Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Miracle on South Street

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the world goes a little faster every year. This becomes most apparent at the onset of winter, which is kind of like an annual deadline. There are some things that just have to be done before it gets too cold or else they simply have to wait, and the list of undone tasks grows every fall. For instance, this year I never got around to planting bulbs, one of the easiest ways to cheer up mud season. My driveway is about five years overdue for a coat of sealant. I still have leaves from my late-dropping silver maple all over my yard. (I know, there’s no snow yet and the ground isn’t frozen, but I’m already resigned to cleaning up the yard after the thaw.) I never turned the mulch pile or tilled the garden before I dumped the few measly tarps of leaves I was able to scrap together. My plan to paint the exterior of the house in sections is such a bold initiative that I suppose I can wait another season to start it up.

At a certain point, the activities of the year actually “lap” you and leave you in their dust. But it’s only at that point that you begin to discover the true blessings of procrastination. Case in point, the storm doors and windows I never took down last spring (it was so cool last summer I never felt the need) are fine just where they are. Mission accomplished. But then, while casing my forlorn yard, I noticed that the Christmas lights I strung last year and never took down had been chewed by squirrels and their wires were dangling.

I found some duct tape and with my pocket knife I was able to strip and splice them right where they hung. I pulled the old extension cord out of the weeds, stretched it to the outlet and plugged it in. There were a few goners, but most of the strings worked just fine.

The Broussard home was one of the first on the block to have trees aglow with twinkle lights.

It was like a Christmas miracle.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Originally uploaded by Broussardish.
In the future, when the robots take over and treat humanity like an exotic breed of cats who require space and pampering, I suspect that all we'll do is lie on plush mats and bat a mouse around to navigate the "Ultranet" (or whatever they will call it). I'm glad that there already are some cats with enough free time on their hands to come up with stuff like this (visit www.says-it.com to create your own). At a record sale in downtown Concord this summer I picked up a batch of cassettes for a buck apiece and I've been enjoying the fidelity and ease of use (my car has a cassette deck, so to play a CD requires two adaptors and all the wires and a place to put the portable CD player). Since then, I've been singing the praises of the cassette. It was such a durable format. I still have a few of them from the 70s that play just fine. I somehow doubt that any CDs that are getting steady use will hold up as well. When I discovered this fun little cassette label generator, it seemed appropriate to use it to acknowledge the most durable format of my life, my marriage to my band-mate Jemi. Our 21st anniversary was last week, and we exchanged notes and had dinner and such, but it wasn't quite as sentimental as it ought to have been. Here's a chance to declare my eternal love in music, without having to actually sing. And you don't want to hear me sing, trust me.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Mighty Clods of Joy

Here's a term I think merits coining: googlestalgia.

You know, it's when you remember something, someplace, or maybe some name from your youth and decide you want to plug it into Google at the next opportunity to see what turns up.

I had a bout of googlestalgia the other day, when a familiar phrase from my youth came to mind and I realized that I had never heard anyone else (other than my older brother) use it in my entire adult life. The phrase is "dirt clod war."

When I was an adolescent those three words caused a thrill at the core of my being. There were only a few places in sandy N.W. Florida, where I was growing up, where high caliber dirt clods could be found, but a trip to one of them with a group of friends was about as excting as life could be back then. The red clay bluffs of "Field 4" on the Eglin Air Force Base reservation near Ft. Walton Beach was the ideal dirt clod war terrain. There was plenty of cover and lots of high ground from which to launch attacks. There was even a clear-running stream in the nearby woods to provide hydration and clean-up.

The rules were simple. Form teams (or make it every man for himself), find some patches of good clod-rich dirt, wait for the enemy (or seek him out), and throw dirt at one another. I can remember the sensations as clearly as my first kiss: the shock of the impact of getting a clod on the back or neck and the following cascade of dirt and sand into the hair or underneath the clothes — and the absolute bliss of watching a clod arc from my own hand and intercept a running figure. When conditions were perfect, red clay dust would explode into the air like a mist of blood. Oh yeah, the only other rule to dirt clod war was that the game would not end until someone got hurt.

I don't think this rule was ever agreed upon. It was just inevitable that someone would get a rock in the eye or go flying down a red clay crevasse long before we were ready to go home, so this would be the signal that the game had to end.

