Sunday, January 31, 2010

past the north star and straight on til morning

music festival in chillicothe

Sometimes I get so restless that I can't stop imagining getting in a car and driving across the country, leaving everything behind me. I would tour America with my best friend; stopping in small towns and reveling in the beauty and variety in the landscape. The highway would set out before us as an invitation to experience the freedom of the open road. The United States would be zig zagged through with our adventures and the friends that we make along the way; waitresses at diners and locals we met at divey bars.
my friend Annie in hungary

"All I wanted to do was sneak out into the night and disappear somewhere, and go out and find out what everybody was doing all over the country." -Kerouac
this is at my friend's house in st. augustine

Sometimes before I fall asleep I let my mind slip out of my window, into the night and through time and wherever I want to go. Through the London fog and Macchu Picchu, the outdoor markets of Kingston. Through the bayou of New Orleans and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. With Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac, shooting across America and unwittingly blazing the trail into a new era. In the forest outside Palo Alto with the Merry Pranksters and Ken Kesey, watching Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead perform at an Acid Test. To New York City in 1965; the Factory with Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick.
washington, dc

he calls me to the ocean
takes me wandering through the street
a restless imagination
but for now, I move my feet on the ground
yo la tengo
little bar in paris

Sometimes I want to take in everything at once, and leave the confines of my singular existence. To not be so contained within myself. I'd like to leave my isolated mind and body and dissolve into the air. To stop interacting and fighting energy and integrate myself into energy itself. My mind would spill over and the contents would disperse themselves into the atmosphere. It wouldn't be able to reel anymore; it would simply become enfolded in the life vibrating all over the universe. I want to be so fluid that I can experience the vitality and emotions of whoever I encounter, anywhere in the world at any point in time. I want to be a speck on a timeline running infinitely in both directions, skipping back and forth across it.

You realize beyond all trace of a doubt that the world is in you, and not you in the world. -Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

We inhale many hundreds of particles in each breath we take. Salt crystals from ocean whitecaps, dust scraped off distant mountains, micro bits of cooled magma blown from volcanoes and charred microfragments from tropical forest fires.
David Bodanis
grant park

let's leave the sound of the heat for the sound of the rain
it's easy to sleep when it wets my brain
it covers my rest with a saccharine sheen
kissing the wind through my window screen
the restlessness calls us, that I cannot hide
so much on my mind that it spills outside

animal collective


I don't want to go to sleep.

outside my house

Monday, January 25, 2010

how can i tell you?

What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to be more than all the words I have read in my life. -Walt Whitman

Sometimes I wish my thoughts could go spilling out of my head into the air, surrounding me like confetti, where they could be seen fluttering around. So many of the things occupying my head I never find the opportunity to say, things that would often be more appreciated than the things I do feel comfortable saying. Like how impressed I am when I watch people do bio-chemistry homework, and how much admiration I have for people aspiring to be doctors. Or how intriguing I find people who listen to interesting music, or speak to their parents on the phone in a different language, or go out of their way to practice environmental sustainability even just by taking recyclables to a bin. Or how I look forward to seeing someone all day for the hour I will be sitting next to them in class, even if we don't talk. Or how someone has an eye color so captivating it is hard not to stare when they are talking to me, or a voice so melodic I wish they wouldn't stop talking. Or knowing someone very shy is immeasurably talented and wanting to tell them how spectacular I think they are, and that they should be less shy so everyone can see it. I am thinking of specific people and instances, but qualities like this jump out to me from people like neon colors on a page. I wish people knew when I thought these things about them, because I do, all the time. I think that other people see these things too, and they are simply never said. You've probably never heard some of the nicest sentiments that people are thinking, because they don't know how to say it. People probably notice it about you every day.

