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The Post-Pessimist Association

The Post-Pessimist Association
Hockey, literature, beer, and life in Atlanta
Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


Chapeaux de Formosa
2010-10-25 02:31:00
In lieu of any actual writing, a photo from PPA pal MMW:Posting continues to be sporadic, but that's because most of my energies are going to the book (that rumored book, that damned book). Earlier plans have been scrapped and I'm revising/revisiting a lot, but anyone who wants to read it in semi-serial form, drop me a note (either in the comments or at the rarely-visited PPA e-mail address).* * *No real reading lately -- can't focus on anything -- but I did get through one (re-read):#48 -- "Jimmy the Kid" by Donald WestlakeYes, another Dortmunder novel. I remembered not liking this one as much as the rest, but either that was erroneous or my tastes have changed -- laughed my ass off.
That's My Positive Outlook
2010-10-07 14:56:00
I recently was gifted (?) with a bunch of my old newspapering notepads that had been moldering in my folks' house for more than a decade. Being an environmental sort, I've been going through them and tearing out the old notes for recycling, while saving the unused paper so that I have more loose sheets of paper floating around the house.95% of the notes are about horrible hippie bands in Boulder. 4.99% are administrative notes. And then there's this cheery one, apparently from 1998 and headed "Problems":"Job: Unfulfilling. Soul-sucking.Interpersonal Relationships: Mess."I'm sure I was deadly serious when I wrote that, but today it made me laugh out loud.* * *Despite evidence to the contrary, I still do read books:#43 -- "Be Not Afraid, For You Have Sons in America" by Stacy Sullivan#44 -- "Upside Down" by Eduardo Galeano#45 -- "My Battle of Algiers" by Ted Morgan#46 -- "The Secret Pilgrim" by John LeCarre#47 -- "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric WeinerWhew. All good here, if you w...
More About: Outlook
2010-10-04 00:36:00
Line of the weekend:"I used to take my clothes off to this song!" -girl at bar, when something by Danzig came onWorrying sign of the weekend:After an insomniac night Friday, I went to the gym early Saturday. As I drove home afterwards, I had a moment of panic: "Oh, shit, did I forget to put my pants back on?" Good news: I was wearing pants. Bad news: dementia is obviously setting in.That book thing:Soon, promise.
2010-09-22 17:14:00
Blew that deadline. Haven't been posting on this either. Something coming soon, though, I hope.
Soundtrack to My Life
2010-09-08 01:49:00
I've been working out a lot lately. This is kind of big news, because "get in shape" is usually on the same level as "learn Czech" for me -- something I'd like to do, but I'd also prefer to just wait around until someone invents a way for me to instantly get in shape/learn Czech. But over the past couple months I've been pretty good about it, to the point where I made it onto my gym's "honor roll" for last month, something that I'm kind of ironically and kind of unironically proud of.In addition to making me less fat, it's radically changed my music-listening habits -- prior to this I've been more jazzy/country than anything else for a while, but now it's all metal/hardcore on the iPod. Two of my all-time favorites, Son Volt and Steve Earle, have been purged from the device for now. Why? Not aggro enough. If it doesn't make me want to start swinging fists, it's not gonna be on there.It's also reintroduced me to an old pal: Corrosion of Conformity more or less dropped off...
More About: Life , My Life , Soundtrack
From the Archives
2010-09-05 19:14:00
Jotted down in my notepad, overheard a month or two back: "It's almost that time of year -- the Little League World Series. Man, I love seeing 11-year-olds cry."
The Hockey Jersey Mystery
2010-09-01 03:03:00
I loved me some Hardy Boys when I was a kid, despite the Boulder Public Library's refusal to stock the books (oddly enough, they did have "The Ghost of the Hardy Boys" -- the memoirs of Leslie Macfarlane, a frequent contributor to the Hardy legend -- but only in a secret back room where you had to ask nice). I think the library's refusal was based on literary quality, but I got my hands on 'em anyway and read them avidly. I even, at one point, tried my hand at writing my own. "The Hardy Boys and the Graveyard Mystery " (because I liked spooky stuff) and "The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Emerald Guitar" (because I liked emeralds and I liked guitars. And, for that matter, mysteries). "The Graveyard Mystery" was actually performed as a play at Heatherwood Elementary, providing the high point of my literary career so far.Now, it might be time for my third, because I've got a puzzler suitable for Frank and Joe (and Chet and Biff): The Mystery of the Milwaukee Admirals Jersey That...
