Hey dudes.

Life's been crazy lately. I've been extremely busy.

I took the GRE today. I did okay, but am eager to take another crack at it. (In case we don't actually talk regularly, I'm looking into grad schools. It's... terrifying. And great.)

I've been working a lot, too. Which is fine. I work from home, though, so my apartment is taking on a distinctly den-like feel. Plus I've been talking to myself.

Add to that the fact that my cat is vacationing down South, and I walk around like this guy:


(If you've never checked this out, it's genius. Actual Garfield cartoons with Garfield and his dialog taken out. John looks cuh-razy.)

Check that out. Laugh. Cry.


Shark "Virgin Birth"

This story is wild. Apparently, a female Atlantic Blacktip shark at the Virginia Aquarium carried a pup that contains no genetic material from a male.

Two things make this even more interesting:

1) It's not the first time this has happened in captivity. According to an AP article on MSN.com, "The first documented case of asexual reproduction, or parthenogenesis, among sharks involved a pup born to a hammerhead at an Omaha, Neb., zoo."

2) That same article made zero biblical references. I don't know if I could have shown that same restraint.

Link to the full story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27107721/?GT1=43001

Also, I'd just like to say that this story makes me glad I'm not particularly afraid of sharks... because now they're replicating at will....


I realize only now that I never really gave an account of Joe and Shelby's wedding down in North Carolina (which was a month ago now... Crazy).

The wedding was amazing. Cowlick, pictured above, got together for the wedding (and for those who haven't been playing along, Cowlick is one of the improv teams I'm involved with in Chicago. They were the first team I joined here, are still the team with whom I play the most, and are basically like family to me...).

Knauf (first row, making the ridiculous face) lives in Denver now and Scotty (back row, center) lives in the NYC area, so it's a rare thing for us to all be in one place at one time.

I was honored to be able to deliver the remarks at the wedding, and take part in a few other ways as the officiant. There was also a minister on hand (Joe's uncle) to handle the religious and legal bits of the ceremony. I've included a few more pictures below.

The rehearsal dinner was pretty excellent. It was catered by Woodlands BBQ, based in Blowing Rock, NC. (One of my favorites back in college...) Apparently they nickname their catering trucks, and this one, "Trigger", happened to share the nickname we have for BJ (pictured here, far right) and Janelle Tregoning's lovely baby girl, Elyse.

BJ and Janelle don't think it's that funny that we have referred to the child as "Trigger Tregoning" since months before her birth.

The actual ceremony took place on the front steps of the Taylor House Inn outside of Valle Crucis, NC. The couple wrote their own vows and delivered them beautifully.

They are a very happy, and completely hilarious couple.

There was, of course, dancing. There was a kickass bluegrass band at the rehearsal dinner, and an amazing old-timey ragtime-style Jazz band at the reception. Great stuff. This is me dancing (sort of) with Jen, who was kind enough to accompany me to this crazy wedding. I'm sure you'll see more from her in future blogs.

After all was said and done, Shelbs and Joe took off on a bicycle built for two.

All said, it was quite the event.



Well. The last week has been crazy, in terms of national news. Economic woes. Presidential debates. Failed bailouts.

Still, my very favorite quote from the week was from George McGovern, former US Senator from South Dakota and several-times-defeated Presidential candidate.

On NPR's "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!" (The "NPR News Quiz"), McGovern said a lot of funny stuff (especially for an 86-year-old man). However, this quote, in reference to Mo Rocca referring to the fur-wearing Davey Crockett as "Pimped out", takes the cake:

"You can see I know very little about Pimpology."

You can hear the whole episode here: http://www.npr.org/programs/waitwait/



My Mom's under the knife today. Hip replacement. Should be totally routine, but keep her in your thoughts, eh?

If all goes according to plan, she'll be feeling like she did in the above picture in no time.


Odds and ends.

Blogs are truly bizarre. However, they keep you sharp, keep you writing, and mark time in a way that few other strange 'net constructs can. Therefore, I'm going to try to beat back my misgivings and, more importantly, my laziness, and blog more often.

(That, without fail, is the sort of thing you always see in the most recent post on a blog that hasn't been updated in months... Still. It's something to work towards.)

With that, here are a few random pictures that I found on my camera. They encapsulate some of the bits and pieces of my crazy summer.

