Monday, December 31, 2012

Celebrating New Years with suits.

Oh, I'm sassy. I put on my sassy attire because this is New Years. This is New Years and all these fuckers are wearing suits. Nobody told me about that.

Imagine my surprise when I stepped into a party full of young people wearing suits and I'm dressed like a jackass having sex with a clown. I didn't lose any points, because I don't know anyone here. I'm up in Boston at a house, and the people here in suits - kill me twice - work for an outfit called "Wine Riot." It's something to do with "tastings."

I would have danced at midnight. I would have smiled and sweated and acted wackier than I felt. But before midnight? I was a flamboyant mouse amidst heavy drinking. I was a man who couldn't squeeze into the corner far enough - a man pushed into the corner so hard that time almost stopped.

These cats and clowns couldn't get enough champagne. This fancy party would have been better if:

1) I still got drunk these days
2) I knew some people
3) Kristin was having an okay time

Fuggit. I would have been happier at home with copious dope smoke.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Spending time in Princeton MA

A day like this doesn't take much out of a guy. I woke up well after the sun had a head start. I emerged from a nest made under a down blanket, and the room was already up to... say... 50 degrees!

Waffles first. Actually, I already had a hot mug of coffee toasting my hands by the time I watched the waffles being made. The folks of the house seem like good ones, and I'm happy to have time to re-evaluate Kristin's friend. She seems great.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Vacation in and around Boston.

Vacation starts now. Kristin and I packed a few things and a small dog into her small car. We cleaned the room so we can return to a tidy den in 2013. Then we left.

The rain turned to snow, and by the time we hit the New Jersey Turnpike, it was increasingly clear that the conditions would only be getting worse. Apps confirmed this. I took the wheel and didn't let go until we were at our destination - about an hour west of Boston at the home of one of Kristin's closest friend's folks's place.

Many harrowing miles had passed beneath the balding tires of the beat-up white Echo. But we made it. I slid into a freshly shoveled spot in the driveway surrounded by deep white powder. Who said we wouldn't make it? I said we definitely would. I was bred for this. My family drives in poor weather just for kicks. We eat sandwiches full of rocks and cookies baked with broken glass. And if you won't believe that, then believe this: we don't hide in the garage when it snows.

I put it in park, snapped my fingers, and we were watching the glowing embers in a woodstove.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The count was off.

7:21pm: Upset about a till that doesn't add up after work. $9.80 short, and I can't manage to work out why.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Eating food that is real food.

Dear Journal,

It's cold, and I'm still a wuss about it.

This day was all about immediately taking steps toward healthier eating. Less poisonous eating. It worked just fine. Soda is out. Diet soda is out. Crazy manufactured fake food is out. I'm looking at food in a completely different light.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Eating better food starting now.

I didn't realize to what extent my typical diet is horrendous. Fortunately, a documentary filled me in. As the movie played, Kristin and I watched the experts explain the details about what I already sorta knew. The folks in the documentary didn't seem judgmental, just factual. I was left to scold myself.

The movie had a profound effect. The facts about corporate food and diet fads were laid out, and alternate suggestions were made. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Our eating habits will make an immediate and drastic change. We will be talking about this documentary for days.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tiny House seems likely.

Dear Journal,
Spent last night at Kristin's. Went to Kennett for Christmas morning. Got popcorn. Lots. Got Under Armour baselayers and some books about the A.T. that should be very useful. Went to Kristin's folks's again for a second holiday meal and more gifts. Got a book on Alternative Building which is already an excellent read. I've been researching building so much recently.

I've come to the conclusion that a real Tiny House - Tumbleweed style - makes a lot of sense. I'd like to build one cheaper, though. That's the current plan, but as always the "current plan" is an evolutionary process.

I bought the "Tiny House Book" in PDF, too. I also talked to Karl [ed note: brother-in-law] about the potential future plan of buying land to build small houses on. But, like always, I'm the ONLY one saving money. So it's all on me for the most part - if I want to build a small house community, I'll have to work towards doing that by myself. I'll have to have most of it in place. If you build it THEN they will come - convincing people to think and plan in line with your own hypothetical dreams is impractical at best.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A pleasant Christmas Eve.

Dear Journal,
10mg of borrowed adderall gets me stiff-brushing dog hair out of the Waffle House carpet. Powerful stuff. Went directly to Kristin's folkses, where I am comfortable. It's nice. Snow on Christmas Eve, and I'm in a good mood. It's going to work out. It can't NOT work out. I'm invincible. The only way to stop me is to kill me. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A fucked up lot and a slap that won't happen.

I was up until 3am reading about FHA-insured mortgages and HUD houses. I'm trying to collect and examine the marbles in my brain. I'm counting the marbles again to make sure they're all there. A stroke of genius one moment is instant lunacy in the next.