More About: Hockey
Creepy Crawl
2010-08-31 01:34:00
I'm just tearing through the old-school paperbacks these days.#42 -- "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley JacksonAnother one dredged up from the teen years. This is a masterpiece of never-quite-seen horrors -- nothing's ever seen head on and there is considerable question as to what the origin really is. I read most of this at home alone last night, and once the lights went out I became acutely aware of every creak and bump in my building -- and when my neighbor bumped something against the connecting wall between our units, I achieved levitation, my friends.
More About: Crawl
Messages to Myself
2010-08-30 13:56:00
I use the iPod Touch's "Notes" feature a bit inconsistently; I leave notes for myself on it and then forget about them for weeks on end. Hey, look at what I wanted to get at the grocery store last month! That sort of thing.Went through it yesterday -- mostly reminders to myself of books, movies, or music that I wanted to pursue. But there is one that's puzzling me, from July 17:"The Day I Realized I Would Suck at Evil"What prompted this? A short story idea? A revelation about my own life? I have no clue.* * *#41 -- "The Ministry of Fear" by Graham GreeneFirst GG novel in a while! And this is a good one. Tense and thrilling, really fast and very unpredictable. All that combined with Greene's trademark cheery outlook on humanity. I've got a few of his novels that have been languishing unread for years and this might get me cracking.
More About: Messages
Little Rip
2010-08-29 18:13:00
Cal Ripken Jr. (even now, it's hard for me to think of him without the generational title) turned 50 a couple weeks back. Contrary to the way these things usually work, that's actually made me feel young: if I'm 13 years younger than Cal, then perhaps there's still time for me. (to do what, I'm uncertain.)Calvin Edwin Ripken Junior (I still remember the full name without looking it up; also that he was born in Havre de Grace. I've managed to forget his birthday, at least) was my favorite baseball player throughout the 1980s; this poster hung above my bed for years, only coming down when I moved to Arizona. It may seem hard to credit now, but he seemed relatively unappreciated in the 1980s; despite his successive Rookie of the Year and MVP awards, not to mention the 1983 World Series, he was playing third fiddle among AL shortstops to Robin Yount and Alan Trammell (and perhaps briefly, Tony Fernandez). If I remember right, this particular poster wasn't even listed in Sports Il...
Mystery Train
2010-08-23 03:12:00
#37 -- "The Girl Who Played With Fire" by Stieg Larsson#38 -- "Nobody's Perfect" by Donald Westlake#39 -- "The Blue Hammer" by Ross MacDonaldNot planned, but three straight books that you'd find in the mystery section at the local bookstore (and the next one probably will be, too). There was a time when this would be my regular reading pattern but it's been a while.I was ahead of the curve on the first Larsson book, behind it on this one. I had some trouble getting into it, wondered if I would, then one night realized that I'd gone through 200 pages without thinking about it and was way past bedtime. I can't really remember how I felt about Lisbeth Salander in the first book, but in this one she's established as a really great, memorable character. "Nobody's Perfect" -- ok, I kinda burnt out fast on my Dortmunder re-reads. This one seemed considerably weaker than the other two (still funny, just not as) and I dunno if that's a legitimate quality difference or just me reading...
More About: Train , Mystery
Modern-Day Ruins
2010-08-13 03:24:00
I noticed this a while back, when my friend Nix held a party: a blasted out building, directly below her building's pool deck.Turns out I'd actually been there. It's the old location for Loca Luna, now forgotten after a move. I'd actually been inside this building a few times back in the day, most notably the night before the 2004 tsunami. Looking at it from above, it didn't ring any bells and looked properly post-apocalyptic to push all my buttons.Not sure what's in store for the space. It looks like it's been abandoned for decades, not a few years. In the grand scheme of things, in the good-for-Atlanta category, it'd be best if it gets snapped up fast.For people who like urban decay, though, it's fantastic right now. It even has a 2000s-era ghost sign that looks like it dates to the 1940s.Almost thoroughly disconnected, though it's still Atlanta: I can find sky porn anywhere.
