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Showing posts from November, 2017

Hatched.

When I was looking for cars, there was one undivertible restriction: It had to be a hatchback. Why? Well, over the years, I accumulated various experiences regarding different types of cars--experiences which eventually cornered me into a hatchback love affair.

I remember my father getting a Saturn sedan when I was a young kid. Maybe it was all the waiting around while they haggled, or maybe it was the (then) appalling new car smell, or maybe it was just the look of the car itself, but I took an instant dislike to the car. By extension, I suppose, I've always thought sedans were kind of uggerz.

So no sedans for me.

In high school, I remember some gas hike or another, and all the discussion of gas-guzzling SUVs. I remember the Hummer especially, that ghastly monstrosity, and all the shame thrown at their owners. I recall how an opinionated friend's despised those particularly, and SUVs generally. (He even wrote a short story about a possessed SUV killing its owner or some such.…

#prayforme #newdriver.

You may have noticed my using these hashtags on twitter, usually related to my little "road trips" recently. You may also have found those updates amusing, or annoying. For me, these have not been entirely trivial, though they've almost always a bit tongue-in-cheek. Here's what they've been about.

Roughly almost exactly a year ago, my mom came to pick me up at the train station for my Thanksgiving visit. Proud of having finally gotten my license a scant few months before (though still all but entirely unpracticed at driving), I offered to drive us home. The next 20 minutes of my life were among the most terrifying of my life.

As mentioned, I'd only just gotten my license; I'd only driven for short jaunts using Zipcar to run errands. I'd hardly ever driven more than 45 mph and certainly never driven at night.

Navigating those winding country roads and hurtling on at 55 mph with cars coming at me out of the darkness--coming, it seemed, so near, with lig…

Winding ways and yesterdays.

A few weeks ago, I drove through my old neighborhood and had a peculiar experience. It wasn't quite some Wordsworthian experience of the sublime, but it was something. I'm hesitant to even share this, but I think it's important.


It was already a night rife with some weird feels. I'd become convinced that one of my dearest friends was avoiding me out of resentment; I'd been ghosted by a hot guy I'd been getting along great with; and things generally had an odd shape to them.

So I went for a drive. Originally, I'd gone out to put something in my car, but I kept going. At first, I went down the way, following the street outside my complex. It winds its way back to Rockville Pike, which connects to Randolph. Normally, I'd follow Randolph back to my street and go home, but instead I kept going. I live so close to where I used to live...so why not just visit it, I thought.

It was odd, driving down routes I used to exclusively walk. It was weird, entering the …

Administrative.

Well, this post will be boring, but perhaps interesting to the, like, one person, perhaps a fellow blogger, interested in how blogs are run.

I noticed the other day that I have more than a thousand labels just sitting about. I may use, like, 30 over normal posts. That's a lot of excess. So far, I've worked around this by selecting certain labels for the sidebar rather than having that unwieldy list overwhelm itself. But at some point I guess I should cull the herd. Find tags with only one or two posts and remove them from said posts. That'll take a long while, though. The limited list, though, isn't terrible since it singles out tags that are not only the most used (probably) but also the most interesting (hopefully).

On another note, I reinstalled disqus on this blog. I want people to be able to comment, on the probably rare off-chance they ever do, but the default commenting system is highly restrictive of what accounts can be used to log in (google, livejournal, eve…

300+ posts, remembered.

Yeah, so we're a bit past 300 posts, at about 306 published posts, but it's still worth reflecting on where I've been. It occurred to me the other day--I've been blogging off and on for 15 years now. That's crazy. Here are some of my thoughts on all that.

As I mentioned before, I've felt hesitant about continuing this blog. That's largely because, I think, I have bad memories of my early days, the take-no-prisoners days. I'm glad my old blog doesn't exist anymore: Not only was it beyond embarrassing, but also it hurt people, and I'm not proud of that.

That being said, I learned a lot from blogging, even then, in those larval days. I'd like to think I honed my writerly skills and voice through it, learned some niceties of joining subjects and verbs with their various clausal and phrasal accouterments. Also, something about getting my thoughts and feelings out into the world...though sometimes damaging, as it could be back then, it was still in…

Review: Foning it in.

