Thursday, October 18, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

About this "blogging"

Not sure how much longer this blog will last. Truth is, I'm becoming less and less interested in being in front of a screen. I sleep much better without it. Must think more.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Job News

It is official: we're staying in Durham. Kimberly found full-time work at the local BASF facility doing plant biology, and I found a permanent part-time gig doing software and database things at the law firm where I'd been temping.

In other news, today I had a tetanus shot, as my doc couldn't even find a record of my last vaccination. It was time. I also bought three new dress shirts and two ties from Burlington Coat Factory.

Apologies for all this lack of blogging, but I find myself less and less interested in spending time hunched over a laptop. Generally, the less screen time I have the better I feel overall.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Accurate Simile

A friend of mine once remarked that Cat Stevens's singing sounds rather like that of a nude man sitting on a block of ice.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Random List of Updates

It's time for a long list of random updates, as I've been blog-delinquent.

The kids are back in school, Emma in 8th grade, Jane in 5th.
Kimberly's quest for employment continues.
I'm still office temping at a law firm 10 minutes from the house, and it's possible I'll be transitioning to permanent, part-time work there. We're still negotiating what that work would be, but it'll hopefully involve organizing database things and paper collections of information and being an all-around helpful dude. We shall see. Maybe that could be the job title.
By chance, the last Spartan Race I ran was in Virginia, in Leesburg, in Morven Park. The course was 10.5 miles long. Here's a video of some of the highlights.
The next Spartan Race, in October, will be longer. Yay.
Avante now has a Web page and two paying gigs in September. This makes our pocketbooks very happy.
Kimberly had a birthday last week. Our friend Gregg mailed, on dry ice, a cheesecake. Man, that Gregg.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Stuck Song

The tune that's been in my head for the past couple of hours, just FYI: Remember Then. (And yes, it was this very version.)

omg, Bowser's pants!

Brain Drain

Go, Brain, Go! I like the sound of "cranial cleansing."

Monday, August 13, 2012

Some brief updates

There is no permanent employment yet. We flew to Seattle last week, where Kimberly interviewed with some very nice people, but it's very expensive to live there, and we like it here better.
The girls are back from their week away at Camp Kanata.
The week before that, they'd spent a week with Kimberly's parents in New Bern.
With Kimberly's unemployment checks and my checks from doing light office temping at a local law firm, we can float for a good number of months.
In two weeks I'll be running a Spartan race up in Virginia. After all, it's sponsored by Dial For Men, and who can resist that? Not me, that's for sure.
I was pleased to read that the new Bourne movie doesn't employ its predecessors' shaky-camera technique.
My favorite phrase from this brief article on pubic hair is "inflammation papules." Spoiler alert (and advice for younger people, apparently): keep the razor away from your genital area.
The over-40 soccer league season is underway as of last weekend. Our first game was a 1-1 draw.
Avante has two gigs in Charlotte in September, one of which is high-paying. We are pleased.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two Things

Kimberly and I just spent two nights in Seattle where she interviewed for a job. Will we go? We don't know. Maybe not this out-of-town job, so we can hang around Durham a little longer hoping something materializes. If it starts looking like Durham will no longer have us, we'll get serious about moving.

The kids are away at camp this week.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tapas Place

...and yet another restaurant, this time in the old Book Exchange building.

Another Central Park Restaurant

Apologies to my seven readers; it has been a while, and I have a million and a half updates to provide. I have no time at the moment, so for now, I present a story that makes me giddy: even more restaurant development in downtown Durham. What is going on with this place? The "economy" is supposed to be awful right now. Apparently Durham doesn't know this.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


We must stop viewing our e-mail inboxes as giftbaskets ("There might be something good!"). They comprise, for the most part, a quivering pile of other people's agendas. Try to spend less time there.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Anna Karenina

Given the universe of female actors available for work, I'm always surprised when Keira Knightley is cast for anything. Further, I'm not sure how I feel about Jude Law wearing a beard. Preview clip here.

