Monday, December 23, 2013

A Sinnock Thing Happened On Their Way To Ontario!

Hub and Kelly came over with the kids on their way back home from his dad's place. I made a sauce and fried up some eggplant slices, Caprese and green salads and bread. We had an awesome visit, and I need a serious nap now! My face hurts from laughing. Gabe and Lucy are two of the happiest, most expressive and friendly little people.
Gabe found the thumb piano and plucked out a song,
then he sang us a Christmas carol he learned at school.
I don't know about Obamacare but a couple of Canadian kids came over
and checked everyone out.
Dr. Lucy treated Joe for a Wolf Bite.
He's gonna pull through.

Photos: Kelly Sinnock

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 2008

Election Day.
Joe snapped this one on the way to Jackson Mann School.
That's our polling place.
Ward 21 reporting for civic duty.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spotted on my way to work.

Don't worry, Allston Rock City.
He's got you.
The PBR is stocked for tonite.
It's gonna be okay.
You're gonna be okay.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Marty Lederman came over to tune the piano.
He was early. Joey wasn't home yet, so Marty hung out with me. I was in the kitchen pickling a daikon radish.
So Joe came home to find me and Mr. Lederman just hangin' and talking all the things we like to pickle.
There's a Joe Show about Marty.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Excuse my dust...

While I am on a Low Budget Superhero hiatus please enjoy the diary archives, explore the awesomeness under the linked sites, and listen to the Voice of Vashon's limitless musical excellence. If you need me, get in touch on gmail (it's my name, no caps, no gaps) or use the contact form below.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Wakey wakey, Custer Walsh

I am at my Jenny's house in Foley, Alabama. They got good stuff down here. I'ma come back way fatter.
This is Jenny's dog, Custer.
Custer mad because I woke him up when I got out of bed.
Sorry, dog.

(Click to embiggen dog)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This Is All I Will Say About Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone magazine put the face of the Boston Marathon bomber on its cover this month. The tension is high, the heated discourse is still underway, and of course fire burns hottest at the center so here in Boston it's a divisive issue. On one side of the divide, outrage.  On the other side, here comes the splainy-face, finger-wagging crowd that likes to pretend intellectual superiority. These are "don't be a crybaby" naysayers rushing to mock and denigrate anyone who said "Hey, maybe don't put this kid on the cover of your magazine for the sake of all that is decent." Yes, everyone understands that magazines need to sell in order to stay afloat. We all get that, and it's still the dumbest argument ever, Mr. Splainyface. Here's the thing, naysayers: being on the cover of Rolling Stone once meant you were a cultural icon on the level of Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles. Even Al Gore, for his environmental work. It's kind of a big deal to get the cover, to lots of artists and other dreamers. 

"What does a person have to do to make the cover of Rolling Stone?"

The loudest of the naysayer arguments is "But they put Charles Manson on the cover, it's the same thing." No, the Charles Manson cover was not the same at all. First of all, that was 43 years ago. Can we stipulate to some social progress over the past fifty years?  You want to be back in 1970? I don't. In 1970 my boss would be able to call me honey, slap my ass and tell me to fetch him a sandwich. Your central argument is either total ignorance, or else you're deliberately acting obtuse. The motive in the Manson murders was to start a cultural race war. Manson instructed the girls and Tex to write in blood on the walls in such a way that the investigators would think black people did it.

Why Manson Was Different

Even without the morality shift towards today's less shitty social contract than the one that existed in the 1970s, the Manson cover was still completely different. Rolling Stone is primarily an entertainment publication. It would have been weird if Rolling Stone had not covered the story from an entertainment point of view.

