2011 takes the prize for the most intense year of my life. It completely caught me by surprise. Dizzying highs and lows with a smattering of creamy middles. I learned more about myself then I ever thought I would. One of the big monsters in my closet is anxiety, and this year we’ve made a formal introduction.
For a long while there was not much change or growth in my life. I knew I wasn’t reaching my full potential for happiness, but didn’t know the first steps to take. I’ve built a fair number of barriers from my emotions for a long while now. Now I’m starting to peek over the walls I’ve built. Its frightening and exciting. The whole process is very delicate. If I start observing myself opening up, then the moment wanes.
My long bouts with insomnia in 2011 have been crippling, and my relationship with sleep has fundamentally changed. I’ve learned to function on far less sleep then I imagined I could. A useful lifelong skill.
I now see myself full of contrasting identities. I’m both frail and strong. Selfish and generous. Spontaneous and rigid. An adult and a child. My role as a father has become more and more part of my identity as Jasper transforms into a toddler. He’s popping up in my dreams for the first time.
I need to fill my waking moments either actively engaged (working, playing with Jasper, coding, music, yoga) or being passively engaged (reading, tv, etc). I am very uncomfortable with time when I am not engaged. What I thought of previously as boredom smells a lot more like anxiety now. Therefore, I’m attempting to spend more time being present and peaceful. I’ve always admired people who can be peaceful. I am taking steps toward having more moments of peace in my life, and its been rewarding. A followup revelation was recognizing that being contemplative is an important aspect of being peaceful. So I’m consciously doing more reviewing of my recent past, and I now find that I’m looking at my past more overall. Its a like a muscle that I need to exercise.
I’ve been pouring myself into new general fuzz tracks lately. I’ve been slaving away at them, and only recently have I realized that I was doing this to distance myself from my latest release. I’ve been going through a period of shame and negativity towards “miles tones”, a sharp contrast to how I was feeling when I was finishing it and putting it out there. No one ever claimed being an artist was easy.
I’m working on 3 major personal projects right now, which is incredibly fulfilling to me. I’m a little obsessive about these projects though. The balance is tipping so that I’m more motivated by the destination then the journey. It might just be when there’s enough momentum, I want to run free with it. When I can see the checkpoint ahead of me, I really want to get there. I already know that reaching the checkpoint itself can be a letdown, but maybe a relief as well.
I lost my friend Graham at the beginning of 2011. I still haven’t recovered from that. My inability to process that event was the catalyst for everything that followed this year, but I only know that in retrospect. He lived far away, I only saw him once to twice a year, and yet I miss him a lot. There are a few things I would like to ask him, and those questions will stand unanswered. I really would have like to talked him about my current coding project.
All in all, I’m pretty optimistic about 2012. There’s a lot to look forward to. I’m got a lot fires cooking. I’m just hoping the intensity level will dial back a bit.
Well, for those not in the know, the version was quite successful. The doctors, whom warned us that the likely hood of success was very low, turned our baby a good 150 degrees. When they failed to find the heartbeat after the version, there was a small whirlwind of activity. When Stina and I looked at each, “holy shit” was painted all over our faces. The heartbeat was located shortly after, and everything eventually mellowed out. We went home and I changed my underwear.
Since the version, we’ve been in an incredible head space. We’ve gotten all the major necessary pre-baby tasks accomplished, so we’ve relishing in our bonus extra special free time. I went to see Moe at the Fillmore, because I could. We’ve discovered tasty sandwiches do exist in the east bay. I lost myself in the best french toast I’ve ever tasted (one of the many things I’ve snobby about) @ Aunt Mary’s Cafe.
I’ve been working at home, attempting to stay close at hand since labor could be imminent. After spending half the week at home, Stina told me to go to work. A watched pot never boils. Or a watched pregnant lady doesn’t break water. So I head in, and of course in the afternoon, I get the call. It was very surreal heading home on the train, listening to “Late for the Future”, looking at all my commuting companions, living very separate lives. I arrived home to delicious fresh baked banana bread muffins. That’s Stina in a nut shell. Her water breaks, so she makes muffins for the nurses.
