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dominoes

March 26, 2015

  1. I love the word “mend.”
  2. I don’t know whether to be excited or depressed that retropop is growing in popularity. I guess I should be pleased the style is getting more exposure and inspiring more bands to create music in that vein. Is there more crap? Sure, but there’s also more quality music. Can’t have one without the other I suppose.
  3. I’ve got the White Horse Inn podcasts since the beginning of the year loaded up on the iPod in preparation for the trip back to NC for the weekend. Not really looking forward to the driving and being away from the family, but all in all it should be alright.
  4. D found this link a few weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to get enough of listening to the sermons online.

my aim is true

March 25, 2015

How did I end up here, stumbling at the end like Pip and Estella? Only not quite the same—la seule chose contre qui je cogne, c’est moi-même. It just works better that way.

Maybe I do better with an audience? I don’t know. And it’s not that I didn’t chronicle anything privately—I did—but the consistency was lacking, to say the least. I think the slight restriction of nominal anonymity is worth enduring for the added motivation of public exposure. Regular (I won’t say good) writing requires a comfort zone, and I cultivated one over the years here. It would be easy to maintain that the consistency was a function of the audience, but the two-month burst of quality posting 5 or so years ago belies that. Quoi qu’il en soit, me voiçi.

After my run last night, I held my arm out to block out the neighborhood below and reminded myself that it’s the same sky I saw 10, 20, 25 years ago when I first read the H.A. Rey book and learned the constellations in Auron. If at least one of my senses can experience that familiarity for a moment, that’s a good thing.

Funny to think about the ebb and flow of LJ. It was really the only game in town during its early years, the only semi-permanent alternative to instant messaging. Folks who wouldn’t otherwise have written anything felt shoehorned into the blogging mold. Then Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites arrive on the scene and offer users what they really want: Cheap, disposable communication. Don’t get me wrong; those things have their place. I think it was just nice to see folks, for a year or two at least, forced into expressing themselves longhand, so to speak, however reluctantly. And after the diaspora, here I am again.

boom clap

July 16, 2014

Yes, I have the unfortunately-named Charli XCX’s latest going through my head these days. It’s a good pop song, though, and I’m not above embracing the occasional dose of plebeian music; heck, most (all?) of my enthusiasm for ’80s tunes encompasses music that would fit comfortably under the “pop” label.

I had some good themes in my head earlier today, but they’re gone now. I’m downstairs, typing on the netbook with the TV muted, kittens scampering around the room. They’re full, so they have energy to burn at the moment.

More soon.

bette davis eyes

October 8, 2013

1. Had a great visit to McConnell Elementary today…followed by an awful phone call from Diane to a lady at the Hamilton County Schools central office, essentially stonewalling our attempt to get the kids moved from Daisy (where we’re districted) to McConnell. I will be visiting Daisy next week, but my initial drive-by didn’t look too promising: Tacked on to a high school, looking very small and run-down, with a large dumpster right next to the front playground, and having to drive that terrible gully-ed road to get there… No thanks.

2. If you haven’t seen them, do yourself a favor and check out the series of Shirley Manson / Craig Ferguson interviews on YouTube. Their repartee, the dueling Scottish accents… They’re hilarious. I wonder if Penelope will look like her? If she grew up and could be a mix of KT Tunstall and Shirley Manson I wouldn’t object a bit.

3. The extended stay I’m presently in reminds me a lot of a dorm, with its paper thin walls and hustle and bustle this time of the evening.

i don’t ask a lot

April 26, 2013

On the edge of the weekend and so mind-bendingly disillusioned with the level of incompleteness in my life. I know we’re all “in process” to some degree or another, and usually I can repress that to the point where it’s nothing more than a background murmur in my thought life, but every once in a while it breaks through, like a sudden crevasse in an ice floe.

Didn’t help today, either, that I downloaded Duncan Sheik’s “On A High,” and, in listening to the electronic version, caught aural whiffs of Andain’s “Beautiful Things,” which of course took me back about 10 years to Design Services and all the attendant uncertainty and relational flux of that time…

When are things going to be…? I don’t even know.

gold

April 2, 2013

Wilson Phillips, “Ooh You’re Gold.” An incredibly cheesy bit of filler pop from their debut album. Listened to it on my Walkman in a hotel room somewhere in Italy. Tall wooden shutters on the window overlooking a semi-busy street. Mild fall or spring day. Como, perhaps?

perfect

March 28, 2013

Downloaded Ivy’s latest, All Hours, earlier today, and I absolutely love it. It’s more synth-driven than their previous stuff, which is completely fine and welcome given the retro-’80s music kick I’ve been on. “Fascinated” and “I Still Want You” are two early favorites.

i cry with life for a while

March 19, 2013

Listening to “Wait for Me,” Blade Runner soundtrack.