For one thing, Manson was a would-be musician, and certain psychologists have written think pieces suggesting that his being passed over by the music industry set him on a collision course with "the establishment." Add to that the Beatles' "Helter Skelter," a song that Charles Manson wove into his twisted world view as a message that set him on these bloody crusades. "Helter Skelter" was extremely central to the Manson case, later becoming the title of the most famous book about the case (written by lawyer Vincent Bugliosi) and later made into a movie. Then you factor in the tragic victim-hood in actress Sharon Tate, slaughtered along with her unborn baby, the child of her famous filmmaker husband Roman Polanski. So yes, of course the Manson murders devastated the worldwide entertainment community. And finally, and perhaps most noteworthy, unlike the bomber, that Manson cover photo was not deliberately sexualized like this cover. Here, Rolling Stone didn't use a mug shot. They found an attractive, doe-eyed photo of a confused kid looking like he's just beat out Bruno Mars for the top single this week. Like he has fans, like a rock star.

Madmen as Rock Stars

History is cut with a large, crazy stripe of idolizing madness. Volumes have been written by people a thousand times smarter than me about the dangers of elevating madmen to iconic fame. Manson had fans, and does still, as do many a crazed killer from Jesse James to Machiavelli. Now, maybe Rolling Stone putting the Boston bomber on the cover was deliberate. A statement about radical nationalism, showing that just about any young person can be radicalized like this boy was; or maybe he does have fans. Either way, this is another chapter in that discourse, that's all. Let people talk about it. Let people feel their feelings about it. No amount of your uber-cool eyerolling about the relative relevance of Rolling Stone is going to contribute to the situation, so save the superiority for your blog.

At the end of the day, try to realize that being on the cover of Rolling Stone signifies that you're a rock star. And now, say the most outraged, we bow our heads and wait for the next bored, young rebel who does not even understand the cause, to plan and execute his attempt to go out in a blaze of glory. The question is still "What does a person have to do to make the cover of Rolling Stone," but the new answer is terrifying.∎

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I Am So Sorry, Trayvon

That monster saw a black boy walking in his neighborhood, followed, taunted, confronted and shot that boy for no goddamn reason. George Zimmerman should be in jail.

My heart, my soul, my mind all ache for Trayvon, his friends, his family and everyone in America whose expectations were dashed last weekend. George Zimmerman is a predator who hunted and killed a boy just because he thought he could get away with it, and now the law has shocked us all by approving his actions. Justice died that day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dear Adults: Reading Is Still Fundamental

Remember bringing home your math book for the first time? Everything was new, there were symbols and fractions and apples being added up and subtracted. It was fun. Most kids start out thinking school is awesome. Some keep that enthusiasm, but a lot of kids lose it, and for those little guys, school is a drag.

But what happens to that early enthusiasm?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Holly Crab

Photo: Joe Kowalski

Chris and Joe picked up food from Holly Crab, the new place on Comm Ave.

It's a big Cajun crab boil, with the bibs and gloves.
It's good. I hope they make it.
Good luck, Holly Crab!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 1984

Frank Davis Resort, Moody CT (Photo: Colleen Berry)

Eighth grade class trip. This place closed down, but just envision Dirty Dancing and you've got the idea.
But without any of the dancing or dancers.
Just the vaguely germ-spreading social activities,
and also the pool from Caddyshack.

Me and my best friends all went a different way dressing for the class trip.
That's the problem with having to wear school uniforms.
We get this one single day to make an impression on everybody at once.

The Michelles look like Simone's back-up dancers. 

Michelle's outfit is hard to see - she's wearing a pink Tuxedo ruffled top and pleated pinstriped jeans.
Look at Simone in her Madonna belt and Duran Duran ankle boots!
I look like an extra in a Go-Go's video. That's my mom's red striped swimsuit.

That's our teacher Mrs. Dorozinski on the lounge.

I wish Colleen was in the photo. 
Bonus Throwback.
Left: 8th Grade Graduation.
Right: Simone's house in Thomaston, CT.
There's Colleen!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We're Doing "News" Wrong

Maybe it's because I'm a *card-carrying member of the TV-addled generation who can remember a time when "the news" was actually the news, but I am sick of all the crap, know what I'm sayin'? People are tripping. Here's the thing...let's do advice in bold type...

