are you lame, lifts and lass?

Nips, nips, nips.Hey Tuesday.

Turns out I set the automatic-publish date on Monday’s entry for last Thursday, so chances are you didn’t catch yesterday’s entry (as it was mistakenly buried back amongst last week’s noise).  So, I’ve fixed that and it’s now where it should be, which is yesterday.

I wrote a lot today, and I don’t even know if it’s a good read.  Somehow I think not.  Enjoy.

As a kid growing up, my interests bounced around a lot. I like to think I was “well rounded,” but who am I to say. As my likes went, I think back on them and naturally separate things into the tangible and the conceptual. For the tangible, I was into the classic nerd items: electronics kits, model rockets, Mad Magazine, fire, Garbage Pail Kids, girls, dinosaurs; all standard fair. And, conceptually I leaned towards things mysterious, supernatural, and occult: UFOs, spontaneous combustion, Egyptian pyramids, magic, etc. For the purpose of this setup paragraph, I want to focus on the conceptual part.

Now, not to say this was all I was into… I liked all manner of “regular” kid stuff (He Man, smashing up Hot Wheels, wrestling, you know the drill), but there definitely was a period where “unsolved mysteries” were my thing. I think this carried over into my adult life quite a bit. I still enjoy a good 48 Hours Mystery, am still intrigued by the occult and all manner of mysticism, and love a good puzzle. There’s evidence of these predilections even here on sounds familiar in my writings about spiritual alchemy, religion, serial killers, and the like.

The point of the preceding, because I feel like I’m taking a little too long getting around to one, is that, by the time the events of the next paragraph took place I was perfectly mentally receptive – that is: The pump had been primed and I ate this stuff for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So then – Sometime back around the good old 7th grade, a year where a young man learns much of what he’ll ever know of different slang terms for sexual acts (in addition to a little algebra and earth science), a dear friend of mine introduced me to a book called Big Secrets. Checked out from our local library, the bright primary yellow cover looked interesting enough – but once I dived into the pages I was hooked beyond description. The cover purported to reveal all manner of “secrets,” from the recipe for KFC chicken, secret alcohol-serving clubs at Disneyland, to beating a lie-detector test, and how to mark playing cards.

From first page to last page I was fascinated. This was the kind of stuff I thrived on just “knowing.” To feel like I had inside information, especially if that “secret” info gave me some perceived advantage in “life,” or even a funny nugget of wisdom I could use in conversation – I loved that. To be able to bet someone that I could find the fifty states on a $5 bill; or drop word that I could make a bomb from a deck of playing cards… these were the kind of quirky nuggets I filed away in my brain. Big Secrets, then, was a goldmine for me. I read it with vigor, front to back. And, as I approached the last few pages in the book, one chapter away from the very last chapter, it happened. The chapter was called “Secret Messages on Records.”

I read with zeal the notion that recording artists would purposely put hidden messages in their music, by way of recording them, flipping the audio around so as to make it unintelligible, and then integrating that into the music.  In the days of records (that’s “vinyl” for you digital-agers), un-masking these hidden messages was as easy plopping a firm finger onto the disc as it spun and then forcing the turntable to operate in reverse, approximating the right speed to unveil the secret.

Reversed recordings came into prominence when artists began seriously using the recording studio as a virtual instrument, experimenting with sound as never before.  Of course, the Beatles led this charge (didn’t they lead it all, really?) – laying down what most to consider to be the first purposefully backwards song element in John’s guitar solo in “I’m Only Sleeping.”  By the late 60s and into the 70s and on, more artists experimented with the novelty of what had become known as “backmasking.”  Soon it was a common recording term, and backwards messages were sometimes put into records as jokes.

As a quick aside – backmasking really got a lot of attention during the whole “Satanic panic” the US went through back in the late 80s and early 90s (they even put Judas Priest on trial for it!).  Turns out that, because words spoken aloud have phonetic reversals that often sound nothing like the word spoken normally (forwards), you can “hear” all sort of interesting things in backwards music (if you listen hard enough, I suppose).  So, while some backwards messages are surely done with purpose, most of the “scary” ones (i.e., “you should commit suicide,” or “here’s to my sweet Satan”) are just backwards gibberish that may resemble a real-English phrase.

