Ye Olde Archive Archived Posts: 2004-2009

30Jan/08Off

Inclement Weather Blues

It was raining when I went to class this morning. Muggy and nearly warm and I began to sweat halfway through my not-even-fifteen minute daily commute. For kicks I checked the weather on my laptop in class, and saw that there were two weather warnings. Weird, I thought, it seems so temperate. The weather people were right, though. All that rain flash froze as the temperature fell to -10C, and the windy picked up to steady gusts of 90kmph (nearly 60mph).

The result? I practically had to ice skate over to the Archambault to at last get new guitar strings, and everyone's trash bins are merrily ice skating around as well, usually right into the middle of the street. Thank goodness they'd already been emptied, I suppose, or it would be trash-a-go-go.

Now I've got new guitar strings, cold cheeks, two new blues guitar books, cold fingers, and a sweet 10-disc set of old blues songs. Oh, and a cold tookus. Whatever that is. Once I thaw out, maybe I'll even give 'em a shot.

29Jan/08Off

Puzzle Master

I don't expect anyone to get it offhand, so I'll explain that the title is in reference to the fact that young men are titled Master instead of Mister. Think of Batman, where Alfred always said "Master Bruce." Of course, it's also an allusion to Will Shortz, who edits the NY Times Crossword and is commonly known as "The Puzzlemaster."

I was blog-bouncing, and ended up on Amazon.com looking at crossword books for kids. I could explain how this actually happened in just three simple steps, but I'll leave it to your imagination. Mystery, my dear readers, is the key to being mysterious.

Abby and I have been talking about the existence of this kind of book, speculating really, and who knew it would be so easy to track some down.

The (seven-letter word for "most enjoyable") part about them is that they're written by Trip Payne, who was just one of the many memorable crossword (five-letter word for "obsessive enthusiasts") featured in the movie WordPlay. If you haven't seen it, and you enjoyed films such as Spellbound, I highly recommend checking it out. Trip's webpage is cool in and of itself because he has lots of his own puzzles, of various types, available for free download.

The books are cool because if you have a cool kid like we have a cool kid, then they'll totally (five-letter word for "appreciate") them, and personally I think any parent should be content knowing that their kid is rocking out on crosswords. Check 'em out.

Amazing Crosswords || Fantastically Fun Crosswords || Trivial Pursuit Kids Crosswords

Filed under: book 1 Comment
28Jan/08Off

All of me

In which the author goes on at length about not very much at all and yet still somehow covers a significant distance in both time and space, and most likely tries your patience in the process.

So there I was, a brand new shiny blog and the year was 2004 and I thought Oh my, how I'll dazzle them. And I was dazzling, occasionally, though I often blathered on insubstantively, and rarely had anything of general interest to say. But this was a blog, and it was new, and other people were exploring it as well and we were all trying to figure out the right things to say in this venue, with these people reading that we didn't know, some that we did. Who did we right to? To whom did we write? Why did we sound pretentious when we were only trying our best to use the proper grammar?

Some of us figured it out, I think. Perhaps they just faked it well, all the time feeling the same insecurities about their thoughts, about the personalness of an enterprise like a blog, as well as the publicness. Personal blogs are a paradox. LiveJournal seemed like a solution: personal blogs that were less public. It was all the same in the end, though. Who was it for?

I fell off the blog-wagon entirely. Multiple times. Mostly onto my head. Often I thought to myself, There are probably at least several people in the world who do not have a blog, and I thought that perhaps I could be one of them. But I wanted to blog. I really did. Maybe it would be more true to say that I wanted to write; one is strictly the other, but not when you reverse the two.

Up to speed. Right. The part where I talk about me. What I'm doing. How I feel about what I'm doing. How I feel about what I'm feeling. Good writers take their lives and turn them into stories. I guess they don't even have to write them down, technically. Some people are just good story-tellers. I'm a decent writer, sure ... but stories? Who knows.

So, anyway ... I was living in Ohio, right, in Oberlin, and trying to pretend to like Ohio when really I never felt like I fit in. Getting work was hard and I didn't know anyone except for my girlfriend and her family and for some reason, having left the comfortable womb of college and armed with a BA, I had no idea how to make new friends. I tried working in restaurants, but Ohio had this ridiculous server wage of like $2.50 an hour and the place I managed to find work was strange, poorly managed, and fairly unpopular. The only perk was that I got lots of free scones.

I got my first library job in Ohio, due to this horrible restaurant business and my desperate need to do something different. It was small, part-time, low on responsibility and fairly cookie-cutter. Alright, so it was basically retail work, but it was in a library after all and I thought that was pretty damn cool. Cool enough, at least, so that when a full-time library job opened up in the neighboring town I took it and never looked back.

By 2006 I was living back in Washington and had experience working in no less than ... four libraries. Good for me, sure, but I'm getting off track with the library thing.

By 2006 I was living back in Washington. I had ended a three-and-a-half year relationship. We had ended. I had no more reason to be in Ohio after that, and fled back to Washington, moved in with two guys, and spent some serious time being confused by the female gender. Breaking up is liberating. It's heart-breaking, and it sucks, and you feel like you've wasted time and that you'll never find the person that is right for you, but all the same it's liberating and at times you feel like your entire future is wide open and you can do anything at all that might strike your fancy. The problem is that my fancy was inordinately dull.

That's not true. My fancy was pretty ... well, eccentric. My actions were what was mostly mundane, but that makes all the difference. All the same, I went through a series of ... relationships involving poor judgment on my part, and some that involved fine judgment but just didn't work out anyway. I dated people much older than I was, much younger, and more or less in between. I never did become the slut I always kind of wanted to be, but then it's so far against my nature that the chances of it ever happening, despite the earnestness of my desire for it, was always slim at best. All the better.

