Monthly archives: August 2011

second blight, second nature

First the spaghetti squash went, shriveling into a ghastly shadow of their former selves, and the tomatoes quickly followed. Was it the rain? Insects? Mold? Despair? Suicide?

For anyone interested in helping me diagnose my plants, it happened like this: one morning I woke up and found all of the plants had wilted. There were brown blotches on the stems, and the fruits had turned hard and brown.
Just as the tomatoes went, I started reading Michael Pollan’s book about gardening: Second Nature. I wasn’t expecting it to be a page-turner—who expects any book about [...]

still lives

I once got into an argument with a newspaper photographer about the photos on my blog (and the photos he had taken for a newspaper article about me). He said my blog was a like a still life painting: no people, no movement, no life. He had a point there, though my choice to leave people out of it is because a lot of people don’t feel like having their faces plastered all over the internet. The same photographer also said that people who live in communes are just asking to be photographed and plastered all over [...]

next stop: the forest kindergarten, the gingerbread house, and the squatted tennis court

I started the week with photos from a squatted school in Cologne where we played during the last Black Diamond tour. And today the frieght rolls on with more photos of some of the inspiring places where we rested our heads and sang our songs this June…
After a watermelon-filled, sunny breakfast in Cologne, we piled back into the bus and headed to Leipzig where we spent the night at the “Forest Kindergarten” where we played music for and with the presiding kittens the following morning.
The concept of a forest Kindergarten is that the kids spend as much time as [...]

all aboard the black diamond express train to hell

So I’ve decided not to tell you anymore stories about the Black Diamond tour because they all amount to the same thing: the shows were awesome, our hosts were gracious, we hung out with a ton of awesome folks, and I spent most of the time puking behind the van. So if it’s stories of shenanigans you want, you’ll have to ask someone else. Because the more I think about tour, the more I just kind of never ever want to tour again. We need to play a show during which I’m not nauseous real soon. [...]

and eleven makes six

I suppose time has always moved at this pace, but with something to measure it by, it always appears to have sped up behind my back. The end of another school year, the celebration of another birthday, the day that marks your six-year anniversary in a country you landed in—in fact, stayed in—completely by accident.
I made the decision to come to Germany on a whim. Instead of moving to the Marshall Islands to teach English after graduating from college (as I occasionally envisioned in the hazy daydreams between thesis drafts), I took a 9-5 proofreading at a local [...]

pallet construction projects

Pallets. They’re everywhere. In Germany at least, some of them have Pfand on them (that is, a deposit that you get back when you return them), but all the ones not tied up in Pfand end up in the trash. I’ve used them to build sheds, and I especially like to chop them up into kindling, but making really sweet furniture out of them never even occurred to me.
One of our stops on the Black Diamond tour was an absolutely delicious (gorgeous! let me stay here forever!) squatted tennis court. On the edge of the city [...]

nutshell book reviews

I feel like this should be a time of getting things done. Of finishing things that I won’t have much time for once the Peanut arrives in 3-D. And instead I’m laying in bed, my creativity squashed by physical misery, watching the rain outside of the window like a cat. So the obvious task to tackle was the reading of all the books on my to-read shelf. And because I’m a book geek and because a number of you showed interest when I posted the last “year in books” post, I thought I’d give you a [...]

and then there were none

And just like that, my entire spaghetti squash crop died. About a month ago they were exhibiting a preference to world domination, climbing fences and strangling the beans. A few weeks ago I noticed that some of the leaves were dotted with a chalky white substance. And yesterday they were dead, every last plant, stalks brown and withered, a big hole in the garden where their overbearing vines had lain. The few leaves still visible are completely covered in chalky white.
So what the fuck? Did all the rain cause the leaves to mold? Has [...]

dumpster find of the week: the knives

The best knives in my possession all came from somewhere in Asia (numbers one, two, and four from left to right), via the trash across the street. But the trash across the street has slowed down in recent months. Mabye it’s all the rain or all the heat (or the fact that the smell of hot rotting garbages makes me vomit and I’d rather avoid it than dig in it) or the fact that useful trash there was at its most abundant when people were moving out en mass so that rennovations on one of the student housing [...]