Sunday, July 13, 2003

Testing again

Are you out there? Can you hear this? I'm blogging, I swear!

posted by boyhowdy | 10:24 AM | 0 comments

Testing But Not Expecting Much

posted by boyhowdy | 1:04 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, July 12, 2003


You can't see this, of course. I guess my best hope is that when a new week's archive is created at midnight tonight, things will start working again. But I don't think it will.

And I had so much to say about steam, too, after our visit to a classic boat show and a ride on both a steam train and a steamboat in Essex, CT today with daughter Willow, Darcie, Darcie's parents, her brother Josh, and her sister, her fiancee, and his grandparents.

And then Willow's gonna be one year old on Tuesday, and I need to get the Monday Mosh going.

Damn. Just...damn. Is there anybody out there? Can anyone hear me?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:25 PM | 0 comments

I Swear, I've Been Posting

But for three posts now, nothing's shown up in the blog itself. I can see it right here in the main Blogger edit screen, and it SAYS the posts have been posted, and that "publishing" was "successful"....but nothing shows up in the final analysis, the part that counts: the blog.

Admittedly, three posts is a slow week, but still. I've been here; why am I invisible and mute, damnit?

posted by boyhowdy | 7:06 PM | 0 comments

Friday, July 11, 2003

Home Again, With Apologies

You know you've been away from the blog for too long when your mother calls to say your father was worried about you because you hadn't blogged since Monday.

I DID try to post something late Wednesday night, after newly-divorced friend and coworker Laura and I went off past dirt road farms to a middle-of-nowhere chapel (with an outhouse instead of a flusher toilet, no less) to see an honest-to-goodness honky-tonk all-girl band called, happily enough, Girlhowdy. We stopped at local tavern Taylors, home of the best darn buffalo wings in greater New England, for far too many beers on the way home, and talked about relationships -- why mine works, and why hers didn't, maybe, and what her newly budding relationship with Pete, a ten-years-younger Religion teacher we work with, might turn out like. I was pretty drunk when I got back to the empty-but-for-laptop dorm apartment, my last night blogging there, so perhaps I just hit the "Post" button instead of the "post and publish" button. Maybe the post will have appeared by now; see below, I suppose?

And then it took me a few tries to figure out how easy the dial-up connection from the new off-off-campus apartment turned out to be. One of the perks of working at a prep school with a technology perspective better than its peers is that teachers get a laptop every three years or so, much like folks who work in some business fields get to drive a company car. Being a bit techosavvy, I deleted the then-unneeded icon for auto-dial-up from my laptop screen long a go, but darcie's laptop hasn't been recalled yet since her contract wasn't renewed at the end of the year, and she still had the shortcut there; turns out off-campus connection is as easy as clicking on the icon; the IT preprogrammed shortcut does the rest.

Not that the connection's anything to be thrilled about. Back when we lived in the dorm, network access was through the LAN; during the day, I shared three parallel T1 lines with as many as 500 students and on-campus faculty at a time, and when midnight came around and the student hubs shut off their network service, I had a T1 all to myself. Such power is heady; the network is never slow, and I used to laugh at Darcie's father, living at the end of a dirt road where the cable company refused to go and cellular phones couldn't reach the satellites for the hills, a district-wide director of technology calling in to his own network with a dial-up modem. Now the best connection I get on these old farmhouse phone wires is 21.6, and the web seems slower than it's ever been.

But increasingly I know it was all worth it. The chaos of a move up two narrow stairflights in the midst of a heatwave, the lack of a yard that a third floor walkup ultimately entails, the LAN loss, the home with no laundry hookup and a basement only accessible from down the stairs and outside and then back inside again, the challenge of moving an outdoor cat into a space with no real potential for outdoors, even the big picture windows we left behind for headbumpin' eaves and attic heat -- we've traded it all for more space, long hallways the baby's learning to walk teeteringly down, privacy, quiet. The streetlights don't come out this far, here on the farthest turn of the faculty housing loop behind the well-lit-for-students campus; the stars are brighter, and the view of the hills from this big sliding door fire escape is incredible.

Today I went back to the old apartment for one last look around, and, man, that place was tiny. It's hard to believe we lived in three rooms for the last five years. Funny how much more spacious it felt when we added our minds to it.

The blogging might drag a bit, but I think I like this place, this home, after all.

posted by boyhowdy | 6:56 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 09, 2003


Big ol' empty apartment. Laptop on the floor; the screen's literally handing by a steel thread. Still haven't gotten an answer from IT about dial-up access, and someone else is moving into the old apartment tomorrow, in theory. Might be a while before I can blog from home.

Apologies for being blog-lax these past few. We're trying to get used to the new apartment, cleaning and unpacking all day and sitting exhausted among the boxes at night, and it's uncomfortable blogging on the floor in a now-sterile apartment.

The baby's taking a step unsupported every day, but kicking me in the head while I sleep; just got back from a bar-hop with friend-and-coteacher Laura after an odd honky-tonk girlband show in a church at the end of a rural dirt road, and that's about all I'm sober enough to report so it'll have to be enough for now; more later. Stay cool, folks -- looks like the heat wave's over, at least.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:27 PM | 0 comments

Monday, July 07, 2003

Monday Mosh

Welcome, newcomers; welcome back, frequent moshers. Apologies for missing a week; we've been switching apartments and only managed to reconstruct the stereo this morning.

But we're back with a vengance, and with Monday Mosh newly listed in I Am Pariah's Memeslist -- yay, traffic! -- I thought a little refresher might be in order.

Mondays being Mondays, the premise of the Monday Mosh is designed to be simple, energizing, and quick. Basically, each Monday, participants turn on whatever music they're in the mood for and dance around their living room/office/bedroom/sauna/whatever. Participants then answer three short questions about their experience. Then they post the answers to the questions in their own blog, and then leave a comment here, in THIS blog, so others can go see what they moshed to this week (this is the part that's like all those other memes).

