Its already after midnight now, I should really be in bed already. Still, I’m in one of those fighting sleep moods. My eyes are foggy and keep getting dried out and glazed over, my mouth tastes like pennies, and yet I cant seem to give into sleep.
Its a strange but true fact that sometimes a vacation can feel like more work than my work. Mostly is because I don’t like just sitting around, and my idea of a vacation is running around a new city trying to cram as much fun into a day as possible. Some day i may have to force myself to take a break at a hotel in punxatawny or something, a place where there is nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no need more pressing than sitting by a pool drinking iced tea and staring at the sky, it sounds nice but i don’t know if I’m really cut out for it. The old zen dudes of yore often described the untrained mind as the ‘monkey mind’ and I definitely feel that shit. Meditation helps, but i have been slack assing on that lately and I need to get back on the stick.
My life has been wonderful lately and I suppose that I don’t feel the pressing urge to sit zazen every day when I’m not freaking out about something. Of course, its clear that this is when I need it the most, you cant really get any closer to the truth if you only run to meditation when the world is tumultuous and scary, its an everyday thing, a baseline for the rest of your day (and life). I need to get on the schedule again, there really is no excuse for not being able to spare 15 minutes of my day for sitting when i will gladly waste hours on this computer.
I suppose I should tell you about new york, Im not sure how actually interesting it is to read about someone elses vacation so let me tell you about some things that occurred to me during vacation without giving you the tedious litany of my daily schedule of our vacation. First of all, Cara is a wonder and a joy, I had some shitty tense moments when we first got there and became testy with everyone around me, some girlfriends would take that as an affront and fire right back, Cara isn’t one of them. She made sure that I understood that she knew I was upset but she also didn’t poor baby me while I was sulking. I snapped out of it shortly thereafter, its hard to be selfish around people who are not, and she definitely is not selfish.
The people we went with, Josh and Erica are amazing. not just nice, but actually amazing people. Nice, funny, up for any adventure, kind and talented. If you dont get to go on vacation with people this awesome then you are missing half the fun. I wish we lived closer than 4 hours from them.
Second, all my fears about new york turned out to be bullshit. No one was rude, no one. People were amazingly helpful and courteous. At no point did I feel in danger and (except for cigarettes) I found the prices to be very much in line with any other large city. I realised that I was enjoying all the stuff i expected to about the city, great food, amazing stores, cool atmosphere, 24 fun without any hassle at all. Here is my only complaint, there was so much to do that I was exhausted at the end of every day!
Third, providence is at work if you allow it to be. We went with only one plan at all, to go to the convention at the roseland ballroom one day, that done we ran into one super cool opportunity after another. We would literally find ourselves being led from one awesome tattoo shop to a fantastic restaurant to an incredible bookstore all with zero planning. Somehow i came away from the city with an invitation to do a guest spot at a top notch shop in july which i will be taking advantage of if i can. It wasn’t planned, the person i met happened to know my brother, the next thing you know I have a place to work in a city i had just fallen in love with. In a city of 8 million people we managed to bump into all the right ones every time. At this point in my life I feel like people who are struggling with their lives are doing so because they haven’t given up trying to control everything. Trust me, it works.
Fourth, no wonder NYC is the home of fixed gear bike-ness, that place is as flat as a board! You could hit one side of Manhattan to the other and never climb a hill or even a small rise. I rode around Pittsburgh this morning and damn near puked hitting unexpected hills and steep fucking climbs. Gears are a waste there and a necessity here.
Lastly, we saw tons and tons of dachshunds and chihuahuas. Obviously little dogs work better in little apartments, but i like to think its had more to do with being sophisticated and erudite (like me 🙂
here’s a few pictures (all the cool trippy ones were taken by Erica Denny):
This place was about the size of a closet, the ceiling was 6 feet high so the ten million chili-pepper lights smacked your head as you squeezed through the place. The food was awesome, the ambiance downright psychedelic, and in a fashion that became routine for us, we managed to get there right before the crowds did and so we got stellar service and left right as it got so crazy that the waiter couldn’t keep up with all the new folk squeezing into this teeny place.
The stores were amazing, this joint was blasting crazy dub and underground rap out of huge speakers that all had blown cones, it was so loud that it felt like abuse, and yet a shitload of people just moseyed around like it was the farmers market on a Saturday.
So this was a pretty well attended convention. Cara got a nice rose tattoo by Todd Noble, i got a new Horiyoshi book of his dragons and I got to nervously check out the 50 Hells Angels hanging around supervising the place, they even had a booth selling HA merch. Anyone who thinks that New York doesn’t still have that ‘dont fuck with me’ vibe just isnt looking in the right places.
Outside a Japanese restaurant was an 8 foot tall Tanuki (or raccoon-dog) statue. This place didnt have one sign in English, it was all kanji. Tanukis are portrayed with gigantic balls and are apparently considered quite the friendly fellows in Japan, we followed tradition and cupped his enormous testicles for luck. . . .
Ok enough for now, Im off to bed. tattoo stuff in the next post i promise!