[abada abada]
an occasional feature


[TWO HOURS for ONE QUARTER!!!!] There are some new pix up at the central image warehouse.

Today I went out to see the VT Philharmonic. The last time I went out to see classical music, it was to see the Transylvanian Philharmonic [no joke]. In Romania, we saw the orchestra perform in a church, here they were playing in a high school. In Romania, I got to see a man play two saxophones at once, here I got to see orchestral players wear fright wigs and give each other high fives. It was a fun performance and they even played some music that I knew [Moussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, woo woo].

I made a chicken this week, my first one. For those vegetarians among you, let me mention that it was a free-range chicken which I picked up at Radiant Houseguest's suggestion, only to realize much later, that he was completely joking. It cooked up kind of funny which I blamed on its free-rangingness but may have just been because I am a bad cook.

I am enclosing a picture of the parking meters out here. That is not a typo, the meter really does say "2 Hrs. For One Quarter"


[hot hot hot] Burlington was cool. A real big city, population 50,000 or so. Saw a zillion films or so and got to check out the arty crowd out this way.

I made more bread. It still came out okay, even though the bread book swears that white flour doesn't have enough protein to feed the li'l yeasts...

Today I got up early in anticipation of roofers arriving early. They didn't. Instead, I downed a bunch of kava with orange juice and waited to hurl. I didn't. It was tasty and started my day off with a kind of mild herbal buzz. Not bad. Then I drove around doing errands, bought a 486 for almost no money and am spending the evening installing Linux and drinking microbrew. All in all it feels a lot like Seattle today.

I haven't used the furnace since the woodstove was installed despite temperatures that have been dropping into the twenties.


A Day In Vermont:

Passport Office. Had to replace a lost passport. Since everything that goes to Monpelier has to ultimately wind up in Boston, the woman at the desk is no more than a robot, passing on information. She knows this and it eats her up inside. She gave me grief about only having cash [last I checked, it was legal tender], not filling in the occupation box [I wanted to write wizard], and not knowing where my parents were born [do you?]. It was unpleasant. Out here, folks are Barre people or Montpelier people. I am a Barre girl, more on that at a later date.

Wood Delivery. Came home and Tony was in my driveway with a cord of split and dried firewood. It cost $110. I told him I had gotten hung up in Montpelier and he said "Don't like Montpelier, don't like Barre, don't like cities." For the record, Barre is a city of 9,000 people. Tony has never been further away from here than Maine and never been on a plane. I told him to try it out sometime. He also told me stories about my roofer. Everyone has a story about my roofer. Most of them start or end with "maybe he's changed since he got out of jail". Myself and Neighbor Jack and Radiant Houseguest stacked it all in under an hour.

Roofers. The roofers were supposed to tarp my roof last week after it came down. Tonight at 6 pm they showed up. Sunset is about six. They locked their keys in the truck and spent the last minutes of sunlight in my driveway with a coat hanger. Finally successful, they had to borrow a hammer because theirs got stolen. Then they dropped it off the roof. I watched a lot of this from the couch in my place that is right by the woodstove.

P&H Truckstop. Who knew that there is a 24 hour truck stop down the street from my house? I went there last night. I had more food than I could eat for $7. It was written up in Gourmet Magazine, though I didn't read the article. There are hotel rooms upstairs and showers and a Centipede game, as well as many free trucker magazines, one of which I took home to read last night, paying particular attention to the trucker makeover section [no joke].

Today I am going in to Burlington to go to the Vermont International Film Festival, maybe get some culture. My passport photo looks gruesome.


[warmwarmwarmwarm] I am typing this from the laptop that is balanced on my knees as I sit on the couch in front of my new woodstove. The stove got installed this weekend and tonight is the first night it has been cold enough to really get the thing fired up. I am a bit new at this woodstove thing, and had a dream last night that I burned the place to the ground, so I have been a bit cautious. Add to this that the stove itself has been a lump of inert metal for the past year and has a healthy burnable layer of candlewax and crayon on it and the fun never stops. My house is warm.

Yesterday I drove to Montreal for the day, which is a pretty simple thing to do from here. Walked around the waterfront, had some food, had some coffee, searched for Tylenol with codeine, found none, saw Fight Club, liked it more than was probably appropriate, and drove home late. Being in Canada is like standing out on the back porch late at night when everyone else has been asleep for hours. There is an odd restfulness about everything there, or maybe an absence of the weird spazzy energy that comes off of people in the US. Anyhow, I liked it.


