Monthly Archives: September 2010

Harbor to the Bay

R Mutts Scrap Removal

Eliot welded a bicycle cart, for hauling. An identical cart, made by his teacher, was on display at the first ever Boston Area Handbuilt Bicycle Exhibition at the Fourth Wall Project.

Harvest moon

Today Arielle and John O’Leary are bicycling from Boston to Provincetown!

The Return of the Rivers

Etta and me

All the rivers run into the sea;
yet the sea is not full;
unto the place from whence the rivers come,
thither they return again.

It is raining today
in the mountains.

It is a warm green rain
with love
in its pockets
for spring is here,
and does not dream
of death.

Birds happen music
like clocks ticking heaves
in a land
where children love spiders,
and let them sleep
in their hair.

A slow rain sizzles
on the river
like a pan
full of frying flowers,
and with each drop
of rain
the ocean
begins again.

Richard Brautigan


Harvard Museum of Natural History

I had the thought while in the Harvard Museum of Natural History that the large collections of animals amassed in the 19th century allowed the naturalists of the day the opportunity to visualize the data of life in a new way. Thus, evolution.

Worried expression

Therefore, the private collections of beer cans, bobbleheads and other esoteric memorabilia hoarded by hundreds of thousands of compulsive Americans will someday open wide the doors to new vistas. So too the immense record of personal data attached to each individual user of the internet. And the mountains of trash left behind by our nonstop consumption. These insights may be right around the corner.

Jonathan Winters

The way of the world

Sometimes reality gets hijacked by an ugly gorilla. Nature is chaotic and dangerous. Don’t worry! Its probably a man in a rubber suit.

Alligator Pear / The Apple of the Winter

Fighting for position on a stump

I had a dream. It came on the couch after the ingestion of an inhuman quantity of a late summer salad I made out of a 1.5 LB yellow heirloom tomato, a hefty and rotund Bacon avocado (the alligator pear, the apple of winter), a not petite mango, and my aunt’s basil… as well as two skewers of marinated grilled vegetables, two grilled ears of corn on the cob, half a loaf of garlic ciabatta, and I hesitate to publicly admit… a piece of cheesecake and a gigantic bowl of strawberry shortcake. It was a fever dream. In this dream I was in Chicago, on a skateboard (the one from my childhood, with the T-Rex graphic), by the lake, skateboarding around a concrete park that had been mentioned on This American Life. My friends Eliot and Christina were there, and Etta too, following my skateboarding on bikes. We were all wearing helmets and had plans for dinner later. Resting in the concrete park, I told them all my tentative plan to move back to Chicago in March, and that we had to make this movie happen now. I had the movie camera with me, and we filmed the conversation. Then we paid a Mexican six dollars to drive us around the city in a white cargo van at high speed with the camera mounted on the side of the vehicle. I woke up with a headache, more determined than ever.

Los Cielos de América

Stéphane Guisard

Stéphane Guisard is an optical engineer at the Very Large Telescope in Chile, where the skies are so dark that on a clear moonless night it is possible to see your shadow cast by the light of the Milky Way alone. He is also an astrophotographer. His website, Los Cielos de América, has images of the starry night sky in high resolution, with animation, even in 3D. His work is featured at TWAN (The World At Night) and NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Long exposure star trails

My favorite page of Los Cielos is Chimborazo Volcano (Ecuador) “The closest place to the stars”: “With an altitude of 6268 meters (20564 ft) above sea level, Chimborazo volcano is the highest summit in Ecuador but of course not the highest summit on the planet. This record belongs to Mount Everest (8848 metres / 29029 ft above sea level). However, because the Earth is not a perfect sphere but rather an oblate spheroid (a sphere flattened along the axis from pole to pole such that there is a bulge around the equator) and that Chimborazo is very close to the equator line (only -1 degree in latitude), Chimborazo is known as the “the farthest location from the center of the Earth”. 6384.687 Km against 6382.467 Km for Everest that is, a difference of 2.220 Km/1.38 miles.

