A Case Oats show at a coffee shop.
Sleeping with an external hard drive purring on my desk, backing up.
Pocket Change drum album by Nate Smith.
The frozen marshes in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Little geysers of clementine juice spraying on the car window while I peeled one.
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.
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.
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.
Sneezing tea all over myself and my laptop.
Writing while wearing an offbrand Snuggie.
Tim Kreider’s “On Smushing.”
The blown-out speaker in a gas station pump ad TV sounding like the teacher in Charlie Brown.
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.
Doing sound for a band with an EWI player.
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.
Tooth Gallery, a “travelling gallery space exhibiting small artworks installed in [designer] Che-Wei Wang’s mouth.”
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.
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.
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.
The super sweet ushers at Chicago Theater and their uniform capes!
The Christmas tree in the corner backstage, spooky-looking and beautiful.
The garbage truck whose technicians had put found art in the frames where official signs normally go.
Hiccuping and accidentally farting. Repeatedly.
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.
Learning amazing facts about the deepest-diving ocean animals on Neal Agarwal’s “The Deep Sea” website.
The look of the comb jelly.
Playing with the neighbors’ dog Burt.
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.
Asking a grocery store employee about Hanukkah candles and getting directed to a section of Virgin Mary devotional candles instead.
Karaoke at a 4AM bar frozen in 1993.
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.
Saxondale with Dad and Sammy.
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.”
Playing in Sima Cunningham’s Aux Thom New Year’s Eve party at Constellation. The funnest.