For a week in June, I hung out with some great people on the Gulf Coast of Florida. We were in a particularly remote and, if I may, redneck section of the panhandle. I've gotta say, though... a week in Alligator Point, FL ain't too shabby. We got tans and saw cool thunderstorms and generally vegetated, enjoying every bit of it. Above was the view out of our back door.

I was also fortunate enough to spend plenty of QT with my family this summer. Above is the porch of the lake house that my family has had for God-knows-how-long. It's nothing fancy, but I spent just about every day of every summer there as a kid. This picture was taken sometime around my Grandmother's birthday, which is just a few days away from the 4th of July, and the two days serve as a sort of framework around which my family builds some reunion time.

My niece, Bailey, just turned 3. I figured I'd celebrate this event by putting up a picture from this summer of her doing something really weird. She made this whacked-out, avant-garde sculpture out of play-dough and a creepy back scratcher. I'm convinced she's a visionary. Who happens to love Cheetos.

This is just a random shot of the preparations for a party my Dad had at his place on July 5. There was music. There was fun. There were literally HUNDREDS of hot dogs. I think I ate at least 10 that day. In fact, over the week containing July 4, I probably consumed 20-25 hot dogs. I'm basically made of nitrates now.

I'm not a gambler. It has always struck me as pointless and destructive. However, if it's your birthday, you're in Vegas for work, and you've got a few hours to kill before your redeye back to a version of the world in which sin is generally frowned upon, why not lay out a few bucks and feed 'em into a one-armed bandit?

Just after this picture was taken, I won 50 bucks. I used to to screw around in the casino for the next few hours, and eventually gave it all back.

So there you have it. Some odds and ends. I'll have more soon.


Random Acts of Random Strikes Again.

A few random rumblings:

- I was walking to my part-time gig downtown today when I saw a guy on the street selling (wait for it) live iguanas. This was on Michigan Ave in the middle of a workday. Live iguanas. He had a cardboard box which contained (I assume) iguanas, with a handwritten sign on it declaring that these iguanas were, indeed, for sale.
The 3 foot long iguana on his shoulder seemed okay with it.

- I went to a Cubs game last night. The tickets were free, we were 13 rows back from the grass, the weather was nice, and the Cubs rallied in the 8th to win it. (Simple formula, really. Load the bases and hit the ball past where anyone can reach it.)

-I really enjoyed Barack Obama's speech last night. I don't often get political on this blog, as I prefer discourse, but I think it was one of the best speeches that I've seen at a political convention for as long as I've been interested in politics. If you disagree, hit me up sometime and we'll discuss.

- Appalachian State plays 2007 BCS Champion LSU tomorrow. Due to Hurricane Gustav, the game will begin at 10am. If, by some miracle, we win it, prepare for me to talk about ASU football for the next 11 months. If we lose, prepare for me to pretend the game either never happened or doesn't matter.

- I haven't left Chicago in two whole weeks. That must be why I'm ready for a road trip in a few days. I'm heading to NC for the wedding of my friends Shelby and Joe. I'm involved in the ceremony and am extremely excited.

- I had quail egg nigiri (sushi. Just a quail egg atop a lump of sushi rice wrapped in seaweed) the other day, and while I'm not positive I loved it, I've been thinking about it ever since.

- Pay your parking tickets. As soon as you receive them. Thats advice from someone who has seen the pain of avoidance and barely survived to tell the tale.



I can't believe I got rid of some of the books I "read" in high school.

I have no idea what I did with them.

I, you, and everyone else we know must... must pick up a copy of something they were assigned in their teens but couldn't have hoped to understand or appreciate.

Then read these things again. Repeat that process.

I read The Sun Also Rises for the second (and apparently the first) time recently. Now I'm repeating that rediscovery dance with some other books. It's worthwhile.

I'm torn on what the hell we should assign 15-year-olds to read. Masterpieces they won't get? Tripe that'll do nothing for them? Fudge? At this point, no one reads anymore, so we should probably just pray that they can get through three pages without sending or receiving a text message.

Kids today. Someone bring me my Metamucil.



This has nothing to do with anything I posted yesterday, or ANYTHING I've done in the past few months, but can we talk about this?


Julia Child was a freakin' spy?!?!?!

That's amazing. My world is richer for knowing this.


July 19, I rolled back into Chicago after 2+ months all over the place. My Dad was with me.

4 days after that, my Dad left, and I started to finally feel like I could start settling in.

9 days after THAT, I took off again for a weekend in NC for KegPig. (See previous post.)

