"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

New Feed: Frank's Wine Bar

So, I just added a new feed to my aggremataron. Frank is blogging the process of "Pulling A Wine Bar Out Of A Printing Room" in a historic neighborhood in St. Louis. It's good stuff:

Rented a drill hammer at the Home Depot, like ya do from time to time. Rented it, gave it to someone who in turn busted through some bricks in as subtle a way as possible and then went to return it.

HD Tool Rental Guy: "This is dirty. There's gonna be a $25 dollar fee on this."
Me: "Hold on there, I'll clean it"
HD Tool Rental Guy: "No man, you already returned it"
Me: "I didn't return it, I just put it on that table over there"
HD Tool Rental Guy: "No, I just put it in the system"

The guy relented. In recognition of both the 60th anniversary of Alekzander Kalashnikov's creation and the work of Ice Cube, "it was a good day, I didn't even have to use my AK."

Should be fun watching Frank pull this off.

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I Could Sleep For Thousand Years

It's two steps forward, one step back. I've made it back to the old homestead and have gotten this project out the door (a rather big site) that's been eating my brain and soul for the past couple months. I got locked into a cycle of grinding it out, which can be effective in the short run, but yields diminishing returns over time. I did about ten weeks with no weekends or days off save two for thanksgiving and two for Christmas.

Workaholism is in my DNA (dad and his famous 90 days straight in the oilfields, mom and her neverending string of projects, etc) but this was not the way I like it; too disorganized and haphazard. Too much struggling. The most important thing is to stop struggling. Stress-dreams and exhaustion don't help anyone out.

However, we did get it done, so people are happy and that's a win, and as it was at the same a rather spectacular failure in terms of process, there's a lot to be learned. Blowing it is how you get smart, so I've got that going for me too.

And of course, with this weight lifting, everything else bubbles up like an over-active bottle of orange crush.

Mark reminded me of this quote the other day:

bq. “innocence must die, if we are ever to begin that journey toward that greater innocence called wisdom.”

I feel kind of stuck in the middle there. Innocence is dead, but wisdom has yet to arrive. I've been having a lot of anxiety lately about how life seems to be moving in a direction of dispersion, people all going their separate ways, spreading out over the map and settling down. Even though I'm part of the problem here (maybe because I am), this makes me sad.

It seems like a ridiculous cliché, but I think I've always subconsciously thought my grown-up life would be like living on some kind of commune. Back to my roots!

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It's Hard To Make It Too Dirty, Baby

This is hot:

Politics is like a good martini, or conjugal relations after a period of disagreement and strife. It's hard for it to be too dirty.

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My Shit's All Retarded

For anyone who's tried to email me in the past couple days and gotten a bounce, I apologize. This old server needs to be burned down and restarted. For better accuracy, you can always use my gmail, which is where mail to @outlandishjosh.com goes anyway.

It's outlandish.josh at the gmail.com, yo.

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Woman King

I was driving all day yesterday, but I tuned in to a little Air America AM in th evening to pick up the news that Sen. Clinton came back and beat the polls to edge out Barack Obama in New Hampshire. This is interesting. Here are the takeaways I think are worth noting:

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Forward all Mail to O'Hare International Airport

This is a first. I get to live in an airport for two days.

My flight yeseterda was (eventually) canceled and the next for-sure seat is on Monday. So I'm "standing by" all day today.

Hopefully if that doesn't work out they'll comp me a hotel room again.

Update: I snagged the last seat on a stand-by, so have made it back to Portland. Now to find a place to stay here...

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My Love Is A Monster

Spending a week inside the Robbins Family Nest got me thinking quite a lot about my own rather barren romantic landscape. I'm being screwed by O'Hare Airport (as usual) and have several hours to sit here, so I figured I might try and organize my head a bit about this.

I've come to see my decision to relocate to remote Humboldt County in part as a semi-conscious decision to get away from women. In one way it could be seen as a sort of self-purification or monastic thing. Alternatively, it could be seen as a decision to flee. It's unclear, but all in all the decision was right for me, and I am where I am, so I sort of try to look forward.

It occurs to me lately that sex and love are in some ways skills, requiring energy, attention, and more than anything practice if you want to do well. It's like a bicycle in that you never forget how, sure, but it also really seems like the kind of thing where you can lose your edge; or, to be more specific, where I currently feel dull and edgeless.