Unlike most 'net memes, however, Monday Mosh does not post new questions each week, nor does it have a fancy web page just for the meme itself -- it doesn't need one. This is a meme for the busy and/or lazy, for those in need of a moment of ecstasy in the midst of the mundane. Although we here at Monday Mosh believe that Dance is a vital and too-often neglected creative outlet with important stress-reducing and other health-related properties, we also believe that such expression comes best from the dancer, so we're not here to impose musical genre or raison d'etre on y'all. Instead, it's all about trying to make the world a slightly happier place, one where people are prone to dance with impunity just for the heck of it at least once a week, and then share their experience, and, in doing so, celebrate the wildness in us all.

Wanna try? Here's my own Monday Mosh for this week to get you started -- the questions are the same ones as last week, and they'll be the same next week, too:

What song did you mosh to?
In memory of Barry White, this week's mosh was a slinky disco mosh to Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Baby.

What did you step on or bump into? (bonus points for breakage)
Sadly, nothing -- this week's mosh took place in an apartment empty of all but a few trash bags in the corner. (The new all-attic-all-the-time apartment has serious low eaves, though, so expect to hear about me bashing my head on the walls in the next few weeks.)

Why did you stop?
Heard women's voices in the hall, startling me; I had forgotten that some basketball camp uses the adjacent dormitory for the camp referees. Hope I didn't wake anyone up.

Okay, now it's your turn. Turn on the tunes and dance, dance, dance; when you've finished, blog your own Monday Mosh, and leave a comment for us below. In keeping with the no-frills meme approach, there's no fancy icon to use as a linkback, but please leave a link to this blog nonetheless so we can keep spreading the word. Remember, the three questions are:

1. What song did you mosh to this week?
2. What did you step on or bump into? (Bonus points for breakage)
3. Why did you stop?

On your mark, get set...mosh!

The small print: Standard disclaimers apply. Neither Monday Mosh nor your Monday-moshpit host boyhowdy can or should be held responsible for a) loss or destruction of property or b) injuries to self or others which may result from participation in Monday Mosh. Common injuries may include stubbed toes, bruised knees, and loss of pride when your spouse, coworker(s), or children walk into the room unexpectedly during the Monday Mosh.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:05 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, July 06, 2003


You've reached Not All Who Wander Are Lost; this is your host Boyhowdy speaking. We're almost done moving to our new finally-out-of-dorm apartment, but after five years living on the LAN I haven't yet figured out how to use the school modem dial-in, so I can't come to the blog right now. Feel free to check out the archives while you wait; I'll be back in time for Monday Mosh (now listed on I Am Pariah's memelist!) tomorrow; your time is important to us here at Not All Who Wander Are Lost.

Thank you for visiting. Have a nice day...

posted by boyhowdy | 1:18 PM | 0 comments

Friday, July 04, 2003

Can't Get Enough Of Your Love

I don't care if he was "musically illiterate;" "velvet-voiced R&B crooner " Barry White gave the world a soundtrack for making love. Please join me in hoping there's a disco in Heaven with a brand new headliner.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:34 PM | 0 comments

More Moving

It was in the mid nineties today, humid and hazy with a slight chance of heatstroke.

We moved anyway. Beds, bureaus, tables, books, and every lamp in the house. Up the narrow stairs; down again; repeat ad infinitum. The queen-sized boxspring had to be forced, inch by inch, up the last turn; even with hall lamps and bannisters removed we barely made it. Ginny brought a strong friend; brother-in-law Josh was there to help; my parents came all the way from Boston to watch the baby and buy lunch. With five on the stairs the whole thing seemed almost possible.

Tomorrow if we can walk at all -- my back is making fireworks; my shoulder throbs ominously as we speak -- we attack the storage room and the random sundries still around me, mostly small but unweildy objects d' art. Tonight, the bed assembled, Darcie and the baby sleep in the heat, and I sneak out to the "old" apartment to blog on the last chair, last laptop, last bookshelf, and relax along for just one last time where the LAN still shines.

But modem be dammed; tonight independence is everywhere. Though the kids are long gone for the summer, this evening nonetheless symbolically marks my first night out-of-dorm; no more will students knock at 3 a.m. in towels begging to be let into their rooms. Willow took her first two lurching untethered steps to my arms tonight. The fireflies were blinking on and off, on and off, in the quarter mile between us as I drove back. Around us all, faint distant booms explode with other people's joy. Happy 4th of July, everybloggy.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:19 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Grasping At Blogs

I love watching the hitcounter rise, but I harbor no illusions that many or even most people who find their way here do so deliberately. In just the past thirty hours, this site has been "hit" by people apparently looking for:

nicotene gum

blocked eustacian tubes

Blair Hornstein
, but not Blair Hornstine, and, sometimes, Blair Hornstien, to which google asks did you mean Blair Hornstein?

Other recent search-term hits include people's thoughts wander during presentations, hat wander lost, dave chapelle im icons, uvula picture, free download finepix viewer, darcie sex videos, and, for some reason, wkyc on shaw digital cable. None of these have any reference in this blog yet, although I've been meaning to post a uvula picture.

Mrs. Fezziwig, who mused about google search relevance after getting hit the other day with the matrix defense, proposes a good anti-glut solution: adding to google an option to "run search with (or without) weblog results." If this isn't in the works already it's sure to be picked up; I hope google pays her well for the idea. (See my comment to Mrs F. for my own socially darwinist philosophical approach to the social ramifications of endemic search stupidity. )

But the tools are mostly there, even if no one uses 'em. Notably, almost every mis-hit I've seen could be "solved" with use of quotes around a phrase to isolate it as one "term," a simple change-in-habit that significantly filters out blogs and other not-exactly-it hits.

If you're not already doing this, you should. In the meantime, management cannot be held responsible for fruitless searches.

Aimless Zen wandering remains heavily encouraged.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:47 PM | 0 comments

Moving On And On And On And On

First it was just the chairs, as many as we could fit, because, after all, we'll have the school pick-up truck Thursday through Sunday, and the big stuff can wait. Then the window seat for Willow's room, a few end tables. The ottoman. Small kitchen appliances. One bookshelf; its contents, in a too-heavy box. Dishes. Silverware. Pots and pans. Condiments at lunch time. Glasses wrapped in old paper bags.

