Moments of coziness

I found this shot of my old bedroom. It was so incredibly warm and cozy, even when the house was 40F cold and I could see my breath. So naturally, I got to thinking about all these moments of coziness that I’ve lived and the stories behind them. 

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I had this room where the side door would take you straight to the garden. The walls were bright orange and I woke up happy every day. 

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(Photo cred Mary Kate) I spent a good part of summer days and nights out on the sleeping porch. 

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PT

Going to Port Townsend for Yom Kippur is ironic. It’s the one day during the year that you can’t eat or drink a thing and Port Townsend is the place that aligns with all things food related. Starting with Uncle Robbie’s backyard filled with tomatoes, peas, chard, corn, apples, pears, a few chickens, and the occasional deer, there to cherry pick the bounty.

His harvest lasts all year and he leaves most of it right where it grew. When he wants broccoli he goes to the back forty and pulls it out of the ground. He’s simultaneously the town’s coffee broker. He buys in bulk from Ethiopia, Columbia and he does full bodied roasts in his shed, with help from a retired popcorn popper. His smoked salmon connect is reliable to say the least and apple’s are falling out of the tree as you read this.

Fasting is never all that fun, but it always comes to an end. As soon as it did, we picked up where we left off and went right back to feasting. 

Uncle Robbie built this house with his own hands. It’s an all-time great. 

Kachemak Bay. Home of our Alaskan family cabin, to be explored and (maybe even) restored sometime 2015-16. 

Just prior to a big afternoon nap. 

Town Shit - Seattle Times

When I first got out to Seattle, around March, it had this glazed over foggy feel. The air was crispy, fresh and chilled. Enough to be comfortable walking around in jeans and a jacket, and nearly always wanting to have a rain coat within reach. 

I liked the city immediately. It’s a comfortable place, where people don’t feel the need to show off. 

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Port Townsend chotsky walk

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Extinguished camp vibes

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Hoop dreams deflate

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Muddied up pre-summer

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Dead end street

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Morning coffee and bagels

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#Trappedinthecity

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Morning coffee

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By the time summer came around, the sleeping porch was in full effect. On a lazy afternoon day, there’s no place you’d rather be. 

La Missíon

[NOTE: scrolling through my draft box I found this unpublished little piece dating back from February. Though I have not posted in months, I haven’t forgotten about you; quite the opposite in fact. I’ve been training harder than ever and prepping for the next big thing. As they say, keep your ears to the grindstone.]

The first time I caught myself in the Mission, it was nearing sunset and I was unfamiliar with the streets I was cruising. I had spent just under an hour on a city bus ride through the hills and at that point there was nothing I wanted more than a road bike to make my way on. 

But I had my two feet, and a roll of film at my disposal. I walked past more taco shops than I’ve likely ever seen. Peeking in to a few different bakeries I could see the baked treats lining the windows, the kind where you put them on a trey with tongs, designed to get streetwalkers to stop in for a bite.

In the Mission color is everywhere. It’s bright yellow, baby blue and green. But at this time businesses are shutting down and I see shop-keepers locking their doors for the night. 

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Newspaper clippings

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RIP 

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Sun’s fading

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Super Discounts

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The back alley

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The cool air hit me straight in the face and I felt like an outsider in a foreign land. The more I thought about it though, the more I felt like that was perfectly fine. 

Links

Dead Poet’s Society- Seize the Day 

Seinfeld tackles Social Networks

In The Tape Deck 

The Screaming Eagle of Soul (Charles Bradley) - Why is it so hard? 

John Martyn and David Gilmour - One World

Take The Jump

Does it scare the shit out of you? Will it keep you up at night if you don’t do it? Is it the opposite of the safe option?

You’re standing atop a 50 foot rock, looking into a body of water that will easily swallow you up in your entirety, hardly even being displaced when you plop in. You’re thinking- holy shit am I really going to do this? But here’s the problem, you’re thinking too much. Sometimes you have to close your eyes and leap out into the unknown. It comes down to your gut feeling and only you know what’s best. 

You’ll be just fine. 

I decided on a Wednesday, packed up my stuff on a Thursday and started my journey on a Friday. I left the comfort of a place filled with people I love and moved to a place where I can count the people I know on one hand. Why? Because there’s too much to see. Because it will be there when I get back. Because it’s scary.

