Good morning. Hello. How are you?

Good morning! Hello! How are you? I am okay. Sun is shining and it’s gonna be in the mid-70’s today, even if I am convinced this is sucker’s fake spring. Also, it’s Friday! And that is nice. And I have it off again. Which is nice in concept but I have to leave the house today it’s gonna be INTENSE. Gotta help mom do a Zoom doctor’s appointment in an hour or so, then we’re going to leave, swing by the UPS store to drop off some returns, then swing by the Chatham PTA thrift to drop off some books. My mom reads a prodigious amount of novels. One a day or so. In many ways, she’s living the retiree dream. I really wish I could read even a quarter as much as my mom does. Then we’re off to another doctor’s appointment, this one at the UNC campus. It’s a new building (it’s astonishing the rate at which UNC medical springs up entire new office complexes), so not sure of the accessibility. Gotta add a little time for that. Then we gotta swing by the Asian grocery like I mentioned yesterday. Shaoxing wine, bamboo and Kit Kats. Big day. Maybe Home Depot. Not sure if there’s gonna be time.

Corrections dept: I mistakenly said “Portland, Oregon” yesterday. I meant “Portland, Maine.” Apologies to everyone in Maine. Thanks to Mike Gatti for being the first (of many) to point this out. It was my ancestry talking. Dad’s fam is from the the Salem area (there’s a Webb Drive there!). And as John Updike famously said: “The true Oregonian secretly believes that people living in Portland, Maine have to be, in some sense, kidding.”

Corrections dept, vol 2: Those were not Irises two days ago. They were daffodils. WTF do I know about flowers I only grow vegetables. And maybe fruits someday if I am lucky.

Next up: I am sorry but I am going to hit you up for money, especially if you’re a New Yorker. My friend Stu Sherman is running for NYC City Council from Brooklyn District 33. If you live in New York City, please consider sending him a little money? New York has some of the best public funds matching in the country. $10 is $80 for Stu’s campaign. Pretty please. For me. Stu’s politics are very solid. Right before the pandemic, Stu and I had whole plan where I was gonna come to NYC and invite everyone to some bar and make em all donate a little bit of money. But, sadly, that hasn’t been possible. Therefore, please consider digging in more on his website by clicking on his mug right here:

Man Trump must be ripshit that Biden got the stimulus signed, got to be on all of the networks and the stock market is killing it. Didn’t watch all of Joe’s speech, but the news is obviously good and it is obviously right and proper that a president, you know, acknowledges that people died. I admit I am a little emotionally overloaded, but my sense of all the news yesterday was the feeling you get when you plug one whole on a ship that is sinking because you threw a hand grenade into the hull for lolz. Good news, but also… table stakes? Going in the right direction is better than going in the wrong direction. But, man. There’s so far to go. We used up one of our get-out-of-jail-free Reconciliation cards. The path to more quick victors is… unclear.

In my enthusiasm yesterday I probably should have stated the obvious: the means testing in bill for stimulus checks is bad economics, bad politics and petty. And the $15 minimum wage would have been better. Joe Manchin is petty. He said he’d go to $11. Good for you, you support American workers making twenty-two whole thousand dollars a year. Real big ‘o you, chief. Real working-class grit right there. But we all have to keep our mouths shut because he might deign to support mild filibuster reform and, man, there are a lot of inappropriate metaphors we won’t use here because we can’t hurt old Manchin’s feelings because he might get angry and fucking hurt people and we can’t upset the big scary man.

Still. As politics, Joe’s use of July 4th as the target day Americans can all hang out was brilliant. And, like my wife said, she just loves Joe getting up there and showing Americans how good of an orator he is, and Fox carrying it, right after they had started bringing back the old stutterin’ Joe trope. Nope.

Ahem. Moving on. Sold another CD on Discogs yesterday, man, my store is on fire. Sold a dual-layer CD+DVD edition of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy. What a good album. Anyone remember that show at Venus De Milo where William was so drunk he couldn’t remember the (really not very elaborate) lyrics to “I Hate Rock and Roll?” One nice thing in the world of Rock and Roll is how much better the Jesus and Mary Chain got as a live band. The last few times I saw them, they were fantastic. That SXSW show at The Belmont? Man.

I’m really enjoying being able to add links and photos to these posts. Some of you know this but others may be amazed or appalled to learn that in addition to these posts every day (and my job, and caring for my daughter, and my mom, I am tired) I write 750 words privately using the wonderful site 750words.com from my friends Buster and Kellianne. I really love it, but being able to throw in a photo when you’re talking about something is something I really miss there (Buster tells me it’s coming soon). I don’t know what I’d do without being able to constantly write. It really does keep me sane. I’ve read about some other graphomaniacs and we all seem to have sort of different motivations. Sarah Manguso really talks about shaping and forming reality in her sublime rumination on journaling Ongoingness. And Anaïs Nin, of course, who’s half responsible for getting me into this mess, was really trying to capture the sublime, the magical, the ineffable emotional eddies that are nearly impossible to put to page. Clearly I’m going for something a bit more mundane. Not mundane, but… grounding. Yeah. That’s it. When I am being more egomaniacal I like to think that this is all a roadmap for other Red-State-Raised American Men for being on the internet without turning toxic. But… yeah maybe that’s a perk but it’s not the main goal. The main goal, I think, is trying to illustrate the nobility in the pedestrian. Take a swing at hero mythologies and great man tropes. Or something.

Of course right now one could counter that all of this pedestrianism is pandemic-related and once its over, Rick, you’ll go right back to globe trotting but to you I say: no.

