31 January 2015

This Week in Awesome (1/31/15)

SAR: Just getting it in under the wire since 2006 or so...

This is some high-level music-nerd stuff, but there are some interesting stories behind the entries. (The A.V. Club)

This is also music-related but more accessible, and will likely evoke some fond memories for MTV viewers in the late '80s and early '90s.

Here's one for the design buffs. (Wired)

And finally this week, a worthy long read about the reverberations of a serial killer's actions, decades after he committed his crimes. (BuzzFeed via Flipboard)

30 January 2015

Retro Video Unit, Concert Edition

I know I just did one of these last week, but I decided to try something a little different. Maybe I'll alternate it with the regular individual videos.

Digging around in the remainder bins of YouTube, I come across lots of stuff, including entire concerts from decades ago. Sometimes the shows are posted by the bands themselves, others are just from fans.

A couple of weeks ago The A.V. Club posted a Talking Heads concert filmed in Passaic, NJ in November 1980. It was a good show but it was done in black and white and some of the camera work was a little iffy in spots. Commenters suggested this show from the same year that was filmed in Rome, I'd seen references to it elsewhere, and it was conveniently listed in the sidebar of the other concert, so that's what we'll kick things off with.

[Historical note, of sorts: three days after that Passaic show, Talking Heads played at the Providence Performing Arts Center (which I think had a different name back then). I could have gone but I didn't know anyone else who was into them at the time, and I didn't know their music all that well yet either. That whole tour, coming right after the arrival of their groundbreaking fourth album Remain in Light, has become rather legendary, especially after the release a few years later of their concert movie Stop Making Sense—sort of an early '80s hipster equivalent of "I was into them before they got big," but with a legitimacy earned by having witnessed something truly special. One of my biggest musical regrets is that I didn't go to that Providence show.]

29 January 2015

A Leg Too Far

This "joggers" thing has gone too far: today I saw a guy on the bus wearing joggers (which, to refresh everyone's memory, are merely sweatpants) with little anchors all over them, like some perverted version of preppy critter pants. I know we had a blizzard two days ago, but if that's really the best you could manage in terms of putting yourself together to go outside, you should probably just stay indoors where no one else has to be subjected to them.

28 January 2015

After-Snow Pix

Okay, I'm going to blather just a bit more about the blizzard, because in terms of duration and snow accumulation this one was almost exactly like the one we had two years ago in February. But where it took me four days to finish fully digging out from that one, I got everything finished yesterday, including clearing the end of the driveway of the heavy stuff left by the plows (with some help from the Mrs.), and then I went back out this morning for an hour to clear the couple of inches more that fell overnight and re-clear the end of the driveway (much less daunting the second time).

What was different? I'm not sure, but the snow was very light, so even though it took three or four scoops of the shovel to clear each spot in front of me as I moved along, it was pretty easy to throw. The wind also causes some drifting that tends to leave large areas of our driveway with just a couple of inches, or in some spots nothing at all. There was also some of this on the other side of the house that allowed me to clear a path on that side too. I think during the storm two years ago the wind was blowing from a different direction and the drifting worked against me.
Here's what our backyard looked like as of this afternoon, looking down from the back porch. That chain-link fence on the left is three feet high; the wood one on the right is five. At the bottom you can see a drift line created by wind, with snow thrown on top of it from my shoveling. And I see tracks where an animal made its way along the side of the garage.
Down at ground level and looking to the right of the above shot, you can see what I was dealing with. Just beyond the black thing (covered grill) was the first wind-created shallow area that saved me some time and trouble yesterday.
Rounding the corner of the back porch and looking down the driveway toward the street shows that the highest drifting happened away from our house. What you can't see is at the highest point of that drift I dug right into it so I could clear the dryer vent on our neighbor's basement window. I realized later that I didn't take any pictures out front, where the snow piles created by shoveling are much higher. Maybe tomorrow...

