Grown over

This building is still being used, actually– It’s somewhere on the outskirts of Matamoras on Delaware Road.

Memories of CWC

So tomorrow, after I drive to New Jersey to see a historian about some photos of Lafayette, I’m going back to Canandaigua to visit for about a day. It almost seems normal at this point to see the place after being gone for a few months. I don’t feel like I’ve changed all that much, but I suppose you don’t see changes in yourself as they happen unless you’re spending eight hours a day at a physical labor job recounting the sum of your experiences up to the present moment. That’s another thing I miss about the winery– being able to jump inside my head for 1/3 of the day and wander around.

Some other things I miss about the winery–

1. Sampling Arbor Mist right off the line (not getting drunk or anything, just taking a swig every hour to remind myself of the exact amount it takes to remember why I don’t drink it.)

2. The people, because I went there for the work, but I stayed on my shift and department for the people. When you have a job like that, you’re always working with a few other people, you’re forced to communicate and cooperate. You have to be some kind of family to keep eveything running and to keep everyone sane.

3. Carrying around a radio because it made me look important.

Even in my final days in the Maintenance department I had some good times. If nothing else, there was a person on my shift that I could practically write a screenplay about. I won’t put any names down for purposes of slander, but he was this crazy dude who was best known for starting to talk to you, continuing his idea as you walked away, and walking up to someone else to finish his idea. I call this type of conversationalist a “mobile transciever,” because to him it wasn’t really all that important who he addressed, just so long as he had some kind of audience to accept the message.

The guy was like radio waves. You weren’t always listening, but he was always in the air.

The 3-month marker

In August 2003 I told my father to give me two years to figure things out. Well, It’s almost August again.

This was an audio post that was hosted on a site that no longer exists. Sad, I know. I’m keeping the post here as a placeholder and hoping to summarize the audio posts later based on their titles.

-j

Better things to spend my money on

Tarzan and a really nice car…

This was an audio post that was hosted on a site that no longer exists. Sad, I know. I’m keeping the post here as a placeholder and hoping to summarize the audio posts later based on their titles.

(I know that this post, for instance, started with a Tarzan yell. It was awesome.)

-j

Hawaiian Iced Coffee

Spilling iced coffee on myself while driving through Westfall

This was an audio post that was hosted on a site that no longer exists. Sad, I know. I’m keeping the post here as a placeholder and hoping to summarize the audio posts later based on their titles.

(It was canned Hawaiian iced coffee…I wanna say Kona Mocha?)

-j

Home goes away

For the past four years, leaving Canandaigua always meant I was going to go back in a few months. It was Los Angeles. It was Potsdam. It was Michigan and Potsdam again. It was Missouri. Every time I had some kind of plan that I worked out for myself.

Go to LA and be a rock star (which I was so poorly prepared for)
Go to college and be a philosophy student (which I gladly accepted for the year I did it)
Go to Missouri and prepare to be a soldier (which was an idea I had after a really dark time in my life)

Now I’m here, and after three months it’s actually staring to hit me that I’m not going back to Canandaigua this time. I got a title change at work. My responsibilities are increasing. I’m functioning where I am. I’m getting experience in something I’ve always wanted to do.

Home goes away.

Everytime I set foot in Manhattan I realize exactly where I need to be. Even in 90 degree heat on a crowded avenue on a hazy Saturday, I feel comfortable. I feel home. I’ve been to the city twice in two weeks now, the weekend I got back from Portland I spent the entire day with Joey L. and Cooley in central park, and this last weekend I went to Brooklyn to visit Christine. I don’t get tense there. I’m not getting lost there anymore. I feel a magnetic draw pulling me to bigger places.

All in due time. The beauty of Milford is being able to drive an hour into central New Jersey and pick up a train leading me right into Penn Station. I’m going to go again this Saturday, early in the morning this time. It’s strange being able to leave a dense forest with streams and rivers and find yourself in one of the world’s largest cities two short hours later.

I remember my cousin Sydney and I driving around looking for Los Angeles city hall almost four years ago. I walked in and got a street musician’s license. I played once in North Hollywood, among bitter and benevolent faces, once in MacArthur park, among drug-addicts and transients, and once in downtown LA, between commercial towers and concrete sidewalks. There was no danger in the air. No threatening posture. It was just the city of angels and a little boy quietly playing guitar in torn up and patched up pants.

