Sunday, October 31

 

The tee shirt fairy.

When you wish upon a blog, you never know what may show up on your porch while you're at the farmer's market.

Kudos to St. Dymphna's finest worker bee.



Saturday, October 30

 

Dammt, dammit, dammit!

Earlier tonight I left a phone message with some dear friends on the other coast to chat and catch-up with life.

Twenty minutes later I got a call back from one half; the other half recently moved out of their house. I was dumbfounded. A fourteen-year relationship now smashed to bits.

When you and your friends join adulthood you tend to focus on the positive passage rites: real jobs, houses, marriages, children. You never think about the dark trappings that come with the territory. This is my first divorce experience between contemporaries and it really, really sucks.


Friday, October 29

 

Again, it's Deja Vu

Changed the look again. Rather similar to the first approach, don'tcha think? It's just the other one looked like elevator music to me.

What can I say. I'm just fickle.

 

Hey, Hon!

At three o'clock today my co-workers will be bringing their children around for trick-or-treating. I'm dressing as a Dundalkian: mullet wig, black tooth wax, rolled and pegged black jeans, 'Jack Daniels' t-shirt, and a pack of smokes rolled in the sleeve. (Got to show the ink, bro!)


Thursday, October 28

 

Tried but true

I had a moderately sucessful session of drawing at Alumni Studio Night.

Even though I try different media on different paper, I find my favorite drawings are vine on Rives BFK. Particularly, the ten minute-or-less poses. I tend to overwork my paper into oblivion if it goes longer. So next week I'll just stock-up on the classics.


Wednesday, October 27

 

Straight, but not narrow

Our door is host to many unasked for ephemera: menus, mattress sale flyers, more menus, and handbills. Last night we came home to a mysterious blob of color nestled on the door handle.

It turns out we were given two rainbow striped banners emblazoned with "We the People SAY NO to the BUSH AGENDA". I suppose with the Kerry and Mikulski signs in the front yard, our home was prime real estate for liberal sloganeering. I rigged the banner by clasping the tie-tabs in between closed louvers on the porch windows. It's now prominently displayed on the front of the house. Drive on by, you can't miss it.

Since I have the spare, do I have any takers?


Tuesday, October 26

 

Headache.

With just a week to go before election day, it was finally time for a discourse over the candidates. The lone Republican made his choice for Bush known. Let's just say he got a serious talking-to from our annointed activist liberal. But, alas, to no avail. This late in the game, I doubt we'll see any conversions*.

On the bright side, he also mentioned he was voting for the incumbent Democratic Senator. It seems the challenger has the support of the F.O.P. That was the deal breaker. Our Bush-ite has the same issue of constant haranging and unsolicited contribution calls that many of us suffer with from that particular organization.

With the Republican candidate being in bed with that group of folks, he's not toeing the party line with both feet.

* Not a bad football pun from a non-sports fan, no?

Sunday, October 24

 

Thanks, y'all.

What a workout yesterday. Many, many thanks for those who helped make BAMBOOPALOOZA a runaway success.

Despite my skepticism, Bill Stevenson arrived just after nine armed with a heavy-duty Poulan and a friend named Chris. Soon after, Charlie from work rolled in, dressed in his signature overalls, carrying a set of loppers. Ten minutes later, Bill was laying waste to stalks faster than we could chop them into bits and bag them up.

By ten, after three chain slips, the saw was put to rest. By now, mostly all the bamboo stand was on the ground ready for bagging. Bill Dugan made his appearance as Bill Stevenson and Chris had to run (Bill had to open the shop at noon.) Heading straight to the remaining bamboo, Mr. D. walked the wall, clipping more of the ornery stalks which grew between the shrubbery and the wire fence. By eleven, Steve Cole and his wife Julia snaked through the Morgan State homecoming traffic snare to help me out. Steve assisted Bill at the fenceline while the rest of us chopped and bagged.

At twelve, Heather called lunch. And what a lunch: homemade mac and cheese, creamed spinach and a start on the cold beer. I should also point out the fantastic oatmeal bars and strong coffee that kept us going that morning. Thanks, baby.

