Thursday, July 31, 2003

Totally Hot

Like, I totally think we set fire to the school dump today, dude.

Right, so there were these things, you know, all the accumulated junk of five years -- broken flowerpots, snow shovels with broken handles, the Christmas tree, a cracked glass vase and an old moldy school bench -- still sitting beind the fence of a ten-foot-square "backyard" behind the dorm apartment we just left behind. They had been there a while, and people were gonna want to move in, and the school wanted us to move them really soon, even though when we moved in five years ago the backyard was still filled with some other guy's trash, mostly rusty little-girl pinkbikes in a variety of sizes, and we had to get rid of it.

So we (that's Darcie and I) borrowed a school truck with no rear view mirror and no readout to tell you what gear you were in and asked the couple downstairs and their six year old kid to watch ours for a few minutes while we tossed all the junk in the flatbed and drove it all down to the school dump -- all, that is, except for the saggy wooden garden bench we dropped off under the tree across the way from the new place on the way over.

We'd never been to the school dump -- didn't know they had one, I mean -- but past the lower sports fields, down one paddock and through the second gate sure enough a pile of computer parts and face-down television sets at the corner turned into wide dump-piles: woodscraps, tree limbs, doorless washers. At the threequarters mark of what was obviously becoming a circle through the dump a raised ramp of road dead ended in the sky directly at the upper lips of a pair of mostly-full dumpsters, each construction site size, five times longer than wide, and we drove up it, and heaved our stuff on the top.

We went back to get the baby, now happily eating dirt and rocks by the tennis court entrance while someone else's Retriever snuffled the tennis ball at her feet. While Darcie put her in the car I drove the truck down to the back of the work control shopbuilding where it had to be returned.

Now what you have to understand is this: our school is on a hill by the side of the Connecticut river, and the back of the work control building is pretty much the only place where you can see even the barest tips of the dump-piles over the trees surrounding them. Everywhere else there's a ridge in the way. So it's a sure coincidence that right in front of me as I parked the truck the wrong way in to avoid the security vehicle in the middle of the lot was a huge paired spout-set of flame to the treetops rising from pretty much where the dumpsters should be, and a plume of smoke half a mile high besides. Darcie saw it too. And the fire trucks filling their hoses at the hydrant right next to us there in the lot were pretty hard to miss.

And we had just been there -- weren't we the last ones there? And we don't think we did anything, but there was an awful lot of wood and paint stuff and insulating fiber in those dumsters, and it was under a lot of pressure, what with the dumpsters being so tall and filled with heavy junk, and I guess we threw stuff in them pretty hard, and maybe it rubbed some of that old flammable stuff together the wrong way or something.

What was weird was really the unreality of the fire coming out of nowhere, I think. The dump wasn't on fire then -- you'd remember if the place was on fire, I mean, it's the kind of thing you'd notice pretty much no matter what, right? But then, all of a sudden it was.


I hope they got it out -- the boathouse isn't that far away down there, and they just got a new boat.

I also wrote three four-page outlines today, each one a different half-day teaching module for the trip to Bangladesh. Yay me.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:54 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Baby You're Never Far Enough Away

Buy this CD or I will kill this hamster.

This song by alt-folk (and out-folk) newcomers Girlyman has been stuck in my head since Falcon Ridge. Also a powerful cover of Harrison's My Sweet Lord and the homoerotic Rose of the same album. Their harmonies are so tight there's no room to sing along, but I've been doing it anyway.

Girlyman's coming through our area tomorrow and friday night, and I might just go, and skip the Great Waters Folk Festival altogether. If you don't live in my area, you'll have to wait to see them. But luckily, you can download Postcards From Mexico (the song in question) here (or here if you prefer Real Audio), and more music here. Get with the Girlyman program!

posted by boyhowdy | 10:18 PM | 0 comments

Pacing The Cage

Spent the day slowly-but-surely gearing up some initial inertia for some by-Friday curriculum-writing, which mostly meant a few hours in the faculty computer resource room on the LAN printing anything I thought might come in handy over the next few intensive days, a bit of email catch-up, and a spot of message board reconstruction.