This past summer, I had my first vacation. And I wanted to read something light and fun. And I found something--though, it delivered more on the "light" than the "fun." But that was the least of its issues.

Specifically, I was reading the EarthCent Ambassador series by E.M. Foner. There are about 13 books in the series, and I powered through about 7 of them before its flaws got the best of my patience. I don't like being a quitter, but--frankly--I don't much mind in this case.

The series follows Kelly Frank, Earth's diplomat on a massive sentient space station. The Stryx--the
AI running this space station and others like it--have helped humanity to become a space-faring civilization. The series consists of Kelly's facing various problems on the station, sometimes on behalf of Earth, and solving them with the help of her friends and the Stryx (who officially deny having provided help).

This all sounds more exciting than it really is: the problems are …

Introducing Ray Bradbury.

So I've started reading some Ray Bradbury. I've read all of four stories from this collection of his short stories, but I'm already about as impressed as one can reasonably be. These are just some initial impressions, mind you.

I've started with some of his short stories because that's what I'm interested in writing. I want to learn to write short stories, so that's what I'm reading. And, yes, this is my first Bradbury. No, I have not read Fahrenheit 451. Somehow. Eventually, though. Over on my other blog, I reflected on some advice he gave about storywriting.

But on to my impressions.

I like how he conveys his characters, how minimally. Unlike my beloved Alice Munro--who outlines her characters in innumerable gentle, only just discernible strokes yet leaves one fully possessed of each character's nature and history, or all one needs of it--Bradbury makes a few large strokes, creates a bold outline, but gives hardly anything else. And yet his charac…

Rites of coffee.

It's time we talked about coffee--because this is important and it matters. This won't take long, but pay attention, it might get tricky.

There are at least three kinds of coffee throughout the day. They are First Coffee, Second Coffee, and Backup Coffee. Some people do more, some fools do less.

First Coffee is the best named, and perhaps most literally named, thing in all Creation. It comes First, before anything else. It is bae. Many cannot function without First Coffee; others take it as mere ritual, oblivious to its sublime significance. Fools.

For me, I don't count my actual first coffee (usually a cold mug of leftover coffee when I get up) because it is lame to do so; the Real First Coffee or First Real Coffee takes place when I get to work, at around 10 am. While my computer is booting up, I grab my pretentious mug and proceed to the coffee maker. And the blessings be upon me, my day has begun auspiciously.

Second Coffee varies: It is a bit trickier to place as it i…

We call her Marshmallow.

It's weird, how I feel about my car. Marshmallow is my first real car--the first I bought myself, the first that felt like mine. While her predecessor, RAKKA3, certainly did the job and did it admirably well, he felt more like a means to an end where Marshmallow feels like a friend in itself.

Is that weird? Yeah, that's probably weird. But I like her, so I'll own it. I like her a lot. I love how tiny she is, her swanky lines, the joy of blasting music and zooming along. And, yeah, knowing that she's mine doesn't hurt.

Which brings up an interesting point. Marshmallow is an inherently better, cooler, cuter car than any other car because she is my car. That makes sense, right? I'm sure other people could say the same about their cars for the same reason, but they would be wrong.

Anyway, I named her "Marshmallow" because white wasn't my first choice for a car color; I doubted I'd ever have another white car. So I tried to think of something adorab…

Origin story.

Many of you readers of this blog have probably wondered--as has anyone who's seen me on twitter, instagram, and even grindr, for that matter--what the hell "palmerpink" is about. Well, I'll tell ya.

It all began sometime back in high school. I could leave it at that, but that would be boring.

I had this shirt; this sort of burnt orange old navy shirt. Somehow or another it got discolored or faded in the wash. No idea how, but it was fate at work.

Being a dork, I wore it anyway--this weird kind of faded, burnt orange-salmon color. I genuinely didn't care what I wore then. Oh, those were the days.

Soon, my loving friends, who called me simply "Palmer" at that point, took to calling the shirt's peculiar color "Palmer pink." Of course, it wasn't long before, by some rules of linguistic transformation I'm not remembering right now, I became known as "palmerpink" instead. I'm pretty sure I wasn't out then, hilariously e…

Adulting responsibly.

