As I get older around my birthday, I feel like I should have some knowledge to show for it– and of course, to share. The problem is as you get older, you feel stupider and less creative. Another one of life’s cruelties: when you want it you can’t have it and when you have it [...]
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I move about once a year.
Tonight i’m taking down some of the same pictures I hung up a year ago, some more recently, like a month ago. These ones are weirder to take down.
I start packing stuff into boxes. After the pictures come down and the boxes appear on surfaces everything appears fragmented and out of place; staged to go, like an estate sale. It’s like I’ve died and i’m also close relative packing up my apartment. I do this once per year and always feel like this.
There’s a few boxes or containers of personal-personal items that I find every time I move, and they are birthday cards from my Dad whom I didn’t know very well or mundane notes from a girl I dated before: “I flew to the shop, be back soon”, one said. “EAT BREAKFAST” another said.
There’s some good artwork and also some really crummy artwork by my daughter. I have to keep both. I envision a scene where she is standing near the garbage can looking at some artwork she made when she was 5 and crying. I start crying too and try to convince her that I accidentally threw it away. She doesn’t believe me and is deeply wounded. This is all in my mind though. She’s very sensible and would probably understand that lugging all of this stuff around is a hassle but it’s just something parents have to do so we can pull it out later. It’s like a collection of worthless antiques.
Then there’s the booklets and papers from vacations. Airplane ticket stubs. Swag from hotels I think are fancy. Business cards of people met on airplanes.
Why do I keep this stuff?
I found a gigantic ROSS DRESS FOR LESS bag that once held a mattress cover, sheets and slacks. I crinkled it up and put into the corner of my closet, for whatever reason I would’ve done that and now i’m filling it with clothes that don’t fit me or aren’t at all stylish anymore to donate to the thrift shop. There’s some shirts that have some reinforcements on the shoulder that were in vogue about 16 months ago for about 4 months that I wore a few times, washed them on hot and dried them for too long rendering them unwearable, yet till kept them. There’s some pants I bought without trying them on that never looked good. I have about four too many belts and three button up shirts that would look great on me if i was a short and fit European guy.
I feel fortunate that I have so little stuff to move. I feel fortunate that most of the furniture I have, I either bought it extremely cheap used or relatively cheap new. I like a lot of my stuff but all of it is replaceable, and that’s really nice. I hope to buy some furniture that less people also own like most of this Ikea garbage I have now, but I won’t spend a lot of money on it and I won’t be attached to it. I’ll find someone else who spent a lot of money on it and is attached to it and i’ll help them solve their problem without creating the same problem for me. I’ve found when buying previously expensive furniture people are very eager to part with it and will accept most offers. It’s like how you wouldn’t haggle when selling the albatross around your neck.
But the coolest part about moving is really the crime scene aspect I mentioned before. Whenever it is that you realize you must move, when this happens, suddenly everything freezes. Everything is suspended a few centimeters from the surface for your appraisal and inspection: you get to look at your life as an outsider. As a mover. You get to choose what stays and what comes along. Look at the photo above. There’s two women’s shoes that don’t have matches. There’s two scales. There’s a 2 liter bottle of 7-Up that I bought when I was sick 6 days ago. There’s some ashes on the floor from when I smoked and when I smoked, and when I smoked in my room.
The important part about moving once per year is that it let’s you be a detective and investigative psychologist in your own life; you can investigate the evidence of a life from the past 12 months and make observations and judgements about someone who, as soon as you move, won’t exist anymore. At least not the same. Hopefully. Hopefully the person at the new place will put a 2 liter of soda away, or in the trash, before 7 days passes.
The 2nd most important part is that you have to keep changing your perspective, that you need backdrops and different settings, years that you can attach to different addresses and cities and different local bars and mailboxes and showers and refrigerators and windows. I know this guy named Mike who would switch his bed from wall to wall each month and try to drive a different way to work every morning. “Sometimes it’s mostly the same way, but it’s always a little different” he told me, sensing that I wasn’t believing him and I wasn’t. Until I started doing it last week. It really does refresh your perspective. And the bed thing works too, i’ve been doing that since Mike told me about it.
