Friday, October 29, 2004

No walking outside. There's bears!

It just dawned on me that it's almost been a year since I went to Manitoba to see the polar bears. Without a doubt, one of the absolute best vacations I've ever taken.

There's the picture links over on the right, of course, and here is a video (Evil MS Mediaplayer 9 required, has sound, etc etc) that I shot on the very first night.

There really are no words to describe the feeling of seeing these gorgeous creatures up close. I wish I could be there again, but there are so many other places to be.

Oh yeah, go here to link to the live Polar Bear Cam.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


I figured if I was gonna try to blog more regularly, it was time for a shiny new template and all.

Also, here's yet another quick observation about Blogjam that I jotted down the other night but forgot to write about: Meeting people whose blog's you read is like meeting your favorite radio DJs. Well, back before CheapChannel ruined radio and all that. Just that people sometimes aren't what you pictured in your head, but after you've met them, they're exactly right. Does that make sense? Arghh, not thinking clearly enough. Maybe I'll revisit this idea tomorrow.

current music
Alison Moyet - Invisible courtesy of Waremouse. Thank you, sir.


In the tradition of bloggers far and wide, I now present Ten Random things about me:

  1. When I was little, I always said I wanted to be a doctor. Then I discovered computers.

  2. I don't eat much fruit, but I'm trying to expand my palate.

  3. I've never gotten a speeding ticket.

  4. I wish I could play hockey better.

  5. I hate talking on the telephone.

  6. I have an older sister and a younger brother.

  7. Although I'd like to think my music collection is varied, I probably listen to Depeche Mode more than anything else.

  8. I'm a pack rat.

  9. I despise religions of all stripes, but I'm very spiritual.

  10. I have been to thirty three of the United States (not counting airport layovers or just driving through).

current music
Seal - Killer - William Orbit Mix hmmm, well sometimes it's not DM after all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Rattling around

Scared for the future
At the end of the trivia festivities last night, I dared to tell a political joke. Just a little riddle, actually. What is the difference between Iraq and Viet Nam? George W. Bush had a plan for getting out of Viet Nam. Kinda daring of me, I suppose, living in a military town and all that. One young woman rushed up to the bar and incredulously asked "Did he just dis the president?" And then I guess she called me an asshole. I missed most of it, actually, I was disconnecting the microphone and all that.

But honestly, I am scared to realize that there are people who believe that you can't even joke about the guy. How did we get to this place in the United States? The ironic thing is that I'm sure these same people have no trouble telling Bill Clinton blowjob jokes.

Another day the music died
This morning, I was saddened to read of the death of British DJ John Peel. Back in the very early 1980's, he played a huge role in my discovery of new and interesting music. Somewhere on the radio I'd heard some programs that he recorded introducing new music, and I found records (you know "LPs") of some of those shows at some random record store in Kenmore Square, Boston. Of course in later years there were also the many many Peel Sessions CDs -- New Order, The Smiths, ..... He always seemed aware of what was coming up next and he brought it to the attention of so many people. And of course he had the soothing voice with the British accent.

It is moving to read the many tributes on the BBC site, and I'll just add my own right here -- Thank you Mr. Peel, for making a difference in my life, and for sharing your passion with so many people.

current music
The Chameleons - A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days

Monday, October 25, 2004

More about Blogjam

More about Blogjam

BlogJam is Made of People!
Bloggers are tall and short and skinny and beefy and just regular guys. The readings were as varied as the bloggers. Waremouse's piece was touching, Dogpoet's lyrical, Chrisafer's funny.

I learned too that bloggers, even "famous" bloggers who get several orders of magnitude more readership than I do, can be nervous about public speaking. This should not have been such a revelation to me, for blogging is ultimately a solo sport. The writing and publishing are done in private. Even though some of these guys choose to reveal so much of themselves publicly, I think the nature of the media provides a level of detachment. To go on stage for some of them was clearly a cause for some anxiety -- I saw the pacing going on. Everybody did a great job though.

Like I wrote last night, I feel obligated now to put more effort into my own little place now. My life experiences are not nearly as exciting, and I'm not the writer that those guys are, but I'll see what I can do.

The Sully Report
So I actually exchanged words with Andrew Sullivan and didn't even know it. The club did not open the doors until 8:00 PM and he was trapped outside with all of us plain folk. He asked if he couldn't get in if he was a participant and I said "sure, if you can get in touch with somebody." I just didn't realize who it was I'd said that to till later in the evening. When it was his turn to read, he was greeted by a smattering of hisses. I figured I'd at least hear him out. He played it safe, IMHO, choosing to read two pieces on gay marriage and his sense of betrayal by his beloved W. I actually expected more. This was the fearsome Sully? OK, whatever.

