I’m moving. Actually, I’ve already moved.

1 05 2008

In honor of my recent fresh start, I’ve homesteaded a little patch of my own on the World Wide Web. I’ve been blogging there for several weeks, and it seems like good, solid terrain. Or something. Please join me there.

Blog Bankruptcy

10 03 2008

About three-and-a-half years ago, I followed Larry Lessig’s lead and declared email bankruptcy. I’d gotten so far behind on my email that I couldn’t see any way out. Unless I spent a two-week vacation getting caught up, those emails just weren’t going to get answered. What I needed was a fresh start. So I put up a little note on the, er, then-blog and announced—apologetically, of course—that if I hadn’t already responded to an email, I wasn’t going to. It was about self-preservation. It had to be done.

I’m going to try a variation of that now, and I hope you’ll let me get away with it. Obviously, I haven’t blogged here since November. There’s no particularly good reason for that. At first, I didn’t have much to say. Then I was busy. Then I took a vacation in Las Vegas (for the National Finals Rodeo). Then it was the holidays. And then and then and then.

At some point, I didn’t know how I was going to get the blog caught up. I had all these things to blog about—events I’d attended, people I’d met, exotic beer I’d drunk—but I didn’t know how I’d find the time to actually do the writing. I needed to just admit that I was in too deep and start over. It took me awhile to concede that, but I’m at peace with it now.

So, I’m hereby declaring blog bankruptcy. I haven’t written here since November, and now it’s March. There’s no good way to get you caught up, and I’m not really going to try. I need a fresh start.

The first thing I’m going to do is purge my desk of the dozens of pieces of paper I deposited in a pile—in a “to do” pile—as little reminders to blog. The November 20 ticket from the Youssou N’Dour concert at the Kimmel Center? I’m throwing it away right now. I had fun that night, but I just can’t tell you about it now. I saw a group called So Percussion at the Kimmel, too, but I won’t be blogging about that, either. The same goes for at least three Flyers games (November 15, November 23, and February 9). I’m throwing those tickets away at this very instant. The same goes for my ticket to the 2007 iteration of Terror Behind the Walls, the Halloween show put on at Philly’s Eastern State Penitentiary. And my receipt for a November 16 trip to World Cafe Live to see The Gourds? I won’t be saying more than that I had fun. My trip to New York last month to see the Kronos Quartet at Carnegie Hall? Well, I went, ok?

What else is in the pile? Well, I guess I can give you a very short tour. Apparently, I wanted to tell you about my visit to Las Vegas’s Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, right there at the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, for its “Modern Masters” exhibit. (Short report: Weird.) At about the same time, I was probably going to blog about the 2007 National Finals Rodeo, my stay at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino (especially getting cruised, oh, so mightily, in the hotel spa), and meeting a handsome man at a hotel bar.

And, of course, I’ve still been investigating beer. It looks like I’ve got eight scraps of paper here from various beer and cheese tastings at Tria’s Fermentation School. Wow! What did I like at those events? Who can remember now? My notes do seem to contain the names of a lot of Belgian beers: Cantillon’s Broucsella 1900 Grand Cru; Duvel; the champagne-y Deus from Brouwerij Bosteels; Hanssens Kriek; an Imperial stout, Brasserie des Legendes Hercule Stout; St. Bernardus Abt 12, a delicious quadrupel; another Cantillon beer, the Cuvée des Champions 2003-2004 ; and a Flemish sour, Duchesse de Bourgogne. I even liked an Italian(!) craft beer, Birrificio Barley’s BB10, which my notes suggest is a hoppy, molasses-y barleywine. Yum.

According to these beer-soaked notes, I also liked several cheeses: Beaufort d’Alpage, which I described as a sort of King of the Gruyéres; a fresh goat cheese from Westfield Farm; an aged goat cheese, Bittersweet Plantation Dairy‘s Evangeline; and Split Creek’s Marinated Feta, yet another goat cheese.

Tria even turned me onto a wine, the 2004 Muscat de Rivesaltes from Clos des Camuzeilles, but I don’t have time anymore to explain why. So be it.

So that’s all the blog’s getting about my last few months. I’m sure I’ll return once in awhile to something that occurred in the fall and winter of 2007-08…. But I make no promises. I need a fresh start. From this point on, I’m looking to the future.

What a relief!


Seize the freakin’ day.

3 11 2007

In this presentation from the 2002 TED Conference, science journalist Stephen Petranek lists the 10 most likely ways the world could end suddenly. That sounds depressing, but there are things we can do about most of them. And we can always, um, colonize another planet.

Anyway, this is a good reminder to live life to its fullest—now.

Your Sister Cried

2 11 2007

Place Settings
The Ex and I separated in October 2004. I haven’t written much about him here, and that probably seems odd. It seems odd to me. After all, we were together for six-and-a-half years. Plus, I’ve posted repeatedly about the Soulmate-Who-Got-Away (SWGA), the man I fell for twice—once before I ever met the Ex and once after our separation.

But SWGA is probably the man I’ll always think of as the love of my life. He‘s been the “problem” I needed to resolve for the past couple of years, so I’ve written about him. I haven’t had the same need to write about the Ex, I guess.

That said, I absolutely loved the Ex, too. (And I still do.) It was a different kind of love, of course—a more adult, less dizzying kind of love. When I was with SWGA, I always felt like I was under the influence of some powerful chemical. With the Ex, it seemed like we’d used our brains and decided to be together. Unfortunately, it just didn’t always seem like we’d necessarily made a good decision….

Anyway, a year ago this past Wednesday (yup, on Halloween), the Ex got married. To a woman. I passed through some of the usual your-ex-is-moving-on feelings when he told me. I was jealous that he’d found someone else, and so easily. I was miffed that I hadn’t found someone else. I knew it meant he’d never play a large role in my life again. Ever.

