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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.


April 16, 2012

Joel: I can’t see anything that I don’t like about you.
Clementine: But you will! But you will. You know, you will think of things. And I’ll get bored with you and feel trapped because that’s what happens with me.
Joel: Okay.
Clementine: [pauses] Okay.

sullivan, avent ferry and syme

March 7, 2012

I feel so untethered not writing in here. My days are so jam-packed, though… Every evening is occupied with running, working on a website or writing a post for Spannerhead. Or working on something around the house. It’s so hectic, and I feel productive, which I suppose is the draw, but… It takes its toll, especially on my diligence in writing in here. Truth be told, I’m half-hoping Spannerhead tanks so I can pull the plug and devote more time and energy to saying what needs to be said in here.

Signed up for the NCSU alumni directory today. It was almost heart-stopping to browse through the directory and scan the names of people with whom so many emotions and memories are associated:

– Kelley Glynn
– Jony Moe
– Mike Krepp
– Sarah Puffer
– Michael Mauriello
– Ed Sciomacco
– Sally Crump
– Jennifer West
– Carla and David Flowers
– Hayden Stack
– Brandy Britt
– Tim Williams
– Will Trimble
– Beau Trincia
– Justin Cooper
– Sadie Shearon
– Barry Williams
– Demitri Gudgenov
– Mirai Morita

a canvas of a billion suns

February 29, 2012

Listening to the Weepies this morning reminded me of early marriage, 2007 in our home on Birchwood, and the dew-y freshness of it all. The naivete of declaring in Sunday School that I didn’t get angry, that I just got “frustrated,” and all the rest. Ages ago.

For all the time I spend posting ridiculous garbage on Bimmerforums, I could be recording my family’s life here. Spannerhead requires so much daily time and creative energy, and I feel like I have nothing left for here, but that’s not true; it’s really just a matter of time management. Like everything else, I suppose.


October 27, 2011

Very slack in updating. I have to admit, Spannerhead.com has been taking all my time and creative energy. I have to figure out how to apportion it so that my family recollections aren’t lost, a situation made all the more urgent by the fact that it’s been an eventful few months, family-wise. If there is a silver lining, it’s the fact that the act of writing every day, whether here or on my other blog, make it less mentally cumbersome to just sit down and type. I’m getting a lot of practice, in other words.

So, briefly, let’s go over some highlights of the past few months:

  • July 4 — Independence day, and the day Luke becomes a Christian.
  • July 31 — Luke loses his first tooth.
  • August 24 — Luke begins 1st grade at Lewisville Elementary, with Mrs Joyce.
  • October 14-16 — Luke, Daddy and Granddad take his first camping trip with Cub Scouts to Raven Knob. It’s freezing cold at night, but Luke has the time of his life.
  • October 16 — Penelope names her small wind-up pumpkin-head robot “Robotitaco.”

More to come. Just wanted to get a placeholder down.


July 11, 2011

For some reason, I have the chorus of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ “Who Loves You” going through my head.

Completely exhausted after quite possibly the least relaxing “vacation weekend” ever. The kids were at “Nana Camp” with Mom and Dad from Thursday evening until Sunday afternoon, and they had a blast. Some activities included the planetarium, the Life & Science Museum, splashing in the backyard pool, visiting the garden and going to church. Mom and Dad had a great time too, and were more tired than they admitted to being (Dad confessed over the phone this morning, haha).

For our part, Diane and I remodeled the kitchen cabinets. We sanded and primed them on Thursday, painted them on Saturday, and hung them on Sunday. And shopped and ran errands besides. You’d think that just painting something wouldn’t be the back-breakingly tiring endeavor that it was, but holy cow. There’s so much prep work involved, and then laying on coat after coat, touching up, etc. Not fun. But the cabinets are now Snowcap white, crowd molding has been installed at the top and our hinges, knobs and pulls are brushed nickel. Between the cabinet color change, the flooring update and the beadboard on the wall, the kitchen is really coming together. I commented to Diane that it really looks like one of her Pottery Barn catalogs now.

some penelope-isms

  • “Banding” Her word for “banging.” As in, when striking a hammer against a wall: “Daddy, look at me, I’m banding!” We’ve no idea where she got it from.
  • “Baymbing Suit” Self-explanatory. This one has come to the fore lately, what with the summer months and talk of the beach.