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Category: Daylog

The Life and Death of a Beard

I did the No-Shave November thing this year, mostly by accident. I didn’t shave for the first week of November, not because of the event, but because by nature I am a lazy man. Then someone asked if I was doing the event, so, at that point, I figured: why not? I convinced a work friend to join me, also badgering him into agreeing to shave off our beards at the end of the month, so that on the last day of November we’d go into work with only our moustaches. I’ve never had just a moustache before, but again I figured: why not? I’d either end up looking like Burt Reynolds or Kip Dynamite. I was willing to roll the dice.

My former work friend was unable to complete the journey with me, but I made it to the end. Off went the beard on 11/29, and on 11/30 I swaggered into work, thoroughly moustachioed.

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I don’t know about you, but I think I’d call that an unqualified success.

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‘Merica

For a day that started out fairly unpleasantly (hurrah, migraines), this one turned out to be pretty good.

My ACLU membership card came!

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You too can be cool and support the ACLU, if you’re interested. But you don’t just have to take my word for it.

Then tonight I went with friends to see the Rubi Girls present The Show Must Go On! It was funny and risque, and wasn’t at all outside like I had originally feared. The photo below is from the finale of their “year in review” number, which, while very entertaining, reinforced just how many crappy things 2016 has bestowed upon us.

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Still, it’s day three of what’s been an excellent four-day holiday weekend, and tomorrow I get to eat delicious pizza and breadsticks, so for now all is right in my little slice of the world.

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BALEFUL

Over on Facebook, the “On This Day” thing did its job and reminded me of one of my favorite photos.

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It was taken by the inestimable Bill Cunningham a couple of years ago at a lavishly decorated post-Apocalyptic-themed party. I love everything about this photo: from the atmospheric setting and the costumes, to the composition of the photo; as well as the fact that my sister and I are, amazingly enough, not making stupid faces. This photo actually hung in my parents’ living room for a long while.

Then, once we sold the script for our pilot — a show about a brother-sister team of demon slayers, which in no way bears any resemblance to SUPERNATURAL — to the WB, Bill turned the photo into the slick-looking piece of concept art you see below.

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BALEFUL has been in development hell for a while now, but I still hold out hope that one day it will finally air, so people can illegally download it, and it gets canceled after the first 13 episodes, FIREFLY-style.

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Bringing the Cape Back

I went as a poor man’s Batman for Halloween at work this year. The mask hurt my face, a lot. But the cape? I liked it. I would like to wear a cape more often. Maybe I could start a new fashion trend, introduce the cape into the business casual look.

“Haven’t you heard?” I’d say. “The cape is the new tie.” Then I’d strut off to my next meeting, cape flowing rakishly behind me.

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Austin in Autumn

The weather in Ohio has been in a constant state of flux of late, which is nothing unusual around here. What’s the old joke? If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes. I don’t think it was originally said about Ohio, but it applies equally as well. As a result, my body can’t decide if it’s catching a cold or just in the throes of normal seasonal allergies. It’s given my voice a neat extra-nasally quality. Hurrah, autumn.

I went to Austin a week and a half ago for a brief holiday. Used Airbnb for the first time, and stayed at a tiny house. This tiny house.

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It was as cozy inside as the exterior would suggest, but it was nice and mostly comfortable. It was also cheaper than a hotel would have cost, and close to a lot of places we wanted to go. I’d definitely use Airbnb again for a quick trip like this.

Austin is an interesting city. It’s hip, which is what you’d expect from a city that hosts SXSW, but you never forget you’re in Texas. So think trendy cafés and bars, long beards and tattoos, interspersed with cowboy hats and openly carried handguns.

While there, among other things, I did the usual: ate a ton of delicious food, took in a Halloween-themed burlesque show called Tits-or-Treats, played at Peter Pan Mini Golf, which is BYOB and populated with giant statues of things like Peter Pan, a T-Rex, and a demented yellow rabbit. We also visited the Museum of the Weird, which was charming and not as cheesy as I feared it might be. They possess the Minnesota Iceman and a bunch of horror movie props — including a Krite! — and a bunch of other dime store oddities. They also put on an entertaining show to demonstrate how electrical immunity works, which my travel companion got volunteered to be a part of.

Really, though, it would’ve been worth the price of admission alone just for this photo op.

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This was my last bit of travel for the year. Before too long it’ll be time to start planning next year’s adventures.

