Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Some fresh beats have come to my attention lately.

Kum Curek's blog features cuts so now they're actually tomorrow.

And check out Audiojack, these cats are amazing:
Latest tracks by Audiojack Official

Saturday, December 24, 2011

four letter word or, do you believe?

Do you believe in love?
I'm still not sure that I do. Maybe. Possibly. I'm on the fence. I want to. It's scary. It feels so good and then it hurts, like the sweet bliss of nitrous right before the root canal drill.
An Ethiopian friend says he doesn't. But, he's young and a player so I think it's mostly a line.
Also, it depends somewhat on what you mean by love. There's "love" as in soul mates, one person you'll be with forever and do everything with and skip happily into the Hollywood sunset.
There's also "love" as in:
  • the friend who says "call anytime day or night if you need anything" and when something horrible happens, she picks up the phone at 1 a.m.
  • the one who remembers to check in on holidays or certain times a year because they know you lost somebody and are feeling sad
  • sisters and nieces who are nutty and fun and would be friends even if they weren't blood relations
  • people who take adventures with you, whether it's a late night photo shoot in a downtown alley or sidewalk dancing and then Five Point tater tots at 4am or checking out a young hip hop band that's so terrible that fleeing out to the sidewalk in the 20-degree night with no coat is preferable
  • the dreamers, the poets and musicians and artists and photographers, who gladly stay up all night with you smoking and drinking and agonizing over strokes and beats and beauty and yet somehow also surf the mundanity of day jobs, of rent checks and power bills
  • the handsome charming one who tells you everything, holds back nothing even when it's ugly or painful or sad, and couldn't be lovelier
PS: I saw this graffiti: I know your secrets and I love you anyway

Thursday, December 22, 2011


On the longest night of the year, some classic Tribe Called Quest to make you smile:

Monday, December 19, 2011

the thing about it is

The thing about it is, it won't kill you.
YES! this is one of those posts. I wish it wasn't. It is though. I feel like I have to write these things, because I feel them.
I feel it. It.
Like a stab, like a lot of stabs, the kind of deep anxious dreadful jabbing stab that makes you want to hurt yourself so you feel something else besides it. It.
Loneliness. Yeah.
It makes you wish you were dead, sometimes, or at least that your nerves were dead, so you didn't feel so damn awful much.
It's a space that needs filling, with gin or sex or hip hop or frenzied running around. It hits you that it's been yea long since someone, anyone, a stranger even, held you, hugged you, really grabbed on, and meant it.
It won't kill you though, loneliness. You'll live through it. You'll live to be lonely another day.
I imagine it away sometimes, like turning off an old television set, a bright digital flash consolidating in on itself like a collapsing star.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

good stuff

From BusySmartyPants to you, some pages where I've been hanging out lately:
  • Yeti vs Penguin -- super simple but so addictive
  • Like to read? I mean, do you like to read a lot? and longform
  • Best 404 page ever
  • Why does life suck so much? or not? ty Rob Brezsny
  • Aaaaand, because my iPhone wrote "pass" instead of "pasa" 3 times in a row today (ffs, honestly), don't forget this one.
Happy Thursday, y'all.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

what Africa sounds like

One thing I love about Afrika ya Mashariki is the constant buzz of activity. Everything has a soundtrack, whether it's music, conversation, dogs fighting, horns tooting, football on the television, a generator. That said, peep this short recording of a peaceful moment outside the Nam Hotel in Dodoma; the damn rooster was my wake up call every morning at 4.10.

outside the nam by busysmartypants

Saturday, December 10, 2011

so this one

This picture is from late 2009.
I look dull, no?

It was the beginning of seismic changes, of BusySmartyPants and solo days and nights, of gutting out stories and thinking too much about not thinking so much.
A photographer friend snapped my picture last night. She has an eye, let me tell you. This is so you, she said, showing me me, looking candid and direct.
This girl wouldn't know that one, I don't think.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

yummy tummy time

Boy, it's been heavy around here. I heard three people utter the words "I'm lonely" this week.
One of those people was me.
In other news, I saw an amazing dance performance last night by zoe|juniper. Dancers in gold headgear, robotic and lithe, stunning. Two were naked, and barking. Another bit a scarlet leash.
While in Addis, I polished off an entire box of off-brand cocoa krispies. Nothing says yummy tummy time like chocolate cereal with hot milk.
Today's soundtrack, a BSP video, the view from a Tanzanian teksi:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

if only

The shoe repair guy said, wistfully, No one ever brings me clean shoes.
I handed over mud-crusted boots that needed re-heeling and felt like a shit.
I love travel. The more places I go, the more I feel alive, connected, humble, curious, ignorant, desperate, hopeful, optimistic, realistic, fatalistic.
I hate travel. The more I go, the less I feel like staying.
One day I shoveled sand in a rocky Addis Ababa alley and sang Gershwin to a little girl who giggled and held my work-gloved hand. A passerby kissed my cheek and said she felt as though she were my sister, and I felt like the luckiest person alive.
And now I feel more deeply lonely than ever. I thought it was supposed to be the opposite.
For 6 Birr (35 cents), a shoeshine kid scrubbed my muddy kicks with soap and water. He didn't complain about dirty shoes. But, sitting there while he labored with a dirty rag and scraps of soap, I still felt like a shit.