Then there’s the cleaning. This place looks nothing like it did when you first moved in or the first three months. While you’re boxing up all of your things and clearing off the walls you start to see how the place looked before you got there and you know if the landlord knew what kind of a slob you were they would’ve never rented to you.
But the most important part is that you can reinvent yourself at your new place. You can pack up your good furniture and belongings, your good attributes and characteristics and your good whiskey and friends and you can leave all the bad shit behind. And then you meet up with your better self over at the new place.
So I moved to a condo in one of these developments that feels like a resort and since it feels like a resort all of my neighbors act like it’s a resort. The laundry room is very cruisey. The gym is full of already in-shape people most of the time; they seem to know the other already in-shape people. They move to the hot tub and pool at about 9:30pm.
Got this bike over the weekend to restore.
It’s a 1967 or 1968 Suzuki B105p Bearcat. The title says 1962 but that’s clearly not right. I believe it’s a 1967 because they phased out the dual sprockets after only one year.
It has a 118cc two-stroke engine and 4 speed transmission (4 down, i think, though I haven’t ridden it yet as it doesn’t run).
It was originally meant to be an enduro (the big sprocket for off-road, small sprocket for on-road) but i’m planning to make it all street. It came with some cafe handlebars, which I would’ve bought anyhow. Here’s a pic of those:
The seat will need to be replaced. They have some on eBay for $75 but like all B105p and B100p parts, they ship from Thailand. That item costs $75 to ship. I think i’ll take it to a local upholstery place and have them redo it.
Instead of stenciling SUZUKI on the back, I was thinking once the black and white (and chrome) are shiny, and it looks more like a Cafe Racer, maybe a ska type two tone or checkered flag stencil where it says SUZUKI might look cooler. Here is my shitty artist’s rendition of what I mean:
First things first though: She’s gotta run.
Luckily I live in Long Beach, which is pretty much surrounded by Industrial areas with salvage yards so my chances are OK I think. The carburetor looks like hell, and I haven’t even pulled it off completely yet:
The wiring will need to be fixed if not redone, although it currently works, which is good, though it did zap my friend Mike when we were trying to start it originally:
I’ll probably also take it apart and clean every piece with chemtool, repaint the plastic bits with nylon/vinyl paint and possibly put some more street oriented tires on it, although these are an improvement from the original:
I haven’t seen one online that looks how i’d like mine to look as far as style goes, but here’s one in pretty sweet condition:
Wish me luck. Will keep you guys updated here.
If anyone reading this knows a good resource for parts (other than eBay) or has any information please share in the comments!
Always carry a vintage chart with you. If you’re not sure of the best wine years, take the wine card to the washroom and check it against your vintage chart.
When drinking Champagne always remark about the bubbles. Our favorite line on the subject is:
‘I like champagne– because it always tastes like my foot’s asleep’
So there’s this delicious Chinese Spaghetti that I had a few times in Asia and loved. I had it in both Taiwan and China, once at a Shanghainese restaurant and once at a Taiwanese snack shop. It’s called ZhaJiangMian 炸醬麵 (“Fried Sauce Noodles”). Just say it like Ja-JiYong-MeEn.
This Korean person I know said that they also have a version of it, with a very similar name called Jajangmyeon.
It is the closest thing you’ll get to western food on a Chinese menu, but not all Chinese restaurants have it. To clarify how it tastes, it’s like a magical tasting meat sauce, a little salty, but super good. Here’s a recipe i’ve developed after a bit of trial and error. This latest batch was so delicious I ate the leftovers three days in a row. It’s very easy to make, delicious and is a meal in itself.
