Observations 2021-02-01

  • The monumental snowfall in Chicago.
  • The snow angel someone made and left in my alley.

Observations 2021-02-02

  • Opening a box of unsweetened Shredded Wheat to find they’re of the “Big Biscuit” variety: comically large mini-wheats.
  • The garbage technician, to me, after watching me use our tiny electric snowblower: “Where’d you get that, Toys ‘R’ Us?”
    • A few minutes later, the recycling technician: “Isn’t that the cutest little thing?”

Observations 2021-02-03

  • The sparks flying off the gunpowder-dappled head of a nail as we tried to sledge it into concrete after the powder-actuated nailer failed to drive it.

Observations 2021-02-04

  • Cutting steel conduit with an angle grinder, watching sparks bounce around inside the tube before petering out.
  • Bobby Charles’s “I Must Be in a Good Place Now” (via my friend Gabe L). The image of fishing at sunset… means so much to me now, in winter, in pandemic, and bizarrely, even though I’m only twenty-five, at my age.

Observations 2021-02-05

  • A day in battle with winter: plugging a leak caused by a frozen gutter; helping my uncle dig his car out of ice.
  • The episode of Israeli Sesame Street in which a muppet, Mahboub, interprets for his Arabic-speaking human friend Omar so he and their Hebrew-speaking friends can all play together.

Observations 2021-02-06

  • The fine art of setting the wintertime sink trickle.

Observations 2021-02-07

  • Binding a custom weekly routine tracker notebook.

Observations 2021-02-08

  • Impossibly fluffy flakes (IFF) falling from the sky.
  • The nice feel of squishing a wrapped pad of butter that’s been sitting out for a while.

Observations 2021-02-09

  • Unfreezing an outdoor padlock with a propane torch.

Observations 2021-02-10

  • Jason and I building makeshift spiked sandals, for use while pouring concrete, out of plywood, nails, and duct tape.

Observations 2021-02-11

  • “She was an American squirrel,” sung to the tune of “American Girl.”
  • The ice divots in the alley that jerked my car around like an automated car wash track.
  • The flooring glue that Sheba discovered in my hair while she was cutting it.

Observations 2021-02-12

  • The woman at the hardware store in a matching cheetah-print coat and face mask.
  • I think a lot about avoiding future joint pain. And when I pet Basil and I feel the bones in his neck I think about whether there are ways we can help save him from future joint pain too. I think this comes from listening to all my older loved ones and friends talk about their aching bodies all the time.

Observations 2021-02-13

  • The massive icicles weighing down the phone lines, bringing them almost to the ground.
  • The careless-seeming, yuppie-ish people eating in a restaurant in the West Loop.
  • The local flower shop employees working through pre-Valentine’s Day frenzy.

Observations 2021-02-14

  • A short lesson with Mom on how to use Photoshop (Pixelmator).

Observations 2021-02-15

  • The bunnies and other wildlife that live all around Chicago — where do they go in subzero weather like this? Are they OK?
  • The neighbor who told me she loves this overwhelming, daily-life-altering snow. “It reminds me of my childhood!” she said.
  • Celebrating President’s Day the way the Congress intended: by buying a rug.

Observations 2021-02-16

  • The chalkline on a drywall sheet disappearing, vibrating away as we drilled screws into it.

Observations 2021-02-17

  • The epidemic of frozen downspouts in Chicago. Bigger icicles than I’ve ever seen, on just about every home.
  • The French-speaking Home Depot employee.

Observations 2021-02-18

  • The tiny, dense, but inactive spider nests inside of my car’s tail light assembly.
  • Carefully jacking up our sagging studio ceiling with a bottle jack and a floor post.
  • The passing of Akron/Family’s Miles Seaton, writer of one of my favorite songs ever: “I’ll Be on the Water.”
  • Basil momentarily sinking into the deep snow.

Observations 2021-02-19

  • Remembering the yellow banana slug squish toy I used to play with as a kid, from the Redwoods National Park gift shop.
  • The snow drifts sliding off our neighbor’s roof.

Observations 2021-02-20

  • The street lights on the hills driving into Charleston, West Virginia.
  • The phrase “higher powered hands” on a religious billboard.

Observations 2021-02-21

  • Eating Panera tomato-basil soup on the hood of my car in a strip mall parking lot in Kernersville, North Carolina.
  • The runaway truck ramps in the mountains along I-74.
  • The entire highway-side forests of ice-encased trees.
  • This truck decal: “Stay home if you sick, come over if you thick!”

Observations 2021-02-22

  • The stack of rubber-banded Panera gift cards on the ground, maybe fifteen of them.
  • Gasper Nali’s babatoni music. (A babatoni is “a three-meter, one-stringed, home-made bass guitar.”)

Observations 2021-02-23

  • The golden-hour sunlight pouring into the warehouse recording space.

Observations 2021-02-24

  • The humongous, curly hair in my Airbnb’s medicine cabinet.

Observations 2021-02-25

  • The sound of a nearby burglar-ish alarm giving way to birds chirping in the same register.
  • The holes and cracks in the vacant mid-century office building lobby window.
  • My shadow walking across the four-lane highway as I crossed the bridge overhead.
  • Unknowingly pressing the speakerphone button moments before my mom burped into the phone, sending it straight into my ear.

Observations 2021-02-26

  • Forgetting to breathe while playing a shaker.
  • Driving under the infamous 11’-8” bridge.
  • MoogStar with Swamp Dogg and Guitar Shorty: “Jim Crow Gotta Go.”
  • David Byrne’s American Utopia. So freaking good.

Observations 2021-02-27

  • The drumming on The Band’s cover of “Third Man Theme.”
  • The bass-on-the-left (organ pedals), drums-on-the-right badass mix of Dr. John’s “Mama Roux.”

Observations 2021-02-28

  • The little waterfalls trickling down the highway-side cliffs.
  • The canes with mock pistols as handles for sale at the truck stop.
  • The power of casting off the sunk cost fallacy.