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Tuesday, November 25, 2003
We’re back from the marriage of the now Mr. and Mrs. Glory Hole. (That joke’s kind-of getting old at this point, isn't it?) We had too much a lot of fun in Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. Did some shopping in “historic” Cocoa’s quirky boutique / antique district. Strangely enough, most of the purchases were for other people. Fancy that.

So, anyhow, here are 10 12 things I want you to know about our trip:

-- There seems to be a debate about which way is faster / better when driving from Tallahassee to Cape Canaveral. Well, I timed the drive and logged the mileage both ways, and I can tell you that going the I-75 / Turnpike / Bee Line way is no faster than the I-10 / 295 around Jacksonville / I-95 way. It is about 11 miles shorter to go the Bee Line, but it’ll cost you a bunch of money in tolls . . . spaced in such a way to break up any momentum you might have and really piss you off and make you curse the name of Our Most Holy Lord and Saviour™ make you mad.

-- I didn’t have any sunglasses, so I had to purchase some in the gift shop at the hotel after standing in the sun by the pool talking to Mr. Glory Hole’s family. I think you know that the sunglasses are made by Panama Jack.

-- The rehearsal dinner (there was no rehearsal) was at The Mango Tree in Cocoa Beach. I had the chicken and Michelle had the salmon. (Most of the rest of our table had the veal.) We both had lots of Riesling (although the server did sneak a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in there for good measure . . . the rat bastard) on empty stomachs. Needless to say, we were buzzing pretty hard.

-- The restaurant had a pond with several koi, which were the biggest goddamn Japanese fish I’d seen in my fucking life. (The hotel had a koi pond, too, which was very close to our room. And every time we’d pass it, Michelle would whisper “Koi!” in this cute, little-girl’s voice.)

-- After the rehearsal dinner, a bunch of us went to a local dive bar called The Pig & Whistle. We were a little dressed up, so we didn’t “blend in” very well (which apparently provoked the “y’all-ain’t-from-around-here” speech later on . . . the “you’re-showing-your-white-trash-colors” response almost caused some trouble). I ordered a pitcher of Harp when we got there, and tried to slink out later and stick someone else with the $9 tab. But, alas, I am not that slick. I did, however, do fairly well at pool, sinking my first four shots . . . and then I promptly returned to my mediocre pool-playing ways.

-- A few hours before the wedding, I had an informative conversation with The Drunk Cousin™ about what skills a man should have. Apparently these include (but are not limited to) knowing how to drive a semi, bet on horses, and run a football pool. Hey, two out of three ain’t bad.

-- The wedding ceremony took about 5 minutes total. Not even joking. (On a side note, Michelle helped edit the vows for Mr. Glory Hole.)

-- The reception was quite an event. This guy was at our table (that’s Table 16, yo). We were a particularly obnoxious bunch. (For example, to transition away from an intensely graphic account of childbirth, we started on the much friendlier topic of fisting. Yes, ‘tis true.)

-- Prior to the reception, there was a “cocktail hour” while the wedding party had their pictures taken. The bartender continued working for the rest of the reception. I’d started drinking Kirin, so I had to keep venturing to the bar to get my fix. The bartender once asked, “What can I get you, sweet pea?” This prompted a discussion at the table at what outrageous nicknames she’d come up with next (e.g., “lumberjack,” “log-jammer”). By far the best name was Tom’s . . . “sugarballs.”

-- I eventually switched from Kirin to drinking Sauvignon Blanc straight from the bottle.

-- On his way back to his room, the groom stripped to his underwear and tuxedo shirt and jumped in the pool.

-- We missed out on the after-wedding party, but there was reportedly a reenactment of the entire ceremony with a couple of the groom’s friends playing the part of the happy couple.


Well, I’ve been watching Mia for the past couple days (daycare closed for the week), so I’ve been behind on my ‘blogging duties (doesn't help that my ISP at home is suckin' the proverbial ass). I’m posting this about an hour or two before we leave for five days in Atlanta and Huntsville. I don’t think I’ll be updating or reading much during that time, so I’ll most likely see you all next week.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2003
It was called a liver-function test. I had one right after my last major reflux attack . . . and right before I started taking Prilosec for a year and a half. The test said that my liver had over-produced a digestion-stimulation enzyme, and my stomach had gone into acid overload. Something like that.

