Monday, December 29, 2008

The Greatest Gift of All

...and a return to analog blournaling.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Am I Done Or Not?

Because I thought I was done.

Again with the climatic mood swings. 0°F one day, then 44°F just a few days later.

I hear some folks experience a climate that actually doesn't suffer from these random bipolar mood swings.

fig. 2: The weather forecast on Prozac.

Because I'm just trying to figure out whether or not I should unhook the battery on the scooter and call it done until, you know, "spring".

Monday, December 22, 2008


For those of you keeping score at home, more snow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How To Ruin Everything

A step-by-step guides with examples band.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lost In Transmission

...or "How UPS and USPS Do Not Mix."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Because a Typed Letter Can Be So Cold

And speaking of cold...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The So-Called "Northeast"

Guess I was a little wrong about yesterday's post. We're actually spanning 51°F in three days. From Monday's low of 1°F to this morning's high (fig. 1) of 52°F, I challenge you to find another so-called inhabitable place on Earth that has these kinds of mood swings during so-called daylight hours.

fig. 1: Wednesday AM temp of 52°F

Did you think of another place?

Okay. Great. Oh, and here's the view out my window by noon.

fig. 2: 31° and snow

There's an hysterical figure of speech in these parts that says if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. So funny the first time you hear it. Sooo funny. I prefer the less popular and non-CoC-approved "If you don't like the weather, you should probably move."

So when you visit on that picture-perfect day in June, get the proverbial sand in your toes, and decide that you will relocate to a better life (by the way, highest taxes per capita in the country. Yeah, that's right - suck it, Hawaii!) remember that Winter starts anywhere from October to December, Spring doesn't begin its slow start until May, and days tend to be somewhat cruel inbetween. Oh, and sometimes summer doesn't happen. Oh, and say goodbye to your kids when they graduate.

Find yourself a good indoor hobby and this all gets much easier to take.

fig 3. The hobby of photography often works as suitable therapy for cranky bastards.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

Spanning 45°F in three days. It just ain't fit.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

By Special Request

Like most people, I don't normally take requests, but the last post really could've used a photo. This one isn't nearly as good as the photo in this post, but this time, I went for safety. Anyway, here I am. Speeding a little bit, but that tends to happen on this damn thing.

Technical notes: I slung my camera around my neck and twisted the strap to shorten the length. Flipping through the menus (which I actually did first) I found an "interval" mode on my camera, which I had never used. I set it to take one shot every three seconds, and off I went. Hands-free shooting.

What did we learn?
The camera needs to be higher. I think the shot works best at eye-level. A slower shutter speed would've been good. It would blur the background and give a sense of motion. As it is now, you have to read the speedo to really even know whether or not this was a moving shot. The same mistake was made here, where the shutter again was set too fast.

Not only is the background not blurred - you can even see the spokes. As far as conveying a sense of motion, this one gets an F. I got a bit of the 3D effect I was looking for with this shot, but slower shutter speed still would've been the right way to go.

Beyond all this, a wider lens would've been nice for today's shot, but I used the widest one I have.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Count It!

Photo not available.

37°F. 6:30PM. It was a short ride but it was not without purpose, and it was quite enjoyable, thanks to the new windscreen. Now the scoot has been out in December.

When I decided to enter the world of the two-wheelers, I'd resigned to the idea that I'd only be able to use it six months out of the year. Always nice to be proven wrong about that.

Now please don't ruin this with any of those so-called "facts" about actual days spent riding. What are you, my wife already? Damn!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving III

This year, Thanksgiving took shape very much as it has in the past four years. Even though I hope to one day go to a restaurant for Thanksgiving, we're not quite there yet. In the meantime, I don't complain about the way this holiday goes. It's an event that I engineered. I don't mean that I invented Thanksgiving, I mean... well here's what I mean:

A few years ago, someone in the extended family (in an attempt to commandeer all the holiday events) announced that the Thanksgiving holiday would be held at their home. Step two was to delegate. Each invited party was to cook an assigned dish and bring it. The hosts cooked a bird and that was that. Reasonable? Well, sure (and nothing beats a good 'ol reasonable holiday) but I'm not a big fan of the, "Hey, why don't you cook yourself something and eat it over here" approach to holiday entertaining. If I invite - I treat. And, no, I didn't do the inviting or the hosting, but with a sensible, compartmentalized and frankly, cold and impersonal arrangement such as this, it seemed to make little difference exactly where it was hosted, and that bugged me.