I lost count of how many times we loaded up Ginny's car. And Neil's. Darcie unpacked, nestling old goods into the new kitchen counters and cabinets. Patty sat with the baby under a tree at the almost-old apartment; there are no trees to sit under when you live among the third floor eaves and rafters; the land has all been grabbed before you.

The two flights of stairs up to the new apartment are narrow and steep. There's a tiny, sharp turn as you come up off the second floor landing, and another one low in headroom just before the neverlocked door. The heat rises towards ninety. Beer pours out your sweat glands. Arms ache. Finally there comes a moment when you start seeing double even when you sit down just for a minute, and you have to stop, and say so repeatedly.

We have to keep going full-steam ahead as the heat climbs even higher this fourth of July weekend; when the truck goes back Sunday night, we're on our own. We have to be totally moved in by the 10th so some new family can stay in our old apartment while their home-to-be gets deleaded.

I spent tonight fruitlessly shampooing the carpets where the musk of a long-gone cat curdles the hot, still and humid air like a bad brie in the corners of the eaves-ridden rooms.

This stupid chair hurts my back when I blog. Probably should have saved the usual cushy swivel-chair for last; this hard steel one from Pier One stayed behind when we decided it would withstand the truckride, but is meant for show more than comfort.

All the good food's already at the new place.

And so it begins. God help us.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:16 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Memefile: What's On your top 10 favorite cd's list Right Now?

1. Gillian Welch -- Soul Journey
2. Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem -- Gambling Eden
3. Deb Talan -- Sincerely
4. The Biscuit Boys -- The Biscuit Boys
5. Dar Williams -- Live
6. Brooks Williams -- Nectar
7. Keller Williams -- Breathe
8. Patty Griffin -- 1000 Kisses
9. Trey Anastasio -- Trey Anastasio
10. Trout Fishing In America -- inFINity

List sure to change once festival season kicks in on the 19th.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:52 AM | 0 comments

Speaking Of Blogshares

The best way to turn $500 into $6,759,507.50? Join during beta, and then forget you have all these stocks. If only the real market was this generous.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:30 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

A Definitive Definition

To be published in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory. By Jill. Via Kairosnews: A Weblog for Discussing Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy by way of edublog alterego.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:20 PM | 0 comments

When Less Isn't More

Mac Classic

From Fox via Fark: Mac n' Cheese and Oreo maker Kraft to cut portion sizes due to parents refusing to regulate their children's diets.

Like it makes any difference how many "portions" one box of Easy Mac contains according to the nutritional info printed on the side. The box will still be the same size, and I'll still want two of 'em.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:47 PM | 0 comments

Missed Bloggertunity

USA Today this Monday reported on some bio-tally called BioBlitz at Central Park, and two photos accompanied the section-leading story: one showed a giant snapping turtle, and the other was an electron microscope picture of a Tardigrade, a tiny bear-like creature that can withstand temperatures of minus 273 degrees Celsius (absolute zero, or the temperature at which molecular motion stops), dry up into little balls when there's no water and reconstitute themselves decades later with a drop of water.

The two looked exactly the same.

Same pose, same profile, same outstretched claws. They were even photographed from the same angle. No mention was made of the similarity; perhaps no one else noticed.

Sadly, the online edition of USA today is text-only. But if you happen to encounter a copy of the most recent USA Today, check out page 6D.

Today's Bonus: Tardigrades are microscopic. Can you imagine being the guy charged with finding one in Central Park?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:35 PM | 0 comments


Dad says that years ago, when Grandma and Grandpa and the rest of their apartment coop banded together and bought a shared plot in cemetery-land, Long Island was mostly potato fields and wilderness. Now it just looks like the rest of America -- rich people on the edges, strip malls down the center -- except in Farmingdale, where the granite and low shrubs stretch for miles, and no one laughs much when they visit.

Mom says Grandma used to joke that her whole Mah-Jong club would be there with her. Some of them are. The rest will be there soon, I guess.

Funny how time marches on without us. Surely my grandparents thought they'd be in cool grass and potato fields, the suburbs at last, when they picked their final resting place. But there we were in the burninghot sun with most of my mother's family and the overweight rabbi, talking of mensches amidst miles and miles of bare, low ground, heavy with graves. Hardly anyone cried; most had been there eleven months ago, when Grandma passed on.

I didn't cry, either, even though it was my first time there. It wasn't the emotional shock I expected. I guess I knew in my heart that Grandma was gone all along, and after years of questioning, I've realized that I just don't have it in me to believe that Grandma is there anymore. The grave didn't do much for me, at least not then and there, standing among my mother's cousins and uncles, their kids and my own.

Darcie and I talked a little about it on the way back to the hotel for the reception. We agreed a big sprawling cemetery isn't for us. We seem to be of the same mind in leaning towards cremation, in fact. But we also decided that we want to pick a place together where people will come and think of us, and know that we wanted them to think of us there. Maybe a nice bench somewhere, with a cool breeze, some shade, flowers. Somewhere like us; somewhere people will want to sit and be, if not happy, then at least thankful and blessed. Somewhere in no danger of becoming what Long Island is now, if there is such a place.

And I realized that although it's changed, that's what Grandma chose, too. I guess what I do believe, even though it took Darcie's help to make sense of it, is that there's value in picking a place where one's loved ones will come and think of you every so often. It's the fact that Grandma picked that particular spot, even if she had no idea it would face an industrial glassworks and a landfill when the time came for her to need it, that makes it special.

Monday morning I drove out the cemetery by myself. A rabbit ran in front of the car just before I got to Grandma's block, and tiny white butterflies flitted all around. Mom's heelprint from the unveiling the day before was still marked clearly in the dry soil beside the stone; I added my fingerprint to the dry dust, and shook some tobacco into the grit -- cigarettes being one thing Grandma and I shared alone, while the rest of the family silently disapproved. I cried for a while, more than I thought I would. I sat a while, and told her about Willow, how much I miss her, how grateful I am that she was so generous of herself, how much she taught me. I told her about the rabbit -- she would have loved the rabbit -- and the butterflies, the indian paintbrushes, the trees.

