Monday, December 21, 2009

"Life this Past Week", or "Almost Christmas!?!"

I mean, the title pretty much covers what I wanted to cover. I feel like list form my work best with my mind right now. So here's a list of things from tonight:

1) Snow! So fun.
2) Shepherds
3) Pecan Pie
4) Ore and brick
5) Banjo
6) Goodbye Jon and Adam
7) Warmer States
8) Muppets

The end of the list. I'll post more coherently soon, but in the interest of building habits, i have posted this tonight. Goodnight.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And Washed The Spider Out

Do I complain about weather too much? Maybe. And I don't want to be that person that's complaining about weather all the time (I want weather to be the thing I'm comfortable bringing up when I find myself in unexpected conversations with the elderly). But the thing is, New York's weather has a general and I'm even willing to say, inconsiderate lack of subtlety. There's not many gentle, peaceful rains (perhaps the pacific northwest owns the market here) and it's never really a light breeze. It's gross rain (yes gross) that your broken, $7 umbrella can't protect against because it's blowing sideways at your legs. And then you have wet feet, and no one likes wet feet. Because that leads to cold feet. And then you're less prone to do fun things, plus you might catch a dual diagnosis of athlete's foot and pneumonia. It just seems like New York and nature are navigating a perpetually rocky relationship between two type A personalities.

Also, when it's raining outside, don't go to Trader Joe's and buy two bags worth of groceries that go into paper bags. Because you can't carry the umbrella you don't have and the bags will disintegrate inadvertantly leading to the loss of your 30 day metrocard. Just sayin' is all.

Ok, it's official. I was spoiled by the California weather. I admit it. Yes, sometimes the lack of weather change felt a bit dull, and maybe it's just a case of the grass is greener on the other coast (though, I'm pretty sure New York is in the literal sense much much greener), but longboarding down 6th St from Molino to Obispo on a bright sunny morning- there's not much to complain about there. Ok, I'm done complaining, at least cyber-complaining about weather. Because, who wants to read that guy's blog. I miss you CA, or at least, I think fondly of you sometimes.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Songs For This Morning (new things that aren't new)

This post is largely related to some newly discovered music that I put on my little rectangle music player. And sometimes songs just feel right. This morning the shuffle fates have sent me these. Look em up. Read the lyrics. Enjoy.

Friend of Mine- The National
I was initially shown this song by my friend Matt Wingo up in Alaska. Music was such a strong link to memories and people. It was instantly poignant, but besides that I have never given the pre-"Boxer" album, "Alligator" much of a listen. I'm listening now. They definitely hit their stride with "Boxer" but it's worthwhile to see what led up to that. The sound is not as refined, not as subtle, not as subdued, but the low, rich vocals and acute, urban angst are unmistakable. It's the one that came before The One for them, and there are most definitely a few gems.

California Stars- Billy Bragg and Wilco
Originally written by Woody Guthrie, this song was redone by Billy Bragg and Wilco for the Mermaid Avenue album. It's perfect for thinking about home (Long Beach), and the album as a whole acts as an excellent buffer for New York. It's fanciful and meandering, and it brings California into the best of light (No, you never could see many stars from LA, but in my nostalgia, I'm willing to overlook this fact). It hit harder than usual on this particular morning. Head on over to my friend Laurel's blog at It will make sense why.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's a bit late. So I haven't much for a creative blog post. But the cold has come. Surrounded by clearly frozen drains, I watched my spit freeze on the ground as I spoke with a friend on the phone outside the subway tonight. We're at a balmy 26 degrees here folks. Wind chill included, I'd say that puts us at, well, damn cold. I know, I know, I grew up in Minnesota. I grew up in Colorado. Well, 26 degrees is cold there too. And yes, there is a certain degree of relativity that goes along with temperatures (my California friends putting their two cents in about their arctic dip into the 50s). I get that. I'm not saying I am the most objectively, validly cold person to ever live. I'm just saying that I am, in all my subjectivity, cold toed, cold fingered, cold eared, and in general right now, cold.

