Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux

I had a wonderful day. Got up at 4am, which may seem crazy but it’s when I got to get up tomorrow (or today since I am writing this on Sunday evening and posting it for Monday morning).

Two hour walk around Ansonia and the Ansonia Brass and Cooper site (formerly The American Brass Company) which will be going away soon. Took maybe 100 pictures with my phone. Was beautiful to see the sunrise.

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about.

Saw a link somewhere called “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux” I was a a big fan of his. Control pitcher, pitched fast. Didn’t get showy. Amazing to watch.

I liked him since he played with the Cubs. Although I am a Phillies fan always loved watching Greg Maddux even thought he was on the Phillies big rival team, the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s.

But this article was not about Greg Maddux. It was about an incredibly talented friend. A lost talent. So much potential. So much alcohol.

SCOUTING REPORT: Jason Kenney, age 19, by Boyhood Friend & College Roommate Collins

Height: 6’2, Weight: 216, DOB: 1/9/77. Home: Atlanta, Georgia.

Abilities: Three-Sport Athlete. Center Fielder, Georgia Little League World Series team, 1990; Fullback and Tight End, Atlanta Colts Pop Warner Football National Champions, 1991; Guard and Small Forward, Dunwoody High School, Georgia High School Basketball Champions, Undefeated, Ranked No. 3 by USA Today, 1995.

A “natural.” Hyper-competitive. Crazy instinctive touch and feel. Inspires envy.

Once bowled a 290 in Rome, Georgia while consuming 2 1/2 pitchers of Bud Light.

Weakness: Lacks control (drinking). Dismissed from basketball team two days before state title game — showed up drunk (again) to school. Binge drinking since age 14.

Jason and his friend Jeremy Collins loved the Atlanta Braves and Greg Maddux.

Greg Maddux who had such beautiful control as a pitcher and worked on it with a famous baseball coach when a scot at 18 said: “Weakness: Lacks control on all his pitches. Just has to get ahead of hitters more often.”

We have so many weaknesses as teenagers.

Seventy one days sober. Let’s celebrate. Six miles from their destination. Didn’t stop with just one pitcher. Car flips, he survives, his friend doesn’t, only 19.

Stunningly beautiful writing. A tale of control and loss of control. One night out, lost potential a lost friend. And Greg Maddux who had amazing control. Addiction hurts. So many lives and relationships are lost without control. I give my love to anyone working to leave addiction and to those lost. Powerful. #longform

For We Have Been Touched by Magic

There is a line in a chant we using at the closing circle at Rites of Spring, a pagan gathering we go to every Memorial Day weekend in the Berkshires called Rites of Spring. “For we have been touched by magic, and the magic will make us whole.”

Maine is beautiful, it’s a special place. Portland is a magical city.

But since we have moved to North State Street in Ansonia, CT the place ahs been touched by magic. When my wife saw the two benches in the gravel she immediately thought it was a Fairie garden. It seemed touched with something special.

The song of crickets at night makes my soul happy. All of the beautiful rocks. The old trees. The old houses. It’s beautiful.

The amazing view across the valley, special. Seeing insects lit up by the late evening sun looking like little fairies.

Bees loving the wildflowers, playing with the pollen and being happy.

The world would be a better place if we planted gardens over grass. Better for the local wildlife. Prettier. Food during the harvest. Canning. Old ways.

Also less gas used, less sameness, less blah.

Not sure when planned communities in beige with bizarre homeowners association rules and sameness became desirable.

Feeling touched by magic in the local forest. I am a forest person.

Going from the beautiful Ansonia Nature Center and exploring off trail into the Naugatuck State Forest. Getting lost, feeling the spirit of the trees, stumps and old rocks. Feeling the energy of the land. I am feeling deeply connected here.

Who know I may have some roots here. My ancestors in America go back a long way, a lot fo them in the 17th and 18th Century. I know I have some roots in Mexico, Maine wondering if I have roots in the valley.

This area built things. Rivers like the Naugatuck, and the Presumpcot which goes through Westbrook, Maine and was the most dammed river in the US per mile not long ago, were industrial corridors. The United States, used to build things. Ansonia was a copper center, Waterbury a center of Brass, Westbrook a paper town, tires made in the Valley working people.

Beautiful old mills, sometimes destroyed, sometimes converted to beautiful use. Like the North Dam Mill in Biddeford, ME and the Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook, Maine.

