That was our only burlesque house, Marge!

Minneapolis is getting its own burlesque house. Again. Apparently it’s been 50 years, but burlesque is back. Le Cirque Rogue de Gus will open in the warehouse district in mid-August. And what differentiates the Rogue de Gus from, say, Sex World? Think Moulin Rouge, not Showgirls. “This is the illusion of nudity, not the real thing.” An typical might include “a dancer dressed in a giant fake book that covers her from midchest to top of thigh while she tells a funny story,” said Amy Buchanan, who will do the booking for Rogue de Gus.

Wahoo! Half-naked books telling funny stories! This sounds like a recipe for fun that will require liberal amounts of alcohol. The last sentence of the article really sums it up: “I can’t wait for my grandma to see this,” [Buchanan] said. “She’s really into theater.”

Your dog isn’t the problem. You are!

And tomorrow brings more productiveness, scattered with moments of puppy watching. Today felt more productive than yesterday, thanks to Speak’s willingness to lay down and nap. The walk to the park and run through the field probably helped. It’s like I’m raising a freaking child and plotting to wear the kid out so I can have a few minutes of sanity.

Owning a dog is bringing about some disturbing behavior. I now have all manner of voices to speak to Speak in, ranging from excited reward voice to cajoling command voice. They all sound incredibly stupid. On the plus side, a dog is a good excuse for all behavior that would appear completely abnormal if you were by yourself. Making up songs and speaking in strange voices is completely acceptable, though stupid looking, if there’s a dog in the vicinity. With no dog you’re booking yourself a trip to the loony bin.

Joblessness is no longer just for philosophy majors.

Welcome to the first official day of unemployment. Contrary to popular belief, I did not sleep until noon and then watch daytime TV. I got up with my wife, played with the dog, and tried to accomplish a few things. I did get a few things done, but the random chaos and lack of structure is really throwing me for a loop. I miss break time.

It doesn’t help that I’m now puppy-sitting. We’re potty-training Speak, so you really have to watch him all the time. It makes concentrating on any one task nearly impossible. Tomorrow I think I’ll make better use of his crate.

I also miss riding the bus. It was a nice to begin and end my day with half an hour of uninterrupted reading. The walk home was a nice way to clear my head as well. I’m going to have to find a way to structure that time back into my day.

So after one day unemployment has been a struggle. It’s probably too early to judge, but I think I need a little more discipline and a lot more structure. It probably doesn’t help that the last month and a half of work was a total slack-fest.

While reading The Road to Daybreak today I came across a passage where Henri Nouwen reflects on the pruning of the vine. It made me wonder if my life could use a bit of pruning. Too much of my time is taken up with all of these distracting little hobbies I like to invest in. Designing senseless websites, trying to find cool ways to show off pictures of my house, wanting to make t-shirts for no apparent reason, wanting to find a new way to sell photos online, wanting to do new things with ReAL–all this junk that really isn’t important, I just want to futz around with it. The idea of pruning is that you become more productive when you cut back the lesser things and concentrate on the important things. I could use a little practice at that.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Eww, Fox.

I’m not exactly proud to admit this, but I watched Bonzai on Fox tonight. It’s this really weird Japanese-themed interactive game show. They have a bunch of contests and encourage viewers to bet on the outcome. I wasn’t able to do the interactive part because I’m not high-tech enough to surf the web and watch TV, but it was still hilarious. They would do shopping cart jousting, old ladies in motorized-cart chicken (yes, chicken. So wrong!), and fun embarrassing things with celebrities. (One Question Interview Lady was the best — she asked Simon Calwell from American Idol one question and then was silent. The game was to guess how long before Simon walked away. Took him 77 seconds, and it was freakin’ hilarious.)

The show is very weird, but definitely will appeal to a fringe crowd.

Um, take a walk. Sniff that other dog’s butt. See? He does exactly what I tell him.

Day three with Speak the Mighty. Potty training is coming along, though there are the usual hiccups (note to self: don’t get Speak excited while sitting on the couch). Hopefully the cute puppy pictures will slow down a bit. I really can’t help myself at this point. What can I say, the camera loves him.

