Monthly Archives: October 2010

To begin again

It’s snow­ing. The first of the sea­son, and it hasn’t stopped for four hours.


I have so many things to write about, but this is the only thing on my mind right now.


The view out the back.

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Nothing fills me with hope the way snow does. I write about this every year. If there were ever a Wikipedia entry about me that said love, depres­sion, and win­ter, were all themes in my work, it’d be right.

a change of seasons

We’re doing this a lit­tle dif­fer­ently tonight.

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I decided that I don’t spend enough time in my liv­ing room. I’m always at the com­puter in the cor­ner of the bed­room. It’s my crawl­space, my cozy nook, thanks to the dark­ness and a decent set of speak­ers. Then I go to sleep on the couch in the liv­ing room.

But I used to spend nights writ­ing in this liv­ing room. Usually on the ground with my back to a patch of wall between the win­dow (open, of course) and the back door. Or with a mug of tea at the din­ing table. Nights full of warmth, and emo­tion, and clar­ity. I miss that. Back when I could still write about love. Back when I had love to write about.


But I’m here now in my blan­kets with my lap­top. On the TV is The Brown Bunny in all it’s grainy old-school glory, and Vincent Gallo, that sexy moth­er­fucker. I wish I could be as cocky. The sec­ond time through the movie you real­ize that all the girls are named after flowers.


Sunday night feels like it’s been alter­nat­ing between snow and rain all week­end. As per tra­di­tion, I’m see­ing how long I can go with­out turn­ing on the fur­nace before it gets too cold. I’ve never minded the chill; it only makes blan­kets and hood­ies all the more com­fort­able. My cat tends to be a lot more cud­dlier too, and aggres­sive even, in where she plants her­self next to me.

I’ve been wait­ing for the snow to come. Even with the has­sle and the mess and the bit­ing cold, it’s still worth it to wake up to a white world.



I’ve been drawn to pho­tog­ra­phy again. With video, an impor­tant moment can be eas­ily lost, but with pho­tog­ra­phy the viewer has no choice but to con­front the sin­gle frame pre­sented to them. There’s also some­thing about a lack of con­text. A pho­to­graph is more con­ducive to let­ting an audi­ence won­der what has hap­pened to lead up to the image, and what hap­pened after.

The prob­lem is that I don’t have any­thing to pho­to­graph any­more. I feel so unin­spired. I never go out. Sometimes I won­der if I’m get­ting more and more anti-social. I work from home for four days a week now. Every time I think I should pick up the phone and call some­one to catch up, I never do.

I’m start­ing to feel less and less guilty about it. I can’t tell if I’m get­ting com­fort­able, or just lazy.

into the saddle

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I’ve been build­ing up a col­lec­tion of new music for France. Stuff I’m sav­ing for when I’m on the plane, or the train, or walk­ing the streets. I can tell these tracks will define my time there, as well this point in my life.

Most of it has been dri­ving. Not nec­es­sar­ily loud or aggres­sive, but songs that mark the time with bass and a steady beat, remind­ing me that I’m still mov­ing, and that life won’t wait for me to catch up.


Taylor NS32CE


I played around with Darren’s Seagull and imme­di­ately under­stood how vis­ceral it is to hear and hold a decent gui­tar. The tone response and res­o­nance was delight­fully tac­ti­cal on the larger instru­ment. The log­i­cal result of this is me sav­ing up for a Taylor NS32CE six-string nylon acoustic/electric of my own. It has every­thing I’m look­ing for in a guitar:

  • nylon strings (for a won­der­fully mel­low sound)
  • a grand con­cert shape (which is suited to my smaller frame, and the pro­por­tions of clas­si­cal nylon gui­tar never appealed to me)
  • a cut­away (for eas­ier access to the high frets)
  • a 1 7/8 inches nut width (which is closer to clas­si­cal string spac­ing, and hence bet­ter suited for fingerpicking)
  • a solid wood body (sitka on top and sapele — a com­mon alter­na­tive to African mahogany — on the back and sides)
  • a non-flowery, non-metallic rosette (which I find far too com­mon on typ­i­cal nylon string guitars)
  • a gloss fin­ish on top (though the sides are satin, and I don’t know how I feel about that cause satin dents really eas­ily in my experience)
  • bonus: a slot­ted head­stock (which I find to be more classy than reg­u­lar ones)
  • bonus: no fret­board mark­ers (cause I don’t like most, and this would help me cor­rect the bad habit of always look­ing at the fretboard)

Also, the sapele is a gor­geous dark red with light strip­ing that con­trasts allur­ingly with the light sitka on top. But money has been super tight lately, and I’m try­ing to hold off on all pur­chases until I come back from my trip, since I don’t know how much I’m going to spend over there.


My dad sent me pic­tures of his new drum set, bought for him by some women whose name and rela­tion­ship with him always seems to escape me. A full-out kit with three toms, a kick, a high-hat, a snare, a crash, and a ride. It’s prob­a­bly the last thing most peo­ple expect to see my dad play­ing, but I remem­ber when I was a young boy him men­tion­ing the fact that he likes drums. Along with a new Honda sport motor­cy­cle and a new Mercedes SUV, it’s hard to deny the fact that he’s liv­ing his dreams now. Darren jokes that he’s exactly where we are now — bach­e­lors, get­ting into music, no real respon­si­bil­i­ties, just try­ing to live as hap­pily as pos­si­ble — only he’s almost 30 years older than us.

He signs his e-mails to me as “Daddy”. It always reminds me that I’ll always be his lit­tle boy.

under warranty

My tenor uke is sit­ting in a box packed with Styrofoam, wait­ing to be picked up by courier. There was a defect in the neck that caused a buzzing on the 1st fret of the C string, and every string after the 12th. I wasn’t will­ing to put up with it for the price I paid, so I’m get­ting it replaced by the man­u­fac­turer. I’m glad I hadn’t named it yet.

I destroyed the strings on Joolie (my Mahalo Les Paul-style con­cert uke) and was too lazy to restring her. There was a length of time when I didn’t have a playable uke, and this lead to the real­iza­tion that I’ve devel­oped the habit of pick­ing up and pluck­ing away on one impul­sively every hour.