* It's just an old defunct video store membership card.  
Advice in Bold Type

For "news" news, watch your local news and read the local paper (online is fine, as print has been circling the drain for decades). For in-depth analysis, background and history, expertise in key areas, watch MSNBC or if you like CNN better, sure. In addition, I recommend tuning into BBC, because they are free from pressure to be all "USA USA!" so it's an unbiased take on how we're doing. For a change of pace, flip it over to CSPAN so you can see what these so-called representatives are doing when they think nobody is watching. Be watching.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The sun is not my friend

Photo: Joe Kowalksi

Going to the deep south, y'all.
My new Coolibar hat got here. It's...big.
Joey says "well, you WANTED to block out the sun..."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April 15th, 2013

It's been awhile, sorry about that. I had a pretty rough April. Wasn't feeling much like myself. Airports, chaos, sweat, tears, rental cars, exhaustion. Las Vegas, for that work trip. This time I'm not just mouthing off when I say that I am never. Doing that trip. Again. Ever.

In other news, Joe and I got married in Vegas.

You Have The Right To Remain Stupid

I'm really out of patience. Out. The well is dry. I am done tolerating outrageous lies broadcast by one bonehead and parroted by a thousand more. As I sit here writing what should be a wholly unnecessary post, the Boston Marathon bomber has been captured about three miles away, in Watertown. So why is this post necessary? Because people who can't even find Chechnya on a map are suddenly law enforcement experts nattering on about this kid's rights being taken away. An attack on civil liberties. The cops didn't read the bomber his rights, you see. If this is you, shut your mouth, go sit in the corner and listen. The adults are talking. RIGHTS, are you kidding? You know what you also have the right to do? Go cheer on the runners in a marathon without being blown up.

Your rights aren't magically non-existent because they were not read out loud immediately. That's just something crazy people repeat after Fox News tells them it is so. It is not so. If circumstance leads to Miranda rights not being read, that in no way equates to those rights vanishing. You still HAVE the rights. If you're arrested and no one reads your rights, it means one thing only: the prosecutor cannot use anything you say against you in a court of law. That's it. If any concern is due over the lack of Mirandizing here it should be because of this scenario: HAD the killer confessed, it wouldn't be admissible as evidence. This is the kind of technicality that compromises the outcome of a trial. Everyone knows that if he gets off on a technicality he cannot be re-tried under double-jeopardy, so if anything, that would be the only reason to bitch about Miranda here. He could have yelled "I bombed the race!" and that confession would not be admissible in court. If there wasn't enough other evidentiary support and the confession was all they had, it's possible that he'd be set free. Understand? Kid wasn't informed that he had the right to remain silent, because there was a lot going on in that moment.  However, that's not even the crucial matter here. What's more important is that there is allowance in the Miranda warning about when it's acceptable to skip it. In Legalese:
The public safety exception permits law enforcement officials to engage in a limited and focused unwarned interrogation of a suspect and allows the government to introduce the statement as evidence in court. The public safety exception is triggered when police officers have an objectively reasonable need to protect the police or the public from immediate danger.
You can't hide in a crowd if there is no crowd. The cops found the killer hiding under a tarp that was covering a boat in someone's yard during a shut-down of the whole city here. We couldn't leave our houses, get it? That's what they mean by "an objectively reasonable need to protect" everyone from danger. Also of note: don't fuck with Boston law enforcement, they will shut down the whole city to find you. Full stop. ∎


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Red Rock Canyon - Nevada
(Photo: Joe Kowalski)

Joe climbs things.
I'm one of the dots in the parking lot.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Knuckleheads In The Sky

We're pretty much trapped in a sinister new pluto-theocracy where we willfully vote for bible-bangers and billionaires to dictate a rigid societal and economic construct with little hope of resurrecting the faded idea of the American Dream. God and Greed, working side by side, dismantling America brick by brick. But what's really pissing people off is having to remove their shoes at the airport.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mansplainers LLC

It was Sunday morning and I was performing that universally-endured household ritual of purging the fridge before stocking up on whatever science experiment fodder is passing for food these days.