Monday, July 23, 2012


These guys have some serious work to do. I've never tried Malheur, but it looks major yummy.  Source.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Guinea Pig

We have acquired more livestock. On Jane's birthday wishlist was a guinea pig, which you see pictured here. The rodent's name is Misty. She's 8 weeks old.

Birthday Jane

Earlier this week Jane turned 10. Last night she hosted a sleepover party with 8 of her friends. 8+ her + her sister = 10 giggly squirmy girls at our house for 18 hours. Word has it they didn't sleep much, but that wasn't the point. I'm pretty sure they had fun.

Brussels Express

After seeing this 20-minute documentary, I have no desire to bike (or drive) in Brussels.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Film Thing

Local film people rejoice. We now have a venue for some regular action:

Second Sunday Series

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Friday Maxim

There is a Traffic Truth with which most people would probably agree: in all cities across this nation on Fridays around 4 pm, millions of people simultaneously decide to get into their cars and get out onto the road. The fun generally lasts about two hours. Nobody knows why, and nobody knows why Friday at 4 pm should be any different from Wednesday or Thursday. But it is. I'm ashamed to admit that today I missed the window, so I didn't do my part, but I'll try to make it up next week.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Things Organized Neatly

And now for some intriguing pictures.

We'd Rather Not Move

One of the reasons we might choose not to move to Seattle is that the cost of living there is 65% higher than in Durham. Source1. Source2.

Bob Harrison

My friend Bob has been painting and painting and painting. I'm not a painter, but if I were, I would paint.

Monday, July 9, 2012


This video link has many, many swear words. It's a guy doing foreign accents.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ain't It The Truth

Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.  --Goethe

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Miscellany from the past week

Jane has been posting a 103-degree fever since Monday. The doc said to let her cook for a couple more days before starting antibiotics, in case it goes away on its own.
Kimberly and I watched the first half of today's Germany-Italy soccer game at Bull City Burger. There was television footage of German fans weeping. Apparently it isn't enough that they fiscally control the Euro zone.
Today I changed the downstairs HVAC air intake filter.
During these hot days, the rabbits qualify for a midday bucket of ice in their pen.
Kimberly and I continue receiving job application rejections. The quest continues.
Both our kids enjoy reading Calvin and Hobbes books many times over.
I strongly dislike mosquitoes.
We have planted three trees in our yard: a dogwood and two crape myrtles.
The "grass" in the yard doesn't grow very quickly during hot weather. This pleases me.
I put up a climbing rope in our backyard, just for fun. I still can't climb it, but I'm getting better.
Thanks to Valerie, I am a big fan of Shirley Q Liquor. The church bit is hilarious. Compounding the hilariousness is that "she" is actually a white male comedian.
One can't neglect to mention politics on a day like this. I have written both our governor and my senator asking them not to support North Carolina SB 382. It appears the bill came about because one of the attorneys for the 751 South development project (Cal Cunningham) is friends with the senator who introduced the legislation (Tim Moore).
Jane is very skilled at getting Roxie to eat her daily fish oil caplet.
We'd always thought it was so cute how we could open the back door and watch Roxie chase squirrels in the back yard. Then she caught one and killed it. We no longer find this tradition cute.
Steve Miller should be ashamed of himself for thinking we'd buy that "Texas" rhymes with "facts is."
Sarazino put out a new album last month. I must listen.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Roxie And Her Stool

There was a time (a month ago) when Roxie regularly snacked on her own solid waste. Enter a PetCo product called "Coprophagia," a jar of tasty chew-treats that Roxie looks forward to eating once a day. It works. I am astounded that scientists have created a product that makes shit taste worse than shit.

Monday, June 18, 2012

What's On My Food

Yes, I've written before about "No One Wants To Hear That Shit" topics. One such topic involves pesticides on food. I like to quietly (whenever possible) choose healthful foods without squawking to others about the choices they make.

