Tag Archives: freedom

selections from Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

In the end, that was life: a few plates, a favorite comb, a pair of slippers, a child’s string of beads. Continue reading

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selections from Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Feminism, as writer Marie Sheer remarked in 1986, “is the radical notion that women are people.” (122) Continue reading

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selections from Sadhana: The Classic of Indian Spirituality by Rabindranath Tagore

Mind can never know Brahma, words can never describe him; he can only be known by our soul, by her joy in him, by her love. Continue reading

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the “F” word

Fascism.

A wealthy white man capitalizing on the sorrows and fears of a trampled, neglected people. A privileged person profiting from hate. Nerves on edge. Violence in the street. Cameras feeding us footage; we, mutts at a feast of mass-produced chaos. Good for the industry. Business outlook good. Buy. Buy. Buy.

And one can’t help but whether it’s all a distraction.

All the while, people live on those streets. People drift directionless, abandoned. People float in rafts across ancient seas. They are searching for peace. Fat cats make sure their commodity-carrying tankers can pass freely. Are they searching for peace? Warplanes circle overhead. Are they searching for peace? Manhattan-sized arctic shelves crumble and drift southward into the rising sea. Are they searching for peace?

We sit and watch and wonder: are we searching for peace?

Meanwhile, we’ve become a bit shorter of breath. Forgot to drink a glass of water. Didn’t go for a walk today. Didn’t realize spring was only a week away. Happy belated birthday to you. How old am I? How many years have passed? Have I been living life or have I been dying a slow death?

Many thousands of years ago, an ape wrote a “Prayer of Death.” It went something like this:


If you think your life will have no end—
Your foolish days are numbered.
Go and waste your time trying to pretend—
Still—You’re bound for eternal slumber.

And the wicked men who rule this land—
With all their wealth and power—
Are bound to die like you and I
And none can tell the hour.

And so they will. And so will we.

So let’s live in freedom now. Let’s not wait for heaven. It’s here. We’re here.

Let’s live in freedom now. Let’s not wait for a savior, whether we imagine that savior to be a master of technology or master of war, a wealthy ape or poor ape, a man or woman.

Let’s live in freedom now by living with each other. Let’s live in love. Continue reading

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Live!

what happens when you are the input and the output

what happens when you only have two states: drunk and hungover

what happens when you refuse to sip on anything but top-shelf lit

the obvious cognitive dissonance in selling your words but not your music while knowing full well that rhythm is rhythm

what happens when you decide to quit

what happens when the people you love think that’s a great idea

what happens when you think the people you love are a great idea

what happens when a work of fiction is not real fiction

what happens when the fruits of your entire consciousness are simply the back page scribbles of someone else’s story

a single glass of four-day-old $4 wine

what happens when you only dance and cuddle, no no fuck

what happens when wave

what happens when you want to be the pacifist shark in the tank

a dark, long-haired man kissing Israel, hugging Palestine

what happens when you crack an egg over bibimbop pizza

“this is happening,” concluded the stubbly subway sound engineer

what happens in the city does not stay in the city. Continue reading

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selections from Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

If a pistol appears in a story, eventually it’s got to be fired. Continue reading

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fuck it

the Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass is a beautiful instrument. whether it’s made in Mexico or not.

oh, but you don’t know why that’s relevant because you’ve been out of my life for so long. it’s not for lack of trying. over two weeks ago, i drafted this short paragraph, which i had intended to be the introduction to a long post entitled “Adam,” all about life’s eccentricities and synchronicities, music, and the year of our lord two thousand and twelve:

it is the cruel suddenness of sunday evening that makes most obvious the futility of attempting–in 64 straight hours–conveying myself through the art of blogging, capturing the spirit of Vivaldi and Tolkien via vinyl, mastering the low frequencies with crude rosewood and maple, and ensuring the local and global family of my love for them, all while reading a book that, by way of Jung, Heisenberg, McKennan, and many more, strives in less than 400 pages to find the “essential nature of things,” or something.