Speaking of Public Speaking
One thing I have surprised myself with lately is my own ability to appear in public in front of a bunch of strangers. It will be happening tonight as I end up once again being solo emcee for trivia night at the Cannon. I think when the management asked Andy to run the game, I was just an add-on that they perhaps hadn't expected. And now, with his soldiering duties once again getting in the way, I'm on the line again. I'm feeling a lot of pressure, primarily self-imposed, to do a really good job. I keep telling Andy he needs to quit that job, but I guess that's not really an option.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

First Post?

Just in from BlogJam DC
I just flew in from Blogjam and boy are my arms tired.

Am I the first to post about it? It was a great evening, despite the late start given to us by the club. I got to meet Joe in person, and I'm here to report that his stories are as great when presented live as they are when read online. He's also a really good hugger.

The other readings were all great and I plan on writing a bit more over the next day or two. In fact, since Joe introduced me to several people as Larry, "who writes Bent Blog," I feel that I have been shamed into being a lot more attentive to the blog than I have been.

I have to catch flight at 6:05 in the morning, and although the airport is almost literally a stone's throw from where I'm staying, I still have to get gas in the rental car and all that, so I really shouldn't stay up writing tonight. A couple quick notes right now though . . . I got a "formal" introduction to Bob Mould, who organized tonight's event. At the end of the evening, I finally took a moment to pull him aside and say "Thanks, this was a great idea. Also Workbook changed my life; thanks for all the great music over the years. OK, fanboy moment over."

Also, one of the more poignant readings was from Dogpoet, who is completely adorable. Smart and cute, who could ask for more?

Further updates tomorrow.

current music
Bob Mould - Modulate.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Fight! Skate!

A couple entries ago (and many weeks ago, yeah I've been a slacker, whatever, sue me) I mentioned by drinking buddy Andy and playing bar trivia with him. Still haven't given him the big heads up, but we're getting along OK. He hasn't said anything blatantly stupid recently either.

Anyway, in a strange twist of fate, we've gone from being trivia players to trivia emcees. The guy who was doing it had a scheduling conflict and the owner of the bar asked us to fill in. We thought it was going to be a one time thing, but I guess it's going to be a regular gig. Let me tell you, making up the questions and ranking them by point value is a whole heck of a lot harder than just sitting at the bar playing.

We've done it twice now. Well, we've collaborated on the questions and rankings twice. This past Monday, he had to go do soldier stuff, so I was left to be on stage by myself. (see reference to innate shyness in previous post).

We try to make our questions a little out of the ordinary -- like "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" It's got a real answer, if you've seen the South Park Movie anyway. I'm dying to use "PC Load Letter? WTF does that mean?" but that might have to wait.

Also on tap for an upcoming game is "Name one of the bands fronted by Bob Mould."

The other night after the game, one of the players complained to me that there were "too many pop culture questions." Ummm, hello? Bar trivia? Dumbass.

current music
Pete Burns - Jack and Jill Party - Extened (thanks Joe!)

You Have To Ride The Elephant

Several years ago, I lived in the nice little town of Coventry, CT. At that time it was still mostly rural, although I'd have to guess that by now it has become more of a third ring suburb for Hartford. One particular summer, a small circus came through town, stopping for just one night. It was encamped at a field near the high school, just a short walk from my house, so I headed up to see what was going on.

I don't recall there being much to it -- a single tent, a tiny midway, and the one thing that really caught my eye, an elephant ride. One medium size elephant and the chance to ride around in a circle for a minute or two. Seemed like it might be fun to do, but for some reason, I decided to wait. I figured I could go ahead and get my ride afer watching the main show. So I went into the tent and watched the different act.

Of course, when I came out of the tent, the elephant was not there. No ride for me. I couldn't go back the next day; like I said it was just a one night visit. That little circus never came back to town, either. There might even be other places and times that I could have the chance once again to ride on an elephant, but I don't recall them. I'd probably need a bigger elephant these days anyway.

In any case, ever since then, I try to avail myself of opportunities as soon as they arise. This is my "You have to ride the elephant when it's there" philosophy. Sometimes my innate shyness overcomes the elephant, but I try to remember that night.

[N.B. I'm sure there are all sorts of reasons why the circus was bad, and the poor little elephant was being treated badly, and blah blah fishcakes. That's not the topic.]

Sunday, October 10, 2004

All Work and No Blogging

Makes Larry something something
The project from hell continues. I've had maybe six days off in the last six or eight weeks, and mostly those have been when I've had a chance to travel somewhere for a weekend. The highlight of this week was working 33 out of 37 hours between Wednesday 6AM and Thursday 7PM.

The new drop-dead all-or-nothing installation date for this system in next Thursday. And then I will get a chance to see what my apartment looks like, maybe watch some TV or a DVD or two. Heck, I might even get a chance to have a social life.

I think I'll even try to get up to DC to check out Blog Jam. Some of my favorite bloggers will be there. Maybe they can teach me how to post more often.

current music
Cygnus X - Orange Theme