Sunday, April 30, 2017


The boy who's been running back and forth in front of the stage, chasing a ball, chasing some girls, chasing a different ball, running circles around the people who are dancing to the band playing, is now on stage as the band breaks down after their set. The DJ plays reggae, but the kid has snuck behind the drumset and is playing some quite passable riffs and fills, just not in time with the music.

"Of course the hyper kid is a drummer," I say to Katie, who nods. 

"He's actually pretty good," she observes as the real drummer comes up in the middle of what sounds like a solo the kid lifted off of Lars Ulrich, grabs the cymbal to mute it, and makes a slashing movement across his throat with his other hand.
One year ago: Spooky
Two years ago: Nothing
Three years ago: Public Service

Genuine French Experience

"Oh, I don't know what I want," Katie says when faced with the bewildering array of choices at the sandwich place our friend recommended.

"Well, hurry, we close in five minutes," the server says deadpan in his thick French accent, despite the fact that the sign right next to him says they don't close until five in the morning.

"I love the French busting each other's balls," Katie says later. "It should be an Olympic sport."
One year ago: Spooky
Two years ago: Some Nights Are Better Than Others
Three years ago: Work/Life Balance
Four years ago: Is Neither Okay?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Slim to None

The water looks green from the shore, but out here, where I'm standing, it's incredibly clear, shading into blue further out, and I find my heart is pounding. I haven't been in the ocean for over a year, and my brain is teeming with sharks and sudden drop-offs into abysmal darkness.

If I slow down for a second, though, I can see it's like standing on the edge of a forest, a huge, planet covering forest, and in this shallow water right now I'm barely in the stand of trees outside some suburban home in Connecticut. Giant, devouring beasts may lurk somewhere out in the darkness, but here? my chances of disaster are slim.
One year ago: Used To It
Two years ago: Intrusive
Three years ago: It Was Britta from "Community"
Four years ago: Agreed

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Not Their Type

"So they won't let you bring your bike up in the freight elevator before 9:30 AM," my boss tells me apologetically. "Maybe if you ask one of the men at the security desk they might be able to bend the rules a little...?"

"Well," I say ruefully, recalling standing at the front desk being ignored many times while the security guards at my building flirted, "I might have better luck if I was young, attractive black woman."

"I mean, they do have a type," my boss acknowledges.
One year ago: "Creative"
Two years ago: All In My Head
Three years ago: And Done a Better Job, Too

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This Old Thing?

"We fucked up," I say to Katie. "Cat's out of food."

I was really the one who forgot, though, so back out into the misty night I go as is: t-shirt, plaid shorts I wore biking earlier that night, and flip-flops.

As I get to the counter at the 24-hour grocery with the cans, the friendly cashier looks me up and down and smiles, then says, "Casual night?"
One year ago: Resonance
Two years ago: Formalities
Four years ago: Sympathy for the Elf Locks

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring Cold Prevention

When the tickle in your sinuses starts to threaten a real illness, simmer: 1 one-inch piece of ginger, grated into two cups water, for about five minutes. Then, remove from heat and add two cloves of crushed garlic, a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, the juice from a lemon, and honey - the recipe says "to taste," but know that nothing is going to really make it taste "better."

The plants having sex is getting to be a bit much, even for me, and I don't have any allergies (but is that true?). Katie took a 24-hour pill last night to deal with her allergies, but all it did was give her an existential crisis that she compared to being stalked by a bear.
One year ago: The Acoustics of Wealth
Two years ago: Dinner Table Conversation
Three years ago: On the Boundary Between Public and Private Life
Four years ago: Eternal Arm Bar
Nine years ago: 4-25-08 in which I find out that, in fact, it is not as dire as it seemed

Monday, April 24, 2017

Don't Give Up

"You wanna sit?" the woman sitting in front of me on the subway asks the woman by the door. It's a crowded car, and as she struggles, child on her hip, through the morass to the proffered seat, I realize I'm right in the way and move further down the aisle.

