Observations 3-1-20

  • More moving help at 20th Century TV & Stereo [2-24-20].
    • The sound of plastic stereo and VCR parts jiggling in my car trunk.
    • The customer who came in, acting like a jerk, demanding a refund, and then if not a refund, contrition from the owners. “You probably think I’m an asshole,” he said to me, mostly correctly. (It ended well, thanks to fellow helper Andy.)
    • The polka records and homemade Lawrence Welk tapes strewn around.
    • At their new store, the storefront church congregation singing next door.
  • The stranger who held open the door for me, beleaguered by multiple pizza boxes, at Lou Malnati’s.
  • The orange latex glove on the ground.

Observations 3-2-20

  • How even when past futurists got something right, their predictions still bore the mark of their own time — like Jean-Marc Côté 1899 images of video chatting with a projector and gramophone (via Uncle Bruce).
  • Mom, Uncle Danny, and Oona watching Bachelor with a bowl of candy on the table.

Observations 3-3-20

  • Always feeling amused that dill weed is an actual spice on the shelf in markets.

Observations 3-4-20

  • Cooking a big pasta din with Casey.
    • The onions and garlic lingering in my fingernails for days afterward.
    • Our new, completely original cooking mantra: “Cook with your heart.”

Observations 3-5-20

  • Thinking about “rational-irrational adapters”: mental tricks we use to convert irrational ideas into rational ones? To retrofit impulse with reasons? Not sure, but I am sure I’m lapsing into my college philosophy degree.

Observations 3-6-20

  • Casey’s monumental burp reverberating through a closed Wrigley Field while we walked past it at night.
  • Sliding a puppy pee pad beneath Basil’s butt to catch a turd in progress, a Bourne series-worthy maneuver.
  • All I know: if I owned a bar, I’d have the type of bathroom door knobs with occupancy indicators in them. Illuminated.
  • How Bob Moore, the owner of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, recently transferred the business to his employees (via The Oregonian).
  • How Amazon is reportedly working a common cold cure which, while potentially really helpful, is also freaky.

Observations 3-7-20

  • Running sound for a great children’s musician.
    • The miserable dad sitting at a table, pouting like a toddler.
    • The other dads’ asinine small talk.
    • The toddler audience behaving more rowdily than any audience I’ve seen here, bouncing a massive Earth globe beach ball around, crushing juice boxes.
  • Jason Kunesh and team’s awesome, inclusive new visual design system for the City of Chicago.

Observations 3-8-20

  • The LED star lights on the bar ceiling reflecting in a musician’s prayer bowl instrument.

Observations 3-9-20

  • James Gadson’s impossibly badass, light touch in Bill Withers videos from the seventies (the famous Old Grey Whistle Test appearance among them).

Observations 3-10-20

  • The packing styrofoam caught beneath a fence like the Wicked Witch’s legs.
  • Someone asking me for advice in Home Depot, a lifetime first.
    • “You look like you know more about contracting than I do,” he said, because I was wearing a brown jacket.
  • A special night at Casey’s and my favorite neighborhood bar, on what happened to be Open Mic Night.
    • The duo that brought their own smoke machine and performed in light-up electronic masks.
    • The super friendly harmonica player who explained to us “I’m a slut for music. I’m a jammer.”
    • The drummer waiting play, drumming on every possible surface — bar stool, bar top, self — in the meantime, breaking drummer etiquette.
    • An audience member’s impassioned flamenco dance stomps shaking the whole bar.

Observations 3-11-20

  • Deciding not to lick an envelope shut, because of COVID.

Observations 3-12-20

  • Looking at a newly installed hand sanitizer dispenser at the bar… and thinking that if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to look at that dispenser in the future and remember this weird time.

Observations 3-13-20

  • Getting another Mick Jagger haircut from Sheba.

Observations 3-14-20

  • One weird challenge of participating in mass collective action around preventing something: if it works, no one will have visceral proof that it worked. And so we’ll be vulnerable to people who say that the action wasn’t warranted.
  • Walking past an apartment with a loud (anti-) quarantine party going on inside.
  • Baking a whole roll of cookie dough into one sheet with Casey.

Observations 3-15-20

  • The “phantom ticket” trend: letting venues keep your ticket purchase for shows that are canceled (or postponed). I think it’s a nice, helpful thing one can do if one can afford to do it.

Observations 3-16-20

  • Autocorrect suggesting “thanks coach” in an email to a friend.

Observations 3-17-20

  • Voting in the Chicago municipal election and Illinois primary.
    • The bored election judge exhaling “Fuuuck.”
  • The unfortunate wording of a GoFundMe fundraiser: “… to pay their rent due to the COVID-19 virus.”
  • The “Family Doctor” sign blinking erratically at night.
  • The musty smell of the sixties Echoplex tape delay machine at the Loft.
  • Feeling amazed, as we often do, at how quickly some really abnormal circumstances have started to feel normal. Practically overnight.

Observations 3-18-20

  • Sparks from the L train lighting up the night clouds.
  • The big, mutilated, blue latex glove in the Walgreen’s parking lot.
  • How KOVAL Distillery is transitioning from making liquor to making hand sanitizer for health care workers.

Observations 3-19-20

  • The postal worker’s cool official rain cape.
  • Remembering the NYTimes article called “Will the Coronavirus Cause a Recession? Keep Your Eye on the Barbershops” as barbershops across the state and country are ordered to close.
  • Livestreaming our family’s new “reality show” from my dad’s bath.

Observations 3-20-20

  • How objects that get stuck on a building’s roof become a pseudo-permanent part of that building.

Observations 3-21-20

  • The big, black latex glove with its fingers folded in on the ground.
  • Doing jigsaw puzzles with Casey.
  • Learning about “benevolent dictators for life” (BDFL) in the open source software community (via Wikipedia).

Observations 3-22-20

  • Another episode of the Tweedy Show (we’ve been streaming every night).

Observations 3-23-20

  • The rousing trailer for Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream, a documentary about the Streit’s matzah factory in Manhattan. “The water we use is New York City water which is the best water in the world. If you want Jersey water, fine! Buy matzos from Jersey.” [4-3: They shut down :(]
  • The spring birds chirping at 4AM.

Observations 3-24-20

  • This nugget of advice from Neil Postman’s “Final Lecture,” via Austin Kleon: “Divest yourself of your belief in the magical powers of numbers.”
  • The YouTuber who reviews (and sometimes eats) military rations from as early as 1902 (via Sammy).

Observations 3-25-20

  • Mom’s delicious vegetable soup.

Observations 3-26-20

  • Nevada Fighter by Michael Nesmith & The First National Band (via Dad). Soo good.
  • A couple at Costco: “Do you need pickles?” “[impatient] I can live without ’em.” “[annoyed] No you can’t.”
  • In the Costco parking lot, too many littered gloves to count.
  • The new Dylan song, “Murder Most Foul.”

Observations 3-27-20

  • The Tweedy Show with special guests Casey and Basil.

Observations 3-28-20

  • Getting the word “fer de lance” stuck in my head from reading Douglas Preston’s The Lost City of the Monkey God.

Observations 3-29-20

  • Hearing an owl near Zaid’s house.

Observations 3-30-20

  • A special one-song version of The Tweedy Show airing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Observations 3-31-20

  • Two geese on the street in Chicago.
  • Purple Moonlight Pages by R.A.P. Ferreira. So sweet and great.