Daily Dispatch: 6 Nov 2010, part 2

  • Rainer fell asleep on our way to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, so he was sort of groggy but awake after we got home. I tried to put him in his crib with a bottle for his nap, but heard him a few minutes later babbling away to himself. Usually this means he’s standing up holding onto the bars and hoping to be let out. But I went in to check and he was just lying there, still under his fleecy owl blanket. I gave him a couple of books, and he was content to stay there for the next 20 minutes, just hanging out in low light and paging through the books. He’s a sweet kid. After that, I was at a stopping point with the lasagne, so I took him out, made some lunch for him, gave him a bottle, and he finally took his nap at 3:30 or so.
  • I’m watching Ocean’s 11 on TCM, the original Frank Sinatra / Rat Pack version. Coincidentally, this morning when I was listening to Weekend Edition while making Rainer some strawberry pancakes, Scott Simon interviewed a guy who wrote a biography of Sinatra.
  • Should I quit Twitter, too?
  • Tomorrow is the end of DST. I know I’ve got some DST haters out there, but the prospect of the lack of light tends fill me with some dread; Novembers have been the times of my worst bouts of depression. A passing thought as I was loading the dishwasher a few minutes ago: what if the tiny but continual saratonin drip of my facebook status updates starts a downward spiral? I don’t know, somehow, despite all these little twinges of concern, I feel better positioned to weather a November than I have in years. Bring it, SAD.
  • I’m working on a mix tape (er… CD) of November music for a general audience. Stay tuned.

Daily Dispatch: 6 November 2010

Or, Stuff I would have Put Into Facebook But Did Not

  • Rainer’s been a total joy today. I nicked his finger this morning when trying to clip his nails (he does not like this, and moved his hand at the last minute), and there was more blood than the nick warranted, and it made me feel terrible. But he was fine and I let him watch his hour of Sesame Street while I cleaned up in the kitchen and around the house. I heared a “aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!” from the living room and saw him running into the hallway at one point. Turns out Mr. Snuffalupagus was on. Rainer’s terrified of him.
  • I talked to Terri this morning; the NYC Interpol show last night that she had a photo pass to was good, but she was frustrated that security made the photographers stand in the aisles and not in the pit in front of the stage.
  • We went to Whole Foods and I felt insanely ripped off at paying $4 for 10 oz. of spinach. Two weekends ago we bought 2 lbs. of spinach at Wilson Farms in Lexington for $3. I just didn’t feel up to schlepping out to Lexington today.
  • I made a lasagne to bake tonight after Terri gets home. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can cut corners and don’t really need to cook the lasagne noodles before you bake it. That’s total crap. You at least have to get them flexible.
  • This Neil Gaiman article in Spin about the Dresden Dolls is so very great.

Haunted by the remembrance of index cards

Grandpa Ball was a man of great reserve and formality and, on one hand, a deep introversion, but on the other hand, a deep sense of belonging to society. He did loosen up in his old age; many years after he retired, he stopped wearing suits around the house, and started wearing sweater vests over his button-down shirts. The only time I remember seeing him not at the very least in a button-down shirt was when he stayed at my apartment in Crawfordsville, IN, one night, the weekend of my college graduation, and I saw him in his pajamas, which seemed as bizarre as, I don’t know, doing keg stands with the President of the United States.

A few months ago I was feeling like my mind was somewhat out of control and I couldn’t keep thoughts straight or get organized and everything was just getting lost in nothingness and months would go by without my having much to show for myself. Maybe because I stopped blogging for a while and I lost that particular record of where I’d been. I’d been updating Facebook pretty frequently, but that is like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs; it feels like it’s impossible to get whatever of yourself you put into Facebook back out.

So I bought a bunch of blank index cards and stuck them and a pen in my bag, or occasionally in a front shirt pocket, dorky as that sounds, and when something came to me I’d just write it down.

And a month or two ago, it occurred to me that I’d become Grandpa Ball. He always wore button down shirts, and in the front pocket was a pocket protector (he was a chemical engineer in the 40′s – 60′s and before pocket protectors became a clichéd signifier of dorkiness, it really was just What Was Done: they kept your shirts protected from the inevitable inky mess of early ball-point pen technology, and they were given out by companies as viable marketing schwag) and inside the pocket protector were a bunch of blank index cards and a pen. He’d often stop whatever he was doing, reach under his sweater vest, dig into his front shirt pocket, pull out an index card and a pen, write something down, and put it all back in the pocket, and then resume whatever he was doing without comment.

Of course, I’m not Grandpa Ball, and my cards are now a total mess, as everything that goes into my bag becomes. They’re crinkled and wrinkled and crushed and illegible and the sides are stained black and grimy. But I was sorting through some of them tonight and one dated 9/20 said “I am tired of viewing the world through the tiny window of an iPhone screen”. I don’t remember writing it, but I remember the sentiment, and it’s why I am going on Facebook hiatus for the rest of November. If I’m going to bother recording my life, it’s going to have to be in higher resolution than I get with short frequent updates. It’s going to have to be in the unfettered verbose onslaught of no character limits, free of the increasingly and strangely difficult constraint of writing for my FB audience.

There are many layers of irony in all this: the only way I can explain how Facebook has, in fact, greatly enriched my life greatly can’t be explained on Facebook itself (and will have to be the subject of another post). Also, my Facebook audience is so much more vastly diverse and challenging than my blog audience, it feels like a bit of a cop out to retreat back to the obscurity (and presumed socioeconomic homogeneity) of the blog and its relatively minuscule audience.

But it just feels like the right thing to do now.

Hi, again!

All the people we used to know are just illusions to me now

I saw this clip— I’m not sure what it’s from; maybe the Rolling Thunder tour in 1975?— when I was 13 or 14 and there was some “20 years of Rolling Stone” special on ABC, and something about it burrowed into my consciousness. I think what got me most then was the weirdly applied white makeup, to be honest. My parents hadn’t been into Dylan in the day, and so I guess I had this vague idea he was some kind of earnest folk singer. But the white makeup and the funny hat: so stagey, so… fake.

That’s what got me at 14. What gets me about this song now is the last verse:

So now I’m goin’ back again
I got to get to her somehow
All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters’ wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t know what they’re doin’ with their lives
But me, I’m still on the road
Headin’ for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point of view
Tangled up in blue