Anyway, Kyle and I became obsessed with hearing everything backwards.  We suddenly wanted to hear all our music backwards, chiefly the songs in the book that we already knew and loved.  Problem was, our music wasn’t on vinyl, and we couldn’t simply drag the turntable backwards to hear the hidden secrets.  So, being industrious young lads, we set about perfecting a way of reversing audio cassettes.  Remember, this is before the whole “digital music” thing, even before computers for that matter.  Nowadays one can just download an MP3, drop it into the free audio programs that come with Windows, and go to Effect|Reverse.  Back in the dark ages of my youth, however, things weren’t quite as simple.

In the end, we had “invented” a hand-cranked mechanical contraption, cobbled together from several dissected blank audio cassettes, a paperclip, and some Scotch tape, whereby one could extract a bit of recorded sound on tape, reel it into a “holding” tape, flip the whole machine, re-attach, and reel the whole thing back into the original cassette.  The labor-intensive process effectively cut out a bit of tape, flipped it upside down (remember, even though audio tapes have two “sides” these are just the two halves of the same surface of magnetic tape, not two physical sides), and then spliced it back into the existing tape.  When the magnetic tape-read head interpreted the sound on the tape from the opposite side it was recorded on, you got a perfect-speed (albeit a bit muddy sounding) backwards version of the audio.

Before long, we’d heard everything backwards. The Beatles, Zeppelin, Floyd.  We were wholesale reversing entire 90min tapes of songs, just to listen and see what might be hiding.  Soon, we began to experiment with recorded-and-reversed sounds of our own.  Our names, names of girls we had crushes on, the alphabet, you name it.  Logically, the next step was to then listen to these recorded sounds in reverse, learn to approximate the gibberish they’d become, and then say that into a microphone and reverse it – all to see how close we could get to “talking backwards.”  You think this is silly, but I still remember how to say several things in reverse: “Ian Ichamore,” “And the lost see ‘Nam,” “Turn me on dead man”… they’re still taking up space in the old noggin to this day.

I can remember eagerly attempting to play the notes to “Mary Had A Little Lamb” in reverse order on the old Casio, seeing if we could get it right when the tape was flipped.  I remember reading passages from the Bible, making all manner of sounds like a foley artist just to see what they’d sound like backwards.  We even drew up detailed user instructions for our little reversal machine, diagramming the flow of audio on a cassette tape and showing precisely how to reverse it with our invention.

Somewhere in this house today, in a shoebox, I have that tape-reversing machine and the handwritten user manual (on graph paper, because it was more official of course).

And with that story, I conclude today’s blog.  Goodnight, web denizens.


To our city.Work today dragged. Ballin’ the jack for a full eight, broken up by Sharaun and Keaton coming to visit for lunch – which is always nice.

In my youth, I had a long leash. In fact, our little clique used to range far and wide around the modest town we came of age in. During those years, we had several places around town that were “special” to us for one reason or another. Most of these were quiet, tucked-away places, often deep in an undeveloped section of town still overgrown with Florida pine and palmetto. Various things drew us to the woods, but I think foremost of these is the simple, inborn, young-man yen for such places. Perhaps in our blood from generations before us, as places of privacy, shelter, safety, and free from prying eyes (i.e. good for mischief), every kid of twelve or thirteen will, at some point, find themselves having a “place” in the woods. We had plenty.

Something got me thinking about all those places we used to haunt today, and I decided to write a bit about them. Since you can find anything you want on the internet these days, I wondered what might be recorded online for all to see that was related to those sacred places of my youth. Curious to see how they’d changed, or stayed the same, I started plodding through Google… viewing these ghosts of hangouts-past from above and from the ground – and through the miracle of modern technology almost being able to stand in those places again. Before I knew it, the idea took root and I ended up spending way too much time on this thing.

So, introductions over. Come along and take a pictorial tour with me, we can visit those hidden places where the magic happened way back when…

skyviewBack in highschool we used to head here at night to party.  It’s an old abandoned drive-in movie theater, and you can just see the humps/rows where the cars parked to face the screen.  There used to be some old light poles out there too, but no trace of the big screen.  A lot happened at this place… and I’ve written about it more than once here.