So with a little concentrated brain power and some carefully chosen words, I managed to get the Thanksgiving feast relocated and redesigned and it's now a much less Socialist-driven affair. Na Zdorovie!

This year, while we snacked on various and sundry appetizers, an old man holding a beer with his one good arm, climbed up on the excercise bike and tried hard to pedal. It had been set to its most resistant setting as a deterrant to the very young.

fig. 1 "Disaster"

He didn't fall, but can you imagine if he did? At the very least, the beer's going flyin'. There ain't much to grab onto if you do start to fall, and you know he's going to land on that bad shoulder. I told him I was taking this picture so I could show them at the hospital exactly what happened. ...and he laughed and laughed.

Then we hit the Thanksgiving plate assembly line.

I'd like to note at this point that, being the pain in the ass that I am, I wear my shoes in the house.

I make sure they are clean and dry and that I'm not dragging dirt around or leaving little puddles for the sock-wearers to discover, but I do not mope around in my socks. It just ain't how I roll. I wear shoes.

None of this is what's important here. What's important here is that we ate this...

Closer look, maybe? Okay.

Oh my GOD! I'm telling you, I got nothin' against the whole food chain concept, and, well, aside from the fact that you shouldn't just be randomly cruel to an animal, can't say I'm really onboard with the animal rights movement. As I've plainly stated many times before, bacon is freakin' ridiculously good, but come ON! LOOK at that.

Here's my whole problem with meat; you gotta catch it in the right light. You gotta catch it on the right day. You have to smell it at the right time. And if all these things line up just right, you still have to be really careful how you handle it. On top of all that, it has a fairly limited window of opportunity concerning consumption.

So good luck with all that.

...and Happy Holidays.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Video Bonus!

Full-motion blournal.

I heard a song on the TV about nine years ago. I liked it. It was supposed to be something inspirational for the kids, in light of the whole millennium thing that was going on at the time (do the math, Holmes.) The song was pretty good, but you'll never hear it. That's because you can't find the damn thing anywhere. Not for sale. Not on the site of any artist who helped create it. Not on the TV network that fully owns the rights to it. Nothing. For all I know, it could be locked in a Y2K bunker somewhere in a box marked "Music for the apocalypse", and since that never happened, it's gone for good.

So I recorded my own version of it, and now I share. Trust me when I say the original did not have as much chicken'-pluckin' tone to it. It should be further noted that this mix did not collapse well to mono, as is needed for presentation here on Blogger. That was nearly a deal-breaker for this post, but for no apparent reason, I persevered.

And since you can't post just music to Blogger, I had to create some video to go with the sound. I started out synch'ing the lyrics to the melody, but that turned out to be a real pain in the ass/motivation-killer, so I just grabbed a bunch of my photos and turned the whole thing into a rapid-fire slideshow. Enjoy.

Or don't enjoy. Whatever. How did this blournal suddenly become all about the kids?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Car Wash

Now, more complicated!

Today, and for the first time ever, I went for the $15 wash. I don't know what came over me. I rarely go through a car wash, but this time I decided to spring the extra $5 and get the full treatment. I figured, for that price, it must come with a "happy ending" anyway, so I peeled off a twenty and asked for the #4.

When the guy (note: "guy" - there goes the Happy Ending idea already) comes back, he hands me a fiver and a receipt stapled to a bright yellow card.

Guess what? The "#4" includes all kinds of Simonizing action, and the folks at Simoniz are offering a $3 rebate! Yeah!

My first thought was that the folks at Simoniz were over-thinking it. People mostly hate rebates, don't they? It's a pain in the ass followed by a long wait, then a trip to the bank, where you will endure the slight indignity of presenting the teller with a check for three dollars.

I thought it was just so looney that I had to fill it out and send it in. People asked what I was doing, and I told them with great enthusiasm about how, just by filling out this simple form and including a copy of your reciept (from a qualifying car wash facility) then getting a stamp and envelope, Simoniz would send you back $3 on your car wash purchase.

I encountered many of the usual retorts:

"Hey - I'll take it!"
"Hey - It's better than a poke in the ear with a sharp stick!"
"Hey - That's $3 more than you had!"