Perusing and evaluating such materials tends to refocus the mind on the task at hand; by the time I arrived home with a thick handfull of papers and powerpoint printouts to find Darcie and Willow gone off to Brattleboro for a dip in South Pond the mind was brimming with ideas and outlines, each of which begged for paper and pen. The way my mind works -- and I have trained it well to do so exquisitely -- the brain will continue to simmer all night; by morning turning notes into narrative will be as natural as that first cup of coffee, and equally necessary to my mental health.

It's a (subjectively) highly successful formula, one which minimizes waste and maximizes quality in the production of any sort of paper, presentation, or indeed any extended linear communication. Given a month for an assignment, I have learned that my best can be found in toying with ideas for the first three weeks until the thesis, the goal, and the needed steps to get there become clear; from there, merely steeping myself in materials and keeping the ideas fluid until they naturally drop into their proper place like that last from-mess-to-finished rubik's cube twist, is the easy part. It's natural. It's fun. It looks like procrastination, but it isn't -- starting earlier results in a loss of focus over time, and produces only fragments for me. It does not break but merely internalizes the traditionally taught process of brainstorm and draft, and it works only if one can visualize, instantly, both forest and trees in an extended argument or process.

I like to think of this as the lighter, brighter side of ADHD. If one learns to watch one's own mind, the eight-track-simultaneous "curse" of the ADHD brain -- most often seen as problematic in that few ever learn how to manage so much information flow and environmental junk at once -- can be harnessed as what to others looks like "intuition" but is in actuality the ability to carefully fill each track with complimentary sub-ideas of the same process or piece-at-hand. The well-practiced mind, furthermore, can then "see" the relationships between each thread, and use it deliberately.

Or at least that's what it feels like. Hey, ask Shaw -- for a short while, I held the record at Marlboro College for netting the highest score ever on my writing pre-exam at orientation. I'm not bragging -- I have no sense that I'm a superhero -- it's just what I can do, and I'm proud because, for a long time, my brain was incomprehensible to me, my behavior erratic and inexplicable. It wasn't until I had a whole and holistic metaphor for the mind making the metaphor -- a meta concept if ever there was one -- that I managed to make sense to anyone, or to myself. And I didn't get that without much support (thanks, Darcie), and a very, very prolonged period of what can only be called adolescence into my mid twenties.

Okay, now that I've psyched myself up...I'm off to work. Is this how others think, I wonder?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:39 PM | 0 comments

Uh Oh

The Weather In Dhaka, Bangladesh

Via the constantly updated Guess they're serious about this monsoon thing, eh?

posted by boyhowdy | 12:16 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

To Do

Get beard trimmed.

Fill anti-malaria 'scrip.

Get batteries for Palm.

Check mapquest for weather in Dhaka over the next three weeks.

Launder and iron short sleeved button down shirts.

Install needed software on loaner laptop: Photoshop, Premiere, PhotoDeluxe, Inspiration, MS Office 2k Ed., hardware drivers for camera, printer, Palm,

Gather and organize Teaching With Technology materials, presentations, bookmarks, outlines and tests.

Leaning heavily on extant scavenge-able presentations and curricula originally developed for / delivered to other groups long beforehand, develop Teaching with Technology materials, presentations, outlines and tests for the following half-day modules:
- Terms, Models and Metaphors of Technology and Learning
- Writing Digitally
- Assessing Digital Learning
- The Computer As Brainstorming Tool
- Collaborative Knowledge Sharing Online and Off

Contact Margaret re: missing full day module on Searching and Researching Online.

Figure out if I'm doing the wrong modules.

Spend lots of time with family.

Videotape self reading bedtime stories for Willow to watch every night while I'm gone.

Be grateful for the opportunity to go at all.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:34 PM | 0 comments

What I Did On My Summer Blogcation

A week ago in the midst of what we in the technical field like to call a "kablooey" -- see below and then back father still to track the recent almost-demise and eventual ressurection of Not All Who Wander Are Lost -- I stopped blogging. There wasn't much point, really -- the good folks at blogger were understandably slow in helping a barely-paying customer with a violently unusual problem, but in the meantime, I was locked out of my primary blogspace and then rather quickly lost the password for a gifted second: I had nowhere to publish, and plenty to do.