RinkerAerial shot of the abandoned cement factory we used to play around at.  That structure to the far center-left of the photo is what we used to call the “groovy barn.”  You can see the long shadows cast by the tall silos just southeast of it.  The main buildings, to the right of the photo and across the railroad tracks, are now being useed for something else…  Read more about our adventures at Rinker right over here.

At the Extension.The end of the road.  A place where even though the pavement ends the kids keep driving, to find somewhere private.  This place was called, fittingly enough, “Barton extension,” and we had tons of good times out here in the dark.  I watched  a bunch of guys pick up a car and flip it into that ditch on the right one night… not sure what the poor dude did to deserve that.

Astro #1The most infamous access road at Astrokalickrama (if that means nothing to you, you can read my badly written memories of the place here).  Just a neighborhood now, but in all honesty I’ve probably never been more scared in my life than I’ve been while walking down this road all alone in the woods.

Astro #2An aerial shot of that little Astro access road from above.  Behind these new houses you can still see the little substation thing in the woods.  Right around that bottom-right house is the concrete drain thing with code.  Wonder if it’s still there…

Astro #3Astro again.  I overlaid the old aerial shot I have on this to see where the rune-covered crushed Volkswagen used to be, turns out it was right in the middle of the dry pond area at the center of the loop of houses.

The quarry.See those two odd-shaped ponds near the bottom, down and to the left of that strange perfect-circle body of water?  Those are old quarry ponds on the outskirts of town.  Way back when, the sites seemed to be abandoned in a hurry, and there were construction trailers and a huge crane just left to rot.  I can almost feel the fear taking over me again as I remember climbing the rusted boom on that forgotten monster, hundreds of feet into the air as the wind whipped our clothes.  Pure adrenalin, pure invincible youth.

5th St.This is 5th Street.  It was less fancy back when we frequented it, but it was our favorite beach haunt.  We’d drive here with the girls and a bottle of Boone’s, and let the hormones and cheap wine decide the night.  There’s stuff that happened here that people still deny ever happened to this day.  Yeah, I’m talking about you.

The Spot.The road that curves through the bottom left corner of this pic was the road Kyle lived on for a few years back in the day.  Every single house at the right of the shot is new, and that entire area used to be as wild and wooded as the thick copse of trees you see dividing the two developed areas.  However, it appear that, to this day, our little “campsite” is still there tucked away deep inside the trees.  See that light spot near the center of the tight trees?  I’ve written about it before

The road ends.This little road just ends… and the thick woods immediately behind it used to be full of fun for us.  Trails where we could ride our bikes and jump little burms, all sorts of interesting discarded items, right down to a moldering old mattress where many a boastful young man bragged about bedding many a loose middle school girl.  I doubt that part was true, but the trees and hollows did provide excellent cover for sneaking a stolen Marlboro or three.

Trails.Aerial shot of the dead-end road from above (about a quarter of the way across from the left near the top is the spot), and you can almost make out the trails winding through the trees behind the rows of houses.  Fun trivia fact, those woods burned more than once under suspicious circumstances.  Fun trivia fact, that large brown structure to the extreme left with the parking lot was the church I ended up going to Sharaun with years after those mysterious fires threatened to destroy it.

The Pits.See the sandy washes meandering through the trees?  We called this place “The Pits” back in the day, and I bet there will be highschool kids drinking malt liquor there this weekend.  I’ve written, in a tangential way, about this place before – as it was the place we asked our fellow Satanists to meet after they “stole forth,” all part of our Satanic Flier prank.

It's home.My old street. This view, walking away from our old house, is burned in my memory forever as the beginning to so many adventures.  A walk to Robin’s house for some tomfoolery; a walk to Kyle’s house for some new tunes; a walk to Desi’s, to Shawn’s; to anywhere.   Sometimes, just a walk to clear my mind.  What a great place to discover who you are.

Well then, See I told you I got a little carried away.  It ended up being a lot of fun, which is the kind of thing that motivates me to write. In the end I left off about six more images because I thought it was just becoming all too much… maybe I’ll revisit the idea one day.  I really do wish I had some pictures of the places from their heyday (or at least our heyday), would be such a neat thing to look back on them as I really remember them.  Anyway, hope you enjoyed it.

