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November 9, 2015

Remembered Sarah Masen a day or two ago, and binged on a whole bunch of songs from her self-titled debut album (admittedly the only one I owned). I remember buying that all the way back in 1996. I was a rising senior, if I remember correctly, and we were still attending South Durham Bible Church in Parkwood. It must’ve been the waning days of that church (my dad locked the door the day it folded), and I let Leslie borrow the album, and she really liked it. It’s a shame Masen didn’t go on to greater success; she was (and is) a very talented songwriter, with a kind of diary-like quality to her lyrics.

twelve gauge

November 4, 2015

Absolutely exhausted. I should be in bed now, and I’ll head that direction as soon as I finish this and take care of a few other things.

Productive day at work. The air conditioning died in the office (happened with my last job as well) so it was sweltering in there near the end of the workday. At least it’s not July. I tried to articulate to Marie what makes the nature of the design work I do at my new job so much more fulfilling than what I did previously, and I think it comes down to the fact that the types of displays I design now are one step closer to actual objects (being smaller in scale) and have less of a built-in, architectural quality to them. It sounds simplistic, and it probably is, but most industrial designers go to school to design thimble-to-vehicle-sized things; if we wanted to be involved with larger, environmental-type structures we would have been architects or landscape architects. And of course there’s more to it than that (a boss that acts like a normal human being helps a lot), but that’s part of it. Eh.

he has done a great thing

November 2, 2015

  • We sang “He Who Is Mighty” in church on Sunday. I’ve had it going through my head all day. I’m not complaining. It’s Christmas-ish and beautiful.
  • This site is live again. I’m trying an experiment, much like I did when I had that rash of posting a few years ago, of trying to write something, no matter how trivial, at least once a day, and hoping that will spark the habit. The fact that the first page on here spans more than 2 years is really sad, but… I can’t do anything but move on from that. I’ve privatized a bunch of entries, so there are about a dozen additional posts in that period, and…I’m the only one who’s really bothered by this, aren’t I? Stop talking about it? Probably a good idea.
  • Hunter is curled up on a blanket behind me. Oddly, Phoebe isn’t on my lap. She’s the newest addition to our three-cat collection and is a lap cat par excellence. She normally takes up residence here when I work in the evening, which is most nights, but she must’ve found another cozy spot somewhere else in the house.
  • My new job isn’t without its quirks, but it’s light-years beyond my old position. It’s been a breathtaking answer to prayer. I feel productive, valued, like my contributions are appreciated and matter, and (this is huge) I don’t dread going to work any more. Sunday evenings aren’t the slow emotional downward spiral of anticipation they used to be. It’s taken me a while to get used to the new mindset, and I hope it will only improve from here, to hopefully where I was, emotionally, when I worked at my job in NC. I’m actively trying to put the pieces in place.

words on a screen

November 1, 2015

Stumbled upon my repository of old poetry while looking for Halloween pictures for Diane. I flipped through a few. Some are okay; some are pretty bad; but my overarching feeling when reading them was a strange feeling of detachment. Most were ostensibly written with a specific subject in mind, and now I realize that they weren’t really written for that person at all, but were in large part a kind of exercise of my own romanticism. I hesitate to call them vanity projects, although I suppose, like most of my writing endeavors, I feel an added stab of motivation when I have an audience; my private journaling has never been consistent. Still—I don’t feel any connection to or longing for the subject of the poems’ words. They’re strangely mechanical. There’s a feeling of wastefulness, too, but who really knows in those moments what will last? You give of yourself because you want to believe, and because the idea of being in love is easier to wrap your mind around than the jigsaw puzzle reality. So it is with my formulaic expressions of romance, recently rediscovered.


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.


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?


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…


October 15, 2012

Eventful weekend. Watched the crapfest that is Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace Saturday afternoon, and I nearly fell asleep, as did the kids. Just mind-numbingly boring. But they’re into Star Wars, so we’re ticking them off.

Ran my first half-marathon on Saturday morning in Greensboro. 1 hour 50 minutes, which bettered my 2-hour goal considerably. Nice little run; would do again. Crisp and clear 45-degree morning, lovely scenic out-and-back course with a nice long shallow downhill straight around mile 8 or 9. Felt really good.

The kids wanted to go “camping” last night, so I set up the tent borrowed from my father-in-law and the kids eagerly got ready. I thought it was going to be cold, so I had them wear long-sleeve PJs and found extra blankets. We went to bed around 8 PM and Penelope lasted until about 8:45, when she declared she was “hot” and wanted to sleep in her own bed. So I took her inside and went back out to Luke, who was sleeping soundly. Pictures of the event forthcoming.

The other thing is that this morning, as we were getting ready to leave the garage and go out to the car, I had the garage door open like I usually do so we can walk through that opening, and the kids, standing there watching the rain come down said, totally unprompted, “It looks like Dagobah, Daddy!”

Make of that what you will.

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.


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


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


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.