Memory of the McDonald’s in Northgate mall, late 1986; I was 7 years old. Sun streaming in the window as we sat and had dinner. Discussed the fact that we’d soon be moving to France; I had no idea what to expect or any apprehension of the magnitude of what was about to happen, but I felt it in the pit of my stomach. I felt the alterations in our routine more than anything, the way things seemed to be hanging, affairs packed, at the edge of the precipice…

je garde en secret la source

August 30, 2012

Pen’s 5th birthday today. Diane bought cupcakes yesterday, which I brought to school with her. She was decked out in a Brave shirt and “birthday girl” badge and very very excited. She’s acclimating as well as can be expected—Mrs. Matthews says she’s very bright, but has been having trouble with the rules. That’s understandable, though; Luke spent the better part of a couple of months learning the rules once he entered kindergarten as well.

I should mention as well that yesterday, as we were leaving for school, she ceremonially and deliberately left her beloved doggie on the stairs, declaring that she was a big girl and wouldn’t need it at school any more. And then she said the same about sucking her thumb. That was a bit painful to hear…even if she’s not entirely “there” yet. Little girl growing up.

curio

August 24, 2012

I want to record my swiftly-receding pre-journal memories. Fortunately, by the grace of God, I’ve “nailed down” at least a third of my life in some form or fashion, having kept this journal somewhat alive—the last year or two notwithstanding—for the past 11 years. I’ve got to get the earlier stuff on (virtual) paper, though. There’s so much that flits through my mind on a typical day, powerful memories, even, evoked by a random sound or smell, and I don’t want to lose them.

I want to remember how I felt then

Went to Pen and Luke’s open house last night. Felt the ever-present twinge of trepidation knowing my children will be under the auspices of another for the bulk of the day. But it’s a good school, and both kids’ teachers look to be fantastic (Luke has Mrs Joyce for the second year in a row, so she’s a known quantity—great for him).

as hokey as it sounds

July 31, 2012

Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable?
Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?

I wish I could place this one in time.

Hotel room. Wide awake, staring at the popcorn texture on the pale blue ceiling. Headphones on. Richard Marx, “Endless Summer Nights.” Promise Keepers conference. Atlanta. Had just a man enter a hotel room with what looked like a prostitute a few minutes before, and had that disturbing image flitting around my mind. But I remember wishing, wanting, feeling. Trying to let myself fall into the emotion of loving someone, and capture that for as long as I could.

When was it? Who did I love? Who was I then?

so raise your hands to heaven and pray
that we’ll be back together someday

nougat

July 27, 2012

Rereading my (spotty) recollection of our Europe adventure back in ’04, I closed my eyes and surprised myself with a sigh of audible relief: “I am so glad I recorded that.” How can I have such a visceral reaction when it comes to my memories? Do others have them? They truly are my most prized possessions. Come to think of it, if anything happened to this online journal where I lost all my data, I would be inconsolable. Devastated. Ripped asunder. I have got to back this up.

* * * * * *

Thinking about being a Den Leader for Luke’s Cub Scout den this fall. He’ll be in his second year, a Wolf Scout. It’s a fairly big commitment, having to attend all the meetings as well as planning activities for the boys twice a month, but…it would be a great opportunity for L to get socialized, and for us to make some friends in the pack.

Thinking about potential activities with the boys and how to keep their attention while talking got me thinking about incentives. Candy immediately popped into my head, which reminded me of the prodigious numbers of Werthers caramels my junior year Odyssey of the Mind team consumed as we brainstormed. “Brain food,” we called it, and downed bag after bag. We didn’t make it past third place during State Finals that year, and thus didn’t earn a slot at World Finals, but it was a good group nonetheless: Aaron, Greg Adams, Cara, myself and a few others whose names it kills me that I can’t recollect out of hand. The highlight of our final performance at States was an ad-libbed line by Greg, playing the bad guy, Mugsy. The car Aaron was driving as “Da Boss” (a nickname he still sports to this day) was supposed to trip a sequence of event that would cause a large-ish papier-mache boulder to roll down a ramp and accomplish something plot-significant. During the performance, Mugsy would yodel and “cause” the landslide, but during the actual skit, the mechanism jammed and we had trouble freeing it, and the performers had to stall for time while Aaron and I worked it out, allowing Greg to deliver the utterly improvised, brilliant line, “Hurry Boss! I think the rocks is building up an immunity!” The judges and audience all laughed, and the rest of the performers had trouble keeping straight faces during the remainder of the skit.