And now, it’s time for me to read a little from my books and hit the sack.  Goodnight, love ya.

oh but i was young!

Bgawck.Hi.  Happy Friday.

Got one question on the “meaning behind” yesterday’s blog. No meaning, just random. An exercise to write in-character, something I wish I did more of as a creative thing… rather than the “I had this for dinner; Keaton said this” stuff. Sorry to throw you off, and I promise I’m not a misogynistic cocaine dealer.

Did you guys know that when I got married we hired a professional DJ for the reception? Well, we did. As part of our arrangements with the guy before the event, he gave us some printed song lists and preference sheets. A great idea I thought, as a music-nut. Along with the standard things any wedding DJ might ask, such as desired songs for featured dances, our DJ asked if there were any particular songs we’d prefer not be played at our reception. For this I was grateful, as I’d already gotten the “OK” from Sharaun to outlaw a few choice numbers from the event. On my list were such wedding staples as “The Chicken Dance,” “Macarena,” and “YMCA.” I can see how this might surprise some, being so uncompromising about what might be called the “sure things” of the all-inclusive dance-party circuit. It’s what I wanted.

Oh but I was young!, and have since learned.

As much as I did, and still do, loathe those songs, I realize now that, for the sake of participation on the dancefloor, such musical atrocities must be tolerated. Because, although it’s trite as all get-out, people will get out of their seat and do the Electric Slide. Back in my youth, though, I was above such things. No one at my wedding would be throwing their hands in the air to Isley Brothers if I could help it. We would instead dance to a masterful selection of “good” songs, and not be bothered. I knew “It Takes Two” can pack them tight on the floor, and that dads really only dance with their girls when it’s the chicken dance, but I didn’t care. What a pompous self-indulgent attitude. Sorry wedding guests, I have only myself to blame.

In the end, our massive tool of a “professional” DJ played nearly every single song we’d asked him not to. Perhaps he took professional liberty in order to save a wilted party (when my friends found out there was no alcohol, they simply left with a handshake and well-wishes), or perhaps he was just an idiot. I’ll never know. But, the tables emptied for “The Chicken Dance,” and the Ys and Ms and Cs and As had the place on its feet. So, maybe I owe the tool a “thanks.”

Thanks “tool.”

Have a good weekend friends.  Ours is all kids: babysitting and baby-birthdays.  Wish us luck. Goodnight.

I deserve this weekend, I swear.

It’s Friday!  It’s Friday!

I can’t believe the week is over.  I deserve this weekend, I swear.

This evening, Sharaun and I had dinner with the elderly couple from church we occasionally bring dinner to (I didn’t know how to write that sentence without using the word “dinner” twice).  I always have a good time doing this, not just for feeling charitable, but for the company and getting to talk to folks with a full-life of experience on which to base their opinions.

I went back over the past five or six entries I’ve written tonight, doing a little touch-up editing.  I rarely ever do this, but after a quick review of the last few posts I’ve turned out (on the commode today, using the handy iPhone) I was shocked to see a string of horrible grammar, half-completed sentences, and word-reuse.  This kind of thing comes from writing too fast and not reviewing before posting, which, when you boil it down, is just laziness.  Hopefully, looking back through this thing sometime in the future, I’ll be able to have a bit more respect for myself.

Tonight (as you read this), I’m invited to a “soup and sweater” party.  This is a new kind of party concept for me.  But, it’s also something I think I can totally get on-board with.  I love soup… like, almost as much as I love potatoes kinda love.  And, I’m also partial to sweaters.  The theme (winter, or somesuch) is not lost on me, so there’s kitsch value too.  The twist, however, is that we’re supposed to wear obnoxious sweaters to the soup and sweater party.  Personally, I’ve got a real humdinger.  Wait… I’m writing this and… I’m realizing… just how old I am.  Not a foam party; not a toga party; a soup and sweater party!  Know what… I don’t care.  I’m gonna wear my ridiculous sweater and eat bowlful after bowlful of soup.  Sue me.