But, alas, you are about to Hear That Shit, just a bit, anyway. There are many published sources about amounts of harmful chemicals on our food. This one is handy, because it allows you to look up, by food, specifically which kinds of chemicals (and how they are harmful) are likely to be found on which kinds of foods:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

UNC Camp

Emma's attending a "camp" at UNC this week and made it onto "TV." You look.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Art and Art Supplies

I have played matchmaker. Apparently my friend Tony and Bull City Craft are hitting it off beautifully. And I may have mentioned this before, but my favorite Tony-piece-of-art is this one. I saw it live, briefly, at a show before it was sold. The jpg doesn't do justice to the evening sunlight coming in from the left.

Bull City Craft is my notebook source. I'll be heading over today to freshen my stock.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Purple Belt

Last Saturday Emma endured a 3.5-hour test and earned her karate purple belt. Watching the whole thing exhausted me. She was tired too. And happy.


What a house.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

More ATT Trail News

Here's another article about the trail construction. A bridge! I can't wait.

Pedestrian Bridge

To quote Earl, "It's happening, it's happening!" I also just received the e-mail this fellow mentions. The trail and the bridge are going to be built. Yay.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Lightsaber

I have also learned that because Star Wars pre-dated widespread use of computer graphics in moviemaking, lightsaber beams were manually painted onto each movie frame.


I have learned that Playbill is a publication, a magazine, and not just--you know--a thing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Silence and Solitude

Oh, I mentioned A Time To Keep Silence. One section resonated with me. The author has settled in at a monastery for a two-week stay and is seated at a small desk in his cell. "I had asked for quiet and solitude and peace, and here it was; all I had to do now was to write. But an hour passed, and nothing happened." I get that too.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Rosalind Cartwright

The book The Twenty-Four Hour Mind intrigues me. I shall seek it out.

Bye Bye Kitty

Artistic rebellion against Japanese cute-culture was inevitable. Google the phrase "bye bye kitty," and you'll see.

Yann Tiersen

I've been listening to Yann Tiersen albums. A lot of it is cacophonous weirdness, but the man can play piano. He's got some skills.

Various Kid Updates

Last Wednesday Jane had her final class of the season at Bull City Gymnastics.
Next Saturday Emma will have a karate test to try to earn her purple belt.
Two days ago Emma was on a field trip with the entire school to Kings Dominion in Virginia.
This weekend both kids are earning cash taking care of a neighbor's dog.


Holy Crap! It's been a while. First things first. Books: I'm reading Imagine: How Creativity Works. I like it so far. Recently I finished Andrew Weil's Spontaneous Happiness and Patrick Leigh Fermor's A Time To Keep Silence, both good.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mike Birbiglia and Terry Gross

I love these two, and now they're together!

Time For A Quote

"You must always work not just within but below your means. If you can handle three elements, handle only two. If you can handle ten, then handle only five. In that way the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease, more mastery, and you create a feeling of strength in reserve."  --Picasso

Friday, May 18, 2012


YouTube has a TED talk video that TED itself has censored. The going theory is that money is behind the decision. Silly silly TED, you shouldn't do that.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Here is a video of Mahalia Jackson.

The Birthday Cupcakes

Last month for Emma's birthday, Kimberly made cupcakes based on Settlers of Catan, one of Emma's favorite games in the whole wide wide world. That Kimberly.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Amendment One

Tomorrow we'll be voting on, among other things, Amendment One, double-banning gay marriage in our state.

A couple of videos:
Straight Talk

It's All Because

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wicked Again

These pictures of the Wicked set up at DPAC remind me how expensive it must be to put on a show like this. We saw it the last time it came through town.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bobby McFerrin

Not that we need another reminder of how entertaining this fellow is, but here, have this.

I nicked this from Steph. A very nifty thing called CarPool, this one with Patrick Stewart.

What I'm Reading on Eating

I'm about 30 pages into a piece of ShtickLit called The American Way of Eating. So far, so good; it's very much like Nickel and Dimed.

No more skinny jeans or heels for me. Thanks, Dr. Weil.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Whistler

My friend Paul is soliciting donations for his play for its upcoming two-and-a-half-week run in Cincinnati.