More About: Modern
Rusty, We Need To Talk
2010-08-09 23:25:00
I've been a fan of Ruslan Salei through thick and thin -- mostly thin -- since he came to the Avalanche. He's Eastern European (and from one of the very underrepresented Eastern European countries, too), and he's generally portrayed as a genial, level-headed guy. So that makes today's decision to sign with the Red Wings a mystery. Think this over, Ruslan: you've lived in California, Florida, and Colorado. You've been in North America for 15 years or so. How do you think Detroit is going to look by comparison?Last week, out of boredom, I was assembling some Avalanche trivia (you kill time at work your way, I'll kill it mine) and I actually put together a list of players who have been on both Detroit and Colorado. It isn't pretty.Jim Cummins. Eight games, two points, 65 penalty minutes with the Wings; 55 games, three points, 147 penalty minutes with the Avalanche.I debated whether to count Cummins -- he played for the Red Wings before the Avalanche became the Avalanche -- befo...
More About: Talk
Rest in Peace
2010-08-07 22:51:00
Tony Judt.The world just got considerably less smart.
More About: Peace , Rest In Peace , Rest
The Great Leap Forward
2010-07-31 23:45:00
I don't think anyone will ever beat Lots of Latin American metal blogs for pure spam awesomeness. Once a generation, you encounter a prodigy that's so far ahead of everyone else that it renders comparisons unfair. But if we ignore the outlier, I'm pretty pleased with the person who contacted me on Facebook not long ago:"Greg, I am a female!!!i like your profile!!! i do believe its... cool"I do believe it is, indeed, cool. Sadly, the account has already been suspended, but they did have the foresight to let me know that I can contact them at "wetandhorny@whatever."Meanwhile, "StopPaying4Sex" has started following me on Twitter, so I'm not sure what kind of signals I'm sending out to people.* * *#34 -- "The Bank Shot" by Donald WestlakeI hadn't read one of the Dortmunder novels in a really long time, so I picked the shortest one off the shelf. Don't have a lot to say, I've loved these for going on 20 years now; if you like a good laugh, you'll like these.
More About: Great
2010-07-25 18:06:00
Been a long time since I've done one of these. Too long.Libor Zabransky, 1996-97 Worcester Icecats home jersey. There's a lot of mid-'90s minor league type stuff here that normally bugs me; the "Ice" prefix on a team name, the cartoon mascot, the funky letters and numbers. Nonetheless: I love this jersey.I don't know if Bush League Factor ever took on the Icecats -- I think defunct teams are removed from the site, right? -- but there's a lot to work with here. The jovially snarling Icecat, apparently decapitated by a hockey stick, with a mountain range (does Massachusetts have mountains?) in the background, all on top of a big "W". I don't know what it all means.Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the trend toward funky lettering start with the Tampa Bay Lightning? Yes? No? If so, they have a lot to answer for. In the 1990s, if you went to a jersey designer and said "give me something hip! Something extreme! Something the Offspring would like!" you'd get something like this...
Arizona Hardcore Documented
2010-07-23 02:50:00
Apropos of nothing, other than I've been cleaning out:I remember scattered bits from this show. I didn't go up to Phoenix shows much despite the city's proximity; Phoenix and Tucson had the minor rivalry of the otherwise irrelevant, kind of like the Oilers-Flames of the '90s. This was pre-fame Offspring but we probably went up more for 411 -- Dan O gave a shout-out to the Tucsonans, which undoubtedly thrilled us. After the show Brendan Groundwork and I interviewed the Offspring on some guy's back porch. They were a bit stoned, probably horrifying straight-edge us, but genuinely nice and thoughtful people. As a result, when they later became the symbol of everything that was wrong with the decade, it was kind of sad, like seeing a well-liked second cousin get picked up on a morals charge.Counterpunch was one of two notable Phoenix SE bands at the time, the other being Stand to Reason, with which they shared something like 75 percent of their membership. They put out a 7" of fair...
More About: Arizona
L L the L
2010-07-15 23:47:00
When Tapeleg enticed me to Time Warp, I didn't come through it free and clear: there's a brand-new Legion of Super-Heroes series, something like the 47th reboot since I first discovered the title, and it's written by Paul Levitz. Levitz -- some background -- wrote ALL the LSH comics of my childhood, just about every issue from 1982 on. He stopped in 1989, about the time 16-year-old me moved to Tucson, and (I think) hadn't been back since. Reunions are often a disappointment for all involved, but I couldn't really pass this up -- I bought the first two issues of the new series. The verdict? Kind of a fun nostalgia trip. Levitz is still good at a lot of the things he was known for: setting up a ton of little plots and letting them develop slowly, somehow getting 20+ characters to develop personalities without making the comic feel crowded. The art is mostly by Yildiray Cinar, and it's pretty good -- I initially thought the cover to #2 was by Steve Lightle, and believe me you, th...