Caught in this classic Bob Newhart Moment of infuriating optimism, my first reaction was to say, "If three bucks means that much to you, you shouldn't be blowing your money on a car wash!", but instead I just reminded the folks that I was already out 42 cents for the stamp, plus the cost of the envelope, and the cost of gas for the trip to the bank when I do get the check.

So we're not out of the woods yet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Guns 'n Roses

Please hate me because I'm beautiful.

After my recent pickup truck incident at school (and couple years of inappropriate hair length/style, penchant for picking up my child on a motorcycle which may as well just be a dirt bike I suppose, and, I'm guessing, an emergency meeting of the PTA in which they formalized their utter contempt for me) a lot of the soccer moms at school don't really care for me. Even still, I got involved this year and have been taking some photos for the school yearbook.

I sent off a CD with the first two month's worth of pictures on it and, truthfully, I got lucky on a few of them. I mentioned as much in the attached note, and received this response via e-mail yesterday (Yes - I really did.)

"I just had to reply and say - hardly! It really excites me to see your work -- honestly, this year's book will also be a great PR tool for the school during their open houses. (And I sent [the principal] a few of your photos and said so, by the way.) Many shots are magazine perfect (and I know as I did this stuff for many years overseas.) Anyhow, I'm already thinking to next year and how unfortunate it will be that your student is moving on!

The quality is so good, and appropriate in a community way, that I'm thinking that P-3 and 4-5 should have their own collage pages ... Or at the very least a full community page (s). It gives a very nice sense of the whole.

The kids and the school are lucky to have you!
Soccer Mom

Yeah, nice, but I'm just looking for a happy medium here - y'know? Why must I excite the women so?

It's a curse.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


How to substitute awkward silence for even more awkward conversation.

"Did you eat your Pop-Tart?"
"I thought you said 'Mom-Tart'."
"Well, Mom did give it to you."
"What would a Mom-flavored Pop-Tart taste like?"




"This concludes another in our continuing series of meaningless conversations."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

How not to choose an illustrator.

You might remember me talking about meeting an accomplished illustrator and eventually sending him the children's story I've produced. (Makes sense, right? Clearly, this blournal is for kids.)

I was flatly ignored. Maybe I shouldn't say "flatly" ignored; he did use my photos. I took some shots of him giving a presentation and he apparently liked them enough to use on his website, though he never said a word to me about it. I did offer these photos to him for free, so it's not like he pilfered anything here. I offered - he took. That was the end of that exchange.

That's fine, if not a bit 'holey. The photos were a bit of a hook that gave me an excuse write to him (and for him to read it) after I'd missed my opportunity the first time. I say "hook" because "graft" is such an ugly word.

But I must have really offended him. Not only did he not bother to reply, he didn't so much as put a photo credit there on his website. Seems a little cold. All I asked him to do was give my story a listen, and all he had to do was click.

So after waiting a week for some kind of response, I decided to write back. I wrote only a simple two-line e-mail entitled "Impropriety" in which I said, "Please accept my apology. I didn't mean to annoy."

This time, flatly ignored, and I should be using that word.

So he obviously doesn't give a shit about anything I have or have to say. Why does that bug me? Because I (bush league as I may be) know that I do have some degree of talent. In the face of someone who obviously excels at what he does, (i.e. someone with non-bush league talent) I guess I'm just a hack. Now, I know I'm a hack, but... wait - not so much of a hack that he wouldn't even put my photos on his website - but I think I've got some perspective on how much talent I do/don't have, and I do know my limits. I didn't ask him to take a look at my drawings, if you know what I'm sayin'.

I had no idea I was that much of an asshole. I knew I was kind of an asshole, but I had not yet learned that my assholishness had progressed to such an extent.

So in light of that, and used here without any credit or permission, I will describe with some detail one of his single-panel cartoons.


A dog has hanged himself. Two cats are sitting next to each other and have apparently just come upon the scene where a nearby chair has been kicked over and the lifeless hound sways gently from a tree branch.

One cat turns to the other and says, "I guess all that butt-sniffing was really a cry for help."


So I guess you can decide for yourself if this whole situation turned out for the worse.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

That Man Isn't Fit To Be a Father

On pickup trucks and havin' a good time.

This is the 1999 Ford F-150 XL 4WD Regular Cab pickup with 8' bed.

It's my ride.

