Archive for the ‘Maine’ Category



May 30, 2008

Goodbye Maine.  I love you dearly.  The fact that you never really warmed up consistently and insisted on blowing cold wind right up until the end of May is but a pimple on the nose of my adoration, and I am choosing to look beyond it.

I put 370 miles on the car today, and am currently in Utica, where there is a Wendy’s Restaurant and a fire raging about 10 blocks away that has made the air here smell like a giant woodburning stove.

Rather sad, about the Maine, but also rather joyful about the Chicago.

Not joyful about the remaining 830 miles. Send nice thoughts.


the circus

April 27, 2008

My friend Paula is doing her second radio piece about a circus that came through Portland.  She sent me a text message on her first day hanging out with the circus people.  It said, simply:


She had to get more tape, so yesterday she drove up to Augusta, where the circus had moved on to, and I tagged along to meet the people she’s been working with.  My favorite was Svenson, who has a goat act.  Keep an eagle eye on those goats.  One of them might be eating your jeans.


a picture post

April 24, 2008

In the last 48 hours I’ve had several emails from people wanting to know about the lack of an update, and I know – it’s been a little quiet on this site in the last week, not because I didn’t have things to write about, but mostly because doing something creative would really have gotten in the way of all of my massive anxiety. I mean, I could put my energy into blogging, but the panic is really going well for me right now, and I’d hate to fuck that up.


DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH WORK THERE IS LEFT TO DO? DO YOU? DO YOU? Because if you do, and if you are completely freaking out and losing your shit, well that’s fabulous – come sit by me and have a beer. Maybe four.

I still need to restructure my first radio piece, and I’ve only just started making headway on my second piece. It was supposed to be about Maine accents, but now it’s about the Patriot’s Day Storm of 2007 – the worst storm to hit Maine in 12 years. Today I spent the morning with a couple who lost their beloved summer cottage that they’ve had in the family for 42 years – the one they brought their kids and grandkids to – and I know I’m supposed to be an outside observer, a non-emotional documentarian, but when this couple started describing the home they’d lost, all of the memories washed out to sea, well, um, you’d have gotten a little choked up too.

Anyway, so by the by, I took pictures today of the little town where I’ve been working. Words cannot express how tiny and pretty it is and how “old Maine” it feels, so the pictures are gonna have to do.


a little story

April 16, 2008

So I have to admit that my little trip home to Chicago a week and a half ago, super quick though it was, made me a little home sick. Chicago was warm and sunny and full of familiar things and good friends and I was very much all, “Hey Chicago! I miss you! I’m here! Maine ain’t all that, it’s you I love!” Even the crazy wacked out scary man at the bus stop who looked like he might want to kill me dead didn’t deter me from my little moment of urban adoration.

But then I got back here, and I was all, “ok Portland, you’re cute too, even though you are totally kicking my ass right now and I’m totally exhausted, but you have sea gulls and a big bay and brick paved streets and drivers who stop for pedestrians and people who smile, so maybe you’re not so bad.”

Anyway, this is all just sort of a lumpy little intro into telling y’all about the trash here. Portland is very SERIOUS about their trash and recycling. It all had to be explained to me when I got here. All recyclables go in one big blue plastic bin – all of it – paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, and no separating. You don’t even have to clean out your cans and bottles. The city comes around once a week and empties out your bin and takes it away.

On the same day they come and get your trash, and all trash has to be in official blue “City of Portland” trash bags. No Hefty Bags for the Portlanders. These bags have to be bought specially. They’re not cheap either, a parcel of 30 bags costs about $8.00. I think the cost of the bags underwrites the cost of trash removal…

Anyway, I bought more bags this week and the new lot were gray bags – all the old bags were blue bags. No big deal, I’m thinking, they’ve changed the color. Well, last night I put out my trash, along with all my neighbors, and this morning all their trash was gone, and my little gray trash bag was still there. Rejected by the trash men.

Evidence, below. One lone trash bag sitting atop my empty recycling bin.

I call the city (the number is nicely printed on the outside of the bag) and a nice woman says, “you have the wrong color, you need to call Rite Aid and tell them they sold you the wrong bags.” So I call Rite Aid. Rite Aid calls the Person in Charge of City Trash, and it turns out they changed the color and their trash men were supposed to know this and take the gray bags, but their trash men weren’t paying attention, and now I have a bag of trash on my curb.

So – and here is why I’m telling you this story – I go into Rite Aid and the manager says, “here is the cell phone number for the man in charge of Portland trash, he told me to tell you to call him and he’s going to help you.” So I call this man, very nice man, name of Ernie – (love that) – and I say Ernie, what can I do?

And Ernie says, “don’t you worry, we messed up, I’M GOING TO COME GET YOUR TRASH PERSONALLY.”

And then…wait for it…ERNIE CAME AND GOT MY TRASH PERSONALLY. And he shook my hand and told me how sorry he was that his trash guys didn’t pick up my trash and that it wouldn’t happen again.

Ohhhh Maine, I’m sorry that I cheated on you with Chicago last week. Chicago wouldn’t have come to get my trash, Chicago would have told me to suck it.  MAINE: You have been redeemed by your trash man.



April 8, 2008

I didn’t want to post this recording until after it had debuted on the Katie Mac Show, but in case you missed the announcement from an earlier entry, I’d like you all to know that the MOXIE HAS BEEN CONSUMED. I think it’s the Maine equivalent of drinking the kool-aid. Without, you know, the mass suicide and stuff.

The voices you’ll hear are the new friends who originally told me about moxie – the same ones who wanted to witness the consumption when I said I was actually intending to go buy some.

We talk a lot in school about the importance of “active tape” – i.e. tape where someone is actually doing something rather than just talking about it. This is active tape. My teachers would be appalled by the editing, AS AM I, but it was a quick and dirty job, done in Audacity, and…well…here you have it:

The Drinking of the Moxie.mp3


officially mooseless

April 2, 2008

Spent a great afternoon researching the Maine Accent at the Maine Folklife Center today, but 3 hours up and 3 hours back make for a tired me.

Just north of Waterville, about 70 miles from Portland, saw a sign on the side of the road:



There was also just the cutest little Moose picture on that sign. While I’m not entirely stupid, and well aware that the last place you want to see a moose is coming through your windshield, I should admit that there was a definite moment of YES!!!! Combined with a requisite degree of much excitement. But, sadly, though I kept my eyes peeled for the mooses, there were none to be seen. What about trying a little truth in advertising there, Maine? A better sign would be:


Another good sign would be, “Olympia Snow is a Senator, not a Mountain Range, so don’t embarrass yourself.”


Moxie Makes Mainers Mighty

April 1, 2008

Did you know that used to be the advertising slogan?  OH YES!

Feeling very mighty, I am pleased to tell you that THE MOXIE HAS BEEN CONSUMED.

I even ate another Red Hot Dog, to complete the experience.

The event was recorded and my virgin encounter with the official soft drink of Maine will be the next Anne on the Street piece for The Katie Mac Show.

I’ll be there too!  Barring any flaming fuselage, I will be in Chicago this weekend, and if I didn’t have to get on a plane to get there, I would be even more excited than I am now.  Thank god xanax and I are such close friends.