Rental Winter

Is the culture of cats different in other countries? Like, is does the way we treat cats across cultures affect the way kitties behave, say in meow style?

I worked all day on one of my patches with minimal distraction (save for constantly updating my Spotify playlist based on what was the most danceable). Whenever I solve problems it is in quick flashes of logic. More and more I realize how important taking breaks is for efficiency.

Cigarette-epiphany.

Today I finally raised the seat on Lil’ Jenny Bike. I sat with Isaac, Akanksha, and Antti at Mensa. Isaac asked me about my goth Rihanna cover band.

Like every day, I intended to do P90X in the morning and go to the post office. I almost convinced myself to go to the post office but ended up cleaning the kitchen and painting over a blood stain on the wall instead.

I have felt deeply tired, like almost unable to talk to people for the past few mornings. Last night I got 8 hours of sleep, not even a 3am mosquito interruption. Am I fending off sickness? It is because it is suddenly colder? Have I been doing something differently to my brain-body?

Alexis and I realized that the laundry detergent we have been using is actually dish detergent, which is a classic “I am living in a new country” kind of mistake. It is hard to get the dank smell out of laundry, even with the help of the heater. Maybe using the wrong kind of detergent is related.

I emailed Cutler and Gross twice about the size of screw needed for the model of sunglasses that I just spent a third of a month’s salary on (used, at > 50% off) and now cannot wear because the screw popped out. They did not give me an answer.

I ordered tiny screws for sunglasses repair and none of them worked.

The monitor I bought didn’t work and now I’m late shipping it back. I probably should contact them but they already gave me the address and I don’t want to be told no. I am worried that if I send it it will be very expensive and I won’t get a refund, or it will be impossible. I guess I’ll wait until Saturday to avoid being late for Fabrica.

The crotch of my Nudie Jeans is so blown out from biking that they are ~2 sexy 4 work~. I ordered a repair kit from them but the black denim patch is not as big as the hole. The Chronicles of Never jeans that I ordered from Grailed didn’t show up and Marta helped me track them down. Giovanni gave me a ride to the Villorba post office during a lecture from the Rotterdam kids (who were for some reason around). We got a coffee and I felt phresh for the rest of the day.

I could barely get the pants over my knees but determined that I was going to make them work and did what tru fash1 bros do and took a bath in them. They have stretched around the knees significantly. They are going to work and they are going to be my favorite jeans… damnit.

Though the measurements seemed right, the beautiful Attachment coat I got from Grailed is slightly snug in the shoulders. Japanese tailoring vs. Scandinavian bones, I guess.  I am wearing it anyway because it is cold, and once I re-sell it on Grailed I will give it a hug and thank it for a job well done. Then I’ll use the funds toward the debt from which they came.

Rental winter.

I dearly want to tie up the nuisances around the edges of my existence – like all busy, broke and picky types who just moved across the world, probably.

29.11.16

Something so close to you that it is you (the English language).

I am sitting here in the workshop listening to Laura and Àngeles speak Spanish and it feels homey.

After figuring out increasingly complex patches all day I realize the most simple one I started with is the best.

Mop

A string mop is more difficult to clean than it is to clean with, though both are hard.

Today I rode my (Jenny’s) bike with an orchid in the basket, holding a new mop and jousting my way through the gelato-licking masses, in hopes that my life will become more convenient ;)

Clarity is luxury

1 Wish

I am too lazy to go through the critical thought it would take to answer a “one wish” type hypothetical question in a clever, righteous, or meta way so I guess that makes me the kind of archetypal character who foolishly uses their one wish to make all water sparkling water.

As I danced/hopped down the stairs at Fabrica to refill my water bottle, I thought “I wish all water was sparkling water” and I looked outside at the rain, wondering if it too would transform. Sparkling rain hits the pavement and oh! What a sound! Can you imagine?

There is free sparkling water with my free lunch at this job where I am working on the type of project I used to work on after work. You can get 1.5L of sparkling water for .15 at the grocery store two blocks from my free apartment.

This is such a long post and if I were scrolling by I would assume it was political. Nope, I just wanted to let you all know that amidst this terrifying civic climate, where everyone is talking about real threats to people’s rights/the environment and what we can do about it, I just used my one wish to turn all water into sparkling water, even though I can already have sparkling water basically whenever I want. You’re welcome!

