Nothing Further.

ALERT: THE FOLLOWING EXCHANGE CANNOT BE FULLY APPRECIATED UNLESS YOUR MIND’S EYE CAN PROVIDE THE CORRECT FACIAL EXPRESSIONS THAT ACCOMPANY THE FINAL TWO LINES. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE.

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Luna: I finished downloading “True Hollywood Stories”!

Me: Okay.

Luna: Now I’m going to watch it on my computer.

Me: Okay.

Luna: This makes me feel all cool. Watching TV on your computer is baller.

Me: Yes.

Luna: Hey! I could watch it in the car!

Me: You surely could.

Luna: I wonder if I could watch it on an airplane.

Me: Of course you could. You could even put the show on your thumb drive, and watch it on almost any computer or laptop. You wouldn’t have to have yours.

Luna: I could?

Me: Yeah.

Luna: You can save TV to a hard drive, and then move it around to other TVs?

Me: Sure. <rhetorically> How do you think the TiVo works?

Luna: <blink>

<blink>

<blink>

Magi…

Me: Never mind.

100% Reflectoporn-Free. (I Was Careful.)

The Dorm Room: A Photo Essay In Five Parts

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It’s cheap, it’s cramped, and it’s attractive to scorpions.

But the view’s pretty good:

Gramps Gone Wild

This was for episode seven of KeysCast:

The crankiness and nerves begin to show in early February. The residents of Key West become unsettled and touchy as they contemplate the future. There is much preemptive complaining about tipping, and crowds, and drunkenness, and traffic. A general sense of doom and gloom pervades our little island, as the aging population of Cayo Hueso braces itself for another year’s onslaught. The local papers are full of gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, of dire predictions, and of the kind of wailing about undesirables that I associate with gated communities. Which some people would like Key West to be, I think. Especially in March, when the Spring Breakers arrive. And with them comes profound irritation, a lot of outrageous behavior, and some really out-of-control drunkenness.

From the locals, I mean. The kids, if you’ll pardon the expression, are all right. What seems to me ridiculous is that, for about three weeks in March, three-quarters of the residents of Key West go into full-on Grandpa Simpson mode. They start throwing around phrases like “back in MY day” and “kids today” and “uphill both ways”. The primary complaint seems to be that students on Spring Break act like, well, students on Spring Break. The tolerance for unruly behavior – normally off the charts in Key West – drops to a level I associate with whisper sticks, paddling, and rulers ‘cross the knuckles. It’s overkill. And it’s stupid. And it is remarkably unfair.

With Spring Break comes binge drinking, and wet-tshirt contests, and sleeping on the beach, and one-night-stands, and furtive joint-smoking, and unsteady scooter-riding, and a general sense of wide-eyed unfettered fun and excitement and possibility that is badly missing from the old and jaded residents of Key West the rest of the year. Lots of these Spring Breakers are on their first vacation without their parents, ever. Lots of you say that like it’s a bad thing. Not for them it isn’t. Was it for you, when you took your first trip? Was your first trip to Key West in their age zone? I bet it was. Bet you loaded up the Bonneville and drove out the old seven-mile bridge and got so loaded up on nickel beers that you wouldn’t have found your way back to the car you were sleeping in if your friends hadn’t been blaring Danny and the Juniors so loud. Speaking of which: Their music stinks, right? All that booming and shouting and caterwauling? What do you think your parents thought of Elvis and Zeppelin and Foghat? See if this brings back memories “Why can’t you listen to Glenn Miller and the Andrews Sisters like a normal person!?”

Give them a goddamn break, Key Westers. I’m sorry the traffic gets so bad it takes two tries to get through the light at Stock Island. I’m sorry the kids are loud and drunk at night in a town that was birthed by loud nocturnal drunks. No, they don’t tip lavishly. Neither did you. There was a time in your life when five bucks wasn’t tipping money, it was a whole day’s money. No, they don’t go out a for thirty-five-dollar entree dinner, wash it down with a glass or two of a delightful little Montrachet, and spend the whole time talking about lasik and ulcers and property values and comparative mortgage rates. And God bless them. They go out and get drunk and baked and sunburned and roll on the beach with someone they’ll never see again and have the time of their lives.

When it comes to Spring Breakers, to say that the locals are contemptuous would be fairly inaccurate. What the locals are is jealous.

Operation Enduring Tedium

So I’ve been lax in my posting, as have many of you over there on the right. And I figured it was just summertime, and work travel, and not sitting in a cube, and that kind of thing. Inspiration comes in cycles, and a lot of us have come into phase of late. A down phase. Some of you have even been delisted, to save you looking like lazy schmoes. By me, the lazy shmoe Grand Poobah.

But dead or dying blogs hurt nobody. They’re just your musings. Our bullshit. Our way to kill a tiny fraction of the eight daily hours spent in the company of copiers. They go on vacation, nobody much cares.

Right?

No.

Abu Alex is sitting halfway around the world, in a bad suit, looking to read of your unorthodox child-rearing methods, your genital idiosyncrasies, your mom’s malaprops, your horrendous taste in music, your addiction to workahol, your blurry pictures of your own hip cleavage, your adventures combining Sartre and onion rings…he’s got a lot of time to pass. Y’all bullshit gives the man something to do.

Get to writing. Join me. Amuse the guy. Three times a week. I promise. Who’s with me?

R.W.A.

I started to write a post that’s been screaming to get released from inside my head, but, as therapeutic esoterica goes, am I the only person on Earth who can appreciate both Ren Faire jokes and the musical stylings of Ice Cube? ‘Cause this might set the incoherent self-amusement bar entirely out of reach.