Two nights earlier, Michelle and I had gone out for Indian food. I had the chicken tikka masala. I might have eaten a lot, and it may have been a bit later than the usual dinner. Everything was fine until about 3 o’clock in the morning. I woke up feeling nauseous. I’d had these episodes from time to time. I’d get out of bed, take one of Michelle’s prescription-strength Pepcids, and wait for the nausea to subside. Sometimes, it’d be bad enough where I’d linger on the floor in front of the commode taking deep breaths . . . in through my nose and out through my mouth.

But this time was different. The nausea was combined with stomach pain (that punched-in-the-stomach feeling), so I figured I was hungry and I ate a piece of bread and drank some water. Then came the gas pressure, so I took a few Tums. Nothing helped. Soon, I was in unbearable pain and my stomach was so swollen with gas, I could hardly breathe. The thought actually crossed my mind to stab myself in the stomach to let the air out. It was that desperate.

Michelle called the “urgent care” number and we went to the “urgent care” office in the wee hours of the morning. They sent me home with 800 mg tablets of Tagamet, which helped until I could get in to see my doctor.

So, that’s the story of how I ended up on Prilosec. And why I try not to eat greasy foods, or foods with too many onions and/or tomatoes. And why I try not to eat anything substantial within a few hours of bedtime. And why I sleep with my head elevated.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s because I’m going in for a different kind of “liver function test” this weekend. The one where there are several different activities involving open bars with free liquor. It’s an endurance test . . . a marathon for which I haven’t prepared. (And God help Michelle.)

We’re leaving tomorrow morning for Mr. Glory Hole and the Shiksa’s wedding in Cocoa Beach. And, God willing, our collective livers will work okay when we get back home on Sunday. Say a little prayer for us, and try not to burp anything up when you do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Lessons in Emo
OMG, kids! I just complemented one of my better CD mixes (not the dark one I'm currently in the process of mailing out, but the new Choppa-mix) with a badass post-minimalist cover! (I will state, for the record, that I draw like a seven-year-old.)

You are so gonna want one of these CDs. And you're gonna have to fight for it. It's a quiz, y'all. Coming soon. (This is just the hype.)

You'll be given ample warning. So no whining this time!

Monday, November 17, 2003
The Wood-Villains
If you, like me, were going to Woodville for an afternoon to visit your estranged father, here are some tips for making things go more smoothly:

-- Take your baby daughter. Showing up by yourself is really pointless. Because, then, your father will want you to help him do something that will almost certainly involve manual labor. And you don’t want that.

-- Now that you have your baby daughter to fend off your father’s “projects” and pangs of disappointment, you don’t have to worry as much about your unconventionally long hair.* Unless you put it in a ponytail. (Yeah, don’t do that.)

-- Pray that your baby daughter doesn’t cry when she’s alone with either your father or his wife. Because then your infrequent visits will become an issue.

-- Avoid any talk of politics. Talking about your job is fine. Talking about his lack of a job . . . better.

-- Don’t bring up your father’s emphysema, his excessive drinking, or that his weight loss could have anything to do with cancer.

-- Save discussions about holiday plans for your father’s wife, who is in charge of those things.

-- No matter how much you feel like a beer, don’t go with the Busch (in a can, no less) . . . supposedly, it’s a step up from Old Milwaukee, but whatever. It’s dinner time, so drink the last Mic Ultra. Still have a thirst / feeling of inadequacy as a son? How about that last Natural Lite (in a bottle, thank God)? Really, if you’re gonna drink redneck-ghetto beer for free, your estranged father’s house is the place to do it. Besides, I think those two beers pair well with vegetable soup, chicken pot pie, and a hot dog on a slice of white bread with store-brand American cheese, mustard, and ketchup. Your daughter would agree.

So, I negotiated the visit pretty well. And, because I followed my own helpful tips, everyone involved had a pleasantly emotions-repressed afternoon.

* I got my hair cut today. Yeah, not really. It's still long and floppy . . . just not quite as long. There was a handy flat-iron to keep things from getting too floppy, too.