27 January 2015

Car Stuff: Look Ma, the '50s!

I think it was simply luck that this 1956 Ford was parked outside this garage when I passed it back in June. A day or so later it was still there and I got this second, better shot, but I haven't seen it since.
The color scheme is pure '50s. In my brief first look I thought it was black and red, but I think at the time black and pink was more common, and red was more often seen with white. But a look at a brochure from that year shows that pink was not available, and it seemed likely this car had been repainted anyway, since it's in such nice condition overall.

The fender skirts and the abundance of trim identify this as a Fairlane, the top of the line in '56. Two-door sedans were called "club sedans" in Ford-speak, while four-doors were "town sedans."

26 January 2015

Blizzard Prep

(Since I won't be going anywhere for a couple of days, I'll have plenty of time and Car Stuff will appear tomorrow.)

So the minor snowstorm we got on Saturday was kind of a distraction. We were all focused on it because the conditions made it unpredictable (snow changed to rain as temperatures increased, then back to snow after dark), and we ended up canceling plans to go to Rhode Island but I think travel would have been fine. Meanwhile, a monster storm was in the process of forming, and is now steaming our way.

The first flakes started falling around 1 pm, and three hours later nothing has accumulated. If we didn't know what was coming we'd probably be inclined to dismiss the reports. We've had a relatively snow-free winter so far; before Saturday's snow we'd had just a few dustings and I was able to clear the sidewalk and driveway with only a push broom. Also, our storms don't typically come this close together.

This one is making people nervous because there's the potential for two feet of snow, or maybe more. Those of us over a certain age have vivid memories of the Blizzard of '78, the one against which all subsequent storms are inevitably measured. We remember being stuck inside for days, waiting for plows to finally clear the streets. That storm caught people by surprise, and some part of us thinks it might happen again, so we have a tendency to get a little nutty before big storms.

Stuff starts to shut down. Stores already have signs that they won't be open Tuesday, which is just common sense. The T won't be running, and citizens are urged to stay home and off the roads, which again is common sense. You can't get stranded if you don't go out in the first place.(Update: the governor has issued a travel ban effective at midnight tonight.)

We'd been food shopping fairly recently so we didn't need much, but a quick trip to the nearby Super Stop & Shop was in order yesterday. We are not foolish enough to venture within a quarter-mile of a Market Basket when a storm is approaching, but the Stop & Shop was still as busy as I had ever seen it in nine years. I managed to find an express line with a relatively short wait. Today it's probably even busier.

I also happened to be in need of beer, which is almost as important during a blizzard as food. This afternoon I made a quick run down to the nearby Big Liquor Store, because the combination of proximity and reasonable prices made the most sense under the circumstances. They were also busy, but not like the supermarket. Beer math once again came into play, with the 18-pack costing only $1 more than the 12-pack (technically $1.30 more with the deposits). I wondered who buys the 12-packs, and the answer is probably "you should have, dummy" because I still had to carry my 18-pack and realized, too late, that it weighs 50% more than a 12-pack.

25 January 2015

Retro Video Unit (1/23/15)

I knew I'd forgotten something... the worst part is I'd already picked a video for this installment, which I don't always accomplish ahead of time. Yesterday was consumed by snow shoveling and binge-watching Transparent (which was steaming free for one day only). Well, let's move on...

I have complicated feelings about rap and hip-hop that I don't really want to get into now, but I can say unequivocally that I like the early stuff better, which brings us to this track I stumbled across a couple of weeks ago. "Going Back to Cali" by LL Cool J was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Less Than Zero and later appeared on LLCJ's third album, Walking with a Panther (1989).

For a rap song it's pretty unusual: the pacing of the rhyming is laid back, almost anti-rap, the production by Rick Rubin is characteristically stripped-down and remarkably detailed at the same time. The video suits the song well, even if it falls into the '80s music video tropes of dancing women, driving, and the use of black and white.