Ecuatorian people will kindly and proudly remind you about this fact “Chimborazo, el punto mas lejano del centro de la Tierra”. I will personally proudly (and kindly as well) give you my version of it : “Chimborazo : El punto mas cercano a las estrellas”, (“Chimborazo : the closest place to the stars”) hoping that the following image manages to illustrate it.”

It Took Twenty Men To Carry The Coffin To The Cemetary

Gloria Spencer

I am trying to arrange my thoughts into two posts. One deals with a seventies gospel singer, a new film, and an application. The other with star trails… TubeSock is an app that lets you capture YouTube streams and convert them to mp3s. Its a butterfly net in the wind. When morbidly obese Gloria Spencer (5’3″ 625 LB, types 100 WPM) wails about God calling her home, she is referring to heaven. I don’t know where that is, but I do know something about streams. In the beginning of I’m Still Here, Joaquin Phoenix is shown as a boy, carefully climbing up rocks to the top of a waterfall. He takes the risk and leaps. In the end he is a chubby white failure of a man wading up river. I don’t know where he’s going, but I’m fighting that current too.

Mazorquin Relleno

Encuentra tu futuro

On the phone with Etta I explained that the reason I miss her so much is that I am out at sea. That’s how I feel when I work long stretches of consecutive days. Ten days out, then a day off, then ten more days, maybe an afternoon off. I am a fisherman out on the churning chaos of the ocean and I greatly miss her gentleness and the cosmos of our togetherness. I eat a lot of candy out there, Mexican candy. Mostly lollipops covered in chile powder. Reading about Mexican candy has been helping me with my Spanish.


Stratum corneum

Two and a half hour bath: “In preparation for ecdysis, the arthropod becomes inactive for a period of time, undergoing apolysis (separation of the old exoskeleton from the underlying epidermal cells)… Then, by crawling movements, the pharate animal pushes forward in the old integumentary shell, which splits down the back allowing the animal to emerge.”

Christopher Cross and Michael McDonald trigger a new jazz-rock paradigm: “Wonderfully depicting the serenity of the calm sea, “Sailing” attaches lush, delicate string work to Cross’ placid vocal style. His romantic imagery is crisp and colorful, and the whole of the song’s soft pop silkiness can be felt throughout its entire melody. “Sailing” became one of the finest examples of how music can invoke mood through tempo and lyrical tone, with Cross’ gentle words and glimmering musical backdrop drifting together until the chorus rises just a little bit higher than the rest of the song… Christopher Cross was a hell of a record — it just was a hell of a soft rock record, something that doesn’t carry a lot of weight among most audiences.”

Einstein’s God Only Knows

Doctor my eyes

The rocking chair on the third floor enclosed back porch of Etta’s apartment is one of my favorite places these days. I was rocking, reading, eating Mexican candy and nodding my head to classic rock on the clock radio in the kitchen. The deep voice of 97.1 The Drive came on and said that while many performers strive for perfection in the studio, a live performance is about what happens in the moment and the connection the artist finds with the audience. It was the introduction to that day’s Live @ 5, the Beach Boys… I simultaneously read these words of Krista Tippett: “I’ve been thinking, there is in the Jewish tradition the nephesh, the soul that is emergent, that is quite different from, say the Christian idea of the soul. There is a Jewish sensibility of the soul as being something that emerges in a relationship.”


When I got back from Chicago, I got busy. I am working almost every day until Etta comes here. When I’m not working, I go to the movies. I saw the midnight screening of Weird Science last night and laughed out loud. Tonight I saw Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary, The Tillman Story. It shook me up. The media’s hyped up account of Pat Tillman’s life and death is so far from the real story. Seeing the truth was wrenching. The film brings you right back to 2004, the Bush years, the complete lack of faith in our government, the anger at being lied to. It touched a raw nerve in me. After the end credits, with Neil Young in my ears, I exited the cinema behind two shaved head military guys. Not a word was said between them; they were completely quiet. I got to my car and broke down crying so hard I got a headache.