Monday, November 28, 2011

the fit

When you go on a long trip, people say, "have fun, take lots of pictures."
I'm a pretty good traveler but a terrible picture taker. I didn't even take a camera this last time, just a phone with an okay camera. I did make some cool videos though, and some recordings.
So, we'll see.
afrika ya mashariki 2011
The more I travel, the less I feel like I belong anywhere. When I'm home, I'm thinking about there, and when I'm there, I'm so clearly an outsider, not at home, a mzungu, a faranji. Do I need to fit in? Or do I just need to be content when I've found my people, whether that's in Seattle or Dar es Salaam?
Anyway, here are the pictures I did manage to take, seventy-six seconds out of three million or so.

Monday, November 21, 2011

selam ana fiqir

Five weeks away, and I'm still not sure where my heart (home) is.
These things take sorting out.
In the meantime check out an Addis Ababa cloudburst: brief, torrential, noisy, punishing, cleansing, chaotic, demanding. In its wake, fresh air and an early afternoon.
Peace and love, say the rastas. Selam ana fiqir.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

a day

A day in Dar es Salaam last week went wrong and stayed wrong.
In the end, I was happy to survive it.
  • A boy crossing the street in front of our bajaj was hit by a motorcycle. The boy's kettle went flying, cinders scattering, and he was knocked to the ground, but got up moments later, shaken but okay. The motorcyclist and passenger slowed briefly, then roared away.
  • Later I saw a lorry overturned in the street, remains still smoking, people standing around staring and disoriented.
  • A friends' flight was delayed 11 hours, which meant the unraveling of a complicated network of hotel, bus and dinner reservations, flurries of texts, phone calls, internet searches and consultations with frazzled clerks.
  • A man at the bus station was alternately insulting, nefarious, and thieving; after an hour or so of abuse, one of his co-workers waved us out to the parking lot, consulted with an unknown source, and called a big-wig who solved our problems and promised to sack the thieving boss.
  • And with that, it was gin o'clock.

Monday, October 24, 2011

sawa sawa sawa

On a day that saw 40 degrees C (about 104F) and a bus ride across Tanzania, here's today's soundtrack, Nwa Baby:

We heard this catchy joint at Lady JD's Nyumbani Lounge (more on that later), and last night danced to it on the sand and under the stars at Mbalamweze.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

bye now

Killing a few hours at the Dulles airport before my flight to Addis Ababa.
An absent gate agent's phone keeps ringing, Beyonce's tinny voice trilling "All the Single Ladies."
There's wifi, which is nice.
Beyonce again.
I slept fitfully on the red-eye from Seattle. Somebody kept passing ferocious gas.
But, I'm pretty wide awake. I'm thinking the Capitol Grounds decaf probably wasn't.
Today is the birthday of my oldest niece. Boy, is she old!
This is a mysterious kid, tres fashionable, thrifty, a little hard to read.
All qualities that should come in handy.
Happy birthday Bkres.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I'm holding onto some stuff and thinking about it is making me sad.
I feel like I need to let go.
I feel sad about that too. And scared. It's scary to turn loose.
Because, whatif???
Then I think, I've survived some stuff--an AWOL father, losing my mom and grampa, brushes with scary strangers--and I've done stuff, too, I mean dude, I've traveled the world, I've gotten lost in Kowloon, slept in a train station in Paris, jumped off a bridge in Zambia, I've started over and gotten told no and somehow I'm still okay.
So, letting go--yeah I can do it. I can.
I don't wanna.
But I think I have to.
In happier news, I had another story accepted, to this fine establishment.
Tonight's soundtrack--Thee Satisfaction and OC Notes' "Icing", all of them super coolcats.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Something big happened this week, something that's the culmination of a year's worth of writing, recording, pizza, beer, ganja, laughs and out-takes and edits and arguments, computer failures and couch-surfing and many many minutes of staring into the digital abyss.
It was a big occasion and yet it's mostly the turn of a corner, so it felt less big than it might have. At an almost final moment, it hit me. We're here. I hugged my pal and said I love you! So not me. This something changed me fundamentally. I learned. I fumed. I rolled and swooped.
Anyway here's a taste.
More to come.