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I have three real posts percolating, but they have been hampered by eight or ten tiny ones that just aren’t long enough to warrant their own spot. So tomorrow, I will clean the closet.

Thursday, I will offer y’all the opportunity to join me in doing the Lord’s work. In cyberspace, so no icy cold Widowmakers, but that’s probably for the best.

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By request:

You scored as II – The High Priestess. The High Priestess is a card of intuition, instinct and hidden knowledge. She knows all your secrets, you can hide nothing from her. Yet you will never know the secrets she herself protects.If well aspected in a Tarot spread, this card can indicate the use of intuition to solve problems; trust to your instincts. If badly aspected, it can mean suppression and ignoring of such instincts – following your head at the expense of your heart.

II – The High Priestess

94%

IV – The Emperor

88%

XV: The Devil

75%

I – Magician

75%

XVI: The Tower

69%

VIII – Strength

63%

0 – The Fool

56%

VI: The Lovers

50%

XIII: Death

44%

X – Wheel of Fortune

44%

III – The Empress

44%

XIX: The Sun

44%

XI: Justice

38%

Which Major Arcana Tarot Card Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com

Summer Hiatus

I don’t know what’s going on with KeysCast.

Here’s the unedited script for what would have been installment six:

I have come to understand that, to be a ‘local’ in Key West, you need two things above all else. Before you burn your neckties, before you stop thinking of twelve hundred dollars a month as ‘low-rent’, before you stop worrying about drinking beer with breakfast, before anyone says ‘the usual?’ to you at a Happy Hour.

Two things you must do, things far more significant to locals than grumbling about tourism, more ingrained than a fear of Miami, more important than a pair of special-occasion flip-flops.

Two facets of the island mindset more ubiquitous than a picture with Captain Tony, more familiar than the chorus of ‘Margaritaville’, more critical to true assimilation than learning to ride a scooter:

You absolutely, first and foremost, must lose any reasonable perspective on two things. The first one is temperature.

Back in December, the temperature dipped down into the sixties. I know, picnic weather, right? So I’m coming out of the gym one evening, about eight, and I have wet hair, and I’m wearing workout clothes, shorts and a t-shirt. And it’s a beautiful night. No clouds. Maybe sixty-seven, sixty-six degrees. And a guy walks by me, as I’m coming out, and he is wearing a fleece! And a knitted hat! And an honest-to-god scarf! And Nanook, this loon, has the nerve to give me that “Hey, it’s your funeral” raised-eyebrow look that I’d give someone dressed like me if it was maybe eleven degrees. And this is from a guy dressed for dogsledding. It was seventy degrees two hours ago, he’s ready for the Iditarod.

And brace yourself for this: In February, it went down to fifty-five. Fifty-five puts all of South Florida on orange alert. Here’s what the weather guy on TV said when that happened: ‘There’s a front stalled over South Florida, that means the cold snap should continue for the next two nights, before breaking on Thursday. On Wednesday night, we have a frost warning for south-central Florida, where the temperature could dip below thirty-two-degrees Fahrenheit, inevitably resulting in the deaths of millions. I urge you to take your families and flee the state, and I call upon the government of the United States to construct a giant sunlamp, to prevent the tragedy of cold-weather ever again wreaking havoc and mayhem upon the great state of Florida. I will remain on my station, calling out temperatures, as long as I can. It is fifty-four degrees in Miami. God bless you all. Tell my wife I love her. Goodbye.’

The second thing on which you must completely lose perspective to be a Key Wester is distance. We have been renting a house on Summerland Key at Mile Marker 24. The office is on Key West. We drive to the office on a fairly regular basis. And when we tell residents of Key West that we are staying on Summerland, they react as though we must be coming in by helicopter. And when I explain that it takes half an hour, whereas my previous commute, which was much shorter in terms of absolute distance, was made in the same amount of time and involved me spending the whole time standing on a crowded, non-climate-controlled train that smelled like a porta-potty, took forty minutes, they look blank, and say ‘But it’s so far.’

And this problem is fractal. I often ride my bike from the office to Duval Street or the seaport, a distance of roughly two and a half miles. That’s not a lot. I have been in airports larger than this island. But let me ride my bike over to Monty’s for stone crabs and shrimp, and when I get there, you’d think I stepped off my bike and said ‘Yup. Just rode down from Miami. Nice day.’ When I lived in Chicago, I would not have thought twice about riding my bike two and a half miles. In light snow. To get a newspaper.

So obviously, I’m not used to it here, yet.

God With The Save

I have often been accused of an annoying level of enthusiasm for being “always right”. I am now armed with an anecdote that disproves that inaccurate and unkind theory:

At 545pm yesterday, traffic on I-20 came to a complete construction-related halt six miles east of the Alabama border. I had wanted to go to Uncle Mort’s, in Jasper, for a dinner of country ham and biscuits. To be fed, we had to be there by 8pm. Jasper, Alabama, is two hours from the Georgia/Alabama state line. We putted along with our fellow travelers, merging eventually from three independent lanes of travel to one long tedious lane of idling fury.

We hit the state line at 6:49, with no chance of country ham and me so angry I was chewing on my own fingers. As we burst free into the great state of Alabama, instantly back to three lanes and with the cruise once again set on 85, I wove a tapestry of profanity rivaling the legendary effort of Ralphie’s father, and ended it with “SO THAT’S AN HOUR OF MY LIFE I WILL NEVER GET BACK!”

Not thirty seconds later, we passed a great big green sign:

“You Are Now Entering The Central Time Zone”.