We’ve now been in Auckland for two months – here’s a quick summary of some differences between life here and life in the San Francisco Bay Area that have struck me, avoiding the most obvious, in no particular order:
- Almost all egg yolks are the gorgeous orange I associate with pastured eggs back home.
- We’ve traded burritos for fish & chips, and approximately 1,000 options for Chinese dumplings. Though we have found one brand of halfway decent corn tortillas, we’ve yet to find any tortilla chips or salsas worth buying again.
- Toilets don’t swirl the other way; in fact, they all seem to be low-flow, dual-flush… and what little water does go down, goes down straight.
- Big, fluffy clouds (with and without rain) pass through on a regular basis, which makes for lots of rainbows and generally dramatic skyscapes, particularly at sunset. It is quite different from the standard coastal Bay Area options of clear, fog, or total cloud cover.
- Pedestrians do NOT have the right-of-way.
My interview with climber, comedian, friend, and _____* Timmy O’Neill is now live on Xero Gravity, please check it out!
Timmy was a consistent presence during my Yosemite years, and he recently wrote a beautiful tribute to our late friend José, asking:
How do you bring someone long gone, back to life, and what are the physical and emotional artifacts that allow you to personify him?
I feel similarly trying to describe Timmy; *there are precious few words for describing those people who just vibrate at a higher level, even when they are still with us Continue reading
We were supposed to leave for NZ at the end of October, but stayed through the 3rd so we could catch Malian singer Rokia Traoré and her sweet, super tight band at the SF Jazz Fest. Seemed like an appropriate bookend to our San Francisco existence, since that’s where Scott and I spent our first date, too…
As soon as they started playing Amour:
…I was immediately reminded of this Khruangbin song:
As is frequently the case, the studio versions of both pale in comparison to the energy and complexity of the live performances
I’ve convinced myself that Feist’s I Feel It All video (I am in awe, I love it) influenced the first two thirds of Maggie Rogers’ video for Alaska… after which it’s no longer one take and falls apart for me, but I still love the song. I can find no evidence to support my hunch other than Maggie’s mention of Feist in this interview from 2013, have a look anyway.
Chris van Leuven spent quite a bit of time at our house in high school, so much so that I often thought of him as the third sibling in the family. Things at his house weren’t going that well, we gathered, but neither my brother nor I asked many questions. Instead, we would bring him home after our afternoon sessions at the local boulders or climbing gym. We’d let his endless stream of words, spoken in such animated, rapid succession that anyone else would have struggled to comprehend, melt into our own stories from the day. Often, all three of us would be speaking at the same time, but that didn’t hinder our understanding.
In the Spring of 1996, I was just finishing my first year of college in Montreal while Chris was actually living our high school dream of dirtbagging in Yosemite Valley. Continue reading
I found this video sometime in March or April and I’ve been meaning to post it since then, though there’s so much more about it that hits home now:
So many reasons to love someone; so many people to love for specific, incomplete reasons; so much hair-pulling over whether or not the “right person” (if there even is one) can ever meet all expectations; the combination of fear and relief inherent in choosing to extract oneself from that binary way of thinking; and wide-eyed wonder at the paradoxical experience of feeling simultaneously so free and so committed.
But mostly it delights me that my Dancing, Philosophy model human (see 0.33-0.36 in the video) doesn’t come in a box, that he doesn’t have an off button, and that he is moving with me to New Zealand.
I can’t believe I’m just discovering this now, it’s fitting my current keyhole perfectly. (I previously posted my favorite version of this song here.)
This song is everything I need right now:
As a words person, I’m frantically trying to learn the language it takes to describe the sonic landscapes that are really doing it for me these days, and thanks to everyone who’s been patient with me in trying to get more of it into my system (Evan Scott Matt and for the Flume tip, Samyak)!
It’s got all the swelling instrumentation, sweet layered vocals, and slow-attack bass of this:
…but with far more appropriate lyrics for my current state of mind: that strange sort of “anticipated grief” or pre-nostalgia that comes on the verge of a purposeful decision that’s going to change a Whole Lot all at once. [I’ve written previously about the related feelings that come after the shift.]
Plus a healthy dose of the same overall feeling — that I love, by the way — of Continue reading
While I’m on a roll with the live performance theme, here’s my favorite botched lyrics performance ever:
What I didn’t realize until just now is that she actually won two Grammy awards as a result of her amazing recovery, thanks again Google!