Answers to 33 personal questions

Stupid memes are one of the reasons I quit Facebook (again), but I'm home sick today and just woke up from my third nap. Also, "33" is one of my very favorite Battlestar Galactica episodes, which would make an infinitely better meme. I'm not in charge of these things, though, so lifted from a recent post by Terry Teachout, here goes:

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? Well this is a bad question right out of the gate, but many handfuls of pistachios. Pistachios are starting to be a problem for me, on the slippery slope/tree nut addiction spectrum. I've been safe up to now because in their native form they take an enormous amount of thumb effort to get to, but Duane Reade recently started selling bags of kernels already shelled, and now I just don't even know what to do.

2. Where was your Facebook profile picture taken? Does not compute.

3. Can you play Guitar Hero? No thank you.

4. Name someone who made you laugh today. Margaret H. Willison with this tweet.

5. How late did you stay up last night, and why? I was in bed by 8:30, reading Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, and was asleep by 9:15. Yesterday was an all-day meeting of the brunch of the month club and let’s just say I should have said no to the beer flight at Paulaner, which came after brunch at Russ & Daughters Café but before the bottle of Magner’s at d.b.a. and the divine Frenchie burger at DBGB. So basically I fell asleep early because the day was so awesome, kind of like being a kid when you're out racing the mean streets on your cool bike with your friends all day and you pull up the driveway just in time for dinner and are so wiped out you have to go to bed before the sun is even finished setting.

6. If you could move somewhere else, would you? Chicago is right there waiting for me.

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks? What a bold, out of left field question! 

8. Which of your friends lives closest to you? My dear SarahB.

9. Do you believe exes can be friends? If they have to.

10. How do you feel about Dr Pepper? No.

11. When was the last time you cried really hard? I generally enjoy a good cathartic cry in the bathtub at about 7:30 on Sunday nights. It’s a time/place of reflection and general life assessment that tends to make me melancholy, since I know that 10 years ago (or 15) I would have been doing the exact same thing at the exact same time of night while wondering where I would be in 10 or 15 years and all I can think is why don't I have a bigger bathtub by now. But last night, as I mentioned, I was way too tired to cry.

12. Who took your profile picture? Does not compute.

13. Who was the last person you took a picture of? My cousin’s daughter Lily and my father running in the Langlade Springs Country Possum Chase, which makes me cry for a whole different set of reasons. 

14. Was yesterday better than today? Yes. Today I woke up with a stuffy nose and a sore throat and have been sniffling on the sofa. 

15. Can you live a day without TV? Indeed, and frequently do, although I will never not love television or be one of those people who claim television is the downfall of America. America is falling down for a lot of reasons and television is probably only one of them.

16. Are you upset about anything? I'm not wild about this sore throat.

17. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it? Was this questionnaire written by a Facebook algorithm?

18. Are you a bad influence? Jesus Christ I hope so.

19. Night out or night in? Red light! Red light! HOMEBODY ALERT.

20. What items could you not go without during the day? Lately a pair of headphones and some ugly walking shoes, two things that make living here palatable.

21. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital? My father.

22. What does the last text message in your inbox say? My inbox is empty, fools.

23. How do you feel about your life right now? Ambivalent.

24. Do you hate someone? Intermittently, yes.

25. If we were to look in your Facebook inbox, what would we find? Does not compute.

26. Could you pass a drug test right now? What a bold, out of left field question secretly designed to get me to incriminate myself to the world wide web!

27. Has anyone ever called you perfect before? Yes, and they said it kind of snotty, too.

28. What song is stuck in your head? Oh hey, you're welcome!

29. Someone knocks on your door at two a.m. Who do you want it to be? Is this like that short story “The Monkey’s Paw”? Am I supposed to say someone I love who’s now dead? I don’t understand the question, I guess, since no way in hell do I answer the door at two o’ clock in the morning.

30. Want to have grandchildren by the time you’re fifty? What a bold, out of left field question!

31. Name something you have to do tomorrow. Work and run.

32. Do you think too much or too little? Always too much. Always always.

33. Do you smile a lot? Always too much. Always always.

p.s. Have fun out there! Take condoms!