Your light is seen, your heart is known, your soul is cherished by more people than you might imagine…If you knew how many others have been touched in wonderful ways by you, you would be astonished. If you knew how many people feel so much for you, you would be shocked…You are far more wonderful than you think you are… Rest with that. Rest easy with that. Breathe again. You are doing fine. More than fine. Better than fine. You’re doing great. So relax. And love yourself today.
-Neale Donald Walsch
I remember every word that you said; I'm much more flattered by the thoughts in your head.
david vandervelde

i tend to lose my concentration

He told me his tan came from playing tennis, and when we were sitting there side by side flying down the streets in the open sun he took my hand & squeezed it, and I felt happier than I had been since I was about nine & was running along the hot white beaches with my father the summer before he died.
-Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

The extent to which I identified with this book kind of frightened me.

Everything she said was like a secret voice speaking straight out of my own bones.

I couldn't fall asleep for a few hours last night, and the moving shadows the trees were casting on my wall looked like skeletons dancing with each other. At some point in my life, I would really like to go to Mexico for el Día de los Muertos. Venice for Carnevale was pretty impressive.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

something for rockets

The body is made up of a mass of resonating particles and is in itself a universe. All information exists here and now within our own consciousness. There are places we can go within our consciousness that unite our being with the cosmos.

Jennifer Neal

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

beyond mountains there are mountains

This Tuesday I began classes again.
Typically when I am in school my thoughts become noticeably more academic and I don't feel as creative as I do when my time is my own. This semester I am taking 17 hours at U of I- JOUR 250, JOUR 411, JOUR 420, JOUR 425, and PS 499. I am also taking Macroeconomics online through Parkland College. I don't know how this will work out at all.
I have my own room now and I've been able to manifest my interests in the space around me. It's kind of fun. Beirut, Grateful Dead, Ra Ra Riot, the 2006 Lollapalooza lineup, Mark Rothko, the Stockholm landscape, Dylan, Do Make Say Think, Kerouac, and Steely Dan all have a place there now. So does the birthday card my best friend made me, with some of the most beautiful sentiments in it I've ever read. It's getting kind of beat up now because I've put it up and taken it down from several walls, starting in high school. I wrote down my favorite quotes here. I hope I never lose the paper, but I couldn't deal with losing what's on it. I think I'm a logomaniac.
this was for my 18th birthday

"Though they rushed back and forth across the country on the slightest pretext, gathering kicks along the way, their real journey was inward." -Holmes
biophilia- the innate tendency to focus upon life and lifelike forms and in some cases to affiliate with them emotionally
"If you drop a rose in the Hudson River at its mysterious source in the Adirondack, think of all the places it journeys by as it goes out to sea forever."
"Without mystery life shrinks. The completely known is a numbing void to all active minds." E.O. Wilson

"Like you I belong to yesterday- the the bays where day is anchored to wait for its hour. Like me, you belong to today, the progression of that hour when what is unborn begins to throb. We are cultivators of the unsayable, weavers of singulars, migrant workers in search of floating gardens as yet unknown, as yet unharvested." -Lucha Corpi
"All I wanted to do was sneak out into the night and disappear somewhere, and go out and find out what everybody was doing all over the country." -Kerouac
"How did such a strange quality of human nature come about? No one knows for sure, but evolutionary genetics tells us that if even just one person in a thousand survived because of a genetic predisposition to explore the unknown and perserve in daunting circumstances, then over many generations natural selection would have installed the predisposition in the whole human race to wonder and take the dare." -E. O. Wilson
I have made a few things for people that are written over like that with music quotes and things said by people like Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Kesey, and Jack Kerouac. It takes a long time to do, but once I start I become kind of obsessed with it and I work on it for about a week. If I still have those I might put them in here because I don't want to lose those, either. Definitely a logomaniac.

Anyway, the passage that I was reading that incited me to start writing down all these things is from Barnette v. West Virginia.

"Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order."

This reminded me of a speech I wrote about the importance of separation of church and state. I don't have time to write the whole argument out now, but I will later.
Also, I realized a mistake I wrote in the Bon Iver entry. 'Winter' in French is actually 'hiver,' not 'iver.' Like, bee-hiver. I don't know why he changed it. Maybe to avoid the bee-hiver comparison.