So there are flashes of paranoia that, having taken myself out of things, I may not easily find my way back -- that I could end up drifting along nonplussed by the world, libido curled up asleep inside me where I put it to bed. That's an unpleasant thought.

And then, thinking of that mis-attributed quote about how our greatest fear is our own power, I'm immediately struck by the opposite idea, that maybe what troubles me isn't ennui or boredom, but rather a fear of living, of what I might do or be or become.

That would explain this semi-conscious self-divorce. If I made a move to cut myself off from sex, I must have done it for a reason, and that reason probably has something to do with me not being very happy with myself.

And, thinking this, I know immediately that it is true.

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The Adventure of Your Lifetime

One of the better things I ever wrote in the old blue journal book that I lost -- container of all my most personal post-college scribblings -- was the line "life, the adventure of your lifetime."

It is what it is, and all we can really hope for is that we keep giving it 100%, and that the people around us are good ones. The world is impossibly huge, more giant than any of us can comprehend. Forget the goddamn universe, just the planet Earth is so much more vast, varied and wonderfully amazing than anyone can ever possibly conceive. Just don't even worry about it, and dig the fact that the world is always going to present the potential for more.

I feel the pull of exploration again, for the first time in a while. I used to really think of myself as a scout -- indeed, I'm sure that old journal has a series of great long entries on what exactly it means to be "an explorer" -- but lately I've been building and nesting, husbanding my resources even as that took me hither and yon. In 2008, it feels like I might have to get a bit more balsy, risk some chips, try out some new things, ditch the risk-aversion, etc. Sounds good.

The world is huge, like I said. I think I should see more of it. Time to start packing a towel.

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Black President

Perhaps Fela Kuti won't be the only (symbolic) Black President.

Obama wins pretty big in Iowa, and largely on the back of massive caucus turnout and a very strong showing with "the kids." That's hot. Stoller has more. Also, Johnny Sunshine and his anti-corporate populism also edged out Sen. Clinton's high-functioning campaign, which was not expected to finish third, which (along with Huck's populism) might push other candidates to at least think about biting the hand that feeds them. This is also hot.

On the GOP side, soft-touch Huckabee takes it, surging past Mitt Romney and his high-dollar machine. Huck!. I think the theater on the Right is kind of better, actually. They're more wild and free.

And now it's on to New Hampshire, where there will be an interesting contest between McCain and Obama -- the two candidates considered to have the greatest crossover appeal -- over independent voters (who can only vote in one or the other's primary). If the trends from Iowa continue, they'll likely split along generational lines.


Adding: I've been pessimistic about all these mofos, but the truth is they'd also all be massive improvements and massive opportunity to push the country forward. They will also all need to be actively whipped to do anything worthwhile. Crisitunity!

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Happy New Year From St. Louis!

Happy New Year Everybody!

I managed to wing it from Portland to St. Louis without any trouble and even some sleep -- thanks to the "economy plus" seating upgrade and my amazing luxury headphones (thx, mom!). I've landed in the Robbins' budding family nest. It's a cozy brick house in a cute neighborhood with a big basement and a tiny garage built for a model-t ford; very nice.

We had a pretty rad New Years Eve. Laura cooked an amazing rib roast, and a family friend of Frank's parents had given them a big grip of fine wine (now residing in a rack in said basement) of which the Two Hands Shiraz was a perfect compliment. Their good friends Matt and Narcissa came over and we had a great meal and some good well-wishes for 2008.

My winning slogan/resolution: 2008 -- Less Work. More Sex. Flossing.

I also managed to get in on some classic New Years Predictions via phone with LGD and The Girth. It's a tradition in which we venture guesses on things ranging from the stock market and congressional makeup to who among our friends will have a bun in the oven by the next trip round the sun. They're fun to look back on.

After dinner we went out to a hip spot with some quality burlesque dancing and an outdoor fire to count down the new year in public. It was good for people watching, and I did at one point have a woman tear open my shirt (cowboy snaps) and give me a little dancefloor humpin', which is always nice. Bodes well for my slogan. Pregnant Laura was our faithful designated driver, and we didn't really stay out too late, though Frank and I did get into some loud story telling and scotch-bottle-finishing back at the ranch.

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