In Loving Memory of the Future

After the U.S. presidential election everyone apologized to the Americans as we walked in. “No no no, we’re sorry” we said. Alexis and I had been interviewed for the Treviso Tribune for our perspective as Americans living abroad. I had taken little Jenny bike to UPS to submit my absentee ballot the week before. Wish I had the $16 for drinks now. 

Ciao Bitches

We happened to have a four day weekend over Halloween because of a Catholic holiday. The nerds had a party with a costume contest so I took what was around and free (trash bags, glue, time…) and made a typical M Wingren DIY Masterpiece:

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Heading out of my apartment in my brutal sandals (Rick Owens runway – thanks Italian eBay) the neighbor came up to yell and yell and yell at me. I guess it was worth it because I won the paper flower and bottle of prosecco ;)

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Deniel, Antti, Kendra, Alexis and I hopped on a bus to Slovenia so that we could generate in-jokes and not speak a different new language. Except in Ljubljana they do speak my language: DIY everything, squatter communities, vegan restaurants, queer culture…

The mixture of castles, dragons on everything, remnants of communism, Brutalism, graffiti, mountains… it was novel. The air was brisk. I kept saying I wanted to find the “scarf emporium.”

slovenia-3

^food porn^

We went to a vegan restaurant, it was good, it was cheap – €4 for a giant burger full of vegetables and a cappuccino. Then we got gelato, it was good, it was cheap, it was vegan. After exploring the “Luxury Communism” of DIY spaces Antti bought us all warm honey brandy. As it got dark we found ourselves at an Indian restaurant getting pleasantly tipsy on beer with elephants imprinted on the bottles.

 

 

Alexis told us about how she was asked to be the model for the Benetton Spa graphics the department was working on. “Bring your bikini” they told her. 

“Ciao lil’ mama, it’s time to go to the Versace-beach – where’s your Pizza-kini?” I said… to sum up everything about Italian culture.

The conversation surrounding  traditions of patriarchy continued. Instead of referring to a group of people as “guys” I proposed to start using the gender-neutral “bitches.”

“Ciao bitches” we would all say, for the rest of forever.

sloevnia-1As with any shoestring vacation, most of our time was spent walking. At one point we ended up at a place I visited in a dream a few years ago – a minimal structure on the river with round windows looking out to the water. The place had polished concrete floors and stainless steel tables in the center – repurposed lab tables full of professional looking zines and prints. Deniel traded zines and arranged himself a solo-show. Just like that.

 

The next morning we went to a different vegan restaurant, with even bigger and better burgers than the day before. I also got a raspberry croissant and a cappuccino. I don’t usually go so full luxury, but was having “treat yourself” feelings.

Right after that my wallet was taken.  I thought: “But that was a vegan restaurant, presumably their customers are ethical people?” I was glad that I had bought the pastry and went about cancelling my bank card, standing outside the restaurant. About a half hour later, having had no success with Italian banks (Catholic holiday) a guy with long black hair, eyeliner, and a happy-face emoji beanie came up to me holding my wallet. He thought it was his friend’s and took it off the communal table, then borrowed a bike to race back and return it. “Welcome to Ljubliana!” he said.
slovenia-2

We went to a castle, got another snack, and made it to the bus stop early. I had a big red can of low-alcohol beer with my avocado-bagel (it was the same price as a water bottle ;) The pedestrian signal produced a constant stream of minimal techno, and when its clicking reached the “drop” Antti and I would dance wildly.

Trees

The recycling truck lifts the bins with a series of beeps, and dumps them into resounding clatter – without worrying that the neighbours will complain.

I stand on the balcony, admiring the lack of tentativeness. I want to shout “ciao! grazie!” At the orange- clad man operating the sonic pollution, But also don’t want to wake the neighbours.

There is a big tree which the building was maybe built around, it’s the only significant plant-life I can see beyond basil in windowsills.

Everything is design, our entire built environment – the infrastructure in which we live. I think about Kristen being a city planner, and what trees she may have to avoid or plant for our environments. I think about how I am loved unconditionally, and how happy I am to exist.

