Favorites 1.26.15

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Foggy-Night Quiet: Spectral stillness is the secret known only to people out 2 a.m. when the streets are empty and the fog has cloaked everything, causing the traffic lights to hover inside halos of vapor.

Leeks: Leeks didn’t used to be part of my repertoire. I think I thought they were some kind of potato? Anyway, they’re pretty magic. The savory edge of an onion, but more rich and buttery. Cut one up, sauté it, and throw it in anything—that is, if you like delicious.

2-Day Dirty Hair: It’s a basic equation. The day you wash your hair: regrettably poofy—it can’t be helped. The next day: acceptable but still unruly. The 3rd day: just right.

Peaky Blinders: An epic turn-of-the-century Brit gangster drama on the BBC (also streaming on Netflix tho!). Everything is perfect: The music (Nick Cave/PJ Harvey/Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys), the direction of photography (elegant Old-World gothic), the casting, et cetera. From a female perspective, getting to look at a bunch of bad asses (including but not limited to Tom Hardy) with cool haircuts and accents—I ain’t mad at it.

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Hot Rock Week

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I got all high stakes last week and gambled a couple important evening hours on some important rock shows—Red Fang, Danava, and White Glove, specifically. All these bands are from my town, and all of them are comprised by one or more of my pals.

There was waiting in line outside in the cold, there was pushing through crowds, there was much getting breathed on. Turns out none of these things are all that bad.

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Red Fang rocked transcendent like always. I experienced a rare (and prized!) Christopher J. Coyle sighting, as well as loud-as-fuck guitars. No earplugs. No nothing. You just let it wash over you in its natural, blistering state.

Danava was all hair, denim, and hot licks. The very thing for a glum Thursday when you coulda easily ended up in a downward spiral of Peaky Blinders.

White Glove, I mean it’s White Glove! They write songs about Rick McCrank! You go see ’em when you want to laugh and dance around in the front row.

Been Watching

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Wild: As good as the book? Not sure. Was the book even that good? There’s the worst computer-generated fox in there, and yet, the thrust of the story does carry you along with it. What I mainly took away was something I already know, about how you travel to inner places when you’re alone in the wilderness—some dark and some not. You chew on shit, and then you come out the other side. Redemption, et cetera.

 

St. Vincent: Please do see this—one of those inspired films that remains undecided about what  it is. On the surface … so fucking funny. But underneath, it’s really very, very sad.

 

Chinese Puzzle: French movies are just better—better actors with more interesting faces and a different way of looking at shit. This here is a lovable French rom-com streaming on Netflix right now—about how life’s all complicated, but at the same time, it’s not.

Winter War

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When I did my Year In Pictures, the thought that life really is better in the summer crossed my mind. It just gives you a nice feeling, scrolling through the months and seeing things get warmer and warmer. Bare branches and billows of fog replaced by vermillion blooms. Dark bars and beanies switched out for beer glasses sparkling like jewels in the sun.

Winter’s dark. Especially so far north, so deep into the rain forest. But I like to think of us as warriors this time of year. Everyday, refusing to just stay in bed like we want to. Everyday, working, skating, laughing—continuing life, really, even through the dark, dampness, and gloom.

Also! We need winter I reckon—even the kind of winter we have here in the Northwest. It’s restorative, for one, and, like Rilke says, it gives you all that time to propagate your “inner life”:

“Tending my inner garden went splendidly this winter. Suddenly to be healed again and aware that the very ground of my being — my mind and spirit — was given time and space in which to go on growing; and there came from my heart a radiance I had not felt so strongly for a long time…”

So anyway, here’s to winter, and to seeing y’all on the other side.

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Yes, Please

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Check it out. Everyone wants to start January all fresh and clean-slate style. But I can’t be bothered with that. I like this old self of mine. I like where it’s come from. Et cetera.

What I do want for this year (and this life) is to be totally light of step. Positive. Like a charged ion drifting by on the breeze of life.

“I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!” says Nietzsche (and that dude was a gloomy motherfucker).

Like Frederick, then, I’m about to be “Yes!” to all of it. Want to grill me a pizza? I’ll eat it. Want to dance to a country tune with me? I’ll gladly do it. Want me to climb a hellaceous peak with you? Want to road trip across the country? Want me to write the bio for your Web site? Want help moving? Want to take me on a date? Now’s the time to ask, people. I’ll (probs) say yeah!