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The Fête Life

Apologies for the title. I couldn’t help myself.

It’s been a busy, fun weekend, one made even better because I took off work on Friday. I went kayaking Friday morning, then in the evening traveled to Columbus to attend the Fête en Blanc.

Loosely translated from French, it means “party in white.” And it’s exactly what it sounds like. A mass picnic, attended by several hundred people, all dressed in white. The atmosphere is relaxed but elegant. Fête-goers supply their own food and picnic paraphernalia. The event organizer, Fête Columbus, provides the venue and the entertainment. The actual location changes each year, and isn’t revealed until the morning of. The story behind the tradition is that, thirty-odd years ago, some friends in Paris decided to throw a picnic in the Bois de Boulogne. Since the park is rather large, they all wore white so as to find each other. This then became an annual tradition, which has since spread all over the world. This was, I believe, the sixth year of Fête Columbus (checked their website; it is).

I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago, when I received the invitation. I wore my finest and only white outfit, sweated under the glare of the sun until it finally set, ate delicious food, managed to not get a single damn thing on me, made the acquaintance of some new friends, and had a ball. I really hope to go again next year.

No one caught on fire for the making of this photo.

Photo by the always talented Bill C.

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EuroTrip, 2016

I’ve been back from London/Paris for a little over two weeks now, so I need to get this down while it’s still somewhat fresh in my head. My memory is shit, so this recap is more for Future Josh than anything.

Lindsey and I have talked about going to England for a couple of years now. We have a great uncle who lives there that we wanted to visit, I really wanted to see London, and England, because of the lack of a language barrier, seemed like a good training run, if you will, for eventually traveling to the rest of Europe. So last year we decided that this year would be the time to finally pull the trigger and just go.

Because I know fuck-all about England, and because this year has been stupid busy — and let’s be honest, I’m also kind of lazy — we booked the trip through a travel agency. Having someone else coordinate the logistics removed a lot of the stress and anxiety — and knowing myself, probably anger and shouting — out of planning. Through a quirk of the travel package we went with, we ended up tacking a couple of days in Paris onto the end of the trip. I’m reasonably certain that whatever the fee that Rose claimed was completely worth it.

London was brilliant. I loved being there, exploring the nooks and crannies of the city, feeling the pulse of thing, and the omnipresent blend of modern and ancient architecture. Think we spent six days there in total, but I could easily have stayed there another couple of weeks. The other bit of England we saw was a town an hour northeast of London, where our uncle Charlie lives. It was nice to also experience something smaller and slower than London, and of course see family.

Paris was… okay. I feel like I’ve been harder on Paris than it deserves, since it was at the end of the trip and I was getting tired. Also because our hotel was a half-mile hike, uphill, from the nearest Metro stop, whereas in London it was a pleasant two minute walk from the hotel to Gloucester Station. The language barrier probably didn’t help, since I speak three languages: English, bad English, and high school Spanish. To Paris’s credit, though, the people we encountered were all pleasant, the food was surprisingly tasty, and the city itself, while littered with trash and covered in a charming veneer of grime, was gorgeous.

In no particular order, here are some of the highlights, as I remember them, and one lowlight (i.e., fuck you Charles de Gaulle airport). There are also pictures at the bottom of this post, so if you just want to see those and don’t give a fig about my recollections, feel free to scroll and skip.

Touring the Sherlock Holmes museum at 221B Baker Street. Very much a tourist trap, but still entertaining. Lots of Holmesian artifacts and apocrypha, set up in such a way so as to encourage photo opportunities. If nothing else, you get to see how a well-to-do Londoner may have lived in Queen Victoria’s time.

Indian food. It is much more prevalent in England than it is in the U.S. (or at least than in my region), owing to England’s sizeable Indian population. Being able to get tikka-masala at a corner pub was so nice.

The heat. I packed expecting to maybe wear shorts and a t-shirt during the day, and jeans and long sleeves at night. The first two days lived up to that notion, and then a summer heatwave surged in. Heat doesn’t typically bother me, but I am also used to being able to escape indoors to sweet, sweet air conditioning. Many of the buildings and homes there don’t have central air, so that wasn’t really possible.

Seeing Charlie and our aunt Pat, and meeting their kids and their families. I say “meeting” like it was for the first time, but I had met Kirsten and Fletcher before, however, it’s when I was, oh, one or two, which doesn’t really counts. They were all lovely, and they plied us with fancy Indian food, a barbecue featuring eight different kinds of meat, and, of course, beer. Can’t wait to see them all again.