I want to believe she heard me. It's enough to know she wanted me to think of her there.

posted by boyhowdy | 2:33 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, June 28, 2003

In Memorium

We're literally on our way out the door for a two-day on Long Island, where, in keeping with Jewish practice, eleven months after her burial, my grandmother Martha's gravestone unveiling takes place on Sunday afternoon, thus marking the official end of the mourning period for her passage. Tomorrow will be only my second visit to a gravesite for more than picnic and grave-rubbings; the first was Darcie's maternal grandmother's funeral, several years ago in a small ceremony outside Montreal.

It's different, somehow, when it's someone I knew all my life.

I missed the funeral last year -- missed it very much, in fact -- because Willow's birth was literally moments away, but in my stead I sent along the following Eulogy, which my brother graciously agreed to share with those loved ones assembled.

When I was very, very young, about 3 and a half, Grandma Fanny – my last living great grandmother -- passed away. Some of you here today knew her. I don’t remember her at all.

But I know about her. I know what her recipes tasted like through my mother’s cooking. I know her face from the photos that my mother and her parents collected and hung in the houses of my childhood. And I know her through her grandchildren and her children, who loved her, and who tell me about her so that I may love her in and through them.

I have always been interested in the cultures, families, and history which formed me. When, in March of my senior year in high school, I came to Florida to stay with Martha and Jerry, I was nominally there for vacation. But really, I was trying to find myself though our shared histories. I was a mess – a typically adolescent life-shattering mess – and I wanted to know more about Mom, and her mom, and this family, in the hopes of understanding myself better.

Boy did Grandma come through. From this haphazard but comprehensive archivist, I got a tour of photo albums and sketched a family tree, now mostly committed to memory. And stories – oh, so many stories. I listened for hours, asking questions, watching her hands move in the same way that mom’s hands move when she talks. I came home with a Brooklyn accent, I listened and learned so much that week.

In the years since, every time I saw Grandma, she gave me more pictures or mementoes. The first time Darcie and I came down to stay together, she sent me home with a whole album of pictures – of her childhood, of mine, of my mothers’. More recently, when we came down to Florida the last time to help them move up north, I had to talk her out of giving me too much of her mementoes and family artifacts just to make packing easier.

I owe Grandma so much. I owe her thanks for accepting Darcie readily when first introduced – “such a beautiful girl,” she called her – and never asking if she were Jewish. I owe her for bringing humor into my life inadvertently, whenever she came into my own house, went right to the fridge, and started offering me my own food. I owe her for helping to teach me the joys of family, and the joys of knowing everything one can about everything there is to know. She was a generous, vibrant, tough old lady who lived life on her own terms, opinionated and strong, a fighter, a model for much of who I ultimately chose to embrace and become as an adult. And I know this is true for many of us here today.

Now families grow and move on; that’s just life. As most of you know, our first child is due July 15th. We don’t know if it is a boy or a girl, but her middle name will be Myla; his middle name will be Miles. It is an honor to be able to name this child after Martha in this way.

I very much wanted Grandma to meet this child. I wanted her to tell me what a beautiful boy or girl. I wanted my child to know the generous and tireless woman I knew. I wanted him or her to find themselves one day presented with far too much food and urged to eat.

I have been blessed by this family in so many ways. Knowing all of one’s grandparents isn’t something that everyone can claim. My wife, for example, has already lost three of her own grandparents. But I know them all through her. As Darcie reminds me in my grief, Martha will always be with us, and my child will know her as I knew my great grandmothers and Darcie’s parent’s parents: through photographs and recipes; through anecdotes; through my own behavioral quirks, through the occasional oy or other Yiddish-ism. Martha will live through all of us, and live to be a vibrant character in my child’s history and identity. And as I have loved Fanny through – and in – my own parents and grandparents, so with all of your help will my child love Martha. It’s the least I can do for this tough old lady, in thanks for the most she could do – and did do, and, through all of you, will continue to do – for me and the rest of her family. Thanks, Grandma.

The unveiling may mark the end of mourning in a spiritual sense, but there is no law to govern the love I have for my Grandma, and the ache I feel when I realize she is no longer with us. I miss Martha every day, and am proud to share in her legacy. If you would, please think of me Sunday as I say goodbye one final time, be-suited in the hot sun. And if a glass is handy, raise it to fine old gal.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:51 AM | 0 comments

Friday, June 27, 2003

Irony Alert

Maternity retailer fires district manager for pregnancy after firing district mananger's boss for refusing to fire underling. Chain defends itself by claiming to be "uniquely sensitive to the needs of expectant mothers;" resultant lawsuit suggests unique sensitivity includes giving pregnant employees "look of horror" when encountering them in the workplace.

Link goes to short-version CNN article; original was in yesterday's Boston Globe.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:24 PM | 0 comments

File Under Memes

Friday Five. Now with italics!

1. How are you planning to spend the summer?

Lets see...two weeks moving, finally, into a school apartment out of the dorm after five years...a week volunteering at Facon Ridge Folk Festival (Darcie does sign painting; I do performer check-in)...a couple more festivals in there; see sidebar to the right for more coming attractions...leading a ten-day workshop in Teaching with Technology in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the first weeks of August, and then a week-long Alaskan cruise with my side of the family in that last week before school starts up again and it's goodbye, summer!

Also plenty of evenings at the local drive-in. And much time in green green grass with wife and baby.

2. What was your first summer job?

I worked at a Steve's ice cream in Newton, Mass until I got fired for opening all the soda twelve-packs in the walk-in looking for free CDs. It wouldn't have been so bad, except the boss/owner tried to move 'em and soda went everywhere.

That same summer I also drove a flower delivery van a couple hours a day, but the vases kept tipping over.

3. If you could go anywhere this summer, where would you go?

Antarctica. Damn, it's hot.

Seriously, I'd probably go to more folk festivals.

