Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Fireplace Makes Winter Worth Living

I love my fireplace. It's the first thing I think of when the weather starts to turn cold, and the thought gives me a little thrill --- like discovering a new hobby or getting a friend-crush. If the fireplace had not been invented, I would move to the tropics from December to March, yearly.

Getting wood.

You may not know it, but firewood is expensive, generally, and because I live in DC, the delivery fees are even more. The people who deliver large quantities of firewood from Craigslist usually live in the panhandle of West Virginia and have to drive far to make big sweeps through the city, dropping off wood to all us yuppies. But you pay the price in dollars and time waiting for someone who often never shows at the right time. Meanwhile, my cold, empty fireplace pushes my winter depression forward.

The best region to get wood is from the closest suburbs where someone has an old chopped-up tree in their front yard that they cut down last summer; this way you can drive up and fill your trunk for $35, easy.

Fuck gas fireplaces. Fuck 'em.

People who have gas-powered fireplaces probably also have never worn underwear two days in a row, own a lot of beige furniture, and use anti-bacterial soap. Having a gas-powered fireplace is like decorating your house with plastic plants.

A real fireplace requires work, lifting, skill, timing, and singed beard hairs, but the outcome is that wonderful smoke-smell and hiss-crackle of oak, hickory or cherry that's still got some hidden moisture from being cut just last Spring.

Think of a good scotch with that.

Getting old has been good to me. (I'm now 34). My winter activities include reading about sailing, thinking about sailing, figuring out new hobbies, drinking new brands of scotch, and wearing out the in-laws' basement sauna. Maybe I'll ski one day out of the winter or hit up South America. Through this cold-ass season, my mind is settled by drinking a couple nips of Famous Grouse while listening to the pop and crack of my fireplace. Helps me think.

Listen man, if you're a dude who's past 33 and doesn't like scotch and fireplaces, what is wrong with you? Really, what?

Monday, November 26, 2007

People don't write like they used to.

My friend recently gave me a British book written in 1890 called The Complete Letter Writer for Gentlemen. The writing is flowery, but polite, well-written, and easy to read. What a difference that is from the way most people write typical emails today. These old letters contain no "LOLs", "yr"s, or "OMG"s. The debased state of modern writing on behalf of the general public has been decried ad nauseam but it's worth repeating. Here are two examples from the book.

A declaration of love from a man to a woman in the late 1800s:
Sunderland, 16th September, 18--.
MY DEAR MISS WILLIAMS,---Ever since the fatal or auspicious evening that I was introduced to you at Mr. Cooper's, my mind has been so filled with the one idea of yourself, and my whole soul so absorbed by the imperious passion of love, that my thoughts have been completely distracted from every daily pursuit, whether of business or recreation. Doubt, fear, delight, and a thousand other emotions have successively agitated me, and all my efforts to repress or stifle these feelings have been in vain. Being no longer able to resist their impulse, I crave your pardon for the liberty I take in addressing you. You, my dear Miss Williams, are alone the cause of my unhappiness, and you must become the arbiter of my fate, for I shall be the happiest or most miserable of beings according as you reciprocate or despise my sentiments. But I will not, can not, entertain the sad foreboding that a heart of so much tenderness and purity as my charmer's could ever consign a fellow-creature's prospects of future felicity to utter annihilation. Oh! how ardently I long for one word to calm my troubled mind; and it is in your power, my dear, to give the magic utterance. Bestow but a slender thread of hope, and it will relieve me from a state of inexpressible anxiety; if you do not love me, say at least that you do not hate me, for never, never could I survive the dreadful alternative of being hated by the adorable being whose love I prize more than existence itself. Anxiously and impatiently shall I look for your reply, and do pardon this rhapsodical letter, for I am in such a state I can scarcely form one sane reflection, but that
I am,
Your devoted servant till death,
Someone soliciting a loan from a friend:
Friday, 19th September, 18--.
Albert Ritchie, Esq.
MY DEAR SIR,--A disappointment in the receipt of a remittance having involved me in a temporary embarrassment, I reluctantly avail myself of your generous friendship by applying to you for aid under the painful circumstances. The sum required is Twenty-Five Pounds, and if you can grant me the accommodation of this amount without entrenching on your own convenience, you may depend on being reimbursed punctually on the 1st prox. An immediate reply will extremely oblige,
My dear Sir,
Yours faithfully,

Monday, November 19, 2007

Today's my birthday, let's fire some shotguns!

I'm 34 today, so to celebrate, a few friends and I went out to the country (Eastern Shore of Maryland) to fire 12 and 20 gauge shotguns on Saturday. I'm always happily surprised by how much fun people have going out to the woods to shoot shit; even the most hardened urban liberals (like us) can find something enjoyable about it. Here's a video Jim made of our trip:

Skeet Shooting! from Jim Webb on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Virat Shukla is the Closest to Musical Genius I've Met

Sometimes I wonder if I like music anymore. On my last five-day sailing trip I drunkenly tore apart the stereo system because my shipmates were playing too many god damn Irish drinking songs. Granted, that may have been justified but it doesn't make me feel good about the state of music as an artform in my life.

There's something in the back of my mind that won't let me sit still, content to have sworn off music for good.

I feel better when, like tonight, I played my old bandmate Virat's demo CD from years back and made myself deaf through Toyota speakers at 70 MPH on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Back in the late 90s I was in a band with Virat called Hockey Island. He took his music more seriously than any of the musicians I've met and his talent is unmatched.

I gain no benefit in saying that. I don't even keep in contact with him --- haven't talked to him in years. Apparently, he's formed a new band called The Squaaks whose myspace page is here. His music is still awesome --- mostly the same songs he played with my old band.

Another thing about Virat: when I last spoke to him he had the largest collection of WWII model airplanes I've seen past age seven. I used to wonder if he liked making those models more than writing songs ... nah.

Virat, if you're out there somewhere in internetland, I'd like to tell you that your old demo CD made my night tonight. It hurt my ears and I sang every chorus --- haven't done that in a while.

The indie music market is over-saturated with thousands of talentless douchebags who can't write a simple good song. You can. It's a shame the good bands get lost in the morass of bullshit out there.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Smokin' Mosquitoes: My Electrified Tennis Racket Has an Anarchy Symbol on It.

The smell of smoke from a burning insect is indistinguishable from burning hair --- a stench that lingers in the living room for a solid five minutes.

The mosquito problem had gotten out of control in my apartment and nothing deterred them. We tried everything from mosquito coils, spray, moth balls to slapping them mid-flight which proved ineffective and frustrating. My slap skills got pretty good, but not good enough to rid my living space of the stinging menaces.

The most annoying thing is the whine of one of those god damn malaria-harborers flying over my up-turned ear at night. It would wake me up!

Then we purchased a beautiful invention: an electircfied tennis racket which proudly sports the symbol of worldwide anarchy. That circled A gave me the extra strength and hunger for revenge that I needed to get the job done, lawlessly.

Powered by two AA batteries which send a jolt of insect-terminating electricity to any bug crossing its path, my racket is the only effective control device for my apartment's mosquito problem.

It's much funner than tennis too. When one of the buggers flies by I hit the button, give it a smooth swipe, and watch him fry. The metal screen is dense enough to trap the bug and soon the smoke starts rising from his tiny culicidian body. If I'm lucky, a satisfying spark flashes as he meets his maker.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Web Counter
Web Counters