22 January 2015


It's been an awkward and unpleasant week here in Patriots Nation, to put it mildly. Instead of enjoying the afterglow of another AFC championship win, another trip to the Super Bowl, another chance to add to the team's impressive roster of victories and legacy of success, all of us have to suffer the embarrassment of another scandal, another accusation of improper actions. I wasn't planning on or even thinking about writing anything, but as a fan I decided my thoughts are worth as much as anyone else's.

I suppose I should be starting from a presumption of innocence, and of course when these latest allegations surfaced I wanted to believe that they were wrong, but in my gut I feel that someone knew what was going on and allowed it to happen. This is not the first time that the team's behavior has been scrutinized and criticized, and the truth is that each new instance makes it worse. Everything that the team has accomplished now gets called into question and is tarnished by association.

Even if it turns out that a lone equipment manager was acting on his own, the air of impropriety surrounding the team won't go away. I'm not a parent, but I'm sure a lot of parents are having difficult conversations with their children about what's going on and what it means. Teams should not put their fans in such a position, especially young ones.

Outside of New England a lot of people hate the Patriots and/or Tom Brady. I used to think that was silly, but even if I don't feel that way myself, I'm beginning to understand why others might. To invoke another sport analogically, it's kind of like what happened with Barry Bonds; the Patriots will always carry the stigma of all these unsavory incidents like an asterisk, even if it's only a mental one. It's indicative of a general and unfortunate trend in our society to cut corners, to bend rules or think one is above them.

I've seen scientists saying that the weather could account for the fluctuation in inflation pressure, and I want to believe that's the explanation. It's also possible that this behavior has been going on for years and that all the other NFL teams have done it too. There's a lot of missing information about who handles the game balls and what happens to them after they have been checked. It also raises the question of why there hasn't been stronger security around game balls, why teams supply balls and not the league. It's all pretty murky, but that's exactly the sort of environment that leads to situations like this.

For me, the worst part of it is knowing that the team doesn't need to resort to cheating or any sort of questionable behavior to win. Regardless of who knew about it, it's hugely disappointing that someone thought it was necessary. Of course I still want the Patriots to win another Super Bowl, and I'll still watch the game (and I'm sure the balls used for it will be very carefully monitored), but even another Lombardi trophy isn't going to alleviate the feelings of hurt and distaste this week has brought.

21 January 2015

Car Stuff Bonus: At the Auto Show

I went to the auto show again over the weekend. I went last year and didn't plan on going again this year; it isn't the sort of thing I feel like I need to attend every year, but my friend asked if I wanted to go and I thought why not?

The show draws tens of thousands of people each year, and not all of them are considering a vehicle purchase or cross-shopping in one location. There are a lot of people that, like me, just like cars. The average price of a new car is approaching $30,000, but one can get a good car for a lot less than that. Competition makes everyone try a little harder.

Plus it's admittedly fun to sit in the back seat of a $110,000 Audi (because you'd have someone driving you, duh), or to test the sound quality of various car audio systems. And there's always at least one surprise. The car that impressed both of us most was the Hyundai Genesis, a large luxury sedan that spans the $40,000-50,000 price bracket (depending on engine choice and option packages).

With its recent redesign it looks like it could be an Audi, and in fact you can get it with all-wheel-drive, just like an Audi. If you were blindfolded and put inside, and the logos and identifying markings were removed, you would most likely think you were in something German and a lot more expensive. And it has a ridiculous stereo system.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Genesis is that it isn't the top of Hyundai's lineup. I remember when the original Accent went on sale here in the mid-1980s for about $6000 (pricing was a prominent feature of its advertising). It was what we used to call a penalty box. Now three decades later there's a Hyundai, the Equus, that lists for ten times that amount.

