Friday, December 30, 2011

New Things

A new blog header and a few links for your lazy winter web-browsing. May your new year be filled with peace and wonder and goodness.

A coffee addict’s guide to the world- note to self: bookmark it so you don’t get a headache on your trip to Turkey or Argentina. P.S. I have had the civet coffee (see Indonesia), and it tastes like poop.

We got a big kick out of this baked potato bean bag chair and the pizza sleeping bag.

A beautifully shot film about Ray, a man who dedicated his life to diving “for gold and mermaids”.

Thinking about reading Then Again and Blue Nights.

Let it Be Beautiful: a fab little project by Elizabeth Barker and Laura Jane Faulds. Over the course of nine volumes, Liz and LJ will rewrite every Beatles song (there are 300!) as a story or an essay. via miss moss.

Hope to go to a few of these restaurants in the new year.

I wish this was the case.

rune guneriussen- magical realism and more.

Tomboy Style- check out the piece about whisk(e)y drinking.

And speaking of big Ice cubes... Ice Cube celebrates The Eames-a charming tribute video.

770 Behind The Line- its the Jcrew tumblr, a few interesting things beyond pure retail.

I loved this Paris Review post about a dress.

The story of that New Year’s Eve song that we know so well but, at the same time, don’t really.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Shop

I wrote this post in 2006, Joe had his last day at the shop today.

I feel lucky to be marrying someone who loves their job. Joe has worked at “the shop” building a certifiable stairway to paradise for over 5 years now. I have to keep reminding myself of this to quell my anger and sadness when he works. He works a lot and seems to be on call like a physician, but I know he enjoys mostly every minute of it. When I visit his work place I am reminded of the energy it holds and why Creative Engineering is like a drug addiction, not physically good for you, everyone is telling you to stop, but in his mind and devoted heart, it makes him glow with life.

When Joe talks about his work to others, his eyes shine as he churns out more exacting detail than even the most fastidious client would ever care to hear. People nod, but I know he has lost them in the 45 degree angle, and all thats left for them to focus on is his refulgent enthusiasm that they are desperately hoping is contagious.

In the shop testosterone fuels a smattering of suspicion and mistrust, but blaring classic rock, clouds of sawdust and a childlike anticipation of lunchtime unites them. A reluctant camaraderie embraces its members who are striving young men that enter through a revolving door from virtually all walks of life. Sometimes they are looking for the shop to save them, from themselves and from the uncertainty that life has dealt them.

It is 10000 square feet of colors, textures, woods, metals, glue, nails, whining power tools, sweat, calluses and foolish stubborn dedication to a cause they pretend to have little respect for in the end.

Decisions have to be made that disappear into the complete piece. How do we match this color, how do we achieve this texture or shape?

And while it is not always comforting to think of engineering getting too creative, as the name suggests, they do good solid proud work at the shop. Most of their work probably goes unnoticed, like most things. But it is in the process of construction where the true ingenuity lies.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


My cross-town bus driver was wearing a santa hat today, but he was stone-faced. I thought it was funny.

It is a great time in New York, its crowded, its touristy, its cliché, everything sparkles, people are foolish, emotional, drunk and uncharactersitically generous.

Happy Holidays my dear blog readers, I adore you.

Also, please read this Christmas excerpt from D.H. Lawrence, via even*cleveland. Its just so damn beautifully written.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why She Wrote

From a piece called “Why I Write” by Joan Didion. I read this the other day and I keep thinking about it. I am all butter and Greyhound buses too.

I am not in the least an intellectual, which is not to say that when I hear the word "intellectual" I reach for my gun, but only to say that I do not think in abstracts. During the years when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley, I tried, with a kind of hopeless late-adolescent energy, to buy some temporary visa into the world of ideas, to forge for myself a mind that could deal with abstract.

In short I tried to think. I failed. My attention veered inexorably back to the specific, to the tangible, to what was generally considered, by everyone I knew then and for that matter have known since, the peripheral. I would try to contemplate the Hegelian dialectic and would find myself concentrating instead on a flowering pear tree outside my window and the particular way the petals fell on my floor. I would try to read linguistic theory and would find myself wondering instead if the lights were on in the bevatron up the hill. When I say that I was wondering if the lights were on in the bevatron you might immediately suspect, if you deal in ideas at all, that I was registering the bevatron as a political symbol, thinking in shorthand about the military-industrial complex and its role in the university community, but you would be wrong. I was only wondering if the lights were on in the bevatron, and how they looked. A physical fact.

I had trouble graduating from Berkeley, not because of this inability to deal with ideas—I was majoring in English, and I could locate the house-and-garden imagery in "The Portrait of a Lady" as well as the next person, "imagery" being by definition the kind of specific that got my attention—but simply because I had neglected to take a course in Milton. For reasons which now sound baroque I needed a degree by the end of that summer, and the English department finally agreed, if I would come down from Sacramento every Friday and talk about the cosmology of "Paradise Lost," to certify me proficient in Milton. I did this. Some Fridays I took the Greyhound bus, other Fridays I caught the Southern Pacific’s City of San Francisco on the last leg of its transcontinental trip. I can no longer tell you whether Milton put the sun or the earth at the center of his universe in "Paradise Lost," the central question of at least one century and a topic about which I wrote 10,000 words that summer, but I can still recall the exact rancidity of the butter in the City of San Francisco’s dining car, and the way the tinted windows on the Greyhound bus cast the oil refineries around Carquinez Straits into a grayed and obscurely sinister light. In short my attention was always on the periphery, on what I could see and taste and touch, on the butter, and the Greyhound bus. During those years I was traveling on what I knew to be a very shaky passport, forged papers: I knew that I was no legitimate resident in any world of ideas. I knew I couldn’t think. All I knew then was what I couldn’t do. All I knew was what I wasn’t, and it took me some years to discover what I was.

Which was a writer.