Am I one man? Are these my hands on the wheel?

I drove to a fucked up abandoned lot at 39th and Girard. I peered through what was left of the fence and took inventory of the interior. A beat up box truck, a pile of broken concrete blocks, piles of dirt, various vehicles and a resilient forgotten tree. The area is East Parkside, and it is right behind the Philadelphia Zoo. Access to the river trails is nearly immediate, and open land and parks are a block away; over the bridge. The empty lot is for sale, and it could be yours tomorrow for $10,000. You can do whatever you want there and nobody would bat an eye.

I picture a Truck House or a House Truck. I picture a structure to live in, a garden and a workshop. I picture conforming loosely to code and zoning. Above all, I picture two middle fingers to paying rent and anyone telling me where to sleep. My hands want to build something that looks like art and feels like home. I have two hands for hi-fives, or one for a smack in the man's fucking mouth.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Running low on drugs.

Dear Journal,
Freezing shitty no-Adderall day. Running out of weed, and don't know how to restock. Plus holidays might make that difficult. Not happy. Walked to work and back. Got home exhausted, hungry, and ... exhausted.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mortgages | Walking

Dear Journal,
Home alone. Ate pasta. Watched some Twin Peaks, etc. Looked up info on mortgages and learned in detail exactly how much I CAN'T afford or EVER be expected to be approved for. I'll find some answer. Walked to work and back.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Work and whatnot.

Dear Journal,
Shelly is going away for awhile. I finished building a small 3-Speed for Nat at work. I got a ride in with Kristin and walked home.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cleaning spills and meeting the new roomie.

Dear Journal,
Back to work after a 3-day weekend. A mystery spill at the shop left puddles of black water which dried to become caked on dirt. I spent a good portion of the day with a wire brush scuffing up the dirt. Rode home with Alex. Talked to Sean for awhile at home. He's into orgies and whatnot.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Obsessive and ready.

Dear Journal,
Went nuts trying to get the new watch band on the old watch face. Hacked off 16" of the workbench backboard. Meh. Shit's coming together. It's all coming together slowly but surely. I was up until 5am last night looking at little houses and watching shitty downloaded TV and such. I have a tendency toward obsessing about ideas. Right now I'm back into obsessively thinking about building a house. And getting land. Absolutely off-the-deep-end obsessive. And I'm frustrated that in the meantime I'm moving at a snail's pace. I'm ready now.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas shopping.

Gift selection comes slowly and anti-consumerism muffles the prospects. I threw some money at it. Four websites and some PayPal payments will earn me a passing grade. I bought no gift too corporate, and hopefully I erred toward the accidentally practical. Did you know you wanted this? It's flavored salt. It's a clay snail from Etsy.

For Kristin? Colorful polygons in a row. Three rings from Etsy and a fourth from another artsy source.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday party includes floppy shrimps.

Shrimp and seitan.
Pita triangles; various cheeses.
Two unidentified delicacies.

A smorgasbordette adorned a corner with my six foot frame hovering above. I'm not too shy to use my fingers.

I have ten friends here, and most of them double as co-workers. Drinks are included at this holiday party, and I track down a couple of Cokes. Smiles come easy, and I happily celebrate another successful year at the bicycle shop. This is where I am right now, and this is where I want to be.

I fish another shrimp from the hot sauce, and I wouldn't change a detail.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Social visits, heavy on the skin and smiles.

Dave stopped by my place. We talked. While we sat and chatted, the young friend of my new roomie decided to stop in. He was somewhat strangely shirtless in the cold air, and the contents of my shelves seemed to hold his interest. He asked for nail clippers. I presented two options: 1) I have the larger nail clippers that most people associate with toes. 2) I have small and precise surgical steel clippers which resemble tiny diagonal cutters. Maybe he had a hangnail? No dice. These were not the correct clippers.

Drugs. It must have been some kind of drugs. He read to us from some books which he was mystified to find on the sidewalk. Drugs?

After dinner, we tried closing the door. It almost worked.

Friday, December 14, 2012


It's 7:21pm and I'm looking at spatulas on eBay. I'm not looking at any particular type. I'm focusing the search on old ones with character which are nevertheless inexpensive. I do not need a spatula.

My next search is for "miniature spatula."

If these words are a window into my life, then you just peeked in on a moment that says a lot. Nobody, most of all me, knows exactly what to make of it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reading an eBook about building a cabin.

I bought an eBook from a guy in Utah who lives in a 14x14 foot cabin that he built by himself - even the roof, though he strongly recommends you get a couple extra hands for that part. It's quaint. The eBook and the guy's cabin. The book gives step-by-step directions which have just the right amount of detail for someone like me who is extremely novice but not completely useless. He doesn't explain how to screw two boards together, but he takes the time to explain what somebody with building experience might take for granted.