Monday, October 10, 2011

feliz cumpleaños a BSP

In a few short hours, BusySmartyPants turns 3.
Born October 11, 2008, it seems BSP is a Libra (schmanx Cafeastrology):
  • Sociable and intellectual
  • Has a flair for drama and wants to be noticed for creativity
  • Prone to over-indulgence and excess
  • Dreamy, inspired, sensitive, not in touch with reality, spaced out
  • Has an unhealthy imagination
Tradition dictates the gift of crystal:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

something new

In college I wrote a paper comparing a Goethe poem, "Der Erlkönig," with one of my favorite Willa Cather short stories, "Paul's Case." The professor was skeptical but I sensed a thread tying the two together and I made a convincing-enough case to scoop a decent grade.
That's creativity isn't it? Making fresh connections. Hearing and seeing things in your own way. We all live in our own universes and the best art is a peek across galaxies.
Last night I went to the sold-out Neon Indian show at the Crocodile. The headliner and 2nd opener Com Truise were better than good; my pal and I danced ourselves into exhaustion. But the beats I'm still thinking about were from Purity Ring, a steampunky duo who mystified and thrilled.
They don't have much on line but here's a bootleg video from a show in Cali:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

you're in charge

It can't be coincidence that our culture, which has made it possible to never interact with another human being--cars, ATMs, underground parking, office buildings and drive-thrus and self-check-outs and Redbox and Netflix--this same culture is crazy for social networking. I can't hate on it (although one more FB post about somebody's kid, dinner, life partner or crappy day might just send me over the edge). But, anything that gets people talking's gotta have its beneficial side. We're social creatures, y'all. Listen to the constant chatter around you, in restaurants and bars and coffee shops. Conversation is a valve, a connector, a sanity check, it's that uh-oh moment when you're bitching about something and you see in your friend's face that you've lost touch with reality and you better get your shit together and quick.
So, that said, listen up people: you're in charge; sometimes you gotta turn off the Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Foursquare, g-chat, and whatever else, and go live your damn lives.
Some pictures I snapped around town the last few days:
untitled (copout)

Monday, September 26, 2011

you gotta

Been thinking a lot about creativity and success. The difference between those who struggle and eventually make it, and everybody else.
Lots of people love the idea of being an artist but not a lot of people can do the time.
Here's what I think: you gotta believe in yourself. You gotta put in long lonely hours. You gotta be persistent, stubborn even, you gotta feel pain, find the good people, avoid the haters, and honestly, you gotta be a little crazy.
This NY Times article asks, "what if the secret to success is failure?" Well sheeit, call Oprah and I'll kick off my book tour.
Another one profiles a Russian headmaster who teaches kids that 2+2 doesn't necessarily equal 4. I don't get all the philosophical arguments but I sure do love the idea of challenging the given.
All righty enough heavy stuff, let's get to the beats: MSTRKRFT y'all.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


What is going on around here? Worlds are flying apart at atomic speeds.
Fisticuffs at a friend's workplace. Health worries and silence and seismic news.
I've run into six former amours this past week.
One was such a regret that I immediately deleted his message.
Another passed by me on a sidewalk, arm-in-arm with a girl. We smiled hello.
One invited me to a party. Another propositioned me.
The last two asked after my well-being, with uncharacteristic good manners.
And I--well I forge ahead, and if not ahead, I forge on, still confused and sometimes lonely and sometimes not but mostly with hope, that I can be good or good enough and connected.
Tonight's soundtrack: fresh beats by DJ Limerence

Sunday, September 18, 2011

looky what showed up in the mail

I laughed out loud when I opened my mail the other night, sifted through the usual crap, the Trader Joe's flyers and grocery store ads and bills.
The gift of stickers, yo.
Today's soundtrack, from the dreamy Nosaj Thing:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011


On my flight home a couple weeks back, the two money men and I chatted about nicknames. One claimed he'd never had one and never would. He was un-nicknameable.
Not possible! I said, horrified.
I'm proud to have collected a back pocket full of monikers:
Lisi/Greasy Leesie/e-dogg/Lee/Davis!/Sparkette/sleezy E/e
Nicknames can say a lot; they can be an affectionate shortcut or demonstrate a condensed and concentrated hatred. You don't nickname people you don't care about, either on the plus or minus side of things. (Although, a caveat might be the Geo W. Bush school of nicknaming, which seemed to be a way to mock people, to reduce them to a particular stereotype or force a nonexistent collegiality.)
As with pie dough and romance, you can't force a nickname. They happen, they grow on you, they stick. They remind you of an inside joke. They're a way to acknowledge a moment.
So: Davey Jo and Yula and Wiener Hotline aka Davelicious and Skinny Lynnie and Pops and ThaBoss and Big Spoon and Sparky aka Dancheska and Phatty and Jojo and Billy Boy and T. Wizzy and CL and Local Time and the Frannies and the Goof Troop aka Hammy Smackbooty, Baffank and Jamer and and and--you know who you are. So do I.