Roof came down day before yesterday with no injuries or further destruction. Now I know what people mean when they describe tornadoes as sounding like a freight train, that's what my roof sounded like as this huge sheet of metal cascaded down it.

Got a motivated houseguest & am busy doing projects, photo essay on the Barn Roof Experience soon.


First off I would like to apologize to everyone I have ever called a flake. It all started because I was out of coffee this morning...

[evil demon car or witless tool of an evil master?] I went to Howard's Friendly Market which is as close as I can get to shopping in Ballard here in VT. Lots of older people, good service, bagboys who are older than my Dad who carry your bags out for you unless you vigorously fight them off. I needed a few things and especially coffee. I had a bag of beans with me and no grinder. I knew Howard's, being quite friendly, would not begrudge me the use of their coffee grinder. Besides, they have free coffee there while you shop.

I was in the detergent aisle trying to find something generic that wouldn't make me itch when I heard my license plate number being read over the intercom. I have had my VT plates for about a week and fortunately I recognized the number. I went to the front desk and the lady just pointed out the window. My car, which I thought I had left in Park -- I had the key didn't I? -- had rolled backwards across five rows of cars and come to rest half over the concrete barrier by the highway. Missed every car in the lot. Missed all pedestrians and street lights. Did not make it to the highway. Was caught on one front tire. People in the parking lot were starting to gather around it.

I called AAA on Howard's friendly free customer phone which is right next to the free coffee. They came in about 15 minutes during which time I entertained onlookers with my very brief story about how I had come to find myself in this predicament and listened to people tell me how lucky I was that nothing got smashed and that the car didn't go in the road. Bob from Putney Towing dragged my car back over the barrier and I drove it around the lot a few times to make sure nothing was smashed. Then I parked it, in Park [though I realized you can get the key out of it in any gear, must be more careful] and went back to resume my shopping by which point I was a local celebrity and no longer felt the need for any coffee.

I am seriously lucky no one and nothing got hurt and I am never ever going to leave the house again. Please send non-perishable food items to PO Box 14, West Topsham VT 05086.


Question: If Jessamyn has 55 cassette tapes, each 90 minutes long, 2 broken CD players, and one radio station that plays every pop song once an hour, how long before she starts saying "I don't see why I never recognized the incredible depths of Dave Matthews' raw musical talent before..."?


For the visually inclined, I have a temporary picture archive of sorts at my new ISP. My friends Anne and Matt who lived here last winter have also put up a Winter in Vermont photo essay at their travel site, younghusband.com.

My stove guy blew me off until next weekend -- he went to the stove store to get the parts and they were sold out. I guess this is typical. In the last 24 hours I have written a fat check to the roofers, received a fat [though not quite as fat] check from my insurance company, killed and painted over the mildew under the sink, painted my jeans, arms and hair [this was an accident], reinstalled my mailbox, worried about death from paint thinner fumes [what happens when you wash and dry the jeans you have painted after rinsing them in paint thinner], got dissed by the Montpelier library, helped the hippies load up almost all the rest of their stuff, chased mice, and went to the dump.

A word about the dump. The dump is a series of dumpsters on the side of the road in East Topsham, and a dump monitor who is sometimes the Dump Crone and sometimes the Dump Kid. To get there, I drive down a dirt road called the Willey Hill Road. It's open 8 to 1 on Saturday, after which it is no longer a dump. It is a temporary autonomous zone of sorts. The Saturday morning trip to the dump sort of kicks off my weekend -- after coffee and before lunch. There are eleven different bins, dumpsters and cans to sort things into. Sometimes people leave good stuff off to the side. Often people chat, dumpside.


[you never forget your first loaf] Had my first visitors today and yesterday. My friend Kristen and her pal came up for a few days. We made a big dinner, and then went into Montpelier to check out the nightlife. There is none. Actually, there was some activity because the whole city is preparing for Dewey Day which celebrates Admiral Dewey and his grand war exploits. As we were driving through town we saw the fire department hooking up those red, white and blue buntings all over everything. Dewey Day also corresponds to Columbus Day so it will be a grand celebration of imperialism. While they were here, I got tips on how to bake bread and made my first loaf. It came out rather well and everyone ate it so it couldn't have been too bad. Baking bread was one of the skills I wanted to acquire before I left here, now I can cross it off my list.

