11/17/10

In Which I Think of Rearranging My Home

I live in a very small apartment. I have a living room, a bedroom, a smidgen of a kitchen, a dab of a bathroom, an afterthought of a closet. All told, I lay claim to about 550 square feet. I've been here almost 7 years.

I've always been fascinated by small living spaces. Gypsy carts, sailboats, treehouses, airstream trailers. A place for everything and everything in its place. I've got everything tetrised into this place like you wouldn't believe. Folding chairs stuck in corners for when guests come over. Pans stored in the oven. My computer on a rolling bass amp so it can be tucked behind my falling-apart big chair when it's not in use. A fold out couch the size of a small love seat. Bookcases on every wall possible. Zines, hats, and other goodies hanging from the ceiling.

I love my little place, even with all the clutter. But all of a sudden I am so fuckin bored with how it's set up. The time has come to shuffle my belongings, clear out what I don't need, kick the dust off of everything and see where it settles. I think tonight I'll start with the kitchen. That's got to be the easiest room to break down and rebuild, right?

11/2/10

that time of year again

You gotchyer day people and you gotchyer night people. Oh, sure, daytime is great. Sunshine, warm air, blue skies, green trees. Lunch, a fine meal. Folks are hustling and bustling, jobs get done, houses get built. Kids play in the park, families walk around Lake Ella. Nothing wrong with daytime.

But I perk up as the colors fade out of the world and everything goes grey, black, and silver. Anything's possible at night. When I'm lacing up my boots and headed out the door into the moonlight, I might just get dinner and come home again. Or I might run into a crowd of freaky weirdos and get swept into the darkness, stumbling up my front steps later with the dawn behind me, adventure clinging to my clothes.

I know plenty of people who get depressed as the nights lengthen, who need special lamps and trips to sunnier climes to survive the winter. Not me, buddy. I need a hooded sweatshirt and ten dollars for beer. A knit cap for my shaved head and good friends to laugh in the shadows.

Two parades (pretty much) go past my house every year. The Springtime Parade celebrates all that sunshiny brightness, the blooming dogwoods, the chirping peeps, fresh cut grass. It happens at ten in the morning in April and my parade parties have grown increasingly baby-friendly and kid-filled. The Winter Parade, coming up in a month, glitters in cold darkness. It's an event of flames throwing ghosts against the walls and people banging rocks together to scare off the prowling predators. We drink, we eat seared meat, we cheer for the parade until it ends and then cheer for ourselves long into the night. I love this season!

10/14/10

as far as the eye can see

from Ryan Register's flickr
Last night I dreamed that I was in a van with a few people, riding on the bridge to St. George Island. The sea on either side was full to the horizon with dolphins, leaping and diving. As we neared the shore we could see people walking into the water, splashing in the shallows, hugging and petting the large animals, laughing with joy over the amazing gathering.

My sister Jessie wanted to join them but felt afraid. I urged her into the water. "Go!" I told her, "Go! When will you see this again?" and she smiled and went.

So, Jess, I don't know what you're feeling unsure about doing right now, but I think I'm in favor of whatever it is.

9/2/10

straggler

All my friends are married or sober or laid up somewhere canoodling with their sweet baboo every night after work. They're buying houses and having babies and, I dunno, going to bed at ten on Friday night.

And that's great. I am honestly happy for all of them. If you can find love and stability in this life, fuckin' hop on it. Hug it tight and be joyful. But cheese'n'rice, do you know where that leaves we few confirmed bachelors and late bloomers?

Bored. Very, very bored.

I mean, I can entertain myself. I'm good at it. Ask my mama - I've been sneaking off with books or going for long walks my whole life. As an adult, though, I've cobbled together a happy little band of friends and drinking buddies and guys I go to shows with. Folks I could call on a Tuesday night or a Saturday morning to go split a pitcher or drive down to the beach or just sit on a stoop and reinvent the world. And now I can call a dozen people and get nothing but "maybe later". Later days, y'all.

I miss my friends. I miss having a crowd around at the drop of a hat. Nothing ever stays the same, and maybe it's me. Maybe I've just missed so many normal milestones in my adult life that I'm now hopelessly left behind. But it doesn't feel like that. I adore the babies, I admire the new homes, but I don't feel that pull for myself. I like living alone - I just didn't sign up to spend all my leisure time that way.

7/26/10

kinda sorta birthday party

I tell you what, we run my mama ragged. It doesn't matter if we're talking about a full Thanksgiving dinner or three frozen pizzas (with toppings added) and a salad. Doesn't matter if the guest list is every cousin and 15 friends or the nearest and dearest, complete with babies. We are just gonna wear my mama clean out.



Last night we got mama to throw herself a small bash in honor of her birthday, something she's not all that into. Basically, we all want to descend upon her and then eat cake. It was a lickety-split sort of evening. If you sat still more than five minutes, you probably had a baby, a cigarette, or a slice of venison pizza in your hands. And those babies are wiggly buggers!



Waylon crawled four-on-the-floor for about a day and a half before going straight to the tripod stage (adorable) and is now racing along. This, in turn, sets Owen back a little. His easily-manipulated little friend can now hold his own - a good lesson for any child to learn!





That bruiser of a boy, in the mean time, was trying out this whole "walking in shoes" thing for the first time, and handling it like a champ. I fed him ice until we were both soaking wet and chilly, but he kept popping that wee mouth open like a birdie.




In the end, I know I had a good time. When we get together, no matter what, we make each other laugh. Oh, we're a lucky bunch.

