Friday, May 28, 2010

5 on 5 the late edition

Okay, so last week I failed. Instead of posting for the 5 on 5 series, I stood on a ladder for hours painting Sprig of Ivy in my mom's new master bedroom. I would have prepared the post ahead of time, but pre-execution* is not my strong suit, and I was up to my eyeballs in Paris Romance (powder pink, in case you're curious). The thing is, I could miss this post every week and have plenty of reasons for not getting the work done. Given the chance, I can make an excuse for just about anything and when I hear myself doing it, I think "wow, I wonder if this sounds as pathetic as it feels."

Example question: "Hey, have you finished your hours for dog school?"

Example response: "Oh no, I was sick this one week, then this other week they didn't go because there weren't enough dogs, and then I went away to help my mom paint, and then I couldn't go because they wanted to leave early, and then I fell into a black hole and my cat puked on my favorite shoes so I couldn't leave the house."

Okay, she didn't puke on my shoes, but she did leave huge butt streaks on the carpet. Anyway, I don't know what my point is, besides self-deprecation and the need for some accountability, so here are this week's 5 things that I'm grateful for:

#1 Horses. I'm not particularly fond of riding horses, but I like being around them, and I love taking pictures of them, especially when they do silly things with their mouth.

cheeky or sleepy?

#2 Getting enough sleep. Right now I make my own hours, so I have a decent amount of control over my sleep. When I don't get enough of it, I can tell immediately that the world is not my friend. Everything gets harder, including things like being human and avoiding donuts.

i've ALWAYS slept with socks on (damn it)

#3 Having access to clean water. This one almost deserves its own post, but for now, I'll just say that I realize how incredibly lucky I am to be able to walk 8 steps into my kitchen and fill up my nalgene bottle with drinkable water as many times as I want.

marsh grass

#4 Having an air conditioner that works. The only reason we would see a thermostat reading like this in our current apartment is if we chose to torture ourselves by not turning on the A/C unit.

just the beginning

#5 The patience of other people. Let's face it, I'm a perfectionist. Working with other people in a situation that I feel reflects my ability turns me into less than a joy to be around. This past weekend, I was a horrible backseat painter and no one got angry with me (outwardly anyway). If someone had said the same things to me, I can't say that I would have reacted as calmly and constructively as my family did.

oh how she smites

*I almost wrote forethought, but that's not right. I have great forethought, terrible fore-action.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

attack of the puddle

ugliest fountain in savannah

One major difference between stepping into a 4 ft wide*, ankle deep puddle on a 50 degree day in Brooklyn and willfully jumping into a fountain fully clothed on my college campus is that I expected to get soaking wet when I jumped into fountains. I was not, however, expecting to have sponges for shoes when I crossed a street this afternoon. Damn expectations. They get you every time.

Note to self: don't eat apples while walking in the rain. You will lose focus and forget about the dreaded curb sinkholes that develop when it rains.

*It's important to note how wide the puddle was because when I stepped into it with my right foot, there was no way for me to scamper out of it because it was too wide. In my effort to hop out of the ankle sucking puddle, I splashed myself even more! Too bad I didn't splash the teenagers behind me laughing at my mishap.

Monday, May 17, 2010

tap on the shoulder of somewhere else

living on the edge

Leaving NYC for a weekend makes me a realize a few things that I love and hate about this city.


1. The tap water. Dear god, the tap water in other cities is gross compared to NYC.

2. The diversity. The first several hours in Boston, all I could think was "this place is crawling with late 20's/30-something white men who all look like they fell out of a bank and are on the way to meet their aging greek brothers in a pub to watch the Sox game." I'm sure NYC is also teeming with sports teamsters, but the apparent population gets watered down by the sheer quantity of other types of people walking around.

3. The public transportation. We were in Boston for the weekend, and things went perfectly fine with their trains and buses, but the stations feel like they're few and far between compared to NYC's ''walk 4 blocks in any direction and get on the train" setup. (I know this isn't as true for the outskirts of the subway lines, but we're fortunate enough to live in the subway glut of brooklyn.)


1. Having to jockey for position almost every minute of your day, whether it's on the clogged sidewalks, in the train, on stairwells, in stores. There are people everywhere and it always seems like the world is so busy with their cellphone or their conversations to notice that someone else is trying to navigate this life. The sidewalks of Boston felt deserted compared to the whirlpool of NYC walkways.

2. Along the same vein, the intense feeling of over population that I get when we're on the highway heading back into the city. It feels like every square inch is spoken for, even the designated "wide open spaces" of parks.

3. The go-go-GO pace. This is a source of pride and angst because I feel like I've adapted quickly to the breakneck speed of walking, thinking, and navigating, but I also relish the slowing down that occurs in other places. Granted, the suburban pace is glacial and exasperating, but I could handle the pace of a city like Boston. Too bad it is an actual glacier about 4 months out of the year.

It's clear to me that I am not a New York City (or Brooklyn) lifer. The itch for space and solitude is just too strong. But the balance of my list (it's unintentionally 3 x 3) is a good indicator that we'll stick around for awhile longer.