Various things:

My mom visited last weekend and we had good fun, as always. Since we had all just flown up there for her birthday a few weeks ago, we got to see her twice within 30 days.
Emma has a painful wart on the bottom of her right foot. Today her doctor applied liquid nitrogen to try to freeze that sucker off. Time will tell. We'll go back into the clinic again in two weeks for another dose.
I like Chapel Hill Tire in Woodcroft. They're nice, reasonable, and very thorough. I'll be going back.
The words 'upbraid' and 'abrade' are not related.
Next week Kimberly sings in a performance of Carmina Burana.
Jane survived Monday's 4th-grade field trip to Kure Beach, for which she had woken up at 5:20 am.
During a volunteer school book fair shift today, a fellow PTA parent told me there were kids on that beach field trip who had never seen the ocean and were completely freaking out (in a good, excited kind of way).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Fun interview with Jack Black about a movie I hadn't heard of, "Bernie." So that made me go read up on the real Bernie. I'm glad I haven't killed anyone and I don't live in prison.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Health Update

I had an all-around good annual physical exam last week. The doc gave me an on-the-spot EKG because she was alarmed by my 93/58 blood pressure. But it was all normal.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Clarion Sound

A couple of audio clips from our concert have materialized at the bottom of the group's web page.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kids and Food

An interesting article about kids and food.

I'm reminded that in my childhood my dad almost always said to me, at the table, "Did you get enough to eat?" I've heard parents now ask this of their children, as if they're worried a child won't get enough. I've never heard a child answer "no" to this question; I never did. One of the messages (though subtle) a child could take away from such a question is that he should eat to please his parent, instead of eating to nourish himself and stop when his body tells him it's time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


A friend shared Henri the cat today. Very funny.

The first.

The second.

I like the second one better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Trail

The greenway/bike trail/footpath thing that connects to our neighborhood has seriously improved our lives. Several times I've walked to Wal-Mart for groceries (oh yeah), last Friday the girls and I and the dog walked 9.5 miles, and yesterday we biked 23 miles.

And now, finally, we'll get to bike from our house to the mall, and eventually a good distance toward Raleigh.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Video Day continued. This one is about girls and women and media and body image.


Red Panda Versus Pumpkin

Apparently it's share-other-people's-Facebook-videos day.

Red Panda Playing With Pumpkin.

Downton Arby's

I don't follow the show, but I still thought this was funny:

Downton Arby's

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Avante Video

Our merry band of singers has a cute little medley-of-our-songs video. It's here.

Red Meat

I can't remember the first time I consciously ate grass-fed beef, but it was probably within the last two years. It's definitely different--more intensely flavorful (or maybe the difference was that it actually had flavor). It's on my mind because of the recent information stream about how evil red meat is. Once again, my main man Dr. Weil comes through with a level-headed assessment.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ammonia Avenue

The idea of "pink slime" isn't troubling to me at all: it's generated by centrifuging leftover bits to separate lean meat from fat and hard things, so it's just meat. But I don't like the part where it's sanitized with ammonia. Here's a Jamie Oliver clip.

The Beach

It was beach weekend! We stayed two nights in Wrightsville Beach, where the girls, apparently, spent time digging holes. That's their other-friend up front, Emma on the left, and Jane on the right.

It alternated chilly and warm, and the girls experienced the movie Groundhog Day in our hotel room.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

40-Hour Work Week

Hoowee, this is a long thing, but good. One of the choice lines: "...losing just one hour of sleep per night for a week will cause a level of cognitive degradation equivalent to a .10 blood alcohol level."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mom's Birthday

It's my mom's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Auctioning Stuff

Reynolds Price's things have been auctioned.

If you died at this very moment, what would become of your stuff? Would the people close to you be saddled with months of work, maybe years? I've long been trying to downsize; I figure if it's taken me 43 years to accumulate all this crap, it may take 43 more to move it out of my life. The quest continues.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Soccer and Job Interviews

As of last Saturday, our soccer team has snappy new shirts (blue), but we lost the game 1 to 0.

Wednesday I have an interview for a library job at the South Durham branch--very exciting! I'll keep you updated, of course. I'm told not to be optimistic, as these parts are crawling with library types and they all want jobs.