When I left LA, I promised I would return. I said there would be a time when I would be able to stay there, a time I would conquer the beast and make it my home. It seems I’m walking down the right path.

The times I doubt myself are getting shorter and less intense. The stormclouds that used to signify internal war are changing into internal intensity. Passion is being redirected.

It used to be– “I’ll accomplish this, but if I don’t, I can always do this instead.” It used to be about having a way out. Having an escape route from a stupid dream you have. It used to be about “thinking realistically” by planning to be barred from what you want. It’s different now. It’s “this is what I’m doing, and this is how I’m going to do it.” There aren’t any other options anymore.

It was a concept that scared the fuck out of me when I moved in. It was the idea of not being able to return to a safe place, not being able to do “just enough to get by.” Now I was forcing myself to succeed. For the first month, I usually thought about the home I couldn’t go back to.

Now, my roots alter their shape to become a system of self-contained mobility, and it feels right to be wherever I find myself.

Home goes away…at least in the external sense. Eventually, you become the only home you need.

The krew in Central Park

On Saturday I returned to the World’s Capital (No, not Prague) and spent the entire day in Central Park.

I went to buy a pack of cigarettes at the same Rite-Aid I went into a month ago when I came to see Modest Mouse. This is rather remarkable considering the number of Rite-Aids in Manhattan.

So, Central Park is great for getting lost in. The grid that makes the city so easy to navigate means nothing in the park, because all the paths twist and
loop, and you find yourself in the same spot a lot and you only have a handful of landmarks to identify.

We went into the park to find a good spot to play frisbee, and eventually our walk led into a conversation about space-time. The great thing about being a nerd is that if you’re ever bored, so long as you have another nerd around you can shoot the shit about any number of topics that wouldn’t interest many people.

We were way uptown at one point, and kind of on a sparsely populated trail when we were talking about singularities. I mentioned that if you could use a black hole as a gravity slingshot, you’d probably go pretty fast. You’d have to stay just outside the event horizon and enter at high speed. Just as I was saying this, we passed a “krew”. This was apparent by the plumage of the group and the number of angry looking males in it. As we crossed paths, one uttered: “If you act like an ass, you gunna get fucked!”

These are the types of people that will eventually make me a dead person. Here I am, being as non-threatening as possible, and talking about–of all things–astrophysics, and some street-punk wants to assert his dominance by throwing out a threat.

It’s like me walking up to a kindergartener and challenging him in Chemistry.
1. He doesn’t give a damn, and
2. What happens when you outdo a kindergartener with Chemistry?

So seriously…we have these 7 gangsta wannabes proving their strength by challenging 3 mild-mannered nerds talking about the cosmos. Way to go, 50-cent. You’re tough enough to challenge unarmed tourists with bunny rabbit eyes.

Here’s the part where I get killed though–saying anything after the threat is an obvious firestarter. You walk on, you ignore the comment and that’s it.

But I wanted to, more than anything else in the world, turn around and say, “Macrophysics represent! Cosmology, muthafucka!”

But I didn’t. I didn’t because it wasn’t worth it. If it ever goes down because of my intolerance for idiots, I want it to be a situation where I have a chance of defending myself from force. This certainly wasn’t one of those situations.

Two months ago, in Matamoras, a few guys in their pimped out truck were pulling laterally through a strip-mall parking lot. From their point of view, driving over lines and rows in their Dodge “I have a small penis” 2500 with the neon lights underneath, I cut them off. From my point of view, the hillbillies should have been worrying more about things like OTHER CARS then sticking UV lamps under their door panels. They tailed me for a bit, and when we got back on to 6&209, we came to a red light, of course. Hillybilly 1 revved the engine while Hillbilly 2 gave me an evil “I’m drunk on PBR and Jäger and ready to kick your ass” stare. When the light turned green, they peeled away, showing me how small a man I was.
I’ve been crying myself to sleep ever since.

There’s going to be a time where I snap and point out how stone-cold stupid one of these people are. It’s probably going to be the same time one of them is carrying a gun. If I’m involved in something like that and you’re reading my eulogy, be sure to add…

“He died as he lived–getting angry at stupid people.”

