Observations 2019-10-01

  • How my ideas about others’ salaries are based off the Life board game career cards.
  • Wondering: will I ever stop wiping my hands on my pants?
  • The latex glove on the ground at 55th in Manhattan.

Observations 2019-10-02

  • Feeling proud of and amused by the number of Observations: Year One customers with AOL email addresses.
  • The blue latex glove on the corner near Sammy’s dorm building.
  • Resolving to call Bluetooth “Btooth.”

Observations 2019-10-03

  • Listening to a National Geographic photographer describe being “visited” by a jaguar.
  • The perennial realization that, yes, it is cute that baseball coaches wear the uniform alongside the players.

Observations 2019-10-04

  • Popping washed-up kelp pods on the beach.

Observations 2019-10-05

  • Using Gmail’s “undo send” feature for the first time — to correct the spelling of my own name.

Observations 2019-10-06

  • This memory: being six years old and playing with my first-generation iPod (a hand-me-down from Dad) while I was supposed to be asleep; turning on a Black Sabbath song right as my dad happened to walk past my bedroom; wanting to turn it down because it was at ear-splitting volume (and the volume would alert my dad), but pretending to be asleep instead, laying there with Sabbath pummeling my ears until he came over and (rightly) reprimanded me.

Observations 2019-10-07

  • The just-beginning-to-turn leaves on the drive from New York City to Maine.
  • Passing a town called Tewksbury — good word.
  • The smell of First Mark brand hand soap reminding me of the smell of the IT person at my elementary school with whom I used to talk about Linux.
  • The dirty latex glove on the ground at a gas station in Connecticut.
  • The black latex glove on the ground near Rory Ferreira’s store in Biddeford, Maine.

Observations 2019-10-08

  • The water pressure of the LaGuardia airport water fountain fading with every flush in the bathroom nearby.
  • Being well on my way to a mullet.
  • While running sound at a bar, the blues singer who preemptively told me, “Don’t turn me down when I sing,” because she’s probably experienced that a zillion times.
  • Southern Exposure, a photo book about overlooked architecture on Chicago’s South Side.

Observations 2019-10-09

  • Playing mini-golf and hitting (mostly missing) in the batting cages with Casey.

Observations 2019-10-10

  • The peanut butter stirring incident: trying to stir a jar of Kirkland peanut butter into edible form but getting it all over my hands and arms, making a giant, “peanut butter baby” meme-esque mess.

Observations 2019-10-11

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

Observations 2019-10-12

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

Observations 2019-10-13

  • 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 2019-10-14

  • Practicing the left-handed Purdie Shuffle.

Observations 2019-10-15

  • 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 2019-10-16

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

Observations 2019-10-17

  • 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 2019-10-18

  • 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 2019-10-19

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

Observations 2019-10-20

  • 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 2019-10-21

  • 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 2019-10-22

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

Observations 2019-10-23

  • 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 2019-10-24

  • 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 2019-10-25

  • 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 2019-10-26

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

Observations 2019-10-27

  • 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 2019-10-28

  • 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 2019-10-29

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

Observations 2019-10-30

  • 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 2019-10-31

  • 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.