Observations 11-9-19

  • At an Andy Warhol-themed event, watching a man in a period-incorrect blond afro wig amusingly but horribly yell at the event’s DJ for playing period-correct records — an “I can’t believe anyone could behave this way” moment.
  • Yanyi’s interview in the Creative Independent: “I realized that creativity is not in the business of being productive.”

Observations 11-8-19

  • Stepping on crunchy frozen grass.

Observations 11-7-19

  • The New Hovering Dog by BJ Cole.

Observations 11-6-19

  • The woman on the sidewalk whom I thought was wearing a Deadmau5 mouse mask, but who in fact had a laundry bag balanced on her head.
  • Doing sound for a very sweet father-and-son free jazz group, the Michael Formanek Duo.
    • How, when a double bass player bows the bass, the bow plays the bass but the bass also plays the bow… man.

Observations 11-5-19

  • Learning about the tonbak, a Persian drum, from the Hidden Drummers of Iran documentary. (Look up esfahan_tonbak_arefacademy on Instagram.)
  • Bob Dylan’s Q&A with Bill Flanagan from 2017.
    • “The melody in [‘There’s a Flaw in My Flue’] is kind of like the background in the Mona Lisa painting, a mystical, phantasmagorical fantasy land. To me that’s the real painting, like a science fiction world. The person looking at me is just a face …”
  • Almendra’s self-titled album.

Observations 11-4-19

  • Playing drums for Casey (Case Oats) at Sleeping Village to a heartwarmingly attentive audience!

Observations 11-3-19

  • Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy by Alex Chilton. Horrible name, great record (via Sammy).
  • Spotting the coyote at the end of our block again.

Observations 11-2-19

  • Establishing a war room for my recent zits. Casey is the general. I’m the subordinate. We’ll make a tactical excursion to Ulta soon.

Observations 11-1-19

  • The joy of sweeping up leaves indoors and knowing that you’re helping make the place cleaner, even if you don’t get every single leaf.
  • Almost crying at Henry Thomas’s E.T. audition tape.

Observations 10-31-19

  • Our bizarrely wintery, snowy Halloween in Chicago.
    • Hanging around a fire pit (which Mom masterfully lit) and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters with Mom, Casey, and Basil, who was wrapped in many blanket layers.
    • The big tree limb that fell into the street from the weight of snow, thankfully on no one and no cars.

Observations 10-30-19

  • The type of knowledge that you can only find out in a Sim City-type setting: how many bugs you’ve ever unknowingly eaten, how many hours you’ve ever slept, the number of people who’ve stepped on a particular one-inch square, etcetera. Imagining movie montages that reveal that type of information.

Observations 10-29-19

  • Playing drums as Doug Clifford in Casey’s Creedence Clearwater Revival cover band for Halloween.

Observations 10-28-19

  • Going downtown to protest Trump’s visit to Chicago.
    • When we temporarily blocked traffic, a cab driver high-fived a protester.
  • Playing catch in the park with Andrew, Adam, and Hugh.
  • The cashier at the corner store insisting I look exactly like Barry Manilow.
  • An absolutely badass sculpture: Circuit Digest #1 by Robert Beatty.

Observations 10-27-19

  • Viviam Caroline de Jesus Queirós, a samba drummer in Brazil, in the NYTimes: “In my opinion, the drum could be the great technology for women this century. It redefines the body of a woman — especially black women.”
  • The mangled, wet latex glove on the ground.

Observations 10-26-19

  • Playing drums for Liam at the Hungry Brain, a show at which both bands on the bill brought a pedal steel.

Observations 10-25-19

  • Attending a really beautiful memorial for my friend’s mom.
    • The horses running through the makeshift farm parking lot.
  • Playing in the house band at the Hideout’s Cosmic Country Showcase with Sully, Dorian, Liam, Sima, and a whole bunch of guests.

Observations 10-24-19

  • The bar patron talking about playing harmonica with the blues musicians in his hometown of Lansing, Michigan, but being excluded when he tries to sing with them (“so fucking cliquey, man”). So he moved to rural Illinois, “where the money is,” and he already feels like the blues guys in Chicago are friendlier.
    • The first words he said to me: “Where’s the pisser?”

Observations 10-23-19

  • The full-grown coyote at the end of our block — in Chicago.
  • Watching my friends Dusk play at Schubas.
  • The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson. Holy shit.

Observations 10-22-19

  • Practicing Creedence Clearwater Revival songs with Casey, Max, and Jason for our Halloween cover show.

Observations 10-21-19

  • Stumbling upon a furry fan’s Flickr account while looking for Creative Commons photos of raccoons.
    • The macabre photos of their homemade fursuit in progress.
    • The surprisingly poignant disposable camera photos of a 1998 furry convention.

Observations 10-20-19

  • The orthodox kids — payos, tzitzit, and everything — playing with garden implements and a hammer next to my relatives’ sukkah.
  • Listening to Hailu Mergia records.
  • Tim Daisy’s amazing drumming. So clean and clear.

Observations 10-19-19

  • Walking with Mom and her Team Susan Miller Tweedy at the Light the Night Walk for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Observations 10-18-19

  • Lætitia Tamko (Vagabon) in a Stereogum interview (she used to work in electrical engineering): “[…] I still wake up in the morning … do some integrated circuit equation, just to remind myself that I’m a full person. My personality is pretty obsessive, so if I just allow myself to do one thing and I let my identity just rely on that one thing, I would crumble. It took me a while to figure out that I need to do other things to be able to continue having a healthy relationship with music.”
  • Big Thief at Metro in Chicago. Heart eyes.

Observations 10-17-19

  • Remembering a fixture of the neighborhood when I was little: an older man who biked everywhere, with patchy hair, an impossibly huge mouth, and a red helmet.

Observations 10-16-19

  • Installing a new car battery with Mom on Instagram Live.

Observations 10-15-19

  • Alan Jacobs on how hard it is to decide whether tech giants like Apple are good, bad, useful, useless: “In the end, I think most of us make this kind of decision by some kind of sixth sense, an un-unpackable feel for what’s the best, or the least bad, option in the given circumstances. I wonder if that sense is wholly irrational or whether, on some deep and inaccessible level, it’s actually finding a means to weigh what we don’t consciously know how to weigh.” I like the idea of feelings being a sometimes-acceptable path to beliefs.

Observations 10-14-19

  • Practicing the left-handed Purdie Shuffle.

Observations 10-13-19

  • Using my new Pen Type-C from CW&T, about which my mom and one other person said, “That’s the most Spencer pen I’ve ever seen.”

Observations 10-12-19

  • Kazu’s inspiring, super well-arranged show at Constellation.

Observations 10-11-19

  • The amazing photography of Jp Bonino.
  • Warming my hands with the steam from a water kettle.