On the way down, our muffler fell off and we spent hours on the side of a remote stretch of I-75 in the middle of the night... but that's for another post....

I got back the wee hours of August 4. On August 6, I headed to NYC.

I got pretty sick while I was there, but had a great time. (That'll be yet ANOTHER post...)

After yet more travel mayhem, I got back to the city on the 11th. I've been getting settle in ever since. Again.

It's strange to feel so out of place in your own apartment. Your own bed. Your own skin.

I'm excited to get some sense of normalcy back, but I have plans to leave town again at least once a month for... the rest of the year?

It seems appropriate, really. It feels like the right time for some changes. A little more vagabonding.

Anyway. That's the status. More to come.


KegPig '04: Boone, NC

KegPig '05: Bristol, TN

KegPig '06: Burnsville, NC

KegPig '07: Burnsville, NC
What is KegPig? To repurpose a classic TV theme song:

You take a pig
You take a keg
You cook the pig
and then you'll have
The Keggy Pig.
You'll eat a lotta pig...

(Ok. If you didn't get it on the first pass, go back and sing that to the tune of "The Facts of Life". Stay with me here.)

It's a tradition.

I'm off to KegPig '08. Our fifth annual. Wish me luck.


Just too much.

Well, I'm back in Chicago.

I was gone for two months and three days.

I documented some of what's been going on with me over the past few months, but it's tough to sum it all up.

I'll continue to give some highlights after I get settled back in here in Chicago.

For now, I feel like a total outsider.

Ah well. Here's a picture of me with my good friends Carson and Christy. They've recently moved back to Boone, NC where we all went to school. Boone's the kind of place that makes you want to do stuff like this:


I'm a bad blogger [stop]

Lots going on [stop]

Go see Wall-E [stop]


Back in the day.

Today is my Grandma's 81st birthday. My brothers and I got our hands on some old family photos and scanned them so we could print some out for my Grandma. We're going to give her a disk full of the scans, too.

It's nice to have copies of these old pictures. There are some great shots. I like this one of me, Jason, and Mom.


Witten Wedding

Ah, wedding bells. My old buddy Adam married his lovely sweetheart Nicole on June 21. They got hitched in lovely Sarasota, FL, and I took the trip down for the festivities.

It was a blast.

It was supposed to be an outdoor wedding, and it rained all damned day. But you know what, rain? You can't drown love.

They moved the ceremony indoors. It was the same place the reception was to be held. What's that mean? Break the glass, shout "mazel tov", and start the party.

It was so nice to see all the people at the wedding. Sarah Fried Chicken, Jen, Carson and Christy, Dave and Shannon, the Cliftons, etc. (Know who any of those people are? If not, you're missing out.)

There was food and beverages and dancing. And! Since it was a Jewish wedding (well, half-Jewish anyway...), there was this!

Hava nagila, hava, baby. I'm such a gentile. I unabashedly love the novelty of lifting the bride and groom in chairs and dancing them around. (Well, novelty for me...)

Weddings: Fun parties, plus all that forever togetherness stuff. Fortunately, I'll get to go to roughly 6,000 of them in the next few years.


Not for me, so much.

I spent my birthday in Vegas.

I was there for work.

I spent most of my time in interviews and meetings.

About two hours before I left for the airport, I laid out five crisp dollar bills as my gambling allowance. On my fifth quarter, I won fifty bucks. I used that fifty to putter around the casino losing money and drinking ice-cold beer for free. I ended up giving it all back to the casino.

I left Las Vegas two dollars in the hole, a year older, and both wondering and sorta knowing why people love the town so much.



Hey guys. I fell off the blog wagon, but it's time to climb back aboard.

In the interest of continuity, I'll give you guys some info on the next phase of my journey.

The weekend of June 7, my mom, brother Tommy, sister-in-law Amber, and their daughter Bailey all jumped in a car with me and we headed down to Pawley's Island, on the coast of SC.

Pawley's is a great place with beautiful wide beaches and beautiful old houses. The self-described motif at Pawley's is "arrogantly shabby", and even though it's just south of Myrtle Beach, strict zoning has helped it maintain its quaint and homey mood.

The house we went to, which belongs to some close family friends, is well over 80 years old, and has survived hurricanes and erosion and family reunions. It typifies an old breed of beach house that's disappearing. It's simple in its design: Central hallway, bedrooms along the hall that also open onto porches that wrap the house. Scrubbed pine floors. Cypress wall paneling. Boardwalk to the beach.

