used to build the various objects you need to win. Supply and demand plays a big role.

One half of the couple we played with is an economist.

He won.

Just to add to my geek status, I am also involved in a semi-regular game of Risk with a group of other social outcasts. (You know who you are). We speak longingly of one day playing Axis and Allies.  Even The Little Missus, who gladly plays many other board games, looks on me with pity and, I fear, a little contempt. Not that I blame her.

On a slightly less nerdy note, its time for a music update.

My Gomez phase has not yet abated, although it seems to be slowing down.  I’ve been on a Zeppelin kick for about a week, in particular Houses of the Holy.

I’ve been getting into a Canadian indie band called Broken Social Scene. They’re a group with a steady line-up that is augmented by others from the Great White North indie scene. Their album You Forgot It in People is a great listen. It took me a couple of passes to fully appreciate it, but it is well worth the effort.

And a big thanks to Amy for steering me to The Dead Show podcast. I’m working my way through the archives in a state of bliss.

How’s about you all? What’s in your ears these days?