Sorry. Really. I missed you all, and it's good to be back.

There's no real way to do justice to over a week of whirlwind summer in a single backblog (definition: any blog entry which tries to recapture a series of events just on the verge of mental overripeness, often resulting in a long boring entry which no one really ever reads), and not much point besides. But the highlights are pretty bright, so let's recap, shall we?

Saturday, June 19th, the Green River Festival in nearby Greenfield, MA. Discoveries that day include sparse funk band Inner Orchestra, Kris Delmhorst, who I came back to for a workshop set after being wowed by her early slot on the mainstage, and the joy of Patty Griffin in live performance (I've loved her forever but never made a show before); rediscoveries included They Might Be Giants, who always put on a great show, and Amelia, a beloved ex-student who also appeared the following weekend at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Rekindled my love of kettle corn and Burnt Sugar and Cream ice cream from the traveling Herrell's double decker ice cream bus.

But Green River was just a warmup for the summer's main event. Sunday, June 20th found us packing up the camper, dropping off the dog and picking up Virginia at the in-laws, errand-running. We left early the next morning, stopping at diners and roadside stores to keep the baby happy and our nicotene cravings fulfilled. And from Monday to Monday? The four of us -- yours truly, the now-one Willow, fond wife Darcie, her sister Virginia -- lived neo-nomadically out of blue tarps and screentents, campers and cars, in the damp green air of a horsefield in Hillsdale, New York, where every year the hordes descend for the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and we are there to greet them, and dwell among them, and listen as they sing.

Condensing Falcon Ridge into anything resembling a readable blogentry is impossible -- I live a year in one week each summer. We set the camper up against a creekbed and a road, next to Dave and then Virginia, right where we had been two years ago, but from there the narrative thread goes awry; it is not enough to say For three days we camped and worked as the festival slowly came to almost-life around us; for four days afterwards the festival raged as we rode the wave partially underground, like woodland elves on other faraway fields., and the blog format is antithetical to you had to be there or anysuch. The best one can say is that, in this time as in all timeless times, a week passed, the community around us grew and waned as a constant.

But I suppose to some extent life fell into three overlapping but identifiable categories: Work, Music, and, above and between it all, Leisure.

Work at a festival like this is lower than everyfest average, about 20 hours total, for which you get free admission and camping, free albeit meager and meat-free rations, undying friendship, and the best camping spots. Darcie painted festival signs in the shade of the central staff tent, including one which said "Baby Zone" and another which said "Today is Wednesday" and then later "Today is NOT Wednesday" and then by Friday "Today is (still) NOT Wednesday / please see the festival information tent for further temporal/spatial reference" which we hung outside our camping area. I checked in volunteers in the bigger tent out by the parking lot as they arrived and then, later, checked in the performers for a few hours each festival day, shaking Richard Shindell's hand, being introduced to Dar Williams' husband Mike (Mark?), watching the night rain with the members of We're About Nine, and putting wristbands on all of them. Dave, our Falcon Ridge Buddy -- we know him only from there, and see him never otherwise, but camp and spend all our time with him there every year -- stood security watch at the vegetarian-only staff meal tent entrance. Virginia watched the baby.

The Music at this year's fest began slow, with not much worth seeing Thursday but a late-night Patty Larkin (I got her some water later in the staff tent) and Richard Thompson, who was dressed exactly like a mime but was so much louder he brought his own stage amps and speakers. But over the next few days the rich diversity of two stages and a dance stage captured me, as it always does. Highlights included the discovery of last year's Emerging Artist Showcase winners Girlyman, a homophillic trio of powerful harmony, song structure, production and energy whose live performance and whose new album I cannot recommend any higher; also Richard Shindell, who I've seen before only peripherally but was much more impressed with. DaVinci's Notebook and Eddie From Ohio were as always rocking and hilarious; Railroad Earth and Vassar Clements bluegrassed the heck out of some jam band music (or vice versa), Dar, Kaplansky, and fest-fave John Gorka were predictably pleasant. Tuesday when the line was drawn between camp and stage seating we had pitched the fifth tent up along the line from stage, a freak miracle of timing which allowed us to closely watch the music that followed from the comfort of our own sun-and-rain-blocker without having to wait for three hours behind a rope for the 9:30 daily mainstage rush; it was the closest I'd been to Greg Brown since I shook his hand at the last festival we attended together, and nice to be able to drink beer at the otherwise dry festival under the shady screen. Virginia even got me to the dance tent late late late one night, where I managed to spin through a fifteen minute contra without bashing her into more than a dozen people.

