"The Loop"

Now, I know what you're saying, "This band doesn't look like any Modest Mouse I've ever heard of."

Well, it's true. "The Loop" is by Mimicking Birds, a band that opens for Modest Mouse and has their first album through Glacial Pace (http://www.glacialpace.com/). So the connection's there, see.

Their music is haunting -- give it a listen.


"Spitting Venom"

A great song about the way we argue, right? Eight and a half minutes of a speaker asking a listener to just let it drop. "Well, we carried all the groceries in while hauling out the trash, and if this doesn't make us motionless, I do not know what can."


the author (antlered)

My Uncle Dewey asked me one time, "What do you think you'd look like if you had antlers?"

I said, "I dunno. Maybe like this:"

He said, "Yeah, that's what I'd a thought, too."


dr. stick

Every day since we've met, without fail, traci turns to me and says, "What's wrong with you?" Sometimes, it's because I'm running around Lowes with PVC hanging out of my pants. Sometimes, it's because I'm making monkey noises and picking bugs out of other spectators' hair at my kids' band recital. Sometimes, it's because I'm arguing with Sam for the third straight hour about Sudoku strategies. So after six-and-a-half years of "What's wrong with you?" I've decided to take stock, to evaluate, to try to get at the roots of what's wrong with me. I am, therefore, making a list of potential "issues" I might have.

What's wrong with me?

Well, for instance, this is my chiropractor:

This is a picture of me and him standing in the parking lot in front of his office, waiting for my appointment. The caption for the photo:

Jackson: "I don't know, Dr. Stick, I'd a guessed you'd need more brains to become a doctor."

Dr. Stick: "That's where you're wrong. Good doctoring comes from in here."

Jackson: "Inside your t-shirt?"

Dr. Stick: "Yes. Inside your t-shirt."


New Plumbing

Anyway, this is what we ended up with:

We don't know what it is, but we couldn't have done it without you. Thank you, PVCman.


Tim Burton would do the artistic version:

"Edward PVCknuckles."


A rare photo of PVC man's alterego: me:
Apparently, I have a lot of fans I didn't know about:

PVCman making a funny line: "Let's shoot the shit," he says:



traci got some pics of PVCman in action:

Which leads me to my next point: traci and I have decided to quit work and focus on a series of movies about a guy who gets bitten by a radioactive turtle and falls into a PVC factory. The tagline, of course, would be, "He doesn't take shit . . . he gives it":

new plumbing

Now, I know what you're thinking: "What does one do without plumbing?"

And I have an easy answer: "I have no idea."

We would have been in quite a bind . . .

. . . had it not been for PVCman.

cast iron

Anyway, one thing lead to another, and we decided since we took the walls down, we might as well move the bathroom to the girls' room, the laundry to the bathroom, and the girls to a closet. In the meantime, we got a hold of a cast iron pipe and said to each other, "That's not modern. That's not modern at all."

We didn’t get pictures of the demolition, but you can imagine me with a BFH* and these enormous writerly hands pounding away on four-inch cast iron plumbing – truly a thing of beauty.

(BFH: Big Fill-in-the-_____ing Hammer)
After wailing away on the pipe for thirty, forty minutes with little progress, I pulled the old it-sure-is-fun-to-smash-cast-iron routine on Sam.

This is what he did to it:

Look ye mighty upon Sam's cast iron and beware. All that's from the second floor. We gutted the pipe from the basement through the roof -- it was quite a time.
Okay, we started a minor remodel. traci and I thought the house would flow better if we replaced the walls in the girls' room, so we told them to replace their walls.

tech-savvy me

Just so we’re clear on this: I didn’t know how to turn on traci’s camera this morning. And look at me now: importing pictures, uploading images, creating links. All of which suggests once again traci is quite possibly the greatest teacher of our generation. She has also taught me how to work the internet, the garbage disposal, and hair conditioner. (Those of you who knew me in the 90s can attest to these events as just-this-side-of-miraculous.)

"Sons of Perdition"

Just happened to hear an old friend's voice on NPR this afternoon. Congratulations, Jennilyn, "Sons of Perdition" has become quite a hit. I only caught the last nine minutes of the broadcast, but it was nice to hear your voice.

For those of you who don't know the documentary yet, check it out.

"King Rat"

Two days in a row? So early in the blog? Yes, it's true. "King Rat" gets inside you grey ice water and won't get out. "We swam like rats on fire right down to the resevoir" just like we always do. Also traci wanted me to add that decadent isn't necessarily a bad thing, which set me back a pace, because I'd never known it to be anything but good. "You know you know you know" . . . I've said it before . . . this song's got it all.


"King Rat"

Maybe we all know the feeling: "We took all that we could carry, but we tried to carry more." traci says the texture in this song is decadent, by which I think she means there's a lot going on here. Yes, I'm on board. Also, I just like to look at things and say "Deep water, deep water, senseless denial." When I say it to Desi, she tilts her head clear to the side betraying her canine confusion. The cat ignores me. The plumbing seems to get it, through. As for the song, the cello, the horns, the stuff Isaac mumbles between verses -- it's all working for me.


two-beer lunch

Dear Abbey,

(and by "Abbey" I mean "Whoever's reading this" and by "Dear" I mean "Hey, you"),

As you know Sam, Naomi, and Blaisey are in PA with Maga and Pappap. Just after traci finished teaching her class today (around 12:17 p.m.), she got a voice mail from them and their cousins, singing "Happy Birthday" to her. All of which reminded me quickly to make plans for her birthday, so I said, "Where do you want to go for lunch?"

She said, "I don't know, surprise me."

I said, "What would surprise you the most."

She said, "J!"

I "acted" dumb for a little while and we went to Mellow Mushroom for a two-beer lunch, which is why I'm writing today. I ordered the 10" The Ceasar!, which has "Olive Oil and Garlic base with Pesto Chicken, Provolone, Mozarella and Feta Cheeses, topped with a fresh Ceasar Salad and Roma Tomatoes" (taken from the above link) served with a delicious Ceasar dressing that I think is made in house, but I'm not sure. She got the humus, as we all know is mooshed up chick peas.

As for the two beers, traci had a couple of Wildflowers (a local Heffe) with an orange slice in each.

I on the other hand had three beers for the "two-beer lunch." I started off with a Blue Point Hoptical Illusion. Then I had two Foothills Hoppyums. And of course a Dogfish 90 Minute IPA to finish off the meal. My question to you all is: at what point does a pizza become a salad and vice versa?

Dieting Or Pigging-Out in Greensboro

"Convenient Parking"

Normally I wait until later in the day to decide what the song of the day has been, but since traci and I both woke up humming it, since we both whistled it during our morning walk, since we both sang it in the shower, it seems the natural choice. Seems like a good travelling song: "Off to other cities built to store and sell these rocks." If you've never listened to this particular album, welcome to the _Lonesome Crowded West_.