So you might see me wearing puffin (my gloriously named puffy down coat from Alaskan summers past) soon, and you might hear me swearing on the street as the wind whips through the wind-tunneling avenues, and yes, I might be more inclined to have another glass of wine inside rather than to go out in to the frigid night air. I promise, I'll adjust. I just might not go quietly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ain't It Just Like the Night

In "Visions of Johanna", when Bob Dylan says "and the heat pipes just cough", he was talking about number 6 here on 127th St. And it's no "tut, tut I've caught a bit of a cold". It is a deep and thick pneumonia which plagues our heat pipes, and they clang and struggle for every breath.
The sound is weirdly impressive. I'm told it's just water in the pipes, but I still kinda don't believe it. It sounds more like someone in the apartment below us is trying to send avante-garde, Morse code messages to the people two apartments above us, using a wrench and an aluminum baseball bat. After about one clang, the sound just becomes alarmingly annoying.

The first time I heard the sound, I was pleasantly (or at least that's how I imagine my unconscious self) asleep on my mattress on the floor of my bedroom. Surfacing from deep and stuporous sleep, I quickly formulated several theories:

1) some trees between the buildings were banging on the fire escape.
2) someone is doing an incredibly non-stealthly job stealing the not very much we have in our apartment.
3) a person with metal, un-jointed limbs was climbing up the fire escape to break into our apartment.

I can't say I was in full commitment to theory #3, but it was certainly the most interesting to think about, and seemed to most match the sound. The key then, I've found is to fall asleep between coughing fits. Which is where I'm off to right now. Sandman, here I come.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Back in Business

So, I clearly fit into the category of not writing here very often. I aspire be better though. And so, here is what I'm deciding is my back in business post. Enjoy.

The Post:

I made soup. It was so-we-have-some-stuff-left-over-from-our-awesome-thanksgiving-dinner soup. So it had potatoes, leaks, asparagus, carrots, and celery in it. It was tasted well enough, and maybe more importantly was filling. And the potatoes had nice texture.

Also, I think I have just discovered that I do not like writing the word "tasty". Learn something everday, right?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

run run running

I try and go running in the morning a few days a week. So far it has always been enjoyable. I don't really keep track of how far I'm running; of what time I start and stop; of where my heart rate peaks. It just feels good to move. I love the morning sun, and I love the feeling that under my own stress and strain, I am in motion. I think physical motion encourages the mental, emotional, spiritual sides of me to be in motion- running is like grease in the gears for the rest of my being. Like I said, it is typically enjoyable, but some days stand out above others.

The sun was strong this morning. It's yellow light slanted through the trees, the resulting shadows tall and stretched on the pavement. It seemed less diffused by the atmosphere- more pure in it's exhibition and vigorous for the journey ahead. And so not to be outdone, and always ready for an adventure with the sun, the sky blazed comparable excitement, draping over the earth it's most royal, soft endless blue. the clouds were distinct. they tumbled about carefree and joyous, some more boisterous than others. their dark undersides rolled about to move into the gleaming sunshot outline, and then back to the calm grey shadowy side. southern california does not often afford such mornings of distinction, and so when they occur they are always striking.

the air was cool as i ran. telephone lines oscillated in slow rolling swells as i passed by their poles. the palm trees above me nodded. birds on the sidewalk fluttered away to a few feet in front of me, only to have to flutter away again. i went passed trees that had twisted around each other. i swore i could almost see the muscle twitching just beneath their thin skin bark, wrapped up in their display of brutish beauty. the ocean was brooding, showing only blue and darker blue in it's contemplation. i'd look up at the sun. it always runs with me, moving past the tips of houses and always coming out on the other side of apartment complexes. the sun is a huge powerful mystery. i like to call it friend, but i think my relation to the sun is more one of awe than it is of commonality. perhaps i am just an admirer, and grateful that the sun runs too.

it's mornings like this that it makes total sense to me why nature is personified in so many cultures and religions. what better way to explain it; to explain the emotional connection it seems to have with us (or at least me). something about it all evokes a sense of perspective in me, helps me see that I am not causing the world, but that it is wonderful and beautiful to be a part of it's happening. see, there's nothing like running (and also, i was listening to Devotchka's "How It Ends", the latest albumn of preference for my morning jaunts) to inspire some good thought.

so if you happen to be in long beach right now, go outside. look up for a while. look around you. listen and then look and then breath. you won't be sorry.