[cute puppy pictures moved to Spacebar, Speak’s blog]

You don’t quit your job! You just go in every day and do it really half-assed.

Today was my last day of employment at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. I am now officially unemployed.

The sky is clear and bright blue, but it’s raining. The pavement is wet, but I am dry. It’s good to be done, but I’m sad to be gone.

Under that rainy blue sky I said my last goodbyes. A handshake wasn’t enough, and we hugged instead. It’s better that way: the slowly healing blister on my thumb makes me grimace with each handshake.

I can’t read on the bus ride home. At one point I’m the lone rider. I can only stare out the window or pen a few random words like these, trying to understand the feelings that are finally coming through.

I almost had the boy eating dog food!

An unwritten prenuptial in my marriage involved getting a dog at some point. After two and a half years, we now have a dog. Say hello to Speak the Mighty. He’s a little over two months old, and is a Poodle/Pekinese mix. At this point he fits nicely in the palm of your hand, and is little more than a ball of fur. I’ve yet to hear him bark, though he whimpered quite a bit during the ride home.

True to the rules I set down about what kind of a dog we could get, Speak is not able to eat me. I don’t think there’s much he could eat. In fact, the stray cat we’ve seen around our house could definitely take Speak. If he doesn’t lick them to death.

And thus we’ve become dog owners. I hereby promise, before God and you readers, to never dress Speak in a dopey dog sweater or treat him as our first born. Yikes. What am I getting myself into?

Stupid bug! You go squish now.

I’m a history freak. Somehow I find the most mundane details of history fascinating. Odd little facts entertain me and discovering the history of places I care about is a strange little hobby of mine. There’s something about the passing of time and knowing what something was like long before you. I like to see the connection to today, how the old things have changed and morphed into what we see today. That fascinates me. Yes, I am a dork.

The fact that my house was built in 1910 suddenly kickstarts the history buff in me. I want to know what my street was like. I want to know how long Central Lutheran School across the street has been there. I want to know how old the trees are that line Lexington Avenue. How long have there been trees lining Lexington Avenue. I want to know my house ever stood alone in this neighborhood, or if the houses around me have been torn down and built again. Or are we all living in dinosaurs.

Continue reading Stupid bug! You go squish now.

I’ll weed the floor!

The weed-whacker is an essential weapon for the suburban commando, but that’s what they want you to think. There are other options, or so I’ve been told after lamenting the prospect of having to buy an engine that spins a strip of plastic really fast.

Apparently there’s a mechanical version you can buy, something that looks like oversized scissors. I figured there would be something like this, but I wonder how much longer it would take. The joy of my mechanical lawn mower is that it takes the same amount of time as a motorized one. No matter what I have to push a mower over every inch of my lawn. But edging my weeds is a different story. A weed-whacker mows ’em down in one swoop. You don’t spend much time lining anything up or getting as close to the house as you can. The plastic strip won’t hurt cement, so you move in for the kill. I doubt the same could be said of large scissors. You’d have to move in, get the blades around both sides and finish the job. Sounds more like more time and effort than I’d like to expend.

Of course the alternative is a noise weed-whip, so maybe I should stop whining and suck it up. Or I could get one of those scythes, and sport the grim reaper look. Though I’d probably take my leg off.

All this pissing and moaning over some weeds on the edge of my lawn. Sheesh, I need to get a grip.

That affects the whole damn planet

Bono on the church’s recent response to AIDS: “I didn’t have a very good impression of the church up to that point, in the sense of their ability to sort of wake the sleeping giant and put it to work for the world’s most vulnerable,” he admitted to “I kind of thought the church was asleep and it turned into a ‘holy, bless me club’ or whatever you want to call it, [but] I’m glad to say I was wrong. Particularly evangelicals who seemed very judgmental to me over the years turned out to be incredibly generous in their time and their support of this effort. I’ve really had my view of the church turned upside down, but I will be honest … it’s ruined things for me now. People are asking ‘why aren’t I at mass?’ It’s a [challenge], but it’s [also] given me great faith.”