And Leisure? Dave and Ginny and I spend hours together a day, sometimes wandering the grounds making friends with the food vendors, mostly just sitting around at the main path-side tentsite and watching the world eventually walk by. It was a bit like holding court; people would walk into our domain, and would instigate speech or not, and some of them sat, and some just said "hi," but all smiled, and were appreciative, and approvingly and jealously watched the baby walk among us always smiling, not like those other sometimes-grumpy otherkids we sometimes heard late at night from a few tents over, loud in the songcircle nights. Willow was a joy and a marvel, and we bought her a kazoo which she buzzed on while she danced and waved at the music. My parents, active and eager cajun and contra dancers for whom Falcon Ridge is large-scale but otherwise a bit minor-league, I suspect, took us all out to really-nice dinners twice and watched the baby when we needed naps and sat and watched the music with us sometimes when they weren't dancing. I found some beloved ex-student working in the Burrito Booth, wore a new denim hat, slept little, was happy.

We stayed overnight on Monday the 27th and packed up in the morning with a teary goodbye to Dave for another 51 weeks, and went to get Willow a passport in Keene today, and that doesn't even get to the heart of things, but it's late here and probably there; I think now we've caught up and can go forward, that it's time to get back on the pony and ride like the wind. Much of the next two weeks are inherently, powerfully blogworthy -- a trip to Bangladesh, another to Alaska via Vancouver; the start of a new job and a new school year; a new autumn. Any or each of these might cause another blogout/blackout, to be sure -- I know of no network access outside of the school where we'll work in Dhaka, and suspect not much will be available on the waters of Alaska as we cruise. But each is surely worth waiting for in it's own right, and, well, thanks for coming, y'all, and for waiting longer.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:19 PM | 0 comments

Monday, July 28, 2003

Back From The Grave But Still Pretty Tired

Okay, let's start with a big hand for Christine, who very patiently lurked around my blogger account until she found "a mapping problem" between my blog and the blogspot blogserver and called some engineer to fix it.

Now let's admit that we're looking at a dial-up in slo-mo after a seven-day stretch of living outdoors, in what is otherwise a broad, hilly green ridge of a farm.

And, to be fair, we should point out that the plan last night was to stay up and drink all the left-over beer because it was too much trouble to pack it again in the morning, and that I passed out pretty damn quick at about eleven.

Then we might go ahead and acknowledge that, hey, it's just nice to use porcelain again. And drink water from a tap. And sleep in a real bed. Near an air conditioner.

There. That wasn't so hard, was it. I hereby declare this blog open for business after a three week hiatus and a temporary relocation: The blog is back on-line but barely; I'll be back tomorrow with all the juicy details.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:53 PM | 0 comments

Friday, July 18, 2003


posted by boyhowdy | 1:53 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Still No Cure For Hairy Palms

First the carcinogenic irony kicked into high gear with the possibility that cell phones might cure cancer. Now, from Reuters via fark comes an inevitability: Scientists Discover Frequent Masturbation Lowers Risk Of Prostate Cancer. On your mark, get set...

1. Makes me wish I was a doctor. Imagine trying to fill that prescription!

2. You too may live to hear the phrase "If only he had masturbated more when he was young..."

3. Two words: Health Class: "Now, class, today we're going to learn about the joys of masturbation.

4. The Fundamentalist Christian Coalition must now figure out how to spin NOT having prostate cancer as divine retribution. Yeah, good luck with that one, guys.

5. I hate to say it, but I'm suddenly no longer jealous of women for having to do those breast self-exams all the time. This is even better.

That was too easy, and I'm sure there's more, so c'mon and add your own by leaving a comment below. Then, just like they do it on Fark: Rinse. Repeat. Wipe hands on pants.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:28 PM | 1 comments

Admit One

On the car radio this morning The River is heavily promoting the Green River Festival, touting tickets available through the festival website .

