December 31, 2003

Last Chance to Evacuate

Little over an hour left of '03 now. I've spent the evening hanging out with my lovely wife and Caren, getting pleasantly buzzed, having a laid-back New Year's Eve. Laid-back is good.

A little melancholy, a little relieved. So it goes.

Still, pretty good year.

Much love to you all.

December 29, 2003

Twenty-Nine, Thirty, Thirty-One

Three days left of '03. Weird.

Good Christmas. Especially good post-Christmas get-together out on the Hill with Jeff and Matt and Patrick and Bernice. Much wine was drunk, and certain plans were made.

It was nice coming home to our own house, but everything there is to do is more than a little overwhelming. It still feels like home-in-progress. Frustrating sort of limbo, being half moved in. I just want to unpack and be effing done with it.

On top of this (or possibly because of it), the post-holiday blahs have set in early. This is a phenomenon so consistent that I wonder if there shouldn't be some way of actively honoring it rather than just enduring it. I think a lot of predictable depression and melancholy might be weathered better by not pretending it isn't going to happen.

Anyway, that's how it stands in the year's denoument. At least the days get longer from here.

December 23, 2003

The Grey Havens

Well, I'm off for three days to WV, where the missus and I will be visiting family and doing the Xmas cheer thing. Happy holidays to all and sundry.

Updates on the weekend, when I return. Till then - slán. Tip back a cup of something warm and lovely in the meantime, and here's hoping you get lots of presents.
Dan v. Inner Critic, Part XIX

Just as my courage begins to be steeled, this. Dammit.


December 22, 2003

Come the New Sun

Happy Solstice to all and sundry - sources disagree whether it was last night or tonight, but in any case, lighting a candle or two in honor of Sol Invictus can't hurt.

Patrick writes more on this over at newly-bloggified Thing in a Jar. Go forth and comment.

For my own thoughts on this, I wrote up a midwinter blessing three years ago that pretty much sums it all up for me:

The long night is almost here. As each of us prepares for our personal celebrations of the winter holidays, let me send all of you my thoughts and blessings - a bit of cheer to keep with you at the winter's darkest hour.

Remember that, whatever holiday we honor, sacred or secular, festive or ceremonious, we also gather together to keep light in the darkness, reminding us that day and warmth and light return, and that death and bleak winter are necessary for the turning of the Wheel. Remember this in the colors of the season:

Remember it in deep red, color of blood and wine, for the sharing of life and joy and hearth with your best-loved, and the ties of hearts' blood and shared cups binding you together; and for the fire of vitality coursing in you and around you, even at the darkest of times.

Remember it in green, color of life and the earth, for the tenacity of evergreen trees in the cold winter, for the promise of summer's return in its time, and for the web of life that ties us all to each other and the world.

Remember it in silver and gold, for the richness of lives filled with good things, material and otherwise; and for light, sun's gold and moon's silver and the million glittering stars, honoring that which both lights your path and awakens you to the vastness and glory of creation.

And remember it in white, the pure white of new snow and winter skies; the white of blank canvases for new beginnings in a new year; of transcendence and spirit and intangible things; and of the pure light of the returning sun, about to be reborn and ascend, full of cleansing and possibility.

To all of you, my love and best wishes. May the coming year bring you richness and joy, and may you be merry and in good company always. You are in my thoughts.

If I don't get another chance to say so, happy holidays to you all, and my love. Keep the fires lit tonight.

December 17, 2003

I am the Middle Finger of Sauron

To all of you who have already seen (or are now playing hooky in order to see) Return of the King on opening day, I have only this to say:

You suck. You suck. You suck.

That is all.

December 16, 2003

Last Night on Maudlin Street

Well, now it's done. We moved the last of our stuff out of the old apartment last night and said our goodbyes to our old home. It was a bit sad - that place was ours for five years, and it's hard to let it go and move on, even though our new home is quite wonderful. Farewells are hard, better place or no.

Weirdly, it looked much smaller without all our stuff in it. Partly I attribute this to Stacy's superior natural sense of feng shui, though I also suspect our presence had something to do with it. I don't know if that makes any sense or not.

Anyway, it's done now. Our last few hours in our last (let's hope) apartment. Turned in the keys at the office on the way home. I hope it's as good to its next owners as it was to us.

Stacy's not feeling so well today, and came home halfway through the day. We've both been tired and stressed, adjusting to a new sleep schedule and a long commute; I'm not surprised something nasty took the opportunity when her defenses were down. Send some good energy her way.

And, finally, a small development: Thing in a Jar now has a cover page. Just a logo so far, but I'm all about setting the stage for style over substance. (Indeed, why stop now?)

December 14, 2003

"A Place Not Found on Any Map"

So - we are now moved into the new place, as of yesterday (moved as in "almost all our stuff is now here," not as in "unpacked and living like normal people," but so it goes).

Friday night it felt like it was never going to happen; last night it felt like it was hardly real. We are now residents of Edgewood, in our own house - too weird for words. But it already feels like home, even surrounded by boxes. I think this place wanted to be taken care of, and it's welcoming us in.

Our cable got installed this morning (Hooray!), allowing me to have an opportunity to blog and whatnot, and fueling the fires of procrastination for our unpacking efforts. I'm okay with that, though. It's Sunday, we're home, all is well.


December 11, 2003

Under Deconstruction

Those of you who have been checking in on Tony's blog may have seen that there's some coolness in the works, in the form of the up-and-coming website Patrick's been kicking off for the three of us to do projects and weirdness and whatnot on. The fun will commence at as soon as we all get some time to devote to it.

