Observations 8-31-19

  • At the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Japanese Festival, the mom encouraging her young son to take a photo with a cosplayer whom she must not have realized was a “furry.”

Observations 8-30-19

  • Basil wearing his new raincoat.
  • Posing for a photo in front of the site of Cicero’s in St. Louis, Uncle Tupelo’s former regular club.

Observations 8-29-19

  • The cicada that flew in the window of my car (while parked). Thinking that a neighboring parked car had thrown something at us — a spitball? — before I found the invading culprit.
  • Going back to AutoZone [3-22-19], this time for a fuse. The clerk didn’t want to help. Sammy said Hank Hill would have been ashamed of the service.
  • The Magic of Believing What You See, a beautiful new album by Star Moles and produced by my friend Kevin Basko. Listen to “Slime,” at least (starmoles.bandcamp.com).

Observations 8-28-19

  • The guy wearing an NRA shirt in line at the library. Thinking, You’re in the wrong line, buddy. But maybe he was in just the right line.

Observations 8-27-19

  • Taking a family walk along the Chicago Riverwalk.
    • Watching the “Art on the Mart” projections on the Merchandise Mart, where my grandma Judy worked for decades.

Observations 8-26-19

  • Flying home.

Observations 8-25-19

  • Sitting in front of the New York Public Library, transcribing an interview.

Observations 8-24-19

  • The bird tracks in the sidewalk cement.
  • The huge, metal plates on the street, with patina’d yellow-green paint on them, like moss.

Observations 8-23-19

  • How creepy it is that, in the Petco logo, the dog’s ear is basically penetrating the cat’s head.
  • The drunk patrons helplessly watching dogs fight at a dog-friendly bar in New York, hoping they’d work it out without human intervention.
  • The exceptionally dirty latex glove on the ground.
  • How my perception of New York City is permanently infected by the Gotham City ride at Six Flags: Great America.

Observations 8-22-19

  • The little paper doilies on which this farm restaurant served its sandwiches.
  • Gently slipping on a rock and falling into Sam Owens’s (Sam Evian’s) creek. Sam felt bad; it wasn’t his fault.
    • Blow-drying my shoes when I got back to my hotel.
  • Driving through torrential rain in a rented lime green Kia Soul.

Observations 8-21-19

  • Glimpsing a TSA agent’s pen doodles on her passport-checking desk.
  • The Linux system error screen scrolling rapidly on a plane’s flight attendant control panel.
  • Since I’m traveling to work on a book project, I put back on my mildly corrective glasses, as is required by nerd law.
  • The ancient-seeming shuttle bus shutting down in the middle of the street, and the driver restarting it.
  • While falling asleep, this phrase: “a glass of water juice.”

Observations 8-20-19

  • Playing (drums) with Henry (True) at Sleeping Village.

Observations 8-19-19

  • While taking Basil for a walk, realizing the terrible truth that if someone is bigger or more coercive than you, they can make you go anywhere they like. I had unconsciously thought that everyone has a physical trump card, in that they can plant their feet and refuse to move. But — obviously — it doesn’t work like that.
  • The dad kneeling on a sidewalk corner, feeding his baby from a bottle.

Observations 8-18-19

  • Resolving to do less prefacing and more cutting to the chase.
  • Identifying as a Yeti Coolers bitch.

Observations 8-17-19

  • Co-running the second annual Avrom Farm Party with my bandmate Hayden, on his farm.
    • Beautiful sets by Al Scorch, Jess Sah Bi & Peter One, Jenny & The Hog Drovers, Henry True, and Glass Mountain — and a surprise set by my dad.
    • Jess Sah Bi & Peter One joyfully yet seriously sharing stories about their experiences in apartheid South Africa. (Listen to their album Our Garden Needs Its Flowers.)
    • Hundreds of pounds of Avrom Farm’s beans, greens, and pasture-raised pork.

Observations 8-16-19

  • Buying a reach-in cooler off Facebook Marketplace from a mother and daughter in Wisconsin. Their living room, absolutely full of Packers memorabilia. And, when we needed a piece of duct tape, the immediacy with which the mother was able to procure it. As if in a holster on her belt.
  • George Jones records reverberating through Avrom Farm’s field at night.

Observations 8-15-19

  • The orange latex glove floating by on the highway.
  • “Give The Baby Anything The Baby Wants” by Joe Tex.
  • The piglets on Avrom Farm — so cute I could cry.

Observations 8-14-19

  • The twelve-year-old-looking kid expertly checking up on a car — opening the hood, revving the engine — near Casey’s.

Observations 8-13-19

  • This Mister Rogers quote, from You Are Special, via Cool Tools: “I’ve often hesitated in beginning a project because I’ve thought, ‘It’ll never turn out to be even remotely like the good idea I have as I start.’ I could just ‘feel’ how good it could be. But I decided that, for the present, I would create the best way I know how and accept the ambiguities.”

Observations 8-12-19

  • Listening to the earliest Raccoonists recordings for the first time since my dad and I recorded them directly onto a CD-R recorder.

Observations 8-11-19

  • At the dog beach, the tiny, hairless chihuahua with such a disturbingly large penis and ballsack that it had difficulty walking.
  • The translucent pink plastic Kraft Singles container from my childhood.
  • Lately, feeling surprised that older people see me as an adult, someone to whom they can talk. I’ve appreciated that for a while, but it’s striking me as weird and partly undeserved recently.

Observations 8-10-19

  • Thinking of sleep as “getting reps [of rest] in.”
  • Playing the “Out of Space” series in Evanston with Dad, one of our only shows of the year!
    • Dad reading David Berman lyrics aloud in the dressing room before the show.

Observations 8-9-19

  • How every individual canker sore reminds me what it’s like to suffer. (The mark of privilege.)

Observations 8-8-19

  • The spider that infiltrated our house via a direct mail ad for a taqueria.
  • The gargantuan plastic foot on the ground in an alley.

Observations 8-7-19

  • Nerd alert: Wondering if wireless headphones will ever be high-enough res and low-enough latency for studio monitoring.

Observations 8-6-19

  • Imagining a non-profit that soundproofs musicians’ apartments so that they can make music without neighbors’ complaints.

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.