"You don't want this?"

"No, it's dead," I said, glancing over to see that Joe was holding up a bottle of  Bloody Mary mix I'd just put into the the thanks-for-coming pile, along with a shriveled lump of ginger that had escaped notice for so long that it felt like the hollow corpse of some mummified sea creature. I tossed it, along with a chunk of galvanized cheese and half a cucumber that didn't make it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

American Borer Story: The Blair Witch Project Turns 15

Fifteen years and a whole bunch of copycats later, I still say that it's a miracle we ever heard of The Blair Witch Project. That being said, if you haven't seen it, go ahead and give it a shot, if only because it's an early bringer of the popular "found footage" motif, and for that it deserves a a nod.

Happy 15th, Blair Witchers!

Okay, I'm on record (somewhere) as saying that the only people terrified by The Blair Witch Project are the jumpy types who are already terrified of the woods to begin with—you  know, the people who cower from thunderstorms, freak out over skeletons, run screaming from bats, bugs, spiders (and webs). They'll never live in an old house in New England or the deep south, and they'll always cross to the other side of the street because of a black cat. None of these things are supernatural (well maybe the cat). Let's break it down.

The Movie for Movie's Sake

Thing number one! From the standpoint of pure movie-going enjoy-ability, The Blair Witch Project suuuuucks. It's the opposite of fun. It's hard work watching this thing. It looks and sounds like shit. There's no plot. There isn't even a witch. The story line is a pablum of cliche where smart-Alec young people with more attitude than brains do everything possible to ruin an otherwise ordinary day. Add themes of isolation, at least one asshole, top it off with a goading bitch that you just know will die screaming, and make sure to have them all stumble about a supposedly-haunted place making increasingly worse decisions until something gets them. Or not. Maybe, we don't know. Because, remember? We waited through 81 tedious minutes to find out what happens at the end. Then nothing happens at the end.

And yet, emanating from the tedious shitpile of shameless shammery shines a ray of movie-making brilliance.

It's actually quite clever, the way the creators of The Blair Witch Project put up a serious horror movie on a shoestring budget without going all ironically B-movie schmaltzy, and without apologizing for itself. For that, they deserve respect. Through framing and titles they maintain just enough tension that an otherwise bored, motion sick audience willingly accepts blurred, off-kilter, dizzily swinging spans of nothing-at-all, simply because it's presented as scraps of found footage that might reveal evidence of whatever got these knuckleheads. The problem is that they were so clever about how to tell the story, they forgot to say what the hell we are supposed to be afraid of in the end. Who or what is supposed to be the antagonist, or at least evidence of one, in this thing?

What Y'all Running From?

Is the woods? Heather, Mike and Josh certainly do burn many of the 81 minutes crashing through the brush, gasping and shushing each other whenever they think they might hear something.

Is it the sounds in the woods? Because woods can be noisy anytime, especially at night. You'll hear scuttling, fluttering, snapping, crunching, hooting, screeching and more. It's only snakes and salamanders and various nocturnal rodentia hunting breakfast while dodging bats and owls hunting them. It's natural, not supernatural.

Is it the piles of rocks these three blockheads find in the woods? Because I've seen that, it's nothing. Old farmland markers, remnants of barn foundations, filled-in wells, old stone walls or just piled campfire rocks left by "leave no trace" campers, a naturalist ethic that says do not leave rocks in a ring when you break camp. It's normal, not paranormal.

Is it the bundled branches they stumble across? That happens, too. Dead wood or brush piles gathered by conscientious campers and hikers. A lot of people support the idea that brush piles help the wildlife.

If you've spent any time hiking or camping, you'll have noticed lots of weird things in the woods. Here a rusty iron ring sticking out of a stump, there a frayed rope just randomly hanging from a tree. You will definitely see formerly living things. Bunny bones, skins, bits of bloody leftover house cats.

