No power but my own

September 7th, 2008

So I have been skateboarding since I was 13.  That’s a (very) long time ago.  While I was never very good at it, that never seemed to deter me from spending every waking instant obsessing over its slightest nuances.  This obsession barred any other activity (well, physical activity anyway) from entering my realm of possibility.  That is, until a couple years ago.

When the fam and I relocated back to loverly New England from the eternally (foggy) sunny shores of California, we were a bit unprepared for the dim, grey reality of winter.   The sandy wet streets and icy cold weather really sucked the enthusiasm for outdoor activities right out of us.  Well, out of Angie and I.  Bella, like any five year old, seems to be completely impervious to cold.  Or wet.  Or really anything else that may stand in the way of her playing where she deems playable.  We built a lot of fires, and drank a lot of (adult) warming beverages.

It wasn’t until we were in Corner Cycle looking for a bike for Bella that I felt the first twinge of the bike bug.  I had grown up with bikes, both my parents had been involved in racing (my Mom still is, and she can kick my arse), and I spent some small part of my formative years volunteering at USCF (United States Cycling Federation) races and generally making a nuisance of myself.  I appreciated the sport, but something about shaving my legs and wearing spandex was fending me off.  My friend and I actually had  mountain bikes in high school, but all we really did was use them to scout places to hang out in the woods and see how fast we could get going down hill and then crash into things (wait, isn’t that what I’m still doing?  Hmmm).  But there was something about all those shiny new full suspension bikes lined up that seemed to be calling to me.

We left the shop, but I couldn’t get the noble aluminum steeds out of my head.  After several trips back to ponder them, I rather predictably wound up bringing one home.  I have to be honest, after one trip into the woods, with the weird click - in pedals, giant roots sticking up all over, and un forseen amount of necessary effort expended to get only a short distance, I almost abandoned the danged thing and walked home.  Something in my head made me stick with it, and day after day I was out there pounding away in the woods, grunting, sweating, and swearing my way to nowhere fast.  I even had a pair of spandex shorts (actually, they’re Lycra.  Totally different.  I swear.).  Somewhere in the midst of all that hard work (Gasp!  Exercise!) I wound up with a new addiction.

Much like skateboarding before it, my brain was almost completely consumed with my new hobby.  I studied magazines and the internet, lurked in bike shops, and spent preposterous amounts of money upgrading and tailoring my bike so it was exactly the way I wanted it.  Hours and miles of riding fell away behind me, and the next year was a blur of wooded trails and broken bike parts.

Sadly, a few months ago I had a career change, and in the process found myself needing to sell off my bike and all the surrounding accouterments to make ends meet.  It was a sad goodbye, to say the least, but hey, we got to eat so no complaints here.

It was only last week that I finally managed to get my hands on a bike again, and while no small amount of fitness had fallen away, it was still like seeing an old friend again.  There is something magical about flying through the woods under your own power, feeling the wind in your face and holding on for dear life as you crash haphazardly down hill and over dale (I have never been known for my grace).  Couple that with the fact that now I get to ride with my daughter (the training wheels are off.  Lookout!), and you have yourselves one happy guy.

Zippity doo dahhhhhh

September 5th, 2008


You ever have one of those days where your body was up and moving around, but the rest of you (brain, soul, etc) was somehow still in bed?  It’s like I’m having the opposite of an out of body experience.

In honor of my lack of functionality, I’ve decided to clean my office.  This may not sound that exciting to those of you who have never been back to the C.O.D cave, but believe you me, it’s quite a feat.  It’s not even that it’s all that dirty per se, it’s more cluttered.  Cluttered, and full of old coffee cups.  And scraps of paper with illegibly arcane scribblings.  And  old newspapers.  And CDs.  You get the picture.  My only real concern is that once all this is organized, will the resulting Feng Shui somehow change everything?  Will the next issue of C.O.D look more like, I don’t know, Capeweek?
Stay tuned…

Speaking of the C.O.D cave, we could use some decoration up in here.  Do you have something that would work?  You know, back in that far, dusty, weird corner of the garage?  Maybe an art project for high school?  Or some pictures you took while “experimenting” in college?  If so, send em in!