Saturday, I’m going to watch football all day… maybe drink beer… maybe eat bean-dip.  Then Sunday, we’re scheduled to get some “official” family photos done by our very talented pro-photog friend (and occasional sounds familiar commenter), Megan.  I’m quite excited about this – as we’ve never had any sort of “official” photos done of us… and, don’t think us horrible parents please, but we’ve never had professional portraits of Keaton done either (I know some people who do it monthly for their kids).  She usually shares some “sneak peek” photos on her blog(s) after a session, and I’ll link ’em here if and when she does for our go at it Sunday.

Busy weekend, but better than work.

And finally, as a quick follow-up to my autotune comments of yesterday, the message boards are coming down hard on Kanye too.  Here is a short roundup of some of my favorite comments about autotune on 808s & Heartbreak:

Ahahaha. This album is whack. Seriously, what is it that makes artists these days think that autotune is actually worth using?

… the sound of your voice contorted by autotone has made me projectile vomit on multiple occasions

… all of the vocals are singing with heavy autotune, no rapping (except by Young Jeezy on “Amazing”),  musically it isn’t even really hip-hop, and the production is innovative as usual.

I don’t like it. The autotune aspect continues to be overused to the point of irrelevance.

i really hate the autotune. These songs could be so much better if he had never discovered its existence. I don’t know if i can handle a whole album of it. GOD**** AUTOTUNE!

wow this album is going to be fucking terrible. he doesn’t even attempt to learn to sing…he breathes at incredibly awkward times and the autotuning is just fucking ridiculous. and ffs every song is literally the same instrumentation: drumline, synthesized dull piano beat, and maybe a horn or so.

Autotune is shit and he’s obviously too dumb/arrogant to realize it.

fuuuccckkk.  the autotune makes me want to go kill something.

I dunno, I think autotune is okay on a song or two, but if he uses it on the whole album it’s going to be fucking annoying.

Ahhh… vindication from other snobs… what every music nut craves.  Feels good to be right, though.



Tuesday night and I’m stuck here again, right around that part where I begin everything with something like, “XXXday night and here I am again.”  I guess I could just say something like: “Hey Tuesday folks,” or maybe, “One day closer to hump day, one hump day closer to the weekend.”  Something like that.

Ween is on the iPod (Sharaun is at her volleyball game, so I get another TV-free all-tunes evening), I saw these guys when I was around fifteen in some small hole-in-the-wall club in Melbourne, Florida.  Myself and a crew of about six guys got dropped off by someone’s folks, and proceeded to hang out in front of the gas station asking random sketchy-looking dudes if they’d buy us beer.  After striking out, we entered the club empty-handed – no beer, no dope, no nothing.  For fourteen year old punks, the prospects were slim.  But we still had the show.

We regarded Ween as mostly a joke, as we were listening to the Pure Guava album at the time and songs like “Push the Lil’ Daisies” didn’t do much to bolster any “serious musician” cred.  But, at the show, Ween was amazing (I’ve looked and looked and looked online for a bootleg of that particular show, would be amazing to hear it again all these years later… and Ween has a fanatic fanbase of live show collectors, so I assume it’ll show up eventually).  They played a blistering million-minute cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain,” which proved they could play… so why all the crap on the records?

We begged them for “Big Jilm,” which had become a running joke amongst the group as maybe the most retarded song ever made (sorry retarded people).  They replied that the tape loop for that song was busted, and this had us howling almost as much as when they launched into tracks like “Hey Fat Boy, Asshole,” and, “Flies On My Dick,” which they dedicated to their grandparents – who were actually in the audience.  What an amazing night for some kids…

Oh gosh look, I wrote about it before, and seem to remember there being dope.  Who knows…

OK, let’s move on to the meat.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a “social networking” kinda guy.  Not on MySpace, not on Facebook, not on Bebo or LinkedIn or any of those other all-the-rage sites.  Never will be either, I just don’t cotton to the canned nature of the pages and the stupid back-and-forth banter.  So, that’s something you now know about me.

My brother, however, has a MySpace profile.  Now, I know I don’t write about my brother much here on the bloggy-blog-blog, but he’s a good guy and I like him a lot.  I don’t deride him for having a MySpace thingy – I know plenty of people who have ’em, it’s totally cool.  In fact, I used to visit his page occasionally just to see what he had posted or what his buddies (or whatever MySpace dubs them) were talking about.