After lunch it was all chopping and bagging. Just in time for Mile Reis to roll in. By two, it was Miller Time, or rather, Saranac Time. But the fun just wouldn't end.

When it was just down to me, and Bill, Charlie broke out the mattock stashed in the corner to begin the test of manliness. Taking turns, after about an hour, a ten-foot swatch of rhizome was uprooted and bagged.

Yes, we're nuts.

Friday, October 22

 

BAMBOOPALOOZA!

I'd finally come to the realization there was no way I could handle the ass-licking chore that is bamboo maintence just by myself. I knew I had to entice several acquaintences with free food and beer, and so, I created BAMBOOPALOOZA. I even made flyers and handed them out at work. It read:

Five years in the making! One day only! (I hope.)
BAMBOOPALOOZA
Saturday, October 23
10 am 'til ? Coffeepot goes on @ 9.
Todd Brizzi needs volunteers. My bamboo border has gone outta control and I could use all teh help I can get cutting, bagging and taming what nature hath wrought. Just bring your implements of doom* and a pair of gloves ---
AND BE SURE TO WEAR LONG SLEEVES
--- A hot meal and snacks will be provided by Ms. Heather, plus quality beverages for cocktail hour!
*I'd suggest a good pair of shrub pruners. But bring anything that would have potential to cut woody stems: saws, machetes, chainsaaws, pickaxes, smalll rodents --- let's give it a shot.

I'll let you all know how it turns out...


 

To all the Boston Red Sox fans...

...I'm not a baseball fan, but this business with post-season play becomes annual topic of American culture, so I'll weigh-in with my opinion.

I know enough about baseball, and the fandom that surrounds it, to realise it's a strange blend of superstition and statistics. A curious melding of facts and Voodoo that culminates in debate --- sometimes not-so-freindly debate -- between supporters of rival teams. This brings me to the subject of the 'Curse of the Bambino'.

Yankee fans love to rub this into Red Sox fans' faces, again, year after year, when they come close to taking it, but fail. This also gave the Boston fans ,in years past, the chance to wave the banner of suspicion when their team fell year after year.

'It ain't us, it's THE CURSE!'

So, they made it past the Bronx Bombers this year. Nice job. I'm certain Red Sox fans everywhere are not shaving/bathing/following conventional rules of hygiene, or rubbing the magic crystal/coin/troll doll, or just praying to the mystical creature/god/deceased relative of their choice to make sure their boys BEAT THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO!

Honestly, I wan't the Sox to win the World Series. So next year, when they have a losing record and don't make it again, it means they just suck. No curse, no fat man pulling the strings of destiny. Time to move on.

Thursday, October 21

 

Don't eat the big mints!

A fine way to piss away some time.

Wednesday, October 20

 

Not believing the hype.

So, here at work, I get a weekly e-mail from The Senator Theater informing me of current showings and future attractions at the historic venue on York Road. Usually its a fancy formatted marquee/poster thing with film titles and showtimes; very straight ahead and hard sell. This morning I got a more personalized letter, telling me about a film called What the #$*! Do We Know? It seems to be a part-drama/part documentary project, linking quantum physics to spiritualism.

Okay, that's cool with me. So I check out the official site and watch the trailer. It has a cast full of talent I've heard of, decent-looking CGI, and production values I'd classify as better than most everything on Discovery Channel.

Upon further investigation, it appears the filmmakers are students of the RSE. That turns out to be the school which follows the teachings of Ramtha.

Hold the phone. I remember that name from the early eighties, when New Age spiritualism was hitting the mainstream. I specifically remember, on a 'very special' Sally Jesse Raphael, this woman in a pink baseball cap 'channelling' the ancient spirit of a long-past warrior from (wait for it) Atlantis! He is now here, dispelling his old-old-old school version of truth and reality to us modern, deluded fools.

Fast-forward twenty years, and my, what a cottage industry ol' Rammy's made for herself! And now with a glossy, unrated, word-of-mouth-hyped, limited engagement pseudo-science/quasi-spiritual flim out, she can lure even more people onto the bottom rung of this Ponzi scheme.