i just yesterday finished reading the book referred to above, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, authored by new age fuckhole daniel pinchbeck, who i apparently share three mutual facebook friends with. one of those is a girl i once almost made love to. another is a girl whose twin is a girl i made love to a million times or more. the third is a girl i once made love to.

all that loving aside, i didn’t really have much love for 2012 (the book). i mean, i devoured it. what with my busy busy busy busy San Francisco tech startupping and bass guitaring and disco djing and druggy partying, i haven’t had much room in my life for reading. (or writing for that matter, as we can all plainly see.) and so, to finish reading a real book in a pretty decent amount of time (a month?) says less about me than it does about pinchbeck’s great writing skills. there is no doubt: he is a great fucking writer. it’s his topic that sucks.

not that shamanism and consciousness and psychedelic drugs and love and ancient traditions and the future and technology and humanity and burning man and music and understanding and prying and trying to break through are shitty topics, because they’re obviously as interesting as it gets. you can’t go wrong if you talk about everything, because there’s nothing more interesting than everything. the problem is trying to synthesize any kind of coherent statement or understanding about human consciousness and its place in the universe from all those distant (though interconnected) nodes in less pages than Melville undertakes in writing about something so singular as the unerring sublimity of the whale. it’s not just hopeless, it’s annoying.

but it was entertaining, and i thank Adam for gifting it me.

of course, when you start reading and thinking synchronicity, you start seeing it everywhere. so it began with 2012.

it is the year 2012. and in june of that year i finished reading the book 2012, gifted to me by Adam, one of my best friends, a couple years ago. notably, he recently gifted me something much more precious: aforementioned bass. it wasn’t exactly a gift, as i doled out some cash for the thing, but it is so beautiful and black and sharp and shiny and tighter than the tightest pussy and happily packaged in a tan tweed case with red fur as interior… it is so many of these things and more (the sound!) that i will always see it as a gift.

there were other synchronized things, but i’ve forgotten them. i curse my memory when i think like a man, but when i think like a rock, i am content.

oh yeah… mere hours after finishing 2012 (THE BOOK!), i went to see Prometheus with Chris. high. ass. fuck. and thank god because that movie would have been a pretty shitty experience if i wasn’t just stoned enjoying the visuals. this is a snapshot from one of my favorite parts:

it’s not what you think.

but yeah, weird, right? 2012 and aliens and galactic communication and shit. far. out.

tonight is a Beethoven kind of night. first up was Symphony No. 1, because that was Side 1. now playing is Symphony No. 8… because it’s Side 2? i don’t know, people made strange decisions on Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles in 1960, the time and place of this record’s pressing.

every time i play this box set of Beethoven symphonies, i get taken back to my junior year of college. specifically, it takes me to the night where i walked back kinda drunk, kinda high (but neither overwhelmingly so) to my room with Shannon and Allison to smoke one more bowl for the night. packed a bowl and handed it to the girls, who were chilling on my bed, and i proceeded to throw on the Beeth vinyl. then they started making out. outside ronny was like, oh that’s cool, while inside ronny was like holy fucking fuck shit oh god oh my god do i put it in where do i put it in can i put it in what about Meryl? oh god oh my god she’ll understand oh god i’m not even doing anything yet relax. they eventually pulled me in. and we fucked. all night. occasionally pausing to flip to a new symphony. and, like now, i don’t think i paid much attention to order.

i was a slut. and nothing’s changed.

i’ve been messing around w girls because Chelsea is on ice. we’re cooling it. things got a little heated a couple weeks ago, and we ended up spending an entire night fighting. over nothing. she was pawing at me all night like a wasted kitten and i just wanted to sleep. i spilled a glass of wine at one point, because i didn’t realize there was a glass of wine. that depressed me because it explained why my night was going so terribly. hours, hours this went on. as dawn approached, the girl wracked my nerves, and i was frightened to death that i could even imagine hitting her… to get her off me. to keep her from touching me. i tried to kick her out. i threatened calling 911. she kicked a crack in my wall.

