Thursday, February 10, 2011

Here Begins a New Life

With my 29th birthday just three more sunrises on the horizon, I have decided to inject this last year of my twenties with some real resolutions. It feels odd, to stand at the cusp of a time when I can look back on 'my twenties...' a decade evenly divided between five years of college and five years of hard work. If I want to have anything else to show for these years, apart from a couple undergrad degrees and a business, this will be the moment to steel myself with such a resolve. A quashing of all remaining rebellion against the course I have chosen, a setting aside of old habits, a devoted push towards my own very personal artistic and intellectual ambitions.

I am truly excited for this birthday, this new year, and each year has left me more healthy, happy, and whole hearted than the last.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Winter Winds Down

Worked a half day Saturday, then stepped out in to the most brilliant and warm day I have seen since fall. Passed time in an abandoned industrial sector where tall grass grew from the roof of a derelict 4 story building, and a slow perpetual waterfall tricked down the center of its boarded-over facade, sparkling in the sun. So, I say an early and hopeful hello to the approaching spring. Hoping life will once again ride roughshod over the easy complacency I always fall into in the winter months, and shatter and scatter my routines and habits, so that I might happily scramble to rebuild anew, in a better light.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Another Perfect Ending

...that life's most precious offerings
lay within its most mercurial and finite moments.
To know what it is to burst at the seams,
head nestled low, looking up at your lithe profile
silhouetted by a maze of dark curls.
The rugged black stubble beneath your arms
and the strong shoulders of a sleek wildcat
curving gracefully towards that warm glow of a smile
as we stare distantly off
at what we have accomplished with gleaming satisfaction.
Another of our perfect endings,
Giggling and alive as we part ways.
To walk now with augmented height,
Plucking new warmth and light from the seams
along our separate paths.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Perfect Day

Just finishing up a wonderful day with some tea and drawing. My buddy Aaron just sent me some amazing narrative concepts that he wrote and layered overtop some of my old artwork for a little comic that we are going to co-create. I finally got my new computer up and running with photoshop and my wacom pen tablet, so I hope we can get some completed pages up soon.
I spent an absolutely perfect day at the beach with Anna, having a picnic, swimming, and trying to take in some sun without being impeded too much by gusts of sandy wind. Between the beach and Aaron's work on the comic strip, I am feeling quite rejuvenated today. Life had been a little wearing as of late, with months of car problems and job turmoil, but things seem to be looking up...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Random Thought

As a very young child, I used to, at times, intentionally try to capture and lose myself in a certain rare type of emotion, or state of mind. It was one of those feelings that one might not come across more than once every several years, like the unique moments of unplaceable nostalgia that can be triggered by certain smells or memories. This particular state of mind had to do with having the most tenuous grip on something unbelievably fragile, like trying to keep something balanced on the head of a pin, something infinitely important, and the feeling would come about right around the moment that I would realize I had lost the balance irreparably. It would generally come to me early in the morning as I awoke from a dream, but sometimes in daydreaming I could re-create it. At the time I could not place it, it simply captivated me because of its rare and foreign nature. Looking back, however, I realize that the feeling was anguish. It was the recognition of the complete loss of something at the moment of its occurrence, as the mind still reels to take in the enormity of the repercussions. When I would capture it though, it was always in its most stripped down form, created through abstract visualizations that were similar to the head of a pin analogy. I would imagine or dream these losses of balance on both cosmic and microscopic scales, sometimes it would be obliteration on the scale of the collision of stars, sometimes it would be some microscopic balance I was trying and failing to maintain. I was never able to hold the feeling for very long; my grip on it was just as tenuous as the one within my abstract imaginings. The feeling was very real though, and just as one is very good at remembering exact details from their childhood when an intense emotion was involved, I have a very vivid memory of some of the occasions, the visualizations, and my surroundings at the time. Apparently by artificially creating such a strong emotion, I was also enhancing my long-term memory of the moment.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Oh bother

I hate complaining on blogs, even on personal journal blogs, even complaining in general really, and I will probably delete this out of disgust sooner or later, but right now I feel like a little rambling list of annoyances.

I have been all loose and ragged nerves for the past month, not really a good start to the summer at all; first I had to take a few weeks of awful prep work up in highland park when I ran out of money, and then I banged up my car in an accident, and finally my computer hard drive exploded taking all my music with it along with other things including all my independent film shorts. (so low-points of the month: climbing up and down the side of an elevator shaft using the elevator hardware as a ladder with a painty roller in one hand, standing in a parking lot with cops while I taped the front of my car together, and trying for an entire night to resuscitate a sputtering 350 gigabyte harddrive). Things should be good right now... my dad is visiting, we are working together on a decorative painting job, we are biking to work. I had a couple little decorative jobs for my highland park contractor that went really well, And yet I am nothing but emotionally drained and empty.

