Monthly Archives: January 2011

Winter Storm

We’re still digging out from a storm this past Wednesday/Thursday that splashed about a foot of snow.  It was great because I got a day off from work, but I did have to shovel and clean off the car, which was awful.  It’s still causing problems out there, but things are clear and all that.

A few days ago I went out to my shed to put some stuff away.  I turned around and saw the building’s electric meters just covered in this melange of massive icicles and sheaths of thick ice.  Naturally, I grabbed the camera and decided to have a little fun.  I snapped off a bunch of shots and kept going until I got too cold.

I’m going to have some fun with these and do some weird processing and such.  I was originally planning to post the good ones in one big group, but I think I’m going to experiment with different looks so I’ll post them individually, as they’ll each probably be immensely different.

Here’s my first offering…two for the price of one!


Weigh-In: Week Four

Can I get a drum roll with some confetti cannons and other such celebratory awesomeness?  I hit 200 pounds this week, which marks the 10 pound mark of my weight loss program.  It’s also a 15 pound loss since the summer.  I never did come up with any sort of reward for the 1/3 benchmark, but that’s ok.  I’m on a roll right now, which is nice, because it helps me stay on track when I see donuts sitting in the staff room and that Boston Creme just keeps haunting me.

Even though I’ve lost 3 pounds in each of the past two weeks, I’m still setting my sights at a 2-pound loss for next week, which makes my next target 198.  It would mark my first time getting under 200 pounds in like, a really long time.

Programmer’s Note:  Due to the multiple festivities of the coming weekend, I will A) not be on any degree of a diet program and B) not checking in next week.  Let’s call it a birthday gift to myself.  So tune in two weeks from today for the Week 6 weigh-in.

Tremble, Little Lion Man

Gotta love the English-folky-Dave Matthews-soundin’ mash of goodness that is “Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons.

I feel like I’ve been rediscovering my love of folk music in the past few weeks.  You know it’s serious when I find myself browsing the “Folk Instruments” section of musiciansfriend and staring longingly at banjos, mandolins and lap steels instead of Les Pauls and Telecasters.  I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself writing some stupid blog post about a new banjo at some point in the future…

And now, I must go listen to Pete Seeger songs and try to remember where my box of harmonicas is.

P.S. – I’ve watched a few live performances of that song (and listened to the album a bunch of times) and I’m really impressed that that guy’s voice sounds so good and uniform each time.  That’s talent, man.

iPhonetography: Calm After the Storm

The Great Blizzard of 2011:  Two Days Later

Lens:  John S

Film:  Pistil

Flash:  Off

Album Review: The Decemberists – The King is Dead

And now, with feeling…

With the exception of 2004’s Around the Sun, I’ve always been a fan of the classic REM sound.  So it was refreshing to hear the clear REM influences in The Decemberists new album The King is Dead. And that vibe comes straight from the source, in the form of Peter Buck’s unmistakably sublime rhythm work.

The lead single, “Down By the Water,” not only features Peter Buck’s magic hand, but also the vocal stylings of singer Gillian Welch.  The two merge beautifully with the lush Decemberist soundscapes.  Songs like “June Hymn” and “January Hymn” are tender and soft ballads that complement the more upbeat and textured tracks perfectly.

My personal favorite track again features Buck:  “Don’t Carry It All.”  With a Heartbreakers vibe, singer Colin Meloy’s opening line of “Here we come to a turning of the season” turns the page on the disappointment that was The Hazards of Love, their uneven previous offering.  They certainly provided a great listening experience; each song is layered, rich and interesting to hear.  Aside from the obvious rock undertones, it’s easy to catch the country and bluegrass highlights and a healthy dose of good, old fashioned folk.

2011 is barely a month old, but The King is Dead is easily one of the most consistent and smooth albums of the past year.

I don’t do stars, people, just go buy the album.

Don’t be surprised if I spend a solid majority of the next day or two looking at live videos on YouTube.  Also, don’t be surprised if, two days from now, you find a Decemberists video posted here because it’s stuck in my head like a musical splinter.  That happens, you know.


It’s been about a year or two since I wrote about a specific album.  It was fun.

Happy Weekend, all.  Try not to get too snowy.

Awesome Beer & Delicious Photography

I do love it so when two things I really enjoy are brought together into one combined smorgasbord of greatness.  In this case, it’s photography and beer, specifically, the places in which the delicious, delicious beer is made.  Photos of old, decrepit, abandoned breweries from multiple artists are featured in this article, which visits the history of various famous breweries and documents their ultimate fate.  The photographs are fantastic.  I’m sure the beer was sublime…

Seven Abandoned Breweries “Open” for Exploration

Let’s Blog about Life

Some thoughts on a snowy Thursday…

The past week+, I have had almost zero desire to take photos.  The things I’ve been shooting have uninspired, at best.  On the flip side, I’ve been bonding with my guitars and mandolin…the mandolin has been particularly fun.  I’ve also spent some time writing in the past few days, which has felt refreshing and only a little bit forced.  I think the story I’m working on will be ok, but I’m rusty so it won’t exactly be THE GREATEST THING EVER.  I’m still going to force unsuspecting visitors to read it.