Some time ago (been a long while now), my bro set his MySpace page to private.  I think this means only people he knows or has “friended” or whatever can see his stuffs.  I still have the link bookmarked though, and occasionally I’ll go there to see if maybe he’s un-privated the thing.  I never have any luck, the thing’s always still private – but I can at least see his little picture, his “current mood,” and his little tagline/motto thing.

But, what I noticed tonight, and what I wanted to write about, is the bottom of the page.  Down there after MySpace tells you the profile is “private,” it offers you a consolation prize by following up with, “Here are some public profiles you may find interesting.”  I can only assume the logic behind what I may find interesting is MySpace looking at the details behind my brother’s private profile, comparing them to the millions of other profiles on MySpace, and serving up those with some degree of commonality.  I imagine they look at age, interests, school and professional history, taste in music, links, comments, etc., etc., etc.

So, what worries me is the rank-and-file losers it pitches me as “public” stand-ins for my “private” brother.  MySpace, how dare you boil down my bro to this douchebag parade?!

Actually, I don’t know any of these guys… so I guess it’s kinda mean to assume they are, or label them as, “losers.”  Sorry guys.

For all I know, SHoRtYRoC is a Rhodes scholar.  Matt and Brian appear to share hats – so that shows kindness; and S.A.G. appears to be a real gangsta so I better reserve comment on him.  Randy and Scooter… oh Randy, oh Scooter… guys…  And I could go either way on Patrick.  But, just looking at them in aggregate, I don’t think they have much bearing on tho “who” of my little bro.

So, who is my brother?  I wrote this about him a few years ago:

Frank is my brother. His real name is John. When I was in the 4th grade (I think), I was of the opinion that the name “Frank” was one of the dumbest names a human could have (my apologies to all the Franks out there who are offended by that, but I was young). I started calling my brother Frank to be funny, or mean, or a little of both. Incredibly, the name stuck. Stuck hard. So hard, in fact, that by the time he was in high school, that’s all anyone knew him by. He even got “Frank” sewn on his Little League jacket.

Unfortunately, Frank endured many years of torture at my hands – both physical and psychological. I threw the cat in the bathtub with him; I brainwashed him into admitting guilt for things I’d done; I used to punch him as hard as I could every time I died playing Nintendo; he always had to be Luigi. When we were young, we were the best of friends. I remember playing Star Wars in the back yard, we used a shovel to dig the Sarlacc’s pit that Han got flung into (much to my mom’s chagrin). I remember tying ropes around the necks of our stuffed animals, and swinging them around in giant circles, pretending they were on some ride at the carnival. We were best buds.

I don’t know when that ended, but now we’re more like old friends who are flirting with the idea of having a brotherly relationship. My bro dropped out of high school in his junior year. We weren’t very close during those times, but I imagine he had a lot of the same experiences I did at his age… and he, too, lived through them (apparently the family mettle is strong). I hope Frank and I can get back to the days of Sarlacc pits and stuffed animal abuse one day, at least in spirit.

I wrote that sometime in 2000.  I’m happy to say that the sad-sounding ending isn’t really applicable anymore, and my brother and I have a fairly normal relationship at this point.  So, suck it MySpace.

Not comprehensive, but not bad.  Goodnight folks.

don’t snore daddy

8:30 or so on this week-starting Monday, and work came at me like an avalanche today.  Who knew a week of work sandwiched in between two weeks of vacation would be stressful?  Everything to catch up on, everything to make up time on and get done early.  Ugh.

Sharaun and Keaton are out again, and I’m using every ounce of my internet prowess to once again play gumshoe in search of an old breakbeat mix I had on tape back in highschool.  I’ve written about the mix before here on the blog, and I’ve been searching for it now for something like ten years.  I feel like I made some more progress in recalling some tracks which were featured on it, but try as I might, I can’t seem to find mention of a “common” southern US DJ set featuring them all… I’ll never give up!

OK then.  Another entry about Keaton today… seems to be a theme of late.

