After two years of growing out my hair, I finally got it cut.

I’d been lazy about cutting it for a few extra weeks and discovered it was more curly than expected.  Upon realizing this I decided to see what it would look like longer.  Two years and almost twelve inches wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I started, but it was a fun experiment.

2003: An earlier attempt at long hair

For this round of hair growth I’d discovered a high school friend and his wife had grown out their hair for donation.  He too had lost family to cancer (for him it was his sister, for me it was my father) and seeing their photo sparked the idea to do the same.

As I near 40, I’m starting to see more and more friends and acquaintances impacted by cancer and chemo – people all younger than me.  Whether it’s aplastic anemia, stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, successfully fighting tumors for seven years, or, in one case, not winning the battle, it just felt like the right thing to do.  The hair will be going to a program run by Pantene for women with cancer.

It turned out to be a bigger commitment than I realized.  I can’t say my wife was a fan.  While she was supportive of the idea of donation, having a husband with curly footlong hair was not anticipated.  I remember a specific conversation just before we started dating nine years ago about her disdain for men and long hair.

Beyond that, there were some logistical issues as well.  With a newborn in the house, I quickly discovered long hair gets pulled and straight into his mouth.

My wife and daughter similarly have long hair.  Our floors started looking like tumbleweeds blowing through the desert.  It was constantly getting caught in my laptop bag strap.

Then there were the looks.  I found people either didn’t care or were very intrigued by my hair.  A woman walked up to me at an event and told me I had “beautiful curly hair.”  In a hardware store it was more of a “what’s up with this person?” sort of look.

While I don’t think I’ll ever get the support to do it again, I at least now know what it’s like to have significantly longer hair.  I may sneak an inch or two extra from where it is today, but it’s doubtful you’ll see me with hair past my shoulders again anytime soon.

Good Taco Hunting

Saturday Night Live recently had a sketch with Casey Affleck playing the stereotypical New England Dunkin Donuts customer.  It jogged my memory of a celebrity meeting that happened over a decade ago.

I’ve had the chance to meet or talk to a few famous people over the years.  There are concert and record signing meetings; Wilco and Gillian Welch come to mind.  I once met the artists Christo and Jeanne Claude in a secretive appearance at my alma mater.  Then there were the times I walked by Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips and Henry Rollins in separate incidents on Congress Street in Portland, Maine.  I talked to Henry (we’re on a first name basis, clearly) about how much I liked him on Sons of Anarchy.  He looked at me kind of funny when I said it.  He was playing a neo-Nazi and I just told him how much I liked the character.  Oops.

My family and I met then-Vice President George H. W. Bush at his house in Kennebunkport, Maine when I was 6 or 7 years old.  My father was a cop and he’d invited various people from law enforcement to his house as a thank you.  I played Atari and horseshoes and swam in his salt water pool.  We had some Coke together, too.  Pretty sure it was Coke Classic, not the new formula released around that time.

So why mention all of this?  The Dunkin Donuts sketch reminded me of a time I went to Anna’s Taqueria in the Boston area.  I was visiting some friends and we decided to grab a bite to eat.  As we made our way in, a man and women were headed out.  He was tall, broad shouldered, scruffy, and wearing a dark hat and some Carhartt gear.  He bumped into my friend and quietly apologized.  The woman was in head-to-toe pink winter outwear and appeared to have a shaven head (though we debated this fact).  While it didn’t click for my friends, I realized immediately it was Ben Affleck.  He was dressed and groomed almost identically to his brother in the Dunkin Donuts video.  I guess you can take the man out of Boston, but not the Boston out of the man.

What celebrities have you met or seen in person?


Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

I’ve always been a bit of an insomniac.  And with that affliction comes some really odd TV watching.

In middle and high school it was Tom Baker-era Doctor Who reruns on PBS, Dream On and Tales from the Crypt on HBO, and Friday the 13th: The Series (which had nothing to do with Jason Vorhees or Camp Crystal Lake).
One of my favorite late-night discoveries came a few years later in the form of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.  It was essentially a pastiche of low budget British programs, Stephen King-esque storylines, a hospital soap, and behind-the-scenes documentary all in one.  Oddly, it shares some ideas with Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital (based on Lars Von Trier’s Riget/The Kingdom) from the same year (namely a haunted hospital).

It’s hard to describe… it’s a show within a show with the actors reminiscing about their now forgotten work.  It’s gory, purposefully offensive and dumb, and just kind of brilliant.  If the behind the scenes interviews hadn’t been included, I’m not sure it would have worked as well as it did.

Instead of trying to describe it, you can watch the first episode:

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Although I’m posting this as the day draws to close for me, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention today is Transgender Day of Remembrance.  I’ve wanted to write about this topic for a long while and Transgender Awareness Week is as good a time as any.

Continue reading Transgender Day of Remembrance

A Thousand Miles Behind

I’m headed to see David Gray tonight, who I’ve seen many times. It made me curious. Who are some artists you’ve seen frequently? Also, what was your first concert?

My first concert was to see Partners in Kryme perform Turtle Power from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  Adam Ant also performed and I learned about lip syncing.

Album referenced: A Thousand Miles Behind