Contractions have been mellow and distant, so she’s not in labor. Yet. We’ll have a baby before the weekend is over. That’s a pretty heavy sentence right there. Stina’s really had the miracle pregnancy. We were so worried about her body and her back. She’s experienced minor discomfort, but overall its been incredibly smooth sailing. And for that, we are grateful. She’s really had an incredibly positive attitude through this whole pregnancy thing. That gave me a long leash to freak out a lot. Good times. Now all we have to deal with is that labor bit. No big deal, right?
I find myself mentally shedding the things that have occupying my free time for the past 4 months or so. Going out, seeing music, eating at restaurants, and doing our own thing. I’ve been working on music with abandon as of late. I’ve made incredible progress on album #6 (and even a separate secondary album). It’s been somewhat stressful, full of the usual frustrations about flailing about without making any real progress. About two weeks ago I hit a major milestone where I pretty much have the whole next album mapped out. There’s a ton of work left to do, but I can see the big picture. I know the time I have for my music will be fleeting, so it’s incredibly comforting to feel that I will be productive with that time. And now I’m going to put that part of my life on a shelf for a little while. It’ll be there when I get a moment to breathe. Being a father doesn’t mean I’ll stop being a musician. It’s too much a fundamental part of who I am. I’m also keenly aware that being a father will become a new fundamental part of my identity. I’m not sure what thats going to be like. I won’t deny that some small part of me that feels like my entire life has been leading up to this moment.
The Inner Sunset has been my home for almost a decade. I love so many things about this place. Pub trans runs through here to almost every point in the city. It’s a tourist destination, but almost devoid of the issues that usually plague such places. It’s populated by a unpretentious multi cultural community that makes this neighborhood feel particularly separate from the rest of San Francisco.
Golden gate park is the best park on this planet. I certainly haven’t explored every facet of this 3 mile long outdoor playground, but I’ve given it a good go. The Botanical Garden is one of my first destinations when I’m seeking inspiration. Awesome festivals sweep through every season. I anticipate the first gorgeous days in the spring when hippie hill explodes with activity. Bocce and Frisbee tossing in Big Rec was a staple in our social gatherings. There have been countless strolls through the park to the beach, always followed by a tasty beer at the Chalet.
The food here is out of control. Rarely a week goes by without Singapore curry noodles from the Lime Tree. Ebisu kills my wallet, but is simply too delicious to ignore. The friendly and hopefully permanent fixture of Darla, and her brownie rewards. Arezmendi’s, Plutos, Nan King Road Bistro, Underdogs organic sausages, it just goes on and on. I vaguely recall some crazy late night donut runs. The multiple late night pizza options are especially close to my heart. I’ve earned more free slices at Irving Street Pizza then I care to admit. Even Andronico’s, which is that bane of my existence with its insane prices, is sadly the epitome of convenience and delicious sandwiches. Fortunately, I can balance it out with cheap, quality produce at the produce store @ 10th. And now there’s a killer farmers market to boot. Good work, community.
The amazing new library. The Smokedaddies at the Blackthorn, every Wednesday. Thursday nights at the Academy of Science museum. Unusually friendly homeless folks. Walking, not driving, to the hospital. Catching the occasionally inspiring sunsets from the top of the hill on Funston. The ever present crowd outside of San Tung. Bobby the butcher. The sporadic telescope folks. The many incarnations of the Brewery. The growing facebook community. The “Yes We Can” house. A wave and smile from the folks at the cheese shop. The awesomeness that was the Canvas cafe. Pondering how there can be so many nail salons. I freaking love the Inner Sunset. I think I’ve been clear on that.
I’ve done an incredible amount with my life while living here. I composed five albums of downtempo electronic music here. The second album was named “Inner Sunset” and has the processional for my wedding on it. You can download all my music for free @ www.generalfuzz.net (they’re worth listening to – my last album was voted #9 in the top 200 albums ever played on the nationally syndicated radio show echoes). Bija Yoga changed my life forever. I no longer have chronic back and wrist pain, and have been taught the extreme importance of breathing. I never set foot inside a yoga studio three years ago, and now plan on attending Yoga classes for the rest of my life.
My girlfriend and I moved in together for the first time on 8th Ave. Right when I walked out the door, the aromas from Pasquales would hit me like a mack truck and I would start salivating, even if I just ate. We got married a few years later and moved all the way down to 14th and Lincoln. Now we are about to embark on the “east bay shuffle”. You know, the one that often happens when you get pregnant. So it’s on to the next phase of our lives. Transitions are difficult, and I particularly suck at them. That’s ok. I’m sure there will be lots to appreciate about the next chapter in our lives. Allegedly life also thrives on the other side of that bridge.
