Thursday 11.27.2013

IMG_3729Thanksgiving is weirdly orphaned between my two favorite holidays; it doesn’t have the spooky charm of Halloween or the gaudy excess of Christmas, it’s just sort of there, boring and traditional without the fanfare that make the other two so much fun. And then there’s the turkey. I find it unpleasant, both as a living bird and a main course so I don’t even look forward to the dinner aspect of it. Add it all up and you have a day best spent relaxed, not making a fuss or going shopping. That said, traditions are traditions, so….

I’m pretty thankful this year.
Last year was a year of self discovery, and this year has been one of resolve. Making sure that the changes that were so hard earned were sustainable; that once things were ‘good’ I’d lose the drive to change or to grow, drop back into old mindsets and end up in a rut, even if the rut wasn’t terrible. As we see 2014 creeping ever closer, I’m pleased to say that this year has far exceeded my expectations.

I’m thankful that I’m going into a new year with Julia by my side. I’m thankful that I got to see Bethany twice this year. I’m thankful that I got to see Jenna three times this year. I’m thankful that my job is fun, my dog is rad and that I’ve got friends who’re here for me through good times (and 2013 has seen it’s fair share of those) and bad times (same) alike.

I’m also thankful that I’ve had time to clean my room today, because it was starting to become a hovel.

Happy thanksgiving everyone.

 

 

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Sunday 11.24.2013

IMG_2708I just spent the better part of a hour slowly disassembling my poor, broken bicycle. I’ve ridden it for almost four years; in the horrific heat of Philadelphia summers, through active snow storms and even a casual ride in the middle of Hurricane Sandy. I’ve gotten hit by two Septa busses, an obscene amount of Cabs, an Escalade and even other cyclists while riding it and yet I credit it for helping start my drive to get healthier by forcing me to exercise as a means to get to and from work.

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My bike broke my face, and I broke my bike

And now here it is, in pieces, ready to get dropped into the dumpster due to an irreparable bit of frame damage. I’m not one to be sentimental over things like this, so I have no problem chucking it in the trash, but I’m going to miss it.

Replacing it has proven difficult. I purchased it on bikesdirect.com a few years back and had an overall great experience with the bike and the customer service. The specific model was out of stock (keep in mind that I have backups of my favorite shoes, in case anything happens to them. I like uniformity) so I grabbed a first available of a different model in my size. I paid. I waited patiently. It came a day before it was scheduled. And it had four separate defects straight out of the box. Having worked for an Internet Retailer for years, I didn’t get too pissed; defects happen and you can expect them when you’re ordering from a discount retailer. I always feel that how the company deals with a defect is more important than the defect itself.

So I’ve contacted them and am awaiting response. Granted, there’s no CS there on weekends, so it’s taking longer than I’d like, but still…. We’ll see.

In the interim I bought a second bike, since buying another box bike isn’t a great idea considering the problems I’m having now and I needed something quicker than the turnaround of returning product, waiting for a refund, etc. I picked it up on Craigslist used and am loving it so far, despite it being fixed gear (for now). Few tweaks and it’ll be as right as rain.

Not that it’s raining. It’s bitter cold and not even December. I hope it’s not a harbinger of a really dreadful Winter. Not that I mind for days off, but the bike commute (see how I kept this all on point?) in snow and sleet is a bastard and I’d really like to avoid that if at all possible.

I’m working on Thanksgiving plans, since everyone I want to spend it with is either out of town during the holidays or planning to have no plans. Part of me wants to do something fancy, but statistically I’ll end up watching Lord of the Rings marathons while making forcemeat and icecream, wearing my monkey slippers while Bailey dances around the house like a loonie.

Do you folks find my life as boring as I do?

Monday 11.11.2013

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We’re getting a bit of a late start at it, but Julia and I finally bought our (first as a couple) Christmas tree. It’s just a little thing, pre-strung with lights, but it’s super cute and we’re going to have a lot of fun decorating it and basking in it’s Christmassy goodness. We’ve only purchased one ornament- a creepy prancing reindeer- but we’re off to a great start.¬†Christmas is such an amazingly tacky and excessive holiday, so I think having the tree up for a month and a half is perfectly acceptable; once our AirBnB guest (a really nice kid from Montreal) leaves we’re going to get everything set up. I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year which is strange since I’m usually indifferent or hostile towards the Holidays, but for once I’m psyched and ready to enjoy myself. I’m not sure what we’re doing on the day itself- dinner with the family, or Erin or just each other, but I have been tossing around the idea of having a New Years Bonfire at our place in New Jersey to welcome in 2014. I know most folks like to go out and party on NYE, but if I can find some friends down for a slower paced night I might just start working on the firewood and arrangements.

