Tag Archives: hunting

selections from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

‘I think,’ said Anna, toying with the glove she had taken off, ‘I think . . . if there are as many minds as there are men, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.’ Continue reading

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PLAM READING

once i saw her, she was mine. but i didn’t know that. from Hayes Valley to Excelsior to Ingleside i had journeyed with my fellow music makers, Cameron and Dorothy, only to find myself locked out of the bright pumpkin … Continue reading

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Arrival at Elmira

in which the Hero goes to Oregon! Continue reading

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MMM… post-rock. m.

i’m an invader.

i’ve been living in the southern California bedroom of a 23-year old girl for the past few days. i’ve been sleeping in her bed, brushing with her toothpaste, drinking water out of her wine glass, smoking her weed out of her bubbler, driving her Toyota Corolla (apparently named after the collective term for petals of a flower), blasting post-rock through her speakers, clicking with her mouse, and generally performing ronny-related activities with her accouterments.

love you, Allison.

she comes back tonight from a wedding in Cascadia and not a minute too late, since i think i’m flying back to the Bay tomorrow night.

can’t fly until i fix my ear though.

yesterday, after waking up at 2pm, Micah informed me that we were leaving in about an hour for Mt. Baldy. hastily scarfing down a footlong meatball marinara from subway, i soon found myself meandering down a tiny creek in the hills with aforementioned cognitionite and three pretty girls he works with. our chief destination, which lay a short ten minute walk ahead, was a small waterfall that also served overheated primates as a 25-ft. water slide. fuck yeah! at first i found myself slightly terrified, having just walked past/on/around thousands of rocks, in size ranging from the barely perceptible (smaller than sand grains) to the barely perceptible (i saw one the same size as the Earth), but then i saw some wussy Mexican kid do it. so i did it too and didn’t regret for a second. definitely regretted it about six hours later, though, when a couple drops of water that had penetrated my ear began to make me feel like the whole right side of my face was set to explode. whacking the side of my face, hot water, vinegar, vinegar and rubbing alcohol, steam, blow dryer, jumping up and down, heat pad, nothing worked. so i kind of fell asleep wanting to cry and listening to amazing ambient techno from Gas. did i mention that i also managed to cut my nose with my fingernail (fucking plugging my nose trying to prevent more ear trauma) the second time i went down the waterfall? oh, and my eyes are still fucked. my face is basically a wreck. except for my hair. my hair is still awesome. except for that fucking crazy knot. oh god someone please delicately place a shotgun shell or five in my face; i’m tired of these speed bumps.

everything up to this post was written sober. don’t know if you care but, you know, Deku called.

the night before last, comparatively or not, fucking ruled. Christian L came over for a night of malt liquor, whiskey, stolen (borrowed?) drugs, couch chillin’, and hookah, interwoven with the M’s of post-rock:


The Milk of Human Kindness — Caribou (2005)


Millions Now Living Will Never Die — Tortoise (1996)


Mirrored — Battles (2007)

i highly recommend all three of those albums, especially the first two. the third suffers from a bad case of holy-shit-the-second-track-is-so-good-i-care-about-nothing-else. as it turned out, Micah, Christian, and i madly rocked out to that song so intensely that as soon as it ended, we found ourselves walking back to the house to soothe our heads with a leaf and lp a little calmer:


Fly Pan Am — Fly Pan Am (1999)

Adam played it for Tori and me the first time maybe a month ago at his house, the night before he lovestruck drove into the heart of Cascadia looking for farm work. i’m always glad to hear his music, and that one is certainly a keeper. the middle track, “Dans ses cheveux soixante circuits,” is my favorite so far. wonder little at its length (17:45), structure (repetitive), and style (meditative). we also listened to Gas’ self-titled, a delicious little ambient techno album that increasingly grabs me by the balls with each successive listen. i even repeated its bedtime performance last night to ease the pain of my skull shattering from the inside.


Gas — Gas (1996)

fuck i just almost got killed by a monster (baby praying mantis) in the wilderness (Rachel’s backyard). i was stealing plums.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320" caption="Nickerson's sketch of the whale attacking the Essex. Chase and other members of the crew are shown already beginning to untie the spare whaleboat from the rack above the quarterdeck."][/caption]

oh that reminds me! (no idea why.) i just got through reading Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, a 2001 retelling of a true whaling disaster (and the first-ever in the Nantucket fishery) that ended up being the story on which Melville’s Moby-Dick was based. a little over a year after setting sail from Nantucket, the Essex finally hit some luck at whaling grounds in the center of the Pacific. but they may have hit luck too hard. after felling a few sperm whales from a single pod, the sailors faced the furious revenge of a scarred bull, eighty-five feet long and weighing approximately eighty tons. the massive creature aimed directly for the ship’s port side and knocked everyone on board off their feet. dazed after striking headfirst one of man’s finest iron and wood creations of the 19th century, the beast decided to go for another run, except head-on instead, fatally damaging the ship.

while Melville ends his novel with the violent whale attack, that’s just the beginning of the drama for the Essex sailors. on an unexpected three month voyage in three small whale boats, the sailors suffer through dehydration, starvation, cannibalism, and total mental destruction in the center of the salty Pacific’s sublime horizons, a sixty-four-million-square-mile ocean Melville called the “tide-beating heart of the earth.” read my favorite parts, starting with a description of a murdered whale:

