life in samsonite

i was hanging out with my friend, the extraordinary eli winkelwoman and her sister, trying to come up with cliched titles for my journal. (where i keep the realy private stuff, and notes so i dont forget anything) and after much ado, and a ferry ride to new jersey, came up with “life in samsonites,” for 2 reasons: 1, it reminds me of the counting crows album, ‘recovering the satellites’ and 2, because of swan, swanson, samsonite! 3, if you didnt grasp that reference, then maybe this blog isnt for you, and 4, b/c its reflective of what im packing. there.

i leave for the israel in 10 hours. i could never manage to nail that whole ‘sleep at _ o’ clock to avoid the jet lag’ theory. its pretty stupid if you think about. im basically fucked either way, sleep or no sleep. planes suck. long plane rides suck even more. i do yoga before i get on nowadays to stay limber, and eat bananas because i heard (this is unconfirmed) that the potassium helps muscles loosen up and not cramp. whatever. i like bananas so its a win-win situation.

stay shiny. stay up. stay open minded.

and godspeed.

holla at yo hannukah

Here’s a video of some pals, ariel and lindsay and I lighting the menorah on the last night of Chanuka. A buddy of mine, Dave from jewlicious makes these in his free time. he’s got a hardcore insane work ethic and besides for the nighttime orchestra, would make a great roommate.

you always need to live with one real, genuine nerd, someone who knows how to set up wireless, make an abusive webpage about the roommate who steals your stuff, set up speakers and pay bills. Word to your mothers. I’m tired and in New Jersey. It’s kinda like the Tarzana of New York. Chain restaurants, movie theatres, housing complexes, and people who waver back to and fro the city. the last sentence i wrote simply to use the word fro in a context other than a massive, thick helmet of hair. i cut mine off weeks ago.

why people from new york are cooler than us

time is of the essence, since its 2 am and my neighbor/roommate in manhattan is feeling the quesy after eating some questionable sushi. all is well in aaron land. im feeling burnt out, not from the 4 mile treks throughout the village (east and west..on tuesday i unknowingly walked across the island to find an argentianian tea shop..yes, i know im cool) but the need to see and do has been replace by the need to live and be. tonight some friends and I did shabbat, it was nice, peaceful, smart conversation.peaceness

which is a key coastal difference. its not that new yorkers are smarter or more intelligent, but life is just quicker here. everything is quicker..the way people enter and disembark from the subway, the rate at which my greenbacks flee their leathery home and enter into various cash registers around manhattan, and action. what israelis call tachles, getting down to the bottom of things, is this churning sensation flowing through new york. lives and plans are scheduled, banter is useless – and probably because its cold out so people tend to stay indoors, and whoa, actually talk to others – interaction leads to thinking, and thinking leads to more thinking, which may or may not lead to action. sometimes i’ll overhear topics of convos in LA, and call me self-righteous, but youll see me running my hands through my now frustrated scalp, thinking, is this for real? the mellow, chill stereotype has funneled down into empty, aimless drifts of thought with nothing substantial to show for. no, of course, not everyone in the west village has a higher vocabulary than my dad, but thats one, modest consensus that won’t hold up to any academic standard.wow

what is lost on me is this abstract and contemporary art business. holy crap. i couldnt help thinking of holden caulfield from the catcher in the rye, as he stumbles through new york eyeing every phony that walked by. i love art. my mom is an artist, my brothers and i make music, my dad, uh, he used to play the accordion and kicks ass at crossword puzzles. but bad art, REALLY bad art pisses me off. i walked into 27 galleries in the chelsea district in about 2 hours, and was only impress by 2 of them. and one artist in particular. the rest were off the wall, weird weird stuff. example: a 16 foot tapestry print of a boarding ticket to london with the seat circled. that’s art?

another gallery displayed 4 pieces in a huge wherehouse type of room, a great space. the ‘artist’ colored 8 canvasses in primary colors, then nailed like colors in pairs of two, then put them on opposite sides of the wall. jesus. dont forget pretentious curators who sit and play on vintage imacs until a fat cat shows up. then they smile. only then.

new york is…a lot to handle. ive been here a week, and putting it out there that i’ve seen a lot of the city and willing to live with that lie. the need to escape, see some greenery and exercise is starting to emerge, which is nothing new. the ocean, the vastness of the desert, and good looking girls is also an attractive plus. but now is now, and here is the here, so i try and take advantage, even if new york apartment buildings have ‘central heating’ and for this reason i sweat at night.

ive been carrying around a pocket dalai lama book wherever i go. im like a faithful jewish buddhist mormon who doesnt try to save anybody. really dig his thoughts on universal responsibility, and responsibility in general. its a concept that makes a ton of sense as a guide to our actions and is somehow lost on society these days. i think our daily interactions can be measureable or questioned from this perspective, and whether we can take further actions to act more responsibly.

thats my thought. have nice weekend. be especially nice to someone today, even if you normally wouldn’t. see what happens.

Lower East Side – Latter Day Saints

Walked from 81st to 34th. Apparently this is a lot for New Yorkers.

