Thursday, January 30, 2014

Best I Was a Babysitter.

As previously kind of mentioned, there was this one day during Christmas break where I stayed home and took care of Walker for a few hours. It was just a few hours! No big deal! But the fact that I volunteered to do it a couple of weeks in advance really let it build up and it kind of became a real agenda item that I was going to be babysitting my nephew for a little bit while everyone went downtown.

Basically all we did was go get lunch at Taco Bell. And Wendy's. I was wearing a hat so Walker wore a hat. Listen, I didn't do this to be cute or funny. He just wore a hat too, okay?

Having previously eaten tacos with Walker, I thought it'd be wise to tape him start his. In this video you'll see that he stops short of starting his taco to tell me to eat mine, but then he eats his.

And in this video we watch Walker eating the remnants of his taco at the end of his lunch. Just before I started recording he had said that his spread out food was a sandwich. So that's why I'm asking him if he's eating a salad or a sandwich, to try to make him make the same observation again. But then at the end of the video he surprises all with another keen observation.

Then we came home and I was lying on the couch and Walker bounced on my stomach for fifteen minutes before climbing onto my head and bouncing on it. Down at the bottom there's a video I posted on Instagram and Facebook, but also a rarely seen video of activity which occurred before the "famous" video. 

And that's it. That's my babysitting. The important thing about it was Walker didn't need his diaper changed. But if he had? No big deal. I've changed lots of diapers. Just ask Owen and Greg.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Best Trying Out My Christmas Presents

Kristen and Cory gave me Lightroom for Christmas (because Cory may or may not possibly work for the company that might make it, maybe) and I've been clicking on it. Here's some pictures from a walk across the Manhattan Bridge I took a few weeks ago and then a few from this most recent weekend. As someone who eschews Instagram filters, I have not decided how I feel about going deep on Lightroom with my Leica. Isn't the idea of a camera kind of to use the pictures it takes? Why make them look so old and worn out? Well . . . maybe because sometimes it looks cool? Anyway, here is some fiddling around I did. Maybe I'll fiddle more. Or maybe I'll just adjust my white balance and exposure and shadows and leave it at that.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Best Reads of 2013

All right, here's the books I read in 2013 and a little blurb on what I thought of them. See how my iPhone is in the picture with the books, too? That's to symbolize that I read a number of these books on it. Never thought reading books on my phone would be my thing, but it sort of happened. It's subway friendly.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolfe — This I actually read most of in 2012 and wrapped up a few days into 2013. Wasn't bonkers about it, kind of got confused. Probably should have read it for a class.

Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well by Sam Sifton — Thanksgiving Dinner and I have had a complicated relationship, but I'm starting to respect it. Former NY Times critic writes a little book on how to cook Thanksgiving right, and I pick it up, because I want to know how it is you should cook it right. Reading it I wondered if I'd set a goal of cooking my first Thanksgiving feast by the time I finish it. As of now, I have not set that goal. But I've got the book right here, in case I ever decide to cook a Thanksgiving dinner.

You'll Be Perfect When You're Dead by Dan Harmon — My copy of this collection of Dan Harmon's online writings arrived a few days after I returned from my trip to DC to see Harmontown live. I'm just endlessly entertained by almost anything this guy has to say, that's all there is to it.

Warlock by Oakley Hall — The Great American Cowboy Novel, or so many say. I liked it lots. Been a good while since I read a long book with a plot and characters and where things happen. Left me with a lot to mull over. The old west was a rough place.

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis — A great book to follow Warlock with. The misadventures of a teacher at a little English college, it's a light and humorous bit of British wit and absurd British circumstances. In this Downton age, I'd say it's very ready for another film or PBS miniseries adaptation. Disclaimer: Although I just referenced Downton Abby, there are no manors and hardly any butlers in this book.

Fault in Our Stars by John Greene/The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp — I read two highly recommended YA books, so sue me! But before you sue me, let me tell you I didn't like either one one bit. Not one bit! And I can tell you what my problem is with these and the other YA books I've read (err, that would be a few Twilight books and the first Hunger Games) is: I hate how wise beyond their years the first person teenage narrative protagonists always are, and how whimsical their friends are. I hate how they know so much more than the adults, how they feel everything so deeply, how the whole universe is like a map in their back pocket. I understand this is a necessary tactic of the YA author, to suck up to their audience, the self-centered teen reader can think "Ah, here we go, someone else who knows everything! Finally a character I can relate to." Someone write a real YA novel, a novel where the kids don't know anything! Because kids DON'T know anything!

