Never Forget

Illustration by me. Sometimes I draw.


The government asks us to remember this day, to memorialize it with hashtags and news articles and statues and vigils and sermons and moments of silence, but it dictates what part of the truth we remember. We’re called to remember the police, the paramedics, and the firefighters that put their lives on the line. We give a moment of silence to the thousands lost in the towers that fell, the Pentagon that was hit, and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. We’re asked to remember the pain and suffering of those who died, to never forget the trauma our nation endured, and to take pride in the resilience we have as a nation against terror.

And those are good things to remember. But some of us remember some other things that happened on this day.

Continue reading “Never Forget”

Alexandria, Moodboards, and ATMs.

Took the day to drive down to Alexandria, to work on the Bloomery branding project. Erik asked me to help out with building them a new look for a product line from a distillery out in West Virginia.

Of course, this was the day that it had to pour icy rain, so the roads were just clogged. I managed to skirt a lot of it with Waze, but I was still about a half an hour late. Everyone was happy to see me, though I felt out of touch. Work was buzzing, but I am completely out of it save for this solitary project. I’m glad Zerflin has been doing well, because otherwise we’d really be struggling. The work that we’ve had come in from A2L, Bainbridge, and The History Factory have kept us busy while Brightline works on landing more projects.

I settled in at Kristen’s old desk, she was a developer that moved on to another job.
The work was fairly simple; just reviewing Moodboards with Kuntz (Moodboards are essentially collages of images that we use for inspiration for the branding and logo), and then editing them. My laptop was mind-numbingly slow, though. The files were small, the operations quick, but

Image representing Dropbox as depicted in Crun...
Dropbox is still pretty awesome, though. If you’re not using it, you ought to be… Image via CrunchBase

Dropbox chose that moment to sync with everything in the world, and so my work ground to a halt. What was only supposed to be a couple hours ended up being the entire day; I didn’t finish up the last round of edits until around 5pm.

Erik was positive, and even asked me about how the family was doing and inquired if I was receiving checks ok, which was really nice. Not all of our clients pay us in a very timely fashion, which is really difficult, but Erik has really been helping.

While I’d been waiting for the computer to kick in, I had been doing art venue research in Alexandria. I’ve already identified at least 25 different coffeehouses and galleries in Baltimore that I might be able to show art at. I hadn’t eaten all day, so I decided to swing by Firehook Bakery to get a chai and a croissant, and see if I could talk to the owner. I met with a Tunisian barista who was very friendly, and told me to call in the morning, because he and the manager would be working together then. He was really nice. I jabbered away with him in French; happy to be able to exercise my rusty language skills.

The ride home was even worse than the ride down, compounding my frustration. I had hoped to be in and our quickly so that I could get more Zerflin work done. Several of the Bainbridge sites were so close to being done… But it only got worse. I had a cheque to deposit into our Zerflin account, but even after trying 6 ATMs and consulting with a friendly Spanish furniture worker who was able to deposit his cheque, I wasn’t able to. Finally, with the help of the furniture worker I found a Capital One branch that was still open, and I stormed in two minutes before they locked their doors.

My Nemesis, the ATM.
My Nemesis, the ATM.
Yup. Definitely not Capitol One. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The man behind the counter patiently explained to me that no, I was not able to deposit money into my Capital One account with my USAA card… I had switched them in my wallet and had been using the wrong card in vain the entire time… Mortified as I was, the teller was very kind and helped me get my check deposit.

Having burned through no less than 8 podcasts on the trip, I picked up Chinese food at the Double Dragon and made it home.

Tamika was exhausted. She’d been working on a new coding project that she had taken on, and was worn out. We chilled for a bit and watched Key & Peele before diving back into work.  I managed to get everything done I needed to, but I’m exhausted. And guess what time it is… 2AM…

Dreaming of the FLOTUS

She smiled in a rather sweet way, but with an air of someone who is used to directness; as if she was waiting for the Wrap-It-Up orchestra to strike up, and planning her turn to speak. Tamika couldn’t stop smiling bashfully.