4. What was your worst vacation ever?

True wanderers and adventurers don't have worst vacations -- I've found that those without expectation are never truly disappointed, or unhappy for long. Even those trips with my parents when I was a sulky teenager with naught but younger siblings to hang with -- Mexico one year, Israel and Egypt the next -- had their charm; it's just that I really only appreciated that charm when I was alone, and solo time is scarce when families travel.

5. What was your best vacation ever?

Darcie and I went to Holland a couple of years before we had Willow -- castles, museums, the whole deal. Stayed the second week in this darling bed and breakfast in the Jordaan; wrote my entire master's thesis over espresso while Darcie slept each night. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:07 PM | 0 comments

Hot Hot Hot

Woke far too early in a pop-up camper with the heat bearing down upon it; Willow and Darcie and Grandma Patty were on their way to Walmart, but I wasn't coherent enough to go anywhere yet. Breakfast with an equally tired Virginia instead.

I was going to work on some backlogged quick-edit video projects left over from the schoolyear but the shingles doesn't like the heat -- my shoulder's got a nasty stiff twinge; hives seem imminent. I'm rereading Susan Cooper's Over Sea, Under Stone, an old childhood favorite which Darcie left by the bedside, and trying to keep my mind off my body, but nowhere is comfy, really. The house isn't much cooler than the shade.

The three generations just returned with an inflatable baby pool and other sundries to report that it's 98 downtown and 87 in the shade here. Maybe we'll go up to South Pond again; the baby had a blast yesterday until her unsuccessful attempt to breathe with her mouth underwater. C'mon, rain!

posted by boyhowdy | 11:36 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Too Hot, Baby

98 degrees

Over ninety today. Sticky. The house is airless like a desert cave, but no cooler than the sun. The baby and I have matching heat rashes -- hers on her chest (chicken pox?) and mine on the tops of my feet where the leather straps of my sandals rub against my hairy blond hobbit-like tufts. I've sweated through two t-shirts in the two hours since I arose.

We've had enough. I woke to find the camper already half-collapsed; now that the camper's packed and hitched to the Camry, we're off to live in Darcie's parent's side yard for a few days until the rain comes. It's supposed to be three degrees cooler in Brattleboro, and South Pond, even farther up the mountain, is sure to be cooler still: Darcie's family has a community membership, and there's always room on the Ames Hill community beach.

Can you believe next week we're moving to an attic apartment? If we need something to do over the next day or so -- and we surely will, as living with a Saint Bernard isn't easy for me, and I like my space -- you'll find us air conditioner shopping in a happily cooled superstore. We can't really afford it, but such comfort is priceless when you live in the attic. We've been told it gets in the hundreds up there for most of July and August, so the race is on to cool the place before we move in.

Don't know when I'll be back, but blogging is theoretically possible from there, so you never know. In the meanwhile, stay cool, folks.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:55 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Meme And Meme Again

Had a ball last time I memeblogged from What's On...Right Now?; as I just finished cleaning up kitchen and bathroom a bit before the heat got to me, this week's question seemed as good as any:

What's On your bathroom/sink countertop Right Now?

Wait, let me check.

Okay, from left (bathtub's edge) to right (toiletside):
  • Squat wicker basket full of lotions of various types (skin, suntan, massage, anti-itch); also contains several broken hair ties, two plastic boxes floss, an extra bottle of Clairol Herbal Essences conditioner, and one small purple rubber massage ball for use in the bath.

  • Arm and Hammer Extra-strength Toothpaste tube, almost empty. Cap missing.

  • small blue plastic hospital bowl, usually left under dripping bath faucet as watering dish for dog.

  • Three toothbrushes in green plastic cup.

  • Sink.

  • Little dutch boy ceramic soap set. Mystery liquid (soap?) in liquid soap dispenser. Burt's Bees baby shampoo bar and broken hair tie in flat soap dish.

  • Store brand rubbing alcohol.

  • Mouthwash.

  • Hardwood hairbrush (needs cleaning).

  • Burt's Bees Bay Rum aftershave.

  • Economy size aerosol Right Guard (cap missing due to tendency for baby to use it as a bath boat).

  • Games magazine, most puzzles half-completed. Pen.

  • Half-roll institutional-grade toilet paper (for emergencies).

posted by boyhowdy | 2:51 PM | 0 comments

Naked Time!

My daughter Willow, at almost one year old, has learned to take her clothes off. One minute she was in her playpen wearing overalls and a diaper; the next she was jumping up and down completely nude, laughing hysterically.

I'm so proud.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:33 AM | 0 comments

Of Mud and Muggles: A Three Day Recap

It's been a weird few days, with events too entangled to blog cleanly about, but I didn't want to leave everyone hanging. Here's the rundown; feel free to skim.

Picked up Virginia at Mocha Joe's on Saturday night; her red Saab seriously dead, she's been expecting a new one from the Saab guy in Brattleboro any day now for a week or three. She was closing solo; I wiped tables and swept floors while she cashed out and shut down behind the counter. Home after midnight; up late listening to the rain on the roof and watching Al TV on VH1 until 2:00.

Two hours sleep and up at the crack of dawn for the long Sunday morning drive to Croton-on-Hudson, NY. Successful in our coffee and McMuffin quest only after the third off-exit try for a pitstop; turns out most McDonalds don't open until 6:30. More rain. Despite mapquest directions and an atlas page highlighted (hi-lit?) the night before, managed to get sidetracked, a bit too close to Ossining on some pretty narrow residential Routes, in the last few miles, but righted ourselves quickly.

Past train station and down a mile-long entry road into Croton State Park, where the girls at the entrance said "the park doesn't open until ten; you can't come in." We turned around, went back a mile for coffee, came right back in, parked surreptitiously along the vendor parking right by the vendor gate, and drank coffee while we watched people get turned away at the gate, turn around, and disappear. Half an hour later, first in line for tickets as the gates opened, we traded tickets for purple bracelets at the gate and walked right in.

The grounds were a wreck from a hard day of rain and foot traffic the day before. Ducks swam in marshes and shallow ponds that had once been stage access roads; everywhere volunteers with shovels spread rough mulch over the muddiest paths to no avail. Though most said that at least one main stage would likely be closed down and acts cancelled, put our pillows in white drawstring garbage bags out on in the still-otherwise-empty rain-drenched lawns anyway.

