The devil’s in the details

Okay…here’s the thing.  My friend, Mike, knows I hate these things.  Oh yeah…and I know he hates them.

Why…then why would he fall prey to one of these insipid Internet lists?  And why…tell me, God, why would he not only inflict it upon me, his supposed friend, but then announce to the world that I was one of the most likely candidates to respond to the f@cking thing!

Because he knows me better than I know myself.

And he knows that as the thing sat in my inbox, it would eat at me like acid, eventually exposing my guilt-ridden underbelly.

He knew I would cry uncle.  It was only a matter of time.

Michael…you devil, you.


Okay…no more drama.  Vote Obama.

Here’s the deal.  You don’t gotta send this thing to anyone.  If you’re up for it, though, show yourself, OLU readers (both of you!).  Cut and paste the questions below, delete my answers, and put in your own.

We wanna get to know you!  According to my friend’s email, "The theory is that you will learn a lot of little known facts about those who know you."

For now, here’s my answers.

Four jobs I have had in my life

1. Grill Master and Drive-thru Wizard at Wendy’s Old Fashioned Burgers
2. City Maintenance Worker, where I painted all the fire hydrants and babysat the city sewage plant in Isanti, MN one summer
3. Salesperson and Store Manager at Radio Shack
4. General Manager for a chain of Black Hills Gold jewelry stores (even though I have never been to the Black Hills)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once

1.  Planet of the Apes (the real one)
2   The Commitments
3.  The Dukes of Hazzard (against my will)
4.  The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari

Four places I have lived

1.  Los Angeles, CA
2.  Las Cruces, NM
3   Sierra Vista, AZ
4.  In my car

Four places I’d like to live

1. St. Petersburg, FL
2. Loreto, Mexico
3. New York, NY (Manhattan or Brooklyn)
4. Moonbase Alpha before the big, nasty explosion that sent it hurtling away from Earth at apparent FTL speed

Four places I have been

1. La Paz, Mexico, gawking at a too-fresh-for-comfort skeletal arm that washed up on the beach
2. On a late-night Central Park carriage ride with my baby
3. Hanging in a near-deserted pub with my Canuck "brother", Pigger, in Thunder Bay, ON, unexpectedly tossing back more Labatts than we could count with The Beautiful Girls
4. Perched in scaffolding, 10 feet directly above Prince’s head for two hours (I coulda hocked a loogey, but I demonstrated incredible restraint)

People who e-mail me

1. Dean Hyers
2. Pete Machalek
3. Robbye
4. Scores of people who are quite concerned about my penis size and sexual endurance

Favorite foods

1. Eggs–especially my pickled ones…  Mmmm..!
2. Chipotle burritos
3. Robbye’s lentil spaghetti
4. Peanut butter slathered on pretty much anything

Four places I’d rather be right now

1. The Madeira Beach cottage
2. London, England
3. An eco-resort on the Virgin Islands
4. Snuggling in bed with my wife

Four friends I think will respond

1. Robbye
2. Diana
3. Colin
4. Barack

Four things I am looking forward to this year

1. A week off bumming around somewhere with Robbye
2. Selling another script
3. FINALLY, MAYBE getting to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse
4. Speaking in Seattle later this month and in LA in June

Four T.V. Shows that I watch

1. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
2. Medium
3. Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
4. ("Who wants a..!") Clean House (Official Member, Miss Niece Fan Club.  Mmmm Hmmm!)

Now, do you know me better?

And…are ya satisfied, Mike? [wink]

Baby in Italia

Back in June of 2002, my beloved, more than a little weary and worse for wear, took a little trip.

For ten days, she wandered under the Tuscan sun with a tour group–the "pretty and lively girl from Minnesota…so brave to travel alone."

Many stories have I heard from this trip: from it’s original non-start on September 11, 2001, to her high-adventure train trip to catch up with the tour group after her flight to Italy was delayed, to the story of the crowd of concerned folks gathered around an injured bird in Sienna.  I love hearing them, mostly because of the way her eyes light up and her whole body fills with an effervescence that nearly bubbles over when she talks about the place.

There are times, I admit, that a little pang of jealousy tweaks at my heart as she talks.  Not because I am jealous that she’s gone there and I haven’t, but because I wish I had been there with her.

I know, I know…the Universe does as the Universe does, and everything unfolds for a reason, and yada yada.  It’s all good.  I also know that someday we’ll go there together, and we’ll have a beautiful time as we walk the cobblestone streets of cities that captured her heart so thoroughly.  But you get it, right..?

