Priorities change sometimes, y’know?




So this blog’s traffic stats for December have been, quite understandably, pretty grim.

After churning out far more than 100,000 words over the past 12 months, I seem to have hit a little bit of a wall. I’ve posted at a steady clip in the year since I kicked off Crawfin’ USA, but it’s down to a trickle lately.

That sits in the back of my mind far more than I care to admit, and while I don’t actually think there are people clamoring for my latest bullshit, I do have goals to meet.

But sometimes, man, priorities change.


And we’ve come full circle


What am I getting myself into?

What am I getting myself into?

The photo above is the first real view I had of Augusta. It’s the parking lot of the Senator Inn and Spa, where my future employers put me up for the night when I came to visit.

I snapped that photo out of sheer incredulity, because it was the most snow I’d ever seen in my life by a long shot. I sent it to a friend back home, as if to say, “could my old home and my potential new home be any more of a contrast?”

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the day I made the move here. I stepped off the Concord coach at 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon, with the sun having already long since set.


Ferguson shooting prompts Maine immigrant’s exploration of white male privilege

IMG_8952It’s not my normal week to write a column, but I was inspired by some happenings in the news on Monday and pitched this to my editors.

I had to run it by the powers that be because it’s somewhat more serious in subject matter, and I was concerned about its potential to piss people off.

It didn’t turn out as controversial as I had envisioned, and I’m not terribly happy with it, but perhaps you’ll like it, or at least see my point.


Plenty to be thankful for

Thanksgiving: Pour Your Own Beers edition

Thanksgiving: Pour Your Own Beers edition

I’ve sat staring at a blinking cursor for a good 10 minutes, eyes glazed over, wondering where to start writing. I think I’m still in a turkey coma.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, of course, and I ate and drank my body weight – not a small sum, let me tell you – in great food and great booze. (more…)

You can’t go home again II: The almighty dollar

That’s a lotta beers, you guys. Or, like, groceries?

Yesterday before work, I drove out to Belfast, a town about 45 minutes away on Maine’s mid-coast.

Of course, given my well-publicized feelings on being behind the wheel, there had to have been a good incentive for me to make that trip before going in to the office.

If you guessed “beer,” you’d be correct. I went to pick up some of Marshall Wharf‘s Deep Purple rauchbier – my Maine House boss’s favorite, since I’m a suck-up – for Thanksgiving dinner.

When I got to the tasting room, I ordered two half-gallon growlers of the stuff, and mentally prepared myself to hear the pricetag. Based on my experiences with growlers at home, I was expecting to hear somewhere upwards of $70, including the cost of the bottle itself.

“That’ll be $32.13.”

“…are you serious? Alright, give me two more then.”

And that’s basically the microcosm of why I may never return home on a permanent basis.


Out of my comfort zone, in my comfort zone

The place is a little nice to have let my type of riff-raff in, no?

It’s Friday at 5:00 p.m. and, with six hours left until my work week finishes, I’m flagging a little bit. I didn’t get to bed until nearly 3:00 a.m.

I mean, I can hardly complain: the reason for my late finish was because I spent three hours in a bar last night with dozens upon dozens of college kids, many of them attractive young women.

The kicker, of course, is that I wasn’t mingling (or worse) with the future leaders of tomorrow. I was on the other side of the counter, working my ass off to enable their Thursday night buzz.

Me behind the bar. My life takes some strange turns. But it’s given me a totally new perspective and appreciation for a culture I’ve long loved about the U.S.


The cords that bind us all

That's...that's a lotta wood, right there.

That’s…that’s a lotta wood, right there. It will become obvious what this is about.

Guess what yesterday was? Another column Sunday. But unlike most of my published stuff, the topic was a little more sensitive than the usual “bumbling through cultural differences” affair.

I wrote a version of this piece a few months ago, and was intending to keep it off the blog and save it for the book (which is literally going nowhere right now) because it reveals more than a little bit of vulnerability. GOD FORBID. Essentially it’s about the difficult adjustment that comes with making good, reliable friends from scratch, after having lived in one place all my life.

Over the six months between April, when I originally penned this, and now, obviously my situation has changed somewhat and I’ve got the benefit of a little bit of hindsight.

So read on for a glimpse into my psyche. Be gentle with me.


A mug for a mug

Each one of those tally marks represents $4. PRIORITIES.

Each one of those tally marks represents $4. PRIORITIES.

As evidenced by my history of column writing, sporadic blog posting and, in another life, grading university students’ papers the night before they’re due to be returned, I work best under deadline pressure.

In most cases, this brings out the best in me. The adrenaline flows, my brain kicks into a higher gear, and I end up producing something of a reasonable enough quality to be published in an actual newspaper.

But I’ve got a different sort of deadline looming, in one month’s time from today’s date. My brain will be in a considerably lower gear, and the only thing flowing will be bullshit.

You may have figured it out already: I’ve got 30 days to drink 47 pints.


Reader Questions III: Anniversary edition


I don't always celebrate with cheap sparkling, but ... oh yeah I do. Shit.

I don’t always celebrate with cheap sparkling, but … oh yeah I do. Shit.

Today (Down Under) marks one year since I got the good news: I had been approved for a green card.

As such, the second Tuesday in November will always live on in my memory: a day that quite literally changed the course of my life.

To mark such a momentous occasion, I’m finally getting around to aggregating a bunch of your questions that I solicited a week or two ago.

In related news, I’ve been kinda lazy on the writing front. In other related news, the first and second editions of this little segment are here and here.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s what my readers are curious about lately.


After the honeymoon: Reflections on the first year


It’s almost been 12 months since I immigrated. I can’t get my head around that.

As I’ve always said, this blog was intended first and foremost to be a strong record of the green card lottery process for other Aussies looking to take the plunge.

Along the way I’ve met a handful of other people creating similar bodies of work, to help hopeful immigrants navigate the red tape and culture shock.

One of those people, a chap named Simon, runs a tight ship over at, which hosts a veritable treasure trove of immigration information.

Simon got in touch with me a couple of weeks ago to see if I’d do an email interview with him, and I quote, “to see what life in the USA as a Green Card holder has been like after the honeymoon period.”

I thought that was a pretty cool idea, and something I’ve toyed with over the last few months (and now I can’t do because it’d just be blatant plagiarism), so I agreed.

And while many of these responses will be familiar, or even repetitive, to you regular readers, some of the answers (after the jump) came as a little bit of a surprise, even to me.