Every1 Else

Feather and I went to see Tanya Tanaq. Very good. Viscerally avant garde. They re-scored “Nanook of the North,” shifting the Colonialist angle of the original film. Tanya talked about how how her people have always eaten meat to survive and critiqued PETA etc. for stripping Inuit seal-hunting rights. After the show, Feather asked me what I thought about all the pro-meat talk. I said: “She is right and I am right and everyone else is wrong.”

Everything is Fair

The slain body of a black man lay on the white marble floor of a department store. He was wearing a light blue button down and grey trousers – professional attire. When we showed up for our shifts police sent us away. “Did the cops kill him?” I asked.

That evening at Geronimo, Lynn (former boss) showed up (her and the guests she was entertaining being 1% and all, a $50 entree would pair best with a $30 glass of wine). I was glad I had emailed her to let her know I was still in town. She said she would be getting a new dog. “A lab?” I asked. Yes, a black lab. 

I still feel worker-loyalty to Lynn, but also, I love her and she cares about me, so I made sure to show that I appreciate her. I was explaining my visa situation, then kissing her and her husband (who is also kind to me and interested in my future) on the cheek as they waited for the valet.

My timing at new-job became un-synced. The white East Coast woman, who wore the work of a plastic surgeon with her leopard print top, yelled “do I have the wrong skin color or something? Can I get some service here?” Just then some cops drove by and shot her.

 

1st 23 Jobs

On facebook, the #1stsevenjobs has been trending.

How many jobs have I had? I have been working officially and paying taxes since it has been legal to do so. ¼ or so of all paychecks are eaten up by the man, for war and for meat subsidies I suppose, and a little welfare. Much of our taxes go into things to which I am morally opposed.

A timeline of my labor essentially highlights class stasis within advanced capitalism. I bet I am forgetting jobs here and there. The thing about jobs is that they are boring and I have had a few of them. This could be something more cohesive, but for now it’s a list and a few thoughts. 

 

1: Age 6: Housesitting the neighbor’s cat/garden while they were in Austria. I wasn’t good at using the front-door key and ended up turning it with my teeth. I made $84 and was so proud. I’ve had many housesitting gigs since then but those are too many to count.

2: Age 8: Painting rooms in Hotel Santa Fe with my mom. We had avocado sandwiches on the scaffolding, on sourdough bread with sprouts and dijon mustard. This solidified my understanding that nothing is better than lunch.

3: Age 12-14: House cleaning, plaster repair, and painting with my dad over the summer. The drugged out former tenants sold us a champagne-colored Mazda sedan for $1, which would officially be my 1st car (Pikachu), though it overheated to the point of no return on my first ride, driving Noah home from school. In the car was $12 worth of loose change, which my dad used to buy coffee and tea for us at Ohori’s throughout the job. Also on that job, my dad had me clean windows using newspaper. Once the newspaper box was open with .50 cents he took out a stack of 20 or more papers, reasoning that it was better not to take too many of the free newspaper so that those would be left for others.

4: Age 14: Selling burritos out of a basket to office workers near the plaza (dad gave me seed money for ingredients, woke me up, and did most of the work making the burritos). That tortilla dough raised enough for a ticket to Oaxaca.

5: Age 15: Ad sales, Sustainable Santa Fe Guide, paid on commission, made $106 in an entire summer of 20+ hour work weeks.

6: Age 16: Bali Art Sale – I organized/ran pop-up shops of Indonesian imports for this enchanting and gregarious woman, Darcy, (who recently came back into my life as the best neighbor ever)  while she was out of the country.

7-10: Ages 16-17: Gardener at St. Francis Hotel, gardener at Monte del Sol, construction labor for Qi-Gong teacher, Busser/barista at Amavi restaurant. At this time, I was devastated to have been rejected from the Bali Art Project, and determined I would work as much as possible and go to Indonesia by myself. (I didn’t, I ended up using what I had saved for community college and eventual emergency dentistry). I did the practices Mark Mikow had taught me while working – breathing in all the energy around me and transforming it into light/love. (Now that I’m on job 23 or so I’m doing the same thing).

