Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Funny

There is a national paper called the Onion. The paper is filled with current event type stories as well as people of interest pieces. The thing that differentiates it from other national papers, is that it's all a joke. Every story is a play on words or awash in a sea of irony. The jokes within it's pages sometimes require thought and are not for those who only get setup-build-punchline types of humor. If you're one of those people, today's Funny may not be for you. For those of you into a smarter brand of humor, you should check the Onion out. Here's a story from the 08/09/07 issue that made me laugh right out loud.

Report: Iran Less Than 10 Years Away From 2016
Washington, DC-According to an alarming new Department of Defense report combining civilian, military, and calendric evidence, Iran may be as few as 9 years away from the year 2016. "Every day they get one day closer," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during a White House press conference Tuesday. "At the rate they're going, they will reach 2016 at the same time as the United States-and given their geographical position relative to the international date line, possibly even sooner." The report recommended that the U.S. engage in bellicose international posturing, careless brinkmanship, and an eventual overwhelming series of nuclear strikes in order to prevent Iran from reaching this milestone.

Now that's news! Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

At the Bank

I realize that some of the stuff that banks do can be confusing. But there are some things, like words, that transcend the color of your collar and are common sense. Like the word base. A base is the bottom, it’s a standard, and it’s the simplest form of any retail item. Here’s a conversation that just happened in my office.The names have not been changed to protect the stupid.

Me: “Can I help you?”
Mr. Irwin: “I was wondering what your loan rates are on vehicles?”
Me: “What year is the vehicle you’re buying?”
Mr. Irwin: “It’s a 1999 truck that’s in really good shape.”
Me: “Our automobile loans have a base rate determined by the year of the vehicle.”
Mr. Irwin: “What?”
Me: “Our automobile loans have a base rate determined by the year of the vehicle.”
Mr. Irwin: “I heard you.” (So why did you say the word what?) “So what are they based on?” (I thought he said he heard me.)
Me: “The base rate for our vehicles is determined by the year of the vehicle...”
Mr. Irwin: “And the credit score?” (He just interrupted me. I don't like that.)
Me: “No. The base, where the rates start, is based on the year…”
Mr. Irwin: “And the mileage?” (Interrupting again)
Me: “No. The base, where the rates start, is based on the year…”
Mr. Irwin: “I don’t understand.” (Once again interrupting)
Me: “Please let me fully explain what I mean. The base rate, in other words what the lowest rate is, is based on the year of the automobile. Things like bad credit score and high mileage and the worth of the vehicle based on the loan amount can make the rate higher. But the rate will never go below the base rate. The base is the bottom. The base is the lowest rate for that year.”
Mr. Irwin: “What?”

It was at this point that I bludgeoned him with my Rolodex.

Seriously people, I don’t think I talk in a highly sophisticated manner and I try to use common words when I speak. This guy just couldn't understand anything I was saying. It's only 9:30 in the morning, but a beer sounds really good right now.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pipes and my Dad

I apologize for the choppy style this is written in. My emotions caused my fingers to type as my brain stretched, and I didn't want to let the moment escape. Please take the time to read all of this. I'm not looking for compliments, I just want you to hear my heart.

Not sure how many of you know it, but I'm a pipe smoker. Been so for about seven years. Pipe smoking is a very old and distinguished art and something not very many people partake of these days. One of the main reasons for its low membership is that it's not a lazy man's activity. It actually takes time and effort to properly smoke a pipe and most people just don't want to be bothered. The second reason pipe smokers see their numbers decline daily is the increased attack on our rights to enjoy the activity. This last point has become increasingly political, so I won't expound on it. All I'll say is that most people can remember the smell of pipe smoke from their childhood, and most remember it pleasantly. It's a shame those pleasant memories won't be around in future generations.

To the dismay of many, Ohio recently passed a smoking ban. It was a follow-up of sorts to legislation passed in it's capital of Columbus, which had passed the same law within its borders one year previous. Many thought the long lived Columbus Pipe Show would be a casualty of those laws, but somehow it has survived. I traveled there this past weekend with Ell and Brad. What an amazing sight to walk down a set of stairs and into a huge hall filled with the many pleasant aromas of tobacco and more pipes than I've ever seen in my life.

