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From pole to pole

6 Mar

From pole to pole

I got halfway to the train today before realizing that I’d forgotten my bag at home. On the walk back to retrieve it, I took a different route and basked in the sunshine. It was one of those warm early spring afternoons that is probably foggy on the western side of the city, but the Mission was nearly balmy. All the walking gave me ample time to think.

My mind went to 2007, when I considered heading to California. I was ready to leave Chicago, but I was also scared of making such a large and literal move. I spent a lot of time going over what-if scenarios — what if I don’t like it, what if I don’t make friends, etc. Eventually I thought, “Well, if that happens, then I can always move back.” Fear — at least the worry we dream up for ourselves, anyway — is actually an easy demon to slay.

Anyway, when the furniture was sold and the Chicago days were dwindling, I specifically remember thinking, “I will always remember this time as a point when I knew my life was going to change in a big way.” I love those moments. Like when Jesse and I stared upward on a summer night, I knew I’d remember that as one of the best scenes of our friendship.

Sometimes you can identify your life’s turning points as they happen: graduation, first job, moving to a new city, having children. Other times, it takes time to look back and realize how some of the most meaningful things start out unassumingly. I think of listening to Fifteen records (actual records!) with Trevor in 1996, for instance, and how it was impossible back then to know what a close friend he’d become.

Today I’m again at a fork in the road, and I am dropping the compass in the dirt. It is scary and exciting at the same time. (Two roads diverge! Captain of my soul! Choose your own adventure! Other highfalutin literary allusions!) But for now, it’s time to lace up my orthopedic dancing shoes.

Jet black to the center

15 Nov

Jet black to the center

After having my leg wrapped up for six weeks, I wanted to treat myself to some sort of sitting-in-water activity. My initial plan was to rent a car and head to Calistoga for a sybaritic weekend of hot tubs and mud baths, but it was too expensive. Remembering how Josh once raved about his time in a sensory deprivation tank, I thought, “Enh, why not?” and signed myself up for an hour in a float tank. (more…)

Top five most relevant Buffy episodes

16 Oct

Karinsa used to have a Nick Hornby tribute diary, and it was always fun to read. So in the interest of continuing her legacy, and in furthering my Buffy love, I present the show’s top five episodes that have been on my mind lately. They will make no sense to you if you are not into the show, obviously, and yes, I am fully aware that it is silly to identify with a show this much.

5. Chosen — Between the 30 Republican senators who say “up with gang rape” and this girl and this bigot, it has not been a great week for womanhood. I am imagining these jerks as Caleb, and visualizing Buffy putting an end to this mishigas.

4. Once More With Feeling — One of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen on television. Spike’s “If my heart could beat, it would break my chest” is one of the best lines from the series, and what about alienated, numb Buffy! The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. (It is impressively easy, however, to hear Anthony Stewart Head sing. Voice like butter!)

3. The Prom — Anyone who doesn’t get misty-eyed when Angel shows up at prom (to the Sundays!) has carpet on his heart. And poor Buffy, so forlorn while Angel does the “noble” thing. (I would like to point out that when all is said and done, Angel winds up wanting her cookies anyway.)

2. Lovers Walk — Angel reads Sartre, Spike is love’s bitch, and Sid Vicious makes a cameo. (Aurally, at least.) In typical Whedonian fashion, everyone suffers, and there’s no tidy ending to make the episode end on an up note. It’s not simple, and it’s all believable.

1. The Body — Quiet and real. I don’t think I can watch this episode for a while, but I keep thinking of how Buffy finds Joyce and says, “Mom. Mom? Mommy?” In our last days together, I similarly switched from Dad to Daddy. The death of a parent is particularly difficult because it forces you to be an adult at a time when you want nothing more than to be comforted like a child.