unrelatedly, in the morning, a dentist replaced one of my bottom front teeth w a piece of porcelain.

i’ve been messing around w the idea of never spelling out the word “with.” it’s so needlessly long and endlessly useful that i figure i just replace it w a single letter and be done with it. tell me what you think. “what,” now there’s a word that deserves to be spelled out entirely.

i’ve been messing around, it’s true, and it feels good. messing around means ending one of the most stressful work weeks of your life with Mexican beer on the roof and weed smoking in your room to 80s Queen Latifah with an old friend. messing around means walking to the Mission for a classic super taco dinner, then dragging your ass across the street for a glass of gin tonic. it means getting your ass up and dancing to the best throwbacks from the 80s and 90s.

messing around means jaunting home pissed about leaving the bar right after all the real beauties walked in. better yet, it means running into an old fling and current love at the liquor store, and following her–with your crew of five friends–on a wild goose chase up San Fran hills to the best weird party ever. i mean that dj’s legs were like ten feet tall and he was spinning from the rafters. spinning motherfucking records from the rafters, like a true giant mouse thing. i don’t know what that party was, but i heard they were serving drinks tinged w opium, or something. the girls were pretty, the couches were elegant, and i was like, damn, i love messing around.

and you know what i did the next day? messed around. messed around w vinyl. messed around w weird trippy sounds. messed around w my bass. messed around w funky house at Monarch, voted by some already-forgotten blog as having the best sound system in the entire city. goddamn i love dancing. and i dig all the hair compliments, don’t ever let me tell you otherwise. i swear it’s that bumble&bumble shit. every time it’s like, boy, i don’t care if you got a flask of Jameson in your coat pocket, that hair is movie star status. every time… i walk downstairs and start dancing my ass off and twirling it around and it gets so hot, so i saunter through the sauna to the coat check, and the girl there’s all eyesy, and i’m like, look, i’m broke as fuck. i have $2, not $3. and she’s like, i’ll make an exception cause you have such pretty hair. goddamn little girl you’re so pretty that i’d probably ask for your number if i weren’t so superstitiously frightened of coat check girls. every time, every time.

messing around means biking an hour across town to drop near a couple hundo on four bags of wunderweed. it means biking some more to “the home of Mary Fernando Conrad” for an evening of drawing and drones, produced by Joshua Churchill:

and just when you think you have to go home to get some sleep, you get pulled into a pizza parlor for the finale of Matt Cain’s perfect game: ninth inning, two outs, we’re up 10-0, and everyone’s on the edge of their seats? why? who cares? it’s not like? wait, Cain is still pitching? what the… and then the place explodes. and you’re with two people who don’t care about sports so you brush it off and swallow slices while talking computability and logic, femininity and what have you.

messing around, messing around, messing around. messing around sometimes means being drunk in a living room with six guys and one girl and hating your life because you can’t have her and you don’t want her anyway. but then you step outside into the sun, you step inside the sweltering masses, and you run into an old friend. old friends are good for dragging you to the park, munching on street weed all the way, to indulge in beer and even more weed. sitting there you remember, ah this is real messing around, and the sun burns your face it’s so happy. messing around sometimes also means confronting exes because the city’s only so small, and it’s okay. until you wake up in the middle of the night, unsleepy and hungry for the one you love.

but you make it out okay.

because no matter how many skinny bitches you fuck, no matter how many nights you finger your four-stringed beast, no matter how many times you stroke your prisoner pussy, no matter how much clicking and flicking you do in the flickering undercover, you know that you can never ever ever ever stop loving the one you love. so you may as well get comfortable with the universe’s lack of perfection and the world’s lack of a sensible calendar and the self’s lack of any real science whatsoever.

it’s all fog and the sun’s nice and all but it’s all fog, so fuck y’all. Continue reading