Friday, November 14, 2003
Songs from a Life
So I put together a mix CD, which was supposed to be done around the time of my birthday. It was going to be a CD of my favorite songs, and then a CD of songs by my favorite bands (not necessarily the same thing at all). But now it’s a combination of both, and I’m sort-of looking at it as a soundtrack—a soundtrack to my first 32 years.


1. “Greet Death,” Explosions in the Sky
Really, could you have a better opening song than this? Seeing them play this song live really blew my mind. And eardrums. In the soundtrack scheme, this would play over the opening credits. And, fuck, that would have to be a killer credit sequence.

2. “Dead Disco,” Metric
This is too new to be really influential and/or sacred, but I can’t get it out of my head. It’s so catchy and engaging. Yeah, I loves me some retro pop; the sexed-up lyrics (“Tits out, pants down, overnight to London . . .”) are just a bonus. For most of you, this song is worth the price of the CD alone. And when that price is free, well, you can’t complain, can you? (The answer is “No.”)

3. “Icicle,” Tori Amos
The tawdry theme continues. This time, it’s quasi-sacrilegious masturbation fantasy. I remember when Under the Pink came out, Tori performed this song on MTV’s 120 Minutes. Strangely beautiful and powerful. And erotic. I don’t know how any of that fits into the soundtrack idea, but it’s definitely a favorite.

4. “A Night Like This,” The Cure
There are a dozen or more Cure songs I could’ve used. Let’s be honest . . . from the ages of 16 to my early 20s, The Cure was the Biggest Band in the World™. (Just look at the cover of the CD. That picture was taken within the past two months.) Anyway, I chose a “lighter” Cure selection because, really, the playlist was getting pretty dark and heavy. You’d be hard pressed to find a better love song in Mr. Smith’s extensive repertoire. (“Lovesong?” Yeah, nice try. That song is too one-dimensional.) And this song accurately sums up my melodramatic late 80s / early 90s.

5. “High Rising,” (The London) Suede
Suede has proven (for me, anyway) to be a fairly consistent band . . . always capable of putting out listenable albums and anthematic swan-songs. This song isn’t my favorite of theirs, but one I particularly enjoy. (In hindsight, I should’ve included “Asphalt World” instead.)

6. “The Ship Song,” Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
There were a few songs that I could’ve included here, but I chose this one because Michelle and I used it during our first dance at our wedding. It’s a really beautiful song but, at around 5 minutes long, not the best pick for a solo first dance.

7. “Medicine Bottle,” Red House Painters
The Best Song Ever Written™. Even though I’ve gotten into more bombastic, over-the-top post-rock / shoegaze music, the textured melancholy of this song is top-notch. And not much can touch the lyrics. I latched onto this song as an introverted, introspective 23-year-old . . . and never let go.

8. “The Pink Room,” Angelo Badalamenti
This is from the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me soundtrack. This has historic significance in that I went to see this with two friends on my 21st birthday. We had already been to a few bars for free pitchers and we may have had a smoke in the car on the way to the theater. (That would explain the tray of nachos and additional beer at the movie theater . . . yes, I.C. Flicks was one of those second-run theaters that sold beer and food. That also might explain why I fell out of my chair during “the pink room” scene, although that could have been attributed to the unexpected shot of bare breasts.)

9. “The Chauffeur,” Duran Duran
First of all, I probably wouldn’t have started playing music when I did had it not been for Duran Duran. They were the first band to really have any affect on my life. This is far and away my favorite song by them, and one of my favorite, period.

10. “Without You, I’m Nothing,” Placebo
Much like its melodramatic title, this song sweeps emotionally from tension to a cascade of feelings, expressed in a torrent of rushed lyrics. One person’s “devastating” is another person’s “Dude, get some prozac.” But I’ll be damned if I haven’t felt like this song several times in my life (so far).

11. “Freestate,” Depeche Mode
This is far from a typical song by this band. But with its heaps of emotional outpouring (read: more melodrama) and guitar-work reminiscent of everyone from The Cure to The Chameleons to Pink Floyd, this song has a unique place in the Depeche Mode canon. I mean, Christ, you can’t really even dance to this or sing along in a playful way. Really, I mean, what the fuck?

