New Years Reso…ah, fuck that.

Seriously.

I didn’t really keep with mine from last year and I’m pretty sure you didn’t either.[1] So what’s with the guilt? No resolutions for this happy camper for 2012. Well, except that I have to go to the gym again. But that’s really more of a realization than a resolution.

And I need to find a new job. And move 3,000+ miles. More on that once things become more concrete.

Speaking of work though, looking back 2011 has been a year of devastating frustration. I’m glad this period will be over pretty soon and let’s hope I’m not jumping from the frying pan into the fire. But I’m glad for the experience and knowing what you don’t want is almost as good as knowing what you want, no?

Other things that happened in 2011: a bunch of friends moved away, which was sad. A found a bunch of new friends, which was nice, but also inherently sad, because I have to leave them behind soon. To which all I can say is, remember how we laughed. Looking back, it was really a year of losses, big and small. On the other hand, we are starting a new chapter in our lives and while this is scary it’s also exciting.

I cut my hair three weeks short of the end of the year. The long hair thing just got too annoying, especially after the hot summer, and I rarely wore it open anyway, so; it’s short-hair time again. Sooo much easier to take care of.

This year I also de-activated my Facebook account, because it just got too creepy, and it feels like being locked out of the party. But that’s okay. Every couple of weeks I’m tempted to re-activate it, but then I read something about Facebook’s privacy changes, interface changes, or what have you, and then I just can’t be bothered. I tried the Google+ thing, but man, that sure didn’t work out. So I don’t know, maybe I will be back, maybe I won’t. If I’m back, it’s all The Roc‘s fault. Fuck you, sheeple! I’m back on and learned about the lost toad-purse!!! And babies!!!!! You all thought you could keep me in the dark, but no more!!!!!! (Just in case though, Facebook Cookie Killer (Chrome) is being utilized quite often.)

The Wife is quilting and I’m needle-felting little friends that she says “look disturbing”. Speaking of which, very happy to have The Wife with me. 🙂

No new musical discoveries, although I’ve really dug Popol Vuh in the last third of 2011.

Anyway, even though my 2011 was more of the ‘meh & good riddance’ variety I hope your 2011 was okay and things went the way you hoped they would. If you can get off your butts and write I post about it on your blog I’d be delighted to read and comment on it.


[1] So I just looked at that post and that’s actually not 100% true. I did brew beer and I did take more photos. I did write more, mostly here thanks to the 2011 post a week challenge. However, I did not work out more and while my work-life balance is better, I’m still not handling stress that well.

Some #longreads for those cold December nights & some books for 2012

Every December every idiot comes up with lists, so this idiot is no different. So here goes.

First of all, if you haven’t subscribed to Longreads.com yet, shame on you. And even more so if you are not using Instapaper (http://www.instapaper.com/) to read them. Over the last year a ton of those long-form journalism websites cropped up and it has really been a blessing (besides Longreads there’s also Longform.org, Essayist, and Give me something to read).

Anyway, here are some of my favorites from the last couple of months.

Let It Bleed
Hard at work on his eighth novel, Deadwood author Pete Dexter still packs a punch
By Ellis E. Conklin
http://www.villagevoice.com/content/printVersion/3163351/

Stephen King, The Art of Fiction No. 189
http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/5653/the-art-of-fiction-no-189-stephen-king

Confessions of a Car Salesman
http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/confessions-of-a-car-salesman.phtml

Deep Intellect
Inside the mind of the octopus
BY SY MONTGOMERY
http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6474/

The Local-Global Flip, or, “The Lanier Effect”
A Conversation with Jaron Lanier
http://edge.org/conversation/the-local-global-flip

Raymond Carver, The Art of Fiction No. 76
http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/3059/the-art-of-fiction-no-76-raymond-carver


And while I did not manage to read some of the books I said I would a year ago, I did read some others and some of them are even recommendable!