But just as I let go of the pole, the train jerks forward, jolting me sideways. I flail at the pole, narrowly managing to grab it, but not before I bend in half at the waist like a "greater-than" symbol, and I can feel all my back and core muscles screeching like train brakes to haul me back upright, until I stand, panting slightly, the small of my back complaining bitterly, and watch the woman with the kid give up before she gets to the seat, and the woman who offered it shrug and sit back down.
One year ago: Work Ethic
Two years ago: Hell is Other People
Three years ago: Start Over
Four years ago: Boring Dreams
Nine years ago: 4-24-08 I May Be One of Those People

Sunday, April 23, 2017


Just when I think my legs are going to fall off, when it seems like the uphill climb on this bridge will never end, we reach the apex near the middle of the river on our long bike ride back from Manhattan. We can see up and down the river, sunlight shimmering on the water, boats slowing splitting the waves into whitecapped wakes, and then, seemingly with no effort on our part, we start to sail down the other side, coasting towards terminal velocity down the span into Brooklyn.

Katie points out the guy in front of us riding his fat-tired beach cruiser.  He has pulled the front wheel off the ground in a wheelie, and so he rides down the bridge on only his back tire, while his front wheel twists and pull course corrections out of seemingly invisible currents, and I feel totally inadequate, riding around with both tires on the ground like a common peasant.
One year ago: Rich People Medicine
Two years ago: Freedom/Invisibility
Three years ago: They're Not There

Oneness Into Oneness

Katie kneels on the marble border edging the pool. "That's how you lose your phone," she sings to herself as she balances it right at the waterline to try and photograph the ripples spreading out from the impact of each raindrop that falls from the sky.

"I really love the circles," she explains, coming back over to where I stand smiling and watching her. I imagine each drop as a life, falling from oneness of cloud into oneness of pool, descending in nothingness as it falls, until it resolves back into the whole, but when I try to explain it, it just sounds overwrought, and nothing like what I mean.
One year ago: Where Does Depression Hurt?
Two years ago: Mistrust
Three years ago: Flags and Bags
Four years ago: Leaking Light

Friday, April 21, 2017

Making Your Person Laugh

His pale white skin still bears the pallor of winter, like he's been living under some kind of moist rock, but his girlfriend has a healthy tint of brown. She's smiling slyly at him as they walk by on the other side of the Starbucks window where I'm nursing this tea.

She says something out of one side of her mouth, checks for his reaction out of the corner of her eye. He throws his head back, mouth wide, laughing hard and big, and her now satisfied smile curls up the corners of her mouth a little bit more.
One year ago: I'm Kinda the Worst
Two years ago: Fanboying
Four years ago: By the Time It's Here, It's Gone
Nine years ago: 4-21-08 Sinus redux

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ah, Youth

Good looking guy with guitar in the subway station sings "I'm Only Sleeping" exactly opposite the meaning of the song. His voice careens wildly in and out of key as he yelps and hollers lyrics meant to be crooned.

A young woman about his age walks by and openly stares. He is really good-looking, it's true: long-ish, shaggy black hair and strong, straight jawlines and swooping cheekbones, a guitar covered in stickers, an open wound of a guitar case ready to take whatever spare change a friendly soul might feed it. 
One year ago: Sleepy
Two years ago: Turn Down for What?
Three years ago: Keep Your Vestments On

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Stepping On My Line

I ride up just as he's unlocking his bike from the "1-Hour Parking 9 AM to 5 PM" sign by the grocery store. I even have my line all prepared: "Don't you love it when somebody's pulling out of a space just when you drive up?" which, while a little lame, is friendly enough to probably elicit a smile.

While I wait to say my line, I take him in: skinny muted gold chinos, soft white button down under an also skinny bomber jacket, no helmet, fashionably trimmed beard, meanwhile I'm sweaty and red-faced from my training ride in mountaineering pants, a grey jacket and a bright yellow helmet over what I'm sure is the same goofy expression Katie says I always get when I think I'm about to say something particularly clever.