I saw a moose, rather, two moose [mooses? meece?] on the side of the road a few miles from here, appropriately enough in the Moose Crossing part of the road. They weren't crossing, just eating grass on the side of the road. I've never seen a moose in this country before.

This weekend the guy comes to install my woodstove. I haven't had a woodstove since I was little so I'm a bit afraid of it, but it will reduce my propane bill like crazy. If anyone has any woodstove tips they'd like to pass my way, please let me know.

My ISP is okay, busy a lot, and the calls cost me money -- a little bit -- so I'm not online so much lately. At least not before 9 pm, which is more or less my bedtime here lately.


[can you call it a home office if you don't have a job?] There is a plumber here fixing my sink. I could hear my Mom's voice echoing in my head as I offered him a cup of coffee. The roofer saga is long from over, though I think I get to meet with my adjuster today. He explains everything like it was the most reasonable thing in the world, but the upshot is that they won't pay for the roof to be rebuilt correctly, just rebuilt the way it was -- the flying-off-in-a-hurricane way. My plan now is to take the insurance money, burn the place to the ground, and dance on its ashes come the Billediub. Then move to Borneo. I am just barely kidding.

It snowed here yesterday. First it poured rain, then it hailed, then it snowed. The first thing I did was to run into the garden [in pj's and rubber boots -- I only get dressed for company] and grab all the sunflowers that were left. It makes it look like a sunny day inside at least. They say I live in a cold holler, meaning it is always colder here than everywhere else, even down the street. In fact, they say a lot of things around here. For example, every roofer who has looked at this place, and even some non-roofers, have said "oh gee, the guy who did this really screwed things up...". I guess this is supposed to inspire confidence. My last roofer said that, as well as "That nutty guy across the street? FBI informant." How he knows this I have no idea, but perhaps I'll go put my copy of the Anarchist Cookbook away now.


I have a local dial-up account now. Well, I applied for one. Getting an ISP is not quite as simple out here as it is in Seattle. For one thing, I have a local telephone company -- Topsham Telephone -- so my local calling area has about three exchanges. This means there is only one ISP with a local number. To get an account with them I needed to either drive an hour to Burlington or have them fax me the paperwork. I have no fax machine, so I had to go the Waites River General Store about ten miles down the road to collect my fax. Then I had to fax back the application. Now I am waiting for them to mail me, postal style, my password and connection configuration info. This method is not without its appeal. While waiting at the general store, I got to hang around watching people buy ammo and hunting licenses. Bear season just ended and according to the guy in the store, three bears were bagged in my county alone.

Speaking of the great outdoors, I went for a walk in my backyard yesterday. There's a big hill to climb and a little patch of woods with a stream running through it. There is also one hell of a garbage dump. Some of the stuff is ancient -- old wringer washing machines and trucks -- and some is more recent like a VW bus hull and orange juice containers. It's all way up on the hill, kinda far from everywhere, so it's not like I'm going to clean it up or anything. I poked around looking for neat stuff for a while and then started getting that spooky Blair Witch feeling so I headed down, just in time to come across a freshly dug up grave and skull...

...of someone's housepet, though I didn't know it was a housepet at first. I just saw the headstone with some markings on it. I was thinking "Neat, hobo signs" but really it just said We (heart) U. Then I walked around the front and read the rest: Rider, In Better Times Will You Still Be True & Happy. Unfortunately for Rider -- some sort of dog, I think -- something else dug him up and ate him. I don't know if this affects his chances in the afterlife. Needless to say, I beat feet out of there.


[people stop in the street just to gawk] The question is not "are we falling apart" but rather "why haven't we noticed it before?"

Donald Barthelme

last month | Joe | Don the Ratbastard | Ruby

1997 -- Jan : Feb : Mar : Apr : May : Jun : Jul : Aug : Sep : Oct : Nov : Dec

1998 -- Jan : Feb : Mar : Apr : May : Jun : Jul : Aug : Sep : Oct : Nov : Dec

1999 Jan : Feb : Mar : Apr : May : Jun : Jul : Aug : Sep