Is anyone buying it? I don't know. It's much more of a status symbol back in Korea, Hyundai's home market, and if they can sell a few thousand of them a year in other countries it probably doesn't hurt the balance sheet very much. But as someone who has never been especially impressed with Hyundai's offerings (I don't necessarily dislike them, I just find them pretty uninspiring) I think the Genesis is the car that may end up having more of an impact.

20 January 2015

Car Stuff: Random Sighting #34

Another 1980s Cadillac found its way in front of me, on the same day I spotted the 1971 Buick GS. It was parked near Tufts University (just a few yards from where the Green Line stop will be built, eventually) and is possibly being driven by a student. The area was busy with pedestrians and I had to work around a few of them to get these shots.
On the other hand, the Bruins plate on the front suggests this car belongs to a local. Either way, I was able to determine from looking at old brochures online that this is a 1982 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham sedan. The design didn't change much from 1980, when it was introduced, through 1985, when a redesign replaced it, but enough small things, like grille texture and the location of the front Cadillac badge, did change from year to year that I was able to pin it down.
It's a little odd that the exterior badges have been removed, but there were a few elements that distinguished a Fleetwood from a Sedan deVille. The small lamp between the front and rear doors, the crest on the side roof panel, and the molding running from the hood back along the side under the windows are all Fleetwood features. All Cadillacs of this vintage had another side molding running about halfway down the side, above the rear wheel opening and ending behind the front wheel opening. I don't know why this car doesn't have it. The missing badges and moldings suggest that the car may have been repainted.
A couple of other interesting things to note in this shot: the Smart in front of the Cadillac provides a nice bit of contrast, which is why I didn't crop it out. Also, the bumper sticker from the long-gone local music club the Channel, which used to be on Necco Street, off Summer on the waterfront. This car outlasted that venue.

19 January 2015

This/Last Week in Awesome, Delayed Long-Weekend Edition (1/17/15-ish)

Well, I had time to do this on Saturday but obviously I didn't. Even though I'm still not on a regular work schedule, the weekends have a way of getting away from me. That's no excuse, I know. Anyway...

Not sure if these are authentically from residents of each state or more of a perception thing. I say this mainly because the MA one is less true than it used to be. (Distractify via Dappered)

Two acquired tastes that don't go together at all, but do make for a good snark tumblr. (The A.V. Club)

I like the thinking behind this, even if I suspect the reality might not be as satisfying. (Beer & Brewing; those of you who are more wine drinkers may want to check out this instead)

And finally this/last week, some excellent aerial night photography. (Vincent Laforet via Dappered)

15 January 2015

Cheap Can Be Okay

This is a pretty nice pattern for something from Old Navy, and it was cheap too—marked down to about $15. (I used the "soft flash" setting, and this pic is a pretty accurate representation of the colors, though the red and blue are both a bit darker in person.)
Buying inexpensive clothing is often a gamble. Will the fabric be too thin, or feel cheap? Will the cut be too baggy, or too slim (to save on wholesale costs)? Will the buttons fall off within two weeks? How will the details of construction compare to other clothes I already own?

In this case I was concerned about a couple of things, both of which turned out to be all right. I ordered this online and had not seen it in a store, so I didn't know how accurate the online images' color representation was. More importantly, a lot of the patterned shirts I've seen from Old Navy are not aligned to the center placket and buttonholes. This one is, or I would not have ordered it. It's easy enough to tell from online images.

It's one of those things that I've come to take for granted in clothing construction that isn't universally followed, again for cost reasons. It costs more to create such patterns, and it costs more in terms of fabric used for each garment. The collar is also cut so the pattern is centered, and sometimes you see instances of that not being the case either, like this shirt (also from Old Navy).

I thought this practice had been abandoned by all but the lowest-end manufacturers, but clearly that isn't so. I looked through my other shirts and found only one instance of it, on a short-sleeve summer shirt from Lands' End that I paid about $8 for on clearance maybe five years ago. But the original selling price on that shirt was probably around $40, and at that price I think most shoppers expect center-aligned pattern matching. Back in December I came across a shirt I really liked at Target, but it suffered from this same issue. I could not buy it because I know it would bother me every time I looked at it.