Days We Would Rather Know

There are days we would rather know
than these, as there is always, later,
a wife we would rather have married
than whom we did, in that severe nowness
time pushed, imperfectly, to then. Whether,
standing in the museum before Rembrandt's "Juno,"
we stand before beauty, or only before a consensus
about beauty, is a question that makes all beauty
suspect ... and all marriages. Last night,
leaves circled the base of the ginkgo as if
the sun had shattered during the night
into a million gold coins no one had the sense
to claim. And now, there are days we would
rather know than these, days when to stand
before beauty and before "Juno" are, convincingly,
the same, days when the shattered sunlight
seeps through the trees and the women we marry
stay interesting and beautiful both at once,
and their men. And though there are days
we would rather know than now, I am,
at heart, a scared and simple man. So I tighten
my arms around the woman I love, now
and imperfectly, stand before "Juno" whispering
beautiful beautiful until I believe it, and—
when I come home at night—I run out
into the day's pale dusk with my broom
and my dustpan, sweeping the coins from the base
of the ginkgo, something to keep for a better tomorrow:
days we would rather know that never come.

— "Days We Would Rather Know," Michael Blumenthal

Quotable: Mark Haddon

Reading is primarily a symptom. Of a healthy imagination, of our interest in this and other worlds, of our ability to be still and quiet, of our ability to dream during daylight.
— Mark Haddon

The Falcon to the Falconer

Unleash me from your hand
And I will lance the light for you
I’ll cut a swordblade on the wind
And pennant it with flight for you
To signal I am yours
If you will free me to be true to you

Unleash me from your hand
And I will mock the sky for you
I’ll pull the anger from the air
And make the breezes sigh for you
To show that I am yours
If you will free me to be true to you

Unleash me from your hand
And I will jewel it bright for you
I’ll hunt the treasures of the wind
And pluck them into sight for you
To show that I am yours
If you will free me to be true to you

O, cast me from your hand,
That I may show my love for you
And throw me to the wind
That I may know my need for you

All darkness on your hand,
I’m hooded, pinned and held by you
O, give me back my wings
That they may bring me back to you

— Jonathan Steffen

Hopelessly feckless

The most surprising thing to me about aging is that it isn’t linear. Neither is beauty. I get older, then I get younger. I was beautiful when I was young, then I was ugly for a time, and now I think it’s possible to be beautiful again.

Some amazing stuff in the clusterflock (RIP) archives.

Infinite loop

Here's an Instagram of my Instagram from 2011 being used on the back cover of a Penguin UK paperback.

And here's the original Instagram (now at flickr).

I bought these stupid shoes for an outrageous sum for my brother Kyle's wedding and wore them until they peeled the skin off the tops of my toes, or approximately 90 minutes, at which time I changed into a pair of royal blue J.Crew suede flats that positively horrified my mother. These are not at all indicative of my regular spending habits or lifestyle, yet look who's laughing now for zero compensation, zero credit, and one free international edition.

The view from here

There are these apples I've been finding at the greenmarket on Sundays, called Golden Crisp or something (not Golden Delicious, and not Honeycrisp; I'm not a moron). They're small and green, or a lovely very pale gold-ish green, not as tart or aggressive as a Granny Smith but also not all that close to sweet (sweet apples being the supreme letdown of apples). They taste very ur-apple—I mean apple-y in their essence, apple to nth degree, the apple of The Fall—but perhaps I've just forgotten what apples actually taste like. These are well worth the woe of shopping a greenmarket on a Sunday alongside a thousand slow-moving, granola-fed Upper West Siders, so that alone should tell you something.

Also, the air has been doing that end-of-summer thing lately, when the morning greens are particularly green and the blues are deeply blue and a bit steely and sharp, and although it's been miserably hot and humid you can tell autumn is underneath there somewhere, biding its time and stretching itself out. I take the bus to work every morning and the light is especially lovely around the Time Warner Center and Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle, which is difficult to feel good about on an intellectual or even basic human level but nevertheless. The beauty of autumn is in the contrasts, so thanks for the hard mirrored surfaces, corporate titans. Thank you for the shadows.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: it's ginger gold