I heard a rumor while fixing my car that the huge copper mills in Ansonia are due to be torn down too. I hope they are made into a park. I would rather they were converted into something cool and beautiful. I need to ride the Metro North to Waterbury and go through them before they go.

I have heard everyone in Derby and Ansonia knows each other. I need to get into those circles and I think I will be a lot happier. It’s a matter of time.

I do like the neighborhood and it’s a special place. And touched by magic.



My friend Margaret Finch is one of the better bloggers I know. And she is trying to blog every day in October. I am very tempted. I miss the blog. I miss thinking about it everyday.

So I think I will try it and maybe start by adding to some of my good things posts every day on Facebook.

That way I can get the first three days in.

I certainly write enough to blog on the Facebooks.

So why not and let’s see how it goes.


I Think I’m Alone Now

I have been working remotely for about a month now since moving to Connecticut.

I really appreciate being able to move with my job. It removes a lot of stress and provides income while we deal with the cost of settling in a new place.

But, I really miss goofing off with people. I like quipping love being laughed at or with. I am a foole. And proud of it.

I realized that on Tuesday when I went into my wife’s new work which is pretty awesome. And being both tired and caffienated was on a run of jokes. People that know me well know that if you start laughing I won’t stop. I also belong to the David Letterman school of comedy where if I a joke fails, make fun of the failure.

I could have worked remotely for a long time in my call center job. It’s a perk for experienced agents that a lot of people really enjoy. I declined. Westbrook, Maine to the mall area is very close. A 15-20 minute drive at once due to the traffic lights. And I like the casual atmosphere where I work. I liked being able to joke around when it’s quiet between calls it makes the day go so much faster.

Being home with a locked door is very quiet. And the Macintosh is quiet, much quieter than the laptop I am using now. Doesn’t seem to need the fan.

In fact, since it is so quiet I often have a fan on low just for the white noise.

It’s odd to be home.

I also miss the beautiful landscaping on Southborough Drive where I worked. Beautiful landscaping and a lovely green with marshes and a creek. I miss that walk.

I still walk around on my breaks with my headphones, but it’s different going down the streets, although I do have beautiful moments like seeing the bees loving wildflowers. But I do miss what was a special place to me.

And it’s especially lonely when you are in a new place and don’t know people. I have been spending a lot of time alone. I do love alone time, I find the woods recharge me. But it is lonely.

And I think I do need to see a therapist again, it’s only been eighteen months since my dad died and I had a mental health crisis, major manic episode and breakdown.

Connecticut is beautiful, there so many beautiful parks. I love all the stones in the area, love to hear the crickets. The view across the valley from my front yard looking across the Naugatuck Valley is so, so beautiful. Having a state forest up the hill less than a mile away is amazing. The drive through Woodbridge to the Merritt Parkway is so green.

But, I miss people. Going to work is a chance to get away. I thought I might spend too much time at home working remotely and it’s true.

It’s also tough to only have one car. My old 99 Mercury Sable with 150,000 miles had too many repairs to keep going. But it’s actually been nice to drive Lanna to work and explore some of the local trails. Especially the Shelton Lakes Recreation Trail. And to have delicious bagels at the Royal Bakery, and delicious corned beef hash at Pagliaro’s Lunch in the same shopping plaza. My Tuesday mornings have been very good.

Wednesday night has been for pinball league and I really enjoy it, although I do wish it was on Mondays so I didn’t have work the next day. It’s only 40 minutes to Meriden, CT but when you have to get up at 5:45am the next morning it still leads to tired Thursdays.

So, still looking to find my place here in Ansonia, CT. I do want to get more involved locally. I was very much looking forward to checking out the Ansonia Harvest Festival today to meet local organizations but alas, postponed due to rain and next Saturday I am working.

I think it’s beautiful here and touched by magic. But I do miss people, especially working remotely.


Write Until You are Done

One of my favorite recent lessons comes from Roger Ebert. People always said he was a fast writer, but he said he wasn’t he just spent far less time not writing. When he wrote for the Urbana, IL high school paper on sports and stuff, he had a friend who wrote for the Champlain, IL paper next door and also became a future sportswriter and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bill Lyon:

“One, don’t wait for inspiration just start the damn thing. Two, once you begin, keep on to the end. How do you know how the story should begin until you find out where it’s going?”

