Monday, April 27, 2009

Sick Monkey

The Monkey is sick. She's worried, because Sunday is the Lincoln Marathon (she's running the half-marathon), but I think she'll be better by then. Please be sending some healthy vibes her way this week. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dana Whipkey is Not Frank Mills

Back in my crash pad days, I lived in a little house on White Avenue in the Hamilton neighborhood of Baltimore City. I had lived in a second floor walk up on Hamilton Avenue, but had recently carted all of my stuff the two blocks to the new house in a van I had borrowed from my dad. You may have heard this before. It took forever. You would think it wouldn't take that long to move some cheap furniture two blocks, but, I guess, since we didn't have to go too far, we figured it would be okay to take several small loads. This logic did not pan out.

Eventually, we got everything moved, and sat on the back porch enjoying some pizza and beer. But that is not anywhere near what I came to tell you about.

I am imagining (most likely because it was true), that a fellow named Dana Whipkey was somehow involved in this move. He's a friend of mine, as well as a friend of the house's owner. She was moving in at the same time, having just bought the house and all, but, anyway....

At some point in the story (months later), Dana moved in, too, relocating after his roomies moved on to other haunts. He lived in the basement for a while. The three of us, Dana, Kimberley (the home owner), and myself, had quite a fine time together, if I recall. However, as all happy stories go, this one did not last forever. Dana soon chose to re-relocate to his old hometown in PA. As he packed up his things to go, he decided that he didn't want to bother moving some things. His bike was one of those things.

He was looking to sell his bike. I wasn't particularly looking to buy one, but I had just given mine to someone who needed it more than I (it was not a very good one). So, when Dana offered it to me for the ridiculously reasonable price of 40 bucks, we shook on an iron-clad deal.

Here it is, about thirteen years later, and I still have that bike. As a matter of fact it is my primary mode of transportation during the warmer months (hereof late). No doubt, I have gotten my forty dollars out of it.

Granted, that twenty-plus-year old bike is most likely not long for this world. I'll probably be looking at new bikes some time this summer, if the money shakes out (which is not a foregone conclusion). At any rate, I will keep pedaling my retro-80s aqua and yellow Iguana for the meantime.

Since those days, long ago, I have fallen out of touch with Mr. Whipkey, which is too bad. He was a funny SOB. I liked him alot. But, time and life marches on. If you know Dana, tell him I said hi.

And tell him that I hope he got as much out of that forty bucks as I got out of the bike.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Things We Did In April

Last Saturday, Monkey and I attended a pair of films that were shown as part of the Blacks in Film Festival at the university. Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes was an interesting look at misogyny, homophobia, and hyper-masculine attitudes in modern hip-hop. With interview subjects ranging from Chuck D. to members of the Spelman College student government (who rescinded a campus invitation to Nelly over issues with his music and videos), the film was an entertaining and eye-opening look into the collective psychology of hip-hop, both as a culture and as a commodity. After that, we stuck around for WattStax, a documentary on the 1972 WattStax concert at LA Coliseum to celebrate the anniversary of the 1965 Watts riots. A blend of man-on-the-street interviews, Richard Pryor improv, and concert footage, the film was a stellar document of a place and time. However, the issues that were addressed in the film, pride, poverty, and economic empowerment, are still issues that America is grappling with today.

The weekend prior, we were invited to an Easter potluck at a friends house. It was a pleasure to have some ham. Monkey and I hadn't had a proper Easter dinner in ten years. I still didn't get any Easter pie, though. But, that's only because I didn't make any.

The weekend before that, I scored district writing assignments. Whoo Hoo!

And, on Wednesday of that week, Monkey and I headed out to Omaha for some sushi and The Hold Steady. The sushi was top-notch. The Hold Steady were good also. But, with a very crowded Slowdown pumping their fists and throwing beer cans, I kind of wished I was seeing them three years ago at Mojo's.

Does that make me one of those people? The ones who say, "Oh, but I liked them better when...." I guess it does. Oh, well.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pedaling and Planting Again

This week I've gotten back on the bike. The weather has warmed up enough that biking is not a terribly brutal endeavor most mornings, and I can layer up with just a base layer, a hoodie, and a fleece, and I am pretty comfortable. Afternoons have been in the sixties, so I just ride home in my work clothes.

I feel a bit of a weenie for not biking at all this winter, but I guess it's okay if I'm not totally hardcore. I'll leave that to the totally hardcore folks.

Needless to say, I will keep this up for the remainder of the year, save for those days when the weather is just too wet (or even cold--it could still happen). It is an enjoyable way to make it to and from work, and, of course, it keeps me active!

We also put some seeds in the ground this week, a bit behind schedule from last year's notes. This year, we are focusing on things that we eat a lot of: spinach, lettuce, beans, and squash. It might be about two weeks early for the beans and squash, but we'll take our chances. No tomatoes this year (maybe some small ones in a container). We'll let the squash and beans replenish the plot and grow some tomatoes next year.

Looking forward to riding home in early June and making a fresh salad from our own patch of ground. Maybe that's a bit early to hope for, but I am still hoping.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Quick Hitter

Hey! I'm still around, just very distracted. I have had a few things to write about, namely Opening Day, Why I Hate April Fool's Day, Spring Snowstorms, The End of College Basketball Season, Work Stuff, but I have been too distracted to write about them.

I'll get around to them (or something else) soon. Until then, enjoy April: National Poetry Month, National Jazz Month, National Humor Month, International Guitar Month, National Welding Month, Keep America Beautiful Month, and National Anxiety Month (hereof late, hasn't every month felt like National Anxiety Month?)!