Anyhow, I hope that you are able to touch upon why this neighborhood is so freaking special. I’ll miss it terribly.
Except for the fog.
That I can live without.
Stina took me along for a journey to Belize, and that turned out to be quite a privilege.
We spent much of our time on a island a 10 miles long and half a mile wide. Almost everyone spoke English, which simplified just about everything. Everyone we ran across was extraordinarily friendly, though half of them wanted to sell your something. Tourism is the major industry there.
An amazing enormous healthy reef was only half mile from the shore.
We journeyed into Guatemala to check out Tikal, a giant Mayan ruin. Our guide was Mayan priest, and he was a trip. In fact, that was a great theme for this trip – all the amazing colorful characters that we met along the way.
We’re in the midst of wedding-paloza ’09, and I wanted to do something fun for DaveP. So I shot down to LA for a weekend of good times and Dead shows. And now . . . some bullet points.
I know I’ve been neglecting my blog as of late. Good thing it doesn’t have feelings. I’m going to leave the country in five hours. TTFN.
My blog was hacked. Jordon pointed this out to me, and I was pissed. Then I realized this is what it is to be 13 year old boy in this day and age. I probably would have found it amusing if I was 13. It certainly has less negative impact then, say, playing with matches inappropriately.
But nonetheless, fuck you very much for hacking my blog, whomever you are.
I’ve wrestled it back under my control, with a little help from my best friend, the internet. Thank you, people who blog about what to do if your blog is hacked.
And for those dwindling few who read this blog through the website, I will eventually update the theme.
It feels life has taken a slightly more oppressive turn for the fine citizens of this planet. Interesting times we live in, to say the least. I’ve been super busy at work and life, hence the lack of personal internet fodder.
This time of year – the time between thanksgiving and x-mas – has so many famaliar rituals: The writing of the holiday letter, ungraciously aquiring a dead tree, the frenzy of Stina present creation, internet gift trolling, the preperation for our returning home to Boston.
Last week, we duked Haber with a contrived plot to take him out to dinner, only to lead him to a fully improvised bollywood themed puppet show. We really had no idea what we getting into. An improv comedy troupe named un-scripted puts on shows in their fancy little theater hidden in the depths of downtown SF. They conjured up an entire two act show loosely based around plot elements culled from the audience at the beginning of the show. The lack of a safety net really heightened the excitement. They occasionally stumbled, and they needled each other mercilessly when plot developments didn’t make sense. The integration of puppets was really excellent. There was lots of breaking into bad bollywood song, which was always a gamble. All in all, it was really fun, and I want to go see the same “show” again to see how much it varies from night to night.
There were actually another little theater in the building, and the other show was titled “Abraham Lincolns Big Gay Dance Party” I was a little saddened by our selection, since the other show had a title that really grabbed you by the balls. After chatting with a patron who was attending that show during the shared intermission, I determined that we had made the right choice after all.
Jason Haber was largely responsible for organizing my fairly epic bachelor party, so it was a matter of principle coupled with revenge that I organize his. Many months back he vaguely requested having a red team vs. blue team type of thing, so I ran with that idea and themed it “Jason vs. Lars” as they are both engaged and have been good friends since middle school.
Twenty or so of us form two teams for a long afternoon of entertaining competitive events.
Events like monkey torture,
long distance loogie,
and nipple tweaking.
There were even judged events, with celebrity judges consisting of people of close proximity to 20 men in jump suits.
My favorite judged event was having Jason and Lars propose to each other.
By the end of afternoon, we were totally spent – except for Matt . . . .
Team Haber DOMINATED over team Lars. It was a total blowout.
After some manly downtime @ chez Krudden,
we rallied for round 2. We had assembled a list of 30 tasks for Haber and the group to accomplish, and we did shockingly well. Shockingly.
We got much of a muni car to sing “We are the world with us”,
while A-town did pullups.
Haber gave us a speech about “how it is”,
we got thousands of signatures from women pledging not to sleep with Haber (this guy translated our “contract” to Italian),
and Tony got kicked in the box.
So, yeah. It was a nice 13 hour party. The late night girls and boys met up @ chez Krudden the final blow out.
BIG UPS to TonyB for the killer pics.