I also passed through some fairly unusual your-ex-is-moving-on feelings. Was the Ex straight? Had he been straight when we were together? Had I been an experiment? Did his new life cast our six-plus years in a different light?

I eventually got a grip, though. Although the Ex had self-identified as gay when we met, I knew he’d dated women—and not all that long ago. So he probably wasn’t 100% gay. But he definitely wasn’t 100% straight, either. When I really thought about our time together, I knew we’d had something. I knew he’d been attracted to me. I knew he’d loved me. I was no experiment.

I wasn’t invited to the wedding, and I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to go. The Ex and I were right, I suppose, to separate. But it just made no sense to me that he’d moved on so quickly. And I certainly didn’t think he should spend the rest of his life as a straight man. I hoped he hadn’t trapped himself in a miserable life. I wanted him to be happy, but I just didn’t see how this marriage would work for a lifetime.

A year later, I feel pretty much the same.

When I think about the Ex’s wedding—and I guess I’ll think about it every Halloween now—I think of “Your Sister Cried,” a song written by Fred Eaglesmith (and covered beautifully by Mary Gauthier). I follow along with the song, imagining that I went to the Halloween wedding, with the Ex’s sister, both of us knowing that something terribly wrong had happened:

Well, I stared out of the windshield into the rain so light
And I turned on my dims, and somebody flashed me their brights
And I reached over and turned the radio way down low
Your sister cried all the way home

Lightning crashed, and the road shone like a mirror
A dog came out of the ditch, then he disappeared
And I remembered a conversation we once had on the phone
Your sister cried all the way home

I’ll never know how you got into such a mess
Why do the bridesmaids all have to wear the same dress?
Everybody said you looked real good
But I think you looked stoned

Your sister cried all the way home
Your sister cried all the way home
Your sister cried all the way home
Your sister cried all the way home

Tonight, I miss the Ex.

Ongir Pengar

1 11 2007

When I was a kid, growing up in rural northeastern Oklahoma, I would look through atlases and play with my globe, imagining all the exotic places I’d visit when I grew up. As I’ve mentioned before, during that time, I developed a real crush on New Zealand. But I dreamed of lots of other places, too: Denmark, Uruguay, Liechtenstein.

And the Faroe Islands.

The Faroes are a group of islands between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. They’re sort of midway between Iceland, Scotland, and Norway. Although officially a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroes are mostly autonomous. Fewer than 50,000 people live in the Faroes, and the economy is dominated by the fishing industry. The Faroes also have their fair share of sheep.

I know all that, by the way, because of the various term papers I wrote in school about the Faroe Islands. (I was a quirky kid, ok?) And, oh, because I just glanced at the Wikipedia entry for the Faroes.

Anyway, at some point along the way, I started to be interested in Faroese pop music. (I’m a quirky adult, ok?) For a relatively sparsely populated place, the Faroes have produced a lot of good pop music. These days, I’m listening to good, recent albums from Eivør Pálsdóttir, a rootsy balladeer; Páll Finnur Páll, a rock band with a social conscience; and Teitur Lassen, a singer-songwriter.

Of the three, Teitur, as he’s known, may be the most accessible (and most familiar) to American ears. His debut album, 2003’s Poetry & Airplanes, was amazingly accomplished, and it attracted the attention of John Mayer, who championed the album. Teitur’s lyrics are smart, and his English seems to be better than mine. Plus, he has a real way with melancholy, and that’s always appealing (to the lovelorn me, anyway). Teitur’s second album, 2006’s Stay Under the Stars, was also quite good.

This year, Teitur released Káta Hornið, his first album in Faroese. The album is available on iTunes, and I’ve really been enjoying it. If you’re adventurous, or even just curious about what Faroese sounds like, I’d recommend it. Now there’s a video for “Ongir Pengar,” one of the songs on Káta Hornið. Directed by Marianna Mørkøre and Maria Arnell, it was filmed at an abandoned salt silo in the Faroes. I think the video is an awfully cool piece of work.

Happy Halloween!

31 10 2007

Upright Candy Corn

Wiki Wednesday #31

31 10 2007

Paper Ticket
From my sickbed, here’s this week’s WW.

1.) Go to Wikipedia.
2.) Click on “Random article.”
3.) Report on the outcome.


e-Booking is a shortened form of the phrase ‘Electronic Booking’, and is in common use in Healthcare settings for the use of Information Technology systems to enable hospital appointments to be booked electronically.

It usually refers to the booking of an appointment into one service from another, e.g., from a Primary Care physician to a hospital. It replaces archaic methods of referral which can take a considerable length of time, and offer limited choice to patients.

This is a pretty poor article, and, unfortunately, Wikipedia still has its share of those. It’s entirely unclear, for instance, why the article suggests that e-booking is primarily done in the medical business. The original author of the article appears to be British, though, so maybe e-booking has that particular connotation there. In the States, of course, e-booking probably first came to prominence in the travel industry. (I felt naked the first time I went to the airport with an e-ticket, and I bet you did, too. Naked. Heh.) Anyway, the article on e-booking only mentions travel e-booking as an aside, near the end.

Wait, there’s more. Wikipedia currently contains a different article on eBooking—the kind that occurs without the hyphen, I guess. According to that article, eBooking is “an electronic transaction between a citizen and a government service.” Government services hate hyphens, you know? So there are two articles on this, er, concept, and they’re both overly specific.

For four months, by the way, these two articles have been tagged with a message suggesting that Wikipedia editors consider merging the content. There’s very little interest in that discussion, though. In fairness, it’s hard to imagine who’d be passionate enough about the topic to make it her very own special project.

I’m going back to bed now.