We spent about three hours roaming the aisles, smelling different kinds of tobacco, meeting guys from the Christian Pipe Smoker's forum, checking out pipe furniture, and looking at pipes. And pipes there were. Small, medium, and large pipes. There were one-of-a-kind custom pipes. Pipes hand-carved into faces and ships and animals. Ordinary pipes made extra-ordinary by their beautiful grains and colors. Straight pipes, bent pipes, intense free-hand pipes, and everything in between. I didn't take money to buy a pipe, and I would have had a hard time deciding if I had. I did get to buy some good, aged tobacco, and a pipe rack made from solid mahogany salvaged from an old church.

But the best part of the day was when we went to my parent's house. Friends and regular readers of eleven know the somewhat separating divide that has happened this year between my family and me. And you know how much it pains me. Saturday night I had the opportunity to watch my Dad work in his wood shop and begin the shaping of my first hand-carved pipe. It's a moment I'll remember for the rest of my life.

My father was once an amazing cabinetmaker and master carpenter. Two accidents, a lost business, and a wheelchair may have stripped him of his livelihood, but they could never take the talent his Creator had bestowed on him. This is the man who took a pile of rough cut black walnut and turned it into a beautiful kitchen that was the centerpiece of an already amazing log house. This was the man that had a waiting list of people wanting his hands to create magic in their homes. It was the time in his career as a carpenter that he is most proud of. And the time that he misses the most.

All those years he worked with his hands, his only son, me, was his helper. I was the cool kid that got to skip school to go to work in the first grade. The same one that grew up to spend every summer being taught the trade by his father, just as generations of fathers and sons had done. When a careless driver took my father's health and his business, my career as a carpenter and cabinetmaker was gone as well. I never went back to working in that business. My days are now spent in a suit, no longer covered in sawdust.

As I sat across from my wheelchair bound Dad explaining to him how I wanted to carve my own pipe, a twinkle came into his eyes. He despised smoking and had no wish to encourage me, but a chance to work with a beautiful wood was more than he could contain. We headed down the ramp to the makeshift shop he had built in a one car garage. There are very few tools now compared to what he once had, but everything he needs to do his work is there. Every tool has been placed on a short stand so that he can use it from his chair, which allows him to move from one station to another with surprising speed. As I looked around, I realized he had set up a perfect sanctuary for himself.

I handed him the briar with it's characteristically pitted burl. I explained the shape I was thinking about and before I could finish he was into the wood. When I originally bought the large piece of briar, my plan was to carve my very own pipe. But as my Dad worked it in his hands, I realized that nothing I did myself could ever compare to owning, and smoking, a pipe that my father had placed his mark on. I stepped back and watched him work. I hurriedly wiped the tears that escaped my eyes, and answered his questions the best I could. But mostly I just watched in silence. A master at work. An artist tackling yet another piece of rough wood that would eventually be a thing of beauty. My Dad. And my pipe.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Funny

A married couple was in a terrible accident where the man's face was severely burnt. The doctor informed them a skin graft was not possible from the man's body because he was too skinny. So the wife offered to donate some of her own skin. However, the only skin on her body that the doctor felt was suitable would have to come from her buttocks.

The husband and wife agreed that they would tell no one about where the skin came from, and they requested that the doctor also honor their secret. After all, this was a very delicate matter. The doctor swore himself and his team to secrecy.

After the surgery was completed, everyone was astounded at the man's new face. He looked more handsome than he ever had before!. All his friends and relatives just went on and on about his youthful beauty. One day, he was all alone with his wife, and he was overcome with emotion for her sacrifice. He said, "Dear, I just want to thank you for everything you did for me. How can I possibly repay you?"

"My darling," she replied, "I get all the thanks I need every time I see your mother kiss you on the cheek."

Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stop raining already

Well, it's been raining for about four days straight now in NE Ohio. For the last two days all the counties around us have been under flood warnings. A town about 20 minutes from us was under water all day yesterday. There's been something like 6-8 inches of rain overall. Way too much. I've always said I'd rather have a drought than too much rain. At least in a drought you can use saved rainwater to water the garden and then you can control the ever-so-important ground moisture. With rain there's no control over anything. But I trust God will take care to not starve us this winter. Even though this hasn't been the best garden we've ever had, it's still better than most other's I've seen. (He brags to himself.)

