I feel the shape of last night
A great chasm
Endless black stretchings
Estranging me from the past
Darknesses upon darkness
Terrifying and shapeless movements
Too grotesque for the eye
All the more sickening in the pale light of dawn
Why such high hopes for a new year?
What grace is present in a blank calendar?
How does such inspiration and idealism spring
From this arbitrary demarcation?
But ‘hope springs eternal’ and cannot long be quenched,
So here are the hopes for the year just ahead:
Happiness through focused optimism;
The creative maelstrom uncurbed;
A bleeding, open heart.
When the year rings in, may these sparks find true life;
Springing from the ashes of a year whose hope is spent.
The scene is the same as always. The uniform rippling of the lake. Two rows of indistinct balconies on the building opposite ours. Five strategically placed pine trees.
The neighbor’s dog, out in the yard. Tale erect. Ears twitching. A sudden outburst of barking. The shadow of the building creeping toward me at an imperceptible rate.
I woke up a couple of hours ago and have not been able to get back to sleep. Here’s a slightly edited version of something I wrote on a similar sleepless night three and a half years ago:
After tossing and turning and making an unsuccessful attempt to nuzzle up behind my sleeping wife, I roll out of bed and pace the living room. Silence except for the noise of cars cutting West through the darkness on the interstate and the electrical hum of modern life.
Light cuts across the floor; illumination from the sleeping shopping district. I shuffle back and forth across the room. Sit. Stand. Look outside, upward, wishing for a sky that isn’t murky gray-brown but a radiant blanket of stars. Disappointed again. Move from room to room listening for the drone of insects and wind in the trees. Instead, computer fans and spinning plates of metal on stepper motors chirping along.
In this moment I desire for comfort in bucolic tasks. Never more have I wanted to build a cabin on a slope of wild grasses, hedged in by the trees. Dig a pit for my excrement. Steal branches and hone with stone.
I am Man. A creature. Myself honed over the ages to a life of survival using the elements that surround me. Tonight I find myself caged in by walls of material I can’t identify as wood or rock or vegetation. I reach out and I touch them with trepidation. Unsure of what they are, how they arrived here, and for what purpose.
Where will the men of America head? We are young in History, but our trend is clear. Always away from home. Across the sea. Kissing goodbye. Heading away from these familiar constraints. Westward. Fleeing.
But now, looking around the room—out through the vertical bars of venetian blinds—I fear we can escape no longer.
It’s always fun to hear what other people are listening to. Carrie has had a run of posts with songs she’s been listening to recently (here, here, here, and here) so I thought I’d follow suit and post some songs I’ve been listening to that she didn’t already cover.
I picked this one up from a commercial. Can you name the commercial?
This is from the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack. (Insert joke here about how the comic-con crowd in the video stands completely still.)
The Age of the Understatement.
And finally, here’s one by Andrew Huang of “Songs to Wear Pants To” fame:
I’ve finished up and released the ultimate version of my Tihr font. It started out as a pixel font and then I enhanced it into a “superpixel” font with angular edges. Now that it’s got beautiful curves I think I’m finally done tweaking it. Enjoy!
When my brain doesn’t want to slow down and let me fall asleep I trick it with ambient music. For over a year my go-to album has been Hammock’s rare North West East South EP, but thanks to a recommendation received via twitter I now have a second album to throw into the mix. Geotic’s Bless the Self is now lulling me to sleep and is provided as a free download on the artist’s site.
Today is father’s day! (Also Juneteenth, but that’s neither here nor there.) In honor of this occasion I’m reposting this story from 2004, from my old livejournal account. (With the punctuation and capitalization edited. Because, seriously, why did I ever think it was a good idea to write like that?) It’s a story tangentially about how awesome my dad is. So without further ado, the couch fiasco.
What do you get when you put together a Marky Mark, Michelle Uphoff, The Kari Kari, Mark’s house, Mark’s family, and one couch?
A huge couch fiasco!
So tonight after small group and mini golfing (a little after eleven o’clock, that is) The Funky Bunch came over and we attempted to get the couch (which we picked up from Michelle Chestnut’s parking lot) into my basement. We looked at the door into the house from the garage. Definitely too small. So we took it through the front door. The stairs up to the second floor are right inside the door though, so we had to maneuver it halfway up the stairs. And we left a few little marks on the wall there. They should rub off.
We got it through the kitchen just fine. The problem was the basement door. Not very navigable, that hallway that the basement comes off of. So, it didn’t fit. we stood it up edgewise and tried to navigate it around through doorways and we just couldn’t get it through the basement door for anything. So I decide it’d be a good idea to take the door off. So I start going at the hinges and I get one out without making much of a ruckus, but the other is going to be a pain I could tell.
About this time my dad comes down (in his robe) and he is like, “you gotta take the legs off that thing or it won’t fit” (Michelle and Kari were sure he was going to be pissed; I was like, “I hope my dad does come down because I’m sure he would know how to get this thing into the basement.” And my dad rocks so hardcore that that is exactly what happened). So we get the legs off (Paul was the one who figure out how) and get the door off and squeeze a bit and take some paint off of a door frame, but we for sure got that beast tamed and into the basement. After that, the chair we took was nothing.
So, with the exception of a back cushion for the chair (which we’ll go scrounge for later) I now have totally functional new furniture! And someone suggested I do stadium seating in my basement (maybe Caleb Simpson, but I can’t remember), so I just might have to try and get that set up there then.
And Kari didn’t think the couch would ever fit through the door into the basement, so now she has to pay for my game of mini golf. Mwahahahaha.
I don’t think we ever went back and got the cushion for the chair. Not sure if Carrie ever paid me for that round of putt-putt, either.
But I’m happy to have a father who has always been gracious and helpful, willing to put us ahead of his restful night of sleep. Thanks Dad! Happy father’s day.