A week’s worth of the very cold.
Drafty 1900s-era home made warm with firewood, extra layers, and the presence of furry, red-blooded animals.
Clear, bone-chilling nights all wild with stars.
Skating indoors, sipping whiskeys on Fremont Street, crawling into bed at 10 p.m.
Bright white morning light filling the bedroom. Small fire to heat the house. Watching from the bathroom window as the dog has a moment with the new snow—snarfing into it, pouncing, peeling out with extreme joy.
Coffee at the kitchen table. Raisin toast with butter.
A long walk to work through white, blustery streets. Colored lights in everyone’s windows. The fact of the year’s end crackling in the air, and a recollection of something someone said recently—how you don’t HAVE to take stock every year if you don’t want to. A firm decision to not take stock this year.
Pistachio butter: It’s a nut butter. For me that’s enough to at least spoon it onto a corner of investigatory toast. But should I also mention that it’s delicately sweet and the most peculiar hue of harlequin green?
Wood stoves: Unlike other forms of heat (forced air, electric, et cetera), the fireplace delivers a nice even-keeled warmth. The flickering light and crackling embers are just a bonus mild sedative for anyone within reach.
Portuguese wine: I’m no wine connoisseur. Nor do jetset to the Iberian peninsula often. But a friend gave me a nothing-special bottle that she’d procured in Lisbon, and when I took a sip it tasted like … like the dew that collects at dawn or something.
Impromptu road trips: Yes, yes, there are times when you want a definite plan detailing things like what you’re gonna do and where you’re gonna stay. But sometimes it’s good to just get in the car and go somewhere else. Walk the glittery nighttime streets of a different city, eat pizza from a joint you’ve never been, encounter old friends who stash you away on an air mattress in their spare room. Maybe the next day you’d sleep in impossibly late, eat an impossibly huge breakfast, and walk into the impossibly wild wind coming off the water along Alki Beach—the bay filled with whitecaps and freighters before you, the skyscrapers spreading out beyond that like rows of teeth.
Knowledge comes with death’s release.
Books, Music, Moviez
I like this poem by Jane Hirshfield because A) cooking (as well as weeding the garden and repainting your bedroom) totally is redemptive; because B) “da capo” is a cute Italian phrase for “from the top” — like in music; and because C) as I’ve said before, there’s always hope—for me and for you.
Take the used-up heart like a pebble
and throw it far out.
Soon there is nothing left.
Soon the last ripple exhausts itself
in the weeds.
Returning home, slice carrots, onions, celery.
Glaze them in oil before adding
the lentils, water, and herbs.
Then the roasted chestnuts, a little pepper, the salt.
Finish with goat cheese and parsley. Eat.
You may do this, I tell you, it is permitted.
Begin again the story of your life.
Books, Music, Moviez, Sustenance
Of a Sunday morning, I sat down to watch Blackfish. Have you seen it? Crikey!!!
Centered on a performing killer whale called Tilikum (who’s killed a couple people over the course of his captivity), the documentary’s actually a tough look at greed and the innate, really unavoidable cruelty of the captive-animal industry.
Let’s set aside the discussion about how keenly intelligent whales have long been known to be—how they navigate complex emotional landscapes and live by tight-knit social structures that we burn to the ground every time we snatch one into captivity.
Instead, let’s reflect on nobility.
Let’s talk about the ink-black underbelly of the corporate race for dollars, how SEA WORLD LIES, as most (all?) corporations do—like a motherfucker, in fact—even when human lives are at stake.
Let’s explore the reason that a captive-animal industry even exists—because we’re curious, us humans. We want more than just to glimpse a dark fin cutting through silver ocean waters—we want talk to and touch the behemoth creatures; we want to KNOW them.
And finally, let’s start a new story with ourselves and our kids and shit—something about treating everything with respect. I mean, let’s find some goddamn grace or whatever. Ok, I’m done.
Books, Music, Moviez, Nature
The next best thing to the coffee already being brewed when you crawl out of bed in the morning (which NEVER happens) is when you come home from what could be described as the longest day evah and there’s a tidy brown package sitting on your doorstep from mom and dad, and inside this tidy package are a couple treasures wrapped gently in newspaper along with a note that says “from our trip to Sicily”—and these treasures turn out to be CHOCOLATE. Yeah, the dark evening sings when you get to bite into a thick bar made in the old style with cocoa beans so freshly ground you can feel the grains sliding over your teeth. Cut with butter and sugar, spiced with the deep mysteries of a foreign land. It nearly saves your life, this type of thing.
Sicily is, your google machine will tell you, the “high temple of archetypal chocolate.” I am simply lucky enough to be bound by blood to someone who has journeyed there.
“Among other wonders of our lives, we are alive
with one another, we walk here
in the light of this unlikely world
that isn’t ours for long.” — John Daniel, “A Prayer Among Friends”
Books, Music, Moviez, Odd Thoughts
My feelings about the desert can be summed up in these pictures. The heat coming off the sandstone. The cool shade of the canyons. The dead and live pinions twisted by the wind. At sunset, a soft ponderous silence settles over everything and you can sit there on the edge of the esplanade, awash in light holding every color of the spectrum.
Around about November, I can’t help thinking about the desert now and then—wishin it was a little closer, maybe an eight-hour drive away? If it were, I’d be there right now, typing this from a picnic table on the rim of a rincon. However, such places are many days traveling away, so I’ll settle for the kind of pictures (and dreams!) that—on a deeply soggy morning like this one—give tired men hope.
Odd Thoughts, Travel
Winter cats: Different than summertime cats, lord knows. Less preoccupied with the hunt, more down for curling into a closed donut on your lap or sleeping the night in the crook of your knees—where you can use them for warmth just like the hot-water bottles of old.
Spaghetti squash: I’m entirely on this bandwagon. A lengthwise slice of the knife, a quick scrape of the spoon to abolish seeds, and a half hour in the oven roasting into oblivion. Such a minuscule amount of effort for a shitload of delicately perfumed vegetable matter.
Falling back: A triangle of morning light on my wall at 7:30 a.m. instead of darkest night—it’s okay to want this, right?
David Bowie’s List of Top 100 Books: How do you get the titles you read? Why wouldn’t you get them from Bowie? I’ve already read seven: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, White Noise, A Confederacy of Dunces, On The Road, Mystery Train, Lolita, and Herzog. Ninety-three more to go I guess.
Watched this rock doc about a guy named Rodriguez the other night. It’s been out for a minute, you’ve probably even seen it—I apologize for my tardiness on this matter.
Anyhow, it’s totes compelling! A movie about a different time—when a fellow could weave this strange poetic music that no one ends up listening to, but like a little lost gull, one of his records could find its way across the ocean to a foreign land and make him famous there (the prophet to a social revolution, in fact!). And he’d never, ever know about it, you see? He’d just humbly live out his days in the crumbling city of Detroit—breaking his back smashing bricks and mowing other people’s lawns.
Although it isn’t the point of the movie, I like thinking about this time—back when mysteries still existed.
Books, Music, Moviez