Thursday, February 22, 2007


Despite my valiant efforts, leaving my house at 7:30 AM this morning, for reasons unknown to me, I simply wasn’t destined to be in Doylestown like I had hoped. For 35 minutes I crawled north on 252 in the hopes of navigating back roads to the interchange at Lancaster Avenue. By 8:00 AM I had squeezed my car’s back bumper over the “box” at 252 and Baltimore Pike and could feel the tears from 18 months ago swell up as I saw a steady stream of tail lights before me. I pulled off, called BAM, and turned around. I never did that. Pulled over, broke down and cried, yes, but forged ahead always.

It was like a rush of blood to the head, the way the memories of driving north to Bucks hit me that moment. I can handle just about anything, any traffic situation but after months of constant construction, constant delays, and constant frustration (and not just with the traffic but with everything in my life then), the traffic was this familiar metaphor – never moving. I completely lost it. I know why I spent 4 months crying daily. It is clear to me now how badly I needed a break and how the gallery job was simply that – a break, a transition.

All I wanted to do today was enjoy my catch up meeting with an old boss and old co-workers. I wanted it to go smoothly. Maybe the good thing is that unlike before…even unlike a few months ago when the metaphor reappeared at American Pie, this time I just stopped. I just said no. Some things aren’t worth me even backing up and finding another way, fighting. I would take refuge at the nearest Starbucks and wait it out…even if it’s tomorrow or next week.

I read my horoscope now. It offers some reassurance:

For the foreseeable future, Sagittarius, take your inspiration from Franz Kafka, who gave the following advice in his book The Great Wall of China: "You need not do anything. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, just wait. You need not even wait, just learn to be quiet, still, and solitary. And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Vintage Valentine

I love vintage anything...especially vintage cards and holiday decor. I especially love vintage pinups. Sucha timeless classy sex appeal, you know? I created this in Photoshop. To everyone here on the eastern seaboard, stay warm and off the scary roads! Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Why I Had A Tantrum

So I hate Walmart. More than any person can imagine. Today, Vince really wanted the Nora Jones CD and apparently Walmart had it listed for a rock bottom price. On our way home from the art supply store Vince insisted we stop there for the CD. There's no denying that I acted like a 2 year old in this situation - I threw a tantrum. In the car driving there, in the parking lot, even inside. Especially when we discovered that the special deal was an online exclusive. HAHAHA. Now let's leave. Vince thought he'd torture me a tad more and parade me up and down another aisle or two and talk up how if we'd just gone to Walmart, we could have purchased X, Y and Z for substantially less money. I'm sorry...was he trying to speak to an opinionated dogmatic person in that moment? As if that would enrage me more than my subsequent rant enraged him?

My righteous rant went something like this: I'm not always about finding the cheapest deal and there are certain places I go for certain things. I am not the one stop shopper. I won't buy a mat cutter at Walmart even if it is $50 less than the same/similar one at a local art supply shop. I will pay extra to support the local economy AND the value added service of wonderful and educated art staff. I won't even buy CDs at Walmart, again because I find more good in supporting the local indie music shop. If it's $2 extra, it's going into making sure that place stays on my Main Street and those indie music lovers work stay employed at the job they love, stay on top of the scene and make some suggestions of new and old artists. Places like Walmart cannot offer that.

I would have to HAUL ass to Kennett if I wanted a nice Walmart. Every one of those mecca stores around me borders on sketchy neighborhoods. Was it strategic to place these near the underprivileged neighborhoods? The idea seems nice. The one stop, cheap stop. If I wanted something even remotely sketchy, I'd drive to the H Mart in Upper Darby...take the back way into the West Philly for some killer North on 611 to a camera shop. But you know, it doesn't matter where the Walmarts are built - the idea of it attracts people who only care about cheap cheap cheap. Quality, value, service...what are those when it's just $1? And around here, the Septa bus finds all.