I am currently reading the book Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. I saw Tracy Kidder speak here last year because I was writing a paper on him, but I didn't get around to starting his novel until about a week ago. It's a stunning account of the work of Dr. Paul Farmer in improving healthcare and building a clinic in Haiti. I recommend looking it up online, because I can't write a summary that does it justice. It was really bizarre that I was actually reading the book when the earthquake in Haiti occurred. Haiti was already the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and now they have been confronted with devastation beyond comprehension.
Jim Kim, Ophelia Dahl, Dr. Paul Farmer

The organization that Dr. Paul Farmer started more than 20 years ago, Partners in Health, is now at the forefront of treating hundreds of thousands of patients. If you are looking for a charity to donate to Haiti through, it seems that they are more prepared and understanding of what needs to be done than anyone else. I am really glad I am reading this- I would recommend it to everyone. Something else that seemed kind of strange is the fact that one of the main people in the book, the co-founder and current finance manager of Partners in Health, is the daughter of one of my favorite authors. The thank you emails for donations are signed by Ophelia Dahl.

I wish I had time to keep writing, but I have a ton more to read for tomorrow. Rather, I wish that I could automatically transcribe my thoughts. This was on the birthday card too, it's my favorite.

"My mind is exploding to say something about every image and every memory...I have an irrational lust to set down everything I know." -Kerouac

Friday, January 15, 2010


'I have a longing for life and go on living in spite of logic,’ he says to Alyosha. ‘I have asked myself many times whether there is in the world any despair that would overcome this frantic and perhaps unseemly thirst for life in me, and I have come to the conclusion that there is not.'

-Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, 1880

Thursday, January 14, 2010

this light looks good on you

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.
-Henry Miller

I job shadowed at a large corporation today. It was kind of funny seeing how big business works after I wrote a research article on independent businesses. The very things that the independent business owners were lamenting (the moving of music from vinyl and CD's to the internet, the advent of books being published digitally) were what the corporation was excited about. It was unseasonably warm today, and even though it was kind of rainy and gray I thought it was beautiful out. When you look at things a certain way they almost always seem pretty, even an overcast day of cold rain. I'm kind of moody sometimes though, and just as easily as everything can seem beautiful to me, things can deeply sadden me. That might sound vague, but it's true.

"I know people who i imagine to be able to look at the world without as much emotional upheaval as i tend to do."
-Jeff Tweedy

For a while I pretended I was in London. I wasn't upset that I was actually in Chicago though, I love it here.

I should probably invest in a nicer camera, because I'm always wanting to take pictures of things so I don't forget how stunning it seemed in the moment. Sometimes I want to take pictures of people when light hits them a certain way or they make an interesting expression. I don't usually do it though. I wish they knew when I was thinking those kind of things about them. People never know them about themselves.

On the inbound train I was listening to yankee.hotel.foxtrot. Once I burned that CD for a person from Europe and told them if Chicago had a soundtrack that might be it. When I was walking I listened to 'Gentle Hours' by Yo La Tengo. I love it; it was perfect.

I walked by Chicago Theater today. I think that might be my favorite building in the city. It was built in 1921, and whenever I look at it it seems to epitomize the hedonism and glamor of the the 20's. Once I worked outside of it, and on my break I went inside and laid down on one of the red velvet benches. I was alone, and I remember zoning out and pretending I was back in time. During the time of gangsters and speakeasies. Or in The Great Gatsby. I wondered how many hundreds of thousands of people had filtered in and out of the theater since it had been built. I wondered where they are now and how their lives are turning out.

Anyway, here our some pictures I've taken that I like. I hope you like them too.

This girl was running around in Piazza Bra in Verona playing with streamers.

This was a DJ at a club during Carnevale. I think I took a better picture of him, but I can't find it.

This is near the Adige River in Verona. It was on a bar of something that looked strangely like a prison cell, but I'm not really sure if that's what it was.

This was about a block away from my apartment in Italy. I used to go running in this park, and once I asked my roommate what this enclosure was. She said it was 'a zo.' I didn't understand what she meant at first, she said it with a short 'O,' 'zo.' I realized she meant 'zoo.' I thought that was a really cute way to pronounce it.

This is in Chillicothe during the music festival Summer Camp.