He keeps his head down and barely makes eye contact as he scoots past me and away down the street, and I lock my bike up in silence with my line still rattling around in my head.
One year ago: Platform Shoes
Two years ago: I Speak for the Trees
Three years ago: Flowers
Four years ago: Angry Dance

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


It's my favorite song right now, or one of them anyway, but it's time to walk the dog, so I do a quick fade out by turning down the volume (to avoid the jarring disconnect of just hitting stop - it's a technique I learned from an old friend that I no longer speak to who fancied himself something of a DJ without a dancefloor), grab the leash and take Coco downstairs.

When I come back up, Katie looks at me thoughtfully. "You're perfectly willing to stop a movie in the middle, or a TV show, or a song, to go do something else, and I think there's a connection between that and your writing."

"You'd never stop in the middle of reading a book, or in the middle of yoga," she adds.
One year ago: All's Well That Ends
Two years ago: The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei
Three years ago: Adultery?
Four years ago: You Make My Life Better
Nine years ago: 4-18-09 Making "Friends"

Monday, April 17, 2017


"I fooled around with my novel for twenty years at various day jobs," Terry says to me as I'm getting ready to ride home after my writing group meeting. "Finally, at 47, I just decided that I didn't want to hit fifty years old without having done something, finished something."

"And it turned out so much better than I ever could have hoped," he concludes. "Scott, if you're still thinking about it, it's still alive."
One year ago: Let Me Know How it Works Out
Two years ago: Translation
Four years ago: Like Caesar
Nine years ago: 4-17-08 Yeah, me too, kid.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen

Katie sees him first: a tiny black head bobbing in the waves of this little inlet on the coast of Red Hook, his snout pointed toward shore, rising and falling with the surf. "Is that a dog?"

But no one, not the dog, his owner standing on the shore, or the many spectators, none of them seem concerned, so I try to calm my anxiety and watch him swim patiently into shore, only for his owner to pick up something from the ground again and throw it into the water, chased by the dog - a rock.

It seems unfair, a game of fetch with no chance of the dog ever retrieving anything as one by one the stones his owner throws sink into the murky green, and yet he still dutifully splashes out and swims back in, over and over.
One year ago: None of Your Business
Two years ago: Getting It Done

Holy Saturday

As soon as we climb in the car, our host for brunch today, who's been kind enough to come pick us up at the train station, hands us cocktails. "Roadies!" he announces happily, driving the wrong way out of the parking lot without incident.

The cocktails taste like Creamsicles to me (they turn out to be peach vodka, orange juice, triple sec, and a lime wedge): sweet, with a little bit of a grainy texture from all the sugar, but when I mention this to Katie, she shrugs.

"Tastes like college to me," she says.
One year ago: None of Your Business
Two years ago: Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)
Three years ago: Brush My Hair
Four years ago: Home is Where You Don't Need to See

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Good Friday

Even though there's hardly anyone in the station, we walk at the same pace we always do: fast. I get down to the platform and there's hardly anyone there for a few minutes, before a few more trickle down and we end up with our own mini-crowd.

The train pulls into the station, mostly empty, plenty of seats and lots of room in the center of the car, and one woman, watches the train's arrival with great interest. She peers through the windows as they flash by, her simile widening with each passing empty subway car.
One year ago: Facebook Disagreement
Two years ago: This Calls for Wisdom
Three years ago: The Wisdom of Children
Four years ago: Home is Where You Don't Need to See
Nine years ago: 4-14-08 Seriously? Fuck Darth Maul. And Muggers.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hidden Messages

Subway ad posters lining the station, framed with tidy black borders on the vaguely institutional tiles of the station walls (like school bathroom walls or gym showers).

Someone, maybe several someones, has peeled the posters off in strips and jagged chunks, almost invariably defacing pictures of women, to reveal the posters layered underneath, a substrate of hidden messages, out-of-date targeted marketing. Scarlett Johansen, moodily contemplating the ghost in her shell, has had her right breast skinned away to reveal what looks like a chubby baby's arm; a family in cheery Christmas sweaters is torn in half from the waist down, and underneath lies a half naked couple in shades of gray, heads missing, grimly and passionately embracing.

