Friday, January 28, 2011


"Bird-Watching and Vice Versa"

Bird-watching can be more fun than a barrel of Popes. Our dastardly feathered friends are everywhere, waiting to be watched. An interesting bird to start with is the electrifying oriole, which builds it's nest in Wizard Island trees. Early in spring, we hear the oriole give it's mating call, which sounds like this: "Green-Tea-Frap." Then the male and female get together and mutate. Later, the female lays four billion quintzillion million eggs. Isn't that incandescent? Another fascinating bird is the opulent-breasted nuthatch. The nuthatch is very tame. He will fly down and land right on your inner ear and eat out of your woodland creatures. Other birds to watch out for are the red-crested Spanish Goldblum, the famous-necked thrush, and the yellow-bellied Patty sucker. Now that you know something about birds, get out there and watch!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winston and Rufus Sing the Hits

I spent the bulk of Saturday and Sunday with my buddy Rob at his place in Brooklyn working on projects for the future, talking about television and dogs and whatever people in their late-twenties to early-thirties talk about. When I mention the fact that we were working, picture George and Jerry in his apartment trying to write the pilot for his NBC sitcom, though I believe we got farther than they did on their first try. When I mention talking about television, I mean of course that we watched the first episode of the new NBC superhero drama The Cape, and I only bring it up to warn others, avoid this show at all cost. It's uncommonly bad. However, there were one or two things on the tube worth watching.
Yes, that is the airplane scene from Jurassic Park III. It's hard to argue that JP3 is a good movie when the opposition can point out that raptors will NOT eat you if you simply give them back their egg and blow into a state-of-the-art raptor voicebox.

Anyway, besides TV the only other entertainment was Rob's dogs, Winston and Rufus, blurrily pictured here begging for food like...well, animals.

These are some great pups, a little in your face, occasionally barky, true shed-machines, but fine company.

The rest of the visit was pretty standard, a bar with an Avatar pinball machine (seems too current, what are you trying to prove??), a jukebox that must have made a fortune (two bucks for seven songs that never played, even after 2 1/2 of waiting), and an assortment of games (I had to restrain myself from asking strangers if I could join their Apples to Apples jamboree). Leaving there I picked up an ill-advised 4am quesadilla and attempted to get some rest on love seat that Rufus would soon make his own.

It's not hard to see here that I don't really have a ton to say about this weekend, but it was a great time and I'm making an effort to write more about day-to-day life (should help to stir the creative juices) and take more pictures (why buy a camera if you're not going to use it?). Maybe 2011 can be a return to form of sorts, there's so much worth remembering.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Remainders and Reminders

I've spent the last five days, to put it as simply as possible, sad. It hasn't been constant or overwhelming or obsessive (though all three have come close), it's just been an overall emotional malaise that I can't kick. My personal life has been thrown into upheaval lately and the general post-holiday grayness and solitude hasn't helped any. Every time I hear the word sad I think of that Simpsons episode where Lisa has the note that says she can't participate in Gym class because she is sad. Oh, the life of an only-child, television as touchstone, cartoons as companions. If only The Cable Guy was a better film, maybe some of us would have received the help we so desperately needed.
How do other people get over things? I feel like I've spent every day of my life trying to forget someone or something, and I'm completely clueless on whether or not that is something we all have in common. I have friends that it would seem let everything roll right off their back and hardly ever feel the need to give a second thought to things that would consume me. I think the answer is in my head as I'm typing right now, the idea that I don't want to get into it. I don't feel like it's worth mentioning, or maybe somehow that I'm putting anyone out by letting them know what's going on in my head. So why am I writing? The idea of screaming in an empty room comes to mind.
As with everything else in my life I turn to music. Don't worry, this isn't some long winded pseudo-sappy introduction to a Top 5 Albums To Cry To list, that feels like it would be far too depressing to even attempt to write. No, all I'm really saying is that my time as-of-late has been spent surrounded by the only things in the world that let me feel like myself no matter what's going on. Unfortunately, most of the music I've purchased lately has been what Barry would describe as "old sad bastard music" and has only exacerbated the gloom. I picked a hell of a time to get into the Microphones! My Roots Are Strong and Deep is a beautiful song but leave it on repeat and it's basically an auditory OD of sleeping pills. Same thing with Dragon by The Amazing, as lovely as it is, it couldn't sound like more of a 60's throwback kick in the teeth.
My love of detail tends to die a quick and relatively painless death anytime I begin to feel this way. Another casualty of assuming no one actually wants to know what's wrong. Specificity seems pointless anyway, and love of detail has been reborn as the urge for anonymity. Besides, maybe if what was actually bothering me was specific I could treat it as such. I'm left wondering if I've ever had a positive beginning-of-the-year. The older I get the more mature certain problems become, fittingly. Used to be it was a girl not paying attention to me while my debilitating shyness stabbed me in the back. Who would've thought I'd long for those days, but I was surrounded by friends and the hope of tomorrow night. I guess I still am, I know I still am, but opportunities dwindle and you realize regrets you never knew you had. This, I know, is universal.
I guess bravery is at the forefront these days. Having the fortitude and energy to go after the things I really want, it's never been my strong suit. Just writing that seems self-defeating, something I'm desperate to shake off in every facet of my life. How can I lament opportunities if I never make the effort, and how can I expect anyone to care? It's like living stage fright, I'm not quite retreating, but I'm doing enough not to progress. Maybe that's why I'm writing. It's one thing to think it, it's a whole other to let it out publicly and let people know that you know it just the same as they do. I don't get stage fright. I wrote and performed an anti-drug play in 5th grade at a D.A.R.E. assembly! The issue, which just hit me actually, is material. The worry that I don't have "what it takes", as they say. That seems like a joke, but upon reflection, it's been with me since the start.
Good god, it's everything at once lately. If I was someone else I'd say I need a vacation! Relaxation, in my experience, comes from contentedness so therefore a vacation would be useless. I guess maybe I just needed to (reservedly) spill my guts and allow myself to say that sometimes life gets rough. I feel ridiculous but that's nothing new and it's all in the sake of evolution, so I'll embrace it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Stroll Down Memory Lame