I find it disgusting that more and more, there is nothing but suburban sprawl. Bulldozing and leveling acres of land for more condos, single family mansions and strip malls. More people and more traffic, more overcrowded warehouses and parking lots...where people can't move, refuse to move, take their sweet time in line, at the register, pulling into or out of the parking lot, can't answer questions, can't honor a price, simply in this day and age, cannot offer quality service because all that matters in this super-sized for less world is mass production and mass consumption.

Yes, sometimes I do need to hit a big ol' place for a few things. Hell, I still prefer Macy's - part of the dying breed of department stores - to chain shops. But for me, it is not about the bottom line. It's sure not about subjecting myself to crazy overpopulated and sometimes ghetto like conditions to save that buck. Why my expectations are SO great and amazingly, attainable in places. And why I throw fits each and every time someone says they need to buy whatever at Walmart.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Local Quiz

1. How many Wawas are within 10 minutes of your house?
2 or 3

2. When you go to "your" Wawa, do they recognize you?
No, that would be my mom. I don't go that often even though "our" Wawa is 100 yards away. I don't like Wawa coffee. I really only buy milk there.

3. Have you tried the Wawa milkshakes yet?
They have milkshakes? Rarely have milkshakes, but I think I'd drive to Nifty Fifties for a malt one if I had the burning desire.

4. When you get a pretzel, do you get the single or the double?
Don't eat pretzels.

5. What's your favorite side?
The Pickle!

6. Which movie theater do you frequent the most?
Marple is the closest, but I prefer one of the Ritz theaters downtown. Cozy and intmate.

7. Which theater has the best seats?
Crap, I forget the theater where we saw Lord of the Rings?? It had stadium seats. Maybe Plymouth Meeting. I don't know.

8. What snacks do you get before the movie?
I try NOT to get snacks at the movie. It's all supersized and overly priced like Disney. Highway Robbery.

9: Last movie you saw in the theater?
LOL. Arthur and the Invisibles with the boys...and The Good Shepherd.

10. Do you usually go to Blockbuster or Hollywood video?
Blockbuster and then TLA.

11. Which bowling alley is the best in our area?
I SO hate Conchester Lanes. Granted, they pull out some archived 80s tunes, but I want to check out the new lanes in the city. Apparently, they actually have bars?! REAL bars where even if they card you, you aren't stuck wearing a little quazi baby bracelet.

12. Which bar is the best?
Here in the 'burbs? So far I love Picasso's in Media. They have a bad ass selection of Rogue beer. I also like Vincent's in West Chester, Spence's in West Chester, Chambers in Doylestown, Duffers in Glen Mills (the old Duffers). I don't care that much for hole in the walls out here because there's always some old men checking me out. In the city? I like trying new places. But my favorite spot is Beau Monde. It's dark, there are twinkle lights, there's a fire going in the winter, you can sit outside in the summer, the crepes are divine, the bar is great, upstairs is great if you want to dance.

13. When's the last time you went to D&B's?
I have never been to D&B's and don't want to!

14. How about Longwood Gardens?
Wow. A LONG time ago. I think I was about 5 or something. All I recall were the millions of red pointsettias and always having to look up to see everything!

15. The Camden Aquarium?
A few years back...I like the Baltimore one better, but that area of Camden is actually pretty nice.

16. What's the last show you saw at Tweeter?
You mean the E Center? Because that was the last time I was there. It was either Oasis in 97 or something...

17. TLA or Electric Factory?
Geez, this is a trip down memory lane. I think I prefer the TLA. The last time I was there was in January 2001. It's just cozy. Electric Factory is OK though...but really the last time I was there I wasn't old enough to drink! All my favs are playing the big expensive places now :(

18. Ever got a tattoo on South Street?
More like I was the driver. I drove my friends to South St. and we descended on one of the places on 4th St. I have no tattoos.

19. What slushi drink do you get when you go to Fat Tuesdays?
I was there once like 5 years ago and was unimpressed.

20. Do you like New Hope?
I love New Hope. Triumph Brewery when they brew the coffee beer. It rocks.

21: 202 or 309?
309 hands down. That bad ass interchange now at the TP? It's SWEET!