Crowds were low at the Clearwater festival this year as it rained on and off and on again. Oldtimey Reeltime Travelers and a reggae band at the Rainbow stage; funk/fusion banjo band Tony Trischka on the finally opened Hudson River Stage; The Mammals under the dance tent in drizzle; Dreadlock bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart back at the Rainbow stage now complete with assholes with really tall chairs right in front of us; We're About Nine when Marshall Crenshaw didn't show; NRBQ a grand finale. Dancing in the mud, toes squirting ooze up as high as the knees. Pulled Pork and fresh fried chips and espresso; a tree of life pendant for Darcie; a pair of hippie dresses for the baby. We left, exhausted, before the festival prematurely ended at park police orders due to the total destruction of the grounds underfoot, beating the traffic, driving home in the kind of fog that only comes from a 48 hour day.

Drove Ginny home late Monday morning with Darcie and the baby; had eggs benedict and coffee at a decent diner in Brattleboro before spending a quiet afternoon close to home. When the heat began to turn unbearable by midafternoon we walked down to overgrown pond Shadow Lake here on campus, and Darcie in her new maroon suit dipped the baby in up to her chest until she turned just the tiniest bit blue. The dog chased invisible fish. I sat on a log by the short beach and watched other people's kids look for snappers.

Weekly community barbecue by the Cottage Row dorms, our first of the year. We thought it might be cancelled after a freak driving rain a half hour beforehand, but after a while folks showed up, five or six damilies with two or three kids each in tow, all with their own meat and potato salad to share. The grills ran out of propane so a few folks volunteered to take all the food away and cook it somewhere. Result: cold burgers but good company, if still a bit not-our-crowd.

Did I mention we're moving to a new apartment, out of dorm? 'Course not; we just called it. Darcie and I spent hours last night making the call, a long discussion, and it's not perfect -- eaves, attic, and two flights of stairs; no laundry or yard -- but it's out of dorm and Darcie and Willow need more space and less high school students next year, I think. More as this develops; we'll be moving for the next few weeks.

Today needs only a sentence: breakfast sandwiches with a nice random woman with twins sharing the couch and high chairs at Cafe Koko late this morning after a late start, and then sat and read Harry Potter all day today after finding on supermarket shelves, playing with the almost-walking baby in between chapters. Just finished an hour or so ago. No spoilers here; read it, and then we'll talk, okay?

posted by boyhowdy | 12:57 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Do Not Disturb Any Further

Am reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which, after all the release night hooplah, was on sale in the supermarket.

More later. It is very engrossing.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:24 PM | 0 comments

Monday, June 23, 2003

Monday Mosh

After a week off -- who knew it was Monday? -- the Monday Mosh meme is back with a vengance!

What song did you mosh to?
Eddie From Ohio's Eddie's Concubine, with the headphones on so as not to wake the baby. I know most people think a southern folk rock quartet a bit odd to mosh to, but this song felt just right -- it's got the perfect beat for thrashing around, it's over five minutes long, and after yesterday's rainyday trip to the Clearwater Folk Festival and Revival, I'm all excited to see EFO at Falcon Ridge next month.

What did you step on/bump into? (bonus points for breakage)
Stepped on my own feet a couple of times -- these new sandals are kinda heavy, and the shoe-crust left over from the muddy grounds at Croton State Park doesn't help their flexibility. Nothing broken, but dried Hudson River-side dirt all over the floor.

Why did you stop?
Moshing quietly is much more exhausting than moshing loudly. With the headphones on I couldn't be sure I was quiet enough, so today's mosh was, truly, only a token. Plus my legs hurt from so much dancing yesterday.

Post your own Monday Mosh in your blog with a link in the comments below, or just post 'em right in the comments instead like Shaw and David already did; the questions are easy and ever unchanging, but the premise remains: on Mondays, we all need a little dancin'.

(For those keeping track, I'll post a full review of Clearwater later today.)

posted by boyhowdy | 1:10 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, June 22, 2003

End Of An Error

Now-defunct Funky Fries:
cinnamon, sour cream, chocolate, blue.

Woah. There were chocolate fries, and I missed them? Dude, that totally sucks.

Some interesting tidbits about other famous food flops in the same article. Two words: Garlic Cake.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:08 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Snoop's Televizzle Shizzle

Yeah, Snoop's got a new comedy series on MTV, and CNN overdoes it defending his acting creds:

The cable network [MTV] first approached the 31-year-old with the idea of a show about two years ago, impressed by the rapper's popularity and longevity.

Snoop made his debut more than a decade ago on hits like "Nothin' But a G Thang" with Dr. Dre, and is still a mainstay on the network, with hits like the current "Beautiful." He's also been in several movies, including "Training Day," "The Wash," "Baby Boy" and "Bones." He's made guest appearances on TV comedies and even helped popularize new words like "F'shizzle," which in rap-Latin means "for sure."

1. Rap-Latin? Seems to me the potential for this word to be little more than thinly veiled racism is off the charts, especially as pig-latin, rap-latin's namesake, is the end-all-be-all of triviality. Remember Ebonics, and let Snoop speak for himself: when asked about his initial feelings about doing a skit comedy show, Snoop is quoted as saying "I wasn't never really tripping on doing no TV show..."

2. That Snoop only changed his mind when offered complete creative control may be the third sign of the apocalypse (the Olsen twins turning seventeen being signs one and two). If David Hasselhoff runs for congress, duck and cover.

3. Snoop is only a year older than I am. I feel old.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:31 AM | 0 comments

Friday, June 20, 2003

Iron Horse

    It's Grand, or so I'm told.

The trick about the Iron Horse is that although the doors open at 5:45 for a 7:00 show, there's really only about 30 good seats in the 200-seat house.

You're particular about such things, so you get to Northampton at 4:30, and park right in front while you can. If there's no line yet -- and usually there isn't, not until 5:00 or so -- you can walk over to Faces and check out that t-shirt that says Not All Who Wander Are Lost, and then go down to the Raven bookstore and browse the cybersociology books but buy yet another copy of Heinlein's Time Enough For Love. You people-watch -- there's nothing quite like Northampton sidewalk traffic; you think about coffee but don't get any.

