Wednesday, August 27, 2014

UPS Can Suck It

When did UPS become DHL? They left a note on my door last Monday saying they would attempt delivery again after five Tuesday. I rushed home from work and nobody showed up. They attempted delivery Wednesday at one in the afternoon when I was at work, so I went online and paid five dollars to change the delivery to my work. They tried to deliver to my house again at noon on Thursday and left a notice saying my package would be held for pickup for five days. I tracked the number and it said the package had been returned to sender. I called UPS and they assured me the package would be rerouted to my work. They attempted delivery Friday at my school at seven pm. I called UPS again and they said they would deliver Monday. I gave specific instructions about leaving it in the office if I was unavailable and that the school would be closed after four. Nothing Monday. Nothing Tuesday. I called last night to check and they said they would deliver today guaranteed. Nothing. I came home and they had attempted to deliver it to my house at two o'clock in the afternoon while I was teaching at school. I called again this evening and blew up at some poor woman who had nothing to do with this mess. The postal service is much better than this, even when I have to go down Pennsylvania Ave to my Post Office and wait in line! Don't even get me started on Comcast...

life in the hood

came home from school today to a line of junkies and a crew slinging drugs outta one of the alleys. i don't even need to see the dealers to know what's up. i can tell because there is a lookout stationed on the corner of Whitelock and Madison and two decoy runners in the park across from my house. Bmore, baby!


We have an AirBNB guest this week who is an MD studying to be a forensic pathologist. She is doing an internship and interview this week at the medical examiner's office in Baltimore, a few blocks from my school. On Monday I got to hear about the autopsies she assisted on...the football player who died of heat stroke, the dude found in two separate bags, the gunshot victims. Monday was apparently a busy day even for Baltimore. While she told me about this stuff I cooked us a nice spaghetti dinner with veggies from the Farmer's Market. My city is a primary training ground for this kind of work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three Amigos School begins on Monday. My classroom is mostly set up, and I'm beginning to fart around with lessons. I wish, however, that there was one more week at the beach available...

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Firefly Festival

So a couple weeks ago we rented an RV and went to the Firefly Festival in Dover, Delaware. This was the 2nd annual FF, and our 2nd visit. I think I'm done with it--the crowds were too huge this time. The best thing about the first Firefly was how chill it was, how close you could get to all the acts without feeling jammed in. This year there were way too many drunk-ass rowdy college kids who marshed my mallow.

Notes on the tunes:

The Skins were the first act I saw. Three very young African-American siblings (singer, drums, bass) and two young Caucasian kids (guitars). I don't know what I expected when they took the stage, but it certainly wasn't a series of hard-rock tunes with Black Sabbath leanings. The singer has studied her Noisettes, and the lead guitarists can shred like nobody's business. Really tight band, very entertaining. I don't think anyone was better than the Skins all weekend.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are amazing. I'd never seen them live and they played a 2-hour greatest hits list going deep into the '70s. Just great. And "Tweeter and the Monkey Man"? Aw, hell yeah.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are the most boring band I've ever seen live. Every song sounds exactly the same, and the little jams between songs are so tired and ineffective. Just stop.

MGMT are polished and spot-on live, but you might as well stay home and listen to their CDs. Passion Pit and Foster the People are about in the same class of sparkly digital music as MGMT. Django Django are interesting, the Alabama Shakes are soulful and worth seeing, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes were OK, and thank GOD the Lumineers cancelled because Charlie Musselwhite and Ben Harper filled in and they really rocked--their cover of "When the Levee Breaks" is the greatest cover I've ever seen live anywhere by anyone.

Monday, July 09, 2012

I've changed locations, at least temporarily. Find more recent posts at

Monday, June 25, 2012

Books #18, #19, and #20

The reading this year comes in fits and starts. I’m bored by books for the first time in my life. More later about this?
  I read this on the Kindle Fire (and iPad3). I like the way the book was formatted to focus on one frame at a time if you choose, or the entire page. It’s interesting to read V for Vendetta as a first-timer after seeing OWS and Adbusters use the Guy Fawkes mask to such effect. Will the radical change of consciousness Chomsky believes necessary before an anarchist revolution actually occur, or are we too distracted and complacent even now? I fear we’re going to have to deplete the Earth even further before we can make positive change.
  Got this for my classroom library. YAWN. The characters are boring and predictable types, the supernatural aspects of the story are tired cliches, and the art was uninteresting. Kids who hate reading might like it, which is all that matters I suppose.

  Picked up a donated copy for the classroom library and read it on a whim. It was, after all, one of the books by which I can measure a good chunk of my near-decade as a bookseller. How many copies of this did I ring up? How often did I stack it at the Info Desk? Who knows? It wasn’t a bad book by any means, though at the time it was hot I had a snooty kind of attitude, something akin to “the Herd is reading this, it can’t be good.” As a descriptor of perennial truth it’s not too shabby. I wonder if the Celestine Prophecy is as good? Will I find out? Likely not.

Monday, June 18, 2012

@ the Wickerman Burn Festival

We returned yesterday from 3 days at Four Quarters campground in Artemas, PA. We were there for something called the Wickerman Burn Festival, which is a mid-Atlantic knock-off of the Burning Man Festival. I liked camping with friends and having a little area all our own for people to visit and trade things. I enjoyed being outside and doing out-doorsy things. I liked seeing (some of the) freaky people, and meeting and talking to a few. But the music wasn't that great, the arts and crafts were sadly lacking, and I'm past the age when glow-in-the-dark bracelets or battery-powered jewelry might interest or excite me. We did get to dance a bit, and there were naked people, and the fire itself was a thrill: a huge effigy burned atop a gigantic pile of timbers, followed by a bit of hedonism. We took a long nap next to the conflagration once it had shrunk enough to get near. I watched burning embers climb a smoke ladder into the starry sky where they vanished, and wondered about early hominids doing the same and creating the underpinnings of religious and mystical thinking re: the heavens above. I would love to camp at Four Quarters again, but I'm not sure about Wickerman Burn. It wasn't a negative experience by any means, but I expected more...creativity? Paganism? Fun?