April 2007


The news over here is the Mark and Jen had their baby. A healthy boy named Henry Jason arrived Saturday around noon. He is very cute. It was a long and arduous labor, but that part is over. Onto the life-long labor. A labor of love, of course.

On the birth-day, Isabel arrived from Belize at 3:30 in the morning, after a delayed flight. We woke up assuming the baby would have been born, Jen having gone into labor noonish the previous day. So I called my parents and they told us the baby had not been born. Jen had been asked Isa to be on hand for the birth, so we went up to see if we could help. By the time we got there, the baby had been born, and all we could do was offer congratulations and ogle the baby, which we gladly did. I got some juice for Jen while Isabel watched the baby get some shots, and cast its baby-spell on her, of course. We must have babies immediately. I have a feeling that sentiment would be somewhat tempered had we arrived a several hours earlier.

Anyway, what’s the latest? How was the big shindig in Wisconsin? I must be there next time. What’s the news on the Andy/Laura front? Congrats to Andy! Never would have thought they’d pay you to do that shit. There’s no margin in world peace. Is Dwyer truly going to Arizona? Inquiring minds want to know.

As for me, I’m moving to Massachusetts tomorrow. Then moving back later in the day.

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Stop complaining, you might say.

Okay, then, how about some show and tell.

my street

Here’s my street. Our apartment is on the right, third floor. We’re at the top of a hill. You can look out over the cemetery from our window and watch the sunset.

hope street

Here’s Hope Street, the little downtown area that we walk to. It has a few restaurants, coffee shops, a pizza place, and a store full of oddities called “Frog and Toad.” I like to hang out at the coffee shop, called Cafe 729 (after 729 Hope St.), which is off in the distance in this photo.

And here is Isabel, on our honeymoon, for those who haven’t met her. Hanging out in Papeete, Tahiti, which is a kinda cool place.

Isa 2

So now when I say, “Isa and I went to Hope Street Pizza today,” you will have some vague image in your head.

My sister in law Jen and brother Mark and probably having their baby right now. Exciting stuff… it will be interesting to see how Mark responds to fatherhood. So far so good, as an expectant parent. He seems to be responsible, to play the role well.

It was a rather dreary week. Isabel was away in Belize all week, and the rain wouldn’t stop. I worked late most days, didn’t do much productive. Saw Brianne and Ken at Panera Bread yesterday, two friends who have since left Chrysalis. That was good. But there was nothing going on tonight, one of the few times work people didn’t go out, so I was just bumming around the house a bit.

Things are a little better at work, slightly calmer and more positive. It won’t last, I imagine. I think I have to wrest control of my life back from the job. I want my brain back. It was co-opted by work. I need to be able to daydream in order to function, to at least imagine that I am meant for better things. Perhaps even to do those better things. What’s so good about being a manager?

Anyway, if it is to be, it is up to me, right? I need to figure out exactly what I want and articulate it. And then go for it. But haven’t I heard that one before?

Hi. Was that enough about movies for now?

Thanks for writing in, Cindy. You rule! You too, Bond. Knew we could smoke you out, so to speak.

So the big news is the shootings, I guess. It’s weird the ways we localize news. I get that 32 people killed on a college campus is bigger news that 32 people killed in Iraq, or 320. But what about the report on my local radio station about the 1 person killed in the shootings who was from Lincoln, Rhode Island? Was that bigger news than the hundreds of other people from Rhode Island who died that day? It’s almost like the way we make a big deal about celebrities who do things that nobody would care much about from a normal person. It’s not the fact that this person died, or was killed by some random person. It’s the fact that they died in a famous way that matters.

I don’t think I care about people from Lincoln, Rhode Island, any more than I care about people from Nebraska, Iraq, or Kenya. I don’t care if the United States is going down the tubes if that’s a good thing for the world. Does that mean my world is exceedingly wide, or exceedingly narrow? I suspect the latter. The reason to care about local things more than global is because the local things affect you more directly. But if you don’t have connections with the people around you, you don’t feel invested in them, and you don’t value their lives any more than the person from Iraq.

Maybe it’s a function of moving around too much. Or maybe it comes from living as an observer of life rather than as a participant, with nothing invested, nothing to lose. Or maybe it’s just the modern way of life, where everyone has a million very weak connections (via internet, TV, phone) rather than a few strong ones (via daily personal interactions).

Or if you don’t want to talk about this, perhaps Nate will give us the latest run-down of the new Tom Waits 3 CD set.

I just wrote a post, but then I read what andy and alison were talking about on diaryland I had to chime in…

Of course American Beauty is not breaking new ground on the beauty of a paper bag, the inner ugliness of a hot girl, or the shallowness of the suburbs. There are so few new ideas out there, but to me, American Beauty was just fun. It was great movie craftsmanship that made me not care whether the ideas were entirely new. I bought into it, which means I didn’t think it was pretentious. Though if I wasn’t so in love with Kevin Spacey, I probably would have laughed at the paper bag scene too. I didn’t learn anything new, but I did have fun watching.

