Wednesday, June 23, 2010

(Antichrist Television Blues)

"I don't wanna work in a building downtown,
no I don't wanna work in a building downtown
I don't know what I'm gonna do,
'cause the planes keep crashing,
always two by two.
I don't wanna work in a building downtown,
No I don't wanna see when the planes hit the ground.

I don't wanna work in a building downtown,
I don't wanna work in a building downtown,
Parking their cars in the underground,
Their voices when they scream, they make no sound.
I wanna see the cities rust
and the trouble makers riding on the back of the bus..."

Lyrics and song title courtesy of the The Arcade Fire.

Ps for the previous entry-
In my haste to recount the tale of the free yuppie party, I forgot to detail the morning of June 15th, 2010, which was in fact the very same day. It was one of the most pleasant sublime mornings I have enjoyed in a long time. Like when Jill pushes me to get to the movie before the previews start, taking the early train home for my dermatologist appointment early that afternoon was a very good idea.

After starting a load of laundry (I have yet to pay for doing laundry this summer, besides in love and affection to my parents) and hanging out to dry on the line a load that was already washed, I spent several minutes inspecting the compost heap that was cooking away in the delicate warmth of the morning. I greeted the worms and the bugs and thanked them for all the work they do. I sifted the dark decomposing dankness of the mix through my fingers, noting each component as it fell back into the pile. Besides being such a useful and productive substance, compost is richly symbolic for what it represents. The idea of harnessing and directing the power of nature to work for us in order to make a rich soil replenishing darkness, basically food for the soil (in one sense food for our food) is an efficient and ethical mindset that can be applied to all pursuits and walks of life. Compost is also spiritually appealing and nourishing for me, probably a result of my upbringing and personal philosophy and values.

Then I planted beans! Two rows of pole beans have now (observed yesterday, a week after planting) sprouted their dual green leaves, pushing a few inches above the soil, the next stage in the life cycle of these guys, the entire contents of one 18 gram paper package. Kentuckey Wonder pole peans, or Habichuelas Fagioli to be exact. It was a very easy process, this planting event, lasting not more than 10 or 15 minutes, but it is a brief period of time that I cherish as my symbolic inauguration into the world of gardening. I have planted seeds before, some literal and some figurative, but never before with such intent, focus, and interest. I know it's a lot of symbolism for one day, but I mean it. Symbols and ideas are important, often times more important than we acknowledge or like to admit.

That morning I also took a small harvest from my Mom's backyard plot consisting of garlic scapes, rosemary, mint, oregano, and a bit of sage. It wasn't much, but this little bounty has been contributing color and bursts of flavor to my cooking for the past week and more; rosemary went in to the red bean chili I made this afternoon and evening.

The morning at 15 Summer Street was nourished with a tasty omlette and potato-and- scape fryup and polished off with a quality beer, what some would say is "the best beer in the world." Then it was off to West Newbury to check on 511 Main Street in my Papa's absence. He is in West Africa for the next month and a half, doing work in several different countries collecting the work of and interviews with different authors, writers, poets, musicians maybe, I think anyone who might be interested.

I was so heavy-eyed when I arrived (the only downside of taking the early train) that I took a 20 minute nap in the front seat of Mommy's Prius. It was exactly what I needed. I went to the dermatologist’s office feeling refreshed and ready for anything, including the discomfort of having a small scoop of my flesh removed. Dr. Goldberg is notorious for taking samples here and there for biopsy. To my delight, no such work needed to be done! I have retained all of my skin, at least for the time being.

After my appointment I headed back to West Newbury, for I had a date with a pile of wood. Stacking wood for about an hour provided me with more than just physical exercise; it was a mentally relaxing time when I could focus intently even as I let my mind wander to everything and nothing. When I returned to Ipswich I felt downright great! Also, driving back into Boston with Allan in Rhonda is a good time, always good conversation and music. Like yesterday after the beach, and after dropping off Jill, Allan and I dissected and discussed the lyrics and meaning of ‘Banned from the Back Porch,’ by Saves the Day, all the way to route 93. What more can I ask for, really? Here's to transcendent mornings and holy dusky evenings.

Jesuschrist was an only child

"I know now what I knew then, but I didn't know then what I know now." This is a line from the Modest Mouse song whose title I borrowed for this entry. Think about all that you know at this moment in time; did you know it all last year? Unless you are taking a class or studying a language, odds are you haven't learned much (in the formal sense of the word). There are of course many types of learning, and in this crazy world we are all teachers and students together.

So what have you learned in the past year? What have I learned? I am talking about all kinds of learning, both a personal type of selfknowing as well as the formal kind of study. A year is a long time, and I think with a bit of effort I could come up with a large list of things I did not know on June 23rd, 2009.

For example, I know that I am not someone who feels fully comfortable at parties like the one I went to last week. It was a free event for Stuff Magazine's food issue sponsored by DonQ rum. The yuppies were flopping and smiling all around; I saw perhaps a handful of people that I might enjoy talking to. I won't pretend I had much fun or that I was there for any reason other than to get free food and drink (as you can see from the picture below, courtesy of stuff's website).

The rum drinks were fruity, strong, and not very good, though they did have some tasty cheeses and good appetizers. Short ribs and mashed potatoes in a savory ice cream cone, tasty but trying a bit too hard with the presentation. Little cheese and olive flatbread pizza-ish bites, with dressed greens on top, were also good.