(Credit for that name goes, ultimately, to Spyder, her with the disturbing craft projects and all, whose reaction to our newly-christened domain was "I love you people.")

There's nothing there yet but a line of virtual bumblebee tape, but Watch This Space for updates. And expect a great deal of loopy strangeness coming from that quarter in the months ahead.

December 10, 2003

Black Tape on a Blue Girl

I noted with some wide-eyed shock that yesterday's new Suicide Girl was a Porcupine Tree fan from Long Island with blue-streaked hair who goes by Angel.

Dammit, Spyder, if you can't keep these people inside your head... well, I'm not going to be held responsible for the consequences, is all I'm sayin'.

I post this in the full understanding that I have totally busted myself. "What were you up doing last night, sweetie?" "Um, packing boxes..."
Suffer a Sea-Change

I feel about nine times better today than two days ago. Some emergency therapy helped, as did the support of all you good folks. Thank you; it means the world.

I think a lot of it has to do with this week of transition - the big change and all the hundred things that have to get done for it to happen on schedule. In a few days all that will be over, though.

I went up to the new place Monday night and felt so good about walking in (even empty, it seemed to welcome me home) that a whole lot of my anxiety dissipated. Plus, it's hard to feel too sad standing under a clear cold December sky on the night of a bright full moon. I think something wanted to let me know that it was All Going to Be Okay.

And even before that, I was driving up listening to The Highbury Working and "The Angel Highbury" came on just as the lights of Baltimore appeared on the horizon, which I took for some sort of Sign. Listened to the Tallis Scholars sing "Spem in alium" on the way home (very possibly the most beautiful piece of music written by anyone, ever) and felt very much that all shall be well.

Of course, what I really want to be doing is writing, the withdrawal from which is affecting me in some very odd ways. But I suppose I'd rather suffer separation anxiety from my novel than be sick of looking at the damn thing, which sort of happened last year. Does this make me a Real Writer now? Seems a bit of a mixed blessing. But I guess I knew that already.

December 08, 2003

Down Here

Black mood continues apace. It's getting hard to tell if it has to do with something real, something imaginary, something real but minor that I've inflated to tragic proportions, or just the fucking weather. But in any case, I've been bleakly unhappy for nearly a week now, and see no end in sight.

Also really did something unpleasant to my back this weekend, for that extra dose of crappiage. "Throbbing" is not always a good word, you know.

Whine whine whine bitch grumble moan.


Even though high
I am blue
blue as sky
cobalt hue
and if the sun falls
I fall too
to the sea
seeking you

and if extinguished I'd be happier
than alone on fire and free
would you then stay
down here
with me

And that's about it. Off to sulk in private now. Aren't I a beacon of light? Thanks, I'll be here all week.

December 04, 2003

The Hook

This has not been a good week, for a variety of reasons, none of which I'll bother you folks with. The upshot has been a two-day cloud of despair that's been hanging over me and, among other things, resurfacing all my doubts and fears about the worth of my work.

Well, no, that's not it. My work is something I feel pretty good about, by and large. My doubts have to do with the suspicion that I am exactly the right combination of neurotic and stubborn to assure that I will never be much more than a talented amateur. Part of me is okay with this. The other part is taking the opportunity to indulge in a bit of self-loathing over what a hugely messed-up dork I am.

(Other people talk about "fear of rejection" in such a way that I always think we mean different things by it, because it seems they mean "it's difficult and hurts my feelings" and I mean "it fills me with soul-crushing, panic-attack-inducing phobic terror." Nothing has ever, ever made this better for me, especially not the notion that, hey, you just have to learn to deal.)

None of which is anyone's problem but mine. Just venting. My apologies. Normal service will resume as soon as we figure out what the fuck that means.

December 02, 2003

Blues of the New Bards

Sometime today, if it hasn't happened already, the link to the right that reads "Dan on MP3" will cease to function.

This is because (note absence of link) is undergoing what in the world of business might be termed a "reorg," which when I went through it meant they fired your ass and made you reapply for your own job. This isn't far afield of that. Which means that, for the nonce, I am a folksinger without an online home. I can't imagine I'll want to go back to when it becomes whatever strange beast it will in its new incarnation; this is only the last and most dramatic of several changes made over the last few years that turned what used to be a great artist-friendly site for exposure and community into something that someone apparently hopes will make them wealthy in a hurry.

It's a damn shame, too, since for me was the means by which I got the single best fan letter I may ever hope to recieve, from Tom Ligotti, in response to my song "Good Tom-Go-Lightly" (which was written about him, and about which he said, among other things, that "it's clear you understand your subject in a way most others never will"; I still get that out and look at it from time to time when I'm having a day of Doubting the Work). I can't imagine I'm the only one to have made a connection like that, which was a reward more real and priceless than any amount of cash I could hope to make from doing what I do. It's very sad that the kind of folks who want to turn online music services (and the artists who contribute to them) into money machines will never, ever get this.

When the insanity of getting into the new house is done with, I'll probably be looking into signing up on, which others have spoken highly of. I actually tried to do this a couple of months ago, and the site thought I already had, which might only mean that my future self is going to come back in time any minute now and give me the password. In any case, I'll update as it happens.

And this will hopefully coincide, too, with some new developments in the way of cool musical projects (which is what you call it when you're two or three guys with computers, because it's hard to think of that as a "band"). But no more of this just yet. As the Crims say - "we'll let you know."
What? No Asian Spice?

It's that time again over at Andy's blog - another list has been posted of proposed candle scents to horrify and amuse. This one may even be better than the last time.

I think Urinal Cake has potential, myself.