Last week I planted some of my fall/winter crops and I'm really worried they're going to rot in the ground. I had a little comfort this evening as I walked through and saw the second planting of Lacinto Kale starting to come up. "Little Green Sprouts" as Kim likes to call them. A funny little fact about any leafy vegetable: when the sprouts come up they all look like a little four leaf clover which are actually only two leaves that each look like a little butt. No matter what species of plant and no matter what variety, they all look the same.

My biggest worry is the carrots. They really don't like wet soil, and they take at least two weeks to show themselves. The ground is way too wet to sow right now and by the time it dries out it'll be too late to plant a second time. So I'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Yesterday, Ell and I passed an old graveyard on the way home. One of the taller, bleached-white, headstones had broken from old age and the top had been leaned up against the bottom by the faithful grounds keeper. (This wasn't the cemetery the local papers had reported vandalism by young fools. This was just weather and time creeping up on old stone.) I wasn't sure I wanted to write about this today, because I'm not really in a morbid mood and I think I may have posted a similar thought some other time. Oh well.

I've been fascinated by graveyards and tombstones since I was a kid. Reading the ages of the people... seeing husbands next to wives... siblings next to siblings... war honors placed by the soldiers... so much history and stories held into a tiny dash between two dates.

A few years back, when I first started doing the Youth leader thing, I took the teens to the local cemetery. I had them do gravestone rubbings on paper with crayons. Then we went back to the church where I asked them questions about what we'd done. One of the questions was, "Do you think anyone remembers the person under that gravestone?" This was a canned question I'd found in the same lesson guide I found the idea for the rubbings. I thought it was silly, but used it anyway to spark conversation. The reason I thought it was silly: who could actually forget someone they loved? But it's not actually that silly is it?

When was the last time you visited your great-grandfather's site? We're not talking about far removed people, only your parent's grandparents. For most of us our grandparents were big parts of our lives, as they were to our parents. So why don't we visit them? Time and memory are the usual, and honest, answers.

I'll one up this thought and make it really personal. Ell and I aren't having kids. My entire family lives at least 3 hours away. If we died tomorrow, they'd be at the funeral, and may even visit for a few years on the anniversary of our demise. But the visits may end there. I'm not attacking my family at all, I'm being practical. Besides my family, who else would visit? Our friends? If they're not visiting their own flesh and blood, what would make them remember old acquaintances? After five years or so, I bet our gravesides would never again be visited. Kind of a sad thought, but it's reality. Our time on earth is short enough, and our memory is even shorter.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Funny

Marriage changes passion. Suddenly you're in bed with a relative.
I saw a woman wearing a shirt that said "Guess" on it. So I said, "Implants?" She hit me.
How come we choose from just two people for President and over fifty for Miss America?
I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose fitting clothing. If I HAD any loose fitting clothing, I wouldn't have signed up for exercise class.
When I was young we used to go skinny dipping. Now I just chunky dunk.
Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.
Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our lives we could just hit, Ctrl Alt Delete and start over?
Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school but they can in prison?
Why do I have to swear on the Bible in court when the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed outside?
Wouldn't you know it... brain cells come and go, but fat cells live forever.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lollapalooza 2007

A bit late, but here's my review of the bands we saw and heard at Lollapalooza this year. There were over 40 bands a day, of which we saw almost a third. (We only went Sunday, not all three days.) I want to give each band their due justice, so this may be a long post. Take your time and come back if you have to. I'll do a separate post on the venue and city itself, because it definitely deserves it.

The Graduate
This new band from Springfield, Illinois was the opening band for Sunday. They were a five piece consisting of a frontman, drummer, bass, lead guitar, and rhythm guitarist who also played a small keyboard. By the time we got in the gates and made it to their stage they had already played over half their set. There was only about 50 people there, but they still rocked hard. The first thing I noticed was the old-school chrome box microphone the singer used. Very classy look. The second song we heard, he went back by the drummer and played a cymbal when he wasn't singing. It was a pretty cool effect, but nothing like their last song. (We only heard four songs.) As the rhythm guitar wailed out a solo to start the last song, the singer grabbed a cymbal on a stand and another snare drum. The lead guitarist sat a floor tom (a tall freestanding drum that has the lowest tone on a drumset besides the bass drum) in front of him. As the drummer joined the guitarist, the song took on a decidedly percussive feel. The lead singer poured a bottle of water on the cymbal and snare he had and began to play. What a great visual with the water flying up with every beat. This is a totally awesome band I would highly recommend. Besides Pearl Jam, easily the best show of the entire day.