Did anyone watch the Republican convention?
Are you scared too?  What gets me is that they are somewhat well intentioned.  It’s not like they don’t want what they feel is best for the country and people in it.  The closest I can suss out is that in order to be a true, staunch Republican, the level of arrogance and self absorption it takes to actually buy into all the rhetoric belies any sort of real, community driven common sense.  It’s not really their fault, they were raised in an environment that nurtures such behavior.  We are taught from preschool that we are, indeed, a bit better than everyone else, and that really it’s all about us and our needs.   I mean, it is, isn’t it?

On a totally separate note, I had a recurring dream last night that I was running through tunnels under Cotuit, being pursued by(or perhaps pursuing, or maybe even just casually coexisting with) zombies, and Barack Obama was there with me throwing what I think were dirt clods at them.  I have no idea what this means, but it was odd that no matter how deep into said tunnels we got, and no matter how much dirt was thrown, his blatantly expensive suit stayed spotless.  Much like Don Johnson’s white outfits in Miami Vice.

What does that mean?  I have no idea.

Batten down the hatches, Hannah is coming!

Happy Birthday, Dee.


August 28th, 2008

It’s Thursday?!

Jeez, looks like I’m going to lose my prolific blogger award.  Been a crazy week, production time here at C.O.D, and that means we all run around looking generally annoyed, acting super busy, and hoping everyone else is working hard enough that we don’t really have to.

Just kidding.

The new issue will be out on Tuesday, and I think it’s going to be the best one yet!  I know, I probably say that every issue, but momentum is good.  Besides, how can a whole issue dedicated to Caffeine be bad?  Exactly.

Quote of the week:

“I’m not a pimp, I’m a matchmaker”

Not sure what it means, but I like it!

Bella in the sky with (Neil) Diamond

August 23rd, 2008

Tonight we head to Boston to become a part of history.  Yes, big things.  Joe Biden as VP candidate?  Yeah, that’s pretty cool.  But not as cool as seeing Neil Diamond in Fenway Park!  I’ve been hording old women’s bloomers all week just to throw them onstage, and no doubt I won’t be the only one!  Did you know that he even released a new album?  Yep, Neil has been really going for it (though I have to admit that if he plays anything but the classics I may be a little less than excited!).

I wonder what it’s like to be him?  I picture lots of log cabins with excellent lighting in the aspens, bare feet, perfect temperatures (yet sometimes with snow on the windowsill), and maybe coffee with the ghost of John Denver.  Not a bad life.

I think Neil is the polar opposite of another American icon, Chuck Norris.  He’s the yin to his yang.  Can you imagine if they performed together?  I don’t know if Norris can sing, but I bet he can dance!


August 21st, 2008

So I’m driving to work this morning, the sun is shining, the coffee is good, and I’ve managed to avoid listening to that new talk radio show “the Takeaway”.  Everything appears to be heading in the right direction.

The car in front of me, a white Camry, new, with a fairly upscale looking fellow in it, suddenly grows and arm out the driver’s side, and that arm flicks a cigarette butt onto the road.  Just like that.  It was almost frighteningly casual.  After taking a couple of seconds to digest what I just saw, and then a couple more to resist the urge to have to explain to my insurance company just why it was okay I ran him into a ditch, I managed to get ahold of myself.  Now that I’m here at the office, and stuff is happening, work is getting done (honest!), this should be just some forgotten moment of irritation.  It’s not, however.  In fact, it seems to be consuming more and more of my already limited mental capacities.

I know this question has been asked a million times for a million different (and, sadly, all too apt) occasions, but what the (expletive deleted) is wrong with people????  Who’s parents blew it so completely that they think it’s even sort of okay to throw your damn cigarette butts out the window??? (How the hell can people even be smoking anymore?  Are you kidding me?) The really sad part is that you know anyone with this level of complete self absorption and lack of respect for anything but themselves will probably also be  eating lunch at McDonald’s and throwing that out the window too.  It boggles the mind that so small minded, morally and psychologically corrupt an individual can exist in today’s so called “enlightened” society.  No matter the level of mush that your brain has attained from the constant media barrage, no matter how arrogant you are, no matter how jaded, cynical, whatever your issue, it should be pretty apparent that throwing trash out the window of your car is quite possibly the most blatant display of a need to be neutered you can make.  Seriously.  Some genetics just shouldn’t be passed on.