The other issue that concerned me was fit. About 80% of Old Navy's men's shirts are now described as "slim fit." The meaning of this can vary considerably depending on the brand and what other fits are offered. As it happens, I had tried on one of their shirts a few months ago in a store, specifically because I wanted to know how the fit had been changed, and a slim fit XL fits pretty much the same as most of the other shirts I currently have, regardless of what size they are or what fit they purport to have.

What I found interesting is that this XL "slim fit" is a more comfortable overall fit on me than J. Crew's XL "classic fit," which I've been buying and wearing for some time. The cut of the Old Navy shirt is just a bit more accommodating through the body, and the sleeves are just a bit shorter, enough to feel less gangly. (About 15 years ago, when the cut of J. Crew's shirts was a bit more friendly and I could buy them in size L, I used to work with a guy who turned back the cuffs of his J. Crew shirts halfway, because they were too long for his arms, whereas they were fine on mine. At the time I kind of made fun of him a little, but since I've been buying their more recent shirts I better understand what he was going through.)

This one comes out favorably in construction and details too. The fabric is a little thin, but no worse than J. Crew's "lightweight" shirts, and it's very soft. The collar is narrow, but Old Navy is just following the prevailing trend there. It has a back collar button, which is unexpected and appreciated, even if it's not strictly necessary (it's hard to imagine anyone wearing this shirt with a tie, but it could be done, though it would have to be a skinny tie). There's a center back pleat, buttons on the sleeve plackets, the bottom buttonhole is horizontal.

Overall it feels like Old Navy is definitely stepping up its game a little. Perhaps they've seen J. Crew coming downmarket into their territory with their Factory stores and wanted to meet the challenge more directly. Even at its original price of $30 I would have felt like this was a reasonably good deal, and I'm interested to see if they stick with these improvements.

14 January 2015


I've been on the T during rush hour thousands of times, packed in shoulder to shoulder with everyone else trying to get either to work or back home. I think it's a safe assumption that the people standing next to me on any given ride are also accustomed to the conditions.

And yet... and yet yesterday I got the stink-eye from someone I accidentally bumped in the shoulder. Imagine that, riding in a jammed subway car and someone unintentionally makes contact with you? Hell, I'm surprised when it doesn't happen.

13 January 2015

Car Stuff: Make-Up Pic

Oh, hi there. I was a little busier than usual the past couple of days, and this slipped off my mental to-do list. So let's just toss out another through-the-windshield shot (which, along with my cropping, explains the low resolution) from back in July, taken as we were passing the repair shop I posted about last summer.
You can see part of the blue Ford van that's always parked out front, and next to it a cranberry-colored Pontiac Fiero, an awkward little mid-engine car from the 1980s. But what caught my eye was the early 1970s Cadillac to the left of the silver Chevrolet Tahoe.

From the grille, front bumper, and headlights I can tell it's either a '71 or '72. I don't know which body style it is, but I hope it's a Fleetwood Brougham, just because it was the top of the line, more expensive, more over the top, and just more Cadillac than an "ordinary" Coupe deVille or Sedan deVille. You can see one here.

09 January 2015

Retro Video Unit (1/9/15)

There are plenty of bands I haven't featured here, but there are also bands that are worth revisiting, and X is definitely one of those. They are sort of like The Replacements in the sense that they had a small but fanatical following while they were extant, but their influence across the ensuing decades is huge.

I love the twinned vocals of Exene Cervenka and John Doe, and this song shows them off well. From the 1982 album Under the Big Black Sun, here's "The Hungry Wolf."

(Happy birthday SM!)

08 January 2015

Full but Unfulfilled

When you are lazy and you are married to someone who is also lazy, and you don't go grocery shopping regularly, it's easy to succumb to the temptation of takeout and delivery food. We've been trying to do a better job on this, but tonight delivery won.

