10 years ago

I look less pained now, I think

Sent out my passport to get renewed yesterday. Looks like my old one was issued in July of 2000.

Back then I was gearing up for a vacation to Europe with an unknown destination. A friend from high school and I met in Heidelberg, flipped a coin, and ended up in Greece for a week.

It was awesome. We took a boat out to Skiathos (to give you a visual – parts of Mamma Mia were filmed there). We ate excellent food, drank like fish, hit the tiny discos at night and spent the days on the beach where I finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

So what else was going on a decade ago? Let’s see…

I was twenty-eight years old and working (probably too much) with a web design company I had started with friends in Cincinnati.

This was our heyday and super enjoyable even with the extended hours. I’m pretty sure all said and done there were 10 of us working together—a close knit group of friends from high school, college and beyond.

We had a warehouse studio on the edge of downtown, afternoon breaks with fresh fruit prepared by our office manager (my mom) and sometimes we’d even take to the windows and let off steam by blowing bubbles down to the sidewalk three stories below.

It wasn’t all lollipops and rainbows. As work was going great, I was closeted and pretty disgruntled by the challenge of opening that particular door. (Fret not, the following year would see everything change for the better on that front.)

Other tidbits from the year 2000:

  • Rung in the new year in Salida Colorado with good friends, thinking it would be a fine way to ride out any glitches from Y2K bugs.
  • Shot photos with questionable skill using a little APS film camera and a Sony Mavica that stored photos on a 3.5" diskette.
  • Listenined to Grandaddy’s "The Sophtware Slump" on repeat.
  • Also enjoyed David Gray, Crowded House, Coldplay, Adrian Belew, Guided by Voices, Moby and Travis.
  • Cried at Erin Brockovich in the theater and caught other flicks including Cast Away, Gladiator, Chocolat, High Fidelity, Godzilla 2000 and Requiem for a Dream.
  • Drove a VW Passat.
  • It was an election year, so you can imagine it was crazy (I went with Gore and felt good about that).
  • Didn’t have a beard, just a goatee. Couldn’t grow one proper for the life of me.

And now here I am sporadically posting in my journal. Hi!

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the old Facebook

Not mine by the way, you won’t find me in bowl-haircut glory here

First things first, I’m feeling better, thanks for well wishes and commiseration through various channels.

I started feeling normal less sick on Thursday night when Dan’s niece came to visit. A cool enough night to start a fire and catch up. At some point, the photo albums were pulled out and trips down memory lane commenced.

Semi-related note: I should really make sure I lock down privacy settings so none of my old middle school photos with the body wave can surface tagged online somewhere.

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And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming

At McDonalds in the outdoor eating area, this bird awaits scraps

Back in middle school we had to recite poems in front of the class. Not only that, we were required to dress up in some fashion, inspired by the work.

I try not to think about this very offten—if ever, but when I sat down to patch the day together with a photo, I kept seeing a raven instead of a crow.

Raven, being the title of Edgar Allen Poe’s narrative poem was the one my friend Jenn selected back in those formative years. I remember she wore all black and looked like a beatnik.

As for myself? I crafted a canoe to wear about the waist, attached by suspenders. I bet there are pictures of this get-up somewhere, but I refuse to find them. Middle school was a particularly rough period for my physical being.

I memorized Sarah Bolton’s Paddle Your Own Canoe.

An excerpt:

Nobly dare the wildest storm,
Stem the hardest gale;
Brave of heart and strong of arm,
You will never fail.
When the world is cold and dark,
Keep an aim in view,
And toward the beacon mark
Paddle your own canoe.

You might think it overly simplistic, but I think it bested the assignment’s required number of stanzas. I probably chose it so I could walk around school with a miniature cardboard paddle though…

Current music: Bon Iver “Re: Stacks”

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Another day, another NIN album

Sometimes it’s best to leave things on the shelf, as a memory.

“It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.”
— Frank Zappa

(and no, there is not a connection between the title of this post and the image)

Current music: The Kills “Cheap and Cheerful”

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fancy country

It’s better than MTV ’cause folks really sing

Tonight I wasn’t in to watching kids doing shots of root beer in uncomfortable imitation of their parents on that reality show. So, I decided to turn on the Country Music Awards.

If anything, I can catch up on the world of popular country music. I’m very out of touch with it.

Often I think the latest generation of this genre is too polished—in production and appearance—but then I remember watching the Grand Ole Opry on the tube when I was much shorter.

I always asked why Minnie Pearl didn’t cut the tag off her hats.

And what on earth was that Porter Wagoner character wearing? Turns out those rhinestone-covered suits were quite popular at the time. A product of a tailor named Nudie Cohn. They were called Nudie Suits and worn by folks like Elvis, Hank Williams, Roy Rogers and Gram Parsons.

Porter passed on a couple weeks ago by the way. I’m taking off my cap and pressin mute for a moment.

So I suppose new country isn’t too much different than old country. There’s still big hair and fancy clothes. A little twang and cheatin hearts.

And I’ve gotta run, some fellas named Big & Rich just got on stage and one of ’ems dressed like Mystery, they have go-go dancers and zany graphics whirling all over on the back wall.

Current music: Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner “Just Someone I Used to Know”

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Motel

Monroe, OH

This motel was often called the Fantasy Farm Motel (be sure to check out the interior photo)

It sits near Fantasy Farm and LeSourdsville Lake Park (which used to be Americana Amusement Park). Confusing? Yes. Some answers about the long history of the parks, more here.

Me? I just thought the motel was choice looking as I took the backroads to work.

See the whole photo uncropped.

Current music: Robert Pollard “Red Ink Superman”

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Island of Misfit Toys

bumble

I took a picture of these toys back in 2003, but now I’ve got a better camera so I figured I would commit these figurines to some extra megapixels.

Sadly, I forgot to include Yukon Cornelius into the group portrait this time around.

Otherwise, it’s a mellow, quiet saturday and I’m not complaining one bit.

Post note: Where can one find these toys?

There are some if you follow the Memory Lane Amazon “store”

Another avenue to explore? Ebay and Ebay express

Current music: Say Hi To Your Mom “Recurring Motifs In Historical Flirtings”

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inflatable

The new replacement for tacky seasonal flags

Nothing quite says the holidays like a big ol’ ripstop-nylon Santa riding a motorcycle inflated by electric fan on the lawn.

I’m trying to squelch a tirade over these monstrosities… The 6-foot tall snowglobes a-flurry with styrofoam flakes… the reindeer with light up noses and insides… the snowman and his family. Littering lawns across the country, thank you very much Wal-Mart economies built on oversea’s labor.

I’m trying not to be jaded. These things have been around in some form or another for many years, and if I were 6 years old, they would be the neatest things on planet earth.

I wasn’t immune to holiday kitsch as a youngster. I’d get giddy when the Christmas boxes came down from the attic, and be the first to break out the Swedish-angel-carousel-chime-thing with the candles (pictured right).

I’d fiddle too much with it and get wax all over the base. But oh the joy of hearing that ding, ding, ding, ding, ding as the heat rose up and got that windmill apparatus to start spinning.

Good times.

Current music: Pavement “Grounded”

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childhood architecture

…comes alive like Frampton

If you asked me to draw a house as a kid, this is what I would have drawn.

Centered door, two windows with four panes, triangle roof, and a chimney. A tree that looked an awful lot like a cloud would probably be nearby.

So imagine my surprise when I drove through Mt. Airy (Cincinnati) the other week and spied the house I architected as a child, albeit with shutters and sans the chimney.

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