“I love your hair,” Michelle (as she insisted we call her) said sweetly, making Tamika blush even deeper.

“How did you all meet again?” She asked, and Erica launched into the strange circumstances. Ayinde wasn’t there, oddly, and I puzzled whether he was off chatting with the President. Former President? It was hard to tell. Where was I? When was I? I struggled to get my bearings.

We were seated at a table in a fancy room; pretty but not ostentatious Victorian decor surrounding cherry wood furniture with gold and white trimmings on everything. Waiters came and collected plates as we played with the remainder of our key lime pie.

Erica was well dressed. But this was not unusual. I grasped at a fleeting memory. Had she just introduced us to the Michelle Obama? Had this really happened? I reached for my glass of water and gulped.

“So, I hope you don’t take me too forward, but I wanted to know if you could look at these. I’m frustrated and I don’t know what to do to get them to turn out right.” The First Lady took out three papers from her purse and handed them to me. I took one, gave one to Tamika, and one to Erica.

Erica looked it over and was first to speak. “Wow. These are really bad.” She was right. The appeared to have been created in Microsoft Word. Design elements, if you could call them that, were giant royal blue boxes with yellow and white Times New Roman text on them. I instantly felt a tinge of pain as I thought of how it would feel to screw up so badly that the President’s wife wanted to go elsewhere.

“I know…” replied Michelle exasperatedly. “I tried. I really did. But perhaps I’m just not good at communicating these visual things. I just don’t get it.”

“Ben and Tamika can handle it. Trust me.” gushed Erica, “You did take a look at the things I sent over, right?”

The FLOTUS nodded. “You guys are really good. I’m perpetually impressed at how entrepreneurial you guys are. All of you!” She gestured at Erica too.

I nodded. I didn’t know what else to do. “Well, sure. We’d be happy to help out in any way we can.”

“I’ve seen the work. I have no doubts.” She rose. “Shall we go for a walk?”


At which point I woke up. It seemed fantastical. Far-fetched. But oddly plausible.

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Hit and Run Down

So, I was involved in a car chase this morning.

I decided to drive in this morning, and was just about to enter the city while driving along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway when I got side-swiped.

I was driving along in the left-hand lane in pretty dense traffic. No one was going over 50 because it was pretty packed, when all of a sudden this large red Lincoln Navigator comes roaring down the center lane. I’m about to pass a white van that’s sort of lumbering along in the center lane, when she suddenly swerves into my lane!

I hit the horn and the brakes at the same time, but it’s too late. The rear of her Navigator smashes into the front of my Subaru Forester, sending bits of plastic and glass from the lights raining down on my windshield. The giant SUV swerves wildly at the force of the impact, then she regains control of the it. I sighed and put on my hazard lights and began slowing down, when all of a sudden, she hits the gas!

In that split second, I realized that A., I was in a hit and run, and B., if I didn’t get their information, that was it. I’d have a bashed up car and absolutely no way to get it fixed. The poor thing is an aging 2000 Forester, and our one and only method of transportation. You may recall similar feelings when nearly the exact same thing happened in January. So I did what any desperate maniac would do. I hit the gas and followed her.

I had my phone in the cupholder on the dash and put in my earphones and dialed 911. I caught up to her at about 85mph, and she’s weaving through traffic all over the place, cutting people off and trying to loose me. The 911 call center, after realizing what was going on, put me through directly to the Police car dispatcher.

Our engines roaring, people honking and tires squealing as she cut them off… It was like the movies.

I start describing the Navigator to the dispatcher as I am bobbing and weaving through traffic trying to keep up with her, and giving a play-by-play we pass landmarks and begin turning onto local roads.


It gets pretty congested at this split, just like the picture shows is what it was like today.


She veers off the 50 West split, with me hot on her tail. We get caught at the US1 light, and I figure at this point. But she crosses over 3 lanes while the light is still red, still trying to get away from me. The dispatcher starts calling cars while he still has me on the phone, directing cars to the area trying to cut this person off. At this point, I realize I have no idea who is in the SUV. The windows are tinted and dark, and I have no idea if they’re armed or not. The dispatcher advises me to continue following her, but to keep my distance.

