3 Weeks

3 weeks are winding down and I just can’t believe how fast its gone.
The biggest part of me feels sad that Maureen and Mark will be flying out on Friday afternoon,
the smaller part feels very happy that they will be going home to family and friends.
(I know, a bit selfish)
This is a picture post of some of the places we’ve seen and things that we’ve done these past 3 weeks.
Look for more pictures and many future posts about this most special of vacations for
Pamela, me and the girls.
This has been like a little slice of  heaven . . .

Yet to see . . .

An evening with JC

It was a beautiful night as I rode the Red Line into Cambridge.
From my window, the Longfellow Bridge offered up a brilliant panoramic view of Boston’s Back Bay settling into ‘night mode’.
I made my way to the Harvard Bookstore wondering what the evening would hold.
If you like bookstores, you would fall in love with this antique of a shop (est.1932).
I wandered around Harvard Square until 6:30 before going in and purchasing The Ghost in Love.
It was a very intimate setting with @20 chairs set-up.
I grabbed the closest seat to the podium that I could get.
God, I was excited.
The reading started promptly at 7 as Carroll read the first chapter of ‘Ghost’ in its entirety.
A brief Q&A session followed.
I asked him about his advice for ‘Writer’s Block’.
He laughed and said he never had a problem with it.
He answered honestly and to paraphrase said


“Always leave the windows and doors (of the mind) open . . . if they should shut, put the pen down and go cook a meal, take a walk, see a movie, have sex . . . anything but think about writing. Eventually the doors will open.”

He spoke of his craft in a way that was easy to relate to but unique in its approach.
Personally, he could have talked until midnight and I would have stayed.
After being gently prodded to begin the book signing, yours truly was 1st in line.
I did tell him how much he’s inspired me over the years to which he responded with a smile and a genuine ‘thank you’.
He asked my name and we talked a bit as he signed “Ghost” (~a ghost for Michael . . .)
I pulled The Panic Hand from my bag.
He smiled again.
As he thumbed through the first few pages he said, “Ah, First Edition, US. Very nice.”
I told him about the email I’d sent him years ago after winning the book on Ebay as well as my love of his story The Sadness of Detail.
He mentioned how many people really liked that story as he signed my ‘Panic Hand’ book . . .
I shook his hand and thanked him saying I would definitely see him on his next US book tour.
I wondered what it must be like to meet so many people that truly idolize you as an artist.
Carroll takes it in stride and is one of the most down to earth and personable writers you will ever meet.
He will be in California in a few days for anyone on the West Coast that wants a chance to see and hear this brilliant man.
I floated back (a few feet off the ground) to the Red Line and made my way across the Charles to Backbay, opening the two books every five minutes thinking the magical script would suddenly disappear.
This morning I realized just how wonderful last night really was.
It’s always nice when a dream comes to fruition.
And Vienna waits . . .

Click on the book for a little surprise!

ps. saw Stephen King again yesterday as well.
What a day for authors . . .

Ghost in Love

This post is approximately 5 years in the making . . .
I’ve been an avid fan of writer Jonathan Carroll for the better part of ten years and have read almost everything the man has written. Although he’s relatively unknown in some literary circles he possesses an almost cult following for many readers, like me.
It was January 10, 2004 (my birthday) that I happened to find a rare book by Carroll floating about on Ebay.
It was called ‘The Panic Hand’, a collection of short fiction.
The item on Ebay was listed as ‘first edition, hardback, excellent condition’.
For whatever the reason, I had to have this book.
If you’re a reader, you understand the desire and obsession.
I began bidding and got into a war with someone that wanted the book almost as much as I did.
As I said, almost.
I was working that night and gave my wife instructions to place a bid of $60.00 about 30 seconds before the auction ended. If the book was destined to be mine, then so be it.
I ended up winning the auction and the book was mine.
I’m looking at it as I type this.
‘The Panic Hand’ has some of the best short fiction I think I’ve ever read especially a story called, ‘The Sadness of Detail’, my personal favorite.
Seeing that it was a first edition book, I wanted to have it signed and began looking for the next time Carroll would be in the states.
Sadly, I came up empty-handed and sent him an email inquiring about his schedule (and the fact that I had just purchased a first edition of said book and would love to have it signed).
To my surprise, I received a reply back from him that same afternoon.
He thanked me for writing and said that he didn’t get over to ‘this side of the pond’ too often seeing that he lives in Austria but suggested I keep an eye on his website for future visits.
In my email, I also mentioned how much I loved his story, ‘The Sadness of Detail’ asking where the inspiration came from. He wrote that the story was a ‘very old friend’ and one of his favorites but the inspiration for it escaped him at that time . . . but that he would be happy to sign the book should we ever meet.
Well, folks, next Tuesday night I’ll be going to Cambridge to the incredible Harvard Bookstore to listen to Carroll read from his new book, ‘The Ghost in Love’.
He’s doing a short Q&A session and a signing after that.
And yes, I plan on asking him about how he deals with ‘Writer’s Block’.
I will happily buy a copy of his new book and have it signed and hopefully be able to tell him just how much he’s inspired me in my own writing, although I write in a very different genre.
Then I will plead with him ask him to sign ‘The Panic Hand’ and hope he smiles.
Judging from the tone in his email, I should be one damn happy writer this time next Tuesday night.
Look for a follow up post.
If you haven’t read anything by this brilliant man, at least visit your local library and take something out.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Don’t sound too excited, do I?

Headlube

Heart my coconut
Aerodynamic brilliance
Forever full moon

My daughter Sarah came by the house a week or so ago and decided to
lounge around on the couch and do some work for school.
Methinks she needed a break from the campus crowd.
At one point she got up to go into the bathroom and I heard her start laughing.
Holding my precious bottle of Headlube, she looked at me and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“What?” I said.