Super tuesday

August 19th, 2008

I have to admit that I am a bit naive when it comes to this years presidential elections.  This is odd because a) I listen to NPR all the time and b) I work at a newspaper.  It’s reached a point where this political apathy of mine has become almost embarrassing.  Or at least it should be.  One would think that with such a charged topic as choosing our next president, I would constantly be engaged in deep, thoughtful conversations about the candidates, their positions, their favorite colors, etc.  Yet I’m not.  In fact, quite the opposite, it seems that no one I spend any amount of time with, at work or socially, ever even brings it up.  I hear on the the radio that this is a heated competition, and that the masses are swarming for their candidates.  Record gazillions of dollars are being raised, volunteers are turning out in droves, and yet here on the Cape, in (what I consider to be) my at least semi - enlightened group of peers and compatriots, we spend more time talking about music and beer.  This isn’t to say that we have somehow regressed to a lower level of social consciousness, it’s just that for some reason the election isn’t grabbing our attention the way it ought to.

Sure, I know some things about the presidential hopefuls, but nothing more than you can glean from the collective subconscious (and media blitz) surrounding me. Let’s examine those facts:

John McCain

1. Was a prisoner of war.

2. May or may not have had an affair.

3. All around stand up guy, by anyone’s definition.

4. Sticks to his guns.

5. Wants to drill for oil off shore, even though the experts say this will do little or nothing to help.

6. Wants to stay in Iraq.

7. The candidate you would most like to sit in a duck blind with.

Barack Obama

1. Is black.

2. Is being hailed as the savior of our country.

3. Looks good in a suit on the cover of mens magazines.

4. Started as a community organizer.

5. Until recently had a priest who was bonkers.

6. Will not hand our country to giant corporations on a silver platter.

7. Gives good speeches.

8. The candidate you would most like to get a coffee and hang out with.

That’s pretty much it.  Sure, there is more that can be surmised simply by party affiliations or background, but those are the nuggets that have penetrated my skull, most likely through sound bites and gossip.

The reason I’m writing this is because it dawned on me on the way in to the office today that this is damn big deal.  The presidential election is one of the biggest responsibilities we, as citizens, have.  To simply sit back and let it all unfold without speaking up, or at least paying attention, is tantamount to giving away the most important of our constitutional rights.  It also precludes you from complaining one bit if the next guy in the white house sucks.  There are some responsibilities that we inherit as part of this great nation, and, while some would say that includes things like keeping and bearing arms or meddling in other countries business, it certainly includes getting out and having a say in our government.  If we don’t get out and vote, if we just sit back in a media blasted, reality show induced stupor, the very tenets of what this country has been built on crumble and fall apart.  You can’t have democracy, government for the people by the people, without involvement.

Now, I heartily acknowledge that at least seventy five percent of what you see on television about the election is over hyped bull crackers.  It doesn’t matter what McCain had for breakfast or who he looked at funny in 1979, nor does it matter who designed the suit that Obama is wearing or what his favorite color is.  It does matter, however, where these men stand on the many issues that face our country today.  I don’t think there are many people out there who can deny that the present administration has damaged our nation in ways that probably won’t even be apparent for decades to come, but we need to make sure that we are all paying attention and making informed choices so that it doesn’t happen again.  Whoever inherits the mess the current corrupt egomaniacs in power have created, we need to make sure they will help navigate our way back on a course we can all be proud of and prosper in.  Whatever your political leanings, we need to step up and be aware, lest we find ourselves ultimately to blame.

There’s only a bit more than two months left to get a handle on everything, and I for one am determined to be able to make an educated decision on the first Tuesday in November.  I strongly urge you, and everyone else, do the same.  This is our chance to rise up and do something bigger than ourselves, and we can’t shirk that responsibility.

