Apologies for the absence and incommizombo.  I been way damn melancholy, yes I have. Lots of Sun Kil Moon going here, yes… but I echo the idea that I feel ghostly and lost and unconnected.  And I feel like I should make that echo resonate to young lady Von, but she sings and plays music with folks already, and that is a soft supportive backdrop already, yes it is.  Von is a Professional and she stomps on the terra, as the the Doctor would say; she is far stronger than she thinks and if not, she has many musical friends who to take up the slack.


My dad never bought me a guitar. In fact, Mom and Dad were always perplexed at my obsession with music of any sort.  I bought my first guitar used at a local music store and took it home balanced on my bike.  It was a 1955 Les Paul flat body that had a humbucker hacked into it, but the guy who did that left the original tuning pegs, so it was unable to hold a tune.  I spent 75 dollars on new tuning pegs and spent a summer stripping it and refinishing the cherry body.  It was a beautiful small body Les Paul with a nice wide fretboard that fit my hand well, and way more pretty than the punk slabs of shart that I played on it.  Sold it to stay in college…. but I still miss it.  I now have a Fender Telecaster Blue Flower edition, but as gorgeous as it is, it’s not the same.


It’s been  a long several weeks, and not anything that I wanted to blog about.  Well, that’s not quite true — lots of stuff I want to blog about, especially concerning this stupid state and its stupid Republicans, but then  it goes all bleak and I let Charlie Pierce do the heavy lifting in favor of making myself another drink, you know?

In most ways, it resonates with the most recent Sun Kil Moon album

I am repeatedly confused and reluctant to refer to music releases as ‘albums”. they aren’t albums, they are mostly not even CDs and in the era of digital downloads, what is the best reference?  Even when we aren’t ripping them from torrent sources, and even paying the artist?

Still melancholy over all.

Oddly, the Brewers have the best record in baseball and I am not sure how I feel about that, still not over the way they extorted a stadium out of the region at the expense of the local school system; since they never fill the place up, they certainly can’t point to ticket sales as an element of their success.  It reminds me of Moneyball, but since they are succeeding by IGNORING the on-base stats, it is more like the anti-Moneyball.  I hope they can keep it up, though; it would be kind of cool to see them as a contender after Summerfest, for a change.

The thing about this kind of melancholy is that it seems like it is not particularly influenced by external events.  In the last couple of weeks, I was notified that some of my work has received two more awards; in addition, I have had several calls to make new projects happen, from a sizable (and kind of fun) residential garage addition to advancement of  100 unit apartment (near) high rise. And there’s a 14,000 SF commercial strip, a renovation of a small historic building, that adaptive reuse of that school building is still alive, and a couple of other medium size projects.

Sigh.  If only I could figure out a way to make money at these things.  Maybe that’s what the melancholy is about.

But it’s OK, in the end.  Lucy the Orange and I went out and burned some shit on the deck last night:

IMG_1560 IMG_1559

Although even Lucy gave up when I brought out the Hornitos and the glow in the dark shot glass.

But now that Robitcs Panic Season is over, I have tried to get back into the TKD regimen, and between the two have managed to drop a pants size.  I am hoping it’s a tapeworm, so that it’s more-or-less permanent.

But hey!  Did I mention robotics?  We went down to Chicago for a second regional, and did really well.  I know I promised a whole post, but if you feel underserved, please contact me for a full refund.  Sorry about the lack of photos; I was a bit busy, and I haven’t got the photos from the others yet.

We had a great regional in Chicago in fact, the best we’ve ever had.  Our robot worked well and looked great; our drive team was gelling; the pit team was in a groove, and our pit received recognition each day for how clean and organized it was (?????) .  We had many great matches, and there were several where we were the prime robot, scoring most, if not all, the points.  After the final day of Qualification matches, mentors from our traveling partners said “You guys will be playing after lunch tomorrow” and they should know (lunchtime is the dividing line between qualifying matches and the finals rounds).  And we were, we were.  Our team has been in existence for 6 years, and I’ve been a mentor for 4; but the elation and pride that welled forth when our team was called in Team Selection was almost more than I could bear.  And even though we were on one of the underdog alliances and eliminated in the quarterfinals, our alliance partners were still impressed with our gameplay and we established ourselves as contenders.

But I think the part that I felt was most rewarding is that during the entire regional, we established our team as having our shit together.  We were next to a team from Turkey (one of four at this Regional) and we spent a lot of time helping them out with tools and materials that they didn’t bring along; when one of the Turkish teams had messed up their bumpers, several teams set up a production stall next to us to rebuild their bumpers in time to pass inspection.  We seemed to become one of the standard stops when someone was looking for tools or materials or a helping hand — we eventually had to keep track of what had been loaned out, to whom and when ti got returned on our whiteboard.  And we gave that help happily; many other seasons, we were the team looking for that help.

On the field, we did some great work.  Although we discovered that our robot design had an inherent limitation based on the pneumatic capacity and the recharge rate, we were able to do a lot of other things capably due to our drive teams ability to work together. Our robot design turned out to be robust and resilient and although this year’s game has been extraordinarily rough on the robots, Whatnot just kept working, dents and all.   And we started to notice that in many cases, our alliance partners relied on us to drive the strategy, which was weird.  This culminated when one of our alliance partners stopped by our pit for pre-match strategy saying “we are SO excited to be on your alliance!  We love your robot!” we felt like saying “You DO realize that two weeks ago, we finished as 57th out of 60 teams?”

I spent the evening working on a preliminary diagram for redeveloping a problem parcel in my favorite neighborhood, and after writing that robotics thing up, I feel the melancholy fading away… a little bit, for a little while.


  1. Scott says:

    “I don’t know what happened or what anyone did
    From my earliest memories I was a very melancholic kid”

    I, for one, am very glad to have you back.

  2. Noted: In addition to Bruce Springsteen references, Mark Kozelek references bring out Scott comments.

    Thanks, Scott. Good to be back, and glad I could find something to say.

    Update: Yes, it turns out my remote access setup allows me to print remotely. Now I will NEVER have to stop working!

  3. Must be something in the air, I’ve been a bit down too. Did a volunteer gig this weekend that was lots of fun and people were really appreciative — that cheered me up a bit. S’posed to be up to 90°F here this week, maybe the sun will help. Or my fucking allergies will kick up and I’ll be miserable. Who knows.

    Congrats on the continuing awards, successful work, and robotics stuff, even if they’re not terribly “profitable” in the traditional American monetary sense.

  4. Probably fair to mention that the Brewers and the Giants actually share the best record in the league. So yay for us all, eh?

    Me? Between sickness, hopelessness and black existential fear, I’m happy if I can function at all…

  5. Hell, man, we both would have mocked anybody who ‘predicted’ this…

  6. Also, Tiny Cities need tiny lights:

    Since it’s Zappa you’ll hate it, but maybe the crazy claymation will make up for it. Or make it worse, whatever.

  7. fish says:

    While Hornitos is perhaps my favorite go-to drink, it definitely doesn’t help with the melancholy…

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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