12. “Virus Meadow,” And Also the Trees
When you think of “goth” music, there are generally two types: the gauzy Stevie Nicks / Bela’s-undead type that lingers on bats and vampires and darkness (e.g., Bauhaus, Switchblade Symphony), or the driving mock-industrial type with 4/4 bass-lines and drum machines (e.g., Sisters of Mercy). Well, AATT specialized in a more romantic kind of “goth” music early in their careers (before they became a lounge band), where pre-Romantic poetry met with spindly guitar lines and complex rhythms. This song (the title track from their amazing second album) aptly represents the dark tension under the surface of the younger, broodier Scott.

13. “Leif Erickson,” Interpol
I like how the lyrics to this song are obscure enough to hit on multiple levels, but the sound and feel of the song is very direct and tangible. It starts out tightly wound but ends in a climax of mournful hope (does that make sense?).

14. “Helicon 1,” Mogwai
I tried to clue CW in to this song’s perfection, but I don’t think he was buying it. What a fuckin’ slamhound that guy is. Anyway, just awesome.


Yeah, I know . . . I left off a boatload of great bands. Joy Division has several great songs, but none that stand out as the greatest or most representative (for me, anyway). The Chameleons were shamefully excluded, but they fall into a similar trap as JD. There are several others who just missed out . . . Death Cab for Cutie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, New Order, Mira, Sunny Day Real Estate, Nine Inch Nails.

Now, I’ve mentioned CDs. Well, this is what I’ve been working on for the past week or so (in between my real work). I’ve already sent out a couple, and many (most? all?) of you regulars will be getting one . . . whether you want one or not. Actually, I have another CD completed, and details on that one will be coming soon . . . perhaps next week.

(Hint: There will be a Choppa-rific quiz, so put on your thinking knit-caps!)

Thursday, November 13, 2003
Big Things
. . . are in the works. You just have to trust me on that. I'm hard at work (at work) at something that's not work, per se. (That's in between my real work, you understand.) But it's for you . . . all ten or twelve of you.

In other news, my fantasy basketball team (The Knights of Sanchez) is off to a strong start. And my fantasy football team (also The Knights of Sanchez) have clawed their way up to .500 with three straight wins! It makes me so happy that I could just donkey punch someone!

Perhaps one of my fantasy teams should've been The Angry Dragons.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Stats that Shape a Weekend (Revisited)
Time Spent Waiting (Outside) for Door to Open for Death Cab for Cutie Show: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Birthday Parties Attended: 2
Poker Winnings: about $3 (after giving away $2.50 in nickels)

I was going to write about the Death Cab for Cutie show this past Friday night and how we waited with all the ultra-hipster youths/college kids for the doors to open at the club that doesn’t sell advance tickets to shows. Maybe I would’ve told you about all the Red Stripe I had, or how I thought Mates of State songs all sound the same (and perky to boot).

I was going to write about the birthday parties we went to (sister-in-law and niece), and how we had pizza and cake at one and how I had to skip out after presents at the other because I was trying to squeeze in a band practice.

I could’ve written about the poker game Saturday . . . how I actually won a little bit of money. Perhaps I would’ve written something like, “It really helps when you get decent cards.” Or, “Paying to see the flop, even when you’re holding crap, is sometimes worth it.”

It might have been poetic for me to write about our Sunday-morning stroll around Lake Ella with Mia, and how we forgot to bring bread to feed the ducks, and how good my breve mocha was (surprisingly, considering). Really a nice time.

Anyway, I would’ve written about all of these things if I hadn’t been so goddamn busy yesterday. And, today, Mia’s daycare is closed and neither of us have it off, so I’m carting her around with me. She’s napping right now. I just finished reading the redlines for an Environmental Site Assessment report that one of our clients wanted last week. It’s going out tomorrow.

So, rather than write any of that stuff, I’ll just write this: I’ll write more when I’m less busy.

Friday, November 07, 2003
We Looked like Giants
I'm going to see Death Cab for Cutie tonight. In all likelihood, you are not. So sorry. For you.

Have a great weekend. I'll try and be here next week.