These days, new construction tends to be bland condos or inflated megamansions. I'd take an old-timey beach house any day.

Anyway, the star of the show, as usual, was Bailey.

She seems really at home on the beach. She's not afraid of the water at all. She's not afraid of anything, really, except for the dark and moths.

We kicked back on Pawley's for the weekend and enjoyed every minute of it. These pictures will come in handy on a stressful winter day. There is such a thing as warmth and relaxation.


Boiled Peanuts

Perhaps my favorite thing to eat on the planet are boiled peanuts. (Then again, there are a lot of other things on that list, but let's talk about the peanuts for now.)

Some of you guys aren't that familiar with these little goobers, so howsabout a primer?

Boiled peanuts are just that: Peanuts that are boiled (in-shell) in salt water. They can be served hot or cold, and are a popular snack in a lot of the South, particularly in the summertime. Because they're boiled, they're soft (not unlike a cooked bean).

They can be made with any raw peanut, but the best ones are made with green peanuts, which are fresh peanuts that haven't been dried. They create these wonderful little boiled peanuts that are fresh-tasting and impossible to stop eating. They're very hard to get out of season or away from where they're grown, so summer time down South is prime time for these little guys.

You can also make boiled peanuts with dried raw peanuts, but these don't turn out as well. I can get dried raw peanuts in Chicago, but because they don't contain their own moisture, you have to soak them overnight before cooking, and then cook them in a crock pot for about a day. Still, beats nothing.

You can find boiled peanuts in roadside stands and small grocery stores throughout the South, but I'll let you in on some of the very best boiled peanuts on the planet.


1) Lakeside Market: Sumter, SC
This is a little market that sells fresh produce and potted plants and such. It's run by an older gentleman that grew up on the land on which the market now sits. He ran several other stores, and eventually moved back to the corner on which his house once stood and built this little place. They boil their own peanuts in the store, and he says they have it down to a science, so the peanuts turn out consistently good, batch after batch. They're a little on the small side, but they are good. If you like your peanuts hot, this might not be your spot. They keep their peanuts in paper bags in a refrigerator.

2) Allsbrook's Boiled Peanuts: Manning, SC
I grew up on Allsbrook's. This place made the peanuts by which I will always judge all other peanuts. They were made at a little roadside market on the way to Lake Marion, and were sold all over Clarendon County. At some point, the business changed hands (I hear there was scandal involved), the business lay dormant for a few years (known as the Great Boiled Peanut Drought of 19-odd-something) and later the daughter or daughter-in-law of Allsbrook started turning out peanuts (though not under the Allsbrook's name. They were Funny's Boiled Peanuts. They were almost as good, though). Of late, I understand that someone in the Allsbrook family has gotten their hands on a peanut pot again, and Allsbrook's peanuts are back. I haven't gotten my hands on any yet, but maybe soon.

3) The cooler in the back of a pickup truck: Near Eastover, SC
Where highway 378 meets highway 601, there is a little parking lot of an abandoned store. In that lot, a dude has been selling peanuts for at least a decade. He's got signs out on 601 about a hundred yards from his spot in either direction. The signs are hand-lettered on plywood. "boiled p-Nuts". Lowercase, except for the "N" in "nuts". You can get "new crop" or "old crop" peanuts. He has two big metal cookers on a trailer where the peanuts get the business, and I have a suspicion that he might use just a tiny touch of fatback in process, because the peanuts are uber-flavorful. I recommend the 'new crop'. He keeps the peanuts in ziplocks in a cooler to keep them warm after cooking, so warm peanut lovers take note.

This is just a tiny cross-section.

A full book is in the works.

Anyway. Boiled peanuts are good, man.


So, in keeping with the intent of updating you fine folks on my travels, let's review:
1) London
2) Nice
3) Crazy trip from Nice to Charleston.
4) Charleston for Spoleto
5) Sumter to hang out with the fam and roast in the heat.

That takes us up to about May 31, when I went to Wild Dunes, down on Isle of Palms (near Charleston) to celebrate Adam's Bachelor party.

Here's the only picture I took:

There are pictures out there of Adam wearing a sparkly bachelorette tiara, but, sadly, I don't have those.

Rest assured, it was a good time. A little time on the beach. Some fun.



For realz.



So, in between all of these travels, I've gotten to spend a good deal of time with my niece, Bailey.

