Observations 4-1-19

  • Taking Basil to the vet to address his popped boil pimple thing [3-31-19]. (It was a reaction to his flu shot, for which the vaccine manufacturer is expected to compensate Casey. He went home with a cone and some medicine. He’s coping like a good boy.)
  • Buying a light bulb for my car and getting talked into buying bulb grease along with it.

Observations 4-2-19

  • Voting in the Chicago mayoral runoff (and treasurer/aldermanic races).
  • Renewing my Chicago library card with a less-than-friendly librarian, who happened to have an Eastern European accent.
  • Eating a kiwi with the skin on it for the first time because my mom told me that’s allowed now.
  • Casey de-greasing my face with a battery-powered pore sucker.

Observations 4-3-19

  • Dylan’s second Christian record, Saved (via Dad).
  • Imagining a universe where industrial food processing tools never developed so food factory employees halve almonds with their own teeth, for example, or puree fruit by chewing it.

Observations 4-4-19

  • Mom’s YouTube vegan vlogger-inspired kimchi soup.

Observations 4-5-19

  • Changing a light bulb on my car [4-1-19] by myself and feeling like a 1950s everyman for it.

Observations 4-6-19

  • My Apple Watch recognizing drumming as elliptical machine exercise.

Observations 4-7-19

  • How satisfying it is to hear (or perform) a well-placed, genuinely needed tambourine in a song.

Observations 4-8-19

  • Getting smoked aioli on my sock.
  • Turning on the hotel TV to find a sequence of a baby bird falling down the face of a cliff and somehow surviving.
  • The faux Ancient Greek landscape in the backdrop of a Catholic TV interview show.
  • How surprising, and heartening, it is to think about the overall relative stability of the world when it’s so easy to make mistakes with far-ish-reaching consequences (and how many people there are to make them). I think about this especially when I’m going to sleep at night and there aren’t any audible signs of bad decision-making or accidents to be heard near me (a basically useless test, but the one I have when I’m falling asleep). I know those things are happening somewhere (and in some places, they happen very often), but it’s a wonder that they aren’t happening everywhere.

Observations 4-9-19

  • The gothness of the black McDonald’s flags in NYC.
  • The fabric shops on 38th Street and all their gaudy, sparkly fabrics.
  • Receiving a New York Times alert about the measles state of emergency in Williamsburg minutes after getting off the train in Williamsburg.
  • How painfully obvious it is that I—scrawny, wide-eyed, Midwestern—am a mark when I’m walking on the street in NYC.
  • The man who picked a pigeon feather off the ground, lovingly inspected it, and then stashed it in his pocket.

Observations 4-10-19

  • The kalimba-based muzak in an elevator.
  • The Star Wars cosplayers at O’Hare airport.

Observations 4-11-19

  • The barely audible tape bleed ghost vocal in the break of “So Wrong” by Patsy Cline.
  • Eating a Taco Ball Cantina veggie burrito for the first time, in a last-minute dinner before playing with Henry at the Whistler.
  • The impromptu Soul Train dance party we held outside the Whistler after the show, inspired (and facilitated) by the person blasting house music out of their parked minivan. We stayed there, dancing and accosting strangers, for at least thirty minutes.

Observations 4-12-19

  • Dropping a piece of unchewed gum on the sidewalk. Picking it up and chewing it anyway.
  • Playing in the Cosmic Country band at Hideout.

Observations 4-13-19

  • My mom’s incredulous response to the question of whether she planned to dance at the wedding she was headed to: “You have to boogie at weddings.”