“Headlube? Come on, Dad. It comes in a friggin’ water bottle for God’s sake!” (she’s still laughing)

“So what,” I said, “It’s usually 8 bucks and I got it for 2.50. It’s just moisturizer and besides it’s my head.”

“See you got the ‘matte’ finish. Nice.” she said.

Yeah, I’m all about the silky smooth but understated cueball noggin’ I guess.
Headlube.
Hmmm . . .
Can’t wait to see how long it will take for the comments to plummet this post to rock bottom.
Yeah, I got it coming with a product that sports that kind of name.
As it says on the bottle, “It’s your head. Buy this lube.”
So, I did and I might add that some days my glabrescent dome is a blessed work of art.
IMHO . . .
:mrgreen:

Boys will be boys

A little while ago Evyl and me started a “man” blog.
A bit of a risque pot of blogging stew that we’ve had some fun with.
We’ve since added a few more men to make for some added insanity.
First was the addition of Evyl’s brother “Crazyass Dan”,
a full fledged comedian in his own right, reminiscent of his brother.
We’ve stretched the blogging ropes a bit more with a new contributor named B.E. Earl,
another interesting contributor to the mayhem.
He owes his moniker to a great site called “redmeat.com“.
With these additions we’ve also changed the name of the blog to “Mantown“, a name that encompasses
much of the overall atmosphere of the place.
Though posts are anonymous in terms of the writer, it’s always fun to play guess who.
It’s a guy blog that’s written by guys.
What can I say?
But damn, we love to see you ladies too.

Come one, come all to Mantown, the one place where boys will always be boys
You can leave your manners by the front door. :mrgreen:
Now click on that damn chili pepper!!!!!

She’s Spasmically Perfect

There are four people I want to meet in my life. (alright, there are a few more but . . . )
I want to hug them and tell them just how much they mean to me.
And yes, they are all bloggers.
Friends.
Dear friends.
Annie.
Mum.
Evyl.
Spaz.

I received an email several weeks ago from Susanne.
I really hate calling her Spaz, especially since I met her.
She’s much too pretty to call “Spaz”, IMHO.
That said, Susanne emailed me to say that she and B were going to be in Boston and wondered if a visit might happen.
I was surprised to say the very least.
It was like I’d just hit the lottery in a very unexpected way.
I told her ‘yes’ we have to meet.
It seemed almost predestined, to be honest.
I  first “met” Susanne years ago after a comment that she left on my blog.
She said it was “disturbingly beautiful”.
I just had to follow it up.
This ultimately lead to our finally meeting up, blogwise.
Her way with comments and her personal emails have inspired me to keep on writing and to believe in myself.
She’s actually made me continue writing much like my wife (who does so every single damn day).
Susanne and my wife share a striking similarity in appearance too.
Yeah, strange.
I’m a total sucker for really pretty blondes.
Our journey has been one of many splendid things, the culmination being a final meeting and a sharing of food and drink.
As Susanne said, it can never be the same after actually meeting a virtual friend.
I say it can be better.
As it currently is.
It was only for a short time that we met but I thank the good Lord that I can still “hear” her voice, feel her spirit, see her smile.
I will regret forever that our time together was all too short.
I need to start saving some money as well.
Canada is one fairly inexpensive roadtrip away.
And it’s one I will undoubtedly look forward to.
Sorry, but Mr. Smith won’t be coming along on this one, maybe in spirit . . .
Until then, Susanne . . .
be safe and be well
And take care of Chaaahlie (and B)

~m

ps. I’ve hugged one.
One down, three to go.
And Evyl? I’m hugging you dude. And no, I’m definitely not gay.

Mongrain

I’ve been out straight with all sorts of things lately but I saw this video and had to post it.
As a musician, I am in awe of this guy.
Not sure if he came before ‘August Rush’ or if he was the actual inspiration for it.
Judging from the movie clips I’ve seen, the August Rush kid smiles way too much for my comfort.
Kinda freaky and ala the Shining, so very unlike Mongrain.
Check it out.
Crazy.
This is some tres cool shit.
Off to bed, folks.

~m

Just Evyl and me

Evyl and I have decided to offer our services to all the gentlemen types currently surfing the web looking for something interesting to read, watch or do.
We’ve started something of a manblog to be sure but it has so much more to offer than that.
At Evyl and Smoke there will be no syrupy sweet posts, no sentimentality and a no holds barred policy; a very different place than here at Smoke and Mirrors.
Oh, and absolutely ‘no bullshit’.
This is a place where I can let my hair down
(funny, so to speak, even though we’re two guys with cueball noggins)
Women, cigars, sports, beer, booze, good eats, guy gripes and chili recipes will rule the roost.
Both of us aren’t quite sure where this thing will go but it’s been a blast so far and we’ve decided to finally go public with it.
We’ll leave it up to you as far as linking to us.
We are, first and foremost, gentlemen. ;)
BTW- We decided on an anonymous system in terms of posting and commenting thinking it might offer a bit of devious fun because you’ll never really know who is who.
I’m honored beyond belief to team up with the likes of Evyl.
He pulls no punches yet you always know where you stand.
For now, I’ll just welcome you to our new abode: Evyl and Smoke
Stop by and at least say hi.
And yes, it’s most definitely a guy thing.
And that’s alright by me . . .

~m

Blue Man Group

I’ve worked in Boston for over three years and have yet to go see these guys.
Actually, one of them is a customer of mine.
And yeah, he’s bald too.
Cool, short video.
Have a great weekend, peoples . . .

~m

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=snPdEl0Duoo]