Thursday, November 06, 2003
Must . . . Resist . . . ‘Blog Urges . . . GAH!
In an effort convert my vast / expansive / voluminous workload into billable time, I’ve been really (really) trying to stay busy. With work. So, that’s where I’ve been . . . in the land ruled by methyl tertiary-butyl ether plumes and co-solvent flushing and remediation systems and quarterly sampling.*

I hope to continue marveling you all with my witticisms and gut-wrenching tales but, for now, you’ll have to make due with this guy. Or her. Have a drink. Find a makeout friend. Or do some exercise between writing papers on literary theorists.


I just Fed Ex’d off materials for my band to be included in the SXSW Music Festival. (File that one under “Futility.”)

In a few months, we’ll all look back and laugh.


I’m arachnophobic. Just so ya know. But I’ve made peace with the spiders. Most of the time, I won’t kill them . . . unless they’re over 1 inch across and inside the house. Then I throw something heavy at them and hope for the best.

There was a little, reddish spider in the bathroom sink this morning. He was just walking back and forth in the bottom of the sink, making no effort to hide amongst the wasteland of toiletry items strewn around the sink and on the counter. I gave him ample time to scurry away, but he just kept walking back and forth. When I went to brush my teeth, I turned on the water and he got splashed and curled up into a ball. And I washed his horrible little red ass down the sink. Eight-legged bastard.

* How many environmental (hydro)geologists and engineers will read my site after this post?

Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Blue-Eyed and Scary (Like Her Parents)

In other news, here's an excerpt from an IM conversation Michelle and I had earlier:

deathcabgirl: i think it's time to rename your blog "kamikaze mid-to-late afternoon break."

divebomber71: lol
divebomber71: No-one had even read yesterday's post until this morning.

deathcabgirl: because you post so late!

divebomber71: I'm a slack-ass.
divebomber71: Actually, I guess if that were true, I'd be more timely with my posts.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003
On Becoming Your Parent(s)
You ever have one of those days when you realize you’re getting old? I mean really realize it . . . like you’re turning into your parents? Not when you say something and sound like your mom, or look in the mirror and see your father’s weary eyes. But when you begin thinking like your parents.

I was listening to Faith by The Cure in the car (on my way to pick up my mother and take her for an X-ray after she fell in her bathroom this morning). Anyway, I was thinking about how I used to have song lyrics on poster board thumb-tacked to my bedroom walls in high school. I had the words to “Primary” up there, along with a few others. But I remember one of my parents telling me that, some day, none of that stuff would matter to me. And I had that exact thought as I was in my car around lunchtime.

How am I going to tell my daughter that when she’s a teenager? When she’s rockin’ out to whatever rap-metal equivalent we have in 2018, how am I going to say, “Y’know, sweetie, this shit you’re listening to . . . you’re just gonna look back and laugh that you cared so much about this band . . . SweatHive is it?” Or, “Who is this? Jenny Skank and the VibroStrumpets? One day, Mia, none of this silly music you listen to will matter so much.”

I try and rebel against these thoughts as much as possible. I sing along to “Charlotte Sometimes” and “The Figurehead” whenever I can suppress my grown-up sense of embarrassment. I continue to play in a band (as does my wife), despite the wishes of my in-laws. And I basically have the same haircut I had a decade ago.

Yeah, I can see it now . . . I’m gonna lay into Mia about her musical tastes, and she’s gonna look at me with my thinning hair I have pulled back into a ponytail and say, “Grow up, dad.”

Monday, November 03, 2003
Let's Not Do Anything Rash
Halloween weekend was quite odd and tranquil. For me, anyway, as I spent much of the weekend playing disc golf in the park. Mia was coming off of her fever, and has NOW developed a post-fever rash. Lovely, really. Lots of raised, red bumps on our baby. I actually had to take her to the doctor this morning . . . third visit in the past two weeks.


Halloween night, Girls on Film played a show opening for the Cabrones (a Ramones tribute band). There are lots of pictures here. (If you look closely, you might be able to see a black-clad guy with inappropriately long, floppy hair.)


The tournament was fun. I finished fourth (out of 12 or so) in the amateur division. I was actually tied with one guy at the end of the second, third, and fourth rounds, and we had to have a four-hole playoff to break the tie. Yeah, I lost (of course). Not really a clutch player . . . in any game.


To do list:

-- Finish CDs.

-- Measure Mia’s head for Amy Choppa.

-- Finish plans for Michelle’s birthday trip to New Orleans.