I talk about her all the time, and a quick perusal of this blog will turn up posts from many chapters of her two years and nine months on the planet.

I last saw her this past Christmas, and the five or six months intervening between then and now have made all the difference. She's moved from Bailey the Toddler to Bailey the Kid.

She's enormous. 99th percentile, heightwise. Her legs are, conservatively, 17 feet long, and she can dunk a basket without lifting her arms.

Seriously, though. The kid's tall.

And talks. I don't mean "makes noises with her mouth". She really talks. Complete sentences and a ridiculous vocabulary and all that. I know these things are pretty standard for most humans, but it's amazing to see all of this coming out of such a young person.

She's funny, too. Sometimes unintentionally. Sometimes totally on purpose.

She's really sweet, too. She's affectionate and polite. She's giving. She's crazy. (In a good way).

As our entire family says, with every bit of love and affection we're capable of, "She's something."

I'll be back soon with more highlights from my various trips.



After all that insanity that accompanied my trip back to the States, I was ready for a little relaxation. Fortunately, that's exactly what I found.

The Fowler Family Radio Hour did three shows at the American Theater in Charleston as a part of the Piccolo Spoleto Fringe Festival. The Harrelsons (some close friends of mine from Sumter) and their sister Lucy are some of the sweetest people on the planet, and Lucy saw fit to let us stay in her beautiful home in Mt. Pleasant.

We sat on porches (the house has 3) and took walks and ate lazy brunches on the porch.

We made trips into Charleston before the shows (which got solid reviews), and hung around after for nice dinners and other diversions.

We also got down to the beach! That was a first for Kevin (pictured below. He's the furry young gentleman between my friends Joe and Shelby .)

Kevin wasn't the only guy who was making a first-ever trip to the ocean. Devin, who was awesome enough to come down and play piano for us, is a Michigander and was an ocean first-timer. I think both he and Kevin dug the seashore.

Good food. Hospitality. Some sun and salt and sea and sand.

It was exactly what I think we all needed.

We hope to return to Spoleto next year. I, personally, only stayed away from Charleston for a couple of days. We left on Tuesday, and by Friday night I was on Isle of Palms near Charleston yet again.

More on that later.


Hard to leave.

It was hard to leave France.


Not "I'll miss the moonlight on the Mediterranean" hard.

More like "there are strikes and solidarity strikes on top of those strikes, and I can't actually make my flights" hard.

First: Transit workers strike in France. They're not Sarkozy fans over there. I mean, in case you haven't noticed, we have a somewhat unpopular president in the good ol' USofA as well, but he's not eliminating 35,o00 gov't jobs and divorcing his wife to marry a hot 20-something. Sarkozy on the other hand... less shy on both fronts.

Taxi drivers were largely striking, too. There were some cabs, but not many. Plus I was trying to get to the Cote d'azur airport in Nice, and it was the week between the Cannes film festival and the Gran Prix in Monaco, so that airport was the spot.

When I got to the airport, my plane hadn't taken off, but the flight was closed. They wouldn't let me on.

Well, I was trying to get to London in time for my flight from London to Washington, and on to Charleston. It was Thursday, and I had a show Friday night at Spoleto.

So? Time to catch another flight to London, right?


Second: An air traffic controller strike that started just after my first flight left delayed every flight by a couple of hours. No hope of making Heathrow in time for my flight. I rescheduled for the first flight out Friday morning.

I snagged an EasyJet flight to London (couldn't get to Heathrow, so I had to hit Luton, and then take a bus between the two airports. That was kinda cool. I was the only one on the bus, so it was like having a giant cab all to myself. )

I got to Heathrow around 11pm (after getting to the Nice airport around 7am...) and found a dark spot in a corner, unfolded my garment bag and used it as a mattress. I caught a couple of hours of airport sleep, and then grabbed my flight from Heathrow to Dulles.

There were no flights from Dulles to Charleston that day. I got one to Columbia instead. My brother Sam picked me up in Columbia and we drove down to Charleston. We hit a big wreck on I-26 and my car started to overheat while we were stuck in traffic.

We ended up getting to Charleston around 5:30pm (11:30pm Friday, Nice time. 40+ hours after getting to the airport in Nice, according to my math....). I was several hundred dollars poorer from the fees and fare differences associated with my changes.

I got a shower and headed hit the stage by 7pm for the first night of the Fowler Family Radio Hour at Spoleto in Charleston.




Nice, if you pleace.

After London: Nice.

