I am sitting at the desk where I wrote The Graffito of Esmet. Not a very comfortable desk, but it is in a pleasant, sunny room and there is a window to my right (albeit looking across twenty feet of nondescript lawn at the side of the house my dentist uses for her office).

A couple days back we got about ten inches of snow. I true winter storm here in the first week of March. A very light, beautiful snow. It’s beauty, though, certainly didn’t make it any easier to clear.

The storm has been followed by a string of days sunny and much warmer than we are used to. The snow is melting quickly. Spring seems to be lurking around the corner. A good thing that.

Winter never used to bother me much. But it seems each year my tolerance for the dark and the cold gets less and less. There were a number of days when I left work, bundled up properly, not able to get warm. No, it was worse than that. The cold just seemed to knife through all the layers. I swear there were times I was close to tears I was so miserable. Now, granted, invariably these days were windy. I went out to shovel a couple days ago after the snow and the temperature outside was five degrees. But the air was still and the sun was shining. That felt positively wonderful.

Since the Super Bowl, I haven’t picked my camera up much and I really miss that. I’ve found having the creative outlet really does me good. I resolve to be out and about with my camera much more as the temperatures get warmer. Not only that, I resolve to break out my photography books and study my art (I’ll allow my self some pretentiousness today).

A Day in the Fatherland and the Mighty Lez Zeppelin

Lez Zeppelin

My buddy Eric and I are fans of Led Zeppelin. Thirty years ago, anytime their brilliantly flawed concert film The Song Remains The Same was screening at midnight, we’d be there. Didn’t matter how many times (hundreds? thousands?) we’d heard Kashmir or How Many More Times, at some point during an evening out, we’d have the Mighty Zeppelin cranked up high. Few have been the phone calls over a lifetime which haven’t had at least one mention of the band.

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Looks Tasty

jarritosThe unofficial end of summer is upon us. The weather here isn’t cooperating, though. This summer has been a very pleasant one, with few scorching, oppressive days. Indeed, there were some mornings I walked and I could see my breath. Next week lows in the 50’s are returning.

But today it’s muggy. Being outside is like being wrapped in a hot, wet blanket. Last night, while I was sitting at the table on the deck minding the steaks on the grill, the cicadas were deafening and the odd mosquito or two landed on me. When I think of the dog days of summer….the days of summer I really hate, I think of yesterday evening. Days and days and days of that. We’ve been fortunate to miss that during this summer of 2013.

I usually don’t click sidebar ads, but I one that caught my eye while reading an article in the Atlantic Monthly. Grinning skeletons surrounded by brightly colored fruit. I clicked the ad to watch the video:


If you want to sell me anything, go with the Day of the Dead theme and I’m immediately hooked. I’ve never heard of Jarrito soft drinks before today. They sound tasty. There are a couple Mexican markets which have opened up in Charles Town over the past year or so. I visited one awhile back because I needed an ingredient for chipotle bbq sauce I couldn’t find anywhere else. I bet they carry Jarrito. Fruity drinks made from real sugar. I think one would go down good on a muggy day such as this.


Long Day

I arrived at work on Friday morning at 3:45 AM, in the dark and alone. I left eighteen and one quarter hours later. In the dark and alone.

One reason for civilization’s future downfall may be that no one knows how their facebooks, tumblrs, spreadsheets and smartphones work. From most people’s perspective, they turn on a device…a phone, a tablet, their toaster and the thing just works, as if by magic. I don’t think they really care how it works either, as evidenced by the glassy looks I get a minute and a half into explaining what I do for a living.

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Final Destination

dorisEarly one morning, on one of my walk/jogs about town, I passed by the cemetary and saw an open grave. Me being me, my mind immediately flashed to images of some revenant on the lose in Bolivar, desperately  trying to make it’s way back to it’s earthy bed before the sun popped over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Closer inspection showed that the whole was a neat rectangle, ready to receive a vault and casket. Knowing that, though, didn’t prevent the chill going down my spine. I stood and looked and thought that this is our final destination. The open grave is an invitation we all, eventually, accept. One can’t help but ponder mortality when looking into a grave, sunny morning or no.

I approached and saw that the grave was waiting for one Doris M. Stotler. She was 86 years old when she died on July 27th, last Friday. She was interred two days ago, on the morning after I walked by. For a moment I thought about attending the graveside service, but couldn’t get away from work.

According to the obituary on the Melvin T. Strider Colonial Funeral Home website, Doris was born and lived her entire life in Jefferson County, WV. Before retiring she had worked as a pastry chef at the Cliffside Restaurant, which is located about a mile from where I live.

One can make out the side of a funerary vault along the wall of Doris’ grave. Within lies her husband Charles, who died in 2006 after being married to Doris for 55 years. Both Doris and I seem to have had a tough 2006.

So now the grave awaits. Doris and Charles are together again both in body and wherever it is we go when we go.

There’s not a day that I walk that the area in which I lead doesn’t give something to think about…



Musings On A Warm Day In January

I made a resolution at the turn of the year to try to write a blog post every week. Well, that’s not really the resolution, because if I’d resolved to try to write a blog post every week, I’d have nailed it. I resolved to actually write one every week.

As the week dissolved away, however, I found excuses not to make an entry…my latest being that I am sick. I also couldn’t thing of anything to write. This is a hangup…probably the hangup, I have about writing. I don’t write anything unless (I think) I have something to say. Something profound, relevant. And I don’t write anything unless I think someone will read it.
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Answering the Call

My only confirmed reader west of the Mississippi (perhaps I flatter myself by making the “west of the Mississippi” distinction) pinged me the other day about the lack of activity from Nostraseamus. A quick check of the blog shows my last post being made on February 22. That was around the time I became enslaved by a new addiction so powerful that I’ve been battling the impulse to go Howard Hughes and withdraw completely from the human world, sitting bearded, unkempt and naked in a dark room feeding my craving.
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The Pharoah’s Breath

Feel his icy hands…across the shifting sands….

That’s the first line of a song called “The Pharoah’s Breath” and you’ve probably never heard of it…just as you probably didn’t know it was supposed to appear on an album by the same name. That as yet unreleased hard rock album (yes, I still call them albums) will, I’m sure, revolutionize music once it sees the light of day. It’s a concept album…the concept being how many ridiculous songs my buddy Eric and I could write about ancient Egypt. The album contains such songs as “That’s Kharis” (an ode to the old school Mummy movies) and “Pretty Little Hatshepsut”. There are a couple other non-Egypt related songs on the album. “Deep Creek Dick” was written about a cousin of Sasquatch whose shambling presence haunts western Maryland. And then there’s a classy little funk ditty called “Don’t Make Me Bitch Slap You”.
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Our Tin Roof

The rain is coming down in sheets this morning, whipped by a very enthusiastic wind. I’m sitting in the kitchen now, thankfully warm, drinking a hot cup of coffee. Outside I can hear car tires splashing through the street and drops of rain tap dancing on the windows. It would have been a good day to maybe call in sick, stay in bed and read all morning.
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