4/18/10

Oh, The Things You Will See


So, my friend Anna and I were walking back toward my place from downtown this afternoon. We're strolling along, almost there, just a few blocks from the state capitol building, as urban as Tallahassee gets, and what do we see? A chicken! Just scratching and pecking with those big chicken feet in the grassy area next to a parking lot. A little red hen, unafraid of us or the traffic passing a few feet away from her. We talked to her a second (Hello, chicken, where is your flock?), tried to figure out where she escaped from, and took a few photos. As you can see, she posed quite graciously.

We left her to her dinner and went into the hair braiding business in that white building in the picture. "Y'all raising chickens?" we asked. They said no, but they call her City Chick - she's been around for about three weeks. Crazy!

Where does she roost? Where is she laying eggs? Would it be wrong for me to take said eggs for my own if I find her hiding place? She doesn't seem to have a rooster. I would know. I live right here, and I would hear him.

I tell you, this neighborhood just gets busier and busier. City Chick!

4/5/10

Sunday and a ham.


Bottle tree at Mama's house, new and improved.


Granny, Jessie, Lily, Owen, and sweet ol' Pearl dog.


Mama and Kathleen, taking the breeze.


Mama always takes the pictures, so I felt like I'd put her in a few instead.


Where Mama holds court.


The Ma and the Pa.


Mama making rolls and swapping stories.


To me, this looks like Owen is at a cocktail party, but really May just got off work and hasn't changed yet.


Jessie, looking very mama.


May and Mark, smokin' menthols.


Granny, Jessie, Mama, eating hummingbird cake under the trees.


Owen enjoying his Uncle Mark's company.


Mama, communing with the chickens.

Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of the ham.

4/1/10

artsy fartsy


A good friend of mine, Leila, is an artist. Here lately, I guess just for kicks, she's been doing little drawings of her nearest and dearest. Mine both cracked me up and flattered me, so I thought I'd share. Sort of King of the Hill-esque, you think?

3/31/10

Happy 50th. Happy 50th. Happy 50th.


All hail Xerox! Hundreds of underground cultures and subcultures, captured on paper, promoted with fliers, examined and captured in zines and self-bound booklets, archived and spread and multiplied. Black and white artwork, smeared and shadowed and stolen from office jobs page by sneaking page.

A blog? A blog is nothing, it's 1s and 0s. Technology fades, and these words will blink into nothing someday. But all that copied paper, scattered like leaves like manifestos dropped behind enemy lines - it won't all rot. It will remain, to carry our stories forward, hidden in basements and behind walls and under floorboards.

Happy birthday, photocopier! Long may you print!

3/30/10

everybody loves a parade


You got your hippies and your mamas and your punks and your skins. You got your geeks and your dorks and your pin-ups and pirates. You got your queers and your breeders, and in several cases those lines are a little blurry. Mostly, we got a beautiful day and a fine time, and we'll do it all again next year.

3/24/10

Krewe of the Fives



We're the float that doesn't move, the morning fĂȘte, the oi polloi. Six feet above the street, laughing and dancing and hassling the crowds. We want your beads, your candies, your boiled peanuts, and your pretty wenches. We're the Krewe of the Fives.

All year I live in a crickity crackety apartment that's slowly returning the soil, dealing with palmetto bugs and critters in the walls and an oven that doesn't work. Downtown noises and overflow parking from the hotel down the street. But one day a year, one spring morning when the dogwoods are blooming and folks pack the streets, mine is the best house in town. My friends show up happy, the beer goes down easy, and the marching bands step lively.

I simply can't express how I fall in love, each and every year, with the whole damned affair. If you can, come join us. Bring chips and a smile.

3/19/10

the throne room

Before:

bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives
bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives
bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives
The last three are "in progress" pictures. I did have a wall behind the tub and all - that was part of the problem. At some point, someone covered up the window that was already there.

After:
bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives bathroom,the fives

Yes, I lived like that for 6 years. I mean, it wasn't as bad when I moved in, but it got pretty grody toward the end. To have a bathroom window and a ceiling free of mildew seems to me to be the height of luxury right now.

3/18/10

To a man with a heart like a lion.


If the road hadn't been rainslick. If the young driver hadn't been fooling around. If he'd been buckled in. If this, that, and the other goddam thing, I'd be helping my friend Derek Biggs celebrate his 25th birthday today.

6 years gone, I can barely believe it.

"And for some of us, there's never gonna be any happy ever after."

3/11/10

My sink and toilet are sitting in my bedroom. My bathroom floor is in chunks on my yard. There's a hole in the wall over the tub, covered in plastic and awaiting a window.

If you have ever been in my bathroom, you'll know why all this is so exciting to me. They're destroying the mildew and painting my walls! In fact, they are actually giving me real walls instead of slowly rotting plaster over 80 year old lathe.

For a cinematic conception of what my bathroom has looked like for the past 6 years, see here and just remove the chick and the sofa. When you have no vent, nothing ever dries. Especially in Florida. Especially in my house, because I am a man who likes a long, hot shower.

I'm gonna buy a towel bar, by gum! And when they finish the renovations, I'll post before and after pictures.

3/1/10

coming events


If you're around, come on by that morning and join in the fun.

2/25/10

In which I teach my nephew Owen how to yell at cars.


Okay, Owen, now let's hassle that guy driving the yellow Hummer.


"Hey! Hey, buddy! What's with the car? Always dreamed of being a school bus driver but couldn't make the cut?"


"Ha! That always cracks me up."