Ninja Holiday Visit

Excuse me while I sing one of my favorite lines from one of my least favorite songs…“ITTTTT’S the most WWWWONDERFUL time of the yyyyyear….” Yes, the holidays, barring New Year’s Eve, are OVER! Can I get an amen??

As per usual the holidays were just fine. Everyone was nice, extremely generous, and no one got murdered or beat up in a mall. This year we went back to PA separately so Wifey and B could spend some extended time visiting with Wifey’s grandfather who recently went into the hospital. With dates already set for Jake (the dog) at the doggie motel, I hung around a few extra days, then snuck in and out of Western PA like a ninja with a quick three-day visit.

While it was nice to be in and out, it also sucked because I missed out on catching up with some good friends, or making a return trip to the mountain for some outdoor shenanigans. Still, I would be lying if I said it doesn’t fill good to be home with the holidays behind me.

In between opening Santa gifts, a visit to the hospital, and Christmas Day dinner, I had a few extra minutes and wanted to attempt another urban walkabout with the camera. I took a drive, scouted out some locations, but saw nothing that interested me enough to stop and walk around.

At a prolonged red light I did have the opportunity to shoot some grungie, urban found signage attached to some of crumbling infrastructure on Braddock Avenue in Turtle Creek (pronounced “crick” if you’re from western PA). I nabbed a similar shot last year, but was a bit happier with the variety of numbers, letters, arrows, and urban decay on these two.

The walkabout was also to serve as a chance for me to walk off some of those holiday calories which I was in grave need of. Oh well, just the time alone in the car gave me time to think about what I want/need to do in the year ahead to try to turn my life around, the folks in my life who I cherish the most, and to let my face relax a bit after two straight days of smiling (both forced and natural). I think I interacted with more people on Christmas Eve than I have in the past two months and that night I laid in bed exhausted wondering how the hell some people can interact like that on a daily basis! Issues.

Early Monday morning B-Man and I took off for Mt. Pleazy. Since the car charger for my phone died, and I didn’t want to waste too much battery playing Spotify, so I played the only CD I cold find in the car; Lonesome Crowded West by Modest Mouse. I played it over, and over, and over again for the nearly 200 miles across Ohio. Despite repeated playing I never got sick of it. To me Lonesome Crowded West is the quintessential Modest Mouse album and contains some of my favorite Isaac Brock lines…

Let’s all have another Orange Julius
Thick syrup standing in lines
The malls are the soon-to-be ghost towns
So long farewell, goodbye.
Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine

My brain’s the cliff, and my heart’s the bitter buffalo.
Heart Cooks Brain

I’m trying to drink away the part of the day
That I cannot sleep away.
Polar Opposites

Those are just a few of my faves, I really could write an entire post about this album. I really can’t believe it’s nearly 20 years old! Despite its age, it still holds up, and is still better than half the shit being put out today. If you’re a fan of music that doesn’t suck, I urge you to see the Pitchfork documentary about the album.

With my belly full of Holiday cheer and my ear holes filled with classic indie rock, we got back into town early Monday afternoon. I used the rest of the day to get some groceries, do laundry, and play a few matches of EA Sports FIFA 17 which was recently gifted to me by Wifey and B-Man for Christmas. Yeah.

Much of the snow we received over the past two weeks has melted due to rain and high temps, but has now froze and made the landscape a hodgepodge of frozen winter puke. Not wanting to dodge ice patches right now I got back to working out on  Tuesday with 3+ miles of running/lumbering on the treadmill. Felt great to sweat out some of that Christmas ham. Most likely that’s what I’ll be doing again on Wednesday since my motivation to swap tires on the Fatterson is super low, but my motivation to sweat is high.

Hoping to return some sort of ride routine soon, but for now just returning to a normal diet, burning calories and getting in some (foot) miles in will be good enough for me.



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