The website says that, although online ticketing is now over in order to ensure that tickets get to purchasers before the festival comes and goes, pre-festival tickets can still be purchased at three stores in the area.

We had other errands to do downtown waiting until something else came up, and it had stopped raining, so we loaded into the car with the camper in tow, as one of the errands involved getting some guy to realign the propane spout and regulator on the camper grill, and the guy on the phone had just said oh, bring the camper like it was no big deal.

I like errands. I spent ten minutes marvelling at the vast breadth of possibilities and the resultant implied array of possible carpentry needs in the nail and screw aisle (no dirty jokes, please) while Darcie shopped for yogurt with the baby, bought the last two day-old ham and cheese croissants in the Greenfield Coop, found a tiny watch battery for my suddenly-defunct carbiner watch in a jewelry store and semi-secretly checked out a few birthday presents for Darcie (August 9th, when I'm in Bangladesh, so the present better be GOOD if you know what I mean, nudge nudge, wink wink, checked out a minor car accident on the way back to meet darcie and Willow in cafe Kokos, where I sat in a rocking chair and drank a cold latte quickly while the baby got impatient.

And then, finally, there we are at the World's Eye bookstore. Darcie's in the back with Willow looking at the board books (well, Willow's really just pulling 'em off the shelves without opening them, but everyone's happy). I go up to the counter:

Me: Do you still have tickets for the Green River Festival?
Woman At Counter: It costs $30 for Friday night and all day Saturday, or $40 for just Saturday.
Me: Okay, I need...wait, what?
Woman: Most people just buy the two-day one. You could give away the Friday ticket.
Me: *stunned* Um, okay. Two.

The day you realize that the world doesn't need to make sense is the day you are free to enjoy the universe. Today was especially enjoyable -- pressureless but vaguely deliberate, timeless yet somehow a day where those few nagging things all get accomplished at once. Saturday promises to be exquisite. And, although I wasn't planning on it, I might go Friday night anyway -- after all, even though it's a Zydeco eve, an odd teaser for the fullday/nextday Folk and AltRock line-up (Patty Griffin! They Might Be Giants! Slaid Cleaves!), it is, weirdly, more than free. Anyone up for a concert? They're so eager for an audience, they're paying people to come.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:18 PM | 0 comments

One Week To Falcon Ridge!

Barabara wrote yesterday, asking for scheduling input for our volunteer gig checking in the performers, press, and volunteers (it's a great gig -- five hours a day nets you free camping, festival entry, and food all weekend). Then Davey, our festival buddy ('cause you should never go in without a buddy), emailed with pix of his cute new Favorite Niece. Complete performer/stage schedule was finally posted today.

It's beginning to look a lot like festival time, and I feel fine.

posted by boyhowdy | 2:27 AM | 0 comments

14:59 And Counting

The final word on Blair Hornstine comes to us today from the Harvard Crimson. Poor brat's under siege: Harvard's rescinded their offer of admission, citing her recent newspaper plagiarism, and the Moorstown school district where she won and then failed to deliver valedictory honors is "investigating the integrity of Hornstine’s academic coursework" in preparation for further "discussions." She'll get no sympathy here, just a firm desire to put this story to rest and get this whining selfish prig out of the news already. Sorry, Blair: your fifteen minutes are up.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:26 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Willow's One

There'd be a picture of a birthday cake here, but on the dial-up it takes too long to download the pix, so just pretend there's a cake in this spot, okay? Thanks.

Late into the night and up again at nine to make this house into a home or by God die trying. From the last few hallway-lining boxes to shelves, walls, and cabinets went books, pictures, clocks and knick-knacks; I spent most of the evening, for example, in the bedroom, deciding what clothes to fold and which to store in red plastic bins, and most of the morning on kitchen minutia while Darcie hung and rehung pictures.

Finished by noon, with time to spare I went out in search of candles, sponges, a tablecloth. The latter took five stores to find, so I treated myself to a stuffed dog and cat for the baby, and a card with a dog and a cat on it -- guess what her favorite animals are? The balloons, red, blue and yellow, and a couple of those mylar stars that say "Happy Birthday," poked the back of my head as I drove, blocking the rear view; I almost killed some old lady merging onto the highway on the way back.