This is a picture of my best friend, Alex, when she visited U of I freshman year. I don't think she likes how she looks here, but I love it. She had just turned to look at me and I thought the sun looked beautiful on her hair. It was the first warm day of spring, a Sunday. There was evidence of the weekend's debauchery all over campus, but it was still so nice out. We walked around all day with a boombox playing Bob Dylan.

This was a street in Wrigleyville from an above ground Metro. I think it was New Year's Day.

This is in Washington, D.C. right outside of the Kennedy's old house. I love how yellow the light is in the darkening twilight. You can see the moon, too.

This is in Montreal.

This is at a party in Verona. The guy on the left is an American from my program, and the two girls on the right are Italian medical students. I love the expression of the girl in the middle.

This is the night after a big street market in Verona. I loved how the tents were still lit up even though they were closed.

My friend Chloe sent this to me the other day, and I think it's fitting.

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. - Henry Miller

Saturday, January 9, 2010

pour a little salt, we were never here

i took this in budapest, hungary

its just a snow fall of snow balls, evidence of the winter
and i can feel my hands again
we're almost home.

it's 2 pm and our snow is falling still as our good city lay still.
and our friends are packed around some no smoking bar
warming on alcohol
I didn't know 'Bon Iver' meant 'good winter' until my french-speaking friend told me on the way to french-speaking Montreal. I've been trying to think of that when I go outside and the cold is almost painful, my toes too numb to step. Bon iver. Bon iver. Good winter. White covering everything and freezing the life right out of it. In an email my friend described sitting at a table with Hawaiian coffee and a window full of cold sun. Winter reminds me of a desolate tundra that I'm walking over. Blank. I am building character. I am I am I am I am.
this is from Amber's birthday party. i love this photo and the colors. amber sometimes looks like a walking rainbow.
look me in the eyes under expanding winter skies, you'll find a feeling there that never knows the cold.

When I feel like this I listen to 'Mr. Tambourine Man' and start feeling better right away. If you're feeling down give it a listen.

then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind
down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
woods. songs of shame.
the haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
mia black
yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
mia black
with all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
let me forget about today until tomorrow
via oleada

Can we go to these places? Will you come?
budapest, hungary
but i still dreamed of running careless through the snow.

Monday, January 4, 2010

best of the season 2009

In the flurry of holiday Christmas cards there are three main stereotypes. The first, and generally most entertaining, is the kind where a family includes not only a photo but a detailed letter entitling the year's accomplishments of each family member. The tone of these has a broad range, and they can go from interesting to laughable. The second kind is that which has a message such as 'May Peace be Yours this Holiday Season' or 'Season's Greetings!' and is followed by the family's name under the printed greeting. Unless a particularly interesting graphic adorns the cover, it is hard not to wonder why they wasted the paper. The third kind are from campaigning politicians reminding you of the upcoming election, or people like real estate agents reminding you that they are there for your real estate needs. While people may get annoyed by these barely concealed attempts to bolster business, they are fairly to the point.

This season there were two standout cards that arrived at my house. The first was addressed to 'Ox and Midge,' but had our address underneath. After reading the envelope I was really confused...were Ox and Midge previous owners? That would be strange, since we have lived in our house for over ten years. Inside the card it said 'Say hi to Lucy and Jack.' At that point I understood. Ox, Midge, Lucy and Jack were characters from the movie 'While You Were Sleeping,' a romantic comedy that was shot partly in our house in 1995. They were played by Peter Boyle, Micole Mercurio, Sandra Bullock, and Bill Pullman, respectively. I thought this was hilarious. I really wonder what the thought process was behind the people that sent the card.
The card made me remember the actual shooting of the movie and how much fun it was. The two most memorable instances were when my Mom had to leave the house because one of us was sick at school, and Sandra Bullock ended up babysitting my younger sister. To appease my younger sister, the director sent stage grips to 7-11 to buy several tubs of ice cream.

The second interesting card was addressed to my older sister and was from American indie sensation 'Ra Ra Riot.' It may be because my older sister is on the street team for Barsuk Records. I don't know, though, receiving a hand-written card from a band that headlined Lollapalooza was pretty exciting.