Working downtown should make it easy to find a calendar, neh? But Michigan Avenue stores mostly offer (1) unimaginative photo essays of Chicago architecture, featuring either ho-hummy color shots of modern horrors or the same old vintage snaps (which are nice, but I've seen 'em all), (2) attempts to cash in on the Art Institute's more famous holdings (again, fine, but we just can't seem to escape Hopper, the Impressionists, and Hokusai, can we? Despite the Institute's ownership of more Joseph Cornell pieces than anyone else, I've never seen a single Cornell calendar around these hyar parts. Odd.), and (3) pop cultural themes like movie posters and TV show stills, necrophilic adoration of Monroe, Dean, etc., sporty penis-vehicles, cartoons and "humor" (Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might Be a Retarded Backwoods Peckerwood If...", misogynist/misandryst hilarity, etc.), unsexy cheesecake/beefcake, and "cute" pursued to the point of inducing an hour-long vomit sessions (e.g., puppies 'n kittens and the socially acceptable baby porn of Anne Geddes).
So, let me put it to you. What calendar should mrdankelly own? What calendar did YOU buy this year? Provide links.
* I've taken to calling Nate's pacifier his "Baby Shut Up Now" (though, under normal household use, he's been a pretty mellow kidling). I may have to transfer this term to the amazing Miracle Blanket® (seen here in amazing baby shutting-up action!) Babies shut up like !!!!*M*A*G*I*C*!!!
* Writing conventions I can't stand:
- Fake song lyrics—Whenever I encounter song lyrics, especially made up ones, in a piece of fiction, I screech to a halt. I can't hear the music you're hearing in your head, Mr./Ms. Author, nor did I see the garage band you and your fellow writers slapped together at the last convention. Knock it off.
- Stuttering mimickry—If you have a character who's a stutterer, fine, but don't try to lend verisimilitude to your work by transcribing the occasional breaks in a non-stutterer's speech. Thomas Pynchon, I'm looking at you, a-and I don't mean m-maybe.
- Clever-clever titles employing homonymic family names. The wife is reading a book called The Beans of Egypt, Maine. "Let me guess," I said to the wife. "The family is named Bean." Yep, she said. "That's like Steinbeck naming the Joads the Grape family." This isn't a comment on the book's contents, since I have yet to read it. I just find such title legerdemain intellectually precious. Oh fine, I'll make an exception for The Royal Tenenbaums.
* I am 50 pages away from finishing Gravity's Rainbow. You know, I think I read a pretty good 250 page novel somewhere in there.
* I don't mind saying that 2007 was a miserable shit-storm of a year. Nate's birth on December 31, is hopefully the signpost for a new era. Let's review.
The heavy-duty events
- Mike miscarried in January. Oh my, fun times in the emergency room and over the course of the following day.
- Mike's mom died in July. Many levels to that story, but I won't share them here.
- Dad went through a scary spot of trouble after back surgery. He's better now, though still a tad weak.
The niggling other stuff
- Longest, most debilitating writing dry spell of my life. One article published all year. I could barely bring myself to write anything. Felt like crap. Work and home repairs demanded even more time. Plus, tired of imagining inevitable reactions of the usual pains in my ass.
Surprisingly, and despite warnings from friends about the time-sucking qualities of fatherhood, I've actually had greater inspiration and more impetus to wisely use the time I have to write. Thanks, Nate. This is not to say that I haven't had periods of frustration when I wanted to reason with the lad: "See here, my fine buck. This need to be cradled for hours at a time leaves me with but one hand to type... unless, of course, I'm using it to keep the pacifier in your mouth, since you have yet to gain control over your own musculature and nervous system. Look alive there, old bean. You needs must stand on your own two feet, un-exercised though they may be!" Nate is, strangely, unmoved by my pleas.
- Bathroom remodeling: Yes, yes. This is what young urban professionals imagine to be a "real" problem. But let me tell you this. After a month, you get pretty damned tired of scraggly strangers tromping in and out of your house, especially when they can't... quite... seem... to... finish. Then you spend your birthday sweating in your non-air-conditioned office, while Carl and Pedro lay tile in-between calls to their girlfriends.
- I'm sure there's more, but I think I've blocked it. Here's to 2008, with hope it will be a year free from kicks to Mike and Dan's groins! Woo hoo!
* Comment on time and awareness of same. Since (1) Nate was born on December 31, (2) Mike was sequestered away in a private hospital room, and (3) we both turned in well before midnight, neither of us has that sense of freshness about the new year. It doesn't "feel" like 2008, as it were.