Archive for July, 2008

Moving possessions from one house to another is one of my few legitimate loathings, and it’s second only to exercise on my all-time red crayon list of doom. Today, I did it twice.

Maybe it’s because I was lucky enough to live in the same one-story ranch house from birth to high school graduation, but I consider moving a rigorous, hateful ritual. Everyone involved seems to agree on moving day, whatever they say after the fact. I, however, am not afraid to fess up before, during and after moving day.

Even so, I just about always help my friends move. I recommend helping.

Loading up the U-Haul will evoke a one-way trip into the undiscovered country, and Tetris-ing together mattresses, lava lamps and long-forgotten tchotchkes into the cramped trunk of an already bulging sedan will begin more headaches than it cures. You’ll hate every moment, even though you have no tchotchkes here and you’ve never owned a lava lamp — there’s a lot more to hate than the bitter nostalgia of finding a postcard from an ex-girlfriend.

After 12 hours of menial labor, even the most energetic college kids have tired feet and aching backs. By the time you get your cheap mass order of pizza, you’ll have crankiness only salved by a multi-hour soaking bath, and yet, if given the chance, you’ll nap instead.

Help move not for the free pizza, and not because you’re doing your friends a favor to be paid back reciprocally. Do it because the chore is lightened the more workers there are to share it, and the fewer workers there are, the heavier burden there is for the rest. Simple charity, and simple goodwill. There is no catch, and there is no quid pro quo.

The worst-case scenario, easily, is that no jokey banter will lighten the mood when nobody else is there to banter back. I’ve moved alone enough to know that much.

Today, I helped move one household to the far southern boonies of the local valley, and as soon as possible helped move another to the rich town adjacent to my own. I count 12 hours worth of frustrating-itude, split between each friend in need.

That’s a lot of exercise. I do it gladly.


One of the many area corporate-franchise school photography studios wants some entry-level photographers, and I certainly hope that I fit the bill. Given that the minimum requirements for employment include a high school education and full use of your vehicle, I’m not too worried.

It mostly depends on how many spots the studio is trying to fill, and how willing they are to work around my neligible experience.

That is, while I have my share of experience shooting free-range outdoor photography — no tripod, no monopod, no unipod, no flash — I’ve never really figured out all that photo stuff that my Nikon D50 doesn’t include.

I told a few friends of mine that I was worrying a little about it. One or two told me not to get stressed, and another three wished me luck. The rest weren’t afraid to make a joke about it.

If nothing else, you’ll be taking pictures of lots of hot high school girls.


Just kidding.

I don’t need the threat of a lawsuit. Please wish me luck in helpful ways.

My dad believes modern Hollywood could never film anything as subdued as the bus scene in It Happened One Night, and I can personally disagree.

Modern Hollywood, he argues, would make it a music video. Where this singing is relatively rough, modern Hollywood would add more than a touch of gloss. Every hair would be gelled into place; every singer would be professional, noodling their way up and down the melody without regard for pitch or intonation.

That’s the style these days, he’d argue. Americans just don’t do that anymore. Evoking Yogi Berra, he might even add that old movies are a thing of the past. I’d agree if I didn’t have anecdotal evidence that disproves that.

This week, members that veteran’s band I’m in started in on a classic call-and-answer called “Bill Grogan’s Goat” toward the end of our post-rehearsal dinner. We sang along, at first tentatively. Who sings in public, anymore?

We did. “Bicycle Built for Two” and “Man on the Flying Trapeze” later, we sped on from song to song, not that our tempo was anything to brag about. Said one clarinetist:

That was the prettiest dirge we sang all night.

Merry, sober serenades aren’t all that much a thing of the past. We were a more-or-less regular group, and we were just waiting for the check to come in, after the diner had closed for everyone else.

I belted Sinatra and Buble alike, depending on your perspective, and I can personally attest that it was a hell of a lot of fun and that there was no hint of embarrassment.

Most notably, there was a remarkable age parity; there were plenty of young timers taking the lead, even if this group was full of old-timers. These supposedly long-dead traditions will be around for some time longer.

At least until next week, I hope.