Doggy

Ali said he tried “Doggy,” had to quit drinking for 2 or 3 years.

Antti “2 or 3?”
Me “My first word was “doggy”
Ali “Ha ha ha ha ha”

I saw Ali with his hat on in illuminated-Treviso, post-holiday-break. I was getting some kale at Natura Si, he had an H&M bag. Then I saw him at Valetine’s Baazar, I was buying gloves, I think he was also buying gloves.

I Didn’t know Ali was internet-famous until he presented his project “Everyday Iran” at Sssssssshut Up Series. 

Ali drinks Cocoa Cola at Piola and when I saw him at the bar with the Dutch girl (when the Dutch University was buying all of our drinks) he said he wasn’t drinking… but he was, maybe, falling in love. 

I was making fun of Ali for falling in love, asking “When is the wedding” when we were the only people on the bus.

Ali was telling me about going to the Netherlands when we were at the American-themed bar, at the American-themed holiday party. I was drinking a big beer (American style) and he asked if he could give me a hug. “Of course” I said, “It’s all I want.” (Our first time saying hi since the Oakland Fire). He had given up drinking Coca Cola in favour of “big beer” that night.

“Do you believe in anything?” Ali asked me, at Mensa, sometime later “absolutely not” I said. “Good” he replied.

Down That River

Isaac and I rode downhill home together. When my chain fell off I “fixed it.” We stopped at the white moustache bar that smells like family-meat and is the only place. My black greasy fingers bled on the tile floor. We both laughed and he asked if I wanted to go to the washroom. “No.” I didn’t want to think of the words in Italian that might make strangers worry about me.

Spritz Campari, red wine, little cups, plastic table in the cold with a silver minivan in the Italian countryside. We talked about how to succeed or whatever but not play such hard capitalism. Isaac plans to live in a van. I know he is a championship ice skater. I know he will ice skate down that river, maybe have a snack.

Fruit Bowl

“Sorry, you are an asshole, you aren’t meant to be in this place and you have to go.” – Massimo Banzi, on moderation in tech forums

He came to speak at Fabrica, talking about cool Arduino stuff and the evolution of maker culture.

Thinking about maker spaces and DIY culture in general, my mind drifted to how these things are supported: these ideas and cultures that define my life/generation inhabit literal and figurative structures that have been abandoned by capitalism.

I ended up going out for dinner with Massimo and the other key nerds of Fabrica. We were all out of place at the luxury countryside hotel where thousands of jewel-encrusted event-goers drunkenly waddled on their heels. “Where’s the hot tub?” Asked Massimo.

There was nothing vegan on the menu,  and naturally trying not to be too much of a bother about figuring out what to eat inspired in our group a micro-discussion of ethics.

There is essentially no way to live ethically, at least not if you eat food or wear clothes or use electronics. For some reason I still have conviction about trying.

My restaurant-Italian has improved. With the help of the waiter we were able to come up with a non-menu vegan entree. For desert he said there were no options, unless I wanted fruit. I said I would take grappa (for those who don’t know, this is a divisive hard liquor made from grapes, I think it’s tolerable but many do not. Whenever a young person orders it everyone pretends to be surprised).

The waiter brought me a giant bowl with mandarines, bananas, grapes, apples, and a pomegranate with the grappa (and everyone else’s tiramisu). We all guffawed. The next time he came around I asked for a box – “I couldn’t finish it all!” When he brought a bag Angelo said to take the bowl and leave the fruit on the table.

Isaac got kicked out of Fabrica “for designing a banana holder” we all say. I brought the bananas from the fruit bowl to him at the bar (Colonetta) after diner. The bartender knew Angelo. She was sweet, the bar was tiny. Angelo got red wine, I got a spritz campari, a bunch of people joined us because it was one of a series of going away parties. All the days are the good old days if you are sentimental enough.

Important or Beautiful

I found out Cash was missing before the fire was extinguished and spent the weekend anxiously anticipating the worst – which is what happened (as evidenced by my last posts).
Cash’s parents wrote a touching/heartbreaking memorial in Rolling Stone and Kennedy released the last song they were able to record together.
themareusss
I like the song so much. One specific layer of pain is that I can’t continue to look forward to hearing new releases, or to scheme about collaborating or touring together.
When I met Cash and Kennedy one of my first thoughts was “I can’t wait to be friends forever.”
There was this euphoric dance moment to the live version of “Bird” by The Knife and we were all so IN IT.  I was honored to facilitate that after party. I was honored to play my first show, opening for Them Are Us Too.

I am happy that the specifics of favorites, aesthetics, references, politics and selves which make up our precious cultures have intertwined to the point where I got to briefly know the radiant and deeply intelligent Cash.

There is a lot of political/systems thinking that hinges on the fire and how it affects our cultures and futures, which I find myself thinking about a lot. But none of this approaches the intense grief surrounding the lives that were lost. I wasn’t friends with any of the 36 victims except Cash, and my base reaction is that there could be no greater tragedy because she was sublime and critical and going somewhere, and the world will never be as important or as beautiful without her.

I miss a future where we get to experience Cash’s new art. I miss a future where we get to be friends forever.

@

Finding the “@” symbol on the Italian keyboard became a sad action.

When you forget for a second and your body reminds you to be sad again.

Grief is my gut’s incessant proposal that the world and all its components are tragic.

It feels odd to sit in the same studio and walk through the same hallways as those around when I am so deeply in a different space.