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The Times They Are A-Changin’ [archive]

things on my mind right now: Bob Dylan. revolution. Iran. evolution. iPhone. Internet. society. popularity. fame. work. play. kill. gay. freedom. parade. swimming.

you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone

yesterday, after a couple bowls, i went swimming in the heated pool at Chris’ apartment complex. there’s nothing like feeling like a bird for a few hours, simply flying from perch to perch, diving, swerving, colliding, riding. have you wondered what’s the difference between flying and swimming?

the loser now will be later to win

one of the simplest ways to sound wise is by making extremely mundane comments, like “everyone makes mistakes” or “you’ve gotta do what you gotta do” or, in the most extreme, “that’s the way it is.” god, often credited as the wisest being in the universe, attained his glory with the stupidest (and, to this day, least challenged) statement of all: “i am what i am.” however, by overstepping the bounds of redundant rationalism and restraint, stepping into the dark shadow of maniacal madness and infinite brilliance, one can stack peaks of genius incomprehensible and carve valleys of all-encompassing knowledge. all it takes is a reversal of certain mundane statements. for example, “love is the greatest human passion” becomes “love will kill us all.” “i fear death” becomes “i eagerly await death.” and “losers lose” becomes “losers win.”

the battle outside ragin’ will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls

if you haven’t noticed, the Iranian people hate their government (i’m not the only one!). after an election pretty clearly robbed by the incumbent presidency (he got more votes in some cities than their actual populations), protests have rocked the capital city of Tehran. it’s been going on for almost two weeks now. they started out peaceful (and for the most part seemed to remain so) except for in instances where Iranian authorities opened fire on citizens. actually, the protests and peaceful gatherings are dying a slow death, as the government promises serious crackdowns, as family and friends continue to be injured or killed, as optimism fizzles into ashes. i’m rooting for the Iranian people, of course, and i hope (pessimistically) for the best, but mostly i pray that if ever the people around me felt wronged to the point of bursting, that we will have the power and resolve (and stamina) to take to the streets.

please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand

Google. Facebook. Twitter. Flickr. YouTube. welcome to the Internet. they may not be the giants today or tomorrow, but right now at this exact moment, they are. and you should be paying attention. your parents may be trying to understand, you should try to help them out. you might think it’s really simple, but you grew up with the web getting stuck in your hair like sand after playing at the beach too long. or fuck it. ignore the older generation and wait for them to die, instead focus your energy on trying to keep up with the younger generation. but that’s no use. when you were growing up, growing into your coil of flesh, the younger generation was still just atoms in the air, actually transmitting messages, they were the air and circuitry that is the internet. and now that they’re alive human beings, they might have forgotten their electrical past, but it strikes their neurons a thousand times a second. they’ll always be ahead of you. try your hardest to keep up, but don’t make yourself unhappy doing it. if you feel yourself losing it, then let go.

the first one now will later be last

is there anyone that knows, is there anyone that cares? you pray, so you must care about something, though you may not know a thing. do you got any friends? do you have a baby? do you love because your brain pounds your brain to love? you love because your brain pounds your brain to love. you drive to the driving range because you’re driven to drive to driving range. you pull water from a well through a pulley because you’re pulled to the pulley to pull water from the well. shotguns shoot guns at your bleeding brain, where you once stood, but now you just think. and someone asks you, what do you stand for? and you say, i don’t stand for anything, but sure do think a lot. roar the lion roars. pick the guitar picks. here’s a folk song sung by Bobby Dylan himself:

