Thursday, January 22, 2009

a grotesquely serendipitous combination

As seen in my Google Reader this morning: 

(click to enlarge... or don't)

Some things just need to be shared.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

avian drifters

[natural bridges state beach, santa cruz, california]

That's right, it's Skywatch Friday again (where did the week go?)! Check out the views here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


omigosh omigosh!

Monday, January 12, 2009

plop plop fizz fizz

For the most part, I consume a fairly healthy diet. But when I feel even mildly ill, all I want is Saltine crackers and 7up. What with the high fructose corn syrup and all, I know that I cannot be biologically evolved to crave these highly-processed foodstuffs (can you tell that I've been reading Michael Pollan?), so I'm sure it's a cultural thing. No doubt the connection is largely psychological: I have Saltine-and-7up memories from childhood sick days, and somehow the pair has been built up in my mind as a semi-magical elixir, despite how unhealthy I know the components to be. I figure, since I never eat Saltines or drink 7up unless I'm feeling sick, it's not so bad to let them sneak in a couple of days a year, right? If nothing else, they make me think that I feel better. And they give me some calories when I don't feel like getting them from anything else.

What do you crave when you're sick?

Friday, January 9, 2009

skywatch flashback

[Kabah, Yucat√°n, Mexico. June 2006]

Highlights from my visit to this site:
1) watching the golondrinas (swallows) flitting in and out of the archways
2) witnessing the outburst of an exhausted student in the group, who exclaimed, among other things, that I and two of my friends should just go back to the U.S. because we thought that we were Mexican. what?

Watch the skies from your desktop:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

longing for something like home

I'm not quite who I want to be. 

Ultimately, that's a good thing. If my becoming were complete, then there would be no more being. So, as long as I am not quite who I want to be, I continue to be. And as long as I work toward realizing—and continue to refine—that vision of who I want to be, I continue to become.

The problem with the discrepancy between who you are and who you want to be is that, for the most part, people don't see who you want to be. They don't see who you are becoming. They see only who you are. 

To complicate things further, other people's conceptions of who you are differ both from your own and from one another. Each person whose path crosses yours, defines you (whether consciously or not) in terms of any of an infinite number of combinations of names and images, spoken words and written correspondence, facial expressions and physical movements, diplomas and categorical labels, achievements and failures, moments of laughter and silences—all things which are perceived externally and empirically.

So how to get them to see that vital part of who you are which is who you are becoming, the you that you want to be but that has not yet breached the surface? How to get them to see that you need them in order to become who you want to be? That you need them to believe in you because you don't always believe in yourself?

An acquaintance, whom I admire immensely, provides a moment of light: "do what your passions demand of you, and keep your eyes open to the people that you'll see around you." In them you will find the people who can see who you are becoming, the muses who inspire you with who they are becoming, the friends who believe in you and encourage the you that you want to be.

It is easy to get impatient and try to go about it the other way around, only to run into a wall, become frustrated and disillusioned, and then to pick yourself up again and move along okay until you hit another wall. And then, insight from a smoother traveler, and you see that you've been trying to do things backwards. You see why we need each other?

Today I am longing for something like home, but home to me is little more than an abstraction. Today home is a dream of a magical and brilliant place where I am becoming who I want and need to be, where I learn and play with friends of mutual understanding and inspiration.

Today I am too physically and emotionally exhausted to do much in the way of building that home, or even selecting the site. Today I long only to be in a frail substitute for home: in bed, snug under the covers, warm and toasty in my apartment where the overactive radiator is getting its way no matter what the settings on the knob say. It's stubborn, but at least it's comforting.

Monday, January 5, 2009

what i realized with despair as i tried to fall asleep last night

A vegan diet precludes chocolate.


If I were Vanessa, I would have had a big bowl of wheat chex for breakfast this morning.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

a year in preview: ABCs of 2009

Ah, the new year's resolutions. I never really liked that terminology. I think it's because the word resolution implies that a person means to do away with a problem that was left unsolved at the end of the last year, possibly due to a broken resolution made at the beginning of the last year. And so the typical new year's resolutions tend to be about the same every year, most items on the list remaining perpetually unresolved.

I am certainly not immune to the allure of new beginnings, but I prefer to think of the new year as a blank page rather than a blank slate. I'm taking pen to paper on a new chapter, not an entirely new book. And I didn't burn everything that my life wrote in previous years.

Well, now that I've set the semantic scenery (a conspicuous linguist am I), I give you now my list of twenty-six goals, predictions, and dreams for this year that we number 2009. Question them, critique them, adapt them into your own lists, make alternate suggestions, mock them; just please, don't call them resolutions. Thank you.

ABCs of skylark's 2009:
Canadian escapade
Dinner parties
Eccentric acquaintances
Forest exploration
Grad school applications
Hikes with new buddies
Iphone purchase
John Steinbeck pilgrimage
Kiwicha in Bolivia
Long bike rides
Modern dance
New blog
Oboe performance
Published translations
Quechua classes
Romance and heartbreak
Sufjan live
Twitter tweets
Underground art
Vegan experimentation
Weekend in Austin
Xerophyte adoption
Yuppietown to hippietown

Friday, January 2, 2009

sky of eighteen winters

Lake Kittamaqundi, Columbia, Maryland
26 December 2008