I have always enjoyed camping, the few times that I have been with my outdoorsy friends, so I finally determined to get the basic gear and GO. I got a nice 2 person North Face tent and footprint from REI today. Thank goodness for my pre-existing membership and the 20% off one full price item coupon- it saved me around $50. B and I had some fun putting it up, and almost didn't even use the instructions (except when we got stuck and had to find them). B got a dece REI sleeping bag and a nice Thermarest sleeping pad. We are planning a trip out to E Rock next weekend, but I gotta remember to email reservations. Tomorrow!
With all this new gear, I wanted something to carry most of it in, since half the bags I own are for biking and the other half are totes, therefore neither types are great for camping at all. I figured that military stuff is functional and cheap, so I looked up some old military bags on Ebay for comparison. This resulted in me obsessing over Swiss Army rucksacks for the past few hours... they are extremely durable, relatively cheap (it's great how military surplus goods are so cheap- proves that quality is not necessarily $$), and made of canvas and leather. So classy. Also, in my research, found out about musettes, bread bags, gas mask bags, and so many other functional and awesome military bags. Drool. I see smaller and similar/inspired bags in the high-end mens urban fashion blog that I read, but really, this is what they are built for. Carrying stuff around the outdoors. Not merely for carrying your books and laptop to school/work. Anyways, I love a good-looking, rugged bag. (I just love bags, in general. My Domke amply covers me in as a medium everyday bag, so I can't use any excuses.) They are in the $50 range, and it's total bullshit that the Sundance catalog has them for $125. It's the sort of neat vintage bag that will make me want to create occasions to use it more.
Rabbits: there's not much to look at from the front, facewise. You have to check them out from the side.
So I've been agonizing over whether I am going to adopt Chip* or not. He is of the New Zealand breed (of the Easter bunny fame), and only 14 weeks old. I think full-grown, he will be as big if not bigger than Boyd. The first time I saw him, I found him a lively and curious rabbit. More catlike, in my opinion, sniffing around the edge of his cage and moving around it like he hadn't been there for weeks (or however long he's been there). After entertaining fantasies of cuddling and reading and lots of affectionate times with "My Little Angel," I waited a few weeks to go back and see him. He was noticeable lethargic and didn't get up when I opened the door or even reached over to pet him. I stayed longer and eventually he let me feed him some hay (rabbits eating is a very, very cute thing to see). After much petting (such soft silky hair!) I left, hoping I had somehow imprinted a memory of me onto him. Lame and lovelorn, I know.
So, I'm torn, because I feel like rabbits are a kindred spirit. More so that cats, at least, as they are predators and I am always wary of their sharp claws and teeth. Boyd, as much as he loves me, uses them on me occasionally and it never fails to dry up my affection for a while. I'd much prefer a gentle pet that takes time to get to know. And I just love petting animals. Physical touch is a big language of mine. It's so familiar and comforting, I bet I'd do it all day if I had a pet. But to have a rabbit.. my room is quite small and doesn't have any extra space for a cage, and you have to feed it twice a day (can't leave food out like you can for cats), give it hay daily, and then there's all the habitual cleaning, maintenance and general costs of owning a pet. I am still trying to save money (for upcoming big expenses, perhaps), so right now would not be the best time to add more costs, present and future. And, I'd have to say goodbye to weekend trips, or at least search for a petsitter. Not my idea of complete independence. I also spend basically half my time at B's house anyway, so being at home half of the time probably isn't a good environment for any pet. (Besides a cat.) I will seriously reconsider this put-off decision at the end of July, when my lease is up, depending on my new housing situation... assuming that he will not have been adopted by then.
The sign on the wall at the shelter says that rabbits live 10 years or more. That is a helluva long time. Who knows what my life will be like when I am 33, or even how much it will change in the next decade! I hope to have kids by then, and honestly, I don't really want a pet and kid(s). I don't know how people do it. In general, I don't know how parents exist..happily. Perhaps I am in for a wonderful surprise and will find that living for someone else is wholly satisfying.