Juliette & The Licks
Very hard rocking band. They were playing on a stage to the left of us as we sat in the shade. (It was high noon and 90 degrees.) We only heard them; didn't see them. The lead singer is the actress Juliette Lewis, which we didn't know until later that day. Unlike some actor/actresses turned musician, she was actually really good. And I guess she put on a crazy show, crowd walking, water throwing, etc. Nothing unique or new about their sound, but they were really tight and the music was really well played.

Heartless Bastards
Our artist friend Jason told us to check this group out. They are a 3-piece band from his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. This was their first big show, their debut, so-to-speak. First of all, female lead singer: L-O-V-E, love that. She sang with the same kind of tone as Regina Spektor, and really left herself on the stage. The band was very, very tight and played off each other like they'd been together for 20 years. I hope they make it big, because this band had a lot going for them, talent wise. Weird visual... the drummer looked like a 40-year old logger. Beard and flannel included. But he was good.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela
A little of the introduction from the program: "...Mexican-born, Ireland-based, heavy-metal-obsessed instrumental acoustic guitar duo...fleet-fingered originals that dance all over the genre divides between Metallica, gypsy style flamenco and Mexican boleros." This brother and sister combo were two of the best guitarists I've ever heard in my life. They put on a show that rocked the socks off everyone within earshot. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. If you truly profess to be a fan of good guitar, your collection is lacking if it doesn't include one of their CD's. That's all I can say.

Amy Winehouse
The biggest disappointment of the show for me. She has been hyped for so long and reviewed as this great new R&B singer, but she fell way short. Her voice wasn't all that good, her band sucked, and her stage presence was awful. Even though she looked really good in her vintage, short poodle skirt with all her tattoos showing, she just stood there. Some black guy danced all around the stage which did nothing besides distract. All in all, she was a flop. (Last week I heard she was hospitalized with exhaustion, which may explain some of her performance issues, but not all.)

Apostle of Hustle
Not sure what happened to this band. In the program there are five guys in the picture, but there were only three that made it to the stage. They made up for it by using some loop effects amongst other interesting things. They had a very percussive, Cuban feel to their show. They sang only about half the time and just jammed the rest. The show can be best described as a big party. Lots of people dancing, band having fun, a very happy show. Again, nothing new or unique musically, but they did their thing and they did it really good.

Kings of Leon
Was looking forward to hearing these guys because Pearl Jam chose them to be their opening band for half a tour, but not concerts we went to. So if our favorite band liked them, we wanted to check them out. They were good. A little bit of Southern-style rock reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman brothers, mixed with some post-punk heavy-hitting hard rock. They've been together for a long time, and it shows. They were very musically together, so much so that it sounded like they were recorded instead of playing in person. They put on a great live show, which is probably why the guys from Pearl Jam liked them. And speaking of, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder joined the Kings on stage for their last song. The crowd was already about 50,000 strong waiting for PJ anyway, so this was a huge deal. Not sure I'll buy a King of Leon CD, but I know some friends who would really like them.

Any three repetitive sounds will work, but this band usually goes by "chk chk chk." They played on the stage at the other end of the field from the main stage, and three hours before Pearl Jam, but the crowd was already huge. So they had before them their biggest audience ever and they played a show that was worthy of it. A dance-rock band, they were very rhythmatic. Comprised of a six or seven member band (we couldn't tell,) their sound was just as crowded as the stage. They were really good at getting people toes tapping, hips shaking, and arms flailing, but that was about it. Each song sounded the same as the previous one. But like I said, their energy more than made up for their lack of musical variety. The last song or two, they kept pulling people from the crowd, until the stage had 50 or 60 people all dancing around. It was fun, if nothing else.

