Wednesday, September 26, 2012

You are what you sleep on

I'm a straight up hobo now. I no longer have a bed of my own. It's trash night in Jamaica Plain, so I've been putting a lot of trash out on the curb this evening- including my Ikea bed frame and mattress. Apparently people ride around in vans on trash night and pick up stuff they want. I've now seen two different cars stop and grab things from the sidewalk in front of my house- including this bed frame. It's too bad they were in such a rush. They forgot a couple pieces of it. It's also funny because I took a photograph of the bed frame to put up on the Free section of Craigslist tonight- thinking someone might want it. I guess that won't be necessary.

Free bed in JP! Going... going... wait. Where did it go?

Come and git it!
Putting the bed out tonight felt pretty weird. It was originally a college graduation present from my parents. I've had it for 10 years. A lot of sleeping and other things have gone on in that bed. I think your bed, in many ways, reflects what kind of person you are. There are firm beds, soft beds, cushy beds, waterbeds, big beds, small beds, and so on. There's also what you put on your bed. White sheets, silk sheets, flowery print comforters, itchy sheets, electric blankets, and so on. Do you make your bed every day? How many pillows do you have? Do you use decorative pillows that you don't actually sleep with? What do you do with your bed? Anything other than sleep?, watch TV, eat, other? How does your bed smell? How big is it? Do you duvet or not? Temperpedic? Sleep number? Craftmatic Adjustable Bed? Who do you share your bed with? A partner? A child? A pet? A stuffed animal? How easy is it to leave your bed in the morning? Or the middle of the night? The variables go on!

I'm not sure where exactly I'm going with all of this, but I'll tell you one thing: that bed that was just hauled away in the back of a shady white van has been a big part of my adult life. I did a lot of growing up in that bed. I spent nearly a 1/3 of my time in it. And now it's gone. Don't take your bed for granted. Love it. Worship it. Enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it, do something about it. You spend too much time in it not to feel good in it.

This all happened tonight because, technically, I need to be out of my room by next Monday October 1 (5 days from now). I'm going away for the weekend for my going away party so I only really have tonight and tomorrow to finish getting my room ready for the new occupant. Who knows when I'll have my very own bed again. Until then, however, I am sleeping on the floor with a bunch of pillows and my most favorite comforter of all time. I'll always feel at home if I have my comforter. That and my Kameko to cuddle in it with.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Junk in the Trunk

Trunk status: 95% packed. 2 suitcases, Kelty backpack, trombone and many miscellaneous items still to go for the back seat. I feel... cautiously confident about the space situation.

Kameko went to the vet this morning. She received the rabies and distemper vaccines as well as the required health certificate to bring her on the ferry. We also discussed sedative options for her. We're going to try a combo of Benadryl and cat pheromones. I also got a prescription for some more heavy-duty kitty drugs, but I'd rather not use them.

Speaking of the ferry, my latest hobby is stalking the M/V Columbia of the Alaska Marine Highway- it's the ship I will sail from Bellingham, Washington to Juneau. They have a real-time map on their website showing you where all of the AMHS vessels are.

Also, I replaced Dent's tires today. It needed to happen- especially considering the cross-country drive. "What are my tire options? I need tires that are good in snow. I'm moving to Alaska." You should have seen the look on the guy's face, and yes, he really asked me, "Are you going to live in an igloo?". Le sigh.

Lastly, but not leastly, this song has become my anthem in the last few days. It's been a favorite of mine for a while, but it seems to have a new-found meaning lately. Rob Dickinson was the lead singer of Catherine Wheel, if you know them...

The End Of The World- Rob Dickinson

Breathe the air again
It's a beautiful day
I wish this moment would stay
With the earth
Some primal paradise
There you go again
Saying everything ends
Saying you can't depend on anything
Or anyone

If the end of the world is near
Where would you choose to be?
If there were five more minutes
Of air
Would you panic and hide?
Or run for your life?
Or stand here and spend them with me?
If we had five more minutes
Would I, could I make you happy?

And we would live again
In the simplest of ways
Living day after day
Like some primal animals
We would love again
In the glorious sense
Were the freedom will come from the truth

If the end of the world is near
Where would you choose to be?
If there were five more minutes
Of air
Would you panic and hide?
Or run for your life?
Or stand here and spend them with me?
If we had five more minutes
Would I, could I make you happy?

So it finally came to pass
I saw the end of the world
I saw the madness unfold
Like some primal burial
I looked back at her
And the moment of truth between her and me

If we had five more minutes
Of air to breathe
And we cried all through it
But you stand here with me
On our last few drags
Of air we agree
I was, you were, happy

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Night Haikus

No wine-fueled rants this Friday night, thank god. Just a few terrible haikus.

Very wise cousin says
Don't look in rear view mirror
Look at road ahead

Trombone coming with
Juneau band looking for me 
See reply below

Spending time with friends
Many good meals all week long
Mmmm shabu shabu

Kitty says fuck you
I no move to Alaska
I kill u in sleep 

Thursday, September 20, 2012


A selection of photographs from my last two trips to Juneau in 2008 and 2010.