Friday, September 9, 2011


You know you're traveling somewhere fun when you need to dig up your passport and your yellow fever certificate, when you need visas and a packing list, emergency contacts, batteries, a Z-pak, a handwritten phrase book.
And passport photos.
I get mine done at a sweaty little copy shop on the Ave. It smells of chemicals and an overheating fan. The smiling dark-eyed clerk, Max, speaks a half-dozen languages, including Russian and Farsi. He always remembers to greet me in German: ah, Elise, es freut mich.
Yesterday he told me all about a Russian cartoon show.
And he took my picture.


what a fucked up week.
I've been alternately confused and tired and lonely and angry -- with brief jagged interludes of delight -- and I've thought a lot about that quotation from George Saunders at the top of my blog.
I feel like such a godforsaken outsider--and not the cool kind in skinny jeans and weird hair with ear plugs and face tattoos--but the one mumbling at the bus stop about the spider bite antidote that's turning their skin all splotchy (true story from today bee-tee-dubs), the one you don't make eye contact with or speak to, the one you thank the merciful heavens that you are not.
if confusion is a state of mind then call me Governor, because it's where I rule.

cap hill doorway
capitol hill doorway -- see more at Photobucket yo.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

weekend beats

who I'm peeping these days:
*I went fanboy over badasses Shabazz Palaces -- their Bumbershoot set killed -- my girls Stas and Kat sat in and beat-posse OC and Chuck danced in the crowd
**104.rog (music is my) Therapy
***Wesley Holmes' new mix--catch him at Rebar or the Woods cause these beats are not online
**Trombone Shorty!
*and today's soundtrack:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

don't mess with

This has been a trying few days. Maybe trying is the key word here.
  • Trying to make things happen.
  • Trying not to lose my shit.
  • Events were trying. So were people. And the weather.

You have to know when to push, when to push back, when to yield, when to walk away. All delicate maneuvers, and I feel like I’m wearing combat boots on a dance floor.


But there were some supremely lovely moments, too.

I visited a good friend in Texas and it was hot! We played outdoor ping pong and pool, we drank beer and looked at art and went for a late night swim. At a down-home BBQ joint we danced outdoors amongst bubbles and sweat to Gramatik and STS9.

As the weekend waned, I met family I never knew I had and they treated me to a spicy brunch and a cooling jaunt to their lake house.

Then: adios. I’m a mess with good-byes, you know. But you have to have good-bye to have hello.

On a very delayed flight out of Austin, traveling money men regaled me with stories of stolen cars, shaved legs, bubble butts and tumbleweeds.


Now – what’s next?

A quest for a nickname (Local Time and Mike, stay tuned!).

Facing reality. Realistic expectations. Missing my 3B’s.

I am somber, and yet I have a feeling. I have hope. Good things lie yet ahead.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Absolutely Not Safe For Work! Or Young Readers. Everyone else, read on if you will...

I have a new story out in the August 15 edition of Tawdry Bawdry.
I won't lie, this one is raw. Lots of sex and lying and existential dissatisfaction. As well as vintage Christmas ornaments.
That said, it's a story I really wanted to write, so if you're feeling brave or reckless or even mildly curious, please click and read.
I hope you like.

Monday, August 15, 2011


So much to talk about.
I got new ink on Friday, my grampa's nickname on the inside of my arm. The lovely Ash, just back from central America, designed and completed the tattoo. Every time I see my new ink I think about Gramp. I miss him so. If I can be half the champion human being he was...well, I'm going to try.
I'll have a story link to share soon.
A poet/artist friend got a rather nasty rejection letter last week, larded with pseudo-intellectual MFA jibber jabber. Whatevs. He mixed up a fresh cocktail, heavy on vermouth, named it "too conventional," and we toasted the slush pile.
I played tetherball this weekend! Yes, I said it. "!"
Today's soundtrack is Julius Sylvest--don't miss the video, it's trippy cool:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

