Archive for September 2006

September 25th, 2006

An Entry Not Entitled “London Calling”

I don’t like saying goodbye. Or more accurately, I don’t like saying goodbye to someone who has been a major part of my life for 24 years and knowing that at the moment I turn around and head my own way, things will have changed forever.

I had to do this with my sister Kate this morning before I left for work. This evening she boarded a plane and left North Carolina for London, where she will attend graduate school. She took off at 6 pm. I guess this means she’ll be touching down over there…let’s see if I understand this time-difference thing… January 2008? That sound right?

Well, whenever it is she actually gets there, the fact remains that she’s gone. She’s left me behind to go searching deep within my God-given writing talent to locate the exact cliche that expresses what this means. “We’ve come to the end of the road” sprung immediately to mind. Indeed it probably would have worked nicely, but I think I’m going to go with “a chapter in our lives has come to a close” instead. It doesn’t seem quite as melodramatic, and it so totally what just happened a few hours ago….

So (ahem)…a chapter in our lives has come to a close.

This “chapter” was probably supposed to close in 1998 when I moved away to go to college, but Kate and I were both boomerang children. We both ended up back home at about the same time a few years after we left. We both grew up a lot in college and we led very separate lives in the house where we’d spent our childhood together. We got jobs of our own and new interests of our own and friends of our own, yet we still ended up spending a lot of time with one another again. I guess we managed to keep our thumb on that last page for about three years, while we invented a final paragraph or two. I wouldn’t say it was an especially earth-shattering conclusion to the chapter. It didn’t introduce any new plot points or themes, but it did a pretty good job of encapsulating the many ideas and emotions that preceded it.

And, to be honest with you, saying goodbye to Kate today didn’t hurt that much. Sure there is plenty for an oldest sibling to worry about: she doesn’t know a soul in London and she’s never even been there before and has very little money and in a few hours she’ll be trying to wrangle something like 600 lbs. of luggage across the city, by herself, while trying to find her new place of residence…but she’ll make it through all of this ok.

Something about Kate’s leaving hurts a whole lot though. I guess it’s the unavoidable fact that things will never be the same for our family. Of course there will be times when we are once more gathered in the house on Kathryn Street — a house that used to belong to Kate and Kevin and I as much as it did Mom and Dad…a house that is the setting for so many of the good memories I have…and almost all of the bad ones…and some that are so good they’re bad…and a whole lot that are technically bad but, now, almost seem good, for some reason…. When we’re all back there, though, Kate will just be a visitor. And in two weeks I get married, and then when I return I’ll only be visiting too.

Of course, it’s long past time for both Kate and I to finish growing up, and we’ve both known this for a while. I’ve managed to find and latch on to a person whom I love very much and who loves me back and I’ve convinced this person to marry me. I’m sure in no time she and I will be moving around, and then buying structures to live in, and then (if the first 26 years of my life have taught me that there’s anything worth doing) starting a family.

Kate and I are each starting different chapters now, and I can deal with this. I just hope I always feel like we’re contributing to the same book.

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September 19th, 2006

Kaiser So-Say

People1 are starting to talk about how infrequently I’ve been updating my blog. Once every two weeks hardly seems “up-to-the-minute,” does it? Well I apologize for this. I’ve just had such little time lately. There have been shows to go to (Smoking Popes, Tom Petty, and Doc Watson…all in the space of a month!), Witchger family bluegrass gigs to play (two this month!), and, of course, the final steps of wedding planning.

There is a rare and precious amusing anecdote embedded deep in each of the things I listed, I’m almost sure of it. And I’d like nothing more than to strap on my headlamp of observant-ness, take up my nine-pound hammer of selective memory, and head down the rickety, wooden elevator of mild exaggeration to excavate this stuff, believe me. I’d like to load it into the mining cars of stream-of-conciousness writing structure, frequent paragraph breaks, and corny extended metaphors and send it down the tracks of file exporting and uploading, keeping the fat, wealthy coal company owners (you) happy…. But I can’t do that. Not right now. On account of the lack of time.

This might sound like one of my standard here’s-an-excuse-for-why-I-haven’t-posted-anything-new-in-a-while rants, but it’s not. It’s a here’s
-to-publish-Kaiser-I’m-talking-to you rant.

Frequent readers may be vaguely familiar with “Kaiser.” He’s been mentioned in this blog many times before. He is one of Stephanie and I’s best friends and he is a great guy to hang out with. Sure he’s helpful and a he’s a good cook and — alright, I’ll admit it — he’s ruggedly handsome, but all this pales in comparison to the fact that he is unwaveringly blunt. He speaks his mind. Or, more accurately, he speaks your mind. That thing that you are thinking, but are too sheepish to say…. Kaiser will say it.

Kaiser is an important ingredient in my favorite mixed drink:

  • Start with two containers that will hold liquid.
  • Pour several ounces of an alcoholic beverage of some sort.
  • Add one Brian Kaiser and mention one specific breed of graphic designer that is particularly annoying.
  • Stir and serve.

I like to think of this as a “Kaiser Kocktail.”

It’s a good idea to have a laptop around when you’re whipping up a Kaiser Kocktail, too. Then you can say “Hey Brian, check out these posters,” as you pull up the site for some stupidly-named poster shop (that is most certainly run by an insufferable hipster or two) that does nothing but silkscreen a completely meaningless image (a horse wearing a cowboy hat on his hind legs pushing a lawnmower over an elf) in three colors and slap “Yo La Tengo” and a concert date in the space below. “Oh look, they were featured in Print’s Regional Design Annual this year.” Hehe. Now it’s time to sip bourbon out of an old thermos lid and listen to the gospel according to Kaiser….

Graphic designers who talk self-righteously about the work they’ve done for social causes is another great topic. “I mean, it’s as if they actually believe that each time they select a trendy font, a ham appears on the table of a needy family. Wouldn’t you agree, Kaiser? Hold that thought. Waitress, bring this man a bottle of scotch.”

My inside sources have told me that Kaiser is working on a list involving the most annoying aspects of graphic design. No doubt it will be hilarious! These sources also tell me that he is contemplating handing it over to me, so that you all may see it here first.

This is because Kaiser does not have a blog. I am constantly telling him (after several Kaiser Kocktails) that he needs a blog. To be honest, though, I hope he never starts one, because you can bet it would be a lot funnier than mine. Also he would probably update it more than once every two weeks.

1 Steph

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