My $7.00 bought just about that much information and entertainment. I'm happy that the large majority of those bucks are going straight to the guy who is trying to spread information about a simpler way of life. His work deserves financial reward.

The directions are for basic wood-framed construction, and the whole project is highly possible. I'm completely taken with small houses, just like thousands of others. The draw of a simple life without monthly bills is strong. This cabin is the simplest, least expensive and least intimidating I've seen. There are hints and tips for scavenging most of the supplies - but if you want to buy it all up front, the materials come to about $2,000. Or - another way to look at it - about my yearly rent.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A fairly typical day.

I took a ride to work in a car. There's always the feeling that a gasoline-assisted ride to work is a cop out. On some level I actually believe that, but on a more important level I enjoyed a ride to get a breakfast sandwich with my baby. Egg, cheese and tomato on a kaiser roll - call it in; pick it up. They know me when I get there.

I took a pair of wheels with me, and shuffled some other miscellany in the interest of killing multiple birds. I stayed late for a social smoke, and pointed my feet toward home in the cold evening air. Smart layering made the walk an enjoyable one.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Choosing sushi puts my life in perspective.

Certain actions put my life back in perspective. I'm a reasonably pampered white kid (30-year-old), but sometimes it's too easy to frown and forget about the joys of life. Life gets too real-surreal sometimes, and it's tempting to complain. I always picture myself doing something better. I never picture myself in prison or a wheelchair. Things could be worse.

Things couldn't be better. I'm sitting in uptown Kennett Square, holding a pencil in my left hand, and writing little numbers next to the names of sushi rolls. These people? The staff here will bring me whatever I want - I just have to put a number next to. All I can eat.

I'm sitting across from my parents, and I'm conferring with my mother about exactly which rolls we should have delivered to the table. My father is here because somehow he was convinced. He doesn't like sushi, because he believes it all contains raw fish. I've explained that raw fish is not an integral ingredient, and it does not define sushi. You could make sushi with fried chicken in it. It's like a haiku with food - it fits a certain form, but any ol' word is up for grabs. Unless you have an aversion to small circles, there is a sushi you will love.

Say "la vee." Some people have no culture.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Alright, fuckface: Get a coffee from Wawa.

The weather is absolutely devoid of sun. For another day-in-a-row, I've been living inside a cloud. Not good. I drove to Kennett Square and stopped at Home Depot on the way.

Looking at wood was enough to overwhelm and confuse me. I went back to the van to regroup. Alright, fuckface:

1) Get coffee from Wawa
2) Take an Adderall to squash the brain moss.
3) Calmly picture how much of which types of woodshit to buy.  Make notes.
4) Quit being a fucking idiot: I don't have exact plans, sure - but I can return tomorrow to make returns or exchanges.

It worked. I made more shelves. The shelves look great, I made bonus shelves, and I made most of a tall backsplash to go behind my workbench. Backsplash isn't the correct word for what I made. It's a 4' x 5' board to display and organize my tools.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Driving to the grocery store.

Well, I lost it. No palm trees? Fuck this.

A person has the option to be walking around in a place with palm trees. It's a decision. It's not hard. You just stand up wherever you are, and start walking toward where the palm trees are. I'm severely affected by poor weather, and the air has been gray and saturated for days. Driving through Philadelphia just makes me wonder why ANYBODY would EVER choose to be here when the climate has the capacity to do this. It got to me. No wonder everybody is getting shot in the face around here.

I sat shotgun in Kristin's little beat-up car, and I got confused and angry at myself for being here. I'm miserable and I'd like to disappear. It's the weather. With a sliver of sunlight, I'd be okay. With a strong exposure to sunlight, I might even sprout or bloom. Right now I'm nothing. I'm a dead branch, and I barely care if I hit anybody on my way down.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dinner date at Desi Village.

Kristin cleaned the kitchen with some help from the new guy. I hid in the room and pretended to begin understanding AutoCAD.

The kitchen is lovely. They spent hours, and it's cleaner than I could have imagined. They must have used a chisel inside the microwave, and a pump to muck out the fridge. I realized that I'd better slough off my frown and put on a fresh t-shirt for an impromptu date. I heard her say Indian food, and I took us to a table where they bring it to you. Delicious and a little bit spendy.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Grape leaves and simple systems.

The winter weather is moving in, and I'm beginning to feel sluggish. I'm slow to wake up, slower to smile, and customers are walking into the bicycle shop with much less frequency. I tackle a few minor repairs, make sure that the money made it to the register, and then I go home.

Kristin is teaching lessons in Delaware. It is only me on the wide bed while I watch a droll movie and reflect on the minor tasks which I will not be performing this evening. I will eat a can of stuffed grape leaves and try to understand the different inputs and outputs effecting speed and torque in different applications which use epicyclic gearing. Words, words, words. It's a struggle to grasp the math and engineering of simple systems. I can understand this stuff almost exactly as well as a French newspaper.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Buying weed and books.