Monday, April 6, 2009

whale facts #1

This summer while I was in Alaska, a poster featuring the whales of the world mysteriously appeared in the Bear Den (our mess hall). Being the sensory deprived fishermen we were, a game developed. Rules were simple, and unclear: we'd reach a consensus about who got to pick the whale of the day. That person, then picks the whale of the day and reads the facts about that whale. Brilliant, I know.

Well, I recently came across a couple great whale facts, so I christen this my first whale facts post. Enjoy.

A blue whale's heart is the size of a small car, and a human could fit through the major arteries connecting to the heart.

Enough said. Thanks blue whale.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the joys of catering

I'm walking around with a tray of hors d'oeuvres: crustini topped with smoked salmon salsa drizzled with horseradish sauce. Suddenly I realize I have just walked within earshot of the perfect schmooze- the non-funny statement, timed like a joke.

"You're going to put more miles on your car than you did on the flight-" Two to three seconds pause; the group let's the non-funny funniness sink in. All at once, hearty monotonous laughter erupts from all those present. Schmooze status: complete, no longer pending. It's all textbook.

And so I keep passing hors d'oeuvres.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

So I started a blog...

...and I'm the first one to do it. You know I am. You know you wish you had a blog, and that you were the one on the absolute forefront of technological advance. Be careful. Jealousy can be a viscious practice. Some day, when the wonders of the internet are revealed to you also, a blog you may start (thank you Yoda). And always remember, wikipedia is NOT a verifiable source of information (even if it does have way more snazzy facts than other encyclopedias).

That first part was mostly a joke. Mostly. Or totally- depends on what degree you realize that I am sometimes assonine for no other reason than my own amusement. Truth be told, I feel a little behind and am a fresh born baby (cyber-goo and all) to the world of blogging. Millions before me have started their blogs (to my individualistic dismay, a huge handful of them have probably started with an analysis of blogging). And why? To have their say. To put "it" out there. And even if no one ever reads their blog, they can rest peacefully and know that their thoughtsfeelingsjokestruthslies exist somewhere outside of themselves. I want in.

It is at this point that the swell of connected thoughts spills out into my wireless router. Is it the desire for a legacy? The need to be known? A fear of neither of those being realized? Yes. At least probably so. It's hard to gain insight into non-existance (or at least, post-death), when so presently existant. There is almost certainly some base human motivation which has perpetuated the blog-phenom. Maslow could explain this. But hey, I'm human, so sign me up. I want to share my thoughts both to friends and strangers (if they like), and if it goes unread, well then self, consider this a study in legacy, love, and hypothetical non-existance. The world is big (perhaps another reason for the blog phenom), and as of late has been too big to simply verbalize. Perhaps writing, or blogging rather, will serve as another mental forum through which to digest. And I hope I am always a little unable to do it justice- as long as a word is a prison, there is still some mystery left.

I wonder what kind of blogger I'll be. The sporadic, long posted blogger? The beats a dead horse blogger? The psuedo-intellectual should probably read philosophy before he blogs it blogger? The always finds something to rant about blogger? The check out my best selling memoirs in twenty years blogger? Hmm, I think I'm mostly going for earnest here. I guess that first paragraph wasn't a great start then. Oh well. I started a blog. I guess I'm on my way to a higher understanding of myself and the world. And also, I can check it off my Google tasks (which I discovered just last week). Check. Post one, complete. I'm totally published.