My Morning Jacket
Picture this: almost 75,000 people, many standing in the same space for seven hours, every one of them sun-burnt and brain-fried, more coming each minute, and every one of them there to hear the band that comes on after you. How do you make them listen to you and forget about that other band? Only one way: Play the best show you've ever played. That's what My Morning Jacket did. They even brought out the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra to make it a touch more special. What a show. I'd never even heard of this band until my friend Grant lent me their CD. They are just as good live as recorded. Their style flowed from one thing to another, acoustic ballad then heavy metal, Southern rock then Pop, Neil Young then Grateful Dead. In retrospect, I probably won't be buying up their entire catalog, but they were definitely worth seeing. A very good band with a bright future.

Pearl Jam
Alright. The entire population of Grant Park has left the other side where they were listening to Iggy and the Stooges and then Modest Mouse. They have funneled into an area the size of two or three football fields long and at least as wide. The best head counters have estimated a figure well over 120,000. Then every person waits about twenty minutes. And then it happens. These five guys stroll onto the stage and all 120,000 plus people erupt.

Being the only show they did in the United States this year, they did it right. They were scheduled to play an hour and a half and played a hour longer. They brought great musicians like Ben Harper onto the stage to play with them. They rocked songs from all eight of their studio albums. They played obscure B-sides and covered timeless rock greats. They stopped singing and let the crowd take over a song or two, and let their own musicians shine in true rock-and-roll form. I could make this review forty pages long because I truly think Pearl Jam is the best band on the planet. Past and Present. But I won't. I will share with you the energy of their last song. Since they weren't on tour, all the band and crew brought their families with them. During the last song, where they covered "Rockin' In The Free World", all of those family members and a whole bunch of friends came on the huge stage with the band. One of Eddie's best friends, Dennis Rodman, was there and Eddie got up on his shoulders. Previous bands were on stage, some fans, it was crazy fun. The band passed wine bottles through the crowd, as well as tambourines. The guitars were wailing, the drums were beating, and the crowd was cheering and singing. So awesome. So absolutely awesome.

And that was how Lollapalooza 2007 ended.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

City Life

I'm a country boy. I didn't grow up on a farm or anything, or even way out in the country boondocks. I had close neighbors and only needed to drive a couple minutes to get to a grocery store or restaurant. But even though there was a lot of traffic and more blaring street lights than I care to mention, we did have lawns and gardens and woods and animals and all those other things city folk never see. And those things were the reason I could never see myself living in the city.

We just got back from visiting Andrew and Lyndsay who live in downtown Minneapolis. The Sunday before that we spent the day in downtown Chicago. These are two really big cities. These aren't (what now seem like) small little places like Cleveland or Pittsburgh or Columbus which to date, have been my only city-type experiences. These are the real deal. And I was amazed at what I found.

Due to poor life experiences or ill-cultured tendencies, big cities always seemed one step from scary to me. Not like I was fearing for my life every minute or anything, but there was always this anxiety I couldn't explain. Just something about it that didn't seem altogether safe. And that may actually be rational, but it's not healthy. To live in an intense kind of fear doesn't do anyone any good and doesn't help anyone enjoy their time in those cities.

Last week I grew a whole new respect and admiration for City life. We walked almost everywhere we went, as did everyone else who wasn't riding a bike. We had our pick of quiet coffee shops and sculpture gardens and parks and cafes and music and museums and on and on and on. None of which I had in my little hometown of 2200 people, or in any of the places we could drive in an hour any direction. These were awesome things I could really get used to. Did you feel a little less safe in alleys at night? Sure. But crime is everywhere. Was it harder to find a parking place when you had to drive? Sure. But we barely drove anywhere. There's a romance to all kinds of living, and I now understand a little more the romance of City Life. As much as I'm a country boy, after this week I could actually see myself living in a city. Something I would never have said 7 days ago. If only I could take my garden with me. Hmmm.......

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Chilling in Minnehaha

It's 10:30 on Wednesday morning and Ell and I are sitting in a little coffee shop in downtown Minneapolis, sipping on some coffee, listening to an old black guy play piano. Pretty cool. We got into Minneapolis Monday around noon after spending all day Sunday at Lollapalooza in Chicago. I think I'm going to steal a page from Zoooma's book (and Rob's) and do a review of all the bands we saw at Lolla, but not today. Not in the right vibe for that right now.