2010-07-10 01:29:00
I'll admit it: I was feeling really, really smug about not watching the LeBron James extravaganza on television last night. Instead I had a nice meal of takeout Thai, and drank heartily of a La Fin Du Monde beer ... as I followed the whole thing on Twitter instead. That's right: I sat there and read the Twitters of people who were actually watching the thing I refused to watch. I don't even like basketball. Next time you're wondering "What's wrong with America?" just look at the signed, framed photo of me that's up above the mantel, and you will have your answer.* * *Another from the vast poster archive found in my parents' basement:In the late '80s, the throwback industry was nowhere near as big as it is now, and when I saw this on a door in a Tucson Mall shoe store, it was a revelation. I didn't think such things were accessible to commoners like me. This was in my "I don't think about anything except for baseball and horror fiction" period and this poster was as good as...
Leaving Colorado
2010-07-05 14:32:00
In moments of self-awareness, I realize that people might react to my Colorado sky obsession the same way I react to rabid Radiohead fandom -- "nice that you're into it, but really, what's the big deal?"I understand that and apologize, but I also can't stop.
The Past Is a Foreign Country
2010-07-04 14:01:00
Somewhere in the slush pile of my mind, there's the remnants of an abandoned story: as workers gradually demolished an old building, all of the site's previous occupants -- people, businesses, other buildings -- started reappearing. It hit a dead end -- I lacked characters, any sort of plot beyond "weird shit happens," any sort of path -- but perhaps it's time to revisit it. I met up with Tapeleg for a few beers yesterday, and time seemed to fold in on itself a bit.First a meeting at Conor O'Neill's, a late '90s hangout of mine as the James. The inside's been completely redone but just enough remains to give me the occasional flashback; I've been to the current version enough times that when I'm not there I can't really remember which features belonged to the old place and which the new. From there we proceeded to Time Warp Comics, the center of my adolescent life and my one-time employer. It's not the same space I once knew, of course -- it's now in its third location. ...
More About: Country , Foreign , Past
Breakfast of Champions
2010-07-02 16:58:00
Attention, earthlings: the egg burrito at the Village Coffee Shop, 1605 Folsom Street in Boulder, is the best breakfast it's possible to get.As you were. Still in Boulder, it still rules. For the first time in months, I feel like sanity and I are back on a first-name basis, greeting each other jovially in the halls. Nothing like clear mountain air and no work to make things seem a little brighter.* * *#27 -- "Kosovo: War and Revenge" by Tim JudahFor some reason, I'd skipped over this book (and Judah's other one on the region, "The Serbs") because of some vague sense that it was really one-sided. Tim Judah, if you ever find yourself Googling your name at 2:30 a.m., I apologize. I was, once again, wrong. This is an incredibly even-handed take on Kosovo's history and the events leading up to 1999. Very balanced, very well-researched. It's got an exhaustive accounting of the many ways that all sides involved botched opportunities to avert the war; most notable for me, it's very go...
More About: Breakfast , Champions
If You're Crying In Your Beer You're Gonna Drown
2010-06-28 01:10:00
Back in the Gretzky era of the Rangers, I took a kind of sick delight in reading the NY Post following NY losses. The combination of the "we are destined to win" mentality with the team's failures, plus the Post's trademark restraint, made for hilarious reading. The arrogance of Larry Brooks (not a bad writer, but insufferable) and the incoherence of Jay Greenberg (a bad, bad, bad writer) added to the fun.It's with a similar grim glee that I anticipate the covers of tomorrow's English tabloids. The extremism with which they've greeted every England UK win, loss, or tie (or even group drawing) means great times for anyone who likes a journalistic trainwreck. The disallowed Lampard goal will double the fun, with a bunch of people already suggesting that the screwup turned the match (though anyone who thinks allowing the goal would have spurred England to hold level with the Germans for 90 minutes has been huffing paint). Earlier a Sun article -- now either gone or just moved off ...
More About: Beer
Congratulations, Kirill Kabanov
2010-06-28 00:36:00
Between this and this, you've just become the PPA's favorite hockey player, non-Avalanche/Thrashers/Kloucek division. Seriously, I hope the kid does great.(Edited to spell his name correctly. Don't drink, kids.)