The first time I ever made it out to Rainbow Falls it was pitch black at 10 at night. I couldn’t see the pool of water below me and as I made my way up the backside of the rock, I could feel it in each step. It’d be far easier to stop, turn back and watch from afar. My parents would say don’t do that. Why risk it? What’s the point? 

Next thing I know, I’m swimming back to shore, thinking damn, that was the best thing I did all summer. Do I have time to go again?

So what I’m trying to say is: take the jump, or consider it, at least. 

Links

Steve Fugate- Trail Therapy

Lauren McCullaogh- The Not Dying Girl  (The last story on the page)

Bigfoot Country

In the Tape Deck

UGK- International Players Anthem

One More Note On Food - Uncle Steve

Diagram of things to talk aboutimage

A few years back my uncle Steve, one of my favorite people of all time, was in a work accident when he fainted and hit his head on his desk. He made it out surprisingly ok, despite banging up his head pretty damn well. The only thing was he woke up and couldn’t taste anything. He went to the doctor, who said it was actually pretty common and that his taste might come back, but then again it might not. 

For most people, life would go on seemingly unaffected, but for Steve this was something different. You see, Steve is a lover of all foods. And when I say a lover, I’d say that upwards of 30% (Edit: 50-60%) of what Steve and I talk about is food. And I mean that with the utmost respect.

As you can imagine this accident broke his heart. But he didn’t sit around and wail about his misfortune, he went right back out and continued in his food passion, as if nothing had changed. He’ll tell me about the burger spot I have to try and then I’ll call him up and tell him my thoughts on the patty, the bun, and the fries. This stuff is no joke and we’ll discuss it in detail. 

I hold this hope that his taste will someday return on a random morning and that it will stay until he gets old. Because when you get old, taste starts to decline anyways.*

Since you, in all likelihood have perfect taste and sense of smell, go out and enjoy the hell out of that dish in front of you. 

Whatever it is, be the most buttery biscuit topped with gravy and fried chicken or a mundane meal of eggs you’d rather share under the table with your pet dog. Taste it for Steve. 

* Judging by the way my grandpa puts salt on everything.

Sunset Stories

I moved to the Sunset and didn’t think much of it. It was far out and away from the city and for all intensive purposes, a trek to get to. My cousin, who I was moving in with, told me it was a half hour to the city, which turned out to be an ambitious time frame. I was told that San Francisco was the single city in the country that had lower rent near the beach because it was so cold and foggy all the time. I believed it too. 

It took me a week or two to realize just how close I now live to the ocean. With plenty of time on my hands, I’d make my way down to the beach before sunset. Just in time to see hoards of surfers running across the highway, trying to catch the days final rays. Taking off my socks just past the great highway, I’d prepare for the cold sensation of my toes hitting the sand then the freezing cold water. image

Sun’s running away

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Can’t cage a tree

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Vicente St

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Ocean Beach

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Winding Road

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City on the hill

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Victory lap

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Standing at attention

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Feeling the breeze

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The Great Gnar

As for me, It’s just fine being an observer. Taking the time to reflect on the day just spent and the one coming up. Looking out for Jelly Fish and crabs and wondering where I can go to get a crab pot, so I can come back with dinner. Every step comes with another sand dollar. I try to stay in between the lines of some heavy tractor that left it’s imprint on the beach. But permanence on the beach lasts right until the tide washes it all away. I hang out until the cold becomes too much and then start back up the hill. 

Links

Being Blind

In the Tape Deck

Nick Drake 

 

Point Reyes in Winter

My man JK flew south with the ducks from the Oregon cold, so we made up some loose plans “to go see something and do something.” I won’t say “adventure” here because JK has a peculiar and very narrow definition of adventure and hates when it gets abused. If you are confused I can give you a few parameters to his definition: 

  1. One must be in the woods without a map
  2. One must have no technological advances besides a fire-starter
  3. You must have no destination 

In all reality his guidelines are less dramatic but JK was giving me shit about it nonetheless. 