This is a survey I found in my old Livejournal, the recollections are approximate but accurate.

15 years ago, I:

1. Was 14.
2. Went and saw Ozzy by myself (while my aunt waited in the parking lot), and was passed a joint and refused because I was scared and I didn't know what it was.
3. Had hair down to my shoulders and looked like a weird, crappy Kurt Cobain.
4. Brought my iguana Skt in to school when she broke her arm because she had a huge U-shaped cast across her front arms (or are they legs??)
5. Was just getting in to punk after my friend Matt gave me a cassette with a Fat Wreck Chords compilation and a Screeching Weasel album on it.

10 years ago, I:

1. Was 19.
2. Repeatedly cut math class my first year of college to hang out with some girl I had a crush on.
3. Was still driving my first car, the awesome Prelude.
4. Constantly made mixtapes because my awesome Prelude had a tape deck.
5. Was a total loser.

5 years ago, I:

1. Was 24.
2. Had my first ever girlfriend and lived in a house with 4 of my best friends.
3. Worked at Barnes & Noble, at the time I think I had just started in the Cafe.
4. Often stayed up very late playing Space Hospital (a pirated version of Dr. Mario that came in a console shaped like a penguin that we named Esteban after seeing The Life Aquatic).
5. In a Communications class presentation where we had to share things about ourselves I played footage of my high school band Rowsdower, brought in a clothes-less Michael Jackson doll I've had since I was little, and explained in the ins and outs of creating mixtapes to a classroom full of people who (kind of) couldn't care less.

3 years ago, I:

1. Was 26.
2. Lived with said first girlfriend and started my current job.
3. Had a horrible diet leading to weight gain and the eventual loss of my gallbladder.
4. Was still using Myspace.
5. Was exceedingly boring.

1 year ago, I:

1. Was 28.
2. Was praying that I would never again have a kidney stone (side effect of the week of hospitalization and subsequent week of bed rest from my laparoscopic cholecystectomy and pancreatitis).
3. Had crushes on several girls (said girlfriend and I broke in up early-'09) that, looking back, were ridiculous. The crushes, not the girls. It would be some time before I remembered how to be single, and how much I enjoyed it.
4. At some point was introduced to Apples to Apples (and life would never be the same).
5. Got very, very in to 30 Rock (and life would never be the same).

Yesterday, I:

1. Was 29.
2. Made up substitute names for Count Chocula out of boredom.
3. Listened to a record by The Cato Salsa Experience that I LOVED in '02 (it didn't do much for me yesterday).
4. Wore argyle socks.
5. Woke up at 3am to Iron & Wine playing on a Jimmy Fallon rerun (though I guess that should count for early today, right?)

Today, I:

1. Really wanna find Esteban and see if I can get him to work again.
2. Am thankful that it's Friday (which is a trite, businessy thing to say, but today it's very true, so why not?)
3. Hope to go out and party, however the odds are not in my favor.
4. Changed my Facebook profile picture to the cover of the French version of my favorite Goosebumps book The Girl Who Cried Monster.
5. Have not texted anyone.

Tomorrow, I:

1. Will forge a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
2. Will find a bag of money and use it to create a home studio and begin recording music under the moniker Elegance Squared.
3. Will enter an Apples to Apples tournament and after 5 days of intense non-stop competition, will come in fourth.
4. Will discover a secret, hidden rainforest in my backyard - but will be too tired from all that other stuff to do any exploring.
5. May discover that I can't predict the future.