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it’s a mystery

OK, I changed the title and page of this bad boy, and it seems to be working with the recent posts, but my archives have vanished. We’re not missing much from the first post, but I did have a cool one about eating cheesesteaks at Geno’s in Philly after a Phish show in Novemeber. If it’s gone forever … we’ll just carry on. Bravely. Stiff upper lip and all that shit.

Jesus …. Why can’t I screw around with the templ…

Jesus …. Why can’t I screw around with the template for this without losing all the stuff I’ve done so far? OK, the counter and the comments are a little silly at this point, because nobody’s reading this yet, but now I have to go back and find all that stuff again. How can I become an award-winning online publisher when I have to deal with all this stuff?

There’s some stuff I need to catch up with, but I’m not feeling the urge at the moment. Here’s what’s coming:

— My wife learned to ski last weekend. Went much better than I expected.

— I still haven’t written anything for my friend’s zine.

— It’s snowed here for like eight straight months, and I’m consistently amazed at how much this freaks people out.

— And there’s still the Groundhog Day explanation. T-minus three days and counting.

Before I get into any of that, I’m going to go eat my leftover meatloaf.

kids these days

Smokes: Multiple packs of Camel Lights, thanks to a truck stop in Lodi, Ohio … mmmm, cheap tobacco…

Tunes: On my way home from work, it will be the CD of the Phish show in Pittsburgh from last summer … just got my copy in the mail today.

Hm. I just read a couple accounts of what was apparently a pretty exciting weekend in Athens … it was Dad’s Weekend, when fathers converge on campus to buy groceries, clothing and cocktails for their children. There’s usually great potential for mayhem — The Wife and her friends used to stroll through the bars uptown grabbing Dad asses, pausing at the door to watch the reaction spread through the room and then leaving in fits of giggles — but this year the mayhem involved stabbings, gunshots and a Halloween-style police crackdown along Court Street Saturday night. I know things get out of hand on Halloween — I was there for like nine of them. But since I left, the kids at OU seem to have had a little more difficulty playing nice. This starts with the Daylight Savings Time Riots, which were funny the first year or two and just a sad self-fulfilling prophecy after that. There have been full-blown riots in conjunction with Highfest and Palmerfest (block parties created to fill the void left after the university killed Springfest) and then this. We had fights on Court Street when I was in Athens, but the scariest one I ever saw was a thing between two fraternities and pool cues outside Baker Center. Knives? Pistols, for christssake? What’s the matter with just being drunk and happy, folks?

I promised an explanation of the groundhog thing, but that’s a little involved, and I still have two weeks before we (and by that, I mean the Fraternal Order of the Groundhog) meet in Mansfield. It’s hard enough to explain to the two people The Wife and I are dragging into this thing … I’m not feeling up to explaining it to you, at least not yet.

And then there’s the sex essay/story/thing. Just as I completed the three projects I’ve been working on for the newspaper, I have this other thing on my plate … it promises to be as stressful, if not more so. A very good friend of mine from college publishes a zine called Bee (it’s widely available in the DC area I’m told), and she’s been asking me for a contribution. So I volunteered, unknowingly, to write something for the sex issue. Do I write something about my sex life? Do I make something up? This is teetering on the very boundary of my typical comfort zone, so I’m feeling a little stuck. Possibles:

— writing about how hard it is to write about sex

— sex and power. another friend of mine is enduring psychological abuse/stalking from an ex.

— write the raunchiest piece of fiction I can come up with.

— bag it and write a CD review.

Hm. I wonder when my deadline is….

Smokes: We’re going to Columbus this weekend, so I…

Smokes: We’re going to Columbus this weekend, so I’m gonna stock up in the land of plenty. $3 packs of smokes for everyone!

Tunes: Not Ekoostik Hookah, even though we had tickets for a show at Mr. Small’s tonight — the weather’s going to get nasty in Central Ohio tomorrow morning, so if we’re going — and we are — we have to go tonight. And why do we have to go? It’s a groundhog thing, and I’ll try to explain that over the next few days. In short, our pledges need some help, and this is the last chance before Reduction Day.

Yes. It’s as bizarre as it sounds.

The real thing I wanted to discuss was my experience last night at the Boyce Park ski area in Monroeville, the subject of a project that has been torturing me for the last few weeks. The initial concept was solid — our county commissioners had kicked around the idea of a county-run ski area for a few years, and they’re about ready to get started on the first piece of that deal. Right next door, Allegheny County has been running their own ski area in a county park, so we thought it would be cool to see how Boyce does and conjectugate (if that’s not an actual word, I’m calling it right now) how the concept could translate here.

Only there wasn’t any snow. And Boyce missed its Dec. 15 opening date. And the holidays. And the first few freakin’ days of January, which took me past my deadline. So I gingerly explain to editors: Ummm … no skiing, no story … right?

But it finally got cold enough and wintry enough that Boyce opened, and I could make my first trip out there to talk with actual skiers … and do some actual skiing myself, for the first time in, like 12 years. I used to do this a bunch, but with a companion who only digs skiing of the cross-country variety, I let my habit slide. I was actually apprehensive about trying again, which was kind of a silly notion — can’t say if I was worried about falling and earning the abuse of a mess of 15-year-old pierced snowboarders or the moms and dads who stuff their tiny children into crash helmets and watch as the tykes bomb down the hill…

So. I remembered how. Didn’t let the chairlift crack me in the back of the skull. Remembered how to turn. How to stop. After a few runs, I felt years melt away. It’s such a freeing exercise anyway, and to rediscover it on an uncrowded slope, with a couple inches of fresh snow (Powder? In Pittsburgh?) … Pretty cool. I got my work done, talking with dad and daughter, momslashski patrol, a couple of derelict boarders and some others.

And I skied. Beautiful.