I didn’t know it at the time, but JK’s good friend and mentor Cool W was hanging around the same parts of Northern California, something highly unexpected but exciting. What I know about Cool W is he likes to kick back with a bottle of Wild Turkey and shoot the breeze and after a day spent hiking out at Point Reyes, that’s exactly what we did. image

Sandy

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Taking off the moon boots

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Parts Unknown

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Fire Trail 

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Sun’s going down

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JK and I made our way with Neil Young on the tape deck. I was telling him a story about how when Young finished Harvest, he took David Crosby out on a rowboat in his backyard lake. Harvest played in “real life surround sound” with the left side audio belting from one barn and the right side audio belting from another. We walked the beach and JK dove right into the geologic patterns, tectonic plates and shifting sands of Point Reyes. All making me think, damn, you don’t have to be in a classroom to do some serious learning. In fact, geology comes to life when seen in real time. 

When we finished our day hike through a fire trail loop we headed out to meet Cool W. 

When these two get together, you really have to watch out. W on the left is telling dirty jokes, to the point at which JK says Cool W you have got to cool out. Cool W says man, what we all need to do is laugh a little bit more. 

In the tape-deck

John Martyn- Over The Hill

Elliott Smith- Trouble 

Links

Society of Elegant Persons

Good Day Blimp 

Good Eats NYC

My family talks a lot about food. It often gets to the point where we’ll be eating one meal and talking about the one coming up a day later. I suppose it all started with Grandpa Joe. As long as I can remember he has been passionate in the way he talked about food. He talked about my grandmas esteemed Matzah Balls, like he was being paid to do so. We’d have a family dinner and he’d drop a line something to the tune of, “You know grandma’s Matzah Balls were so light they could damn near fly away.” This was one of the ways grandpa showed his affection. 

Early on in my NYC experience, my buddy and roommate Josh wrote a hand scribbled list that quickly became my gold standard for hole in the wall heaven. As I made my way through New York City, finding these highly recommended and often well disguised food establishments, I tried to capture these plates in all their majesty. Some were disgustingly greasy, some delicately sweet, and others well worth forgetting. 

Here’s a fixed course of some of my favorite food shots from NYC. I hope your mouth waters over the pizza and that you try to imagine the flavor of cereal milk infused soft serve, but fail. You won’t be able to comprehend how delightful this 5$ plate of noodles truly came to be, unless you try it for yourself. I’ll make no reservations, THIS IS TO MAKE YOU JEALOUS. 

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Read more to find out if this is real life?

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As Good As It Gets

Every so often it hits me. Sometimes at a Shabbat dinner, sometimes while scrolling through photos of the past few years and most always after developing a new roll of film. Sometimes it’s a Neil Young song that transports me to that spot overlooking the Rim of the World with a few of my closest friends in this world. Like, damn those times were good. Then it’s the track on Mona Bone Jakon that teleports me to the world of Harold and Maude, a world more fit for exploration, with no room for the stale or old. It’s a sentimental feeling that some would dismiss as soft. But they’re so far off it’s not worth your time, or mine. 

When I scroll back through my photos, I find flicks of my grandpa back when he was younger and stronger.  We were out at a burger shop, trying this wildly fat and greasy burger that had a “cheese skirt.” I remember how much grandpa loved it and how sick the burger made me. I’ll never forget Gramps walking back to the car with a shit-eating grin on his face, like he had conquered the world. At the time I figured it was due to his out-eating his grandkids, something he took great pride in, but that wasn’t it. It was because for him this was everything. He was with his grandkids and life was an adventure. 

I just watched As Good As it Gets, yesterday. Jack Nicholson, an OCD and near-senile grump in the film, is in a therapy room full of people it’s safe to assume have some large problems. He smiles, heading out the door and asks “what if this is as good as it gets?” And I think he’s right. Looking back it’s always easy to label those days far gone as the glory days. But in my case, as is yours, these are the glory days and this is your not so subtle reminder to get out there, “scrape your knees” and find whatever it is that gives you stories to tell. 

So that’s the motto. More trouble. More photos. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. 

As always, so much love, daps and thanks.

- Mike

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In the tape-deck

Talking Heads- Mind 

Van Morrison- Astral Weeks

Links

Early Stones Photos 

Disappearing Cultures