Observations 9-1-19

  • Reading Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities (thank you, Leo) and finding what I thought of as lots of fodder against mega-developments like Chicago’s Lincoln Yards.
  • The novelty hat at the St. Louis Zoo: “Advice from a TREE: Go out on a limb, stand tall and proud, remember your roots, enjoy the view!”
    • I bought it.

Observations 9-2-19

  • Casey feeding Basil out of her cupped hand while I drove us on the highway.

Observations 9-3-19

  • Watching videos of Japanese supercentenarians with my ten-year-old cousin Charles.

Observations 9-4-19

  • The latex glove on the ground under a viaduct in Echo Park, LA.
  • Feeling a little bit of the invincibility complex that’s typical of twenty-somethings creep into me sometimes. For example, when I’m afraid a stranger might hit me, I notice myself thinking, “I could take ‘em.” But I know I’d quickly find out I was wrong if something actually happened.

Observations 9-5-19

  • The Winnebago-type trailer with what appears to be a bullet hole in its rear window.
  • The startling niceness of In-N-Out employees.
  • Wanting to know more about how upscale restaurants move rare ingredients around the world. Are there flights with French tree bark sitting on a business-class seat?

Observations 9-6-19

  • Driving from Topanga to Malibu for a highly acclaimed burrito.
  • The archived livestream footage of Hurricane Dorian pummeling a remote ocean light station and its noise-music-esque audio (via Dad).
  • Ty Segall double-drumming with Charles Moothart at the Teragram Ballroom.

Observation 9-7-19

  • The sign at a Thai restaurant: “WARNING / Careful your kid / HOT SOUP.”
  • The Spanish-language karaoke party happening in the backyard next door.
    • Feeling not anger but awe that the people there wanted to go hard hard until 2AM.

Observations 9-8-19

  • Trying to parse Timothy Taylor’s super esoteric but interesting Edge.org essay about the Boeing 737 MAX.
    • “We have a useful but also dangerous tendency to view our constructed artefacts as if they were natural kinds, akin to chemical elements or biological species, and therefore ascribe to them the idea of shared essential characteristics.”

Observations 9-9-19

  • Visiting two super infamous but completely different studios. One with lots of lovingly maintained gear in it. The other with cobwebs on the walls.

Observations 9-10-19

  • Eating Sichuan food for the first time.
  • On a night drive north from Oakland, stopping at Vista Point overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

Observations 9-11-19

  • Driving in West Coast mountains through fog so dense that you could hardly see the edge.
  • Flying home to Chicago through storm clouds so black they were darker than the night sky around them.
  • Daniel Johnston. ♥

Observations 9-12-19

  • Mom finding a box of business cards for Dad’s band the Primatives, which, in addition to the original misspelling, used a “u” instead of “v” so the name looked like “The Primatiues.”

Observations 9-13-19

  • Watching a loop-pedal-using solo fiddle player use a wah-wah pedal on her fiddle.

Observations 9-14-19

  • Liam serving as my head cold doctor before my second-ever solo band show. Ginger, Throat Coat tea, an apple before the show.

Observations 9-15-19

  • The two tripping Germans negotiating their next bar move.

Observations 9-16-19

  • Lately, picturing other young people as their older selves while we talk, mostly because I’m afraid to lose the privilege of our young faces as we get older, but also because older people often tell me “getting old sucks” and I want to prepare for it.

Observations 9-17-19

  • Accidentally timing the electric hot water kettle and the toaster oven so that they finished at the same time, their dissonant beeps beeping against each other.
  • The feeling of just having finished crying that persists while you have a cold.

Observations 9-18-19

  • The bajillions of serendipitous transcription errors made by Temi.com while working on a project. Among them: “drum kits” as “drunk kids.”
  • How there’s a very fine line between being good at focusing and being good at not caring.

Observations 9-19-19

  • The announcement over the Walgreens PA: “Customer services needed in the deodorant aisle.”
  • Even this far into puberty (i.e. nearly finished), still being pleasantly surprised by every (beginning of a) beard I grow.

Observations 9-20-19

  • Finally throwing out the blue clip-on hair bow that a person left at my house years ago, after making out with and then ghosting me, which I had been saving (platonically) in case she wanted it.
  • The smell of tar on the road being paved outside the Loft.
  • The phrase “help so hard.”

Observations 9-21-19

  • Robert Beatty’s great new video from July, “Ruby Green Singing.”

Observations 9-22-19

  • The string intro in “The Magic of Your Love” by Majestic Arrows.

Observations 9-23-19

  • A blockbuster product idea: Pickle Glove, for wearing while eating pickles, so their juice doesn’t run down your arm.

Observations 9-24-19

  • Wondering if chefs protect their taste buds the way (some) musicians protect their ears.
  • The four huge deer near Zaid’s house.
  • Revisiting Jon Daly’s super accurate and underrated Red Hot Chili Peppers parody.
  • The beautiful photos of mathematicians’ chalkboards in a New York Times photo essay

Observations 9-25-19

  • Cleaning cob webs off the house by wrapping them around a garden shovel like cotton candy.
  • The treadmill in the middle of a fluorescent-lit apartment’s living room.
  • Feeling proud of Sammy (again) for organizing a climate strike at his high school in 2016, before they were more widespread. Only a handful of students participated and Sammy was given detention.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder may be setting in, but at least the earlier sunsets make automatic Dark Mode turn on more quickly.

Observations 9-26-19

  • Running sound for the Chicago Cellar Boys, a 1920s and ’30s jazz band.
    • How, even if you’d be bored by this music on a record, it’s undeniably exciting live.
    • Some of their fans, in 1920s clothes, showing again [5-16-19] that cosplaying patrons are often nicer than non-cosplaying ones. Maybe because they’re doing what they love.
    • While turning on the house music, feeling like it’s hostile to play contemporary records in between an anachronistic band’s sets.
    • My Arrested Development squawking Gob chicken ringtone accidentally blaring over the bar’s PA.

Observations 9-27-19

  • Watching TikTok videos with Casey and marveling about how it gets millions of people to sing/dance/pretend in their homes just by making the right circumstance for it.
    • It’s like discovering every other person you’ve met is or was a theater kid.
    • How if Hunter S. Thompson were alive, he might be taking mescaline and doing deep-dive pieces on TikTok and Vine culture.
  • Proposing a new word: “inintimate” (meaning “not intimate”).

Observations 9-28-19

  • This amazing Laurie Spiegel quote from an interview in Apartamento (thanks, Mom): “The point I kept trying to make was that technology is actually the most human thing about us. It is what differentiates us from all the other animals, though a few animals such as crows actually do make their own tools. Technology is a human thing, and we can create it to be what we want it to be.” I think we need a dose of that thinking, even if (or maybe because) there are lots of tech-borne problems to address.
  • How Casey said I look like a Backyard Baseball character (then took it back).

Observations 9-29-19

  • The free jazz musician playing a tuba resonator by blowing on a latex glove stretched over its smaller opening.
    • The same musician making that awful, squeaky styrofoam sound (on purpose), the first time I’ve been angry at improvised music.
  • Going to a “chihuahua party” fundraiser for a local pet shelter with Casey, at which Basil was conspicuously one of the only chihuahuas in attendance.
  • How all six varieties of crackers in the Whole Food Entertainment Cracker pack have different, exquisite tastes, including one that tastes like soup.

Observations 9-30-19

  • Wilco on Colbert!
    • Hanging out with Buttercup the Dog backstage.
  • The smell of pee in the hotel elevator (not Buttercup’s).