I’m listening to Florence + The Machine right now.  I’m going to see them open for U2 (the first of 3 U2 shows in what I am dubbing THE SUMMER OF U2!  Details to follow) at FedEx Field in Baltimore this summer, so that’s exciting.  I’ve also been digging the new Decemberists album.

I have a headache.

Diet Coke Lime is really good.  What happened to Diet Coke Lemon?  And on a related note, does anyone remember Crystal Pepsi?  Or Pepsi Kona?  I tried Coke Blak once and that was disgusting.

I think I’m going to dig out my old harmonicas soon and reacquaint myself with them. Maybe I’ll get one of those harmonica holders and play Bob Dylan songs.  I do a decent enough Dylan impression, so it could work.  Next year’s Halloween costume?  Possibly…possibly.

I’ve switched from Florence + The Machine to The Decemberists.

I’m very pleased with my weight loss program, and I think, if things go like they have been, I’m going to be VERY happy come Monday morning.  Did I just jinx myself?  No.  Case in point:  Roy Halladay threw a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter, and each time I did the unthinkable and, you know, publicly acknowledged it.  Funny thing is, he still threw a perfect game and a no hitter.  I learned that from Harry Kalas, who was never afraid to tell it like it was, even with 2 outs in the ninth inning.

Speaking of which…baseball can’t come soon enough.  I’m calling it now:  two parades; one for the Stanley Cup, one for the World Series.  Again, I don’t believe in jinxing.  Fate, do your worst.

My birthday is in 8 days.  Buy me stuff.

I’m going to go make hamburgers and watch 30 Rock.  You wish you were as awesome as me.

“Here There Be Vampyres”

Here’s the first of my “back catalog” of stories I wrote in or slightly after college.  It’s called “Here There Be Vampyres” and it’s my own version of the “hell is cyclical” concept.  I admit it’s a tired concept for a story, but it was one of the first I ever wrote.  It was inspired by Neil Gaiman’s story “The Troll Bridge.” He did it much better than I did, of course, because he’s brilliant and I’m not.

I actually submitted this story to a Flash Fiction contest and it won an honorable mention, so that’s cool.  Maybe I should add that to my “Notoriety”  page…

Anyway, story after the break.  I’d really like to know what you think, if you’re inclined to read it.

Continue reading

The Art of Writing…and art, too.

Back when I was in college, whenever I couldn’t sleep, or simply didn’t want to sleep, I would stay up and write stories.  Sometimes, I would draw weird little pictures with sharpie markers and white-out, which were largely influenced by the doodles found in Ani DiFranco’s album “Knuckledown.”  Once I got out of college and started, you know, real life, the writing and drawing activities slowly died out until I completely stopped doing either one of those things.

I still have the stories and drawings, of course, but I had never done anything with them, mainly because I think they’re awful and childish; I’ve learned in the past few years that I am overly critical of things I do, though I’m surprised, frankly, at my willingness to put my photography out there for the world to see.  I did once try to start a blog with my stories a few years ago, but I got a little embarrassed.  Plus, no one read it.  Literally, no one.  It’s not like there are a bazillion people reading this one, but I get a respectable amount of traffic here.

I started this blog in the hopes that one day I might rekindle my desire to write things through the act of writing posts and generally have a creative outlet.  I feel like I should do my best to honor that, so I’ve decided on the following two things:

1.  In the coming weeks or months, I will, slowly but surely, post all those old stories and pictures for the clamoring public (except for the ones I really think are awful).  I’ll do my best to talk about when it was written, what it’s about and how I got to writing it.  Maybe I’ll start tomorrow.

2.  I will write a new story by the end of February and post it here.

I’ve actually got a story idea brewing for the first time in a long time, so I’m pretty excited.  Let’s see how it goes.

Weigh-In: Week Three

203.  These numbers are rounded to the nearest whole numbers, of course, just for the sake of simplicity, but also because it’s really difficult, even on The Google, to find an image for 203.2.  So let’s just say it’s 203.

That’s 3 pounds since last week, which is a fantastic number and a pound past my goal of losing 2 pounds per week.  I’m glad about this for two reasons:  first, obviously, I exceeded my expectations, but secondly my birthday is less than two weeks away and I plan on being a glutton for the entire day, and the next day is the Super Bowl and you can’t really go to a Super Bowl shindig without eating at least a little more than you should.  So this extra little bit should be a good buffer to allow me to fall off the wagon for a day or two and not be too hurt by it.  I expect the Weekly Weigh-In on February 6 to be off, but in the end it’ll be worth it.  It will also make it easier to be extra good this week and next.

This is a total weight loss of approximately 7 pounds in 3 weeks. My clothes, which fit just fine to begin with, feel pretty huge.

Come back next week…