Crown Jewel

Hi, gang.

It's been stressful times, as of late. I'm not speaking solely of the moving process; in fact given the potential for stress and heartache in a huge move like that, I think it went amazingly smooth. No, I mean more in the last 8 months or so. Basically, since the time I stopped having a place of my own. It wasn't solely the living situation, though, and I mean in no way to impugn my wonderful housemates. I mean more the external, coincidental factors coupled with being a married couple cast adrift while we weathered the seas of uncertainty.

Times got to be overwhelming.

The little things, the simple pleasures got to be reassurances. I liked being able to cook a meal. I'm no foodie, but I am a growing sous-chef to my better half, who has become a talented chef on her own. Most of our free time was spent preparing meals and dissecting what made things good. She reads cookbooks like literature. I try to keep up, but mostly my skills have favored pouring wine and doing dishes. One little bonus we had lost was the ability to watch copious DVR'd shows from the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. Honestly I think it was about the only TV my better half would watch, save the occasional Simpsons or Daily Show. So being without a kitchen staple, missing the lovely white noise of those specific shows, took a toll.

There was a life raft, though.

While we had no cable to speak of, we had access to the local PBS-esque affiliates. Turns out, on a regular basis they show cooking and food related programming. The best of the best? Our cream of the crop? Old episodes of Julia & Jacques Cooking At Home. It's a bit dated, being filmed and broadcast in 1999, but it is all kinds of awesome. So while we go about our business, getting settled in our new home, we make sure we tune in whenever possible.
In short, it's a classic cooking program and Julia Child is every bit as legendary as you'd expect. She was 86 when they filmed these! That she would have the gumption to still shoot these instructional shows, with the energetic yet patient Jacques Pepin, is nothing short of incredible. One cannot help but admire her spirit and passion, even past the point most others would have simply retired and coasted. No, Julia Child is amazing. She's totally the embodiment of all the parodies and jokes and SNL skits. She's so sincere and genuine that you can't help but find her endearing. Whether or not my palate can handle the amount of cream and white wine in her recipes, the shows are still a sight to behold. There's nothing quite as astounding as seeing a woman as old as your grandmother grab a gargantuan meat cleaver and hack a gigantic fish in two, without skipping a beat. Nothing broke her composure. She was super fun. Plus, I'm learning just from watching.
The stress will alleviate over time, certainly as we get more boxes unpacked and more things put away. In the meantime, we can cook with the limited means we have available and tune in to these hidden gems from a generation ago. If this is suburban living, I'll take it. Even if it means doing more dishes until our furniture is delivered.



So I'm writing this as I lie on an air mattress.

I spent the day closing on and moving into my house.

Sure, there's a certain amount of white knuckle terror that keeps the blood and adrenaline pumping. But! There's also a fair deal of exhilarating freedoms that keeps the fish swimming! None of that made any sense, did it?

We're lying on an air mattress watching Wall•e right now, more tired but more alive than I'd care to admit. It's been a solid year or more of planning, but we made it here in one piece. Having spent all that time in preparation, it is a strange feeling to finally be here. We kept saying, since before the wedding, that we can "sort all this out once we get a house."

Well, we're finally here and we're gonna get all our ducks in a row. Long road and a longer haul, no doubt. But! We've got time and space out here, and by golly, we're gonna make use of it!

My apologies for the lack of updates as of late, but we needed to prepare for the big move. Now that we're here I can't wait to set up my office and ensconced. Most of my writing as of late has been via pen and paper, so letting a keyboard handle the weight sounds fantastic, as does the idea of a permanent home and a place to customize/trick out to my hearts content.

This is the next step into a new chapter. Boots on the ground, we're ready to make it together. I'll keep you posted.


Worlds End

I've been thinking about The End of The World. 

Not in the biblical sense, fire and brimstone. Although I suppose in this case it would apply. Moreover, it's in the sense of my life as I know it ending. 

Like any human in this modern age, I have too much imagination with too little to exert it against. I wake up, go through my work day and come home. During that time, things are always happening. At home, more stuff happens. Something is always going on. Decisions are being evaluated, plans are made and executed. Meals are prepared and eaten, chores and duties are dealt with. During all the usual stuff, I'm also writing, tweeting, consuming pop culture and doing the usual 20-something crap that seems important but in actuallity is frivolous. Also, I'll get up at offensively early hours and go running, sometimes in the dark but now there's at least a little sunlight. Despite all of this, that imagination never seems to run out. 