JR by William Gaddis — Here's my most memorable conquest of the year, giant book famous for not being famous enough (that's a quote about Gaddis himself that I'm stealing and applying here) that tells the story of the rise and the fall of a grade school tycoon. But the most interesting thing about it ithe book is 95%, no, 98% made up of dialogue, there's nearly no exposition at all. And it's not dialogue like "Oh good, Bill, it's good to see you, I'm glad you just walked into the room." No, you have to figure out from the dialogue that Bill has walked into the room, you have to recognize that there's a new voice in the conversation. A 726 page demonstration of showing, not telling. Required reading for 100 level Creative Writing, perhaps?

Steve Jobs Biography — Turns out he was a jerk. That's the lesson of most biographies, it seems.

James Joyce Gordon Bowker — See review above. But also, I learned a lot more about Joyce from this book than Ellman's seminal Joyce bio. Gained a much better understanding of the roadmap of Joyce's life. Another very important thing I gained from this book: I have been freed from Finnigans Wake! I no longer wonder if I should read it again, if I should try to understand it. From the story of Joyce's life, I've developed the opinion that work on the Wake was an escape he threw himself into during 30 tumultuous years. Joyce's daily entertainment. Eventually he decided it was done, and then it was published. Not that it wasn't without beauty! But it's just a puzzle that doesn't necessarily have a solution. It's not a book, It's a cathedral. Architecture, not literature.

Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon — Ok, I liked it better than Inherent Vice, that's for sure. And I very much liked reading Pynchon writing about New York again, and in a semi-contemporary setting. But I just dig his multi-storylined historical epics with casts of hundreds so much more than I do his detective novels. That's just how it is.

Morrissey by Morrissey — Wanted to read something light and inconsequential after Bleeding Edge. This was the charming solution. I read it on my iPhone, you know how you can highlight quotes in iBook? And then press a button and you can see every quote you've highlighted? My quotes section for Morrissey is 130 items long. Non-stop bon mots! I've never been as big a Morrissey fan as I liked to be (deep-knowledge Morrissey fandom seems like a good music-fan trait to have) but now I've got a good amount of data to move forward with: He's concerned with record sales. He is difficult. He has disliked a lot of people. He will go on and on and on about a lawsuit. He once saw a ghost. Those are the main things to learn.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Best Art Show You Really Ought to Go See

Saturday I went to PS One and saw the giant Mike Kelley retrospective. It was really something, that they filled the whole museum with stuff that just one guy made. And, truth be told, I didn't know who Mike Kelley was until I got there. But some of the stuff was familiar. I'm going to post a bunch of photos now, but if you're in New York, I really recommend you take a couple hours to see this show. There's lots to discover.

Ok, Kelley didn't make this, it's just the stairway.

This I really liked, it was a case full of medals that slowly morphed in shape. Look in the middle, see a naval button with an anchor on it is followed by an insignia with an anchor followed by increasingly cross-like anchors followed by crosses that grow more basic and then branch off as a fish in one direction and a plane in the other. Stuff like that happening all over the piece. I could have looked at it for a much longer time than I did.

When I saw these photos I was like "Ohhhh, this is Mike Kelley." (Because these were used in the art for Sonic Youth's "Dirty" album)

I was at the museum with Mike and Pearl, btw.

These also I liked.

When I saw a wall full of animations like this I was like "Whoah, Kandor."

Little did I know I was about to enter a series of rooms full of Kandors that were literally supposed to be Kandor.

In the basement there was this thing, and see the red rope?

I followed it down the hall and around a corner and through a doorway and down a hall to find this.

Ok, that's all the art. Go to PS One! And eat at M Wells Dinette while you're there, unless the menu looks like it's just all beef heart and veal brains, which it did on Saturday. So we had tacos at Los Portales instead and really, that's my most unsung favorite taco place.