When the lance finally found its mark, the whale would begin to choke on its own blood, its spout transformed into a fifteen- to twenty-foot geyser of gore that prompted the mate to shout, “Chimney’s afire!” As the blood rained down on them, the men took up the oars and backed furiously away, then paused to watch as the whale went into what was known as its flurry. Beating the water with its tail, snapping at the air with its jaws–even as it regurgitated large chunks of fish and squid–the creature began to swim in an ever tightening circle. Then, just as abruptly as it had begun with the first thrust of the harpoon, it ended. The whale fell motionless and silent, a giant black corpse floating fin-up in a slick of its own blood and vomit. (54)

at sea, reduced to whale boats not designed for long ocean voyages carrying both men and cargo, the leaders restricted everyone’s provisions to six ounces of hardtack (equivalent to six slices of bread, about five hundred calories, or 1/4 the daily energy need of a 5’8″ person weighing 145 lbs.) and half a pint of water (half the bare minimum) a day. good thing they brought some Galapagos tortoises aboard for some variation:

After ten days of eating only bread, the men greedily attacked the tortoise, their teeth ripping the succulent flesh as warm juice ran down their salt-encrusted faces. Their bodies’ instinctive need for nutrition led them to the tortoise’s vitamin-rich heart and liver. [The first mate, Chase,] dubbed it “an unspeakably fine repast.” (118)

that was only after ten days. two months after the sinking of the Essex, sailors started dying from starvation. but apparently it ain’t so bad:

Modern-day proponents of euthanasia have long endorsed the combined effects of starvation and dehydration as a painless and dignified way for a terminally ill patient to die. In the final stages, hunger pangs cease, as does the sensation of thirst. The patient slips into unconsciousness as the deterioration of his internal organ results in a peaceful death. This was apparently how Richard Peterson passed away. “[T]he breath appeared to be leaving his body without the least pain,” Chase reported, “and at four o’clock he was gone.” (163)

that is, if you don’t mind being eaten.

Like the crew of the Peggy, the Essex survivors were no longer operating under the rules of conduct that had governed their lives prior to the ordeal; they were members of what psychologists studying the effects of the Nazi concentration camps have called a “modern feral community”–a group of people reduced to “an animal state very closely approaching ‘raw’ motivation.” Just as concentration camp inmates underwent, in the words of one psychologist, “starvation . . . in a state of extreme stress,” so did the men of the Essex live from day to day not knowing which one of them would be the next to die.
Under these circumstances, survivors typically undergo a process of psychic deadening that one Auschwitz survivor described as a tendency to “kill my feelings.” Another woman expressed it as an amoral, even immoral, will to live: “Nothing else counted but that I wanted to live. I would have stolen from my husband, child, parent or friend, in order to accomplish this. Therefore, every day I disciplined myself with a sort of low, savage cunning, to bend every effort, to devote every fiber of my being, to do those things which would make that possible.” (172)

one of the whale boats never finds salvation. of the other two, the encounter between starved man gone mad and sailing ship proves cinematic:

It had been [ninety-four days since leaving the wreck] and twelve days since the death of Barzillai Ray. [Pollard, the captain of the Essex, and Ramsdell] had long since eaten the last scrap of his flesh. The two famished men now cracked open the bones of their shipmates–beating them against the stone on the bottom of the boat and smashing them with the boat’s hatchet–and ate the marrow, which contained the fat their bodies so desperately needed.
Pollard would later remember these as “days of horror and despair.” Both of them were so weak that they could barely lift their hands. They were drifting in and out of consciousness. It is not uncommon for castaways who have been many days at sea and suffered both physically and emotionally to lapse into what has been called “a sort of collective confabulation,” in which the survivors exist in a shared fantasy world. Delusions may include comforting scenes from home–perhaps, in the case of Pollard and Ramsdell, a sunny June day on the Nantucket Commons during the sheepshearing festival. Survivors may find themselves in conversation with deceased shipmates and family members as they lose all sense of time.
For Pollard and Ramsdell, it was the bones–gifts from the men they had known and loved–that became their obsession. They stuffed their pockets with finger bones; they sucked the marrow from the splintered ribs and thighs. And they sailed on, the compass card wavering toward east.
Suddenly they heard a sound: men shouting and then silence as shadows fell across them and then the rustle of wind in sails and the creaking of spars and rigging. They looked up, and there were faces. (187)

besides learning a bunch about Homo sapiens pushed to the extremes, i also found out what that famous French Romanticist painting’s all about.

The Raft of the Medusa (Le Radeau de la Méduse) – Théodore Géricault (1819) [491 cm × 716 cm (193.3 in × 282.3 in)]

from Wikipedia:

[T]he over-life-size painting depicts a moment from the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of today’s Mauritania on July 5, 1816. At least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue, and those who survived endured starvation, dehydration, cannibalism and madness.

and i thought the painting was epic before. i remember Devi replicated a couple rectangles of the entire work once for a painting class, and the canvases lived in the Tower hallway for a long time. i think one part she did was near the very center, where one guy’s holding onto to one reaching towards the top. totally amazing. everyone should see one epic painting a day; life could be better.

by the way, i like how water in northern California fucking stays cold. christ. Continue reading

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