It has a standard transmission.

AM/FM cassette.

Maybe a little torn upholstery.

Y'know - maybe little cigarette burn or something.

Whatever. It's one sweet ride.

I was raised in a time where it was a rare but fully acceptable practice to ride around in the back of a pickup truck. Gramp would usually show up on Sunday and do just that. Hell, Gramp would let us sit on his lap and steer.

I looked, and I don't have a photo of any of that, but here's one of me on my Big Wheel just to prove what a daredevil I am.

Daredevil with a sensible sweater, that is.

Ahh - I'm not so sure that's even my Big Wheel. Look - the point is, this was the right time to be raised. We never let anxiety stand in the way of a good time. But that just doesn't jibe with the modern day soccer-mom ethos, and the days of freewheelin' pickup truck rides are over. Now, in certain circles it seems, pickup trucks are the devil.

SUV's and minivans? No problem.

A quick snap from the school parking lot shows a Suburban, a Yukon, and a minivan; all acceptable because (regardless of their extremely similar footprint) they have really comfy seats and a lot of fancy buttons and junk inside. That makes them A-OK.

So last week, I pulled up to the school in the truck so my daughter could drop off something for the bake sale. It's probably worth noting at this point that this is a private school. Part of the reason we can afford private school is because I drive the 1999 Ford F-150 XL Regular Cab pickup truck with 8' bed and standard transmission. The money spent on this school each month could put me in a Beemer or other vehicle with some sort of emblem on it, though I don't think that'd be as cool.

Upon arrival, a gaggle of friends were outside with a sign, raising bake sale awareness. Ordinarily, the let-my-kid-spend-time-with-a-bunch-of-friends-at-once department is an area in which I often fall short. I get a little irritable when a few kids gather at the house and start looking for things to do. When kids look for something to do, things tend to get thrown. Things are swung. This puts Daddy on edge. I imagine the fireplace poker sticking through the TV, or someone otherwise becoming permanently disfigured. Get too many kids together and something is coming down. But you have to roll with some of that, and this scenario was a no-brainer. It was a party upon which I would not poop. I prepared to settle in and let them do their thing.

They spent a total of 15 minutes back there, just goofing off while I kept an eye out via the rear-view mirror. During this time, mothers, one by one, would come out to see what the hell was going on. Whichever mother came out would go back and give a status report to the other moms (even though there really wasn't anything to report.)

At the 15 minute mark, I decided to pop the E-brake and coast ahead about 15 feet. Looked like a better spot to campaign over there, and who wouldn't like a little joyride like that?

Those moms inside there. That's who.

The very second the truck began to roll forward, Mom #3 (who obviously had her eyes glued on us the whole time) ran outside and shouted to her daughter, "Come inside right now!" and shot me a sideways glance that apparently my acute case of Asperger's Syndrome had heretofore left me unable to cipher. It seems that tension had been mounting inside the school lobby from the moment I let those girls climb in the back of my mobile temple of the Church of Satan, and now I am not considered a Friend of the Soccer Moms.

The young lady asked her friends to come in with her so she wouldn't feel like the only one who had to go in, and that was that. Ils sont partis. Since there was no way I could effectively convince these kids to worship our Dark Lord now, and seeing how I'm a completely irresponsible prick and all, I just started the truck and left.

Then I went home and rode my Big Wheel without a helmet.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Thursday, November 13, 2008

They're The People That You Meet Each Day

Being careful not to demolish the delicate tango that is our relationship.

I get along alright with my neighbors. They're an older couple. He likes to tinker with his Heathkit radios, and she likes cats. Their kids have moved on.
Yes, they're pretty quiet - I have a band. They shovel - I plow. They rake - I have a vacuum. But it works. It's fine. We're here for the common good.

As you can plainly see from the photo below, they've obviously built some kind of supercolider / laser device over there which they will no doubt be using to create an army of reanimated zombie death-kitties that will one day be turned against me.

Hey - that's fine. I just think it'd be nice if they could shut off that fucking light one time, that's all. Kind of bums me out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Take Your Camera to the Mall!*

*Warning: security risk.

Guess what? You can't take pictures in the mall. Why? Well, think about it. It's the mall. We don't want outsiders knowing what goes on in the mall.