I mean, okay, yeah, I’m a bit scared. I mean, I’m not gonna suddenly go work at Google or something (Rick’s law of Google labor: Everyone who works at Google thinks anyone who doesn’t work at Google can’t get a job at Google). And I really don’t want to pick up the pace of business travel but. Yeah. I miss some stuff. I wrote this in a comment yesterday: “It's like... there are things I learned to love or that really got better during pandemic, and lots of things that got worse, and it seems clear to me that going back to ‘normal’ is not going to be a simple matter of keeping the things I love and getting rid of the bad parts. It's gonna be a messy mess.” Yeah. I’m not gonna lie. I’m a bit terrified.

To quote the brilliant Veronica Black Morpheus Nipple, “It’s a messy messy mess.”

On the other hand, yesterday morning we had a new nurse coming to the house, and it was a first visit so I needed to be on hand, and it was right after Jane’s breakfast time, and she wouldn’t finish on time. Kitty was dropped. Daddy wasn’t allowed to pick up Kitty. Jane get the kitty. Okay Jane, get the kitty. No. Okay well Daddy get the kitty. No. Okay well let’s just keep on with breakfast because gramma’s friend is gonna be here in ten minutes and daddy and Janie need to put on masks. No Janie get the kitty. No mask. NO MASK! And I had a screaming kid who wouldn’t put on a mask and a mother singing what sounded sort of like drunken eastern hymns for some reason, all while my wife was trying to get some sleep after a massive work delivery and everyone is doing their level best to wake her up and the nurse is coming and I am supposed to technically be at work and Slack is a ringin’ ding ding DING and…

Yeah. This is a lot. And maybe… fuck it: if I lose gardening in the return to normalcy, maybe it’ll be worth it. You can’t take all this new gardening knowledge from me, though. Even if I drop the hobby like a hot potato as soon as I can go to New York, I’ll pick it up again someday. If nothing else, I’ve mapped out some nice retirement hobbies a bit early.

Also I do want to visit my dad’s grave someday and have a nice, good cry.

I take a lot of walks up the steep hill outside the house these days. It helps.

But hopefully I keep it going. THEREFORE: In gardening news, I got the Birdies Beds assembly video done. These things are beasts. If you’re looking for giant raised beds where you don’t have to lean over, and have more money than is recommended to throw at your garden (though all the reviewers on the interwebs swear they last forever) perhaps these are the beds for you:

I spend a bunch of time getting my title card thumbnail all set up in Keynote to crank em out real quick. I did not brave Premiere (which I will be learning instead of Final Cut since apparently FCPX is too different from what I knew before. Thanks to the amazing Kestrin Pantera for this tip). That is on next week’s agenda. I have added a bunch of Premiere tutorials to the YouTube playlist, though.

There was this real weird post on our local NextDoor the other day, where a woman claimed that a local man had been beaten and killed and the cops were doing nothing about it. She had a picture of him and a flier and asked everyone to send tips to the sheriff’s office. I was a bit suspicious right off the bat, but recently (well, we’re going on like six months) the county’s offices were hacked by some Russians or something, and most of our county online services have been kaput. Like we didn’t get a water bill for six months. Before the hack, I got all the crime reports, the building permit applications, etc. emailed to me once a week. I really miss those reports. Anyway, since I an currently not receiving police reports, I can’t be sure, but it just seemed real weird that in this small rural area where normally the biggest news are the sewage wars that no one would have heard about this. And now, two days later, the thread is like 50 comments long and all these other people are also thinking and saying “hold up, how come we’ve heard nothing about this how come the police haven’t reported it, nor have either of the two local papers?” Our small rural county has two shockingly good local papers, owing to its proximity to UNC’s Journalism school (er, excuse me, Hussman school of Journalism and Media. A rich person bought the name of the school not too long ago). Seems like they would be on it. So now many people are questioning the whole thing. The original poster has not returned. No one knows what’s up. It’s all very weird. Weirdest thing since the great trolling wars on the Chatham Chatlist last year. Also, man. I miss my building permit application reports.

Strange times.

SO: if all of these errands work out, then we are gonna do some serious gardening this weekend. We are going to 1) Thin seedlings, 2) Unbox and test the new Worx shredder against pine needles in an effort to make pine needly mulch, 3) fill the Birdie’s Beds with soil and/or wood at the bottom and then if we get all of that done, 4) make the compost bins. Which is very exciting. Then after that the next task is to set up the trellis system on the porch (made from garden stakes, PVC plumbing and electrical conduit). I am attempting the single-vine-and-hook method of tomato growing this year (never mind I didn’t bother to check whether my plants are determinate or indeterminate. I have almost 300 of them I’m sure it’s fine). I wonder if I should paint the trellis stuff? I suspect some spousal consultation will be in order. Emma is not psyched the porch is going to be taken over by plants again, but what can you do? The squirrels are ravenous.

A thing I also said yesterday, to the afore-mentioned Mike Gatti: “And then the pandemic will end and I’ll just abandon them all to wither on the vine while I go drink my face off in a dive bar.”

That may or may not happen. We will see.

Let’s do a mix! What to say about this mix. Mitski is amazing and her show at Cat’s Cradle before the pandemic was just so fantastic she is so brilliant. Oh yeah, The Arms of Someone New I wrote a bunch about them earlier in the week so now you can listen to them if you like. And Dawes. My friend Sean and I went to see ELO at MSG a few years back and Dawes opened and it was the most surreal thing to see that band in such a huge room. It was awesome. And that Cristy Lane song — or at least one of the six best-selling versions of that song, but I think it is the Cristy Lane one — is basically going through my head constantly these days. Constantly. And that Goldfrapp song - anyone remember that tour? Anyone see them at the Paradise? With the confetti that came out during this song? And her goth nurse outfit? My god. My god. I’ve only fallen in love with a performer while watching them live like…. three… four times? But oh, Allison Goldfrapp on the Black Cherry tour. Jeeezus.

Happy Friday everyone. May all your Fridays be sunny.