We went down to the 35W bridge site last night. It's a pretty sobering image. I wasn't even sure I wanted to see it, but as Andrew put it, it's history and we needed to experience it. Yeserday, the Navy showed up with divers and pulled two cars out that had been unreachable by the local sheriff's diving team. And they found a car that they didn't even know was down there. (And that meant a body they didn't know about either.) Zoooma wrote a great piece on his blog about the craziness of the media attention this thing has gotten. And I agree with him. When major news people show up, it's not for the benefit of the people or the story even. It's all about the ratings. Nothing like profiting at the expense of people's death, huh? Anyway, enough whining from me. That doesn't help anyone either.

Ell and I rode the train (which they call the Light Rail) from downtown out to the Mall of America. One of the stops was called "Minnehaha" which we chuckled about. The Mall is crazy. An amusement park in the middle, four floors of stores, the world's largest underground aquarium, and to the delight of Ell: a three story Old Navy store. Let's just say, we spent a bit of time and money with the nice folks at Old Navy. It made Ell smile, and that makes me smile. We went to dinner last night with Andrew and Lyndsay and then walked around the Uptown district. Ell is doing a lot of research for her new cafe gig, so we got to check out a bunch of places. Being with A & L is so much fun, but it's going too fast. So I'm gonna get back to hanging out with them. Peace.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Funny

Tom and Priscilla were dressed and ready to go the News Years Eve Party. Tom turned on a night light, turned the answering machine on, covered the pet parakeet, and put the cat in the backyard. Priscilla called the local cab company and requested a taxi. When the taxi arrived, they opened the front door to leave the house. The cat that Tom had put in the backyard scooted back into the house. Priscilla didn't want the cat in the house because it always tried to eat the bird. Even though they were late, she begged Tom to get the cat.

Tom agreed and went back inside as Priscilla walked out to the taxi. The cat ran upstairs with Tom in hot pursuit. Waiting in the taxi, Priscilla didn't want the driver to know the house would be empty for the night. So she explained to the driver, "My husband is just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother."

A few minutes later, Tom exited the house and got into the cab. "Sorry it took so long," he said as they drove away. "That stupid pussy was hiding under the bed. Had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out! She even tried to take off, so I grabbed her by the neck. Then I had to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from scratching me. But it worked. I hauled her fat butt downstairs and threw her out into the back yard!"

The cab driver hit a parked car.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Road Trip and Space Dust

Saturday night, Ell and I will drive eight hours to Chicago. Pearl Jam's only show in the U.S. this year is headlining and closing the three day music festival, Lallapalooza. Because of work we're only going Sunday, but it will still be awesome. I love music festivals, and this promises to be a great one. After the Pearl Jam show Sunday night, we'll then drive six more hours north into the great state of Minnesota to spend the week with Andrew and Lyndsay. Ell and I both need a vacation really bad. And we both miss Andrew and Lyndsay really bad too. As usually happens with vacations, our time with them will be too short, but it'll be good.

If you were a reader of Eleven around this time last year, you may remember me talking about the Perseid meteor shower. The peak of activity is the night of August 11th into the morning of the 12th. Included in that may be the rare sighting of the Aurora Borealis and the visible definition of the Milky Way. Pretty cool stuff. Also, the moon will be in the "new" phase so it'll be plenty dark enough to see a lot of shooting stars. (If the Northern Ohio cloudy sky cooperates.)

As we've done for 10 years, Ell and I will be having a party to watch the stars. Since we'll be gone all next week and may not have computer access, I wanted to take this opportunity to invite all of you to join us. We aren't doing anything big because of the trip, but all of you are welcome to come. It will be bring-your-own whatever you want. Food, drink, tent, whatever. You want it, you bring it. We'll provide a backyard, a bonfire, a bathroom, and good time. If you are within eyesight of this blog, you're invited. I won't be posting directions, so make the calls you need to make to get yourself there. Don't let work or plans or hours deter you from coming either. We'll be up all night until at least 4am. So stop by. (Come early if you want to see the garden, Kim.) Hope all of you can make it.