It just seemed like a party where people pretend to have fun so that other people who are also pretending to have fun can see them doing the same. Maybe some people were having fun, and maybe I am being a bit harsh. But I know that it was not my scene, and I don't know if it ever will be. On a similar note, the VIP tent at concerts, at least at the Bank of America Pavillion, is over rated and kind of lame. The best part of the vip access that Jill and I enjoyed at the State Radio/John Butler Trio concert, besides the amazing 6th row seats, was the vip bathrooms. Seriously, no free stuff, no meeting of the bands, and the bartender at the vip bar wouldnt even give me a cup to get water from the bathroom with. but it's all good, because the reason that most people came, not the vip tent or the drinking, but the music, kicked some serious arse.

So, besides that fact that I don't want to be a yuppie, what else have I learned in the past year? I learned how to read, write, and most importantly speak some Arabic. I know that walking on the beach with two women I love makes time slow down. I learned how to change a tube on my bike and how to prolong a torn bike tire's life (put a dollar bill on the inside of the tear, between the tire wall and the tube). I learned how to appreciate the smell, its clean earthy aromas, of my Mommy's compost, and how much that differs from the stinky and chemically smelling mulch that was spread in front of the buildings the length of my block. The difference? The source, of course.

That mulch came from a big company that mass produces a uniform finished product. The only company that made my Mommy's compost was that of the worms, bugs, and other critters in her back yard. Small and local is the way to go. It is the same thing with food.

After almost three years of living in Boston, in September I hope to finally find my niche as a member of the Verndale cooperative. The idea? Low impact, low cost, friendly communal living with like-minded folks. A compost bin is in the works too, with approval from the landlord secured. Things are looking up. They always should be, really, because there is always something good to look forward to. It is waiting for you, just around the bend and over the brook. It could be a potluck dinner party, a bike ride in the cool of a summer's dusk, a good boook waiting on your bedside table, a cold beer to refresh the body after a long day of hard work, or a beach picnic of local strawberries, cold curried rice salad, and cheese humus and tomato sandwiches. Whatever it is, remember to take pleasure in the simple things in life and don't cry over spilled milk. Or spoiled milk.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Baby, We're Scramblin'

Friday afternoon is quickly coming to a close. When does the afternoon end? This is still a subject of debate for some, but we can all agree that 6:30pm is settled comfortably in the evening. It's been a good day so far, and things are only looking up from here. Jill is settled into her new dorm room at Simmons, the apartment is getting into shape for tonight's shindig, and my tummy is rumbling.

Weekend promises to be busy, but that's fine because there is always more to do. Work tomorrow will probably be a bit rough, but Allan's birthday celebration in Ipswich is sure to smooth things out. After a night in my blessed Ipswich bed it's back to Boston early on Sunday for more Pita pit on call and then a night closing at JP licks. gadzooks! I would complain except that I need to keep making them dollars. I don't really enjoy being on call at Pita Pit, which is unfortunate because it seems like I will be 'on call' a lot. There is something about being ready for work, mentally preparing and planning your day and all, and then waiting around for a call and not receiving one that is quite annoying.

work is work, jobs schmobz, let's live life! I'm not going to let shit get me down, because some stuff is not worth losing sweat over. all right, now its pushing 7pm, my tummy is still rumbling, and bw is pulling up outside. here's to a good friday night.

"The city subway stations never glisten.
The gates rise up like they belong in prison.
And my balance is low. I better pick a good place, I got one ride to go.
Your fucking cocaine party fucking freaks me out.
When did Scott Weiland show up? How long’s he stickin’ around?
I guess this new fare hike means that I’ll ride my bike,
play video games and do other stuff that I like."

-Stuff that I like, by Bomb the Music Industry!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dear Science

shuffling thoughts like a deck of cards.

don't you ever feel like there is too much going on up there?

I have slowly come to realize that things I do to pass the time, the things I really enjoy, like cooking, biking, and playing frisbee, I do them because they don't require thinkiing. They require focus, sure, and some effort, but they are sort of unconscious by now. If a ball comes whizzing towards your face your hand will come up to attempt to divert its path. In the same way, I zoom down Cambridge st my destination, 260 columbia street, Cambridge, looming close ahead. ten minutes, at most, and I arrive. Unconscious. Mind at rest, yet entirely on edge. Like TV on the Radio.

Engagement in some kind of semi-unconscious activity will facilitate this escape from thought. Running, gardening, riding, chopping wood, mowing the lawn, something where you know exactly what to do because there is only really one way to do it, the best way. or the shortest way, the most efficient, the fastest way, the safest way, whatever it may be.

The point is that there are plenty of ways to escape, to ease your mind, to keep things in perspective. Doing dishes is another good one, something that I end up doing more than I should, something I still do regardless because of the sense of satisfaction that I feel upon completion of all the dishes in the sink, or better yet the whole kitchen. And I make a game out of it, trying to wash all the dishes using as little water as possible. I recommend you try it too!

You don't realize how useful your hands are until you hurt one of them. I am just happy it is a strain and not a break. Be grateful for what you have, because if might be gone before you know it.

Anyone know of any farm internships in the Boston area for this summer? Aww, that's right, work goes on here on Harvard Street in Brookline, MA. JP licks 11-4 friday, 7-close saturday, 5-close sunday, pita pit 6-close friday.