I’ve been allowing things to get to me lately; finding myself really frustrated by friends and situations that don’t really affect me or that I have no control over and I’m doing my best to try to filter that stuff out. I’ve spent years priding myself on not really caring about the politics/ideologies of my friends, even when they radically differ from mine, but lately I’m finally starting to relate to them more; their intolerance is wearing off on me and I’m questioning how I can be friends with someone who I’m seemingly so at odds with. A friend said to me that people don’t really think about the pablum that they post, that it’s sort of automatic, but how should I deal with someone calling meat eaters “heartless maniacs” when I eat meat? I know they aren’t talking about me personally and for years that’s how I’ve explained things away. But if you think people like me are heartless maniacs… you must think I am as well, right? The question then follows- not necessarily why I’d want to be friends with you (I shouldn’t, right?) but why do you want to be friends with me?

I’m just not sure how to reconcile it all. That’s just one example, obviously.

I had a great talk with Julia yesterday- then again, I have great talks with her most days- where I came to the conclusion that Facebook has made ‘passionate’ or ‘radical’ people really lazy. Back in the ‘zine days when you were passionate about something, it took some effort to get your message out there. Be it hand-making or desktop publishing a ‘zine (which is still partly hand made with folding, stapling, etc) you had to commit to it. You made the ‘zine, printed the ‘zine. Solicited and shipped the ‘zine. You didn’t just spend all day on your lazy entitled ass clicking links on Jezebel or Huffington Post or Fox News, reading half of an article before reposting it to show how outraged or politically savvy you are to the delights of your friends who “liked” it and reposted it before they even had time to read it all the way through. You researched. And you wrote. Most of all you wrote; your own opinions, rants and raves. You were part of the discussion right or wrong. You had your own voice. Now the most politically active of you do little more than reblog someone else’s words, someone else’s passion- nonstop. And you have me, who’s always been very happy to share my life with people who think differently than me, thinking maybe I’ve been a fool for thinking that tolerance was for the tolerant.

Who knows. Maybe it’s just seasonal grouchiness.

Photo: Sweet Wizard necklace I found, Julia as Kembra Phfaler, my receding hairline.

Sunday 11.03.2013

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I was horrible about keeping my diary updated in October.
It turned out to be my busiest month of 2013 but was also packed with the most adventure, so I’ll skip to the highlights for the six of you who’re paying attention:

1374075_709363687906_1460643889_nAIDS WALK 5k:
Team Occult Vibrations kicked butt, raising just under $3600 to support people affected by HIV/AIDS in the Philadelphia area. We were absolutely humbled by the donations from friends, family and total strangers who gave what they could to bring us $2600 OVER our initial goal. Julia and I were able to run a 5k together along with the rest of our team and despite some of us not being happy with their times (29 minutes was NOT my best effort, but on two hours of sleep nursing a chest cold I’m going to take it as gracefully as possible) we were all glad to have gotten together to make a day of it and to help some folks out in the process.

 

1385139_10202011598599032_632917905_n24 Hour Horror Fest:
My buddy Jesse treated Julia and I to Exhumed Cinema’s 24hr Horror Fest at the International House Theater. We weren’t able to get there until 3am (which clocked us in at just under 12 hours by the time the last film- Demons 2- finished) but we had a ball watching 35mm prints of some real gems, curiosities and downright stinkers. It’s all part of the fun- not knowing what films are going to be coming next. When we finally walked out of the theater, sore from 12 hours in the dark, we walked back into Center City holding hands and discussing horror films… sort of reminds me why I’m going to marry her.

 

 

1385605_10202041674830919_1913308325_nAustin Texas:
Speaking of Julia (which I do, quite often)… We decided to spend Halloween visiting Austin Texas. It was a much needed vacation for me, and a very much needed one for her. That it coincided with our favorite Holiday was just icing on the cake. We tried to knock out as much dorky tourist stuff as possible; seeing the Congress Street Bridge bats, eating food from a food truck at the trailer park, seeing a horror movie at the Alamo, visiting 6th Street and SoCo, getting tattooed at Affinity, meeting up with as many friends as possible (though of course there were some we regrettably missed) and having Julia finally meet Bethany. ¬†Jbird said that it was like meeting the ‘end boss’ of a video game before we met up with Bee; which is a funny way to put it but I totally get it. My relationship with Bethany (we’re going to be celebrating 9 years in a few weeks) is very hard to explain to people and I can see how intimidating it could be. Luckily they got along famously and two people that I love more than my ability to articulate were with me in the same place at the same time. More than anything else that made the trip for me… though the ‘anything else’ was still pretty spectacular!

All of that fun was nestled in between tattoo appointments, Outfest, Pushead at NYCC and so much more. I wouldn’t trade a single day of it though I’m thankful that November is here and I’ll hopefully be able to have a nice relaxing month to counterbalance the chaos of October. I’m thinking about taking a brief roadtrip for Thanksgiving but otherwise.. nothing. Just work, life, Julia and Bailey.

I can’t think of a better way to spend it!

 

Photos:
Main: Jack O Lantern in November… stay proud.
Inset: Team OV, 24hr Horror Fest Demons 2, Hi How Are You mural and matching tattoos.