it's okay (not) to smile

When I was a kid, this man in my father's church would corner me and my sisters, tease up the sides of his lips with his index fingers, and bare his teeth: "Smile, girls, god loves you."
Not much about my childhood made me want to smile.
I grew up home-schooled and religious; I never felt like I could please my parents; I had zits and glasses and crooked teeth.
In my teens I became addicted to French fashion magazines and Kafka and Goodwill. Smiling was still unnecessary: I had pointy shoes and orange permed hair and a bad attitude. Smiling seemed like an invitation to talk to me and I didn't want people talking to me (see: homeschool) and I really didn't want them looking at me (see: skin + teeth + glasses).
These days I smile more. Reluctantly. Sometimes purposefully. A smile is so much. An invitation. A flirt. An acknowledgment. Relief. Divertissement. A precursor to a conversation, or a kiss, or punctuation to a goodbye.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Lots of failure in my life, as you know, but finally, a few successes too.
<----- I figured out who this guy is (recall my obsession) and saw some of his work on a random bridge column and at Trabant, in the U-district.
I had a "yes, definitely yes" on a story I submitted to this fine journal.
I'm one-for-twenty this year with submissions. The recording project is on life support. A blog idea died prematurely.
It's just way too many no's for my taste.
Am I being greedy?
Hell yeah. Oh hell yeah.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Somehow this turned into a kid-centric weekend. And I don't even have kids! Friday night I saw a friend perform in the Seattle Children's Theatre production of Avenue Q. "The Internet is for Porn" didn't make the cut (hehe) but I've never seen the 21+ version of the show so I dunno what I'm missing anyway. The SCT crew did great, and I officially heart Trekkie Monster.
Saturday I checked out the Rain City Rock Camp performance at Neumo's. At one in the afternoon, both bars were closed and a group of oh-em-gee 11-year-olds made me guess their ages (they guessed mine too, and were merciful).
Later on, a friend wangled us onto the guest list at the C89.5 listener appreciation party at Neighbors (thanks DJ Scott Binder!). Students from Nathan Hale High School run the station and some of their croaky-voiced compadres were working the door, taking tickets and failing to issue us wristbands. Inside was a sweaty hott mess and we danced until we were exhausted, then repaired to the VIP area to drink and check out the names and the faces, the drag queens and the hangers-on and the nobodies.
I dare you to not dance to today's soundtrack:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Be on the lookout

Last week's horoscope included this: You may underestimate the intensity of your longing for continual transformation, but the universe doesn't...You are in line to capitalize on discarded riches and unappreciated assets. Be on the lookout for the treasure hidden in the trash.
I'm not 100% convinced that the stars have anything to say to me, and I probably won't become a Freegan anytime soon. But it does give my obsession with graffiti and found objects a new context.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Textual relations

3000 texts.
That was my count for last month, an average of 100 per day.
Smart phones have changed the way we all talk to each other and I'm pretty happy about it.
I can have all-day conversations with friends, little snips of chatter--haaaay, how you bb, meetings grrr, brb at the dentist, oh jeezus just ran into P!!!--and sometimes it's not words at all, just a smiley or frowny. It makes me feel connected, like I know the barometer of somebody's hours, their days, their life.
Old people sign their names to texts. They use good grammar and full sentences.
Sometimes I have to urban-dictionary my nieces' texts.
That said, sometimes these brief little digital snips are confusing.
You misunderstand, misinterpret, miss one here and there.
I've been broken up with over text.
One of last year's amours freaked out over a phrase--it was more than the phrase, but the phrase, texted, was the tipping point, and we were done.
These days, if my phone rings, it takes me a minute. I stare at the screen.
Who's calling me? Why didn't they just text?
Today's soundtrack is Shad, a Kenyan-Canadian charmer who tore it up at last week's block party.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Everyone is a citizen of my world

At the turn of the millennium, the Washington Post asked readers to summarize their lives in 100 words or less. Read them all (increase the count in the url to move ahead). The truth according to WaPo and a hundred citizens.
  • Use your pain. It can be a great teacher.
  • My life, like most people's, has been filled with compromises.
  • Bigotry and ignorance are defeated one decision at a time.
  • I represent a forgotten segment of society; I am an inmate in prison. My whole life consisted of other people's opinions and evaluations of me. I fathered two daughters, but I was never a dad. I've never voted. I've never owned a new car. I've never attended a family reunion. I've never attended a wedding as a guest. I attended my brother's funeral in cuffs and chains. I never went to Disney World. I lived a wasted life. I never lived.
  • I am an atheist…I have hope: I hope I'm not late for my next class; I hope I get home in time for soccer practice; I hope Dad's making spaghetti for dinner.
  • It is dangerous to have only one dream.
  • I do not have to worry about the future because this is it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