If you haven't been to Nice, or any other spot in the South of France, you should know that it's really beautiful. It's an amazing mix of French culture with other Mediterranean influences. Lots of Italian touches (especially in the food). Some Spanish flavors creeping in, as well.

An event I attend annually takes place in the main convention center in Nice. Though Nice is a two-hop flight for most North Americans, it's an easy journey from most European cities. I generally fly through London, but others opt for Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, etc.

The architecture is pretty neat there. I posted a lot of it in my blog post about Nice last year (which I'll link later), but it's a cool mix of the above influences, plus a weird sense of past-its-prime modernism. The whole city looks a little mildewed in spots and rough around the edges, but it's an amazing place, overall. There are Roman ruins, casinos, yachts, beachfront hotels, and other ridiculous bits and pieces.

My activities this year included a black-tie gala, a beachfront party, a rooftop party, and a late-night pool hall session. And the food! The food was amazing. A sort of French-Italian-world-foods amalgamation of deliciousness. All great stuff.

Most of the trip, though, was just work. Meetings. Conferences. Nothing too exciting.

Here's a photo of the outside of the tiny little hotel I stayed in. It's basically a bed and breakfast. It's one floor of an apartment building, and I love the place. I stayed there last year, too. This year I got the Dali room.

The window just to the left of that top balcony was my room. This was the view.

Oh so Fraaaaaainch.

Getting to Nice was easy peasy. Staying there was lovely.


That's a post for another day.

It was.... rough.


Fog not included.

Man! It's been an intense week. I'll tell you all about it as we go, but I'm going to break it up into a few small doses.

First dose: London.

Saturday (5/17), I boarded a flight at O'Hare around 6pm. (Kudos to my buddies Matt and Virginia for taking me to the airport. Big ups.) I took a little valerian root (Merz Apothecary recommended it. It was a big help. Better than narcotics or hormones.), ignored the terrible movies they were showing (Oh boy! 27 Dresses AND National Treasure: Book of Secrets! Followed by The Golden Compass?!?!?!?! Is this a flight to LONDON or HEAVEN!?!?!?) and spent most of the flight either sleeping, reading, or talking to my awesome seat-neighbor. (Part-owner of a Sri Lankan tea plantation. I want that job.)

I arrived in London the next morning. (The local clocks said 9am. It was still 3am in Chicago, but getting a little sleep convinced me that I had time traveled.) My buddy Liam gets the award for awesomeness for meeting me at Heathrow. We took the train into Paddington, and then hopped a double-decker for the ride to his place over by Canary Wharf. That took us right through the thick of things. Not the quickest route, but certainly the coolest.

We grabbed some Carlsbergs and made our way through the super-modern bank complex that is Canary Wharf. (Watch 28 Weeks Later. That's it. Isle of Dogs.) Liam lives right by the O2 Dome and the Reuters Building (which was the CIA hq in 0ne of the Bourne movies).

Here's Liam in front of the building where he works.

And a shot of me with the O2 Dome in the background:

We hopped on a boat and made our way up the Thames to Embankment. Along the way we spotted the Traitors Gate at the Tower of London:

Tower Bridge, of course:

And some more modern bits and pieces of London:

After getting off the boat, we puttered around town. We hit Trafalgar Square (the first pic in this post), Covent Garden, Chinatown (below), SoHo, Five Points, etc. We popped up to Harrod's. We went all over.
We made our way up to Camden to check out an area with a different feel. We walked through the crazy market stalls and into the all-too-hip stores, surprised that people still buy rave clothes. Who goes to raves? It's right by a really pretty section of canal, though.

There's a cool set of manual locks right on the canal. I was too close to get a good picture, but these houseboats will motor right up to the locks and a dude from the boat will hop out (drinking a beer) and begin the process of opening the locks for an incoming boat. There's no one on duty. No control booth. I have a feeling that wouldn't fly in the States.

We had a few pints in Camden and hopped the tube back to Liam's. We had some grub (frozen pizzas, boyee!) and hit the sack. I had to grab a taxi for Liverpool Station, then a train to Stansted Airport, and a plane for Nice very early the next morning. (Cab left at 4am. Yowza.) I made it, though. London was very good. It was even a nice day for us. A tad cloudy, but really warm. Thanks, London.

Next stop: Nice.


So far!

I'm writing this from a cafe in Nice. I don't have my camera USB cable, so I can't post pictures yet. I will say, however, that London and Nice have been lovely.