22. What's your favorite club in the city?
I still say Woody's for the music!! If someone can find me a somewhat respectful club with good electronica...I'm there. But where are they? I don't care if it's gay, straight, whatever.
Oh wait, Le'Etage is pretty cool. Although on certain nights, that can get a little kinky.

23. Pat's or Geno's?
Blah. Cheesestakes.

24. Which mall is the best one in our area?
My personal feeling is K of P is too massive, so I prefer Exton or Willow Grove.

26. Ever gotten stuck in traffic on the Schuylkill?
Yeah, but I know all the back roads so it isn't too bad.

27. How about this cold snap?
Holy crap. Thank heavens for my stylin vintage coats that I can finally wear!

28. Is Philly really the city of brotherly love?
Did ya see the covers of the last 2 Philly Mags?

29. Ever been to the Kimmel Center?
Yes, lots.

30. Ever take a ferry to Camden?

31. Ever have your car broken into in Philly?
Do we really have to talk about my cars? Broken into, broken down, stolen, you name it, it's happened. Even with theft proof devices.

32. Eaten a street vendor pretzel?
Probably when I was younger.

33. Seen the Liberty Bell?
In 4th grade I think when we covered it in Social Studies.

34. Peed in an alley after drinking too much in Philly?
I'm sure I have...after some party at SJU.

35. Know anyone who lives in the city?

36. Ever been to a Phillies game?
Eons ago.

37. Flyers?
I think so but it was like 10 years ago when Lindros was still on the team. When the team kicked ass! I couldn't even tell you who plays on that team now.

38. Eagles?
Again, eons ago.

39. Were you ever in the Vet before it was demolished?
All the time.

40. When's the last time you went to the Franklin Institute?
I no idea. Probably 1990 or something. I normally don't get into their exhibits because they are tourist traps. However, I'm considering the Tut exhibit.

41. Ride Septa frequently?
Only when it's absolutely when the car is in the shop or broke down or I have to be in the heart of Center City where there is no parking but in an expensive garage. But really, for $8 round trip, you could buy a half a tank of gas (at least in my car) and make several trips into the city...but beware the meter maids!

42. Ever been to the Mummer's Parade?
No. I know some people in it and I should see it once...but my last memory of my dad's father was him watching it, being miserable and I guess I just have this sadness associated with it.

Writing Stories

I am sure if I dig through old journals I'll find a slew of old writings from the late 90s detailing my experiences at St. Joe's and all the associated parties, boys, and adventures. There was much going on at this time of my life. Oddly enough, even through the early part of my parent's separation, I wrote a lot. The Dark Ages didn't come until 2001. There was a 2.5 year period where I wrote very little. I wish I had written more, expressed more about what I was feeling and grappling with at the time. But then again, I was so lost. While it would have helped to get things out, I remember now looking at my journal with distaste. That writing would mean existing more deeply in the confusion and pain that was already too consuming. I wrote what I could, internalized the rest, and then boxed it up and shelved it Years later, I'd revisited stories mentally (and in some cases, physically) and stared down any lingering demons to clean out old haunts and move on. I made peace with the past.

But in the last few weeks these stories that had long been deserted and shelved have fallen down and spilled open to reveal a few chapters. I remember again. But looking down I'm a little confused...I see that where there weren't lines before, there are now. Something that I thought was over and lost just needed time to wander around and then be written.

6 years ago in October 2001, I scribbled the following: What if it really wasn't the end? If what I thought was the end was really just the beginning? Can we write this story?

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Big Something Missing

We talk about much that is nothing,
Just small talk, but nothing that is everything.
The important topics that I want to hear, to listen, to understand
You skirt around and then I try the back door
but still, prying you open challenges me.
My tone, my words, my actions, they all continue to try.
You tend to be working, distracted, when we speak,
Always in love with ideas, with ideals
And you tell me what you know I want to hear.
I am more than so many to you, yet the same.
I walk away, hang up and feel empty.
There's a big something missing.