Observations 9-5-21

  • George Saunders’ incredible, so freakin’ good, beautiful new story in The New Yorker. [9-19: Weeks later, still thinking of the floaters in the dog bowl as a symbol of all the things we do, you know, to feel like we’re trying…]
  • Spencer Wright in The Prepared: “More than almost anything else in my professional life, I enjoy the idea — the illusion, usually — that I’m doing a good job at a wide variety of things. It’s an elusive feeling, compounded by the need to continuously discover new and weird skills in order to maintain it. Each old skill then slowly atrophies, leaving me with only the vague sense that I’ve grown wiser from having learned and then forgotten something.”

Observations 9-4-21

  • The strata of years in my tour laminate memory box.

Observations 9-3-21

  • A pleasant day of renovation, delivering hot dogs to Zaid, cooking and watching Bachelor in Paradise with Casey.

Observations 9-2-21

Observations 9-1-21

  • One very loose formulation of Kant’s Categorical Imperative goes like: Do what you wish everyone else would do. And by the same token: If the world would be worse off if everyone were to do what you’re considering doing, don’t do it. But it’s kind of strange to make decisions based on notions of collective action without integrating ideas about how collective action itself works (e.g. how people influence each other, how the consequences of a Kantian “maxim” change depending on the specific quantity of people living by it). I suspect that Kant and many others have written about the interaction between his Categorical Imperative and group dynamics but I haven’t read them yet.
    • Cases that make me consider how the Categorical Imperative interacts with group dynamics: voting for third party candidates; participating in boycotts.

Observations 8-31-21

  • That diversity leads to security is one of nature’s most constructive, affirming statements.
  • The roadside advertisement for “iBaptism.”

Observations 8-30-21

  • Arriving at the venue early and waiting to go in until the prescribed load-in time, like a gentleman.
  • After driving all day, sitting down at my drum seat and wondering where the seat belt was.

Observations 8-29-21

  • Holding my neighbor’s newborn baby, George.

Observations 8-28-21

  • Wondering what the personal injury lawyers from billboards are like in-person.
  • Wilco at Millennium Park!

Observations 8-27-21

  • Swimming in the hot-as-air water in Lake Monroe with Charles, Malcolm, Macie, and Sima.
  • Playing a fun, loud show at The Bishop in Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Our friends feeding the “pet” spider on their back porch, Jake, by tossing a moth into its web. All of us gathering to watch the ensuing nature process (wrapping, toting, slurping).

Observations 8-26-21

  • The daddy long-legs spider carcass in my snare drum case.
  • Playing Thalia Hall with Ohmme, their first live show back in Chicago post-lockdown — OHMMECOMING.

Observations 8-25-21

  • Dad’s birthday!
  • Playing drums with good posture in honor of Charlie Watts.

Observations 8-24-21

  • Melvin, the sweet, 70-year-old electrical contractor with a Kangol cap.

Observations 8-23-21

  • Returning our festival rental walkie-talkies in Elmhurst, rehearsing with Ohmme for their upcoming Thalia Hall show. :)

Observations 8-22-21

  • Decompressing from the festival at the waterfront in Green Lake.

Observations 8-21-21

  • Avrom Farm Party!
    • The signs for the festival entrance, garbage cans, and recycling cans that my friends Steve and Sundeep’s kids created on their own volition.

Observations 8-20-21

  • The hectic mad dash preparing for Avrom Farm Party, with Hayden’s hardworking farm team.

Observations 8-19-21

  • Witnessing Restaurant Depot for the first time.
  • The big orange medallion sun.

Observations 8-18-21

Observations 8-17-21

  • That the solution to the so-called labor shortage isn’t to call workers lazy; it’s to pay them more.
    • If your business can’t afford to compensate employees adequately, then perhaps you need to accept that your business isn’t viable.
    • And if some people want to bow out of traditional labor in order to enjoy the air around them, the grass beneath their feet, their family, or their creativity, that should be celebrated, not criticized. There are many ways to contribute to one’s community — to be a “productive member of society” — that aren’t formal employment. To me, the quantity of people who live satisfying lives within their means, however modest, is one good measure of the world’s health. (“But there are jobs that need to get done!” you say. Then: do them; pay people well enough to do them; or find another system altogether.)
  • Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, equally stunning in its sadness and its well-writtenness. (Still making my way through it.)

Observations 8-16-21

  • The minute scratches you can see on the surface on John McCracken’s Red Plank in the right light, reminding you that it’s just like any other piece of lacquered fiberglass — that is, not invincible — making me wonder about its many years of being carted around and whatever other events have occurred in the sculpture’s life since 1969.
  • The apparent evidence of sanding around the concavities’ edges in Barbara Hepworth’s Two Figures.
  • Andrew Sa’s Andrew in Anotherland.

Observations 8-15-21

  • Sima’s dog Arpi walking around with a drumstick (of the drum, not chicken, variety) in her mouth.

Observations 8-14-21

  • The beautiful green moth killed on the grill of my car, post-highway-driving. :(

Observations 8-13-21

  • The older man kneeling, chopping up a tree stump with a hatchet.
  • The little frog hopping around at the Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, and NNAMDÏ show in St. Louis.
  • Hardly a comforting thought, but a comforting thought nonetheless: when the scope and intensity of the world’s suffering seems newly too much to bear, remembering it’s always been too much to bear.

Observations 8-12-21

  • Mom’s birthday!

Observations 8-11-21

  • The block-long line outside the DMV anxiously looking on at the impending storm clouds.

Observations 8-10-21

  • Watching Wilco’s livestream from Red Rocks.

Observations 8-9-21

  • Din din with Zaid, Danny, Kendall, Charles, and Casey.

Observations 8-8-21

  • The three chickens walking around in our alley.

Observations 8-7-21

  • The second of two album release shows for Liam’s Due North in Chicago.

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