Observations 2021-07-01

  • The cashier’s plexiglass shield at the neighborhood burrito joint: gone.
  • The man shaving while driving.

Observations 2021-07-02

  • Casey’s first-ever vinyl DJ set. She killed it!

Observations 2021-07-03

  • The Tweedy band playing Rivets Stadium near Rockford, IL to a great audience.
    • Walking to the stage while a fireworks display detonated mere yards away from us.
    • The tiny bugs landing, bouncing on my snare drum like popcorn.

Observations 2021-07-04

  • The amateur-launched fireworks misfiring, heading toward a herd of parents and small children, who scrambled, running, when a chunk of fiery material flew at them. (All were OK!)
  • The teenager holding a Roman candle but looking away, not enjoying the fruits of his risk-taking, only the thrill of taking the risk.
  • Summer of Soul 😭 Mahalia Jackson, Stevie, Mavis… people.

Observations 2021-07-05

  • The very kind comment a fan made to me at Menards.

Observations 2021-07-06

  • A sold-out Case Oats show on the patio at the Hideout, the venue’s first official show back!
  • Always cleaning water droplets (from handwash splashing) off toilet seats, lest anyone think I left pee there.

Observations 2021-07-07

  • The woman wearing a “Jesus Is My Boss” hat.

Observations 2021-07-08

  • Understanding one or two Arabic words spoken by two men in a gas station, thanks to my recent Hebrew lessons.

Observations 2021-07-09

  • Eating dehydrated leak chips with Jason, Casey, and some strangers on Belmont Avenue.

Observations 2021-07-10

  • Grilling for hours — Impossible patties, corn, and bell pepper skewers — with friends.

Observations 2021-07-11

  • The group of six urban-dwelling, gun lobby-despising quasi-pacifists shooting La Croix cans with BB guns, of which I was a part.

Observations 2021-07-12

  • The t-shirt on the back of a dad at a beloved local hot dog joint: “I lubricate my AR-15 with liberal tears.” His son saw me staring.
  • Cleaning vintage poop particles out of a 1965 pink toilet.

Observations 2021-07-13

  • A bizarre and somewhat harrowing night out in Chicago’s West Loop.

Observations 2021-07-14

Observations 2021-07-15

  • DIVER” by Lala Lala.

Observations 2021-07-16

  • Thinking of the lifting of mask mandates the way I think about the fake end of Chicago winter. It seems like the snowfall is over in March, but there’s actually much cold to come, so I don’t unbrace myself until spring has fully arrived.
  • The Jackson Pollock ranch dressing spill on the hotel rug.

Observations 2021-07-17

  • Recalibrating my tolerance of uncertainty with regard to solving problems and making things.

Observations 2021-07-18

  • The massive calzone with what can only be described as veggie water inside.
  • Playing MASS MoCA with Dad!

Observations 2021-07-19

  • Hearing reports that there is a gaggle of LARPers nearby, staying in the same hotel.
  • The little spider webs holding rain, spun across the tops of short hedges.

Observations 2021-07-20

  • Compare and Despair by youbet.
  • The absolutely bonkers appropriation of Black music on pop country music radio.
  • Advice from folks who’ve died or almost died that I contemplate all the time:
    • “I open bad wine.”
    • “Eat the Danish.”

Observations 2021-07-21

  • The super cool, circular, mid-century church on the border of Chicago and Niles.

Observations 2021-07-22

  • Cutting my hand on a Goya bean can.

Observations 2021-07-23

  • Basil’s new backpack. (That is, Casey’s and my new backpack meant for carrying Basil.)

Observations 2021-07-24

  • Celebrating (remotely) the rabbinic ordination of Tamar Manasseh, founder of MASK.

Observations 2021-07-25

  • Peering down at the bottom of a clear Lake Michigan.
  • The sea of sun umbrellas as seen from a paddleboard a couple hundred feet out.
  • Paddling up to a buoy to discover it was actually a red balloon, partially deflated, sitting on the lake surface.
  • The families wading in the murky creek water.
  • Basil chasing a big blue heron out of a pond.

Observations 2021-07-26

Observations 2021-07-27

Observations 2021-07-28

  • Rehearsing with Cosmic Country Showcase and Sima Cunningham’s Aux Thom.

Observations 2021-07-29

Observations 2021-07-30

  • “Nature has fat” — author Daniel Suarez referring to the lessons on resilience we can take from natural systems, and the folly of valuing efficiency at the expense of all else.
  • The LED stage lights illuminating the nighttime Wisconsin mist.
  • Ben Cruz of Moontype’s inventive, fluid, beautiful guitarplaying.

Observations 2021-07-31

  • The bright purple flesh of the marinated eggplant strips, looking like fish fillets.
  • The feeling of relief after exiting a swelteringly hot porta-potty.