Continue reading

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spring film festival ’09 [archive]

what a cinematic weekend. it’s mid-sunday and since thursday night i’ve watched six movies. thursday night, as i wrote before, katelyn, elaina, and i watched Amadeus (8/10). friday was a gorgeous day, but instead of taking advantage of the sun, right in the middle of the day i burrowed into the hole of my apartment for the 3.5 hour epic that is Ben-Hur (6/10). i really couldn’t get into it. i may have even liked Spartacus better, because it at least seemed to try to uphold some virtue: freedom. Ben-Hur, on the other hand, made no real sense to me. the only awesome part came in the form of a ten minute chariot race:

i actually watched the chariot race twice. when the movie had about 45 minutes left, Elaina came over and watched the end with me, but she unfortunately arrived just after the race scene. after the movie ended, i just went back and watched the scene again with her. at this point, i was pretty sure how i wanted my weekend to play out, so i asked her to pick a movie on my desktop to watch. ten minutes after Ben-Hur, i was sitting on my bed watching The Wrestler (8/10) with the punk. i had torrented this film immediately after Chris highly recommended it to me, just a few weeks ago, so i’m glad i finally watched it. plus, i don’t watch enough contemporary movies. it was solid. the movie tells its whole story, i felt, in the first five minutes, yet it still proved worth watching all the way through. for those who have seen it, my favorite parts = deli scenes.

done with movies for the day, Elaina started trying to convince me to want to go out with her and everybody else. a bottle of wine later, i caved. we went out with xanthe, zoe, and her new Greek boyfriend to a chill bar in monastiraki, where the boy introduced to this warm alcoholic drink. xanthe and i thought it was delicious, contrary to the opinions of the other two girls. it was a weird night. Xanthe and i were definitely in a zone together. from Elaina’s apartment, to the taxi ride, to the bar, we unstoppably reminisced about beautiful California. i felt bad because it kind of put Elaina in a bad place. she mostly just missed home and, without me or xanthe even noticing, left us at the bar.

what can you do? party. Xanthe and i had big plans, mostly jokingly laughing and discussing going to omonia square to score some drugs. how ridiculous. i later found out that zoe’s boy was originally very worried that zoe smokes weed (she does), but she promised him that she doesn’t. love, love, love, love, whatever: to each their own. and Xanthe and i did actually go on our own. we bought beers at a kiosk and walked through omonia and onwards to exarhia, the neighborhood of Athina where all those recent riots started. tons of kids spilled out of bars, drinking on the sidewalk, on the corner, just hanging out all over. most dressed in black and a few showed off their spiky heads. totally where i wanted to be. Xanthe and i picked up another couple beers and just hung out there for an hour or maybe more. gossip music love girls boys life everything is what we talked about. Xanthe has concluded that i’m going to marry her friend Donni. esta loca. at one point, as the crowds were thinning, i tried to talk to one of the friends of the mohawked dudes. he was not friendly, but he was not friendly. he did not ignore us, but he did not seem to want to talk to us. he acted perfectly respectable, but he looked like he wanted to start another riot right then and there. he said he hated Athens because of the corruption. i feel you, man, but i’ll keep my mouth shut because i don’t know anything about it, except that it seems to be the norm everywhere you go.

after hanging outside long enough, Xanthe and i hit up some bar for our last couple beers for the night, around 4am. we rocked out maybe a little too hard to Killing in the Name and a couple other not-so-good tracks (but then, what can follow Killing in the Name?), but promptly passed out on a chair nearby. seriously, Xanthe sat in my lap and i held her like a baby in my arms, and we passed out. after waking up and walking out in the middle of a Joy Divison song, we caught a taxi home to get to sleep by 6am. what a fucking crazy night. definitely the craziest i’ve had in this city and the craziest i’ve had, period, in a very long time. i’m glad it happened with my California girl here, aint nuthin but a g thang, baby, two doped out niggaz going crazy, unfadable so please don’t try to fade me.

ouch, saturday. it’s like this and like that and like this and uh, you go to heaven only to fall to hell. only one of the worst hangovers in awhile can follow one of the most fun nights in awhile. Elaina tended to me with toast and water, even though i was the reason she didn’t go to the beach with her roommates. i felt pretty awful. “fuck.” i said it like i was expelling demons. fuck. fuck. fuck. fuck. it’s kind of like saying, love love love love. different demons, though. eventually i recuperated enough that Elaina and i could go out into the world for lunch. we explored a little bit, finding this pitta place, where i ate a pitta omelette. so good. so so good. eating outside on a bench, i fed some of my pitta to a couple pigeons. fatties. perfectly content, i lay on the bench next to a sitting Elaina and enjoyed the air, before getting a sudden impulse to climb a little tree nearby. i sat in it for a few minutes, just to get it out of my system, even while old men stared at me the whole time they walked past. what? you don’t like climbing trees? crazy.

