The Architecture of the Other

May 11, 2017 § Leave a comment

Architecture is a particular fascination for me. Not professionally; I’ve never had any dreams of becoming an architect. It’s merely a casual interest. Buildings and their design fascinates me, and I can wander around just about any neighborhood and be intrigued by the buildings there.

I’m most aware of my surroundings — and particularly, the buildings — when I’m a passenger traveling through a strange part of town or a city I’ve never been to. If I don’t have to pay attention to the way, I can relax and take in the alien landscape.

So it was when I found myself in Minneapolis last week, traveling for work. I’d never been to the city before, and imagined it to be some boxy, dull, cookie-cutter town. And it might have been, at one point, but then the aliens landed and began making Minneapolis over into a semblance of their home planet. « Read the rest of this entry »

Ghost Train

May 5, 2017 § Leave a comment

Down in the bowels of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky International Airport (or CVG, as all but the untraveled call it), there’s a vast stretch of hallway that connects Terminal 3 with Concourse B.

You can take the robo-tram and skip the entire length of it, or the moving walkways and breeze past it at a more leisurely pace. Or you can do what I did if you have the time, and walk the entire way.

I recommend the latter, particularly because the Cincinnati Museum Center has loaned the airport a number of exhibits.  « Read the rest of this entry »

This is just to say;

April 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

This is just to say that I exist.

I have a past, and a family, and love in my life, and a future.

And so do you. 

Sometimes, it’s hard to see that. Sometimes, our eyes get too dark, and it fills the mind. Sometimes, people lie to us, tell us we’re unworthy, ugly, wrong, bad. That that’s all we will ever be.

Sometime, we tell ourselves those lies. Don’t believe them.

The past is set; forgive yourself for it and leave it behind you. The present is a moment; enjoy it or endure it.

But the future — the future is a gift you haven’t opened yet. Don’t throw it away unopened.

Just a reminder, in case you need it.

Changing Channels

March 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

I’m writing this while listening to the Disquietude podcast, discovered via a Warren Ellis tweet. Disquietude’s raison d’etre is to share ambient music, something I’m just beginning to explore (again, thanks to Warren Ellis, and mostly as a way to block out noise in the office). Trying a new thing and, so far, finding it compliments the writing process pretty well.

The morning drive to work was Billy Joel on the iPod. Normally, I listen to classical music, but this morning, I felt like revisiting the music of my middle-school years. A lyric from “Close to the Borderline” jumped out at me:

I got remote control and a color T.V.
I don’t change channels so they must change me

I tend to stay in bubbles with other like-minded individuals. Geeks, liberals, Browncoats, gamers — these are my tribes.

Bubbles can be safe spaces, allowing me to push the world away awhile, relax, breathe. We all need to slip into a comfortable bubble now and then.

But bubbles and tribes can quickly become echo chambers. I have to remind myself that it’s good to step outside them now and then, change the channel, try new things. Be aware of what’s going on, even if I don’t like what I see and hear.

So, I’m reprogramming this old-dog brain, or trying to. Changing the channels, and not letting them change me.


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Swords into Plowshares

March 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

The story goes that my grandfather — my mother’s father — served in the army in World War I, and for part of that time, he guarded German prisoners of war in (or very near) Paris.

While in France, he purchased a pair of binoculars, which were passed along to me at some point. They look like they’ve been through a war: chipped paint, a bent shade, a cracked lens, a wonky focus wheel.

He also brought back a trio of what at first glance seem to be brass vases. They are, in fact, artillery shell casings. « Read the rest of this entry »

Alone in the Rain

February 27, 2017 § Leave a comment

A hawk perched atop the dead tree outside my office window this morning. I think of it as the Hawk Tree now, because she and her fellow hawks prefer it more than the other dead trees in the stand.

In one of the living trees stood a crow, fat and black and clinging to a thin branch. He’d caw at the hawk three times, and the hawk would reply with her keening cry a few times. I saw them as I crossed the parking lot, light drizzle falling, and slowed my pace to watch.  « Read the rest of this entry »

Half a Century Onward

February 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

By all rights, I should be dead now.

At 14, I found out I had Crohn’s Disease. Through most of high school, I ate nearly nothing and weighed next to nothing; 98 pounds, skinny, constantly being asked if I was anorexic (which we were just becoming aware of in the 80s), or if I had AIDS (the big new boogeyman disease of the 80s).

No one knew what Crohn’s Disease was. I mention it today, and everyone knows someone who has it. In the 80s, not so much.

My first gastroenterologist was, to be kind, an asshole. He had a Tom Selleck mustache and drove a red Ferrari, just like Magnum P.I. He fell asleep while my mom and I were talking to him during appointments. When I didn’t respond to his treatment regimen of sulfa drugs and steroids, he would simply increase the dosages of both.

For six years. « Read the rest of this entry »