Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Instead of Blogging.

Things that I have done recently instead of writing blogs for you to read:

- Worn a lady’s denim jacket (it fit surprisingly well)

- Gone on a small town Downtown beer-tasting beer-crawl.

- Worked on the design of my personal shipping container home (I’m making progress!)

- Reading Mary Roach’s “Packing for Mars”

- Secretly – and in the middle of the night and in the dark and in my bed with the sheet pulled over my head – started doing research on what exactly it would take to hike the Trans-Catalina Trail

- Working

- Fantasizing about quitting my job

- Fantasizing about quitting my job

- Very carefully planning and budgeting for how to live in a world where I have quit my job

- Watching a lot of Hulu

- Attending an unsanctioned class reunion

- Carefully tracking how incredibly fucking boring my life is in my “lifestayle journal”/”Unicorn Dream Diary”

- Learning how to work an iPhone (it is much harder than you would think!)

- Hiking the Hollywood Sign

- Trying to write (but actually just spending depressingly long periods of time sitting in front of my laptop without writing anything)

- Crying in the shower in the mornings

- Sleeping in a sleeping bag on my bed rather than sleeping in the bed itself (Later, when someone asks, this would be a pretty good example to point to in regard to when exactly my behavior started becoming “erratic”.)

- Trying to be ruthlessly frank and honest with myself – and really doing some serious soul-searching, including but not limited to self-doubt and not a small amount of self-loathing – about whether or not I really can get my base pack weight down to less than ten pounds and twenty liters.

- Trying to figure out how Twitter works (it is much harder than you would think!)

- Thinking about blogging*

- Cleaning up cat shit

*While none of these things are necessarily superior to blogging, some of them verge on the having of an actual life, which in and of itself may be superior to blogging. Conversely though, the having of an actual life might very well give me better stuff to blog about. I mean, how fucking fascinated would you be right now if I were a writer/hobo? What strange and bizarre and probably better blog would that be?!


Pictures of Life.

 Here are some recent photos from my life.

A recent lunch that I had.

Initial sketches/thoughts for my shipping container home!

Water bladders hanging to dry after a hike. I like this picture very much because it is what the end of a good adventure always looks like.

What your humble author looks like in a lady’s denim jacket.

 (Thanks Sarah O for this!)


On Work.

If you have not yet read Mary Roach or any of her books, well then you are unforgivably behind the curve and you shouldn’t even bother because you will never be as cool as those of us who have. That being said, she is a talented writer and her books are the funny/smart/accessible realm, falling somewhere on that spectrum in between Malcolm Gladwell and John Hodgeman.

There are many many snippets of her writing worth being repeated here, but below is a passage in “Packing for Mars” that I quite liked. She is writing here about a conversation she had with a cosmonaut psychologist about a Soviet space mission that had to be cut short because one of the cosmonauts (Zholobov) had some sort of nervous breakdown:

My notes say things like, “self-organization of dynamic structures of interpersonal relationships in human society.” But what he had to say about Volynov and Zholobov was clear and simple. “They were exhausted by overwork. The human organism is built for tension and relaxation, work and sleep. The principle of life is rhythm. Who out of us can work nonstop for seventy-two hours? They made them sick people.”

This passage made me think of the famous quip by the British humorist Jerome K. Jerome: I love work; it fascinated me; I can sit and watch it for hours.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Feed Cats, Bomb Less.

I can’t remember if I have posted this picture before. I like it.

I’m not a dirty hippie or anything, but maybe we could benefit from less of this:

And more of this:


The Existential Adventures of a Stamp.

Today I was thinking about stamps and how stamps spend their useful lives affixed to envelopes and how most of the time the stamps and the envelopes don’t even know one another beforehand and I was wondering what exactly that relationship must be like and what do you think that they talk about? You have to imagine that there you are – a stamp – pleasantly living life stuck to a sheet of that wax paper plastic stuff that stamps come on, you’re there with your friends or your family or whatever sort of alternative community of stamps that you’re a part of, just hanging out with other stamps who are exactly like you, all of you living a life of leisure, all of you exactly alike, you all have the same things in common, you all have the same history, the same tastes, the same basic elements, you’re all essentially exactly the same. Only none of you know what your purpose really is. None of you know what your future is. You’re all blissfully unaware. Life is good, except for the fact that every once and a while, one of you disappears.