So I typed "dirt clod war" into Google this morning and only got about 257 matches. I suppose that means the dirt clod war experience is actually pretty rare. Pity. Maybe other people called it other things. Here in the frozen North, where I now reside, I'm sure the abundance of snow makes my old gang's weapon of choice seem primitive and inelegant. (My mind's eye just attempted to picture a new Civil War where the South was armed with dirt clods and the North with snow balls. I think I'd put my money on the South in that conflict.)

Many of the "dirt-clod" sites I found were drenched with nostalgic feelings not unlike my own, so after browsing for a minute I typed "googlestalgia" into Google. The search only turned up two relevant sites, both blogs. So I went to Go Daddy and bought the domain googlestalgia.com. Not sure why, but it'll come to me.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Spume of Summer

Spume of Summer
Originally uploaded by Broussardish.
My funny wife read somewhere on the Internet that if you drop Mentos into soda pop it results in a spectaucular geyser. Since today was the last day of school she decided to bring the elements to Concord High School for an experiment when she went to pick up the girls. Apparently the first attempt resulted in ginger ale spurting into someone's nostrils. They regrouped and tried again with an improvised funnel and Jemi had her camera ready. This time it worked perfectly and she captured the spume at its peak. It seems like a metaphor for the last day of school, so here it is. Happy summer!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Respond to This


Bresette Theatre Productions announces the New England premier of "The Pen!s Responds!" by Oscar winning writer Ernest Thompson.

BT Productions is a new theater company with a unique mission — to bring theatre to the masses with a "pay what you can" admission based on the idea that quality live theater should be for everyone.

Josh Bresette had the dream of starting a non-profit theatre company, which would offer high-quality drama and comedies but bring "something different" to the live theatre experience. "I have had this in mind for a while, and Billy Butler was the perfect person to help me kick it off. He is a theatrical force to be reckoned with," says Bresette.

BTProductions will launch their 2006 season with the New England premier of "The Pen!s Responds", by Ernest Thompson known for his play, "On Golden Pond," which earned him an Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy award. This 90 minute tour de force will have you laughing, weeping, and squirming in your seat. Josh Bresette and Billy Butler are the two-man cast, and will play a multitude of characters including women, men, children and aging queens. Bresette describes the play simply as, "Two actors playing twenty four characters in twelve scenes about 1 subject!"

Says Butler, "It's a great show and we are aroused by the chance to expose it to the seacoast. This is the perfect chance to share the love with theatre fans who are looking for something different."

"The Pen!s Responds!" opens at The West Studio Theatre in Portsmouth, NH on June 2nd and runs through June 18th. With two nightly performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 10 pm, and Sundays at 8 pm. The show then moves to the Portland Stage Company, in Portland Maine, June 23rd through July 9th. Finally, the Boston Center for the Arts, July 22 through August 5th. Due to subject matter, this production is not appropriate for young children. For tickets call 603-430-0770 or visit www.BTProductions.org

"Unnecessary failures are the ones where an artist tries to second guess an audience's taste, and little comes out of that situation except a kind of inward humiliation."
David Bowie

Tag, I'm It

I got "tagged" recently by Kristen to list these groups of "favorites with kids"... This is apparently one of those self-propagating list deals, but unlike the ones for youngsters that ask things like "name your crush" this one is geared to parenting. OK. I'm cool with that. It needs to be understood that I'm almost done with the close-quarters, hands-on parenting phase. My urchins are in high school and college. Sadly, we don't really do all that much as a group any more. Here's what I came up with.

Four places I'd like to take my kids on vacation

1. Big Sur
2. Dominique
3. British Isles
4. Some desparately poor country -- Haiti or India -- to show them how good they've got it.

Four shows I like to watch with my kids

1. Gilmore Girls
2. Everwood (now cancelled, alas)
3. American Idol
4. Saturday Night Live

Four restaurants I like to go to with my kids

1. Bagel Works
2. Texas Roadhouse
3. Moritomo
4. Arnies

Four things I want my kids to be good at

1. Listening
2. Understanding
3. Communicating
4. Caring

Four websites I visit daily

1. NHMagazine.com (It's the default on my browser.)
2. Drudge Report( Just to be sure the world is still there.)
3. Ernesto's and/or Kristen's (OK, I don't visit every day, but often enough)
4. Area 603

Four people I'll tag with this

This is embarrasing, since the point of these self-propagating Web dealies is to spread them around, but the truth is, I don't know that many people with blogs and kids. My kids have blogs. None of my siblings do. The few close friends I know to have blogs are Kristen and Ernesto.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

I Was There (I Think)