It’s a fine line that separates the pretentious from the cool. Even though I love Hal Hatley, I thought Henry Fool was pretentious, like it thought it was presenting new ideas that I had thought of long before (I forget exactly what those ideas were now). Same with Pi. With a movie like that, you end up resenting it because you imagine all the people saying, what a concept, and you’re just thinking, duh, and you think about how stupid everyone else is, and that fact that you’ll never be recognized for your superiority because they’ll always think of this movie as having brought to light the ideas you’ve already thought of. It’s like someone getting credit for an invention that you’ve already invented for yourself.

The most annoying example of this for me is “Tuesdays with Morrie,” which was not only incredibly simplistic, but also so laughably easy to write, and it took advantage of a dying man to boot. The idea that this guy made millions off a book that was completely unoriginal, a book that I or millions of others could have easily written, left a bad taste in my mouth. And I couldn’t help but look down on people who liked it.

Ready to put that topic to bed, but… first, I think the Imus thing was compounded by the victims, whom I hadn’t given much thought to, who were young women, innocent victims, and a good story themselves. It would be different I think if you were saying those things about someone you knew.

Second, I wonder where Ali G and Borat fit into the equation, and whether they move the needle in terms of what’s acceptable for a white person to say. I saw Borat and thought it was quite funny. There was a scene where he was adopting the language of some black guys he met, and tried to use it at a 5 star hotel (he wanted a room for “2 pimps, no ho’s”). I wonder if comedy like that can take some of the charge out of offensive words or if it makes things worse. In the end I think the battle against language is just a proxy for the the real battle against feelings of racism, which can’t be fought directly. The better way to fight it is to have more integration, people of different races get to know one another, so you understand how a black person feels when you say something insensitive, and you have actual friends who come to mind when you start thinking about ‘black people’ or whatever group you’re thinking about. But this adversarial relationship of outrage and protests is not going to get us as far as we need to go in the direction of racial harmony.

Also, I was so worried after the last post that people would think I’m racist and think of me differently forever more. That’s one thing that bothers me about the current climate. So many people say what they think people want to hear because they’re afraid of being branded. Even if it’s a good thing to avoid hurtful words, it doesn’t seem healthy as a society to be afraid of open discussion (not that there wasn’t plenty of open discussion about this stuff on the airwaves). So I’m glad I said what I thought. And I’m glad you said what you thought. And now we can talk more about birds or Springsteen or whatever.

Yesterday Isa and I and a couple of our friends went to Dave and Buster’s. I thought I remembered it costing like 2 bucks per game for a five minute game, but it wasn’t that bad. We got to shoot em up for a good while with our 20 bucks. The one game I didn’t like was this one realistic hunting game where I kept shooting the bear cub, which wasn’t allowed, so I lost after shooting it 3 times.

I bought a couple movies at blockbuster, who was selling VHS for a buck each. It turned out that 2 of the 3 movies were gay themed. This movie “The 24th Day” seemed like it was made in the 80s even though it’s just a few years old, and it played out like an after school special about the dangers of unprotected sex and getting AIDS, but despite all that it was actually a very good movie, good dialogue and suspense.

Is that interesting enough to talk about? Probably not. Kurt Vonnegut died, but I never cared much about him. I started Cat’s Cradle and Breakfast of Champions, but they seemed too razzle-dazzle for me to get into.

The Easter bunny came. Or as the late great Bill Hicks would say, “Mummy, there’s lincoln logs in me sock drawer!”

Isa’s uncles used to tell her, when she arrived for Easter, that the Easter bunny had just gone crashing through the window, and they had just finished replacing it, and they managed to grab just a bit of cotton from the bunny’s tail before it escaped. She bought it. How gullible.

It can’t imagine what that Easter bunny crashing through the window would look like, partly because there’s no clear image of the bunny in pop culture. We know exactly what Santa Claus looks like, but maybe the idea of a giant bunny is too ridiculous to depict. Likewise, it’s strange that there are no stories of how the bunny gets to all the houses in the world during Easter eve, or how he gets in, unlike the highly developed mythology of Santa.

I wonder how this plays out in a kid’s mind, if at all. Your parents say, Santa Claus is this fat guy with a red suit and rosy cheeks, and he rides in on flying reindeer, and comes down the chimney, and you have to give him milk and cookies, and he lives on the north pole, and he and his elves make toys for you year-round if you’re good. Oh, and also there’s this bunny that comes on Easter and gives you chocolate eggs.

I suppose having a story doesn’t make Santa any more believeable than the Easter bunny. At some point, though, kids must stop believing in the Easter bunny while they still believe in Santa. Or maybe belief and disbelief is meaningless at that point in your life. You just hear the story and it goes right into your head without question until someone tells you otherwise. Having a bunch of candy and toys to go through is enough to squelch any stray thoughts in any case. 

Fascinating, isn’t it. I hope you all hide eggs for each other and celebrate the rising of Jesus, or whichever deity to which you might ascribe.

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