: the new look has arrived :


Tada, welcome to the unveiling; the new theme is here. Clean, simple, and — so far — low maintenance. There’s still work to be done, of course, but this is the basic framework. So take a look around and see what you think. I’m not at all sure myself, to be honest. I like the stark simplicity, the clean, focused look.

And the black and white pallet gives it a classic, retro feel, in my mind, anyway. There are few distractions, nothing to draw your eye away from the content, but I miss the pages and widgets a little bit. They’re still here, just hidden behind the subtle icon up in the header.

Well, let me know what you think. And remember, this design isn’t set in stone, so be honest. I’ll change it in a flash if I have to, but I’m hoping this is a promising start, a good direction, and will lead to something long-term. Like for damn ever.

Changing themes is stressful. I’d really like to stop now, but the question is: should we? Is this one the answer? You tell me. I’m too nervous and, yep, a little queasy.


copyright © 2015 publikworks

: who invited them? :


All right, who’s the wise guy? Who ordered the snowflakes? Was it you? Well, they’re here and by the megaton.

Morning has long since turned to afternoon and still it snows. It salts out of the sky in nasty, hideous flakes of freezing. Forcing myself to go out into that hateful, unwelcoming wasteland will require pulleys and fulcrums and 12 strong men. I will not willingly mingle with trillions of tiny, irritating pellets of ice. Not as long as I have a breath in my body.

I will sit here, instead, peeling a stubborn price sticker from a book cover. When I’m done I’ll move on to another neurotic, mind-numbing activity. This will be my life for the foreseeable future. I won’t look outside; I won’t entertain thoughts about outside; the outside world no longer exists. poof, ta-ta.

On a much happier note, it’s possible I’m psychic. I ordered a down-filled comforter last week, way before snow was predicted. It arrived, crammed with 50-ounces of Siberian goose down, just in the nick of time, along with a soft flannel cover. I slept beneath both last night and rediscovered bliss. This morning, I dutifully thanked my electric blanket for a job well done and stowed it in a closet.

I appreciated the warmth it provided, very much, but I couldn’t be trusted with the controls. I’m too impatient. I’d set the thing on high, fall asleep, and wake up hours later blistered from the heat — I now know how toast feels. This happened nightly, even in summer sometimes. Ours was noticeably cooler and drearier than usual this year — I hate when that happens. I kept hoping for a heat wave that, dammit, never materialized.

And now snow. The wind blows it around in clouds, like big, white tumbleweeds. It’s a depressing and chilling sight. I can’t look, not now. Maybe in March. Snowfall doesn’t bother me much in March, since I know its days are numbered. But here in November? It’s a terrible thing to see, a bad omen, and a very unpromising late fall development. Officially, winter is still a month away. It’s not scheduled to start until 11:48 p.m. EST, December 21st.

Gosh, this is peachy. Winter’s early and summer was a no-show. Why couldn’t it have been the other way around? Stoopid, crappy winter.

Um, question: how do I get to wifi without actually stepping foot outside?


copyright © 2015 publikworks

: coming soon :

bowler_hatHang on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, a new theme is in the planning stage.

Against my better judgment and through no fault of my own — heh, imagine that — an overhaul of publikworks has become necessary. Unfortunately, the latest Firefox update brought a bug, a glitch, something squirrelly to the theme. Now when you visit using Firefox, the post titles display all weird, oddly spaced and wonky. It’s very unsightly.

So bear with me. The search is on for an exciting new design. Again. I’m hoping for better luck this time around; I’m already narrowing down the choices. This could actually turn out to be delightfully serendipitous or, sure, a total freaking disaster. Either way, it’s something new and disasters are good entertainment for onlookers.

Thank you for your support.


copyright © 2015 publikworks

: what a buzzkill looks like :


Do not be fooled. Long pants look harmless, but they suck the life out of everything. Biking, for example, devolves from exhilarating to desultory in trousers. Everything does. Wearing shorts, on the other hand, brings freedom and reckless abandon. We’re more carefree in short pants. Seriously. Shorts reduce stress.

Clothing often has that affect; what we wear influences our behavior. Neckties are to men what heels are to women, ever-present reminders to act like grown-ups. They’re the equivalent of shackles. And no fun. We look nice all gussied up, sure, distinguished and proper, but that’s not us. We can carry it off in quick bursts, get dressed up, put on airs and haul out the old table manners, but we’re happiest in elastic waistbands. Admit it.

Shorts, at least, can be worn in public and look as if you put some thought into getting dressed. Which makes them perfect; comfortable and presentable. But now they’re stored away in mothballs, along with my beloved bike. It’s back to grim reality and motorized transportation and pants. Bleeeech.

Pants is a dumb word, you know? And slacks is godawful. In fact, now that I think of it, slacks is my least favorite word in the entire English language. Not because of what it means, but because it sounds oily and effete. Effete, there’s another word I avoid using. Except here, in a double-barreled shot of scorn aimed at long pants. I’d bet Truman Capote said slacks rather than trousers or pants, he was a pretentious, la-di-da type.

