The Concrete Jungle

8 years ago when I moved to Knoxville, I put in a garden with my then-girlfriend.  I haven’t been able to garden since then, until now.  At the time, both of us being from Michigan where the growing season is so short it’s hardly worth calling a growing season, we threw lots of everything we wanted into the ground: maybe 25 tomato plants, a veritable forest of basil.  in retrospect, we planted way too much.  But we planted the way you plant in Michigan: plant a lot, and don’t expect too much production from one plant. What we got instead was a jungle of tomato vines, bell pepper trees, and the discovery that rosemary is not in fact an annual.  The next spring we had a healthy rosemary bush with bark on the stem.  Rosemary dies from the cold up north, so northern gardeners treat it like an annual.  I guess there are many ways of learning. This last week I bought a shovel at the local Mega-Home-Improvement-Warehouse and tore into a chunk of my copious backyard.  My aim was to carve out a rectangle for a winter garden.  Now that I know how the weather down here is going to be like, I know that I still have a couple months of growing season.  If I choose the right crops, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, onions, they’ll survive the frost just fine and I’ll be able to reap the long-missed rewards of home grown food. The hitch in the plan though was reality.  Reality always seems to get in the way of my enthusiastically laid plans. I went outside after...

Chapters

Some years ago, roughly at the end of my Masters degree, I thought to myself that a chapter of my life had come to a close.  In a way it had: I had built some new bridges, burned some others, learned a lot about myself, and then moved on.  The moving on was emotional as well as physical.  I started over in Grand Rapids as a professor.  But retrospect is a funny and powerful thing.  As much as I thought my transition from Tennessee to Michigan was the end of a chapter, I was really just doing more of the same. I’m not sure where that opinion comes from.  Perhaps it comes from the culture shock I received at my first day on my new job here.  I was completely unprepared for what happened.  At 5pm, everyone packed up and went home. Uh. So at the end of my second week at my job, I’m still not used to people who work to live rather than live to work, but I think I can get used to it.*  With my “free time” I’m still unpacking.  In fact this weekend (my first in Asheville- the first two were moving and gigs) I’m finally getting around to unpacking the last boxes.  And this version of unpacking seems to be different than the versions I’ve gone through over the last 5 years.  I didn’t just unbox my belongings and shove them someplace, I actually unpacked. It’s weird the things that stick out, the things that catch your attention.  I unpacked something I haven’t seen since I left Knoxville.  Knoxville.  That’s 5 years. ...

More on the Internet

I’m in Greensboro for a couple gigs and have the luxury of friends who will put me up for free, and also have wifi.  I haven’t been able to check the internet at whim since about late May.  My last blog post was a bit about the Internet, but I had a conversation today with friends about my relationship with the Web, and it got me thinking. If I had my ‘druthers I would have no gadgets, no cell phone, no need of internet, and no accompanying bill.  The irony here is that as of last Tuesday, I’m a computer programmer again.  Just to clarify my stance on the situation: I am actually pretty glad I’m back working in technology.  I like a regular structured schedule, working on puzzles all day, and receiving a paycheck like clockwork, even in the summer.*  But I know people who almost can’t function without their gadgets, and I don’t want that to be me. You’ve seen them: they walk/drive/bike into stationary objects while texting.  They can’t follow a map or take directions because they rely solely on the GPS.  They talk about their next-generation mobile device like it’s a religious object…  And then downplay the upfront cost, the monthly bill, and the impact it has on the rest of their lives. I’m not saying technology is bad.  It employs me, so it can’t be all bad.  And really, I couldn’t blog (nor would the word “blog” even exist) if not for the internet and digital technology.  But at some point, I have to wonder how and when my forms of communication and self-expression became...

Me and My Internets

My internet will get hooked up at my house next week.  And in the mean time I have a job and a place to live.  The former has internet connectivity on which I choose not to fraternize.  The latter does not, though I would love to fraternize. Asheville is a cool place, but I’m just going on glossed-over impressions, because mostly I go to work, and go home to unpack.  I’ve found myself out doing things in the evenings, like buying seeds for my new winter-garden (I have a window box which will shortly provide me with basil!!!), or reading brass quintets with the “White Squirrel Brass” quintet, in – you guessed it- Brevard.  Everything in that town is named after those damn things.  I was in Greensboro last weekend to move, and again this weekend for gigs.  I’m happy about it, but I haven’t had a lot of time to just sit.  And I’d like to. Speaking of sitting, one thing I find myself doing – and this is a good sign I think – is sitting in my living room and just enjoying it.  My house is pretty.  It’s good to sit in.  I read a little at night, but as the sun sets, so do I.  I sets and thinks.  It’s that kind of place.  I guess that’d be ok if I was done unpacking my boxes. I’m also on a roommate hunt.  I’ve had a couple people over to see the house.  I want to find someone before too long to share the space with me.  I can afford the rent all by myself, but...

My Side of the Mountain

Well, it’s official:  I’m a resident of Asheville, NC.  When I pulled my moving van into my driveway, 3 patchouli-smelling women wearing broom-skirts and tattoos met me and did an interpretive dance and a spirit cleansing.  Not really. I’ll step out of narrative-form for a second for the sake of brevity. Tuesday: Brevard Music Center Ended.  Pretty much everyone left except me. Wednesday: Got a phone call from my landlord saying that he’d checked my references, credit, background, etc, and decided I could live in his house.  Drove up to Asheville because apparently you have to turn on utilities in person here- show up to the office, write them a deposit check, make small talk while they work their ancient computer like an organ-grinder. Thursday: Packed.  Went to community band.  Made a fire.  Drank a beer.  Somehow I worked all day, and this is all I can remember doing. Friday: Drove to my new place, signed the lease, drove to Greensboro, played banjo at Christen’s house. Saturday: Loaded the van with the help of my friend Mark.  Drove to Asheville and unloaded with the help of Jon, then later Christina (not Christen).  Found my bed, bedding, soap.  Realized I didn’t know where my towels were.  Also realized that I had no curtains up. Sunday: Found towels.  And curtains.  Unpacked for really.  Well, most of the way. Today: Decided groceries are cool. I had a lot of blog-worthy thoughts while traveling, while doing all the stuff that got done in the last week.  Sadly, I didn’t have web access at the time, and my head is full of caffeiney goodness...