that’s one way to lose these walking blues

July 25, 2012

she was physically forgotten as she slipped into my pocket with my car keys

Let’s talk about the camping trip a month ago. There is absolutely nothing my son would rather do than camp. He loves everything about it, from the sleeping in a tent, to eating different food, and especially the hiking and Standing Atop Tall Things™. Although, truth be told, he didn’t much care for the tubing or canoeing, being constrained as he was and at the mercy of the river (tubing) or Granddad and me (canoeing). And he got upset when everyone was watersliding through the table rocks. Nice that that coincided with his medication comedown… But that evening we went on the sunset hike past the Magic Tree, and all was well in his world.

I had a great time with the parents, too. They’re just…I dunno. People that I want to be friends with, maybe? Or perhaps I’ve been so friendship-starved lately that I made more of it than it was? I’m still on the fence about whether or not to volunteer as a den leader this fall. I’m leaning toward “yes” at the moment.

as if everybody here would know exactly what I was talking about

hiatuses

July 24, 2012

Lloyd Dobler: You used to be fun. You used to be warped and twisted and hilarious… and I mean that in the best way – I mean it as a compliment!
Constance: I was hilarious once, wasn’t I?

In the daily grind of family life, it can be so incredibly easy for me to forget how awesome Diane was (and is). Or even me. There are so many musings and trains of thought I’ve just buried for fear of upsetting her, and worthwhile things, expositions that I should have recorded, events, times, places, impressions…just lumped into some kind of tenuous category and dismissed. Or suppressed.

Have we ever had electric, scintillating chemistry? No. But we used to dream together, and we mused, and we spoke to each other in hushed tones about those things which excited us, and the color wasn’t drained from our days and weeks.

And you know what? As much as anything, this journal was a catalyst for those dreams. The act of recording and remembering those things that lit a fire under me anchored them in time and space, gave them fertile soil to grow, take root and attach themselves to my identity, and hers. Rather than being a passive observer of events, the journal was a mirror, a foil, a structural part of an identity under construction, and without it…time whips by, unchecked and I so quickly put my head down again and narrow the focus.

So…I’m taking a break (perhaps indefinite) from Bimmerforums. Since I started posting in earnest in late 2009, I’ve amassed almost 6,000 posts, and as with my slight, albeit present attraction to returning to Facebook, I can feel that permanent desire to record, connect, create, searching for an outlet. I’m hopeful the BF.C pause will help redirect that impulse over here, where it belongs.

and he shall be a good man

July 23, 2012

he was born a pauper to a pawn
on a Christmas day
when the New York Times said
God is dead and the war’s begun

Luke’s recently taken to calling me “Dad” instead of “Daddy.” Pen had done it off and on for a while, but now it’s solidifying too. The transition has begun…

On Brandon’s recommendation, I recently bought The Avalanches’ Since I Left You and FSOL’s ISDN. Both are more ambient than my usual fare, but very interesting. Since I Left You in particular is fascinating in that it shifts many times from upbeat, dance-oriented tracks to sound collages in mid-song. It’s varied; I’ll give it that.

Penelope killed a bug downstairs yesterday. I was cleaning the kitchen after breakfast when she approached me with a slightly concerned and serious look on her face. She held up a yellow Angry Birds box and told me “There was a bug downstairs but I beat him, because no bugs downstairs.” I inspected the contents of the box: Inside was a rather large cricket-like bug, dead. She was evidently worried about my reaction, but when I expressed approval, she was very proud of herself. I was too; think about it: She saw a large bug in the basement, but rather than scream and run away (as most kids her age, male or female) would have done, she assessed the situation, located a suitable “beating” implement, whacked the bug, picked it up with her fingers, placed it in the box, and presented it to me. That’s my girl.

a pocketful of mumbles

July 9, 2009

such are promises
all lies and jests
still a man hears what he wants to hear
and disregards the rest

I have a headful of buzzing bees, never pleasant when I should be sleeping.  It’s been a long day, and I’m especially tired after having run this morning.  Some days unfold such that the intervening hours dampen the tiredness, but tonight the effect has stretched its long arm across the length of the day to reach me here.

I feel like I have so much to say but it’s all fragmented.  I rarely figure things out by talking about them–I’ve never been that kind of person, at least not initially.  What tends to work the best is retreating, pondering the situation for a little while until I’ve figured out how I’m feeling and tied those emotions to specific causes, at which point I may "present my findings" to a willing ear and they can then assist in sorting the rest of it out (if they’re so inclined).  The alternative to all that, or at least something which helps a great deal, is simply to find someone who understands how I’m feeling–it saves the trouble of having to explain myself (not that I mind under most circumstances but when there’s something weighing on me the stakes are a bit higher) and I can just focus on the particulars of the situation.

