Observations 8-5-19

  • The metallic balloon flying away, seen through the studio window.
  • On the contact page of a small-town Wisconsin news website: “Promotions DePartment.”

Observations 8-4-19

  • The spider crawling into frame in my car’s back-up camera.

Observations 8-3-19

  • Sinking knee-deep into the mud of a creek.
  • The teenaged guitarist playing a lefty guitar but right-handed.

Observations 8-2-19

  • On top of a van on the highway, a canoe with Stewie from Family Guy painted on it.
  • The flowers that smelled startlingly like Italian pizza seasoning.
  • Thinking of broken drum sticks left on stage from a previous set as the scary, cautionary bones of a past expedition.

Observations 8-1-19

  • Basil playing along with Casey’s and my singing by squeaking his pizza chew toy.

Observations 7-31-19

  • Lonely Trailer by Lonely Trailer.

Observations 7-30-19

  • Tripping over a guitar and getting a rug burn on my knee for the first time since I was a little kid.

Observations 7-29-19

  • The bartenders at Cafe Mustache serving Casey and me Mountain Dew: Code Red, wine-service-style.

Observations 7-28-19

  • Learning that “bar chords” can also be called “barre chords,” from Our Band Could Be Your Life.

Observations 7-27-19

  • The shirt at a thrift store that read, “No… what I said was I’m a Thespian!

Observations 7-26-19

  • The little red slipper sitting on a bush.
  • The surprisingly fast-moving caterpillars on our back porch.
    • One of them falling, seemingly from the sky, onto my arm.
  • WARMER finally available to buy and stream!

Observations 7-25-19

  • The spooky Get Out-esque moment where you realize there are Sofar Sounds posters all over the walls in the DIY venue you’re about to play.

Observations 7-24-19

  • The inescapable feeling of the heat last weekend (~115º index). When you’re comfortable, it’s easy to think you could “think your way out” of discomfort like that (similarly to how a person without depression might wish a person with depression could snap out of it). But it’s amazing how quickly comfort can come to feel impossibly far away.

Observations 7-23-19

  • Spotting hawks in the alley behind our house. Mom and Dad coming outside to watch them with binoculars.

Observations 7-22-19

  • The pink latex glove in the glove compartment of a work/golf cart.
  • The troupe of pre-schoolers walking through the park while Teamster forklifts transported lighting rigs.
  • The work truck with traffic cones tied to its bumper like “just married” cans.

Observations 7-21-19

  • The rave-punk, skeletal festival-goer helping us distribute mulch onto the rain-soaked field.
  • Hammered barbacks on a swing set [7-22-18].

Observations 7-20-19

  • The sweet and immediate relief of aloe vera.
  • The Chase “Sapphire Lounge” contractor painting a tiny registration symbol onto their tent facade.
  • Sucking up puddles of rain with a shop vac.
  • Watching a barback hoverboard across the empty field during the festival’s emergency wind/lightning evacuation.

Observations 7-19-19

  • The rapper with a red chihuahua.
  • Farting in a refrigerated truck [again: 7-20-18].
  • It is amazing and kinda frustrating that anyone still uses automatic gunfire samples in festival sets.

Observations 7-18-19

  • Driving into the Menards lumber yard in a caravan of four fifteen-passenger vans and one box truck; buying all the mulch bags they had in stock; loading them by hand into the vans; dropping them in a nighttime operation into the mud of Union Park.
  • How the abandoned-looking house in my neighborhood has stacks of empty jars in its windows, but none full of pee.
  • A coworker’s cigarette ash flying onto my upper lip, and me, thinking it was a warm bug.
  • Hearing phantom radio chatter from the day’s walkie-talkie use as I fell asleep.

Observations 7-17-19

  • Accidentally making cinnamon peanut butter toast on potato rosemary sourdough bread which, in addition to being an inappropriate host to those fixings, I later found out was moldy.
  • The man reading National Geographic in Braille on the bus.
  • The latex glove on the ground full of orange peels.
  • The superpower-esque magic of a pallet jack.

Observations 7-16-19

  • The huge, metallic sounds reverberating inside of a Waste Management storage container.
  • The latex glove on the floor of the storage container.
  • My coworkers’ conversation about a “black bean paste lifehack.”

Observations 7-15-19

  • The metal dust on the street reflecting a rainbow.
  • The joy of a public drinking fountain with high water pressure.
  • The relatively unused latex glove on the ground.

Observations 7-14-19

  • The degree by which my life improved when I separated my sock and underwear drawers.
  • How cool it is, still, that Neil Finn is in Fleetwood Mac.
  • I think we ought to stop conflating recognition of fallibility with lack of conviction. It’s a problem in politics: we think politicians are weak or mealy-mouthed when they qualify their statements. But our political convictions usually depend upon how we understand facts about the world, and it’s totally appropriate to recognize that our understanding of those facts may be wrong. There are mealy-mouthed politicians for sure, but it’s a shame that our vigilance against them squelches the space for humility.

Observations 7-13-19

  • The awkward, white bar patron mouthing the lyrics along to “Look At Me Now” by Chris Brown.
  • The inspiring Guardian story about musicians with disabilities designing new, accessible instruments.

Observations 7-12-19

  • Watching James Swanberg play his great songs along to cassette tape samples played off a Walkman.

Observations 7-11-19

  • Eating a Psychedelic Salad from Leona’s (Chicago restaurant chain) for the first time since I was a preteen. (I’ve been chasing their peppery ranch ever since then.)
  • This Jonas Mekas quote from The Creative Independent: “I never needed a creative practice. I don’t believe in creativity. I just do things. I grew up on a farm where we made things, grew things. You plant the seeds and then they grow. I just keep making things, doing things. It has nothing to do with creativity. I don’t need creativity.”

Observations 7-10-19

  • Feeling a special sort of camaraderie with other people who like circus peanuts.

Observations 7-9-19

  • Feeling temporarily soothed by an appeals court’s ruling that Trump’s Twitter bans are unconstitutional.
  • How Arthur Russell used to steal electricity via extension cord from his friend Alan Ginsberg’s apartment (via Tom Lee’s beautiful liner notes for Love Is Overtaking Me, via Austin Kleon’s newsletter).
  • Days after it aired, still thinking about Hannah B.’s intense reaction to the art in the Mauritshuis museum.

Observations 7-8-19

  • Remembering the cute, kinda ambitious CSS3-animated website I made for dBpm Records in 2011 (archived on Archive.org).
  • Sweeping up dried rat turds like hockey pucks in a basement storage space.
  • Hearing kids singing through the walls of a mosque.
  • Rebecca Solnit writing about the “tyranny of the quantifiable” in Men Explain Things to Me: how quantifiable are easy to express and deal in, so they get outsize weight, while “slipperier things” get ignored. A first step of lots of world-bettering is naming and describing what we want to value.
  • Amazing insights about Prince’s recording process from the engineer Susan Rogers’s Red Bull Academy interview:
    • “He lived on Doritos and cake.”
    • “16 [hours] would be a fairly short session, but we frequently did 24 hours. That was fairly common. That was how long it took, because he never wanted to come back to a song. If he started it, he wanted to do all the overdubs and mixing as we went, and then print it and then it would be done. […] I’d make his cassette copy. I’d sleep my customary three hours. The phone would ring, I’d pick up the phone and his voice would go, ‘Ready?’ ‘Yeah.’ Then it would go all over again.”

Observations 7-7-19

  • Playing drums with Liam, Sully, Dorian, and more friends in a Cosmic Country Cookout.
  • Reading about the WD-40 Company and trade secrets on Wikipedia.