nothing is

Nothing is as I expect.
Why is this continually surprising?
Why don't I learn?
It makes no sense.
I want to write "life makes no sense" but who cares about such a sentence?
Such a sentence may be true but it's impersonal, a generality, connected to nothing or no one, the way a blockbuster movie has no relationship to real life or a McDonald's burger is nothing like real food.
It's been a week of intensity and disappointment and pleasant discoveries.
I had some late nights. I took naps.
Started a new story and got insightful comments on an old one.
I found out who took my dollar store sunglasses.
I dominated at ping pong.
Friends shared their pain and we raised a glass and managed to laugh.
Rancho Bravo corn on the cob changed my life, at least for a minute.
A friend shared a Pop Tart.
I'm alive, I'm feeling, there's music and gin and a sunny vacation in my future.
Nothing is but nothing should be.
Today's soundtrack is old school:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

double dutch

A friend invited me to check out double-dutching at a Seattle park last night.
He brought along his boombox, freshly loaded with jams from De La Soul to Prince to Chromeo, and the jump-ropers (rope-jumpers?) freestyled for hours--hipsters and oldsters and a dog and even a couple of drunk people.
Flatchestedmama posted the video to her Youtube channel.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

what am I, what is, do I?

I have so many questions, still.
What am I doing?
What’s the space between stasis and chaos?
I don’t know the answer to this one. I swing between feeling buried and untethered. For writing I need both, and yet most of the time, I feel so afraid.
Do I deserve goodness?
Last night eight-year-old Hammy Smackbooty said, You know, you can’t ever get there. If you get there, then you’re here.
We laughed, but it seemed profound.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

the 785

Been hanging out in the 785 for a few days. My grandma's turning 90 this year and the fam decided to party. I'm out of my element here--my schedule isn't my own, it's hotter than hell and the music and food and culture are decidedly different--but I'm with sisters and nieces and cousins and aunts and grandma and most importantly, sometimes it's good to be off balance.
Not good--necessary.

Monday, June 27, 2011

206 up and comers

so much freshness to share:
*new-to-me GMK's "Up Up Down Down Left Left"

*keep up with the hip hop haps in the 206 at Raindrophustla

*and peep this graffiti short by local filmmaker Jesse Lomax

Getting Over from Jesse Lomax on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I keep on trying

The reality is I haven't gotten a single story accepted yet this year.
Partly because I've sunk dozens of hours into this recording project, which is a slap and a holler away from being born.
Partly because getting a story published is a matter of timing.
And partly because I've lost my focus. I've been distracted and self-destructive.
I'm losing myself again. I know it. Well, now we all know it. It's not a good feeling. And yet I can't seem to find my stride anywhere else.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

paint can conversating

The graffiti conversation continues around and under the University Bridge.
I haven't been posting much. I've been crazy busy, busier than usual, which for me is saying something. I've been taking chances and saying yes more but also sometimes no and not only has the world not ended, it's spun a little faster. More risk means more hurt. I know this. The higher the jump, the harder the landing. And yet, it's worth it, I think. Better pain than regret.
The other night I looked at my clock and it was 3 a.m. and I still had shizz to do, not to mention getting myself to work in 6 hours. It's only sleep, I thought. Now can't wait.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Heard around town part--um--well yeah baby it's been awhile

All y'all wearing headphones are missing out on some prime eavesdropping.
Here's what I been hearing on Metro, down at the corner, and all around:
  • Well c'est la fucking vie
  • Now that the swelling's gone down, it's not so bad...
  • I wanna be the big spoon
  • Are my teeth as big as my muscles?
  • Like shoving a marshmallow in a parking meter
  • I'm an accidental hedonist
  • Sponsored by: Wong-Doody-Crandall-Wiener (h/t siff)
  • Shut up and cuddle with me
Now if only I can write what I hear and see.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

hbd yula

Today's my lil sis's birthday.
We've had some crazy times together.
Raiding her piggy bank to stock up on snacks at the corner market.
Baptisms in the red wagon.
Mall bangs and Russian class (zvordy znak) and puppet show misfires ("flo!").
I'm pretty sure she coined the word foofy.
Today at SIFF, Elmo and Kevin sang happy birthday to her.
Now, she's all grows up.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Keep it simple. Live simply. The simple life.
So go the cliches.
Who can argue with the beauty of simplicity?
But nobody has love for the simple person.
Clueless, we pronounce, after we're done snickering. Out of it. Simple.
Me, I want to be simple. To laugh and be silly and light-hearted.
To take pleasure in graffiti birds. To partake in my nieces' goofiness.
To know about the darkness but somehow always find the light.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Writing has been a struggle lately.
Rejections right and left, terse little cut-and-paste no's. Recording project treading water. Inspiration as foreign as a Swahili dictionary.
Stop trying so hard to make things happen, my shrink says.
Talk about foreign.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