One day, while noodling at my other keyboard, I was picturing Robbye clomping through fields and along dirt roads in those cute and clunky boots of hers.  I envisioned her in Rome and Florence and Sienna soaking in their sights and their sounds and their essences.  I played out little encounters–some funny, some frustrating, some so quiet and full of awe they’d move you to tears.  I saw her in her own "room with a view", tossing open the shutters on her first morning there and standing in an open air window, basking in the promise of adventure and romance in Bella Italia.  I was experiencing it all as a kind of montage…my baby in Italia: the movie.

And it struck me.  What my fingers were forming was a theme.  A "cue" they call it in movie composer-speak.  It was the music that accompanied Robbye as she moved through these little scenelets.

So I took a few hours and finished it, this little musical cue.  It was fun because I had been wanting to do something a little more "orchestral".  Most significant, it was important because, for a change, I felt like I was there with her, sharing the Italian experience in some way.  I felt a little less jealous and a little more present.

As usual, the thing’s got its problems.  I listen to it now, and they scream out to me: Fix me!  Fix meeeee!!!  That is, however, for another time.  When I am able to get a newer and better Mac and a new keyboard and such.

For now, it’s good enough.  And Robbye likes it.  When she first heard it, she threw her arms around me, tears flowing freely and said, "It’s really good!  You really get it!"  Equally cool, another time, when the music had popped up on my iTunes rotation, she walked into my office and said, "What’s that?  It’s beautiful."

Before I could open my mouth, though, she nodded to herself.


And as she turned to leave, she smiled.  Effervescent.

All that said, I present to you…

Baby in Italia


on the photo: Best Friends, taken by Robbye in Sienna, I think.  Of the many amazing images she took in Italy, this is among my absolute favorites.  BTW–you can see more of my wife’s amazing work at her website.

If I may direct your attention to the right side of your screen…


You’ll need to start by scrolling down a bit. Yes…yes… Stop!

See it?

I am finally shouting from the virtual rooftop what I should
have shouted out weeks, if not months, ago.



He has my support. He
has my vote. He has my hands as he
strives to help heal our country and then realize the America all of us have the secret
audacity to hope for, but rarely give that hope the voice it deserves.

Not that it matters greatly, I suppose, whether I announce
my support for him or not. I’m just one
guy—not even really a blip on the RADAR screen of the blogsphere, much less the
world. One thing that Obama’s campaign
has done, however, is to take me back to my junior high days in Mr. Clough’s
Social Studies class when the guy from the filmstrip assured us that every vote
counted. That everyone’s voice mattered
in a democracy.

Every voting cycle I cast my ballot. It has, however, been over a decade since I
have done so and felt either a.) like my vote really mattered, or b.) like I
was voting for someone who truly had an interest (much less the ability) in giving our country the simultaneous TLC and tough love for which it
desperately cries. For over a decade, as
I stepped from the polling station, I’ve crumpled up my “I voted” sticker and 86-ed it with a cynical huff.

I believe that this year will be different.

Today, former candidate John
Edwards said, per a Reuters story by John Whitesides, “What he brings to the
table is the capacity, number one, to unite the Democratic Party. Number two, to bring in new voters, to bring
in people who haven’t been involved in the process over a long time and to get
people excited about this change."

I think you nailed it, Mr.
Edwards. Yet, I would also add that he’s
also brought people who HAVE been involved, but in whom the light of hope is
all but extinguished, back into the process, as well. Because we finally have someone to crow
about. Someone we don’t feel bad or slimey
about when we invest our time and money and trust. Some who, for once, is not merely the lesser
of two evils.

Not that I believe any one person represents the magic
bullet or that Nirvana is just around the bend. I believe, however, that Obama’s vision and
integrity and passion—and his audacity to hope—will (to borrow a quote from
Zach on the night Robbye and I announced our engagement to the kids) “revive this
bleeding dog of a family.”

If you will join me in this improbable quest, if you feel destiny calling, and see as I see, a future of
endless possibility stretching before us; if you sense, as I sense, that the
time is now to shake off our slumber, and slough off our fear, and make good on
the debt we owe past and future generations, then I’m ready to take up the
cause, and march with you, and work with you.
– Barack Obama, February 10, 2007

You go, Obama. I, for
one, am beside you all the way.