Sharaun went to the gym early this morning, somewhere around 5:30am.  She does it a couple times a week when she can, since Keaton’s sleeping and I’m home with her doing the same.  She usually gets back to find me about ready to head out to work and Keaton still down.  This morning though, sometime after she left I stirred in bed to a noise in our room.  Chalking it up to the cat getting into something, I hunkered back down into my fetal position.  Right after that though, I jumped as a sleepy little voice said, “Hi Daddy.  I waked up.”  Opening my eyes, Keaton was there, staring up at me.

Noticing that not much morning light was trying to push its way through the cracks in the blinds, I grabbed the iPhone to see what time it was.  At the same time I reached out and tussled Keaton’s hair with my other hand.  6:03am.  She was standing there with her hair all mooshed and tangly and clutching her babydoll (it was Claudia, I have seriously come to know them by name).  I told her, my voice crackly with the first words of the day, “Keaton, it’s too early to wake up baby.  You have to go back to bed.”  And then, “Do you want to go back to your room and climb back into your big girl bed, or do you want to sleep her with Daddy?”

“I want to sleep with Daddy,” she replied.  “OK,” I said, scooping her and Claudia up alongside me and covering them with the comforter.  I had some doubts I’d get any more sleep, as bringing Keaton into bed with us has never worked in the past.  She ends up wanting to play more than she wants to sleep, and, eventually, she’ll actually ask to go to her crib to get some real sleep if she gets tired enough – she’s never slept a whole night with us in the bed.  But, she actually settled right down and I started to drift off.

Sometime later, I was roused as by a tiny hand settling over my mouth and Keaton saying, “Don’t snore Daddy.”  I chuckled, and didn’t move her hand as I tried to get back to sleep.  Over the next fifty minutes or so, she put her hand over my mouth (and one time a little bit over my nose too) and implored me not to snore twice more.  I thought it was the cutest thing, and secretly hoped Sharaun would come home and see us asleep there, Keaton cuddled into my armpit with her hand over my mouth – and sneak a picture so I could see what we looked like.

But, by the time Sharaun got home my alarm had gone off and I’d gone back to take a shower while leaving Keaton to watch a new Backyardigans with some juice and graham crackers (a Dad-style pre-breakfast snack, I suppose).  Owell.


back when i did nothing

Hi from Wednesday night.  Sitting here playing with an iPhone… yeah, I know I said I wasn’t going to jump on that wave, but when the sawmill finances it – it’s hard to deny.  So, on the bandwagon I climb…

Right now the iPod shuffled up “Morning Bell” from Radiohead’s brilliant Kid A album. I think I’ve written about it before, but this album brings back such strong memories for me. It dropped shortly after I started working here at my current job, when I was still the new guy and no one know what I should be doing. I can remember spending what seemed like interminable days simply browsing the internet, listening to CDs, writing, having absolutely no clue what I was supposed to be working on, and feeling guilty about it to boot. In fact, and I’m almost certain I’ve written this before, I can recall vividly standing in the bathroom after work one day staring at myself in the mirror, angry and ashamed for essentially stealing money from the sawmill.

I used my time as best I could: Spending it online researching various things, letting the web lead me from one topic of interest to the next. During those long months of being corporate flotsam, I became fascinated with alchemy (both the “let’s make gold from rocks” kind and the more metaphysical Jungian kind), brushed up on my knowledge of serial killers (no real explanation there), and did a good bit of “spiritual” research (I dunno, a phase, at the time). I listened to a lot of music, I wrote a lot, and I wondered what the hell this “career” I’d chosen was ultimately going to end up being. Looking back now, I can understand how things like that happen – and realize that those pointless months in the grand scheme of an operation as large as this really mean next to nothing. So I skated along under the radar, they’ve got me in a reverse-naked now and are wringing me for every dollar. Honestly, I prefer the crunch…

Anyway, just hearing this album reminds me of those days instantly. The environment then was so lonely. I sat isolated from most of the “team” I was supposed to contribute to, and I had bounced back and forth between no less than three managers (always a bad thing for someone knowing what the heck you do). The people who did sit next to me were in roughly the same boat, but I didn’t really hit it off with either of them – and wasn’t that interested in developing non-working relationships with them. I still think back to the time when I finally got transferred under a good manager with a team that was executing. From there it was a simple connect-the-dots to meeting the friend-base I have now.  Time, time, time… I suppose.

And, that, is what I have to say tonight.