At 7:21pm, I was buying some weed and socializing with friends. All I talk about is bicycles, and it's hard to imagine what I would be doing without bicycles as a hobby-job. I need to branch out and expand. Those were my thoughts as I purchased a thick learning manual for AutoCAD from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Watching "Red Dawn."

I watched "Red Dawn." It was terrible.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The path of unnecessary resistance.

I spent the night in Kennett. I like this. I like visiting the big cozy house. There's coffee on demand, and the meals are catered. My parents have a high level of acumen and prowess when it comes to stability and comfort. Granite counter tops and a remotely controlled fireplace are examples of what you get from the long con. If you stay focused on the normal path, you can reap the rewards shortly after 60. You have to play the game for a long time, but the machine definitely pays out.

I'm still trying to figure out the meaning of life. The clock's running out if I want to take my chances at being programmed by a society I don't trust. That's all well and good. I'm going to stumble around both mentally and physically, because I'm stubborn and not easily convinced. I'm going to stare at trees and people until my body shuts down and churns back down to particles. I'll keep my eyes peeled for something funny along the way.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cussing and building. Planning and drilling.

I don't always impress myself. Cussing and a near-breakdown are a possibility around every corner. It's genetics - you should check out my dad - but I have to live with myself, so I have to take responsibility. I'm trying to implement changes and stay productive. I'm trying to make goals and reach them. Realistically, all I can do is go slowly and try not to kick a hole in the wall.

I watched a seven-minute YouTube video about how to make a workbench. I went out to Kennett and started to cut up all of the fucked up old wood that's laying around in my folks's garage. There's wood from a futon that I pulled out of the trash and cut up. There's wood from when I built an apartment in the back of that U-Haul truck. I glued and screwed together a little workbench for my bedroom.

Shelves. We desperately need shelves for the bedroom. (Didn't I live in a van once? Where did all this stuff come from?) I got some long pieces of futon oak, and those decided the height. The width was decided based on what I could get five or six even shelves from without paying money: three feet.

I dragged my new workbench into the center of the garage, and it worked fantastically well as something to put saws and clamps on. I chopped out some plywood shelves, added some reinforcement to the undersides, and thanked Christ that it all fit in my van.

If I ever go to IKEA again, it will be to eat weird food, drink bland coffee and read a book while it rains outside. I'll shit in their bathroom, and I won't wave goodbye. The word "IKEA" being used in the house a few times was sufficient motivation to crank on a drill and read the instructions for installing a blade on my dad's circular saw.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Got AutoCAD running on my machine.

I didn't think it would be easy to get AutoCAD on my computer. First, I thought it was only for PC and I'd have to do some Mac runaround that I'm unfamiliar with. Parallel what-nots or what-have-yous. Second, it's expensive as hell. I assumed that if a program was being sold for thousands of dollars, then it would be difficult to pirate.

The real problem is this: any time I have to do something new, my brain creates hurdles and barriers. Time passes and I think about hypothetical boundaries between myself and what I should be doing.

AutoCAD is about as easy to download as the latest episode of The Walking Dead. As a bonus, I already doubled the RAM on my laptop a couple weeks ago, which will help run this powerful bastard of a program. Best of all, a version for Mac users was released in 2011.

It's 7:21pm. I'm watching a tutorial video which introduces the basic layout and options available when starting AutoCAD. I'm trying to make a circle.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Surthrival of the almost comfortable.

Bright striped socks; microfiber leggings. Not quite pants. I'm looking for a method of forgetting about pants and keeping my legs warm in shorts. I got some one-size mustard-color leggings, and managed to tug them all the way on. With sexxy thigh-high socks over top, the insulating quality was still not the same as cheap pants - but I did enjoy a quick return to faded black shorts. This climate is the pits.

It was Mike's surprise party. His 30th birthday is happening in a couple days. His girlfriend went all-out, and a shindig ensued. A bunch of good people who I like were there. I showed up about hungry enough to punch a horse in the mouth. Fortunately, it was only about an hour or so until Mike showed up, and after he was sufficiently surprised, I was able to start picking stuff off of a huge table of options.

I'm not getting drunk anymore, but I'm still sometimes talking about not drinking, and I did manage to dance in a very minor way. Beyond survival. I'm clasping the thin edge of surthrival, and I can picture myself doing even better soon.

Back home, we got a new roommate. More people is more traffic, and that's one step further from living in a secret pile of dirt surrounded by trees. But if you have to cut the rent down, then sometimes you need a roommate, and this guy seems like a reasonably safe choice. He's clean. He's nice. He has money.