Layin’ low

August 17th, 2008

Today we decided to take it easy, in celebration of all the rad we made yesterday.  I had relatives in town, so we decided to head out and get some training in for the upcoming C.O.D Charity Mini Golf Pub Crawl (ya heard it here first!).  Steve and Sue’s on West Main in Hyannis was the venue for our putting excellence, and let me tell you we raged that place!  There were even some hole in ones.  Take that Tiger!  We’re comin’ for ya big guy!

It was, as always, great to see the extended family!  We even went fishing the other night, but of course failed miserably.  Luckily my pops took ‘em out last night, and they had some success.  Can’t wait to see them all again!

Beer O’clock

August 15th, 2008

I would like to take a minute to give some appreciation to our good friend Todd over at Cape Cod Beer.  Today I stopped in there to ask a few questions, and what does he do?  He sends me home with frosty growlers of beer!  How could a day get any better?  Sometimes I wonder if we realize just gow lucky we are to live in such an inspired place.  This morning I had a home made croissant, egg and cheese sandwich and a cup of small batch, locally roasted organic coffee from Pie In the Sky.  Then I went to Jo Mama’s bagels for lunch and had some amazing cranberry and walnut chicken salad.  Finalized with Todd’s hook up, I feel like this is a pretty charmed existence.  Maybe I just like food too much, but man, how cool is it that we live somehwere with such culinary exuberance?

Enough name dropping… see you tommorrow at the Naukabout festival!

Gettin’ Juiced

August 13th, 2008

Last night we had the good fortune to be invited to a surprise birthday party for our friend the Queen of Trout Towers Susan Blood.  It was held at the Juice in Wellfleet, which I now know is home to the best danged fish taco this side of California.  Hands down.  Entertainment was provided by the Chandler Travis Philhamonet, and they were (as you would expect) excellent.  Safe to say a great time was had by all, but I think the best time was had by the dancing kids! 


August 12th, 2008

So I met a girl last night at the local coffeeshop who claims to have never seen an episode of Seinfeld.   I find this to be odd for two reasons: One, she is obviously in her twenties, and at that point media saturation should have included at least one episode of Seinfeld, and two, Seinfeld is one of those rare pop culture occurances that take on a far larger meaning than the average television show.  Much like Chuck Klosterman’s observations on why there will never be another Johnny Carson (not as a person, but a cultural phenomenon), shows like Seinfeld have elevated themselves above the norm and nestled themselves so far into our culture’s collective psyche that even if you aren’t a fan of the show, you likely know enough about them to hold a conversation or at least pick up on and understand references.

It’s a sign of the times when the collective experiences of our nation center around late night talk show hosts and the everyday musing of a group of friends and a sit com admittedly about nothing (though I think few would argue that therein lies the genius of the show).   Media stimulation has reached such a crescendo that our very identities are dictated by it.  The majority of our population is no longer content to live their own lives, preferring to instead buy into some marketing campaign or another, emulating their favorite celebrity.  Every conceivable personality type has been co opted by an advertising agency, and the fashion and mannerisms associated with it dictated through television, movies, and celebrities (who themselves are designed from the ground up by publicists and marketing firms).  Unable to keep our eyes from the shiny things that distract us, we have become a nation of stereotypes, each trying our best to fit the predetermined role we feel we can relate to  the best, instead of creating our own identities.

Nowhere is this more evident than in small town USA.  Where once was found the last bastion of wholesomeness, now we see people stretching their credit cards to the limits in an attempt to appear cosmopolitan, or at least mirror what E entertainment says they should look like.  We are no longer content to forge our own paths, and this may ultimately be our undoing.  With the loss of individual thought, we play more and more to becoming a mass of homogenized robots, unthinkingly doing and believing what we’re told, despite whatever evidence is to the contrary.  Recent events have proven this to be true, as our country plays into the hands of corporate control and we sit back and concern ourselves with the outcome of outlandish reality shows that depict nothing close to it.

While it may be odd that the young lady at the coffee shop has not become a part of the Seinfeld / media phenomenon, I daresay it’s to her benefit.  If more of us had managed or could manage to avoid the influx of coercive stimuli, this would be a much nicer place.  Free thought and individuality have there place.  They are, in fact, two tenets our country was built upon.  What will happen when they’re gone?