Roger Ebert’s “Life Itself” is well worth a read. A story about being a journalist’s journalist, who made his own newspapers as a kid and never stopped wanting to be a newspaperman. He stumbled into movie crictism, but as you can tell from his blog, he was far more interesting than that. I also didn’t expect the book to be so much about his struggles with alcoholism. *** 1/2

Personally I love this idea but have not been putting it into practice enough. I have been writing the Three Good Things post on Facebook everyday, and I do write that until I am done, which is usually 10 to 15 things, but have got off track from the blog.

When I did blog everyday, I held by this idea.

Sometimes it was a lot of writing, sometimes not nearly as much.

Hope to get back at it again.

It’s a great practice.


3 Good Things Day 68

Three Good Things Day 68
1. Not blogging everyday but over two months on this practice.
2. Kitty in the tub,kitty in the tub!
3. Brave investigative journalism
4. Whistleblowers
5. Matt Taibbi
6. Carl Sandburg
7. Having a great progressive candidate who cares about civil rights and used to work for the ACLU, vote Shenna Bellows in Maine for US Senate.
8. Kitties laying on the unmade futon.
9. Putting clothes away
10. Kitty water fountains
11. Getting lost in nature

I have really enjoyed doing these and it is a practice I do everyday now for over 2 months.
I definitely will talk more about Matt Taibbi’s “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap” as I continue reading it.
Things are bad, things are very bad.
Although kitties are awesome.
Shenna Bellows is awesome.
And people brave enough to run for politics and not just be apathetic are awesome.

Blessed be.

Awkward. ***1/2

Just good writing.

I like the Jenna character. I like that she overthinks everything all the time. The rest of the show is sweet and often ridiculous.

I usually don’t like the absurd drama of MTV shows but I like this. Saw that ten more episodes were on Amazon Prime last week and ran through season four part one in a few days. Fun show. Although not in the same class as the Wire which I just finished. ***** Also easier admitting my love for The Mind of a Chef.

In the woods

Sitting on an old rock
Shelton Lakes Recreation Path
Insects chirping
Planes overhead
Train whistle in the distance
Even the reverse of distant trucks

Birds chirping
Insects humming
Heart slowing
Mind calming

Cool rock
Cool breeze
Cooler spirit.

Just finding a quiet place
For the soul to rejuvenate.

15 Films That Have Stayed With Me

I saw this on Kayt Sukel’s wall on Facebook.

The Rules:
Don’t take too long to think about it. 15 films that you’ve seen that will always stick with you. List only the first 15 you can recall and in no longer than 15 minutes. Tag friends, including me, because I’m interested in what films you choose.

I have way overthought this over time and my top 10 plus. Here we go.

1. Brazil (1985 film) – Been my #1 for a longtime, surreal and fantastic
2. Intolerance (saw originally with a full orchestra) – I am curious to see this without the symphony in some ways, likely to not be as good.
3. The Empire Strikes Back – The Best of the Star Wars series, definitely better for the whizz bangs of the Special Edition
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark – Pure moviegoing fun
5. Citizen Kane – As good as everyone says it is. Masterful cinematography and writing
6. Singin’ in the Rain – Pure joy on film.
7. Casablanca – A wonderful movie.
8. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – I would love to be Mr. Smith myself in a lot of ways. We really need it in Washington. It’s a film that makes more sense now that ever in the era of People’s United
9. Vertigo – Hitchcock at his best
10. Rear Window – I said this would make a great date movie in film class at Rutgers. I’m weird.
11. GoodFellas – Easily my favorite Martin Scorsese movie. Incredibly rewatchable for an epic.
12. Apocalypse Now – My favorite version was the one I first saw cut for cable. The original version feels like a bunch of music videos put together. The redux is way, way too long. The French scene belonged on the cutting room floor
13. Beauty and the Beast – Joyous musical.
14, Monty Python & the Holy Grail – Incredibly hilarious and as Lanna knows, I have quoted it way too long
15. The Naked Gun – Definitely not in my top 15 all time, but my favorite movie in high school. Pure slapstick.

So many others I could say but will leave the 15 for now.

Thoughts Two Weeks After Moving

Been in Ansonia, CT almost 2 weeks now. 2 weeks ago we were sleeping on an egg crate, exhausted and overwhelmed. So, so much stuff, so much crap. Terrible loaders, filled the truck too much (were still packing) and after a while had to tell them to come back up and get things. Of course the fact that there was wasps didn’t help. I sympathize with that, but movers be expensive.