EDIT: Chip is ADOPTED!!!!!!
*I thought I could rename him Pan, short for Pantalaimon, Lyra's daemon/soul in The Golden Compass (and the rest of the series). I'm just about to finish The Amber Spyglass. It's a riveting story with child heroes, but it also piques my interest in the philosophy and physics so integral to the plot development. After I finish, I predict I'll be all over the Internet searching for insightful commentary and discussion. It's how I roll, yo's. A Philip Pullman quote:
"There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children's book."
The famous Fail Whale. There's a story behind that.
I'm starting to become more aware of Twitter. Yes, I have a Twitter. I mean that there has been a surge (4!) of people in my life who have joined and have begun to follow me. I find myself censoring my Twitters, or at least tailoring them to the interests of my followers. But wait, this application is for me, first and foremost. I used to be able to rant and rave about anything when it was just a "chat log" between me and B- he was my only follower for a while. So Twitter whatever the hell you want, says B, easy. But there are things I feel and think that I wouldn't say to most people I know in real life... but somehow I feel the urge to Twitter these comments because it's so immediately satisfying to let them out. So I guess the problem is not Twitter and other web apps that I halfheartedly use (mainly for staving off boredom), but the crutch they become in my communication outletting.
Blah blah. There will always be a newfangled thing I can complain about, but the basics of living and growing stay the same. At least as it relates to other humans. I think so? Trying to find out the "hows" and "whys" outside of what my parents taught me. Discovering now that I don't have to follow in their footsteps, and it's better that I don't. Is part of parenthood having your beloved children break to you that they reject parts or all of their upbringing? Can't even look forward to that.
Been enjoying this album by The Antlers on and off at work. Here is a complete album stream for free. B has remarked how some songs sound like a totally different band. Or maybe it's that whenever I play it, he asks me who the band is after every other song. Hehe.
I haven't listened too closely to the lyrics, but I get the feeling that the whole thing is super depressing... judging from the title.
Missed them at SXSW (Club Primos! overrun by white hipsters for 4 days!), but I can't imagine that they'd be able to recreate the atmosphere in a hot, smoky, bar.
No, not the metroplex. Been savoring this article sent to me by B. David Foster Wallace is his favorite author, but after a handful of failed recommendations, we realized that our literary tastes have little common ground. Perhaps he is much more cynical and thought-crazy, while I like to go for a rollicking good story. (He doesn't think John Irving is hilarious! Unbelievable!) Anyway, even though I still don't plan on reading Infinite Jest, this article is intriguing because it explains the intent of the author trying to make art that doesn't merely talk about but finds some redemption from these "dark and stupid" times. (“Look, man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is?”) That is a noble task. Other ruminations of his stuck out to me, as I am dealing with profound boredom and the quest for a task, or "brass ring."
Accounts of his addictions and solitary lifestyle reminds me that fame is repellent to so many talented artists. Hard to imagine for the common entertainment-sucker, but there it is.
“What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant,”
About his verbose style
True freedom “means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”
“Bliss—a-second-by-second joy and gratitude at the gift of being alive, conscious—lies on the other side of crushing, crushing boredom. Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (Tax Returns, Televised Golf) and, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.”
I differ with him on this one. Besides constant, maddening pain, boredom is the worst thing ever. You feel like you will stay the same old way forever.
At the halfway house, Wallace got to know people with radically different backgrounds. “Mr. Howard,” he wrote his editor, “everyone here has a tattoo or a criminal record or both!” The halfway house also showed him that less intellectual people were often better at dealing with life. They found catchphrases such as “One day at a time” genuinely helpful. To his surprise, so did he. As he later told Salon, “The idea that something so simple and, really, so aesthetically uninteresting—which for me meant you pass over it for the interesting, complex stuff—can actually be nourishing in a way that arch, meta, ironic, pomo stuff can’t, that seems to me to be important.”