There's a pizza-sub place in Medford that makes an excellent cheeseburger panini (panino?) that comes with two kinds of cheese, grilled mushrooms and onions, and a nice side salad. I was really in the mood for one of those, but since we've been trying not to order out as much we hadn't ordered anything from that place in a few months, and to my great disappointment they have discontinued all the panini. Damn it.

I tried to fill the void with a cheeseburger sub, but it's just not the same. For one thing, it's a larger volume of food mainly due to the roll. I can finish one, but I don't always feel so great afterward. (Old habits die hard, and stuffing myself is something I used to be really good at. Maybe some time I'll tell the Uno story...) And our cravings can be remarkably specific, so if for whatever reason you can't have the thing you want, no substitution is going provide the same enjoyment regardless of how good it is.


Using tuna to get the dog to take her pain medication has worked pretty well, though she is less inclined to take it (or anything) from our hands than she used to be. To keep things interesting and offer a little variety we picked up a few cans of Newman's Organics dog food. Forming some of that into a blob around a pill makes for quite a tempting morsel.

But man, canned dog food is still a disgusting substance, just as it was 40 years ago when feeding the dog was one of the chores I did to earn my allowance. Just as slimy, just as smelly, just as gross. Even after washing my hands I can still detect it. Oh well, we do a lot for the sake of our pets...

06 January 2015

Cozy Legs

I had to get the flannel-lined jeans out of storage today. I only need them a few times each winter, but I'm glad I have them. If you spend a lot of time outdoors in the cold, I think long underwear makes more sense; if you're just walking to the bus stop or taking the dog out, the extra layer inside the pants does enough to block the wind and creates some additional warmth.

I thought about getting another pair, but the ones I have are fine and don't need replacing, even though I've had them for at least a decade, maybe longer. I got mine from L.L. Bean and what they are selling today is basically unchanged, except now they are offered in three fits and the pattern of the flannel changes every year or so. (This year's is rather ugly, but if you don't cuff them no one will see it.)

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a pair from Old Navy, just to see what they were like. The fit was just a little snug, though they were described as "relaxed fit." The denim was dyed a really dark blue, which seemed out of place, and there was a tag that indicated the dye could rub off on lighter-colored clothing and upholstery. Who needs that? The flannel was a red-and-black gingham pattern, which was fine, but the leg openings felt a little too narrow; there's no way they would have fit over boots.

I also have a pair of flannel-lined khakis, which I don't get as many opportunities to wear, but since it's going to stay so cold all week I may wear them just for some variety.

05 January 2015

Car Stuff: Fantasy Garage #15

With the previous installment of Fantasy Garage we finally made it to the 1970s, an extremely challenging decade for America's auto manufacturers. There was a serious lack of foresight about conditions affecting the market, some willful blindness about the growing popularity of Japanese imports, and a disinclination to use existing vehicles from European divisions to fill stateside product needs that resulted in some seriously subpar cars being brought to market.

But to be fair, Detroit got some cars very right in the '70s. Ford's Mustang caught General Motors by surprise and it took them a couple of years to get their competitor cars to market, By the 1969 model year Ford was already moving the Mustang away from its sporty roots and toward something more like a mini-Thunderbird (and the portly 1971 Mustang was considered a design failure), so when it was time to develop the second generation F-body, GM wanted to assert itself with a more dramatic design.
1970 Chevrloet Camaro
By that measure alone, the 1970* Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird were successful. The design was definitely influenced by certain Ferrari models (particularly the swooping roofline), but given a distinctly American interpretation, and differentiated with characteristics of the two different brands: the Camaro got pairs of round tail lights on each side like the Corvette, while the Firebird got a new take on the horizontal tail lights it had worn since its introduction.

(*While referred to as 1970 models, the cars did not go on sale until late February due to some engineering issues; by today's convention, with a release at that point in the calendar year they would have simply been designated 1971s.)