cop shop

This picture is from the Seattle police department's west precinct. I spent five hours riding with a female officer last week. I'm no fan of the cops but I'm no hater either. Like most people, they're doing the best they can with a shit job. Sure, some of them are assholes, but a-holes are everywhere, although most of them don't have the power to lock you up or fuck you up pretty royal. Anyway, it was a fascinating night:
  • Lots of drunk people, street people, stoned people--sometimes all three at once
  • As we drove by Westlake looking for an escaped shoplifter, the street kids saw me in the patrol car and started yelling "snitch in the front seat"
  • I saw a dead guy OD'ed on heroin in Pioneer Square, naked from the waist up, medics frantically trying to bring him back
  • One time, we slammed through downtown, lights and sirens, down one way streets and through red lights, and it was the bomb
  • And damn do cops get hit on. A lot. In person, in The Stranger, you name it.
Anyway, thanks SPD. It was coolio. No offense, but I hope our paths never cross again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I don't want to believe

I don't believe in true love.
There, I said it.
You know what I'm talking about. Long-term romantic love, a soul-mate--I call bullshit.
What there is is now, connection for today, satisfaction, the oui within je ne sais pas, rolling along like waves or a sandstorm.
You might think I'm cynical. I think I'm living.
ps this photo is from the bar at church, two consecutive nights last weekend. I collapsed late Sunday in happy exhaustion.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


well I used to think nice people were soft pushovers, suckers.
now I wonder.
maybe the *h*a*r*d*-est thing is being cool when I don't much feel like it.
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Richard "Woody" Johnson

A sometime reader of this blog told me he thought blogs were masturbatory. By implication I suppose he thinks this one is too.
And anyway, what's so bad about masturbation?
I love this graffiti from a Washington State Ferry. "Jeff" thinks he's being such a badass, defacing federal property, and then the next guy with a Sharpie takes him straight from badass to dumbass.
You'd think people would have more profound things to say in a public space, but no. We are preoccupied with meaningless details, with dropped pennies and belly button lint. Our universes are comprised of bills and dentist appointments and taking out the recycling. But guess what? The truth is in the details, as every writer knows. Give me "Jeff is a Dick" over Mount Rushmore any ole day of the week.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

push it

I stopped reading last year, gave up on books and the news and Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. Other than the occasional Real Change or spy novel re-run, I pretty much dumped the written word. At some point though I ran across xTx's blog Nothing to Say. She writes like a person punching you in the mouth, and then kissing you. It hurts like hell and then it's amazing. I inhaled her and then I forgot about her until today, and yeah she's still writing like a Fight Club extra.

Try this on from the one where i unexpectedly cry while writing it and then know i hit a part of my truth and it hurts: "My heart constantly yearns for other things. Things I cannot have. I think that’s what continually drives my writing. With my writing I can put that yearning somewhere. I can put all of my stomache aches and my cryings and my what if’s into the imaginary. I can also, in some cases, make people like me. I can sometimes make them love me. I make them all my father."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

filthy with metaphor

Today is my one year divorceaversary. These things mess with your head a little bit.
How to account for the past year?
I've had more fun than I could have imagined. I've felt more deeply, including the kind of soul-searching loneliness I also didn't know was possible.
And guess what, I felt it, and I survived. So that's something.
This graffiti caught my attention. Two different artists, I think. One riffing off the other. Making commentary on a jagged line.
Some things have come full circle already today in a random, unplanned fashion. I heard the same band in the early hours of the morning that was playing the night things changed for me last year. I hung out with three of the same people. Someone gave me a ring that broke, and had to be pried off my finger with needle nose pliers. My middle finger.
The day, so far, has been filthy with metaphor.

Monday, April 18, 2011

perspective--the view--the vista

When I find myself getting mad, frustrated, sad, angry--I try--I TRY--to challenge my perspective.
The way you look at things is the thing.
Looking at something has a way of changing it, coloring it. The imprint of my eyes, ears, ideas, experiences, biases, desires and disappointments--all this has weight and influence.
This picture, well, it's just a leg in purple tights. My leg in purple tights. My leg on a bus seat in purple tights.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I'm obsessed with this picture, taken in the bathroom at the Caffe Vita on east Pike. I love the shine, the reflection, the oddball ghost.
On another note, I know "ish" has been around for awhile. You got all your ish? Ain't that some ish. But suddenly everybody's saying it again. Everybody in my self-selecting circle, that is.
And finally--my mom would have been 63 today. She's been gone seven years now and I still miss her. My sis's and I remember in our own ways, with Yahtzee games and Twizzler/Dr. Pepper snacks and bittersweet chats with grandma.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