B also showed me the trailer of Away We Go, which stars Jon Krasinki of The Office fame. It looks like one of those real-life movies where the characters are weird, but in a way comparable to the people you know. Looking forward to it. And speaking of movies, I recently saw Coraline in 3D. It blew me away.. not only was it a visual feast, the storyline was top-notch, the characters eccentric and grotesque but also likeable, and it bestowed a good rap upon mangy cats. Reminded me of how I felt while watching The Triplets of Belleville. More wildly creative films like this one need to be made.
Can't believe I just now heard about this band! Refreshingly sweet and jangly tunes. Labelmate Sufjan wrote a glowing and eloquent review for their album last year. It was a joy to read. "Yes, of course I revel in the busy ambition of songwriters who seek to challenge themselves to endless boundaries, to jump fences, to scale large mountains. But what is the effort all about? Cryptacize yield to no such ambitions. They make music that is refreshingly coherent, stewed with deliberate melodies, a refinement of instrumentation, no excess, nothing wasted, nothing lost. Their new record “Dig That Treasure” offends many of my own musical impulses, the over-achieving bigger-is-better-shock-and-awe approach. Obviously I’m not offended, but rather in complete admiration of the band’s minimalist gorgeousness. These songs are not trifles, but rather cryptic haiku poems that expand toward a vast cosmic significance. But one doesn’t have to be a cartographer to appreciate these songs. Their surfaces shimmer to the ear, like magic crystals hanging in the windowsill..."
So instead of going home after work yesterday, I found my way to the Town Lake Animal Shelter. Called Erin to get directions, and she told me the truth about them- that is nobody adopts the animals, they will be put down. Pretty sad.
The dogs in their kennels were extremely effective with their sad faces and whines.. but once you took them out they don't give a shit about you. The 2 silent dogs I took out in pens just sniffed around the perimeter the entire time. It's a good thing B didn't come along, because he wouldn't have any sympathy for the "dumb brutes." I checked out the cats too, but decided that none of them were as beautiful or as awesome and affectionate as dear old Boyd. It annoys me that most cats act so superior all the time. The rabbits were a joy to touch, if you could even touch them. They must be some of the most alert, fidgety and scared prey on earth. They would scamper to the back of the cage and curl up into a dense, shaking ball once they heard the latch turning. I wanted to just pick one up and squeeze it and love it, but I hear that's one thing they hate- being held. Understandably, since that is the last thing that happens to them before they are eaten by a predator.
I left with not a pet.. but with a wish for a creature in between dog (expressions), cat (potty trained) and rabbit (softness). Guess that means I can't handle a real pet with real upkeep. Still trying to figure out how to handle cat hair being everywhere at B's!
B showed me this song by Hello Saferide. Those Swedish pop singers. Only after a few listens did I really like it. It is sorta sad. Can somewhat identify with the poor dear. Been reading John Irving's The World According to Garp. So much sex through the lens of reality. Uncomfortable to think about how ordinary it is. Disappointing only because of what, wretched early fantasies? Thanks, world.
"X Telling Me About The Loss Of Something Dear, At Age 16"
I looked up at the ceiling the entire time Well it didn’t last for long Like 15 minutes or so. They had said it would hurt, but it didn’t
His face all grumped up, veins were showing on his forehead Closed my eyes and thought of dancers, closed my eyes and thought of dancers
I thought of what my friends would say I thought of how my life would change I just laid real still there on the bed.
Afterwards I said, like I hear you’re supposed to: “Was it good for you as well” He was proud, said: “Ok we can do it again But maybe this time, you can do it better than this You can do it better than this.”
I faked to come, because I hear you’re supposed to There was obviously something wrong with me and I didn’t want him to know
I was afraid he’d have a heartattack and die I went to work at the shoestore and waved him goodbye I felt sad, but I didn’t know why
Do you want those in red, I said 250 with laces, I said Years later, I can still vision that forehead Img source: Orcutt.net
I haven't made a mix CD in a long time... because I don't really see people enough to make them anymore. And CDs are in the process of becoming obsolete. Different times. But for you, occasional reader, here are some seriously outstanding songs from the recent that have been in heavy rotation on my work iTunes. Right click away!