Observations 4-14-19

  • The leaders of a Swiss internationalist activist group, Operation Libero, describing how they respond to rising far-right populism in their country, in the Guardian:
    • “‘[…] We set the terms of the debate by portraying the [far-right populist] SVP’s proposal as an attack against fundamental Swiss values. Against the constitution as a pillar of our liberal democracy; the rule of law; equal justice for all. We were the patriots here, because this was an attack on things that every Swiss citizen holds dear.’”
    • “[Operation Libero] enlists ‘online warriors’, more than 100 at any one time for major campaigns, to engage on social media platforms. These are not trolls, Kleiner insists. They use their own names, offer arguments rather than invective and are under orders to stay polite and never escalate.”
    • “‘You have to be accurate, honest, understandable. You have to be serious about what you’re doing, responsible – but at the same time keep it fun, light. That’s not always easy. It’s really hard sometimes, actually. And you have to be positive.’”
    • “‘The SVP say they’re defending ordinary Swiss people against the state and a global elite but they’re actually weakening the structures and institutions that secure those very individuals’ freedoms.’”
    • “Politics now, Kleiner believes, has moved far beyond the left-right divide, or even the progressive-conservative divide. ‘It’s increasingly, actually, about constructive versus destructive,’ she says. ‘That’s really where we are.’”
  • Feeling kinda surprised that even super politically conscious, pro-local-business creative people still use Amazon affiliate links in their blogs and newsletters. Wondering how (or whether) someone could provide an alternative program.

Observations 4-15-19

  • The man wearing a baseball helmet as a bike helmet.

Observations 4-16-19

  • The older, Deadhead-looking man drumming at a jazz jam and doing these awesome snare drum rolls with one hand.

Observations 4-17-19

  • Coming across highway traffic at 1:30AM.

Observations 4-18-19

  • Going to a family-owned little hardware store for keys, lightbulbs, heat-shrink tubing.
    • The cool, weird things they stock.
    • Having more fun (and spending less) than I would have in a Home Depot.
  • Witnessing two separate arrests on the street.
  • One of my least favorite things in the world: the white reggae-fication of “The Weight” by the Band.

Observations 4-19-19

  • Our anti-Bibi, progressive Passover seder.
    • Biting off more horseradish (maror) than I could comfortably take; my face turning red.
    • My cousin’s iPhone wallpaper: a still from Jim Carrey’s The Mask.
  • The driver of a Lyft I took to Lincoln Hall:
    • “You’re one of the good Jews” (paraphrased).
    • A story about his friend who, while in prison, planned to kill the warden upon his release, but decided against it, because…
    • “Forgiveness is the most powerful weapon.”
  • The man watching a video on his phone—loudly—during Steve Gunn’s set at Lincoln Hall.
  • Advice from a real estate agent at the Steve Gunn show: “Don’t care about money. Be a musician.”
  • The Escalade with a painting of itself on its trunk gate.

Observations 4-20-19

  • Being the only person in my immediate family who likes the burned matzah pieces.

Observations 4-21-19

  • Passing an apartment building about which Mom said, “I think I schtupped in that building.”

Observations 4-22-19

  • Getting a Facebook friend request from my rabbi.
  • Potting plants with Casey.

Observations 4-23-19

  • Re-embracing the HTML <div> tag.

Observations 4-24-19

  • Veep.

Observations 4-25-19

  • The endlessly shocking awfulness of the self-checkout machines at Jewel (regional grocery store).

Observations 4-26-19

  • Sprouting a zit on my face of the same size and placement as Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark.

Observations 4-27-19

  • Worrying about the newly blooming plants in this late April snow.

Observations 4-28-19

  • Basil’s bunny-esque way of hopping around outside.
  • Jim Baker schlepping and playing a full-size ARP synthesizer at the Hungry Brain.

Observations 4-29-19

  • Michael Slote referring to “our empathic/sympathetic juices” in his book The Ethics of Care and Empathy.
    • Also, learning a new word: “supererogation.”

Observations 4-30-19

  • Looking to Shen Yun as a model for the promotion of our tiny homegrown farm festival at Avrom Farm (avromfarmparty.com).
  • The neighborhood clothing store advertising “good stuff, $7.99-$14.99.”
  • Among all their many horrible offenses, feeling frustrated that white supremacists have co-opted the “OK” hand signal (especially when thumbs-up isn’t adequate, like when you’re signaling a monitor engineer).