  • A Song of Ice and Fire. This was somewhat of a guilty pleasure and The Wife pointed at me and laughed, but if J.R.R. Tolkin’s stories touched you in any way you will love this. If you decide to read this series (5 volumes so far) do yourself a favor and avoid to look or read anything about it. It has a lot of twists and turns and you’ll definitely find spoilers online, even in interviews with him. And now is a pretty good time to start, because George R.R. Martin is notorious to let years pass between volumes and volume 5, A Dance of Dragons, came out this year, 5 years after volume 4! It seems like there are two more volumes planned, so let’s hope he’ll be faster and doesn’t die before finishing the series.
  • On Food and Cooking. The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Not really a book book, but more a reference book. Still, it is a good and fun read and I always go back to it to look something up. Like brining, for example.
  • Running after Antelope. I’ve only known Scott Carrier from his radio pieces, which I loved, and his collection of short (non?) fiction is definitely worth reading. Laconic and melancholic, it’s a great read for a plane trip. Or a rainy weekend.
  • In the Heart of the Sea. The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. The sinking of the Essex due to getting rammed by a whale (!) is one of the sources of what became Moby Dick and was one of the biggest tragedies of its time. Nathaniel Philbrick does a great job of painting a picture of Nantucket, life aboard a whaling ship, and the effects of prolonged starvation on the human body. Plus, there’s cannibalism.
  • Lucifer Rising : A Book of Sin, Devil Worship and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Recommended to me by Barbeloh a while back, this is a nice primer on Satanism in music and popular culture. It’s definitely something of a Schweinsgalopp at times, but as an overview and outline it’s worth your time.
  • The Corrections. Yeah, so this one won a number of prizes and is used in literature courses and guess what? It’s actually really really good. And you should read it just the way I did: with no fucking clue what’s in store for you!

Additionally I read a ton of James Lee Burke’s novels, but you can pretty much grab any one of them and have a good time.

Visiting Germany

Wurst

So, yeah, it’s odd being back here. The very first thing that struck me was that everybody seems to be in a horrible mood. People on the streets, waitresses, cashiers — no smiles, no frown turned upside down, people showing you out of the streets, people standing next to the ‘open door’ button in the elevator not pressing it while an old lady is gettings squished by the doors…fuck me, all the things I did not miss after I left are all still there. And on top of things the sun didn’t shine once since we got here last Tuesday and it alternatively rained and snowed.

However, it’s been great meeting some old friends again! Some new babies are here, the ones who’ve already been around 2 years ago grew quite a bit…and it’s simply good to catch up. I really miss having friends that live in a place permanently and to live in a place permanently myself. Transience sucks.

Funnily enough, one thing that occurred to me was that I connect many places here with food. Where I ate a good Döner Kebab, had a Curry Boulette or sausage — I’ve been eating a lot of meat since I got here! Leberkäse, Landjäger…hmmmm!

That’s really it. No thoughts of work, lots of walking around the old stomping grounds…things have changed, bars and cafes have closed, new ones have opened, old bars have completely new staff…it’s a little sad, too. Having pretty mixed feelings about this trip, me.

I have been taking a lot of photos though.

Which is good, I guess.

Taking pictures

Morning

As you know I got an iPod Touch a couple of weeks ago and I’m really digging it. Not only do I listen to a lot of podcasts on my way to work, in the car, etc., so it’s good for that, but the real kicker is that I can take photos with it. Not good quality photos at all (way below the iPhone), but I carry this thing around with me most of the time, so it’s easy to quickly snap a photo. And in some ways I like the constraints of it.

I’m also playing around with some different camera apps, mostly Instagram & Hipstamatic (I know I know I know. The irony is not lost on me)1, and I do like how the pictures come out. And what I really like is that I can upload them straight to flickr. That’s huge. Talk about frictionless sharing.

So. I’ve taken a lot more photos lately. 🙂


    [1] And here’s another thing. Generally I think that over-processed photos (which is basically what these apps do) masks lack of skill. I still think that is true. But, man, they do look gorgeous, no? Plus, I can work on my eye and composition and not worry about anything else. My proper camera is slowly dying anyway, so now at least I know what to look for when I’m searching for a replacement. I have my eye on some pretty sweet Canons…