You remember how fucking magical closets were as a kid?

Didn’t need to be a big closet or a fancy closet. It could just be a tiny coat closet or a small pantry. Double sliding hollow doors, or a thick old door with a mirror attahed. Didn’t really matter.

It was a closet. It held power.

Your parent’s closet, especially — it was this world full of adult things and smells. Your parent’s closet held all the secrets. It was a land far away. It was your favorite hiding place.

You felt safe there amungst your mom’s dresses or dad’s dress shirts. It smelled like them, but not them them…

My grandfather, Pasquale ‘Pat’ Castaldo, anytime after 1991, would ask me every single time I’d see him, if I lived anywhere near Walla Walla.

“Patrick,” he’d start in, “Walla Walla, Washington — you live near there?”

I was living in Olympia at the time — a little over five hours away on the other side of the state. The maroon 1974 Dodge Dart I had at the time would likely not make it over the mountain pass, so I never even considered it.

Also, what’s in Walla Walla, anyway?

“I knew a guy in the navy from Walla Walla,” Grandpa…

What a difference two years makes.

Last time I wrote about Sean Tejaratchi’s amazing Crap Hounds, it was to talk about how the numbering worked. How issue #6 was actually #1, how #9 contained both #2 and #3, and how, technically, issue #10 was a book and not an issue at all.

It was a mess, honestly, and so now I’m writing to tell you: There are no more numbers. There are also four new issues!

“But Pat,” you’re probably thinking, “How am I gonna be able to tell them apart without numbers? How do I tell if I have the latest and greatest?!”

Well, dear…

Vern Rumsey, I’ll miss you.

I just got the text and like so many of my friends, didn’t actually believe it.

I was instantly back in my apartment above Drees, hearing him call up, “Pat! Pat!” to the open window, holding a 12-pack of whatever was on sale at Safeway. “I’ll come down and open the door, just a minute.”

“Oh, you brought us beer,” I say to him, smiling, as I push open the heavy glass door open and let him in.

He looks at me, sheepishly and fully Vern-ly, with that smile he had where his jaw would clench a little and his…

I went to the VA Nursing home last month, my entire extended family did, to celebrate my Grandmother’s 100th birthday. She’s a “tough old broad” — her words, not mine. She’s in full possession of her faculties, and able to zip around the home faster than anyone.

My grandmother was one of the first women to sign up for The Women’s Army Corps during World War II. “All five of my brothers were doing it, so I wasn’t going to let them go without me.” Her other two sisters stayed behind.

She’s surrounded by other veterans, some even as young…

All issues of the seminal graphic design magazine by Sean Tejaratchi are now back in print for the first time ever.

Established in 1994, Crap Hound is the seminal mixture of social commentary and somewhat overindulgent graphic design zine edited and designed by Sean Tejaratchi. Sean is more recently known for his excellent work creating LiarTownUSA.

Between a brief introduction and the end credits, Crap Hound is pure imagery.

Each page is filled with high-contrast art, carefully taken from vintage catalogs, advertising, obscure books, and found ephemera. Laid out as they are by Sean’s expert hand, each issue creates an…

Okay, it’s not really me. And it’s not really my friend.

But when my friend (who looks uncannily like the little spoon) sent it to me, I couldn’t stop laughing, it is us.

I haven’t been able to identify the artist yet, but I love the work, and love that entire advertising panels in Swedish subways are dedicated to art like that.

UPDATE: It’s Liv Strömquist’s work. Detailed here:

(Thanks to Reid Beels for letting me know!)

Three years after I decided to go electric, I turned it in at the end of the lease.

I liked this car. I liked it alot.

I had leased it instead of buying it because electric cars were on the verge of the affordable 200-mile range barrier, and I wanted to be sure if anything went wrong with it while I had it, it was on them.

I was covered by free towing and service the whole time I owned it — but I never used either. Going into this whole thing, I thought running out of charge due to…

My friend Jessica asked me to write a piece for the zine series Personal Best. Alien She is a traveling art exhibit that features pieces from artists and activists that explores how Riot Grrrl continues to impact them.

I’ve talked myself out of writing this several times, mostly because I kept asking myself “Does the world really need a man’s perspective on Riot Grrl?” and answering “No, of course it doesn’t.”

But the thing is, I really don’t think I’d be who I am without it.

I feel incredibly lucky to have grown up — not from the little-kid-to-adult-kind, but…

Kids are pretty amazing and I have hope for the future.

My wife told me “we have to go to Vinnie’s science fair tonight,” and I just let out a huge, audible sigh. It was a long day and I wasn’t really feeling the walk up to the middle school in the rain to look at an exhibit I saw him crank out in the last minute.

An exhibit that he didn’t really want to do, and only got finished with constant pressuring and a last minute trip to the office for supplies and heavy use of the color printer.

I didn’t really feel like going, too, because I don’t remember…

Pat Castaldo

I often wear plaid shirts.

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