LAST TUESDAY I IMAGINED MY LAPTOP WAS STOLEN. I came out of the grocery with my eggs, cheese, and French Roast to find the bag wasn’t in my car. Only after I made several panicky calls, cruised the vicinity for a perp, and stopped to report it at the police station did I grasp that I’d left it at home.

The depth of my delusion was breathtaking. I jumped to a far-fetched conclusion—teens! prowling the co-op lot! burgling soft-headed patrons too trusting to lock up!—when reality was much more plausible.

Competence and control are my stock-in-trade. I deliver what’s expected with no drama. I avoid risk and stick to routine. While I can overreact when things go wrong, I generally hold it together even when others can’t. It’s about the only part of the Male Archetype I’m good with.

And yet I lose my marbles. It’s an not an altogether unwelcome reminder. Steely reliability can’t last forever, and it’s hardly the most lovable gift a guy can be known for. On the eve of my 38th year, maybe it’s time I get in touch with my inner buffoon—worry less about self-possession and laugh more at my follies and false conceits. (While I still have a choice, right?)

This is something I made for my newest friend, Louis Royal Martin, age 1 month. Aside from my usual technical hackery, there’s a mismatched piece that now seems glaring. See it? How did I miss that? I’m losing my goddamned mind.

>> NEU! – Crazy
>> Nico – Afraid

IMG_0319_smHeading to Des Moines in a few hours (yr so jealous, I know). Before I go, here’s a little treat I cooked up for whoever it is reads this blog and likes mixtapes made by out-of-it white dudes with iTunes: Download “Frenz ’10”. What the hay, right?

01 – Yo La Tengo – If It’s True
02 – George Harrison – What Is Life
03 – MGMT – Weekend Wars
04 – MC Lyte – Cha Cha Cha
05 – Kinks – 20th Century Man
06 – Volcano Suns – Jak
07 – Knight School – Pizza My Coat
08 – Oh No – Adventure
09 – Major Lazer – Pon de Floor
10 – Tobacco – Side 8
11 – Beach House – Norway
12 – Micachu – Golden Phone
13 – Fool’s Gold – Surprise Hotel
14 – RZA – Don’t Be Afraid to Call My Name
15 – The Cool Kids – Champions
16 – Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock – It Takes Two
17 – Ween – Friends
18 – Dosh – Magic Stick
19 – Georgia Anne Muldrow – Mr. President
20 – Vic Chesnutt (RIP) – Flirted With You All My Life

I’VE FOUND A NEW PRODUCTIVITY ZONE in my day between 10 and midnight, so I’m jumping on this year’s handmade gift program.

Steve Davis a/k/a Hank Piece comes through with a new batch of tunes to share every year, and I haven’t reciprocated in a while. To say thanks, I made an homage in glass to a favorite family pastime of his: mushroom hunting. (Once when I came by to say hi to Steve’s folks, his mom promptly fried up some chicken of the woods for me, as if wild mushrooms were cashews.)

This fails to show the variegated morel pattern of the art glass I found (the light is terrible today). The crudeness of the piece seems forgivable when the subject is ‘shrooms. It looks like it was dug out of a gnome’s root cellar or something.


Here it is front-lit, which reveals another detail I like—vintage privacy glass from my gramps’ collection (the bumpy blue stuff).


I picked up the soldering iron more often then expected this spring. And while the cuts and solders are crude and the material choices feel arbitrary, the ideas and the pieces keep improving.

Ira Glass’s pep talk to wannabe storytellers is relevant for any enterprise: you have to face a lot of bad work until it happens, but eventually your ability will fulfill the promise of your taste. I’m not anywhere near that point, but I’m optimistic.

Since my stained glass classes back in November, I’ve cranked out a handful of “sun catchers” (*cringe*) and other small experiments based on my own designs. For my first piece of significant scale, completed just last week, I tried to fulfill a long-standing debt (or just ease my own mind about it).

During my meandering relo from Seattle to Minneapolis in 1999, I crashed a Honda belonging to my friend Kirk’s parents on a slick patch of asphalt in Biloxi, Miss. Though we agreed to share responsibility, I failed to do much apologizing or amends-making at the time.

The piece memorializes the geography of the crash, including the highway leading to the Honda’s final resting place. I presented it to the bereaved Honda owner last weekend on my way home from KC (more on that trip soon). She accepted the piece with the mix of gratitude and mild bewilderment that often accompany my gifts of art.