Monday, October 29, 2007

Things Ashland smells like today.

In no particular order:

1. Hot-dog water.

2. Dog food.

3. Apple peels.

4. Poop.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What was I thinking? (Pt. 1)

As the launch of a new blog series, and in response to my mother's recent suggestion that I get a perm, I present my 7th grade school picture (circa 1991):

My response to my mother's recent suggestion that I get a perm.

What was I thinking?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It begins...

It begins.
Had the first car windshield frost of the season this morning.

Our days are numbered.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Debi: You know what you need?
Marty: What?

Debi: Shakabuku.

Marty: You wanna tell me what that means?

Debi: It's a swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.

Marty: Oh, that'd be good. I think.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I still have (and use) the first crochet hook I ever got--the old lady who taught me how to do it gave it to me when I was six or seven years old. It's red, and made out of plastic, and it has spawned a ridiculous number of potholders and afghans over the years. (It also came in particularly handy after metal needles were banned on planes after 9/11.)

I have a little plastic pencil topper in the shape of a ninja that a friend procured for me from a vending machine in the lobby of the Perkins restaurant in Helena that I can't seem to part with.
It sits on a window ledge in my room along with the plastic cowboy and "Indian" I got at the 4th of July parade in Grangeville, ID in 2002, and the pink spray-painted plastic Army guy that inadvertently got left behind when I made a batch to mail to my friend Ann when she joined the National Guard in 1997.

On the subject of vending machines, I have a little bejeweled cross on a cheap metal chain that my brother Whitey got for me from a vending machine at the Helena WalMart when he & the family were out visiting in May of 2003 hanging from my car's rearview mirror. I've never taken it off there, for some reason I can't quite pin down.

And on the subject of (probably fake) gemstones, I have a set of really flashy rhinestone jewelry that belonged to my dad's mother--there's a fancy necklace and fancy clip-on earrings to match, ooh-la-la. I'm not fancy-folk, though, so I almost never put them on unless it's as a joke or something.

I also have this really ugly set of ceramic dogs that belonged to the same grandmother--I think it's supposed to be a Great Dane with three puppies, but the reason I inherited it was that I used to play with them when I was at her house when I was a little kid. And, apparently no one else wanted them when she died.

I find it very hard to part with postcards that people send me, so I have a ton of those from over the years. I used to tape them up all over my kitchen cupboards when I lived in Montana, but since I moved back here I keep them all in a big stack, awaiting the next move and the next set of bare cabinets.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Where's the beef?

Spotted in the frozen foods section of the Superior Walmart this afternoon:

Mickey Burgers.


NASCAR burger.


Pirate burgers.


P.S. Today is the third anniversary of this blog. Anyone else shocked that I've managed to stick with it this long?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Twirling toward freedom.

Since the
announcement of the Oredock's imminent demise last month, the City's been diligently moving forward, asking the community for opinions and ideas of how to best make lemonade out of the proverbial sack of lemons that's been dumped on our doorstep.

Now, there are many things that irritate me from time to time about Ashland -- the brilliant decision, for instance, to tear up pretty much every parking lot downtown at the same time, in late September no less, a week before the rainiest week of the year and right before the Whistlestop Festival this weekend (hope the marathon runners' shoes are equipped for slogging through soggy pavement!) -- but this is one occasion where I think they're right on the money.

The phrase "cautiously optimistic" is one that springs to mind a lot lately -- I think most of us have realized that the Oredock can't be saved, not in it's current state, not with our local economy being the way it is (and not with us being so far from the eyeline & attentions of Madison...everything north of Highway 8 is a veritable Brigadoon as far as they're concerned). And while the thought of an Ashland skyline without the Oredock is incredibly sad and, frankly, pretty hard to imagine, I'm finding enough pragmatism in myself to try and see how something good can come out of this.

And now,
seeing the proposed site concepts the City's gotten so far, all of a sudden that's a hell of a lot easier.

These are AWESOME. To think that something so (unsentimentally speaking) useless can mutate into something so...well, clean! And purposeful! And safe! How cool is that?

My favorite is the "Energy Park" concept plan (2nd one down on the list linked to above)--the one with the windmills. (Well, maybe not "windmills" per se, as what's drawn there look more like those twirly plastic spinners you see on people's porches than windmills, but you know what I mean.) Holy neat would it be to drive into Ashland and see those spinning off in the distance? Nothing can really compare with the grandeur of the Oredock, I know, for sheer size and out-of-nowhere-ness...but I think these would go a long way toward setting Ashland apart once again. And this time, not with a stately but crumbling old dock, but with a dock that would firmly link our past as a shipping hub with the future.

Cautiously optimistic, indeed.

Monday, October 08, 2007

When I said it would haunt my dreams, I wasn't kidding around.

Spotted in an aisle of Halloween costumes at Target on Friday night:

Burger King costume at Target.

And some of the dreams I've had since then:

1. My brother Whitey, wearing the Burger King costume 24/7, day and night. He wears it to sleep, he wears it to work, he wears it doing his laundry, he wears it driving around town, he wears it raking leaves out in the yard, he wears it...TO BURGER KING. Whitey IS the Burger King.

2. Me, leading a marching band in the Apple Festival parade (a band which contains my mother playing a trombone, and Stevie Wonder, incidentally), dressed in the Burger King costume.

3. Me, sitting at the General Mercantile coffeehouse in Helena, drinking "Evening in Missoula" tea and playing Electronic Mall Madness with Jim from The Office, Eleanor Roosevelt, and yes, the Burger King.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


What's this?

A DSL modem? Attached to my computer? At my house???

Yes, that's right. As of today, Rancho del Asbach has blasted firmly into the late 1990s.

(But rest assured, the rotary phone's still hooked up in the laundry room. That ain't going nowhere.)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Names suggested upon forgetting the name of the fourth Baldwin brother.

"Okay, so there's Alec, and Stephen, and, uh..."
"Billy! There's
definitely a Billy."
"Yeah, Billy Baldwin. But who's the fourth one?"



"It's something Biblical, I think. Joe?"

"Adam? Or John?"



"Hmm, I know I'll know it when I hear it."



*cell phone is consulted*

"Daniel, it's
"...Well, he's Jar-Jar from now on as far as
I'm concerned."