Happy Birthday Shel Ann Burrell

Trigger warning, Kacia, Mike, and Family, I’m approaching the tough bit first, then onward. I am not offended if you skip this first section, I need to type it out.

Each summer since October of 2017, July 31 preys on my psyche. Though I am conscious of its arrival and the why of how it affects me, this day remains among a collection spread across each year, often including the surrounding week, when I become morbidly sad for a reason that is obvious but the part of me that processes emotion stagnates and has difficulty connecting the dots until I’m already submerged. Then a crooked back stroke begins through the liquid sadness.  I wither and begin weeping in public and find myself apologizing, though there’s no need, to anyone nearby who notices I’m melting. 

There is a unique pain in the departure of the one who gave birth to you. It feels different to me than the pain and sadness of dying or death in a more general sense.  The sensation is more specific. It brings both definition – a sense of creeping maturity – and erosion – a sense of creeping maturity. I am thankful for every moment I had the privilege of sharing with my mom and I miss deeply the subconscious awareness of her quiet, powerful, courageous presence never far away no matter where upon the globe I might be. An awareness remains, different now but still here. I love you mom.

My Father the Shipbuilder

It is known by anyone close to him, my father is fanatic for the history of ships on the sea. To express this he reads many books, is writing a book, and builds spectacularly ornate ship models. I have always been, and remain, impressed. Serious model kits on their own take vast patience but my dad takes it to an entirely new level by creating detail and carefully fabricating extra lines and pulleys to rig his ships beyond the model and its instructions to match their full sized real world counterparts with uncanny historic accuracy.

Below are two examples.

In his spare time around the late eighties and early nineties my dad created an accurate replica of the USS Constitution. It took somewhere in the vicinity of 300 hours to complete. He recently cleaned and repaired it, clearing all the dust and little dings accrued over time:

More recently he enlisted a local alterations crew in creating sails for a replica of a late 19th/early 20th century America’s cup style racing yacht:

Love you dad

I remain impressed.

The Overton Window

I encouraged all to seek out Andrew Marantz’s book last week. It was written nigh on two years ago but now is the time if you haven’t already listened or read it. I plan to write a more detailed post about the Overton Window soon. It’s a large gaping philosophical shout about where we are in regard to the state of media culture.

I’m engaging this week:

  • Reading the final bit of Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks after procrastinating on the final 40 pages for weeks. I’ve listened to it in the past (and loved it that way too) but I find it an additionally enjoyable novel to read. The pace of scanning physical pages is more suited to (my) imagined future of vast ships and powerful alien intelligences. Spellcheck doesn’t like the plural at the end of my last sentence. It can go ahead and fuck right off.
  • Listening to Lovett or Leave It from Crooked Media. This show is always on fire…or has been in every episode I’ve had the joy of listening to…but the 08.01.20 episode is The Fire Itself. Go listen!
  • Imbibing 2015 Domaine Huet Sec – a beautiful mouthwatering Chenin Blanc to pair with being alive.


198…5…6…?… …middle.

Credit to Aunt Laurel for the photos. Thank you. Love you.

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