This is all very vague; I know.  Normally at this point I would hide behind some hackneyed poetry or half-prose, but it feels like ages since I’ve done any of either and, well, I dunno…  I think I’m staying in the meta-data tonight.

this side

July 6, 2009

We drove around as a family and looked at some houses in Lewisville yesterday.  It’s not the first time we’ve done this.  Even before we moved out of the old house, Diane would find a house or two online and we’d drive through its neighborhood on the way home from the store or church or wherever.

We’ve always known the apartment was a temporary situation, a stepping stone to the next place.  When exactly that’ll happen, we’re not sure, but it’s definitely in the cards, Lord willing.  Pen and Luke aren’t going to be able to share a room indefinitely, and the kids definitely need some free range area a little more accessible than the apartment complex playground, as nice as it is.  Luke has been very interested in gardening lately–his Grandad and him planted a garden at their house and he looks forward to checking on the plants every week.  He’s gotten to the point where he’s "planted" apple seeds and popcorn kernels in the flower beds next to the parking lot outside, in hopes of growing an apple tree and a "popcorn plant" (he doesn’t seem to believe our explanation about popcorn being made from plain ol’ corn).  So a yard would certainly do him good.

Diane’s parents are local, and while I was initially a little resistant to the idea of living so close to them, the particular suburb of Winston-Salem they live in is the best, the most small-town-ish and has the most active community.  In terms of living too close, what with easy transportation all over the area, there’s little practical difference between living five minutes or fifteen minutes away.  So if I’m not going to change jobs, which I’m not planning on doing for the foreseeable future (I really like my job and it supports us), why not live in the best area available, regardless of how close it is to her parents?  That’s been my line of reasoning.

So we’ll see what happens.  In terms of taking more chances life-wise, this is very much the path of least resistance; however, Diane and I remind each other to keep a proper perspective on the things we’re given, since we’re just stewards of everything anyway (even our children–and that’s hard to apprehend).  I think if the Lord has a more far-ranging opportunity in our future, we’ll be ready for it, or at least as ready as we can be.  I certainly intend to pray for that attitude to take firm root in our family.

oh mckinley

July 5, 2009

Changed the oil in the van for the first time earlier this evening.  That was a messy job.  My tools are residing at my in-laws’ while we have the apartment so I used my father-in-law’s ramps and performed the task over there while the kids were running around and everyone else was preparing for dinner.  The oil pan bolt was easy to remove, but the oil was still hot from driving, so I let the bolt fall into the pan and couldn’t find my magnetic wand to pull it out easily.  And the oil filter was at the perfect angle to dump several cups of oil on the gravel driveway before I got the pan completely underneath it.  Messy, messy, or as my daughter would say, "Oh no!  Shoowie!"

Still, I got it done, and it feels good to have crossed that off the list.  The rest of our time there was fun as well, with barbeque chicken, baked beans and fixins’ for the meal and el-cheapo fireworks for the after-dinner entertainment.  After our Memorial Day fireworks experience, in which they were more subdued than they normally are (no huge pyrotechnics or screechy loud noises), Luke has really started to enjoy fireworks, where before he was quite afraid of them.  He ran back and forth, delivering them to his Uncle Chris to light, then standing back with Uncle Josh and watching the show.  His favorite thing to do, however, was to run through the smoke–don’t know what that means for his penchants later in life.  And the pack of smokebombs we purchased was naturally a big hit.

anacreon

July 4, 2009

 Yep.

Happy Fourth!

That is all.

who would ever want to be king?

June 17, 2009

One of my guilty pleasures is Ace of Base.  I’m not even going to try to justify my penchant, defending them on the grounds that they just make smooth, well-crafted, lightweight pop/dance (which they do) or something like that.  For a change of pace, I just like their music, and lately at work I’ve been listening to their album The Bridge.

I definitely think we, as Americans (and possibly you other Anglophones as well) take it for granted that almost all of the popular songs we listen to are in English.  I mean, here’s a Swedish pop band, and to have any hope of success not just on the international scene, but likely also in their own country, they have to write their *cough* lyrically profound *cough* songs and sing them in a language that’s not their native tongue.  How odd would it be if 95% of the songs we heard on the radio were, say, in Swahili?

Anyway, I just thought that was worth recording for posterity.  It sounded more profound in my head when I was listening to the music.  Maybe I’ve discovered an unpleasant side effect?