Some people I know just bought a business in the mall, so I thought I'd go snap a few shots of it for them. On my way to the store, I walked past a mall security guard (he was shootin' the shit with the customer service gal) and I heard the custodian quip, "You gonna do any work today?"

That all added up nicely, and I found my angle and snapped a couple-a pics.

Then I hear, "Excuse me."
Yes, I knew that was for me, but I didn't avert my gaze. 'Fraid you're just going to have to try harder.
"Excuse me, sir - Do you have permission to take photos in the mall?" said the mall officer who stuck his hand in front of my lens.
"You need permission to take photos in the mall?" I asked.
"Yes, you need permission from the store owner and also the mall office."

Figuring this was just a mall security officer finding something to do (that was, fortunately, close by and didn't involve any of that damned walking) I got out of that conversation pretty quick and pretended to go visit the mall office.

I came back two minutes later and got two shots from the other side. I was standing about 15 feet away from the store, and shooting at an angle (Yeahhhh - I'm all artsy like that.) Between the first and second shot, someone from inside the store shouts, "You can't do that!" Then a guy patrolling the mall in plain clothes says, "No! Nope! No pictures inside the mall! You're not allowed to take pictures in the mall."

Seeing how I was all done anyway, I explained myself rather briefly and hit the road. I can see their point, though. I mean, can you just imagine if these pictures got out?

No, seriously. All kidding aside. We can't be showing pictures of what the mall looks like on the inside. What's going to happen when, say, Tallahassee finds out that their Orange Julius store isn't as nice as Albuquerque's? Civil war. That's what.

So let's all be cool.

p.s. For a very clear idea of what the inside of my local mall looks like, visit your local mall.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just One More

I realize I post too many pictures of this thing. I also have too many pictures of it around the house.

I just got this windshield and after six years of riding into the wind, it's a whole new world. I thought I liked the breeze (on the warm days) but no breeze might be even cooler. I may never take it off.

Added bonus: You can now actually hear things when you ride.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

In Defense of Sarah Palin

Not really.

Just a few quick and non-partisan observations about emotions, fact, elections, and emotions and elections.

Sarah Palin has been in politics five years longer than Barack Obama.
Biden's bid for Presidency was soundly rejected by America in 1988.
Biden's bid for the Democratic nomination was soundly rejected in 2008.
Dan Quayle.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Gas Prices

Ordinarily, blog fodder. Fortunately, this is not a blog.

I guess a lot people don't know which way the 8's go.

...even on the little signs on the pump that are real easy to change.

That's cool. I mean, it bugs me a little, but that's cool.

This post grew again, though the driver in the photo might offer some explanation this time.

Sunday, November 02, 2008



That last post? Yeah - forget all that. Daddy made good. My idea for a children's book now sits squarely in front of a very talented illustrator who actually does it for real. He may love it, he may hate it, but I got it in front of him.

I could go into a lot of detail, but I'll just tell you that I didn't give up. I guess that's the only detail that matters. If nothing else, failure at this point seems more subjective.

Bring it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

No Guts, No Glory

...or "How To Chicken Out"

I had a conversation today with a talented guy who illustrates covers for New Yorker magazine. He's also illustrated several children's books. I happen to have written (recorded, actually) what I think is a children's book, and I knew I was going to run into this guy today, so I prepared for it.

About five years back, and pretty much out of nowhere, I was helping my kid with her homework, but I guess I kind of ran with the ball and ended up with a six minute recording of a story for kids. I sent it around to some people I knew, just for the fun of it. I actually got a pretty good response. Some folks spent a good 15 minutes on the phone with me, imploring me to have it illustrated and turned into a full-on book. They said it painted a real word-picture. I enjoyed the comments, and pretty much just filed the info away.

So after five years of thinking about it, researching illustrators, checking into publishers, forgetting about it, remembering it, doubting whether or not it was even any good, waiting for the excitment of it to wear off, listening again and deciding I liked it... yeah, I was prepared for today. I brought along a CD to hand to this guy.

The plan fell apart almost immediately after that.

It kind of came off the rails when he mentioned that he thinks he's done his last children's book "for a good long while." He went on to say how he wants to watch his kid play hockey, spend more time with his family, and just generally not work so hard with his hand constantly cramped up in that hook shape all day. Illustration, it turns out, is quite time-consuming.

Any thought that I had about my story being different or particularly illustrative or maybe even inspiring, well that all went right out the window pretty quick, and I didn't bother even getting the CD out of my bag.