Friday, May 14, 2010

5 on 5 the hungry edition

The only problem with having a Friday deadline is having a Friday deadline. We keep going away for all or parts of the weekend and there are always 27 things that need to be done before we leave. This weekend it's Boston to visit the droid (Charrow's sister). Now that the excuses are over, here are this week's 5 things:

#1 Cheeseburger & Fries from Shake Shack. One of my last holdovers from eating dead things is a good cheeseburger. The post consumption guilt never manages to trump the pre-consumption salivation. So when I eat a burger, it needs to be worth it and shake shack fits the bill. The fries are also some of the best I've ever had. If I could afford it (physically and fiscally) and it wasn't morally questionable, I would eat this for lunch every day for the rest of my life.

shake shack special

#2 Having an artistic girlfriend who does strange freelance work. Through a connection with her design school, Charrow scored a gig painting mannequins for the 2008 Atlanta Pride. The mannequins sat around the living room for a weekend and scared the crap out of us every time we walked in the room. It was creepy and pretty damn funny. Considering how much I need the laugh at the time, I'm happy she had such a strange assignment.


pride of the bosoms

#3 That we don't have bed bugs. Ah, the creepy crawlies. It's something we all fear isn't it? Being infested? I've lived with fleas before (thanks to a few infestations on our family dog) and I think the only thing that makes me more hostile than being bitten by fleas is being bitten by mosquitoes. I imagine bed bugs make fleas and mosquitoes seem like a summer treat. No popsicle for me, thanks, I'll just sit outside with the mosquitoes for awhile!

things you don't want to see on a billboard

#4 That this wasn't my ice cream cone. Yes, I'm losing steam and I'm hungry.

summer fail

#5 That Charrow is willing to put up with and assimilate to my incessant need to reorganize. When I was a kid I used to organize my baseball cards by putting them into teams and then putting the teams into alphabetical order in the binders. I don't think I went so far as to alphabetize the individual players, but I wouldn't put it past me. The tendency to organize has morphed into an obsession with purging objects. I'm only sort of successful with the process because I get really stuck on the best way to get rid of things. Will this flimaflang actually sell at the Salvation Army or should I throw it away? I don't want to think about it rotting (or not rotting) in a landfill so I'll just put it back in the drawer. And repeat. This picture was taken when Charrow reached a breaking point between our storage capabilities and her amazing ability to produce art. LOTS of art.

the byproduct of being prolific

Friday, May 7, 2010

5 on 5

Another week, another round of gratitude. I'm not going to get too serious with this little experiment because let's face it, I like to hide behind humor (it's like a warm bubble bath after shoveling snow). Without further ado, here are 5 things* I'm grateful for this week:

#1 No longer having a sausage arm. September 30th of 2009 I had my arm chopped in pieces and reattached with a metal plate. Radical surgery for a radically painful wrist. So far I'm pretty happy with the results, and I am extremely happy that I no longer have to get help from Charrow to put in my contacts or try to open a bottle of pain pills with my feet (it's pretty doable, by the way).

bionic arm

#2 Watermelon that's so juicy you have to hold it away from you when you take a bite. This one kind of speaks for itself.


#3 Good Coffee. I've been fortunate to have access to high quality coffee that comes from distributors and roasters who care about the process all the way down to the farmers growing the beans. I say this less as a scoff to the other guys and more as a thank you to the people who have taken it to another level.

cupping demo

the hopper

#4 People who are willing to make a funny face. One of my favorite things to do is ask people to make to a funny face so I can take their picture. I've had less receptive subjects and then I've had people like Peter (first pic). Guess which one is more fun to photograph. I have my dad to thank for this obsession (second pic; unprovoked).

the elzer family legacy revealed

see, i told you: genetic

#5 Friends who allow me to document the silly things they do (sometimes at my request). My philosophy is to stay on this side of the camera, which puts my friends in the sometimes awkward position of being documented, for better or for worse. I like to request silly things from them so they can at least have a good reason for looking like this:



geeked out

is there something up my nose?

*there will be 5 concepts/things, but there may be more than 5 pictures required to fully illustrate the point. this disclaimer is in response to a certain someone squawking "that's more than 5 things!" when previewing the post.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

chapter 1: moving on

the beginning

This picture was taken down the street from my apartment. I walk past that building multiple times a day. Every time I see it, I think to myself "Chapter 1," and I feel the potential of something. I love that blue type because it represents a beginning of sorts (and because it matches a crisp blue sky perfectly).

But I'm horrible with beginnings. It took me over 2 weeks to get Friday's "5 on 5" post up because I was so worried about picking the right pictures and because I let life get in the way of dedicating the time to pull it together. Sure, I enjoyed watching the Wire instead of writing about ice cream. Sure, it seemed like there were more important things to do than kill an hour on a blog that has no monetary benefit and no real life repercussions if I ignore it. But I felt like I let myself down when another Friday passed with no update.

I'm also horrible with endings. It's taken me over 1.5 years to get rid of a motorcycle that doesn't work. I've pushed that motorcycle across the street for alternate side parking approximately 136 times (give or take 10 for holidays, snow days, and times when Charrow took care of the chore for me). Every time I sling my leg over the seat, I feel guilty: because I haven't taken the time or the money to fix the bike; because I'm too afraid to ride it in the city; because I'm depriving the bike of its joy in life (anthropomorphizing does not help with guilt, let me tell you).

Clearly I have a problem with guilt. I can name at least 5 other major situations where it has crippled me from taking any action. And where does it get me? Absolutely fucking nowhere except from one side of the same damn street to the other.

Tomorrow a charity is coming to pick up my motorcycle. In 2 weeks, I will be done with my dog hours. It might be time to put this picture on my desktop and get started on something new.