Observations 7-12-21

  • The t-shirt on the back of a dad at a beloved local hot dog joint: “I lubricate my AR-15 with liberal tears.” His son saw me staring.
  • Cleaning vintage poop particles out of a 1965 pink toilet.

Observations 7-11-21

  • The group of six urban-dwelling, gun lobby-despising quasi-pacifists shooting La Croix cans with BB guns, of which I was a part.

Observations 7-10-21

  • Grilling for hours — Impossible patties, corn, and bell pepper skewers — with friends.

Observations 7-9-21

  • Eating dehydrated leak chips with Jason, Casey, and some strangers on Belmont Avenue.

Observations 7-8-21

  • Understanding one or two Arabic words spoken by two men in a gas station, thanks to my recent Hebrew lessons.

Observations 7-7-21

  • The woman wearing a “Jesus Is My Boss” hat.

Observations 7-6-21

  • A sold-out Case Oats show on the patio at the Hideout, the venue’s first official show back!
  • Always cleaning water droplets (from handwash splashing) off toilet seats, lest anyone think I left pee there.

Observations 7-5-21

  • The very kind comment a fan made to me at Menards.

Observations 7-4-21

  • The amateur-launched fireworks misfiring, heading toward a herd of parents and small children, who scrambled, running, when a chunk of fiery material flew at them. (All were OK!)
  • The teenager holding a Roman candle but looking away, not enjoying the fruits of his risk-taking, only the thrill of taking the risk.
  • Summer of Soul 😭 Mahalia Jackson, Stevie, Mavis… people.

Observations 7-3-21

  • The Tweedy band playing Rivets Stadium near Rockford, IL to a great audience.
    • Walking to the stage while a fireworks display detonated mere yards away from us.
    • The tiny bugs landing, bouncing on my snare drum like popcorn.

Observations 7-2-21

  • Casey’s first-ever vinyl DJ set. She killed it!

Observations 7-1-21

  • The cashier’s plexiglass shield at the neighborhood burrito joint: gone.
  • The man shaving while driving.

Observations 6-30-21

  • Glenn’s new gigantic novelty drum sticks.

Observations 6-29-21

  • A fantastic, heaping lox bagel from New York Bagel & Bialy.

Observations 6-28-21

  • The Italian term “umarell”: “men of retirement age who pass the time watching construction sites … stereotypically with hands clasped behind their back and offering unwanted advice.” (Via The Prepared newsletter.)
  • Almost shooing a fly into the house.

Observations 6-27-21

Observations 6-26-21

  • Worm word: ensorcellment.
  • The hopeful suspicion that there is eloquence and ingenuity hiding beneath so many rocks, in quiet folks’ private ideas.

Observations 6-25-21

Observations 6-24-21

  • Reading Too Loud a Solitude and loving it, but having to return it to the library before I finished it.
  • Revisiting our performance of “World Away” on Conan.

Observations 6-23-21

  • Worm word: ech mezeg avir? (Hebrew for “How is the weather?”)

Observations 6-22-21

Observations 6-21-21

  • The slightly provocative, sly expression on Jesus’s face in a painting in a Catholic church’s banquet hall.

Observations 6-20-21

  • The skinny tree with a bulging pearish base.

Observations 6-19-21

Observations 6-18-21

  • The landscape worker maneuvering a tall-ish tree into a hole by himself.
  • The mom cooking stovetop popcorn with her daughter and her nephew live, on TikTok, while Casey and I and a couple hundred other people looked on at their joy.
  • The mass ocean baptism, conducted by a youth pastor, also on TikTok live.
  • The stream of slightly iridescent algae dots flowing in the harbor.

Observations 6-17-21

  • A day of chasing wires around in conduit, trying to figure out where they go.

Observations 6-16-21

  • Mat Dryhurst in The Creative Independent:

    I think one thing we could jettison is this concept of independence. It’s not that helpful. In many ways, the meme of independence won. Now everyone is individuated, and independently free to compete with one another to sell their time and wares on the platforms, and the reality of that is a pretty precarious and unfulfilling existence for most. When everyone is independent, it turns out that we don’t have much collective bargaining power to influence anything all, or at least those with the most wealth or resources will dominate.

Mat and musician Holly Herndon have a podcast called Interdependence. (There is also a section about independence versus interdependence in my book, Mirror Sound!)

Observations 6-15-21

  • The cute graphic on the back of a sandpaper pad, illustrating proper PPE.

Observations 6-14-21

  • Mom’s collection of colorful Trimline telephones laid out next to each other, organized by cord length.

Observations 6-13-21

  • The artisanal pesto and salsa maker from Florida who, after spilling a jar of salsa on the ground, “simply could not recover” (Casey’s words).

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