we picked up some delicious ice cream for the walk back to my apartment, discussing what movie to watch when we got back. later, when my mom called me, i asked her to guess what movie i showed to Elaina: “2001?” no, but good guess. “8 1/2?” nice. why can’t i be friends with people without trying to stuff my favorite works of art down their throats? no, it’s not so bad. i tried to warn her with words like “confusing” and “pretentious,” but she still wanted to watch it. so we did. god i love this movie. perfect 10/10, duh. my favorite line in the movie: “You know, I’ve figured out what you’re trying to talk about … Man’s inner confusion. But you’ve got to be clearer.” AHHHHHHHHHHHH. PERFECT. and the ending! the ENDING. i just cannot not smile, as the man brings everybody from his life into an open field with circus music playing and makes them all hold hands and dance in a circle. it is CRAZY, but PERFECT. when the movie ends, i just roll around and smile and laugh and cry and i can’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the night.

but that can sometimes be bad. Elaina invited everybody over for pizza: zoe, hannah, zack, me, xanthe, maddy, elaina. what a party! but, stupid me, let Fellini put me in a i-want-to-stare-and-just-think trance. it was so utterly obvious that at one point, hannah asked me directly, “are you ok, ronny? you’re being awfully quiet.” oh, i’m so alright. too alright.

inevitably i got what i wanted: Elaina and i walked back to my apartment ’round midnight to watch another movie. first we watched the half hour Life Pursuit performances i ripped from Adam’s deluxe edition copy, while we tried to decide what to watch after it ended. eventually we flipped a one euro coin to decide between Interstella 5555 (10/10) and Baraka (9/10). map of Europe, Baraka. owl (oh, Athena), Interstella. flip, owl, Interstella. i felt ridiculous continuing the pushing of my obsessions on the poor girl, but she seemed to actually want to watch them. 5! 5! 5! 5! %!%!%!%!%! instead of having a funeral, i want my body to be placed in a movie theatre right underneath the giant screen, as all my family and friends watch Interstella 5555 play. when it ends, i get tossed in the sea by a bum while my family and friends go to the afterparty where all my favorite music gets played all night. one can dream.

now it’s sunday, and the only two things i’ve done today is eat cheese pie and watch Baraka with Elaina. she’s gone home now and i’ve got some reading to do for class. Elaina told me that one of her friends from home asked her to one day take photos all throughout the day in order to sketch some sort of picture of her life here. i think that’s a pretty nice idea and might try it sometime in the next few days, so i can post it here before i leave for spring break. Continue reading

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cleaning out my cell phone [archive]

cause something

i don’t care if the sun don’t shine and i don’t care if nothing is mine
all our lies are only wishes
nothing can stop me now
prying open my third eye

FREEDOM
legalize prostitution
legalize marijuana (+ probably most other currently illegal drugs)
discrimination of religion legal, if chosen
civil unions replace marriages for both heterosexual and homosexual couples; only religious institutions marry
pro-choice
businesses choose whether they are non-smoking or not
businesses choose whether to have coed or separate bathrooms; government default is coed
nudity legal everywhere, although private places can impose own restrictions

students slackers & insomniacs

calif
even you!
orchestra warming up

Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (96khz/24bit)
cya schedule

my guy
rock steady

von paradise dize

sonata in cminor for oboe and basso continuo

1. end of Mt. St. Michel

470812

clash of the titans

4 3 2 1 1 2 3 1 1

as blood runs black
decades of despair + metal = myspace
hue’s corporation
willpower’s adventures in success Continue reading

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