I went outside with Quentin this morning and he gave me the best hug. So much compassion, it was like being embraced by a saint. He gave me one of his “real cigarettes.” we were talking about the fire and Monica called out the window:

“Is it sunny out there? Why are you wearing sunglasses?”
“I’m crying, my friend died.”
“But it doesn’t look sunny to me,  why are you wearing them?”
“Because my eyes are sensitive, because I’ve been crying, because my friend died in a fire.”
She said “Oh” and closed the window.

Quentin asked if I wanted another hug.

Ghost Ship

The worst feeling holds itself inside of me

But I can’t access it fully

Implying anything was ever real

Lurching nothing

Hurling it into the void

Greif as an object

Negative space of friends

Anything anyone has ever done has been wrong, because in the end bad cancelled out good.

What was it like to burn to death? Does one pass out before the pain is too intense? Did our friends realize they were going to die?

Dark heavy grief mass, horror, tragedy, meaninglessness. I’m sorry.

⌿⍀

I was alone in the flat, and the golden hour was filtering in across the kitchen table. I looked out the window and went into this transparent gray, felt somewhere in the center of my balcony. It came out in a steam of iphone notes:

That I am interested in making “art” or expressing “myself” is indicative of my cultural background. How did this background arise?

Why I disavow aspects of the biology that comprise “me” is also mysterious to “me.” Why would a body not like itself? Shouldn’t existence precede essence? 

It is a sticky process to parse what is a reaction to deeply entrenched, created cultures of human history, and what, if anything, is a reaction to biology itself.

I feel more “myself” when I’m very skinny. I feel more “myself” when in an immediate state of joy, laughter, even deep sorrow. Problematically, I feel more “myself” when drunk.

When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me, yeah.

Interactions with others are where individuals are defined. When I’m viewed as intrinsically part of this group that I don’t identify with, dysphoria comes in. What about this group is untrue of me?

Is it something basic? What is basic? Are my urges different from the mean of the group to which I am assigned?

Are the social and the biological as intertwined as society has made them? Am I reacting against the way things are bundled or am I fundamentally uncommon compared to my assigned group?

Is it really just that my intellectual processes supersede my biological ones (though how can anything coming from a human be outside of biology – it’s the same philosophical hole as the construction of “natural”). The brain is the body is the mind is the personality is the self. And there is no neurological basis for free will, and there is no self :) :) :)

But back to examples about biology vs. gender. I still wanna get laid. I’m not an anomaly in that regard. Any sex that I have will be queer, and against the main biological aim of sex drive in the first place.

Of course, many people want to get laid and not to have kids, and that doesn’t make them any less “men” or “women.” But how does my identity differ from those who are comfortable with what they were assigned at birth, or with binary trans people?

It seems like some aspect of gender is intrinsically linked with hormones even if gender just becomes this extension of personality/desire which is continuously and collectively defined by culture.

And that brings me again to whether my sense of not belonging to my assigned gender is simply a rejection of illogical cultural standards, or biological processes, or if it is itself part of my biology/neurology.

I don’t know.

56 Minutes

I want to upgrade my software from new friends to deep hugs

From Fleeting smiles to trading spit

Give me 16 minutes to make coffee

Half an hour to transfer my freezing hands by bike

Give me an excuse (and 20 minutes) to fall in love

I’m already there… waiting

Snack Bar Nino Bixio

I departed from Fabrica later than usual, Ángeles on the back of my bike till the bus stop, and when I got back I was feeling a way.

So I walked in a direction and stopped in a bar on instinct (and on flashing lights, and on “bar aberto”)

My phone had run out of Cloroform so as I sipped my Spritz Campari I admired the reindeer and spruce decorations hanging from a bamboo plant on the counter, and the small spinning plastic globe making multi-colored light patterns on the ceiling.

I thought about breaking the fourth wall in music videos, whether that is too trite or appropriately homey, and watched the tween kid take a blue water bottle from the fridge of overpriced corona and show it to the bartender.

“Mi piace la musica” I said to the bartender, motioning up, “Buena Vista Social Club.” “Ah si” he replied “di sur America.” One of the people crowded around the only table at the tiny bar sang along.

As I got up to pay the bartender asked if I was from Germany. I said no, sono Americano/a, di Nuevo Mexico, and he asked if I spoke English.

In perfect English he said “I don’t speak English, but I am Chinese.” “Ma parla l’inglese e l’Italiano molto benne” I noted.

The guy at the bar, drinking red wine with the bar tender, asked where I work. “Lavoro a Fabrica.” He asked something else to which I responded “scusa, no capito molto Italiano.”

Jerry, sitting by the window, spoke English, and was called to translate. He asked if I might like to stay a while longer and bought me another Spritz Campari.

Jerry is from Nigeria and has a wife and kids here. He lost his last job and does whatever he can. “Nothing illegal though.” We talked about how good it is to have mechanical knowledge, and the need for voltage converters. He kept saying “you’re welcome to Italy.” I kept thanking him.

After asking  my name jerry said “sorry, are you a girl or a boy now?” “Neither” I replied. “I’m confused” he said, “are you talking to me as a girl or a boy?” He kept saying he was confused, I kept replying “that’s okay.” Really, he was just being perceptive of my gender presentation versus cultural signifiers he is used to. He seemed a little weirded out when I didn’t magnetize myself to either binary pole, but continued to be my bar friend, for which I was grateful.

At the end I smoked outside with Jerry and a Dominican man (who was providing the cigarettes) we all spoke Spanish.

“See you next time” they said as I departed. I found my bar.

Also, not sure where to insert this part of the ambiance/character: the bartender had a sweet t shirt with dragons on it.