I hope to head towards the States tomorrow, but there are rumors of an airline strike.

We shall see.

A few highlights that I'll tell you more about later:

- I won a fancy bottle of wine at an event. I didn't drink it yet.
- Food, food, food. Everything I've eaten has been delicious. In Nice, anyway. London? Less so.
- I NEED to get more than 3 hours sleep some time soon.


Hey dudes.

So I'm about to embark on a few months of travel and such. I'm leaving Chicago tomorrow (Saturday the 17th), and will visit the following before returning:

Nice (for work)
Charleston (Fowler Family at Spoleto!)
Various other locales in NC and SC
Sarasota, FL
Some other area of the Gulf Coast of FL

... I think that's pretty much it. My bags are packed and my Pops is taking care of my cat. We're all set.

I'm going to start blogging again during the trips.

Stay tuned.


Tim's Truths for Today.

1) Brothers are rare and sometimes maddening, but those who take them for granted have my sympathies. (Sam came to town for almost a week, and we had a great time.)

2) Newborn babies all look the same unless you know them. Then they all look amazing. (Please welcome to the world Elyse Hampton Tregoning, the first of many from BJ and Janelle Tregoning).

3) It's a lot easier to work out at home if your cat doesn't get all judgy every time you do it. (Next time i'm trying to shed a couple of belly pounds, kitty's going in the linen closet.)

4) If you're ever having a lousy day, sing along with "No Woman, No Cry" (doesn't matter if you can't understand the lyrics.... do your best) at the top of your lungs in the car with the volume way up. It's cathartic.

Edited to Add: Good lord. I just read this post after publishing it, and have decided that I am a woman. If you replaced "brothers" with "sisters" in item one, and "No Woman, No Cry" with some Dixie Chicks song in item 4, I'd be straight off of Lifetime.


Coffee, Prius, and Oscar parties.

Hey guys. I've been busy.

Rather than read my blog, read this blog: http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/

God it's funny.

"Stuff white people like." It's a list that describes a great many, well, white people.

I'm ashamed to say that a great many of these things indeed apply to me.


Existential Question

I bought a package of bacon the other day. Regular bacon.

It was made in Canada.

I wonder if that bacon has ever had an identity crisis.


No picture, only word.

Remember when I had pictures in every post? Lovely little snapshots of life? Well, I'll get back to that (I have some good ones) as soon as I.... find my camera.

It's somewhere.

Somewhere not in my apartment, methinks.

Here are a few things on my mind right now:

1) The writers strike looks like it's history. Good thing, and not just because I want my "Lost" fix to keep on coming. There's been a sort of freeze on projects people I know have been involved in, and now they're free to resume.

2) My beloved ASU Mountaineers will be running up against LSU in their season opener. It'll be intense.

3) My car doors have been frozen shut for 3 days. My toes and knuckles have been hurting for a week from sheer force of cold. My Dad told me it's been in the 70's in SC.

4) Stephen Colbert deals with condescension in a way that makes me love the guy. Last night, the author of The Lucifer Effect, Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo, was on the show. He was arguing the contentious point that God was responsible for the creation of Hell. Stephen responded with a discussion of free will that seemed to transcend "Stephen Colbert"the character and get down to the real Stephen Colbert. When Zimbardo responded, condescendingly, something to the effect of "Well, you've certainly learned your Sunday School lessons well", Colbert replied,

"I TEACH Sunday School, mother****er!"

It was hilarious. And true. I'd attend Colbert's Sunday School class. Weekly.




The fellow above, Anthony Graham, was an assistant principal at my high school. He passed away yesterday due to some sort of illness. The article above was sketchy as to what kind of illness, but that doesn't really matter.

He was the sort of guy who'd see you in the hallway after school and buy you a can of coke and talk to you about your college plans. He was tough, but a lot of fun. Called everyone 'compadre'. I remember him standing in the middle of the gym floor along with me and about a dozen other teachers and seniors doing the "Men in Black" dance at a pep rally.

Yeah, pretty cool, huh? I was super awesome in high school. Senior Class Presidents don't get any cooler... while dancing to a marketing tool. Mr. Graham made it seem pretty cool, though. He was the sort of fellow who could break up a fight OR bounce with it, just bounce with it (and let his neck work. And freeze).

He left my high school some years ago, and was the principal of a middle school in Columbia, SC. I'm sure his students will miss him. He was pretty great.