Here’s what you need:
One bag of Flat noodles like the ones pictured above
1/2 pound ground beef or pork or 1/4lb of each mixed together
2-4 green onions or shallots, chopped into circles
2 Table Spoons of Oyster Sauce
2 Table Spoons Sweet Soy Sauce (Hawaiian Soy Sauce works good, if you don’t have it just add 1-2 TSP of sugar to regular soy sauce)
2 Table Spoons Regular or Light Soy Sauce
4-5 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped Fine
Cucumber, sliced into small slices (see pic at the bottom)
1 Table Spoon of minced Ginger (Optional, but good)
3 Table Spoons of Minced Carrots (Optional, but good)
1 Tomato, Chopped into small chunks (Optional, but good)
1-2 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
Pepper, to taste
Here’s what you do:
- Add the Sesame Oil to a saucepan over high heat
- Add the carrots, garlic, green onions/shallots, ginger and tomato and fry
- Once these are cooked, add the pork or beef and cook until done
- Add the soy and oyster sauces to the cooked mixture, add some water if it doesn’t look saucy enough
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes
- Boil the noodles for about 10 minutes. Use less water than you’d use for Italian noodles.
- Add pepper to your sauce until it tastes right, turn off heat and let cool for a few minutes
- Serve like spaghetti, noodles on bottom, sauce on top. Add the cucumbers and mix them in.
Yes I know it sucks. Wait a little bit. I’ll make something better.
Whenever I’m about to travel somewhere, especially if it’s far away, I can’t fall asleep. And instead of packing furiously or being productive I’m totally idle. Not out of nervous excitement or scared anxiety, just like:
hey my body is going to be moving quickly to a point thousands of miles away from here tomorrow. I better sit still for awhile now.
Notice how you consume so much information but don’t retain or even enjoy it? I read friends’ statuses, blogs and idle chat messages all day but I couldn’t tell you much about how they’re doing at this exact point in their life. Maybe I don’t truly care or maybe they don’t want to share it, but I still don’t know. I feel like I used to know.
I can’t remember anything I research, and I stay up or wake up to research things all the time. I fast forward documentaries. I feel uncomfortable talking on the phone to family because it isn’t stimulating enough and I don’t know what to talk about.
All of this probably makes you mad, because it’s stupid and worthless to do this, but you keep doing it.
I’m going to conduct an experiment on myself where I only use my computer and other computerized machines for output only, and rely only on more old fashioned ways of collecting information and knowledge for input. If I have a question about something I will order a book, call or write a friend who might know, or– just not know it. I’m going to work to become focused, not sure on what, but focused.
All of this information and stimulus is making me more confused, less intelligent and articulate, and boring. The things I pay attention to and invest time in aren’t very interesting or worthwhile.
There’s an old story about 2 young fish swimming and an old fish swims by and says
“Morning boys, how’s the water?”
The two young fish continue swimming and one turns to the other and says
“What the hell is water?”
Like these fish, we don’t even consider or study the most basic but interesting things around us. David Foster Wallace (whom I am not in love with, outside of this) mentions this old story about fish and says:
It is about simple awareness – awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: “This is water, this is water.”
Look around you a little bit. Move your arms around like you’re swimming through water. This is water.
As I get older I don’t buy that much stuff. Possessions tend to become a part of you in a negative way. When I moved overseas I sold all of my things except a few essentials (Vinyl, Art, personal items) and I never felt better. But this spartan lifestyle is also limiting. For one I don’t have much to do and for two I don’t really have any surfaces to do anything on.
Here’s a few things i’ll spend the coming weeks checking craigslist obsessively over:
For my projects. Would like to refinish it and paint it dark brown or orange.
Here is one candidate:
I knew a guy in school who studied Biology as a major and a hobby. He had a microscope. It was cool to look at stuff with it. I’d like one that is at least 250X. Here is a cute one I saw for $40:
It also appears to have some important looking tools that come with it.
Not sure why, but I feel this may be useful at some point.
My bedroom (and entire apartment) really needs some elegant lighting.
Seriously it be looking like a motel 6 up in there.
Ladies and gentleman, Kurt Vonnegut.