The brakes of a train pulling into the station squeak complaints, wheels grumble over uneven patches of track, both speaking languages I don't speak, but understand.
One year ago: Unfair Advantage
Two years ago: Under My Breath
Four years ago: Negotiating Alone Time
Nine years ago: 4-13-08 Duly Noted

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Breaking the Block

The story that has been beating me, that has repeatedly defeated me this week,  the bane of my existence because I can't find an ending to it - now I know what to do. In an effort to break my blocks, I go to the one reliable source of chaos in my life - the tarot deck, and whatever card I draw will be the ending to my story.

During lunch at work, I sit at my desk, concentrate, sense the cards insist upon their order in the world, and I draw the Ace of Pentacles reversed, a sign of pleasure at the expense of prudence, ambition without planning, finances scattered to the winds, and immediately I can see how perfect it is as an ending: it's organic, it's real, it'll be downbeat without feeling forced.

Later that night, at home, I sit in front of my computer, the cursor blinking, without a single new word written, no idea how to translate my vision into reality, not even sure why I thought it was such a good idea in the first place.
One year ago: Falling in Love
Two years ago: Drugs are a Drag
Three years ago: The Joys of Adulthood
Four years ago: Lock it Up in the Memory Vault
Nine years ago: 4-12-08 One block this morning in Crown Heights

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Learning to Distrust Yourself

"Did we cross the Manhattan Bridge already?" the middle child asks.  

"No, sweetie, the Q crosses the Brooklyn Bridge," her mother answers distractedly, adjusting the sleeping youngest on her lap.

The oldest looks up with a furrowed brow at this and says, "It goes over the Manhattan Bridge, though."

"Honey, we go in to Brooklyn on the Brooklyn bridge," her mother replies, with a look expressing amazement at her child's apparent stupidity.
One year ago: Too Cheerful
Two years ago: The Back Catalog
Four years ago: We Made a Deal

Monday, April 10, 2017

One With the Pavement

I bomb down the hill, wheels spinning so fast that the tempo in my head transforms from individual drum hits into a single, blissful tone - completely in control, one with the wind and the pavement.

But at the bottom of the hill, an entire battalion of fire trucks with their lights flashing have the park road blocked off, and a bored looking cop stands next to an SUV, pointing everyone back the way they came. I turn around to follow a nearby exit path out of the park, and slow for a moment to try and peer further down the road at whatever flaming disaster the firemen are dealing with. 

I forget to take my feet out of the toe clips on my pedals, and, after a moment's slow-motion struggle, topple over. and crash to the ground.
One year ago: Validation
Nine years ago: 4-10-08 Hanging Bike

Isaiah 14:12

As we walk home from a late dinner, the full moon hangs high above us with a single bright object just beneath, but when I guess as to it being either Mars or Jupiter, Katie asks, "Why isn't it Venus, again?"

"Venus is usually down by the horizon, and it's either the Morning or the Evening Star, which is why it's often associated with Lucifer," I say.

"But Venus is a girl," Katie objects.

"I mean, angels don't have sexes at all," I reply, and Katie nods thoughtfully.
One year ago: Time Flies
Two years ago: Timing
Three years ago: Speculations on a Past Life (With Tuna)
Four years ago: Sins of the Alpha Male
Nine years ago: 4-9-08 Shoes

Saturday, April 8, 2017

End Of a Long Day

"At the flea, there were these three girls in sexy dresses?" Katie says, lounging on the other side of the couch. "But like, a little too much: cut too high here, cut too low here, too tight here."

She lapses into silence and gazes with a pleased vacuity into the middle distance over my right shoulder until she notices me watching her expectantly.

"Oh, think that's all I've got," she finishes with an apologetic smile.
One year ago: Just for One Day
Two years ago: Not That it Bothers Me
Three years ago: Ex Marks the Spot
Four years ago: Justice Served With a Side of Awwwwww-yeah

Friday, April 7, 2017

At the Museum

Walking through the Emily Dickinson exhibit, I'm annoyed (but secretly delighted) to catch myself quietly humming "The Yellow Rose of Texas" under my breath.

I used to haunt museums like a hungry ghost, desperate for some spark of inspiration inducted to me through the relics of those I thought my betters, some touch of the divine to settle on my yearning soul. But here, amidst the faintly scrawled letters and emblems of loneliness (that wallpaper! those pressed flowers!), I feel, strangely, almost nothing.

