Observations 12-1-19

  • A Case Oats show at a coffee shop.

Observations 12-2-19

  • Sleeping with an external hard drive purring on my desk, backing up.

Observations 12-3-19

  • The Pocket Change drum album by Nate Smith.

Observations 12-4-19

  • The frozen marshes in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
  • Little geysers of clementine juice spraying on the car window while I peeled one.

Observations 12-5-19

  • In the din of noises from a huge construction site, you sometimes hear a few regular hammer hits, which makes me think: it’s amazing that anything so micro-level and unmechanized is part of building something so big.
  • The sound tech with a Gretsch shirt, two Gretsch tattoos, and a son named Gretsch.
  • The good Jewish pickle at a coffee shop in Sheboygan, WI.
  • A winter classic: a dump truck full of snow.

Observations 12-6-19

  • Deliberately stepping on tortilla chips, which had spilled on the asphalt, for crunch-feel.
  • The little hairs of mold in the tiny space between two wooden beams in a 118-year-old opera house bathroom — like stalactites.

Observations 12-7-19

  • The older woman in a coffee shop who told me I have an “excellent head of hair.”
  • Using Neosporin (autocorrect: “bro’s potion”) that had expired in 2006. That is, vintage 2006.

Observations 12-8-19

  • Sneezing tea all over myself and my laptop.

Observations 12-9-19

  • Writing while wearing an offbrand Snuggie.
  • Tim Kreider’s “On Smushing.”

Observations 12-10-19

  • The blown-out speaker in a gas station pump ad TV sounding like the teacher in Charlie Brown.

Observations 12-11-19

  • Hearing “Take Me to the River” by Al Green for the first time since my Big Mouth Billy Bass childhood.
  • Taking Basil to see Santa at the vet.

Observations 12-12-19

  • Doing sound for a band with an EWI player.

Observations 12-13-19

  • Getting woken up by two phone calls and a text that said “Ri hard this wayne can u call me I have some plumbing problems I need u to look at.”
  • A really great-feeling show with Liam Kazar at the Hideout.

Observations 12-14-19

  • Tooth Gallery, a “travelling gallery space exhibiting small artworks installed in [designer] Che-Wei Wang’s mouth.”

Observations 12-15-19

  • George Saunders’ Guardian essay about “what writers really do when they write.” 😍
    • “Any work of art quickly reveals itself to be a linked system of problems.”
  • The blue latex glove on the ground near Chicago Theater.
  • “Still At It,” a beautiful New York Times Magazine photo essay about New Yorkers who have been doing the same job/craft for decades.

Observations 12-16-19

  • A really really really nice 24th birthday:
    • Breakfast in bed from Casey.
    • Getting to play “The Late Greats” with Wilco, a reprise of my 13th birthday when I sat in while they opened for Neil Young at Madison Square Garden.
    • Birthday cake with band ’n’ fam.

Observations 12-17-19

  • The delay between when hot water hits your hands and the pain of its heat.
  • The license plate “JAZZMOM.”
  • The young jazz players at a local jam exchanging phone numbers.

Observations 12-18-19

  • The super sweet ushers at Chicago Theater and their uniform capes!
  • The Christmas tree in the corner backstage, spooky-looking and beautiful.

Observations 12-19-19

  • The garbage truck whose technicians had put found art in the frames where official signs normally go.

Observations 12-20-19

  • Hiccuping and accidentally farting. Repeatedly.

Observations 12-21-19

  • Another really fun Cosmic Country Showcase with Sully, Dorian, Liam, Sima, Macie, Andrew, Grelle, Tasha, Tim, a bunch of featured guests, and a surprise three songs with Dad.

Observations 12-22-19

  • Learning amazing facts about the deepest-diving ocean animals on Neal Agarwal’s “The Deep Sea” website.
    • The look of the comb jelly.

Observations 12-23-19

  • Therapy jamming.

Observations 12-24-19

  • Playing with the neighbors’ dog Burt.

Observations 12-25-19

  • Delivering gifts and cash to underprivileged families with the Unconditional Giving / Letters to Santa / 24 Hour people. (To help year-round, visit Onward House and Unconditional Giving.)
  • Visiting an apartment with a Scarface collectible gun display, a Sopranos-themed Last Supper-esque painting, and a parrot.

Observations 12-26-19

  • Asking a grocery store employee about Hanukkah candles and getting directed to a section of Virgin Mary devotional candles instead.

Observations 12-27-19

  • Karaoke at a 4AM bar frozen in 1993.

Observations 12-28-19

  • All those moments where you “feel” a text arrive without getting a notification from your phone, and the kinda superstitious belief that those moments could be evidence of long-distance, telepathic, emotional communication.

Observations 12-29-19

  • Watching Saxondale with Dad and Sammy.

Observations 12-30-19

  • Expecting that, in the new decade, critics may make more generalizations because it’s easier to do so when the decade has a catchy title like “the twenties.”

Observations 12-31-19

  • Playing in Sima Cunningham’s Aux Thom New Year’s Eve party at Constellation. The funnest.