We did leave early in the morning, exhausted and a full minivan, did leave some stuff behind, a desk that we couldn’t take apart, and the big step stool being two things we wish we had brought. And simple things like lightbulbs (almost brought), trash cans, the toaster … Also need to give a big thank you to my mother in law Dottie Maheux and some family who helped us clean up after we left. Big, big thank you, I appreciate it so much.

I don’t even know if you can prepare for the nightmare and shitshow that is moving. My friend said it can take a year off your life, and I think I now agree.

We brought too much media, and not enough little things. We had and even after culling have way, way too much stuff. Started a storage with one minivan load of boxes, still need to take a couple down.

My old desk didn’t survive the move well, was pretty much a POS, couldn’t believe how flimsy it was when we took it apart. Was able to get two new desks, 3 lamps and a bunch of stuff at IKEA for under $300. That was pretty awesome.

Able to get a vacuum that looks like a good model but is a pain to put together for $150, Hoover Industrial Vacuum, tons of power from Sears Outlet. Lanna’s old (over 10 years) drill died trying to put together the second desk (hers) from IKEA. Bought a new drill at Sears Outlet with more than twice the power for $70 with a powerful shop light. Went from 9.5 to 19.2 Volts. Huge, huge increase in power.

One of the other frustrations is that the queen boxspring couldn’t go down to the cool, cool basement where we now sleep. So slept in the guest bedroom for a week and had to buy a split boxspring at Sleepy’s. $200 for the boxspring ($100 each piece) was so bad, but $100 for delivery and $20 for the takeaway was a HUGE ouch. But the bed is very nice downstairs, it’s good to sleep in a cooler space, and having a frame makes and enormous difference.

Just got through my first week working remote. It definitely takes getting used to, so, so quiet. With the heat wave here, upper 80s to 90s, I have been very happy with central AC, such a nice thing to have. The view is beautiful we have in Ansonia, CT. We look across the other side of the very green Naugatuck Valley. And it’s so hilly here, a 5 minute drive away we are in a state forest. I loved that when I took the 40 minute drive to play pinball in an old industrial park in Meriden, CT I drove through a state forest in Woodbridge, down country roads, and up the beautiful, treelined Merritt Parkway. I tried the route down 691, 84 and 8 on the way back and didn’t like that nearly as much. Still pretty but so much more work. And the fact that a FedEx semi tried to cut me off on the 84 onramp didn’t help, he could have passed me miles earlier.

The drivers in Connecticut are terrible. Rude, aggressive and driving like 45 MPH in a 25 zone in my residential neighborhood, slow down, pay attention, be in less of a rush. The world is more beautiful when you are able to appreciate it.

We are also down to one car. My 99 Mercury Sable with over 150,000 miles on it was looking at a $3000 repair bill. Decided to junk it with a local guy who decided to keep it for himself and registered it. His problem. There is a lot of good features about the car: leather sunroof, 6 cd changer (wish I left the holder for the 6CDs now, originally wanted him to take it out, just as well I didn’t), and it’s good for a big guy like me, nice engine too, but fuel filter leak, oil leak, bad suspension, brake issues and most expensively a messed up power steering rack and huge leak made it better to stay in Maine. Living with one car hasn’t been bad so far, and it’s great I can work remote.

It’s also been nice to drop Lanna off and walk around the beautiful Shelton Lakes Recreation Path. The initial enterance I got from Google Maps is my favorite, going through a neighborhood of ugly, huge, expensive, cheaply made McMansions that won’t look good in a few decades, to a little court with huge, rustying bulldozers and industrial equipment. I would think the construction company would want them for other projects. Maybe the town of Shelton bought the land before a second round of development. Anyway, I went into the trail and there were beautiful rocks to sit on, great graffiti and just a sense of peace. Really excellent place to spend a morning and then get a small cannoli, and a bagel with cream cheese at the delicious Royal Bakery.

I would say more but I am running out of writing gas. It’s lovely here I love hearing the cricket songs (my original idea for the post), and the beautiful, trees, flowers and bees. Had amazing real tacos, for the first time in years from taco trucks in New Haven Long Wharf, near IKEA and 95. There is a good puerto rican place to eat up the block …

More updates to come. We are getting settled, I think this will be a great plus for us, but moving is a frustrating mess. A moving adventure, which I think is U-Haul’s motto, is a horror film. Glad we are here, glad I got rest today.

Blessed be.