See where I'm going? 

There is no shortage of stuff to deal with in this modern life. You get an extra hour and it fills up with obligations. Indulging in relaxing activites usually has a subcurrent of guilt permeating it, as though worrying about what I ought to be accomplishing makes it acceptable that I'm otherwise supposedly wasting time playing a videogame or reading a book. It's become hard to simply relax. The mind is constantly fretting, worrying, anxiously creating scenarios in which things go wrong or disaster falls or who knows what else. Having no actual dangers to avoid (war, pervasive crime, large predatory animals), my mind is constantly presenting potential scenarios, no matter how unrealistic, in which my world and life as I know them cease to exist and All Goes Wrong. 

Who cares? 

No one. 

Should I worry about it? 

Absolutely not. 

But see, that's the problem. Try to convince yourself that you shouldn't worry about a thing in the future. There's a reflexive instinct to reassert the notion that by not being concerned about it, it will come to pass in a negative light. 

This is not true. 

Worry is not a talisman against bad fortune. 

There is a world of difference between being prepared for bad fortune and constantly being wary of it. One is intelligent and resourceful. The other is a needless waste of energy. "But what if this and what if this and this thing could happen and then all this would happen" but it hasn't. Not yet. Odds are it most likely won't. This is just a wishful direction of energy in the hopes that we can exert some sort of control on the universe. 

The world hasn't ended. It won't. Even if it does, what does that change the here and now? Say I go broke, get cancer and lose everyone I love. Okay. Done. Then what happens? Wailing and gnashing of teeth? Perhaps. But whatever the series of circumstances, my life will have to continue on. War could happen, more terrorist attacks. What good, what possible benefit is there to fretting about it? It simply expends energy I could use to tell my better half I love her, or cook a nice meal, or finish the same book I've been slowly writing. 

Enough worrying. Enough self-caused anxiety. 

I'm going to go enjoy my day. You do the same. 


Voice Over

So that's it, huh.

I had known Beastie Boy Adam Yauch was sick for a while. I remember hearing about the band postponing albums and performances and being genuinely bummed about it, even though the shows were nowhere near me and the news of a fresh album had been beyond my knowledge. They are (now were) such an immensely likable, talented group that any ill that should befall them seemed to be a slight against all that was good in the world.
I know, I know. 

This all smacks of the bandwagon-jumping, post celebrity death fervor that grips the social current in the wake of a high profile death. I'm sure to some extent, that's exactly what it is. In my defense, however - I was a longtime fan of the group and adored them for same reasons anyone would. Not to be that hyper dramatic self-involved type that claims the closest relationship to the trauma or loss, I just mean to say it's a real sad loss of a talented, intelligent and funny person.
I can't even begin to summarize all of the amazing music and the impact it had on popular culture. More talented writers have said better about the significance of their mainstream success, being three Jewish rappers in the then-nascent genre. They went from being a hardcore outfit (with a woman on drums, to boot) to frat rap/rock before it was a thing, to some of the smartest, funkiest hip hop in the alternative landscape in the 90s and beyond. In short, they were amazing. 
Back when I was a pimply teenager, Ill Communication was the first rap album I bought. My stealth obsession with oddball hip hop was forged then, listening to the crazy loops and eclectic mix of sounds on the record. 'Sure Shot' is still one of my all time favorite songs of theirs. I remember the crazy anticipation for Hello Nasty and the absurd fun they had with their videos for 'Intergalactic' and 'Body Movin'. I look back fondly on bonding with my younger brother over his discovery and obsession with the group as soon as he started drumming. Above all, though, I remember falling in love with the group sound of Check Your Head. Read up on why I love it here, and check out Max Tannone's remixes that fold the album back in on itself like an ourobourus. 
The fact that MCA is gone is one I can deal with. He was sick, but he led an amazing life that saw him grow in huge leaps and bounds into the farthest thing from the horrible clips the news keeps showing, as though the only thing anyone ever knows them from is 'Fight for Your Right to Party'. Please. MCA was incredibly smart and talented, and that's why we're all so sad to see him go, but as a Buddhist, he wouldn't be. He's just moving on.
Now, let's remember the Beastie Boys for what they are - disembodied heads in jars, still dropping crazy lines in the 31st century. MCA had more rhymes than he had gray hairs, and that's a lot because he had his share.