Friday Before Last

So the Friday after my birthday I wandered around looking for interesting things to write about Lafayette, New Jersey. The center of town itself didn’t really excite me all that much, but getting to and from the place did. I made a point to keep turning off all these different roads I didn’t know so that I could try to get lost and encounter something really cool.
It didn’t happen. The side roads just kept leading me back to 209 or 15. But I did start noticing a trend of overgrown signs and buildings that weren’t really off the beaten path. In fact, they were on THE path. Take the above example. Stokes service station sits abandoned on 209 southeast of Montague–and there was something so beautiful about it. This place couldn’t have been abandoned much more than thirty years. (Not much more because the far gas pump looks late seventies, maybe early eighties) There is no driveway. There is no gravel. The trees are crowding the walls. It’s all grown in.
So I’m thinking, if thirty years could do that, what would 100 years do? 500? My feeling is that when we’re trying to save the earth, we need to give the earth a little more credit. The earth is going to be fine. There are quite a few other lifeforms that are being endangered by our presence, but there are other lifeforms that are doing extremely well because of us.
Humans are so extreme. Some of us are ignorant enough to think we’re not affecting the planet at all, and the rest think we’re going to be the be all end all of our little blue and green marble. It’s neither.
We’re going to destroy our own civilization before we really start pulling any mass extinctions like the Cretaceous event. We’re just not that potent. Sure, we’ll lose a very large number of macro-organisms on our way, but we’re not going to end the planet. We won’t stop life.
On the other hand, we can’t continue to grow like we are and not expect some adverse effects. For one thing, we aren’t the only species terraforming the land (though we are responsible for the ones that do). Cattle worldwide strip our grasslands into desert.
Hell, 6000-4000 years ago, our domesticated friends and mealtime treats created the Sahara. We certainly didn’t do it paving roads.
So while I feel the plight of conservation, I’m certainly not doing it because I’m trying to save the planet.
I’m just trying to make other humans think about what we do as a species. It doesn’t have to be a tree-hugging, vegan-eating, save the whales position. It’s more of a “look people, we can’t do this forever without sending ourselves into another dark age” position.
And we will. Resources are limited. You can’t really deny that. With any luck, we’ll pass another cultural gateway before it happens. It doesn’t make much sense though; we had to experience plague after plague and the fall of many post-Roman civilizations before we had another age of reason. If we look at history, shit has to get pretty bad before it gets better.
But I still think like a naive little boy, so I don’t think it has to be that way. We’re communicating with each other at a rate no other generation has ever known. We’re learning more globally. We have the framework for a collective consciousness that can lead us forward, but if we’re not willing to observe our circumstances, see self-created disaterss before they happen, and accordingly alter our actions, we’ll eventually we’ll be forced into a change…and usually means it’s going to be a lot less pleasant.
I’m not trying to set myself up for an “I told you so.” I speak to myself as loudly as I speak to any other human. I’m just saying that we could pre-empt a big problem this time. We don’t have to– but we could. We have the knowledge we need.
But if we don’t go with flow and change, it won’t be the end of the world. It could be the end of the lives we know now, but chances are it won’t be the end of humanity, and it sure as hell won’t be the end of life on the planet.

There’s better reasons for being an environmentalist than just saving some fluffy little tiger or hating people for driving a big vehicle.

For one, there’s life in general. You do like life, don’t you?
If not, there’s nothing anyone can convince you of, green, brown, or asphalt.

Portland

So
despite my last post, I was taken out to dinner on my birthday (Thanks to Kelly) and it wasn’t such a bad day after all. I ate at The Garden of Eden, which had the best food I’ve had in a long, long time. Scott (one of the owners of the restaurant) also saw to it that I got a birthday cake. Thanks to everyone who made my day contrary to the post I had below of me angrily flipping the bird to my camera.

The next day, I left for Portland, ME to visit Jodi, but a few things went awry. The weather was shitty, and my drive didn’t go as well as I wanted it to…

So here’s the update you’ve all been waiting for:

I got in a fender bender (or so I thought) in Connecticut.
My car started overheating about 100 miles later.
I had to stop in West Acton, Massachusetts and leave my car at a garage.
Jodi had to pick me up.
I arrived in Portland at 2:30 AM on Saturday morning.
We’re going to Augusta to spend a few days.
I’m going to be skimpy on the updates until I get home on Friday.

All these stories in detail when I get home.

Twenty Two

For the special occasion that is my twenty-second birthday, here’s my present to you. Thanks for reading, and I hope your day will be as good as mine.