Kimberly has an interview on Thursday with a company whose name I can't remember.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Clarion Sound

Kimberly and I got ourselves wrapped up in yet another singing group! Behold.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Reading Update

I just read Tuck Everlasting, a slightly spooky and very good kid's novel. It's a quick read.

Next up is Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Graffiti, Old School

A friend tossed this my way this morning. I really like it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Two Things

This man explores whether it's true that there are only Two Things you need to know about any subject and that any other Things related to that subject are peripherally associated with the original Two. It's an interesting theory.

Own Goal

Own-goals are always embarrassing. Here's one where the wind is at fault.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I was so very pleased earlier this month when I got our taxes done and filed. I was so very punctual that two days after I filed, another fucking form arrived in the mail--a royalty statement from Amazon for book sales in the amount of $11.48. Since TurboTax recommends waiting until both state and federal refunds are wired, I only today filed the amended returns, which may not be submitted electronically. I printed actual paper and had to write an actual paper check for $13 to the IRS. That's strange math right there; one might even go as far as to call it 'fuzzy' math. Income increased $11.48, which led to our owing $13 more in taxes. Remind me next year not to be punctual.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Yikes. I'd long wondered if this sort of thing was going on between parents and their college-aged children. (Feel free to imagine the following sentence being recited, in the voice of an elderly man sitting on a porch rocker, through his three remaining teeth.) The extent of my father's involvement in my college experience was dropping me off, curbside, with my footlocker and Smith Corona typewriter, before we exchanged a firm handshake and he drove off.


With prompting from no one, Jane has been assiduously teaching herself cursive writing. Her pengirlship is exceptional.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Two Upcoming Books

There are two books on my to-read list. 1) Tuck Everlasting, a kid's novel from decades ago that never made its way into my hands. I picked up a copy today at the library. 2) The American Way of Eating, a new thing on order with the library and for which I'm 7th in line when it arrives.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Quote

I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp. --W. Somerset Maugham

Sunday, February 19, 2012

You, Please, Look At This

Spending 10 minutes at is always good for a pick-me-up. In this example, I particularly like the prohibition against fish in line 3. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

3rd Annual Strange Beauty Film Festival

I was able to catch one of the four screening blocks at this year's Strange Beauty festival. Three years running, I have yet to miss it. It is, in fact, strange. Last night

A sampling of clips from last night's show: Pennipotens, Unsubscribe #4, Kudzu Vine.

My favorite was a 3:30-long stop-motion thing called "Another Dress, Another Button" (no clips to be found). I'm always astounded by the amount of work that must go into stop-motion work.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Wednesday night Emma gets to perform in the DPS Evening of Entertainment. For Jane, Kimberly, and me, this means pizza for dinner and then a show. Yippee.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Another Avante Tune

Yet more results of our studio recording session. Here's our attempt at Star of the County Down.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Generation Why?

I just finished yet another home-run essay in this year's Best American series and was easily able to find its online counterpart: Zadie Smith's "Generation Why?"

Don't Multitask

I've never understood why when I work on one thing at a time, I seem to get more done. I still don't, but this article's ideas please me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The School Bus

This evening Jane reported that there's a third-grade girl on the school bus who likes to hide under the bus seat and grab the ankles of passersby to try to make them trip in the aisle. I know that at some level we're supposed to let the kids work out their own challenges at school, but in this case I told Jane that, if the opportunity arises, she might try giving the offending young lady a good kick in the face. Unless, of course, this child has older siblings.

Monday, January 23, 2012


We're in the market for a cheap, used kid-sized desk for Jane's room. If you have ideas, gimme.

Today Jane and I visited this thrift store out on highway 70 called the Bargain Center. It's huge, but no good desk.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I do a lot of yawning, and it has nothing to do with tiredness. Thinking of the word 'yawn' makes me yawn. I have yawned four times while typing these words. I like yawning. After a good run of a half dozen or so, I feel extra happy. Oh, yeah, there, I just yawned again.