One of my greatest areas of weakness the last few forevers or so has been discipline. No, I've not been a naughty boy. (Well, maybe a bit.) Rather, I've been struggling with things like setting limits and follow through. But all is not hopeless.

Although for some reason I'm loathe to admit it, I have made progress over the last few...weeks or months, depending how you gauge it.

Last week, for example, I was powerfully tempted to stay out all night partying for Halloween, but instead I went home because it was a work night and because doing so would save me $40. It was tough, and I felt powerful stupid and lame on my walk back to the station, but I set a limit and stuck to it.

This week, I similarly wanted to go out with friends but instead stayed in and started investigating health and dental insurance for next year. (Nothing conclusive, but progress was made.) I prioritized something important and responsible, and did my best to follow through.

This all sounds childish, a…

Review: A pint of Pinter.

Does it kind of hurt you, too, that that doesn't rhyme? Yeah, me neither. Yup. Totally.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see two plays by Harold Pinter--The Lover and The Collection--put on by the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and it was a pretty damn great experience. Overall.

A caveat before digging in: These were my first Pinter plays in performance. I've only really ever read him before, although I did once perform a scene from Betrayal for a class. (I was, of course, spectacular in the role.) So it's hard, then, for me to speak much to Pinter as a whole or to how these plays and their staging that particular night stack up. But I'll do what I can.

What I like about Pinter is how twisty and intellectual he is. He's not necessarily intellectual in the way Tom Stoppard is, to be sure, but there's something almost... mathematical about him, or so it's seemed to me.

Take Betrayal, for example. There's something almost clockwork about how it unwinds. It&#…

Off to the races.

I really got in touch with my culture and my roots this weekend--my white, white roots. Who else but white people tailgates horse races?
It was a fine time overall, if a bit chilled and soggy. And by "a bit" I mean "very." It was a bit discouraging, in fact, for actual tailgating, but we survived, didn't we?
That's setting the bar a bit low, and it's more than a little ungrateful on my part, too. My mother did a fine thing hosting us all--even if she did privilege viewing angles of the intermittent, 3-second thunderings of passing horses over socializing and mingling amongst our fellows.
While I know she tried, I also can't help but admit a little disappointment--as much in myself as anything, it's worth mentioning. It's a bone of contention I like to pick with myself that I don't press on and meet people more despite wanting to, that I don't go out and experience things genuinely as much as I'd like to. But that's another p…

TBD.

So I've been thinking. Thinking about life and stuff. And blogging. Especially the older parts of this blog. And I'm not sure, because of them, whether I really want to continue this blog.
Long story short, and with several personal details omitted, I've changed a lot since I began this blog. Like, a lot. Seriously a lot. And I'm not sure where that person who I used to be fits in with who I am now. Should I be ashamed of or embarrassed by that person? Is it unhealthfully dissociative to even think of him as someone separate?
This wouldn't be the first time I've broken off and started a new blog. When I was even younger and arguably even crazier, I had a blog that was full of drama and bad mischief and, eventually, far too much alcohol as well. That person--the one who couldn't respect anyone's privacy, who flew into rages and depressions, who held nothing back even at the expense of others but especially to get attention--is someone with whom I certa…

His way with faces.

I have a favorite painter. I even remember the exact moment I discovered him. Well, not exactly--maybe not the date or time or the context beyond barest detail. But I do remember it, mostly, and that it--and his work--still moves me.

I was in Boston for one reason or another, and I went to the Fogg museum, for one reason or another. I remember it being an impressive building, but that's about it; it was right before some major renovations, so who knows what it's like now. That being said, philistine that I am (or was, hopefully), I can't remember anything I saw there. Except that one painting--one painting and one pivotal moment I can otherwise only slightly remember.

It was Renoir. It was always going to be Renoir, it seems now. It was his self-portrait at age 35. Something about his face and its intimacy, its immediacy; something about the way it popped, without leaping, from out of those drab colors. It caught my eye, and I was transfixed.

I've never stopped loving h…