Part of it is probably just the lingering aftershock of losing a longterm relationship, and part of it is just the same money problems that are always rattling around in my subconscious. The thing is that I am usually very good at emotional damage control... I am an extremely positive and happy person. I don't feel like myself, and I think I have been expending all my mental energy trying to reach my usual equilibrium. I meditate, and read, and write lists of all the reasons I should be happy and excited for the summer.

But, as is always true in life, things could be much worse.... today I biked the shoreline from lincoln park to China town, and bought some wonderful imported green tea from a specialty tea shop. I had a stirfry with quinoa flavored with sesame oil and raw butter. Yesterday my dad and I picked up and repaired some wooden chairs he spotted in an alley. Our job is going well and next Saturday I get to spend a short weekend in Michigan. I will get over this little pitfall, I just hope I do in time to genuinely enjoy some of the summer.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hail, damnit, Eraser sized Hail

Well, you know your sleep schedule is a little out of wack when you are making yourself a chicken, avocado, sheep's cheese omelet at a quarter to 2 in the morning. In my defense, I have been attempting to structure my days in a more normal fashion. Saturday was probably my most successful attempt. I got up around 9, took a shower, gave myself a haircut, and went for a long bikeride. But now it is freezing outside again, which has me feeling vaguely angry at the weather, or nature, or some other uncontrollable force, which is very unlike me. It feels like the universe owes me some perfect sunny days, and it had better start coughing them up. Perhaps, after such a bad winter, I just started telling myself that everything would be perfect with the onset of spring and warm weather, which of course is not how things function.

This morning I was trying to think up some cheap and easy meals to help save money. I came up with a 15 minute meal that is quite good, amazingly filling, and costs less than $2. I just cooked some buckwheat and black beans, then added coconut oil, seasoned salt, pepper and garlic powder. It had a wonderfully rich and earthy flavor and kept me full right up until dinner, which is saying a lot, because most of the veggie meals that I eat don't leave me feeling full at all, even after I eat several meals worth of them.

I had to make one of those "where's my money" phonecalls today to an architect who owes me from a job I did a month ago, and he forwarded me to his answering machine, which is not a good sign, hopefully he is just on vacation or something, and I left a long voicemail asking if he had gotten my invoice. I am hoping that since I spent 3 months
painting in his sister's house, he will have to pay up eventually knowing that I will have to be doing touchups for her for years to come. Who knows though. I have never understood people.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Warm days ahead

Tomorrow is supposed to be a high of 73! Its been nice to be able to get out on my bike a little finally, and I have been counting on the warm weather and the sun to be what lifts this rather dazed and empty feeling that has settled over the last couple weeks. My brother and I scrubbed the floors of the apartment today, and I organized our paint and tool supply room, which used to be a third bedroom.

My resolve to stick to challenging literature and non-fiction slipped for two days, and I breezed through a couple popular fiction novels whose names I shall not embarrass myself with at the moment. Admittedly, they did more to lift my spirits than than anything else I have been reading lately.
In keeping with the spirit of my blog though, I figured it would be best to make note of lost time. I am also going to have to try to break my habit of having my bicycle trips always end up at a cafe, because I am broke. A thermos of iced tea will probably be a good solution.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Time without Distractions

I was reading a little about nature artists/writers and I came across some writing by Hannah Hinchman about attention, meditation, and creation. It struck a nerve as I had just been writing to myself last night about how after two weeks of voluntarily depriving myself of my usual distractions and entertainment, being without work, and of course being out of a relationship, time had begun to slide together and leaving me in an odd state of mind. She writes:
"To follow the actual workings of attention when it thinks it isn't being watched, I have been willing to go into dark places... Stepping outside the comfortable padding of books, music, news, movies, magazines, conversations, all the reassuring attention absorbers, is a necessary act of exposure. In fact, removing all the padding must be one of our deepest fears, judging by the enormous amount of ingenuity we've employed over the centuries to keep from doing it. The art of making something from nothing is our greatest virtue, and we can't and shouldn't try to thwart it...
I am sure there are healthier things I could have passed a couple weeks doing, besides sitting around reading, and she was probably talking more about immersing ones-self in solitary outdoor experience as a form of meditation, but warm times are ahead, and I am sure I will find plenty of time for that.
Another reason the quote popped out was, of course, The term 'making something from nothing' which made me think of Sartre, as this is very close to his definition of consciousness.
Sartre writes:
"Thus the rise of man in the midst of being which "invests" him causes a world to be discovered. But the essential and primordial moment of this rise is the negation. Man is the being through whom nothingness comes into the world."
That is, the universe is not lacking in its being, it simply Is. Man creates nothingness, and only consciousness can bring about nothingness, yet without it, no act of perception/consciousness could take place, for in every object we perceive, there is simultaneously an understanding that the object might otherwise Not exist. So, in a way consciousness simultaneously creates an alternate beingness (the percieved world) and creates nothingness.
As he puts it:
"from the very fact that we presume that an Existent can always be revealed as nothing, every question supposes that we realize a nihilating withdrawal in relation to the given, which becomes a simple presentation, fluctuating between being and nothingness. It is essential therefore that the questioner have the permanent posibility of dissociating himself from the causal series which constitutes being, and which can produce only being... and that he nihilates himself in relation to the thing questioned by wrenching himself from being in order to be able to bring out of himself the possibility of non-being. Thus, in posing a question, a certain negative element is introduced into the world. We see nothingness making the world iridescent, casting a shimmer over things."

