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.

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.

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

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.