She charges down some local roads, and I start hearing sirens. Finally, she pulls a U-Turn and pauses at a dingy, beat up looking auto-repair shop. I screech in, and box her in, putting the Subaru in park. I’m blocking a lane of traffic, but I don’t care.

This dispatcher asks me if I see any cop cars around me, and I wave one down who’s at the traffic light we had just past. Suddenly, lights flashing, 8 cop cars descend on us, blocking us in at all angles. I slump in my seat.

A 60-year old African American woman climbs out of the SUV, and starts screaming at the cops. One of the cops very gently approaches me and gets my side of the story, but then are interrupted as we both turn aghast towards the Navigator. The woman pops the back hatch, pulls out a stroller, and proceeds to take an infant out of the back set and pop his car carrier!

The cop informs me that they have to wait just a little bit while the Maryland cops arrive, since the incident technically happened in Maryland, right before we entered. Several of the officers come by and congratulate me on staying on her and running her down!

This woman is pretty angry. #crash #navigator #subaru

I finally calm down enough (and the officers gently bring the woman over to one side) that I’m able to get out of the car and go to snap some pictures.

The woman is hysterical, changing her story multiple times. She first tells the officer that I sped up, then that she didn’t see me, then that she didn’t know we had collided, then that she swears on her dead mother’s grave that she would never hit-and-run, then that she wasn’t sure why I was following her, then that the cops should just leave her alone because she’s minding her business, then that she never speeds, and then back to screaming at me.

Well, that stinks. #accident #Subaru #forest

What her car looked like. #crash #Lincoln #navigator

The Maryland officer gets on the scene, and goes and talkes to the woman first. He then starts talking to me, and getting my side of the story, and then says; “Well, it’s abundantly clear that she’s at fault here. Do you want to press charges for the hit-and-run?”

Leading me for 5 miles and cutting me off as many times as she could? Absolutely yes.

He takes my liscence and registration for bit, then comes back, hands me a case number card and her policy information. He tells me he’s only trading insurance policy numbers, because the woman is obviously unstable, and doesn’t feel comfortable giving my direct information to her. I didn’t even know that was possible!

He then tells me I’m free to go. I drive off to a secluded area and phone the insurance companies.

At this point, I’m back at work, but her insurance company has already claimed fault, so I’ll be bringing our car in to be fixed this evening.

I’m just glad I’m safe, but what an exciting ride!


Martin Luther King Jr.

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Marti...
Image via Wikipedia

Only three other persons have national holidays in the United States: George Washington, Christopher Columbus (who in my opinion, doesn’t deserve a holiday), and Jesus. King was the first private citizen to ever receive this honour.

People began calling for a day of memorial immediately after his death in 1968. However, Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan, and John McCain all voted against the holiday, which caused it not to be passed the first time around. Ronald Reagan remained opposed to the holiday to the point where Congress had to go above his head to get it passed. McCain’s state of Arizona was widely criticized for being racially intolerant by the rest of the nation.
In fact, it was so hard to pass, it didn’t actually get finalized until 1983 (the year I was born).

Though Mississippi and Virginia still struggle with celebrating it (some choosing to honour the legacy of the Confederacy instead), even certain places outside the United States annually celebrate the day, including Toronto and Hiroshima.

The man was, for a good portion of his active life, a targeted enemy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Now, being a federal holiday, his legacy effectively shuts down all government buildings and banks for an entire day.

Your arguments for not being able to make a difference in the world carry no weight.

Sleeping in the Rain



We usually go to bed late after the concerts, after sitting around the fire, and wake up around 8-8:30. We are really far from the concert stage (about as far as you can get) so we listen to the 9:00 pastor on the neighbor’s radio. Some really boring bands usually play right after the pastor, so it’s usually not worth the walk, especially if you’re still half asleep.