Uncle Larry outside APICDA (Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association) 

TEMSCO Helicopters

Mendenhall Glacier

View from the dog sled

Sled dog puppy
Mendenhall Glacier and lake

View of Juneau from Mount Roberts

Sue and Larry just before their wedding
Fog on the Gastineau

Sue and Willllburrrr

Cousin Eric and Me

Cousins Kevin and Eric

Cousin Ben at Mendenhall Glacier

Sue and Larry's Kitchen/Living Room
Me and Willlburrrr

Me and Auntie Sue

Cousins on Perseverance Trail
Cousins on Ryan Gullufsen's Salmon Boat

Uncle Mikey on Mt. Roberts
Me and Uncle Mikey on Mt. Roberts

Juneau City Hall

Self Portrait with Ferry
Mining Ruins



Sandy Beach

Neighborhood kids going salmon fishing




To be perfectly honest, I'm a bleeding-heart liberal born from a pair of bleeding-heart liberals. It's simply in my DNA. For most of my life, I've also been cradled in the nest of bleeding-heart liberals that is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It's been nice. Even when I lived in Texas, I was in Houston which is one of the blue-er enclaves in the land of Bushes and evangelical "Christians". I definitely ran into all sorts of folks with different views than mine, but I wasn't surrounded by them constantly- especially at Rice University where I got my undergraduate degree.

In addition to all of that, I work at The Boston Conservatory which is like the Bleeding-Heart Liberal Vatican of Boston. I was talking with a co-worker today about the few-and-far-between Republicans that we have on campus- whether they're staff, faculty or student- it must be difficult for them to be embedded in such politically-foreign community. I feel for them  because I'm about to feel their pain.

Alaska is a red state. Plain and simple. It always has been. It likely will be that way for many years to come. If I had a nickel for every time someone mentioned Sarah Palin during a discussion about my move to Alaska, I'd be BUYING a house there. A mansion. With a view of the Mendenhall Glacier. By the way, I've been to Wasilla several times. BARF. Of course, you cannot see Russia from there. The endless strip malls block the view.

I'm going to try to be very mindful of the fact that I'm going to be in the political minority in Alaska. I think the best strategy for survival (there are LOTS of guns in Alaska) is to keep my political views to myself and resist the urge to engage. I had a bit of a wake-up call this summer when I discussed ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) politics with Alaskan family members. WHOA. I had just finished reading Douglas Brinkley's "The Quiet World"- a history of natural resource management of the early 20th century in Alaska, and I felt I had a rather good handle on the current situation of the wild lands of Alaska. Well, my "liberal" Alaskan relatives has a VERY different opinion on the specific topic of ANWR- which thoroughly surprised me. It made me realize that no topic is safe- even with people I'm familiar with.

I'll be in Juneau for election day this year, but because of the timing and registration deadlines, I'll have to vote absentee in Massachusetts. That's probably better anyway. There's quite a close senatorial race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren here, and my vote could actually make a difference.

There's quite an extreme side of Alaskan politics that I know a little bit about. There's an Alaskan Independence Party that wants Alaska to secede from the union. In 2006, they tried to get a ballot initiative going to vote for secession. They were unsuccessful. Why do I keep moving to states that have these secession folks? I should move to Vermont next. My uncle Larry gave me a book to read last time I was in Juneau. It was basically an AIP wet dream. There's an uprising in Alaska to take back the motherland from the federal government which had become too involved in local resource management (a real topic of struggle between the local and federal agencies in Alaska). I seem to remember a large-scale battle taking place towards the end of the book along the road to Valdez, and the Alaskans were successful and became their own country. What a terribly written book. Great cover, though.

Also, speaking of similarities between Texas and Alaska, those two states rival each other for Most State Pride State. I mean, wherever you go in either state the flag is plastered on EVERYTHING. Lone Star beer is "The National Beer of Texas". I also have this t-shirt from my last trip to Alaska. I considered bringing it to Texas the last time I went, but I didn't feel like dying right then.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Yard Sale Win and the Soundtrack to My Move

Yes, that's a giant pile of cash on my kitchen table. Note to self: don't hesitate to hold a yard sale like that again in the future. Why? 1- It was a gorgeous day (once the brief rain storm cleared first thing in the morning) to hang out in my back yard all day. 2- I met all sorts of interesting characters. I really got to see the whole range of Jamaica Plain society. 3- I ended up with a pile of cash on my kitchen table and a MAJOR dent into the pile of stuff I had to get rid of. I'm really down to the end of the process. PHEW.

I'm feeling better after my "bad moment" day on Friday. I received a few kind words from various folks, and a good night's sleep afterwards didn't hurt either. I'm sure I will continue to struggle with the notion of the "end of my life as I know it", but I'm going to try my best to stay positive and motivated to make the most out of my last days here in Massachusetts. I'm also feeling a little restless. I'm really looking forward to the move being done with. There's so much preparation and waiting, and I'm not the most patient person.

I drove down to Cape Cod this morning. It's a GORGEOUS day today. Dad's making lasagna in the kitchen, and I'm watching Sunday afternoon Patriots football. Pretty sweet way to spend the day, I say.

View from my parents' deck on Cape Cod

A few days before I moved away from Houston in 2004, my good friend, Grant, gave me 2 or 3 CDs of the band, Muse. If you don't know them already, do yourself a favor and pick up one of their more recent albums (they're all good, but they've been getting better and better with each album). Anyway, I pretty much wore holes in those discs during those first months back in Massachusetts, and whenever I hear those songs, I still can remember how I was feeling back then. We all have those pieces of music that invoke strong memories of people, places or events. That's why music is so important and powerful. Whenever there's an major event- a joyous wedding or a tragic death, music is always somehow involved. Music can help us give more definition to our emotions.

I'm wondering what my music I will gravitate to in the coming weeks and months. Well, it turns out that Muse is releasing a new album on October 2. What timing! They've already released some of the album, and if it's at all indicative of what the rest will sound like, I'm going to be quite pleased. The crazy thing about "The 2nd Law" is that the subject of the album is about our unsustainable environmental and technological practices. I'm getting the hell away from the over-developed, over-populated east coast to be in Alaska. I think the subject matter is really going to resonate with some of the reasons for my move. Here are two videos from the new album. Man, they're straight up copying some Naqoyqatsi action in the second one. I still like it. :)