"Rightness Wronged"
2010-06-23 23:43:00
I think there are only a few things the PPA formally endorses -- beer, Albania, Tomas Kloucek, penguins -- but add's "Rightness Wronged" to the list. It's on 11am-2pm Eastern every Saturday, it's streamed online, it's hosted by longtime friends-of-Greg KWK and Rags, and it's fucking fantastic. The two gents in question have an ear for the most cathartic music out there and listening for just a bit this past weekend felt great. And it made me want to get back to Colorado posthaste.Which, happily, I am -- about the time the show's airing this Saturday, in fact. Life's been nothing but work and World Cup -- the two often intersecting -- so I look forward to two weeks of putting concerns and responsibilities to the side.I haven't posted much lately. Like I said, all work and World Cup (and Twitter -- if you're on it and I somehow don't follow you, look me up at I've read a few books -- #24 "Bogart" by A.M. Sperber and Eric Lax, #25 "The Fall" by ...
Safety First
2009-06-09 00:22:00
I've written in the distant past about my fears that I'll leave the coffee maker on and it'll leave the house a charred husk. So today I got to work, sat down, started tasks, then realized: I left it on. No chance I didn't this time -- I didn't drink the last bit in the pot or pour it into a traveling mug, and that's when I always turn it off. Crap. Crap crap crap. I could already see the flames. I called the Ski Bum, left a message asking her to go over and turn it off for me. She did go over... and it was off.So it turns out that my coffee maker turns itself off after two hours. And I've been driving myself nuts about this for years.* * *It appears that, after some back-and-forth on his status, Gabon's President Omar Bongo is indeed dead at 73. I don't know much about him -- he was there for a long time, didn't do a great job -- but he endeared himself to me slightly by having his own Facebook page before other leaders jumped on the bandwagon. Not a supporters' page, an...
More About: Safety , Books
I Haven't Quit, I Just Don't Have Anything To Say
2009-06-05 04:14:00
Virginia Avenue, Atlanta.
More About: Quit
The Gift Ten Thousand Miles Gives
2009-05-29 02:27:00
Other blogs give you Dan O'Mahony references; this one gives you the most obscure Dan O'Mahony references.Just in the last few days, there's been an unexpected entrant into the "where Greg goes next" sweepstakes: the Netherlands. I've been there, once, as I think I mentioned before. I haven't really thought about going as an adult because I don't smoke pot, and that's all anyone (me included) thinks about when the word "Amsterdam" comes up.But it's gaining. Maybe it's because I've been obsessed with my newest second-favorite sport, and it's big in Holland. Maybe it's all the van de Wetering novels, having a cumulative effect (speaking of, it's about time to re-read another). Maybe it's just the pleasing sounds of the language. Italian is beautiful. German is harsh. Slavic languages are confusing. But Dutch -- Dutch wants to be your buddy. All those "oo"s and "aa"s -- how can you dislike that, how can you feel threatened by that? "Den Haag." If my war crimes trial was t...
More About: Miles , Gift , Thousand
Unexplained Messages, 5/27
2009-05-27 23:50:00
1) A bumper sticker as I was driving home -- "Al Gore is a risky scheme". Looking it up, I guess it has something to do with the debate over Social Security. Perhaps, but minus five points for a message that hasn't aged well.2) A t-shirt reading "RECOVERY IS NOT AN OPTION" in large, blocky letters on the back. The font was similar to that used on a gazillion early-90s straight edge records, so perhaps this was just an old Turning Point t-shirt.
More About: Messages
Anywhere But Here
2009-05-26 02:33:00
Rather busy lately. Getting into that mindset where I feel I've gotta get outta town -- Colorado in July, but beyond that. I'm pricing flights to Tbilisi, to Asmara, to Ulanbaatar. All exotic-sounding places that hold appeal.But, then, I might go for the tried-and-true:#38 -- "Time's Magpie" by Myla GoldbergSomeone asked me what this was about the other day, and I made an offhand remark about how "it was the only book about Prague I've never read." This is really pretty far from true, though. I've read Peter Demetz's "Prague in Black and Gold," "Prague Pictures," that "literary guide to Prague" a while back, one about the Prague Spring -- not a lot else. So really I haven't overdone it on Prague the way I have about the Balkans. I just talk about it all the time.The premise here: Prague's a city that's picked-and-chosen little scraps from each era over the centuries and now it's a charming mix. And you know what, it's a charming little book. It resists the temptation to b...
More About: Books
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