Miss NH cowgirls2
Originally uploaded by Broussardish.
So I spent my weekend judging Miss New Hampshire 2006 and I'm just beginning to recover. Last night, the judges and officials stayed up until 3:30 a.m. evaluating the candidates and coming up with suggestions for improvements in the performance and appearance of the winner (Emily Hughes: Miss Winnipesaukee), to prepare her for the Miss American competition. I’m finally back at home after three nights sequestered in a hotel, van, limo or nice restaurant, surrounded by people for whom the Miss America track runs straight to the heart. (One judge from Atlanta knew the contestants AND RUNNERS UP from virtually every state for the past 20 years. Even the local Miss NH geeks were impressed.) As the “novice judge” I was frequently asked what I thought of everything and, in truth, it was fun and fascinating, but I'm just realizing the profundity of the psychological effect of all this "judging" of smart, beautiful, driven women. Looking back, it seems like an unnatural relationship, a little schizoid, simultaneously voyeuristic and paternal. I feel like I may need some Lithium, or a deprogrammer.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ten Summer Songs

On the Area 603 blog someone asked for people to compile a short list of songs they'd want to have on a tiny iPod for an endless summer. I wanted to pad my list with things like "Neon Meat Dream of a Octofish" by Captain Beefheart, but I decided to go the sincere route. Here's what occured to me to write, and some of the why behind each choice.

My Critical Summer Songs in Chronological Order of Psychological Imprint

1. God Only Knows, Beach Boys (My first-ever dance at a real boy/girl house party)
2. I Got a Line on You, Spirit (Best song ever to make an entrance to on the Ft. Walton Bch. teen nightclub scene)
3. Summer Breeze, Seals and Crofts (Moved to Tallahassee with my girlfriend and got dumped by her the first day there. This song played constantly that summer and there really was Confederate Jasmine in the air.)
4. Itchycoo Park, Small Faces (Early days of, uh, experimentation)
5. You Ain't Going Nowhere, The Byrds-Sweetheart of the Rodeo (Coming down)
6. Street Fighting Man, Rolling Stones (Growing up)
7. Band on the Run, Wings (That road trip to California in my brother's Dodge Dart Swinger)
8. Mambo Sun, T.Rex (That pagan summer at the farm in N.W. Florida)
9. Thunder Road, Bruce Springsteen (Atlanta, my third Springsteen concert. The promise of the summer, the warning of the fall.)
10. Save it for a Rainy Day, The Jayhawks (This recent fave took me back to that first boy/girl dance party, older (much) and wiser (a bit)).

Can I start all over again? I'm sure I could come up with a few dozen more summer imprints.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Meet a Real Pirate

Aye mateys. Thanky to all who left such yar comments on me last posting. Like it or not, ye all are now members of my crew. And a scurvier bag of bilge rats I've never laid me eyes upon. So avast and heave ho and man the poop deck, we set sail at dawn (to beat the traffic on I-93).

My daughter, a certified World of Warcraft addict, has created a wonderful pirate character named Baracilla. She's a pirate queen whose heart was stolen and broken by a dashing young corsair who went to sea, after the one night they spent together, and then never returned.

Here's one description of herself from a story she wrote called "The Bloodsail Abduction." (Her character is not confined to the game and often sneaks out into the "real" world.) The scenes takes place on board Baracilla's ship "The Darling Pearl."

The walls moaned at the wooing of the waves. She clicked her cabin door shut, releasing a breath. Turning, she faced a tall, tarnished mirror, propped carelessly on the wooden sill before her. Looted from a month-old shipwreck, the surface was warped and grimy, but she could still make out the image of herself, imposing and tawny-skinned, garbed entirely in red. She stepped towards her reflection, sharp russet eyes meeting themselves in the tarnished pane. She studied herself briefly, running a hand through her unruly silver locks. There was a squawk and the shuffle of feathers. Peril bobbed his head, peering through the wire of his cage with beady blue eyes. Baracilla cast a smile on her loyal parrot, abandoning the mirror and crossing the room. She strolled past Peril’s cage, dipping her hand into a small wooden crate. Her glove enclosed around the neck of a tall, dark, glossy friend. With a flash of teeth she wrenched its cork free and fell back on the pilfered silk sheets, taking a long, indulgent drink.

Ah, the pirate life.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


You know you are in a fairly desperate mode when you post this kind of thing to your blog, but I couldn't resist. (What is the growing appeal of pirates all about, anyway?)

My pirate name is:

Iron Jack Flint

A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from fidius.org.