what's stopping me

This past weekend forged new seams in my true and creative self.
Friday was a trip across the lake and a bemusing lesson in culture clash, diffidence, guns, fast cars, and sleazy clubs. Not what I had in mind, but ultimately, merci.
Howevah, I also got to chat with longtime favorite solace wonder at bherd gallery, and pick up a wounded heart for a song.
On Saturday I played lackey on a photo shoot for an upcoming album cover, and learned new ways of encouraging lovely, glamorous light. After a shuffleboard/beer break, I brainstormed press release wording with a generous gold-knuckled artist for an upcoming benefit.

Evening brought scrubbing and baseball card chat at another friend's soon-to-be-vacated apartment, and later a birthday party filled with an energetic, sometimes frenetic melange of dancers and old souls. A white-bearded meditator asked me what was stopping me from opening up my heart. I knew. But for a moment, I couldn't speak.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The heavy

This guy I know asks me all sorts of interesting questions.
If all your friends were in a room together, what would they all say about you? ~ Do you have anyone you can talk to about more than surface things? ~ What are you like in real life?
Incisive questions. Deep. Shrink-like, no?
Well okay, the guy's my shrink. So that part makes sense.
Anyway. It's good to be asked such questions. I think about them long after our appointments.
I don't know what my friends would say about me, honestly. I'm not sure what I'm like in real life, whatever that is. And while there are a lot of silly conversations going on (in a battle between a unicorn and Pegasus, who would win?), there are deep ones, too. What we're doing to improve ourselves. Creative snafus. The fleeting nature of happiness. Religion, alcoholism, the future, cancer, longing.
The stuff of French films and the very best music.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My playlist

Who and what I've been peeping, of late:
What am I missing? Leave a comment and point me to some new beats!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Before, I never understood

I get some things now, that before, I didn't.
For instance, the power of music. The Grouch/Zion I show at Nectar last night made me extraordinarily happy. I wasn't in the best of moods going in--I was tired from a trip, and cranky about some perceived injustice--and it wasn't just that I hearted the beats, although they were expectedly tight.
There's just something amazing about a sold-out show, a skillful groove, a club packed with (mostly) happy people eagerly singing along and getting their swerve on. I drank cheap beer and crowd-surfed, met a guy just out of jail, a slew of Canadians ecstatic about scoring backstage passes, danced crazily with a wasted friend-of-a-friend.
All this and yet--I'm lonely sometimes. A lot of times. I wish for an amour and realize that it's no one's concern but my own. We are all alone, no matter who is with us.
And so, confusion becomes understanding, and beneath flows the same undercurrent as before.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I am the sail

A new batch of pictures, courtesy of BusySmartyPants Tumblr.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Through -- thru -- threw

This picture's from a Ballard pizza joint I'm not crazy about so I won't link to it. I loved how the light came through the glass dividers in the bar.
A friend and I talk a lot about the qualities we look for in a guy or girl. My list is pretty short -- I've met a United Nations mishmash of people this past year -- but the ones I'm drawn to are funny, confident, and have style. Boy do I love a pal with style, sass, an urban sensibility, their own way of combining smart kicks and a hoodie, a pink polo with a track jacket, skinny pants with a tuxedo vest and tats. I'm about to head out into the second part of my day -- dinner with a pal, writing, later on drinks -- but first stop is my closet, to undress a little, reclothe, arm myself. In order to disarm.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tighten the screws

A friend wrote "tighten the screws" on his work desk.
As in: buckle down. Work harder. Make it happen.
This bit of graffiti reminds me of the same thing.
I've been playing a lot lately. Writing some, but not enough.
Taking pictures, and not doing much with them.
Not taking time to wander the city, to slow down and look around.
Something's scaring me and I want to confront it.
I can jump off a Zambian bridge but I can't confront my own timid mind?
Tighten the screws. Rejoin the universe of friends doing cool creative things.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lite Brite

At my friend's painting studio the other night, we beheld magic generated by light and sweat.
Lights out-->beats up-->go.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Good looking out

Two of my friends are showing art today.
You can see fellow church-goer and super-talented David Jo's bold, vibrant paintings at Source Salon in Ballard (check out the salon site if you're not on FB). Things kick off at 6pm; the show is also a part of the Ballard Art Walk.
And I'm pretty sure my pal cesario is an artistic genius, if you have wheels or any other legal way to get to Lakewood, check out the Veterans Art showcase.
Rock on friends, I'm proud of you both.

bsp videos don't sleep on 'em