Shorts are perfect for all things, with two notable exceptions: winter and falling off bikes. UPS drivers, lifeguards, mail carriers, Bart Simpson, they have the life — a life of knee-bared exuberance. You don’t see cops strolling the beat in shorts.* Or cracking a smile, either. ‘Nuff said.


copyright © 2015 publikworks

* Unless you’re in Bermuda. Police there wear shorts constantly. Heck, bermuda means shorts. Bermuda + shorts = Bermuda shorts.

: a happy ending :

happy danceGetting out of bed in the morning is a part-time job. My knees ache, my neck is stiff, my back hurts, I’m snappish and lethargic and useless. Um, is that news?

Only to me; I’m not decrepit. I ride a bike, walk, choose stairs over elevators, heck, I tote that barge and lift that bale. But lately I’ve been a tired, run-down mess, it’s a struggle just putting one foot in front of the other. I’m constantly on the lookout for a comfortable chair and someone to yell at. Then it dawned on me: I’m not falling apart. I need thyroid medication.

It’s been a month since the prescription ran out and my doctor refused to renew it without tests and office visits I can’t afford. The month also brought an unexpected death in my family, so I’ve been distracted and heartbroken and otherwise engaged. The thyroid deal wasn’t even on the radar until it popped up alongside the myriad complaints. So I finally decided to suck it up, raise the white flag, and call the doctor.

I made the first call around 10 Friday morning, but was shot to voicemail and told to leave a message. So I tried again at 10:30; again leave a message. 11:00, leave a message. 11:30, leave a message. I left a message, all right. It wasn’t pretty, it was pointed and concise and got results.

Long story short, my prescription’s been renewed and I feel better already. A blood test is scheduled for late December, to allow time for my thyroid levels to readjust, and will be followed by an office visit in mid-February. Which is what I’d asked for originally, spreading things out, doing it in stages instead of one inordinately expensive clump. Suddenly, that’s fine, perfectly acceptable. Sure, after a pointless month of anxiety, enfeeblement, and general pissiness. Oy.

My naturally sunny disposition will return forthwith. Please stand by.

happy sun

copyright © 2015 publikworks

: true junk culture :

What do you know? Life still has a few surprises up its sleeve. Shopping carts, for example. In the right hands, those rolling, shimmying stainless steel contraptions become absolutely stunning works of art. Bright, shiny, functional furniture. Minimalist showpieces.Reijnders copy

The right hands, in this case, belong to Dutch designer Etienne Reijnders. He describes himself as a ‘headstrong designer who especially loves to walk the road of sidetracks.’ Great, now I’m in love. Those non-traditionalist types leave me weak in the knees.

No white picket fences for me. Give me a shopping cart love seat and I’ll follow you anywhere. Parking lot, street corner or bus shelter. Park bench or Park Avenue. Wherever, I’ll be yours forever. The recliner, too, is quite a handsome piece. Better, in my opinion, than a throne. They’re all gorgeous.

shopping cart

I envy any mind that can look at a shopping cart and see a table. Or a chair. Although the chair requires a shorter leap of imagination, considering we were all strapped in the confining and uncomfortable child’s seat at least once in our lifetimes. Not anymore — heh, as if we could fit — now we can spread out in luxury. They’re rumored to be unexpectedly comfortable.

It’s genius, all right, but I miss the wheels.


copyright © 2015 publikworks

: stink bomb vs. bupkis :


I’ve wrestled with this forever and still can’t decide which is the more distasteful option: publishing a half-assed piece or none at all. Those are my choices and I don’t know which one is harder to live with. I want a third choice.

Well, maybe it’s all relative, depending on how half-assed. If the piece is the usual yattering nonsense, meh, I can deal with that. But if it’s a stinking, steaming pile of lousy, the alternative, that’s regrettable. And a shade worse than none at all.

The problem is you can’t tell the difference; you can only trust your instincts and I don’t. My intuition is on the blink. It’s never really worked right and constantly plays tricks with my mind. See, by the time I’ve finished writing and revising, I’m a little in love with the thing — misshapen and unlovely though it may be — I’ve lost all perspective.

Writing is a crapshoot, that much I know. Sometimes it’s the little piffling ideas that burst into life like fireworks, while big, exciting ones crumple into dust, fizzling and wheezing. It’s impossible to predict their course; every idea is perfect at first blush. They’re like kids that way, filled with possibility and destiny until you start messing around with them. Guiding them, nurturing them, screwing them up.

They can turn ugly in a flash or blossom into breathtaking loveliness. Either way, they’re yours and you have to love them, it’s in the rulebook. But it’s not always easy — ideas are harsh, demanding creatures. You sacrifice for them, protect them, mold them, love them, and then they punch you in the heart. Thoughtless ingrates, that’s what they are, but welcome nonetheless.

Seems like a lot trouble and effort to invest in what might be a nonstarter, doesn’t it? But that’s what we do. We write. Come Hell or high water or misguided idea. We scribble on.

So here’s to the stink bombs. May they live long and prosper.


copyright © 2015 publikworks