11: Ages 17-19: Farmer’s market – waking up at 5 for minimum wage, often after illegally drinking at some of the first parties I was invited to and showing up after 2 hours of sleep. (I was the star employee).

12: Age 19: Ohori’s – barista. I ended up being fired so the manager could hire some friends. A friend I made there, Dave Mcp., was also fired after like 3 years or something.

13: Ages 19-20: Yoberri – I worked at a frozen yogurt shop to romanticize for myself the cultural climate and location where my parents met, when my mom was manager at “Eat Your Heart Out” yogurt, in Ventura CA. I also became manager at my yogurt shop. I talked left wing politics with the first owners, and tried to convince them to create a vegan option (nope, I’ll never understand how people for whom morality is a big talking point, who have dogs and love hiking, don’t think critically about speciesism). When the original owners sold the shop to some Jewish people from Mexico, I talked with them about religion and music. They told me to keep the yogurt recipe secret – like the name of god?

14: Age 20: Mills Cognition Lab: Self-designed music/cognition/memory experiment – The professor said my methods were solid and it could get published if I re-did the experiment with a larger sample size, but for some reason I didn’t? Maybe if I had I would be on the way to a PhD in cognitive science.

15: Age 20: Palmer Lab, UC Berkely, student researcher, (unpaid, or rather, I paid to be going to school, or rather, my mom and I are both now paying for that time when I got to work at the Palmer Lab).

16: Age 21: KIT Macquarie Brain Research Lab: I wanted this position so much, and I was so happy I got it. (Unpaid). Here I also had the opportunity to design my own music cognition experiment but didn’t have enough time to pass ethics. Maybe if I had insisted on an extra semester abroad I would have catapulted into a PhD in neuroscience research…

17: Age 21: Macquarie Music Cognition Lab – this was on a volunteer basis, I didn’t think of the possibility to ask for school credit until just now…

18: Age 22: Mama Pacha: because I wrote a good cover letter, was vegan, and had taken some cooking classes for fun, I became the assistant chef at a raw vegan restaurant, which I would argue was the best restaurant in Santa Fe during the minimal time it was in business. I loved my boss. Here’s an old post about this job.

19: Age 22: SITE Santa Fe: I graduated college and wrote a good cover letter to get this one. Santa Fe minimum wage + a complimentary education in contemporary art, and the opportunity to rub elbows with idol art babes. I also developed curricula and taught art classes for at risk/imprisoned youth. I got in trouble for giving one of my students my contact when she asked. Not as much trouble as those kids were in though! Another time, a girl said “I want to be like you, I want to go to college, but heroine is addictive.” Her boyfriend had just died of a heroine overdose. We sang along to pop radio together, she did Ariana Grande’s parts and I sang the Weeknd’s verse.

20: Age 23: Thai Vegan: I wasn’t making enough money to survive at SITE, so I took a second job as a waiter at Thai Vegan. With tips, I made about $12 an hour, $2 more than I was making at SITE. I was promoted to manager after a few weeks and promptly quit.

21: Age 24: Personal chef for SCUBA on their mobile art gallery tour. I fed the four of us on the road + gallery-goers across the nation pretty fucking gourmet fare with the help of Crocket’s EBT and a the dull-knives of others across the country – until Chris and Crocket bought me a good knife in China town. Since I was technically laid off between SITE shows at the time, I qualified for EBT and spent about half an hour on hold with the office each day, they sent me the card but I never got any money from the man, man.

22: Ages 24-26 Santa Fe Dry Goods After being hired to do sales on the high-end retail floor I was pulled for the web-team where I made more than minimum wage for the first time. I built the SEO of the ecommerce store until we were the first results for 80% of our designers, along with serving champagne for special events etc. I left because I was awarded a residency/scholarship in interaction design at Fabrica, and also into Aalto university in Finland. Then I had visa issues for longer than personal finances could stand and got a restaurant job…

23: Age 26 Geronimo: I wrote a good cover letter, highlighted the serving experience I’ve had across jobs. I dearly hope that this will be my last service industry job. Working in fine dining is reminding me of life at age 17. Like I’ve said before, we’re all just the groundwater, supporting the 1%. Where’s your beautiful smile? 

:)