When you get back there's a small family in front of you and, soon, a couple behind you, and then the line gets long behind you but you don't notice it at all. You can hear the soundcheck muddy through the glass, see the drummer's blackshirted back through the cracks in the "coming soon" broadsheets.

When the doors open you sit at a table two back from stageside, you back to the wall. It's the same table you sat at the last time you came down to the Iron Horse, almost a year ago -- too long. You order a small Pale Ale, and, later, a small order of BBQ wings.

You wait for your father.

Your father is coming from Boston; he'll miss the opening act. Erin McKeown will bring a drummer and second guitarist; together, they'll play an uneven set, at times beautiful beyond belief, at times muddy like the sound through the glass from outside. Your father will buy you the new CD on the way out; the two of you will have espresso together upstairs at Haymarket before the long ride home. You'll drive home in silence -- in thought, and, anyway, there's no CD player in the powder blue Grand Marquis you inherited from your mother's parents.

But now you wait and watch the people trickle in two by two behind the hostess, and test the waters of your soul, and find contentment. You attain a kind of nirvana, still in the middle of the music and the crowds and the chaos. And as nirvanas go, there is none so grand, really, as waiting for your father in such circumstances, nor so precious.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:36 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Heavy Petting

The farm used to be part of a psychiatric institution.

Met up with Darcie's mom this afternoon at the Brattleboro Retreat Petting Farm; she'd gone with her kindergarteners in the last weeks of school and thought it would be perfect for the baby. Willow was amazed by the newborn Holstein calf, bored about the emu, interested in the chickens and bunnies, the pigs and llamas, thrilled with the half-grown chicks that we held up to her. She said moo to the cows and deedle deedle deedle to the chickens and E-I-E-I-O to everything and meow when she saw the cat. The big yelling ewe with her young twins scared the shit out of her. She loved sitting in a silo half-buried in feed corn more than anything, though.

I was happy, too. Happy with the tiny goats that greeted us at the gate, happy about the black-green emu eggshells, happy to hold a baby duck once again. Happy to bury my daughter in dusty feed corn, and to run my hands under and through it, feeling it's cool weight. Having tinylife in my hands was once a daily part of my life, back during that Fellowship at the Boston Museum of Science; I hadn't remembered how much I missed it. And the best part is, I got to leave with the cutest baby animal there, the one who calls me Daddy.

Late lunch at the Top O' The Hill Grill on the way home afterwards; I had them put cole slaw in my pulled pork wrap and it was good.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:46 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Not About The Travel Clinic

Instead of blogging about my visit to the travel clinic I'm going to spend some time this evening thinking about ways to focus my schoolwide academic technology and information literacy mandate for next year.

So you won't get to hear about the vaccine that was lost in the mailroom, the casual hour-long visit with sole clinic staff Mary Jo, the long list of psychoses which can accompany the malaria meds I'll be taking, the waiting room that led Escher-like into a second smaller waiting room, the tiny bathroom-sized clinic itself tucked into a corner of an entirely different department inside what is surely the only large medical center complex with valet parking North of New York City.

Sorry, but when the ADHD brain calls, it cannot - should not - be ignored.

I did buy some decent sandals on the cheap on the way home, though.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:29 PM | 0 comments

You Heard It Here First

The Blair Hornstein onslaught continues to drive up the hitcounter; Newsweek today weighs in on the story with a two-page Blair Hornstein spread including, finally, a picture. The article seems to be sympathetic to her side of the story, presenting her as a victim of anti-handicapped sensibility, but it isn't open to the possibility that Blair's original sin was suing for sole valedictorianship when she could have just shared the honor, cheapening the honor and the school in the process. Overall, Newsweek adds nothing more to the debate than he-said she-said evidence, circumstantial at best. Disappointing.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:26 AM | 0 comments

The Wrong Tickets; London Anyway

Realized today while looking at tickets for Bangladesh that the tickets were in the name of the other American Ed Tech Worshop coordinator. A quick email exchange confirmed that we had each others' tickets, and surely could exchange them at the gate. But wouldn't it be awful if one of us forgot, and the other guy couldn't go?

Also discovered a six hour midday layover at Heathrow on the way over. Never been to England -- any suggestions?


Today Is My Day In random and otherwise unconnected news, I was looking for a "Tuesday" icon for yesterday's blogentry and googled myself right into discovering Toothpaste For Dinner. Tiny little drawings that make you laugh loud enough to wake the baby -- how can you go wrong?

posted by boyhowdy | 1:20 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

I Think It's Tuesday

You know how sometimes you have the entire day off, and you take your watch off and go hiking somewhere away from civilization, you come to a point where your brain idly mutters "What time is it, I wonder?" and then you realize it doesn't matter what time it is, and you grin uncontrolably?

I've been temporally free today. I have this vage sense of JuneJuly as the next four weeks or so and a distant image of myself getting on a plane for Bangladesh. There's a festival this weekend I might go to; I have made no arrangements, but it all worked out fine last year. I know that tomorrow I have to be on the clock -- I have a 1:00 innoculation appointment at the travel clinic -- but "tomorrow" isn't a day of the week, so it doesn't interrupt anything.

The tiny brainbuzz that is "what time is it?" starts the moment I set the alarm for tomorrow. Happily, time stretches infinitely Zen between now and that invisible then.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:34 PM | 0 comments

Monday, June 16, 2003

Grill Trouble

Next time, I'm getting this.

Got a right-handed grill for the camper for Father's Day, by which I mean, the spigot thingie which controls the flow of propane into the grill itself comes out the right side. Turns out our camper takes a left-handed grill, 'cause when we hung it in its rack on the outside camper wall, the hose came out way on the left -- it couldn't reach the element.