What's wrong with that? Well I just gave up, didn't I? I like to think that's not the kind of guy I am. I say, let's not trouble ourselves with the particulars of whether or not the conversation has the right emotional dynamic, or - I don't know, whatever else Dr. Phil can dream up. I'm more the let's-just-get-to-"yes" type.

Would it have really been so wrong for me to hand him a CD and say, "Look, I'd like you to just give this a listen. I think you might enjoy it" ? And what's the big deal if he says "No thanks"? Are we likely to part ways with a relationship any different than the one we had two minutes ago? Let me answer that one for you. "No."

So I guess if I'm gonna do this, I have to try it the "normal" way. I have to submit to a publisher and get it thrown on the gigantic pile of works that are submitted every day, and hope that whomever finally hears it isn't having a bad day at the time.

Yeah, I mean, why use an "in"?

Stupid. See - this is why I hate Halloween.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


So special, I wrote it on a napkin and hung it with Scotch tape.

Guess I'd probably Google that one before I tried it, but I gotta say, that fly trapped against the glass isn't helping much.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


This won't take long. I promise.

This post continues to grow in its own sightly creepy sort of way. Two more shots in one 15 mile trip. Creepy. Creepy and weird.

An addendum to yesterday's post:

Because there was another one of those health-damning social vibes happening at the time, I ended up ordering myself a turkey bacon sangwich at a deli on Sunday. Not a real big fan of deli turkey at all, but a little touch of glorious bacon would undoubtedly add just the right zip, right?

If you've never been truly speechless - I mean stunned speechless, then you've never watched a man toss three rashers of bacon in a deep fryer. Yes, that's bacon that's already been cooked. His was just a fun/healthy way of reheating it.

In further news, I am now dead.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Big, Salty Breakfast

It might be what Americans do best.

I eat oatmeal for breakfast. For the past six years, almost every day, oatmeal. A large bowl of oatmeal. Unsweetened oatmeal. A ton of freakin' oatmeal. I heard it lowers cholesterol and has a lot of fiber, so I'm all over it - just like that. Livin' la vida colon (hey, shut up, that is too still a reference.)

But once in a very rare now and then (maybe when I have company or the vibe otherwise calls for it), it all goes to hell in fairly grand style.

... quite possibly undoing six straight years of oatmeal consumption.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Fashion III

In which I attempt to explain trends I don't understand.

I get the arty all-black look, and the accessory poodle.


...I assume is so she doesn't keep biting herself.

How'd I do?

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Have a Pony

Alright - two ponies.

My neighbors down the street wanted a pet but didn't want a dog or cat, so they got a lawn ornament miniature horsey. They had such good luck with tying it to a tree in the front yard that they decided it'd be best to double-up on them, and now they have two horsies tied to a tree in the front yard. It's obvious to me that people in this neighborhood have no fucking idea what to do with a tree. I always thought you just, y'know, did nothing with them, but maybe they're more complicated than that.

Maybe I'm the retarded dumb ass who wastes money I probably don't have being stupid.

And call it a double standard if you want, but I don't fault the old lady who decorates her part of the sidewalk with all those little miniature figurines.

...because she's senile.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Foliage Makes Me Angry

Fall's the best time for cuttin'.

So my neighbors' all, "I'm be cuttin' down some trees 'n shit."

And then my neighbor next to him (who used to be the Chief of Police) is all like, "Hell's yeah I'm be cuttin' too. Shiz-nat, Holmes." So out comes the bucket hacker and down they go.

I don't mean to sound like some kind of tree-lovin' hippie, but is this really any better?

Not from my view. Thanks, pal. That's some sweet roof you got there.

It's a trend in my neighborhood lately. Front yard trees are apparently just tall, leafy pests that mock you. Take them down, show them who's boss, and show the world more of your beautiful, beautiful home.

Anything seem conspicuously absent from this picture?

...besides shutters or any kind of trim whatsoever?

How about this dynamic little saltbox?

You can see the round patch where they had a tree that hid their beautiful little home from my view quite nicely. It got hacked last year. Dude, your house sucks. Cover that shit up.

I think we may not be getting the greenhouse/global warming/trees-help-clean-the-air message up in my end of town. Nope. We're more the fire-trucks-are-awesome-to-have-in-the-yard type.