By 2006 I was not only living back in Washington, but I was living on my own for the first time and I was absolutely loving it. I was dancing, I was feeling attractive, I was accepted to graduate school at a major Canadian university to get a Masters degree in Library and Information Studies (i.e. I was goin' to library school), and I had successfully broken enough hearts to feel as though maybe I'd burned off all the good karma I'd earned in my life and could finally start the life of crime I'd always dreamed of. Of which I'd always dreamed. Fucking prepositions.

By 2006 I was living in Washington and I joined a softball team where I was the pitcher and despite my best intentions I fell in love with a girl I'd just met, because who was I to fall in love with a girl when I was about to mosey off to Montreal and become an actual, factual librarian, and who was she to fall in love with me when she knew I was about to do such a thing anyway; but there we were, regardless, and by July of 2006 I was living in Washington and in love and ready to mosey off to Montreal for library school and I found myself proposing one quiet evening as we lay in bed with all the sincerity and love I ever knew I could possibly feel.

By September of 2006 I was loading up my brand new Scion breadbasket with all of my worldly possessions and moseying off to Montreal as I knew I would, though at this point it felt much less like a mosey and much more like a very important and serious trip that I had to take before I would be able to move on with my life in any meaningful way. For clarification, saying mosey is much more light-hearted than saying a very important and serious trip that I had to take before I would be able to move on with my life in any meaningful way. And so you can only imagine how it actually felt at the time.

This was no breakup. It wasn't liberating, at least not in the same way, nor did I want it to be. It was a new adventure and sure, exciting, but also kind of "meh" because I'd found this great thing, this person I'd been looking for my entire life, and yet somehow almost as soon as we met I had to say "All right, well ... see ya later, then," and go trekking off into another country and for a two-year commitment, no less. Yeah, sure, Montreal is magical. I don't say it with disdain, just the simple knowledge that yeah, it's true but it doesn't matter so much to me anymore as maybe it did right at first.

Since first arriving in Montreal I've gone through the adventure stage. It's well over. It was fun and all, a new city with new customs, setting up new bank accounts was fun and getting a cell phone was fun and finding places to eat and buy things and going into bookstores with books in French was all fun and good and new; of course school was a big deal, too, being back in it after so long and wondering what everyone would be like and finding out that while library students are exceptional people, and interesting to a one, that a feeling of impermanence even early on pervaded everything and I felt nearly incapable of making friends as I once had back in college. We were all adults now, our lives completely underway, and it seemed like we were so much pickier about who got in and how far. Maybe it's all just perspective. I don't know.

Montreal is almost over, now. Library school almost done, and this mosey/muchlongerdescription thing that I've done is ready to buy its one-way ticket back west and bury itself beneath the damp rainforest peat of the Pacific Northwest, never to mosey again. At least, not alone and not for such a long time. Some places feel like home, after all, for whatever reason. Home is the place where your heart resonates and where you can feel the intent of everything around you: every raindrop, every leaf that falls from every tree, every bite of food and every dance is something that adds into the story of you in that place. That home.

Montreal is almost over now and I'm pulled so strongly to the west that concentration is difficult and I feel like a climber who has gotten himself onto a difficult ledge after a long climb and though he only has a little ways left to the peak he's already spent so much energy that he doesn't know how he'll ever finish. Even though he can see the peak, now, part of him doubts that he'll ever really reach it; he's climbed so long and hard already, and maybe he never even really wanted to go climbing in the first place.

But Montreal is almost over now and with everything inside me that is capable of being certain I know that it will end, that I will reach that peak, that I'll turn my eyes west and then I'll turn my body west. I'll find solace in the cool Pacific winds and in the warmth of this love that has sustained me so well for so long and that finally, soon, I will be able to devote the attention to that it deserves.

Montreal is almost over now and most of the time I believe that we will, all of us that have been involved in this story in some way or another, be better for it having happened. In the meantime I'll occupy myself with the little stories, the day-to-day accomplishments between now and then, and the soft moments of sweetness that rest even within these, the most frenetic of days.

28Jan/08Off

Kate Nash

I went to the nearest Archambault to see if they had guitar strings, but they didn't and instead directed me to their other Archambault which was a good twenty-minute walk away. I'll swing over there eventually, maybe tomorrow, 'cause the strings on my guitar now are seriously dead. They sound like crap.

I did take the opportunity to browse, though, and spent a lot of time in front of various listening stands checking out artists I'd never heard of before. I keep meaning to get a subscription to Spin. One of the artists I enjoyed (and consequently am listening to right now), was Kate Nash, an up-and-comer from the British pop market. She's got a nice voice with a brit accent, which is all well and good, but I'm more attracted to the lyrics themselves, which are story-telly and dryly humorous, and to the complicated beats that go on behind the songs. One of the more amusing songs begins (and often refrains):

Why you being a dickhead for?
Stop being a dickhead.
Why you being a dickhead for?
You're just fuckin' up situations.

I find this endlessly amusing.

If you know who Nellie McKay is, and you like her, you'd probably like Kate Nash. She's got a little Lisa Loeb in her too, and maybe some Feist. All in all it's not the best album I've ever heard, but I certainly do like a few of the songs on it, and recommend it to anyone looking for a new, poppy female music artist with some funky beats behind her.

Listen to Kate Nash - Foundations
[audio:http://ahniwa.com/blog/uploads/foundations.mp3]

Filed under: music No Comments
22Jan/08Off

Last laugh …

heath ledger smaller

Heath Ledger found dead in Manhattan apartment.

For some reason this news makes me very sad. Maybe because he's about my age. Maybe because Abby and I were just talking about him in 10 Things I Hate About You. Maybe simply because he was a damn fine actor.

In any case, so long, Heath, and happy trails.

Filed under: news No Comments