First and only full day in Paris. We had the one day to really explore Paris, but between the Metro and walking 25,000 steps, we saw an awful lot of it. Had noodles at a bizarre little place where you build your order on a tablet. Saw the Eiffel Tower, from a distance. It was cool, but I didn’t feel the need to ascend it since I’ve been to the top of the one at King’s Island before. Hiked a couple of kilometers to get beignets. Perused the bookshelves inside Shakespeare and Company. Had dinner at an American sports bar-themed place. Got lost, a lot.

Taking the Eurostar from King’s Cross Station to Paris by way of the Chunnel. We splurged a few extra pounds for the slightly better seats, which was one of our best decisions the entire trip. We got roomier seats that faced each other in a half-filled car, a cold lunch, and the satisfaction of being high-falutin’, even if only for a couple of hours. If we had the EuroStar in the States I may never fly again.

Wandering the expanse of retail and bohemia that is the Camden markets. Camden is like a much, much nicer flea market, but with shops and stalls from where you actually want to buy things. We picked up most of the souvenirs here. I could have easily dropped a lot of money on various art and other things. Thankfully, I knew I didn’t have a lot of suitcase room. There was also Cereal Killer, which is sadly not a HACKERS-themed shop, but is instead a café that sells breakfast cereal. I only peeked in, because we’d already eaten, and also because milk and cereal in the steamy heat just didn’t sound appealing.

Charles de Gaulle, to which I would like to give a shout-out for being the most stressful and disorganized airport in the history of the world. We arrived a little over three hours early by way of a pulse-pounding taxi ride. It took two hours of fighting our way through the thick crowds, scuttling from this confused attendant to that one, propelled by misinformation, just to acquire boarding passes and check our luggage. One minor bomb threat later, which no one seemed terrible concerned about, and we eventually made it to our gate with a few minutes to spare. Never again.

The final night in London, seeing WICKED at the Apollo Victoria in the West End. The Apollo Victoria is absolutely gorgeous, and, on a balmy summer night with no air conditioning, absolutely sweltering. The production was fantastic (my first time seeing it), which made sweating next to another 2300 people tolerable. Props to the bar at our hotel for having glass bottles of ice water available, as regular bottles of cold water are largely unavailable in England. I also had “Defying Gravity” in my head for the next several days, so thanks for that, WICKED.

Well, that’s my longwinded way of saying I had a ton of fun on what will hopefully be the first of many jaunts overseas. England, you were lovely.

And now for the pictures (with bonus! captions).

 

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Annnd Scene

An hour ago. I am at a red light, window down, enjoying the weather. Traffic is congested both ways. A truck hauling a trailer in the other direction slows to a stop next to me. I don’t pay attention to what’s in the trailer. I am lost in thought, getting kind of sleepy actually. Then a car backfires, sounding like a gunshot. Immediately the dozen or so horses six feet away from my open window begin to LOSE THEIR FUCKING SHIT.

I am no longer sleepy.

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The Unobtainable Cinnamon Roll

I carried a cinnamon roll in a paper bag around for nearly four hours today.

It was to be my afternoon snack, but I never quite found the five minutes necessary to run downstairs and microwave it (because everyone who’s anyone knows cinnamon rolls are best eaten when warm). I bounced from meeting, to someone’s desk, to meeting, to impromptu huddle, etc, bag in hand. The grease from the pastry slowly eating through the paper bag like lye on skin.

So yes: work, while awesome, has been crazy-go-nuts busy lately. It makes me really empathize with this dog:

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At least in 20 days I too will be airlifted away, to England.

In unrelated GPOY news, here’s a picture of me taken after the Rubi Girls performance several weeks back.

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The photo, a rarity in that it’s one of me I really like, is courtesy of my talented photographer friend Bill. Or as I like to call him, “Photo Willy.” Though I will never call him that to his face.

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Thoughts and Prayers

I could write a whole thing about the terrible, despicable events that took place in Orlando this morning, but many others have already done so, and far more eloquently than I could. One of those persons is John Scalzi, whose piece “Thoughts and Prayers” reflects most of my thoughts on the subject.

Here’s the instructions on how you can find and contact your Congressperson, and insist he or she do more than just offer their thoughts and prayers.

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