Hey everybody! Check me out! I'm now channelling the jaded cynicism of a thousand skeptics.

Monday, October 18

 

First Madonna, now this?

No doubt you've heard about the off-camera behaviour allegations against pompus scumbag Bill O'Reilly. (Just in case you haven't, The Smoking Gun has the court documents.) Reading this morning about his appearance on Regis and Kelly, I found out he has penned a children's book*.

First imagining a picture book featuring little duckies and bunnies strangling each other and calling each other names, a search on Amazon revealed it is merely a franchise tie-in for his 'news' show on Fox. So now we have The O'Reilly Factor for Kids to teach far-right spew to a new generation. Just like the KKK says, it's important to start 'em young.

Before I went completely numb and wretched, I realized a few from my team have left their pointed, poisonous 'reviews' for Bill, putting his fans on serious D. Have a gander.

*I suppose the Neo-Conservatism for Dummies book deal went to Ann Coulter of the Sith..

Sunday, October 17

 

The House of House

Co-worker Andy and his wife Kim had a final cookout of the season at their place yesterday. It was also an introduction party for their infant daughter Amelie.

They live on a modest street in Silver Spring, just a skip away from Georgia Avenue North of the District. Their house is very cute; an unassuming twenties-era colonial. Except for the ENORMOUS kitchen addition in the back! Oy vey! A freakishly huge cathedral-ceilinged room with lots of cabinets, a massive cooking island, a serious wine collection* and a 12-foot farm table. That table happenned to be covered corner to corner with all manner of food, mostly made by our host, Mr. House himself.

*Yep. Had a few samples myself. All reds: an Italian, an Australian, the bottle of Cline we brought and a nip of Chateau Neuf de Pape.


Wednesday, October 13

 

Three years! Three years?

Today is our wedding anniversary. Strangely, I'm feeling incredulity from two directions: it's been three years already, and, it's only been three years? It seems to fluctuate by the minute.

Conventional wisdom suggests the traditional gift this anniversary should be leather or crystal. I chose neither. I did my homework and picked-up on some not-so-subtle hints from my adoring spouse.

Stay tuned. The reveal will happen this evening.
---
I'm certain the suspense was killing you.

A few weeks back when we had our hooky day, before the movie we dropped in at Tomlinson Craft.* Heather noticed a pair of Roman glass earrings that would compliment the pendant made from the same she chose a few Christmases ago. She was pleasantly surprised and wore the entire ensemble to dinner tonight.

I got a practical gift that keeps on giving: pants. Jeans from L.L. Bean, to be specific; one blue pair, one black pair.

*It's a gift shop that specializes in things usually considered artsy-fartsy. Handblown artglass, quirky pottery, ethnographic tchothckes, y'know -- that kinda stuff.




Saturday, October 9

 

Meet market.

Ran into a bunch of folks at the Waverley Farmers' Market this morning.

As Heather was buying apples, I ran into Mike and Catie. Meg was at her workout, so they were enjoying their morning with a breakfast at Pete's Grille and a walk around the market. Catie was being rather quiet and was playing with a fresh flower on a stem.

As I was waiting in line for a portobello mushroom sandwich, friend and former landlady Cynthia queued-up behind me. We chatted about work, friends and such as we ate. We said we should get together soon. I hope so.

Afterward, new father and Chameleon owner Jeff strolled up. It was the first time we'd seen him since his daughter Gertie was born about four weeks ago. He told us about the new menu at the restaurant --- of course, a huge honking piece of pork, just my style, is on the list. We might treat ourselves next Wednesday for our anniversary.


Friday, October 8

 

Real life strikes again.

Lately the Maxima has had the 'idiot light' on and, frankly, has been a little sluggish on the shifting. So we contacted the Nissan dealership near our offices and had them give it the eyeball yesterday.

Later that afternoon, Heather relayed the estimate as I sat down. A clutch, a flywheel, a doohickey, a thing-a-ma-bob and a satanic ritual would result in a cost of one arm and both legs. Then she called our man Foertch on Harford. We're bringing it there next week.