I’m not sure if Andy has found out about Jon Hnaituk & Emily Gauvin yet. Andy and Emily used to be girlfriend/boyfriend, but they broke up.

Kyle McKibben stormed off last night because we were all sleeping outside and he wanted one side of the fire to himself. He still hasn’t returned. By morning, I was the only one left out there! Apparently it had started to rain and they all went in, but I slept right through it!

October 7, 1997

Patrick Nattawappio hit me because he wanted to use my gloves.

Hi Miss!

I don’t know what to write. For my oral presentation, I mean. Just write about the place? Or write about the story I’m going to write?

I already started on the story, it’s going to be about a fishing boy named Pablo Trinidadé Da Costa, who lives in the middle of the Sulu Sea in the Philippines. Time setting is in the future, and the Philippines are now officially a state of the USA, which is now having trouble with it’s name, since 2 of it’s states, Hawaii and the Philippines, are not part of the American Continent. I haven’t decided what is going to happen to him though, maybe another World War, or threat from Germany, or perhaps another Ice Age.

This sounds very interesting Ben. I hope it’s clear about the oral presentation now.

Yes, documenting the incidents is a good idea. You might want to include the place and context.

Ahh yes– the Review Sheet– Ahem. I’ve written that on my to do list.

I’m afraid this is a short response. I’ve got a ka-zillion things to do! Ugh!


Zerflin, Farg, ᐱᓐᒋᐱᓐ

Hi Miss!

I guess I should tell you about myself. I’m 13 years old, I’m an America, um, I’m an inventor, uh, cartoonist, what else… uh… missionary, um, bookwriter (sci-fi, mostly), computer expert (IBM, mostly), bookworm, and musician.

I like History, English, Gym, Home-Ec, ITT, I hate Math, and I’m not sure about Biology & Geography. Oh yes, I like Computers.

My favourite food is macaroni, and I cook it my own way. Such as, um, say adding processed cheese to it, or adding a cheese packet to it, or, after it is cooked, adding milk to it, or Parmesan cheese, or just eating it plain, but NEVER putting sauce on it. I HATE tomatoes. The only time I eat them is either at the cafeteria or on pizza.

My house has a huge video and book library, if you want to borrow any.

So Miss, what do you like to do?

I have a dog named Sam and a cat named Katy.

I am going to be moving soon to another part of town. There we will have a fenced in yard to protect the pets (we have had a number of pets, mostly cats that died, Katy’s kittens) and that house will be ours (we are renting now). You will have no trouble finding our new house, because it will be the only house in town with 3 dormers, an add-on on the back, a connected garage, and a LARGE greenhouse. The dormers are already built, they were done this summer.

I have a crush on Shannon Uniam, across the hall in Secondary 1. She’s not in Secondary 3 because her birthday is October 29, and I skipped a grade.

Whew! Now I’ll let you write.

Dear Ben,

(Do you prefer Ben or Benjamin?) Well! This has been a very detailed description of yourself. Hmmm… It’s great to have a dish that you know how to cook just so. I like the way I make scrambled eggs. I add vegetables, herbs, and a bit of spice. I also make a pretty good spaghetti sauce—I guess you wouldn’t like it, though. Another specialty I used to have was chocolate chip cookies. My room-mate’s Dad loved them!

Pets… My parents have a very cute dog, Milo. I love them visiting them ad having her to walk and hang out with. They also have a cat. It’s O.K.—Fluffy—but I’m not usually a big cat freak. My sister’s cat, Ed, has lots of personality so my aversion to cats is put aside with her. Yes, the cat is female and yes, it’s named Ed. I want to get a puppy. I need to finish fixing up my “pad”. I should be ready to receive a pup in a couple of weeks. Your new house sounds great! Moving into a new place can be really hectic but a lot of fun too, especially when the new place has character!

As for crushes… I don’t have one on anybody right now. I imagine I’m too busy getting set up. Also, I haven’t met anybody I’d really want to have a crush on! Oh well, life goes on.

Write again—G