Santa Fe’s newest art museum, Site Santa Fe, hosts a monthly series of short talks, “Digest This”, that are loosely related to the exhibits on display at the museum. I went to the lectures earlier this week. Art detective Bernard Ewell talked a bit about his experiences in finding and recovering stolen art. Then, tea exert Frank Murphy gave a great talk about the soulful properties of tea. The owner of Santa Fe’s world-famous Teahouse brought out some samples of tea for everyone to sample. The Pu-Erh tea is apparently one of the most sought-after in the world.
It was a cool experience to get to hear from experts in things I don’t normally spend too much time thinking about. I’m going to go again next month, when one of the talks is possibly about life on other planets.
Sometimes when I’m out jogging on my usual path, I’ll see a coyote running about a football field’s distance in front of me. I’ll never approach the coyote, and I get the idea that it is more wary of me than I am of it. The coyote tends to speed up its trot away from me as soon as it notices me. It stays on the paved trail for a while, but always veers off into the brush.
When I tell people about the coyote, they seem unimpressed. So I’m determined to get a picture of it this year. I brought my long lens on the trail today. In retrospect, knowing what I know about this coyote’s behavior of avoiding people when possible, and knowing what I know about human’s behavior of recommitting to exercise toward the beginning of the year, today wasn’t the best day to spot the coyote. There will be other chances. The picture above is near its home. Maybe if we zoom in enough we can see it hiding here somewhere.
I deleted my Twitter account this morning. This threatening tweet from the president gave me heart palpitations, and Twitter’s decision to not apply the same rules to the president for violent speech that they would apply to you or me made the choice to delete the account easy. There are plenty of social media platforms to choose from that don’t want to promote a nuclear war.
The one resolution I made for myself in 2017 that I managed to stick with was the gratitude tub. I’d seen it on one of those lifehack websites and thought it was a good idea. Each day, you write down something cool thing that happened, or something you were genuinely grateful for. At the end of the year, you go through and read through them to see what a lucky year you had. It sounded a little corny, but it didn’t sound like it took a lot of effort so I thought I’d try. And I managed to keep with it for a year, and I went through the tub today.
Some of the reading was a little tough. My dog died back in February, and the things I was genuinely grateful for in the weeks leading up to his death are, in retrospect, deeply depressing. “Ate half a pack of wet dog food” was one day’s entry. “No vomit,” was another. February 15 said, “Lots of consoling texts and messages.”
But there were more good days than bad. I’d forgotten about that busy stretch in June where I had something incredible happen nearly every day. During a 10 day span, I attended a TV premiere, met some famous people at another function, went on two whitewater rafting adventures, participated in a mystery dinner theater, went to a rodeo, and squeezed in a round of frisbee golf.
What struck me most was how many days were filled with entries about conversations with friends and family. The entries for a good 3/4 of the days were about chance encounters, phone calls, or random texts with friends and family. Also, I’d forgotten how much I love Banh Mi sandwiches. I had a stretch back in April/May where I was grateful for Banh Mi nearly every other day. (On a healthier note, I also was grateful for going on long jogs.)
I tossed all the strips of paper from 2017 into the recycling bin. I was thinking of abandoning the habit entirely for 2018, but the habit stuck. It only took 10 seconds a day to jot something down, and I really appreciated going through the memories. So much that I’m going to try to hold on to the habit for another year.
I was planning on spending last Saturday binge-watching the new season of Black Mirror on Netflix. But at about 3:30 in the afternoon, I saw a Facebook post from the Taos newspaper that said that Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins and local musicians Robert Mirabal and Robbie Romero had just announced that they’d be doing a free show that evening.
Taos is just a short drive for me, so some friends and I made the drive up. For a show that was announced just a couple hours before, it managed to draw a large crowd. Even though we we arrived a little late, we somehow managed to end up in the front row when the doors opened.
I know that diehard fans always appreciate seeing a setlist from every live show, but I’m afraid I couldn’t be much help. I was a little to young to understand Siamese Dream when it came out, and I could never save up enough allowance money for the double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. But even in his 50s, his voice is still strong as ever.
Robert Mirabal joined him on the last couple tracks on the flute. His band performed the bulk of the night, and it’s totally worth seeing them live if they ever come through your town. I could listen to jam band rock all day, and this band was one of the best I’ve seen live. Robbie Romero came out to play a couple of his songs, and then Billy Corgan rejoined the band to play a couple of covers I did know, “Landslide” and “All Along The Watchtower.”
A free show from a musician who was all over the radio and TV during my high school years, and an awesome band I hadn’t heard before but will definitely go see again. In one of my favorite towns in the country. What a cool way to end 2017.
If you’re going by Instagram’s metrics, these are my 9 best photos of 2017. I do like posting over there, so consider heading on over and giving me a follow.
Yesterday I mentioned that I cracked my camera’s lens last year. I decided to take it out to check out the new bike underpass in town. The underpass opened just a couple of weeks ago. It connects two of the biggest trails in the city in a way that bikers and pedestrians don’t have to risk getting hit by a car at the busiest intersection in town. I was a little self-conscious about bringing my camera to the new underpass, and I was sort of relieved to see that I wasn’t the only photographer there. And if my lens is cracked, it’s not noticeable on any of the pictures I took.
Sometimes when I’m driving, I’ll get stuck behind a driver that’s going 15 miles per hour below the speed limit. (Actually, since I’m living in a town that has a lot of retirees and tourists, it happens pretty much any time I have to make a crosstown trip, it feels like.) If there’s another lane going my direction, the flow of traffic in the other lane is going to be fast enough that I can’t change lanes. If there is only one lane of traffic headed my way, there are enough oncoming cars that I can’t pass. I look at all that empty road ahead of the driver in front of me and seethe.
My New Year’s resolution for 2018 is to not get as upset about slow drivers.
I also have a resolution to start a podcast. I have all the equipment and an idea. I just need to start lining up interviews. But I need to stop being so upset about slow drivers first. Priorities.
I’ve been making this resolution for the past two years, but I mean it this time: I’m going to go down a pants size. I had a 34 inch waist but ballooned up to 36 inches in the past year. If I wanted to lose some weight five years ago, I’d just skip the appetizer or dessert, do a couple extra reps at the gym, and I’d be back down to my fighting weight in no time. But I’m on the wrong side of 35 years old now. Weight doesn’t come off like it used to. If you catch me grumbling about slow drivers in the next few weeks, it’s because I’m craving cheese.
I’m also resolving to get out and take more photographs of my neck of the woods. I cracked the lens on my camera last year, and I’ve been using that as an excuse to not go out and take pictures at all. I don’t think the crack is even that bad. Maybe I’ll get out today and take some pictures to post here soon.
I was looking for a job a few years ago and had the brilliant idea to set up a website to sell myself and all the stuff I’ve done. It was a nice looking repository for some of my photography, professional presentations, radio stories, tv appearances, etc.
I got the job but I keep forgetting to cancel the annual domain name subscription fee. I figure I should try to do something with the space in 2018. I don’t really have an over-arching theme in mind other than a vague aspiration to post here daily. We’ll see what happens.