The festivities began late, as is their familial wont; Ginny arrived just before four, starting the flood that would fill our newly minted home. Matt and Alicia had to work, as did Darcie's brother Josh, but that just left us enough room at the table for the rest of the immediates: my siblings and parents, darcie's parents and sister -- and us, of course, and the guest of honor, the girl with the reddish blond hair only now growing in long enough to cover her scalp, the suddenly walking one year old Willow Myla. My girl.

For most of Willow's life, she's been the center of attention much of the time. But birthdays are special, and not even deliberately so: from the moment everyone showed up, something happened, and Willow was suddenly the eye of the storm -- no mean feat for a small tempest herself.

From the moment she met each one at the door, buzzing merrily on her new dimestore kazoo, she loved it, and so did we. She danced to the Muppet Show theme song on cue, walked from grandma to grandma and back again, threw rasperries at the air purifier all the way across the room at supper. She loved the play piano the Jesse and his girlfriend Jasmine brought especially, dancing and singing in perfect pitch; I'm sure we can all grow to love the four classical and four nursery rhyme songs it plays, at least for long enough to matter.

Willow went to bed early, and minor small talk and reminiscence centered mostly on international travel memories -- Bangladesh ilooming on everyone's mind. It was wonderful to see everyone even if they were somehow a bit less there for ME this time than usual.

But I remember, one year ago today, what life was like the moment the hole I discovered I had had in me all my life without knowing suddenly filled. And I know Willow isn't the only miracle that made today and all its promise fulfilled. So, when everyone had gone, I thought a while, and cleaned the dishes, and lay down next to Darcie in front of the TV, and thanked her for Willow -- for helping her reach this godwilling first of many, making her the good-natured genuine, generous child she is. I remember, you know -- I remember that Darcie is the life of us all here in this new home, the key, the lynchpin. I am thankful for Willow, who fills my heart -- but I am thankful also, and some days more, for the wife and mother whose love has made us whole, a family.

May I always remember to honor she who gave birth and gives life to my daughter on her birthday, and on every day. Happy Birth-Day, Darcie. I love you, too.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:22 PM | 0 comments

Sitting Here In Limbo

Well, let's start with thanks to EricJ of Webraw who moved us a bit in an attempt to get the blog at least somewhere for a while. Yay, Eric!

I'm obviously a bit backlogged on blogposts -- there wasn't much point in blogging when no one could see the blog (when a blog falls in the forest...). And there's much to tell -- from Saturday's long excursion down to Connecticut for boat show, steam train and steamboat ride just ten miles up from the mouth of the old Connecticut River, the same river that passes between our two school campuses, albeit 200 miles upstream, to the preparations for Willows birthday celebration this afternoon. In between in no particular order: shopping at the white trash supermarket, unpacking and more unpacking, a visit from Virginia and new friend Ryan (or is it Brian?), meeting the new Associate Head of NMH as he moves in with his family just down the street from our new apartment, and a late morning/early afternoon spent in Brattleboro, complete with free-with-the-family-discount coffee at Mocha Joes, a delicious brunch at an outdoor cafe down the street net to a big old hole where once a bridge spanned a tributary into that selfsame Connecticut, and, for some odd reason, clowns and a mime wandering the streets completely in character.

Of course, the most blog-relevant news is the saga of trying to get back on blogspot, which is turning into a very odd and ultimately entertaining mess. At one point I even tried sending a help request to, which brought an actual response from the infamous EV himself, telling me that I needed to write such problems in, as it "really is the best way" -- despite the fact that I have a help message in that same space from six months ago that has yet to be answered. I even know what the problem is -- I seem to have messed up the password between blogger and blogspot, and, due to a server refresh here at school, have lost the password I need to get back to FTP access for publishing at the old space. It would take five minutes tops for an admin at blogger to check on my password and send it out -- or even to just change it to a nullset, so I could get back on to change it myself. But alas -- we're here instead, and again, at least we're somewhere, which is better than nowhere...

Ah, I love chaos.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:00 AM | 0 comments

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
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