In the meantime we're trucking in the intrepid Subaru wagon. Sure, she's a little well-used and clears her throat between second and third gears, but point A still becomes point B all the same.

Today I gave her a bath. Two, actually. One this morning from the automated 'Laserwash' at the gas staion, which got the major chunks off. But she got one later at the self-service carwash right next to work. The foamy brush got the grit beneath the roofrack under control. Tomorrow I'll Windex the window smudge and a quick hose-off for any remaining grime.

Thursday, October 7

 

I remembered I forgot.

Can you believe I've been at this crazy blogging thing for a year already? Actually, it was a year ago last Friday I lit the Signal. Hopefully y'all are still out there reading about all my exploits be they mundane, exquisite or neurotic.

I've learned a few things. As much as I intended to write one post every day, that intention just doesn't fit the plan. The noteworthy things in my day-to-day wax and wane like the moon and the postings follow that ebb and flow. Otherwise this blog would be crammed with notes on daily lunches and Target lists.

Also, sometimes my tone --- or rather my sarcastic tone --- falls flat when I re-read some earlier entries. Sorry about that. Sometimes the fingers type without the brain thinking. To paraphrase Frank Zappa, the thing that's missing with a computer is the eyebrows.

----

Anyway, last night was another episode of 'Dirty Old Man Charcoal Party'. This time I set-up so my view was between both model stands, that way I could choose between quick poses and the extended pose model . I pounded-out about 8 pencil sketches and then spent about an hour on a vine-on-BFK drawing. I really like the way it turned out, except for the one foot. I always manage to screw-up the one foot!

The only really annoying thing was one lady had to spray her fixative right in the studio room. Pee-yew! That reminded me of the Quattlebaum Solution: skim milk in a spray bottle. Any body else remember that move? The natural casein from the milk forms a semi-matte coating over the charcoal, bonding it to the cotton paer. If I continue on the charcoal approach, I'll make sure to hit the Royal Farms for a carton before the next session.

...And maybe some fried chicken and a skin magazine.


Monday, October 4

 

Nicest Souvenirs in Town.

For centuries* it seems, I've been working with the boys at the Baltimore Tattoo Museum on their brochure design. Now, after a one-year hiatus, I'm back to working with George on firming-up the concepts and rolling it out the door.

Tonight after work, I grabbed the Canon and made a beeline for Fells Point. We thought taking some fresh digital photos might get the ball rolling again. I pounded-out good amount snaps of the gallery space and the work stations. Then George lined-up about two dozen tattoo machines on a stark white surface for me. I think those will make a border element that'll look sweet.

I'm hoping over the next month we can really get it finished for real. The benefit we have this time around is I have a scanner and tablet at the house, so no more weekend-at-work schedule juggling to access the good stuff. Plus we both have DSL connections, so e-mailing progress images should be a snap. Stay tuned.

*Actually, about three years.


Sunday, October 3

 

My apron has a skull on it, buddy.

Got to spend some time with the Heazlett men yesterday afternoon.

Heather and Kristen made a trip to the yarn shop over in Catonsville, leaving Nate and I to get our Scrabble on while keeping the short man entertained. Stellan's finally out of that larval stage and is much more alert, even raising his head off Nathan's chest when he's really pissed.

Once our wives got back, me and Nate were left to the hunting and gathering. We hopped in the xB and hit the Super Fresh for brocolli, 'taters, and MEAT. Several pounds of it, actually, in the form of a massive London Broil.

There was also a quick mission for a beer run right around the corner. Gotta have the brews to stay macho when your doing dishes, steaming veggies and poking the potatoes for doneness.

Saturday, October 2

 

Limbo.

It's one of those days where ther's no sky and the air is still.

Everything is slightly sticky from the humidity, except for the cats.

The kitchen has been cleaned for the umpteenth time and, if I really had the energy, I'd run the lawnmower over the grass while I still can.

I won't.

Once the towels hit the spin cycle, I'll jump in the shower and finally begin my day.

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