As a horror story, the movie does have some merit. It's a stand-off between the normal and the paranormal where reasonable, ordinary town folks live with the honest belief that there's a vaguely malevolent threat, set against the cautiously optimistic but dopey antics of young, arrogant and hopelessly amateur investigators. The tension created by that, combined with the maddening camera work, demonstrates that the creators do grasp the concept of what makes a good horror movie. As a plus, the acting is decent. Think how much worse if we had to endure that wooden, sing-songy standard of low budget movie-making.

It's Not That Easy, Guys

Right. But let's just say that I hadn't seen it.
And I said, "I haven't seen Evil Dead II yet."
What would you think?
Horror is hard. The elite creatives make it look easy, but history is chock-a-block with unfortunate also-rans who gave it everything they had but failed to deliver a single thrill. When it goes right, it's awesome, and you get raves like M. Night Shyamalan after The Sixth Sense. When it goes wrong, you get summarily dismissed like M. Night Shyamalan after Signs. Horror fans are particularly tough critics, and it's hard to bounce back from mediocrity. That's the albatross of fame, isn't it? One turd of a project and you find yourself proselytizing with late nite talk show hosts about what went wrong, and whenever your name is attached to a project it comes with a punchline. It would actually be better if your super low budge movie goes really wrong, to the point where it's pure awesome. At least then your name might get elevated in a different way, attached to a weird kind of cult status. People will actually wait for what you do next. And whatever comes after that.∎

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It Girl #1

"It Girl #1"
Pastels on paper
(Photo by Joe Kowalski)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Archive: Jury Duty

Another Bullshit Night In Suck City

Can you get out of it?" That's what everyone asks me when they find out I've got jury duty. Every person. The same exact reaction from every person! Disappointing, people. Disappointing. Do what you want when you get your summons, but listen to what you are saying. Don't bitch about "the system" if you're unwilling to participate. You ARE the system, sweet cheeks. Why would I want to get out of it? Why would anyone? As a citizen, when it's your turn, it's your turn. 

My turn was yesterday. It was a case brought against a doctor by a woman who claimed injuries during childbirth. I didn't get selected for the trial. Joe thinks the reason I didn't get selected was because of the title of the book I brought to the jury pool. Though Nick Flynn's Another Bullshit Night in Suck City does make for a colorful book jacket, that's not why.

I don't know why I didn't get selected unless maybe it was because I told the judge about my reflexive derision for the kind of people whose petty grievances contribute to an overly litigious society, egged on by greedy, unscrupulous counsel who smell medical malpractice insurance money like sharks smell blood in the water. Then I turned to the four lawyers to my left and said, "Nothing personal." They gaped and grinned like a coifed, pinstripe-suited mummer's parade. Mind you, I had not heard yet the facts of the case. It's just that the judge asked everyone for an honest answer about having an initial reaction. I can't help that I did have a strong initial reaction: I'm sick of everyone suing everyone else. Too many lawsuits, too many lawyers.

"I'm getting the feeling this particular case is not for you."

"Thank you, your honor." 

See you in three years. 🌎

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Moving Papers Around

See, THIS is the kind of thing that makes me want to just burn all my stuff and walk around the planet with my "desert island" backpack containing five things. Bar of soap, towel, toothbrush, change of clothes ipad.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I Hate Writing

I had this boyfriend in college. I was 19 and he was 40. I know, I know -- but every college-aged guy I met was a giant brainless douchebag, and this guy was smart and funny and really cool. And a talented singer and guitar player. English dude. I met him at the Irish pub on Division Street, the one that let us in without ID. Though he could play the heck out of that guitar, when he was at home practicing and trying to work out a part, he'd get frustrated and yell "Argh! I HATE guitars!"

Well, I hate writing. And yes, with a somber nod to Ms. Parker, I hate writing, but alas, I love having written.

Currently Reading

Forged: Writing in the Name of God
it was amazing
tagged: currently-reading