We tried to fix it, Ginny and I. It's an ittie bitty thing, really just a metal shell over the thin heating element that extends from the problematic spigot into the base of the grill. We took it apart and reversed the whole internal mechanism, forgetting that the spigot would now face away from the camper, and still not reach the hose. We removed the metal housing for the regulating mechanism and turned the whole regulator thing upside-down to make the nozzle point the right way, but then you had to lie under the grill to turn the heat down.

We even tried to read the directions, but all the paperwork in the box was a single sheet with a diagram of the outside of the grill and a list of parts. Parts not visible in the diagram were starred. Most parts were starred.

A google search for the grill model number got no hits, and a search for "propane camper grill" was fruitless. But the logo said "ASC Industries, Inc Shaping The Future," and it listed a URL.

The horror that is the flash-version ASC Industries website cannot be described.

The HTML version had twice as much information. Problem was, although the iconography assured us that we were at the right place, it was all useless to us, because ASC doesn't make grills. You know you're in trouble when you realize that the company whose name is on the single sheet of paper that came with your grill doesn't make grills.

ASC, Inc. is, in fact a leading supplier of stainless steel fittings, tubing, and "Ascent: the next generation of baggage door handles". The most complex thing they carry is a bent metal pipe used for making stair railings in campers.

There is no mention of grills on their site; indeed, no mention of propane or other fuels in any way. There is, however, a picture. It would seem that Ascent operates entirely out of a teal ranch house alongside an entirely empty parking lot in twilight.

Anyone out there with a left-handed grill want to trade?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:36 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Chaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh (gasp) Aaaaaaaaaarge!

Fall down go boom!

Yeah, Bush fell off a Segway. Big bonus this time, though -- according to the BBC report on Dubya's fall, the machine's creator, Dean Kamen, wants to see US Special Forces troops eventually ride Segways into battle. Don't those things top out at, like, 4 mph?

posted by boyhowdy | 8:45 PM | 0 comments

All The Blair Hornstein That's Fit To Print

This site has been getting a lot of hits from search engines with keywords like "Blair Hornstein" and "valedictorian" and "Blair Hornstein" in the last few days. In the interest of serving the public demand for ever-more Blair Hornstein, here's my most recent Blair Hornstein blogentry, and here's an earlier one from the day Blair Hornstein's plagiarism hit the news. Both entries contain links to the original Blair Hornstein news items.

I've also been getting hits for "darcie crossdressing video" again. You folks are on your own.

posted by boyhowdy | 6:26 PM | 0 comments

My Father: A Legacy

A father’s legacy is a wondrous thing; I think I notice it more now that I am a father, too. But I don’t own father’s day. I still think of it as something between my father and me. So while the baby naps with her mother I put on some of the Father’s Day CDs my father sent me this week, and spent some time thinking about the things my father and I have between us.

When I listen to music sometimes everything comes together just right and I am in the music and it is in me. Also, I can recognize almost any singer’s voice on the radio before the DJ tells us who is singing.

My father used to play this game called “do YOU have the tickets?” Usually, he was just stalling for time while he checked to make sure he had them, but once when we were going to a baseball game he didn’t have them, and we had to go back. I remember they were on his dresser, right where he left them. I do that all the time.

You can learn a lot from a guy with a six foot long closet. I like clothes, and I know how to make them look good. I know color, for example, and I know not to iron directly on silk. It’s less an issue of knowing men’s fashion, and more like knowing what looks good on you, in the context of a deep appreciation for the social settings in which an outfit is appropriate, and what message it sends. I guess most guys learn how to dress from their fathers, but what I'm saying is, when I get dressed, I feel like I'm doing it right.

My father is the perfect host. I think there’s a connection there between the way he wears his clothes and the way he wears a party, but if there is, it’s indescribable. Still, any social comfort I have comes from him.

Sometimes when one of my father’s old friends meets me for the first time, or for the first time in a very long time, they say how much I look like him when he was my age, and we sort of grin, and don’t know what else to say, because what do you say when people say that? But it feels really good anyway.

When my daughter was born, I started a list of things I wanted to do with her. Here’s the list:

· Take her deep sea fishing. Wake her up before it’s light with no previous warning; leave note for Darcie. Make pb&j sandwiches to eat in the car.
· Go to a Baseball game. Get there early to see batting practice. Eat too much.
· Spend the night on our backs in a field watching a meteor shower.
· Go to the airport to watch planes take off.
· Set up a camera so we can see ourselves live on TV. Do a news show; tape it and send it to grandparents.
· Teach her to sing lead. Harmonize.
· Take her to her first real concert.
· Take her to Falcon Ridge and Winterhawk.
· On her birthday, have her plan a full day. Take her anywhere she wants.
· Go to the Museum of Science in Boston. See the chicks hatch. See a live animal demonstration and a lightning show. Play with bubbles, water, blocks and other stuff. Don’t forget to bring earplugs for everyone.
· Imax movie.
· Planetarium.
· Aquarium, especially penguins and hands-on starfish.
· Beach at low tide; tide pools.
· Tour of McDonalds
· Tour of a farm.
· Go to Grandma Martha’s gravesite. Tell her about Martha.
· Show her how to track her own genealogy. Make a family tree.
· Show her that if you cut a worm in half, it turns into two worms.
· Plant a garden. Grow tomatoes, beans, and carrots. Make a salad.
· Take her to New York City. Show her ground zero. Show her how alive NYC is.
· Take the train somewhere. Get a sleeper car. Live, moving, just to show her it can be done.
· Teach her that not all who wander are lost.
· Drive South in late May; watch it go from winter to spring as we go south. On the drive back, watch it turn back into Winter.
· Make banana bread.
· Make dinner for Mommy.
· Be generous.
· Teach generosity.

It’s a great list, but I can’t take credit for most of it. With a few exceptions, it’s just a list of things my father used to do with me when I was little. Sometimes when I look at this list it’s a little intimidating to imagine myself forging anything better in my own style. Most of the time I’m just really, really grateful.

I hope my own father will keep us company on some of these outings. Yet even if he can’t make it sometimes, somehow, no matter what we do together, I know that my own father will be with us. As he is somehow always with me, watching out for me, watching over me. Thanks, Dad. I love you, too.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:57 PM | 0 comments
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