Then, one day, without having ever even imagined to expect that it would ever happen to you, you disappear too.

You feel a pressure; a pushing down. Then a pulling, a ripping, nearly. You feel yourself being pulled away from your backing, which you had never realized before wasn’t a part of you. You’re slimmer and thinner and more vulnerable than you’d ever thought possible. You’re dangling free and moving fast and the speed is more than you can understand and then there is a smash and it destroys your sense of the world and for moments you don’t understand anything.

But you realize now that you’re somewhere new. Something has changed. Something is different. Itchy. You’re adhered do … something. You try to look around, to see around you, to see where your friends have gone, to see where your family has gone, to see if there is anyone you recognize anywhere nearby. But you don’t see anyone; no friends, no family. You see almost nothing. You just see a long white plane of fibrous nothing stretching out to an edge of nothing. You are alone and you have never even thought about what being ‘alone’ is before because you didn’t know that there could be such a thing.

There is, suddenly more movement, movement you can’t understand. Movement like the whole world is shifting beneath you. Then, in the distance, a mouth appears. Something like a mouth. Some kind of giant dark gapping. A gash of blackness that grows bigger and wider until it consumes, quickly, your entire flat white Earth. And just like that: darkness. A plummeting. A flat crooked landing hard.

Then stillness. Then silence.

Then something else.

Suddenly – you don’t know how you had missed it before, because it is so large, so strange, so present and undeniable – you realize that you aren’t alone. You feel a settling, the weight of sadness sinking in. You become aware of the fact that there is another consciousness and that you are attached to it.

Like a whale there with you in the dark, you become truly and horrifyingly aware of its size relative to yours. You’re too afraid to say anything or to breath. Or to think. You’re so scared that you’d stop existing right then if you could. For the first time you realize that you smell something, residual – like after a forest fire, which is something else you can’t imagine – and very nearby.

And then you hear it – softly, sad, resigned, and very calmly half-crazed – something is asking you: can you see what it says?

You don’t even understand the question and ever if you did, you wouldn’t have answered.

The voice comes again: Look now, what is written on me?

And you know that it is asking you and you know that you have to say something and so you say: I don’t know how to read.

You can feel the paper you’re adhered to grow thin with disappointment. Okay, it says. Well, we probably have some time then. I’m an envelope. You’re a stamp. Did you know that?

No, you say.

Of course not, it says to you. How would you ever have even known what you are?


The Giant Mechanical Man.

Am watching a movie on Netflix called “The Giant Mechanical Man” and it seems to be a perfectly standard quirky “indie” movie about a street performer who falls in love with a lost soul played by Jenna Fischer.

The street performer is played by the talented and ubiquitous Chris Messina and he and his girlfriend are breaking up because she is tired of dating a man who makes his living by painting his body and doing the robot while wearing stilts and as they are having their break-up fight this happens:

TIM: I thought you believed in me!
PAULINE: I never believed in you Tim, I just thought it was charming.


I fear I am going to end up liking this movie despite myself.


50 Miles of Fun.

I have ended up in something of a sour mood today.

So I’m reading online about “fastpacking” which is just hiking really fast with a very light pack. Some people even do it running. Reading about this stuff always makes me feel better because I want to do it and reading about it tickles the parts of my brain that look forward to doing things out in the world. Right now I’m reading about the Trans-Catalina Trail which runs the length of the island of Catalina from end to end. The trail is 37.2 miles long but if you’re hiking it you’re going to do more than fifty miles on foot. In four days. I’m in a place today where that sounds awesome. Am I in good enough shape to do that? No way. Do I have the right gear for it? Nope. Is there 49% of me that would like to wake up tomorrow and drive down to the ferry and head out? You betcha.

This is a picture from Parson’s Landing when I went to Catalina in 2011.


The Ballad of the Wife at the End of Her Rope.

The Ballad of the Wife at the End of Her Rope.
by james bezerra

If you’re gonna go,
then just go.
You do us no favors
with your indecisive waivers.
If you want to stay,
then just stay
because we don’t need the thought of your going away;
it is hard enough to get through each day
without the worry
that you’ll be gone in a sudden flurry.
When we come home this evening,
either be there, or be leaving.
We have the rest of our lives to get on to
We need to know if we’re doing it with or without you.