"Be-cause I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for meeeeee," I sing to myself.
One year ago: Daily Goals
Two years ago: Why Would That Work?
Three years ago: Disrespect
Four years ago: Share the Glory
Nine years ago: 4-7-08 Flowing With the Tide

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Communication Issues

"And then, as if I didn't know what a calculator was, in the next email, they sent me a picture of one," I tell Katie as I get out of my work clothes. "I mean, they might just have been trying to be specific. Maybe they didn't think I was stupid."

"If they sent you a picture of a calculator," Katie says, "they definitely thought you were stupid."
One year ago: Momento Mori (Again)
Two years ago: Back and Forth
Three years ago: Watching the Trailers of British Films
Four years ago: Apparently, I'm Greedo (in Star Wars Monopoly)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


I sit on the stoop while Coco stands at the end of her leash, sniffing the air and resolutely ignoring our new friends, Casey the Bassett Hound and her owner.

"Oh, how nice of you to adopt a senior dog," the owner says when I mention that Coco was thirteen when we got her.

"Yeah, I mean, we love her," I say as Casey attempts to sniff Coco's butt, causing her to leap straight-legged into the air. "Honestly, though, Shibas only usually live about thirteen years, so we didn't really think she'd be around this long."
One year ago: Tiocfadih ar wha?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I've Got a Badu Reputation

"And that beautiful park by The Cloisters... Fort Tryon? Trye-onne? Tyrone," my roommate says, finally.

"'You better call Tyrone..., but you can't use my phone," I sing in my best Erykah Badu voice.

"Scott, you're alienating people, no one knows that song," Katie says, deadpan.

When I gasp in disbelief and reach for the remote, she adds, "Do not make me listen to..., oh, okay, fine."
One year ago: May I Have Another?
Two years ago: Race Relations
Three years ago: Giant Pustulant Anal Sore
Four years ago: Mama's Boy

Monday, April 3, 2017


"Ooooh, it's a corgi/husky hybrid!" says the enormous, blocky-looking nerd with the round head. He's referring to Coco, who resoundingly ignores him on her beeline to her favorite tree to pee. I say "nerd" advisedly, not as a pejorative: he's  a shambling stack of lumpy cubes with a sphere perched on top, wearing a suit jacket over a t-shirt with a molecule on it (without googling it, I'm going to say caffeine, just to look at him), and a goofy, earnest expression beneath his buzzcut hairdo.

When I gently correct him that Coco is, in fact, a Shiba Inu, he says, "Oh, I am familiar with the breed."
One year ago: Trains are Heavy, Possibly Also Your Mother
Two years ago: Hierarchies
Three years ago: Can't Stop. Won't Stop.
Four years ago: Why Do They Still Call Them "Straphangers?"
Nine years ago: 4-3-08 Knight of Pentacles

Sunday, April 2, 2017

What Cats Love

"But why would you bring a cat to the park?" Katie says, shaking her head. We're sitting beside the water up in Greenpoint after a bike ride and enjoying the spring day. A few yards away, a woman walks down the hill towards the East River while the black and white cat in her arms, realizing exactly what's going on, begins to systematically freak out in its attempts to escape.

"This park has two things: dogs and water... I mean... just, read the room," she finishes.
One year ago: Impatience, Pt. 2
Three years ago: Never Too Young to Start
Four years ago: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

An Age of Miracles and Wonders

"Bluetooth is kind of amazing," I say to our roommate by way of a opening.

He raises his eyebrows in a "How so?" kind of way, which I take as invitation to continue. "You can listen to your music through these speakers and leave the house, and when the connection goes out of range, your phone just knows to shut off," which, as I I say it, sounds a little "duh" obvious, no matter how profound it sounded in my head.

"Yeah and you don't have to worry about this," he replies, pantomiming walking away and getting jerked back by an invisible cord.
One year ago: If A=B, and B=C, then A=C
Two years ago: Clouds (3 - Head as Thoughtful as an Empty Sky)
Three years ago: Can't Fight What Isn't There
Four years ago: Lucky
Nine years ago: 4-1-08 Not an April Fool's Joke