The designs fared well until GM was forced to accommodate the federal government's bumper standards for the 1974 model year (I don't know how they got away with not adding them to the front for 1973, as was required on other cars), at which point they were given slanted noses and bulkier, less elegant tails, along with a significant weight gain. (It's easy to identify a '74 Camaro or Firebird because it has the chunky bumpers but not the wraparound rear window, which didn't appear until '75.) From there the front and rear designs got tweaked every couple of years, getting slightly less attractive each time, until 1981, the final year of the second generation.
1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula
So, which F-body gets a spot in my Fantasy Garage? Because of the bumpers, it has to be pre-1974. Beyond that, I have to go with a Firebird mainly because I've always liked the front and rear end designs a little better than the Camaro's. It's not going to be a Trans Am, because they're just too silly-looking. You could get all or nearly all of a Trans Am's performance in a less flamboyant package by choosing a Firebird Formula (I particularly like the twin hood scoops). And I'll specify a 1971, just because for that model year only Firebirds had little louvers on the front fenders that I like.

However, I never liked those "honeycomb" wheels, so I'll take mine with a set of good old Rally II wheels, like on the red Fiebird in this brochure image:
Images from Old Car Brochures (top); Tore Tangerud (middle and bottom).

04 January 2015

This Week in Awesome (1/3/15)

I didn't post anything last weekend and I don't want to start this year by repeating that, so even though it's late on Sunday night I'm giving you what I got...

There are some crazy people in this world. And sometimes they climb to places they aren't supposed to be and bring cameras. (The Roosevelts via Boy Genius Report)

What are the historical and cultural origins of clothing colors being "assigned" (pink for girls, blue for boys)? (Smithsonian magazine via Put This On)

Watch nerds can geek out to this video of a Rolex being disassembled. (Esquire Style Blog)

And finally this week, the Smithsonian has posted 40,000 images online of works from its collections, most of which have never been seen by the public. (The Verge)

03 January 2015

Overheard: Beating the Clock Edition

Yesterday we stopped at our local coffee shop in Medford Square. A mother was fixing her drink rather hurriedly while her son, roughly five (small enough to fit under the counter overhang), fidgeted while waiting for her.

She finished, grabbed his hand, and hustled him toward the exit while saying, "Come on, we gotta go before someone wants to know why I left your brother standing alone on the sidewalk."

01 January 2015


Time has a way of getting away from us, doesn't it? Not just in terms of another year gone (though that's naturally on people's minds today) but even just in small ways, like me forgetting to post anything on the final day of the year.

Truthfully, 2014 was not what I wanted or expected it to be, in countless ways large and small. And yet I reached the end of it feeling that I'd learned things (as I hope is the case with each of you):
  • I made progress in selling on eBay, not to the point where I can earn a living from it, but enough that I found a garment in a store and knew immediately that I could make money by buying and reselling it. I'm hoping to be able to repeat that at least occasionally this year.
  • A Proper Bostonian and I embarked on a joint creative project, new territory for both of us. I didn't write about it here because I didn't feel I was ready to (and still am not), but also because I still prefer to maintain some distance between my online and offline "selves" and endeavors.
  • I was reminded several times how much I miss daily interaction with my former coworkers, and how fortunate and grateful I am to have been able to spend six years with such a talented, good-humored, and generous group of people.
  • Our dog, approaching 13 and a half, needs us more than ever. Caring for her requires more effort and at times feels like a chore and a burden, but at the same time I have come to appreciate her presence in our lives more deeply, and every day that she's with us and wanting to eat, to go outside, to get a scratch behind the ear, prolongs our wonderful dog-parenting experience.
For me, there are already signs of improvement for this new year over the past few. Being slightly superstitious after five-plus decades on our planet, I'll discuss them when I feel ready. And if it can happen for me, it can happen for any of you. It's going to be a better year, so let's get at it...