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Grilled pizzas and honky tonkin’ on NYE. Salut!

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Favorites 1.5.15

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Rock-and-roll house shows: When your friends take out their instruments and play live music in a living room so that you can rock out and also appreciate how rad and talented they are—that’s the good stuff.

Going back to work: Vacationing is good, (you need it to rest/think big picture/fall apart and put yourself back together again, all phoenix like), but for me, creative work and the life surrounding that is better.

Finishing a book: Doesn’t have to be a good one. Just putting in the work to read all the words and sentences so that you can close the back cover on ’em—it’s enough to get you high on the validation of accomplishment.

WTF by Marc Maron: He’s a comedian. He’s whip smart. He’s fired up. His interview-based podcast called What The Fuck delights me. Fave episodes include: RuPaul, Bob Mould, and Martin Starr.

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2014: A Year In Pictures

Life! The days are short, but when you go to count ‘em up, you find that entire years have amassed.

 

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January: Indoor concrete. The spark of a brand-new year. Cold nights, the moon frozen in the western sky.

 

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February: Heart-shaped cookies. Sunny days and then days of blizzard. Ducking inside to drink tequila and then walking home through a snow globe.

 

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March: A bouquet of waterfalls. The pine-laced air of central Oregon. Rain, sun, and how all the cherry blossoms pop over night.

 

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April: Long walks ‘neath the flowered drooping trees. The institution of backyard mini ramping. Lefty in the morning light.

 

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May: Golden-hour grinds. Campfire nachos and sleeping under the stars. That sweet, pine-sap smell that tells of an Oregon summer.

 

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June: Falling down a kind of rabbit hole of summer.

 

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July: Zoo-bombing on warm nights. Skate camp. And that night we took the rainfly off our tent and peered straight up into the dome of stars.

 

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August: Heat. Haze. Big roving rain clouds. Summer ends softly like a feather floating to the ground.

 

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September: One last river day. Trish and Cairo, tying the knot. And all of my buds in my backyard for my birthday.

 

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October: Warm fall nights, soaring down empty streets with the leaves flying away. Halloween hijinks that are done by 10 p.m.

 

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November: When your life turns on a dime.

 

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December: Backyard skate secrets. Forgetting things that need forgetting. Copious celebrations and an apocalyptic wind storm.

Traditions/Habits

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Christmas holiday in Colorado where my fam lives. It’s a tradition. Do you have those? I don’t really, just habits. But “traditions” sounds nicer.

Seems like there’s always a good reason to go home this time of year, although sometimes it’s not to celebrate. That’s okay. Just gathering together with the people who gave you life and share your blood is a kinda powerful observance on its own.

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Everything was irrefutably caked in snow.

I took nephew Pat to the ski mountain, and we spent the day lost in winding tree trails.

I got a sturdy pair of kitchen sheers, for snipping the shit out of chives and such.

I smelled salted caramel.

I ate toasted pecans.

I watched the dog eat scraps of shiny paper.

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Now won’t it be grand when all this holiday crap is over??

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Wild Hunts

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Hi from the solstice. Not that “the solstice” is a place … it kind of is, though. It’s the heart of winter, an auspicious day back in pagan times, for, you know, cosmic reasons. Me? I think the sparkle of today is just the promise that life will return.

Isn’t that why we drag green branches into our home when there’s nothing green outside?

It’s interesting, actually, to remember why we do all the shit we do this time of year.

“The symbolic use of plants at Christmas effectively transforms the modern-day living room into a place of shamanic ritual,” reads Pagan ChristmasThe Plants, Spirits, And Rituals At the Origins Of Yuletide.

Saturnalia and the Wild Hunt. Yule logs, the cult of tree worship, and magic mushrooms that let your mind soar the sky like it’s on a sleigh. That winter holiday, the one we forgot about, sounds a whole lot rowdier and more darkly magical. And I’m down for that … I can’t speak for you, of course.

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The mistletoe I hung—for kissin’ season. The Druids would be proud.

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Ye olde Christmas ficas tree.