Hah, Hannah also had a great quote about her cats:
A room without a couple of cats would be a deadly room. Cats produce soothing brain-waves, in much the same way that plants give off oxygen.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Ok, I seriously love Sartre. I haven't been able to put him down. I had been put off of philosophy for some time because from what I have read about many of the key authors, we just wouldn't get along... but I absolutely LOVE Sartre. He is a very strict rational atheist, but somehow his writing crosses over into the realm of transcendental mysticism.
From what I have tried to understand so far, consciousness is nothingness, just past and present perceptions of our own being and that which is around us, but our 'Self' itself is nothingness and each human strives to reconcile the true void within themselves (i.e. the fact that the moment is only the act of perception, and the future is made up of the unattainable need to become one with a reality which is foreign to our consciousness). We want to become Something, to become Real, but consciousness is "Translucent" and ever changing. We will never know our true selves, just our ego at any given time, which is the nexus between all our past and present conscious perceptions. We choose to be a slave to this ego we have created, even though we know our consciousness is completely free from the constraints that the ego places upon it, we are capable of any action, but we confine ourselves in the hopes of better knowing ourselves. Knowing our ego is not knowing ourselves though, and when we delve deeper, we will never encounter consciousness, the nothingness, because it exists outside of ourselves, it is simply an act of perception. We can feel our own foreignness whenever someone looks at us, and we are forced to acknowledge ourselves as an "other."
In short Sartre says that humankind's search of an unreachable goal is hardwired into our existence. Consciousness creates a void and we feel that emptiness within ourselves. We forever search for the Self that we will never truly possess.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Well, I just decided to dive into a personal study of philosophy that I had always wanted to find the time to get around to. A friend suggested that I start with Sartre's Being and Nothingness, and that it had really changed their life... now here is the strange little piece of serendipity... I walked to my bookshelf thinking, "I will have to order this book," and I reached for what I thought was a book about Sartre and understanding his writings, but instead, what I was holding in my hand was Sartre, Being and Nothingness. Now, I only have about 20 books on my to-read shelf, so one would think that I would know what those books were. It took me a while to remember that one of Anna's roommates let us go through her goodwill-book box and that was my choice, not knowing what it was. Anyhow, it was VERY strange.

So far it is extremely dense reading. I had to read the intro 3 times and look up a couple latin words just to understand the part about consciousness not being the same as the process of rational contemplation, and how the ego lies at the intersection of all the things that the consciousness perceives, and doesn't really exist statically, but only when one tries to examine it.... or something along those lines? It reminds me of the book The "Spell of the Sensuous" that Anna lent me, which must have been heavily influenced by existentialism. It talks a lot about how the self really exists outside of the body, within all the interactions with other animate and inanimate things, and how when we put ourselves in these sterile constructed environments and no longer interact with the natural world, we lose a good portion of what used to make us human.

Anyhow, I am excited to try and make heads of it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Simple Meals to Remember

I was just looking on the Whole Approach forum for Candida sufferers tonight (My source for all food choices since I was afflicted with malicious gut yeast last summer) trying to find out if there is even the remotest chance of my bringing an occasional glass of wine back into my diet; Life just seems so much less romantic if I can't have a glass with dinner every now and then. Sadly, the answer seemed to be a resounding No. Gin (rank tree sap) seemed to be the only alcohol anyone could tolerate.
I did however come across a couple simple meals to round out my evenings... The first was Garlic sautéed Shrimp with Basil, tomatoes and snow peas served over Quinoa, and the second consisted of browned Hamburger, Onions and Cabbage with diced Tomatoes and Seasoning. I haven't added red meat into my diet, and this choice pre-dates my current dietary problems by 6 years, but maybe as an occasional treat it wouldn't hurt... especially if there were to be avocado, sau
téed onions, and perhaps some mushrooms involved.

Monday, April 6, 2009

So it Begins, with an End and a Beginning

I suppose I should say something to mark the opening of this journal. As with most of my creative endeavors, it has sprung up as a response to an upheaval; one of those strange occasions in life where you find yourself pushed off a precipice, not knowing how far down you will fall or where you will land. For some reason, there is no impetus to motion like that which accompanies a romantic loss. Whether the passion and pain bubbling to the surface are the perfect stress factor for change and movement, or whether it is simply the need to re-invent one's self in response to a complete breakdown in self-confidence, such events have always brought forth a sudden outpouring of creativity.
Additionally, I must confess I had grown too cozy over the past two years. A shakeup on the grand level was imminent, and perhaps by recording my newest attempt to re-define my life, I will feel somewhat more accountable, and hold myself to all of my resolutions for this coming summer. So, let these pages catalog my successes and failures at becoming the most productive and creative man that I can be.