Ground Zero, a big gaping hole in the heart of financial district, the city, massive reconstruction

Sushi with a friend from 8th grade, phone call to SB, trapped in a mall, lost in the subway system

les “Is this the way to the Lower East Side?” “No. You’re in Tripeca” “What the hell is Tripeca?” “Go East, man, head in that direction.” And later, “Which way is East? You from New York?” Yes. “Are you sure that’s East?”

I stop in a kosher bakery, finally here. 3 Hungarian seniors, females, keep checking me out. Who is this guy with the funny red ear flap hat and the blue bottle, and why is he drawing us? In the corner, right next to me sit 5 older men speaking Yiddish, rapping Yiddish, yelling at eachother in Yiddish. It’s like a jewish poker game, but you have to be grouchy, drinking only ONE cup of coffee and over 76 to play. I ask them what they’re talking about, what is keeping them so wrapped up in conversation, and get no response. Okay. Moving on.

Synagogue searching in the LES. 45 minutes and no culture to show for it. Not even a knish. All I see: dim sum, noodles, fake Gucci purse vendors, electronic stores, and Monsoon, a hot Vietnamese restuarant. The Jewish centre? More like Big China…land.

Squished like a sardine in the subway going uptown, sidetown, diagonaltown. “Stop pushing me” the overzealous possibly drunk woman in a sari yells at me. “I’m not…They’re pushing me…It’s my first day in New York I’m from California I know I probably taste good but please don’t eat me I haven’t seen Mount Rushmore yet.”

apples ‘n apples

new york is new york, and i feel like a kid in a candy store. brooklyn, in retrospect, feels like the calabasas of LA: mellow, rich, lo-key, lots of families. ive moved spots to somewhere called the upper west side, home to lots of jews and flanked by a really big ass forest park, which makes me happy.

uwsthis city is pumping, alive, reminding me of tel-aviv, with more christmas lights and fewer savage drivers. i went shopping today with ariella, my host and neighbor from the encino hood, (we made a seared blackened pepper ahi tuna salad which rocked my intestinal world) and had to stop and soak it all in: jews light a huge menorah (what is it with this jewish necessity to light huge public candelabras?) a father and his pimply son leave circuit city with matching new computers, bars open up to that city smell, a man in a black suit wrapped in a tweed scarf leans over to his date, her mouth connected to the bottom portion of her cell-phone at ‘i violini’, he begs for attention and when that fails, leans back and smiles in resignation. and the movement. the movement of everything, towards everything.

it’s hard not to feel cool in new york. i don’t understand it. the city, the atmosphere, the attitude, the history, it just seeps into my skin , and i absorb it like tomato paste in a pot of white basmati rice.

so i got quasi confirmation yesterday about the desert permaculture program at the arava institute, in the negev desert of israel. so strange, how close this voyage is starting to follow the story of the alchemist. santiago, my young shepherd, following the omens and letting the camel take him, always landing in the right place. i guess it all depends on outlook. i’m convinced i have some sort of ADD. thats why im not a fan of road trips, long plane flights, routine, asparagus (because they’re weird looking and lets not forget to mention the effect on pee-pee scent), and long term commitment. but that’s all changing. i feel activated, for the first time in a long time, perhaps since college, to do something and devote years of my life towards a goal. thinking strategically about our effect on the earth and how better to handle it is just cool, exciting, creative, and needed. thats how i can contribute. and i met someone, who though knowing her for a collective 72 hours or less (probably less) i remain intrigued, fascinated at what could develop. i firmly believe in affinity. it’s a great word, and in my young age, a suitable substitute for ‘love,’ a concept i’ve still yet to understand. i imagine its somehow related to selflessness and sacrifice, but since i haven’t had to make those calls, i’m not fully sure. but interested. definitely interested.

life is good. go eat some cookies.

les rues de Brooklyn

Why do I always forget stuff? I blame it on the 2 hrs sleep I had my last night in Boston. Joe and I cooked green beans and mushrooms for th next day, shaved our heads, packed like mad cats…and I left a hi-tech thermal and a purple polo shirt at his place. I know, i know, they’re just shirts, but shit, I’m running low as is. My roller suitcase, in case you’re wondering, is composed of the following:

6 boxer shorts
1 Ex-Ufficio 6 week boxer brief..It’s awesome, absorbs odor, sweat. They are really kick ass, highly recommended.
8 pairs of socks
Italian leather shoes coated in pig fat for water protection, Running Asics, Chaco Sandals
5 shirts
1 mafioso hat, 1 over ear beanie which gets kinda itchy after prolonged use
1 patagonia fleece (with windwall technology 🙂

prospective heightsbrooklyn: west indies immigrants and carribean pirates fighting on the street no cops come out to intervene though the police station is around the corner / i get scooped up by a bearded member of the tribe on eastern parkway, become the 10th man for his minyan, discuss legalization of marijuana with his 22 year old wife (who is also a mother and cool as all hell ) / witness the gentrification of nyc – 800 unit condo complexes built next door to the brooklyn dentention center, a comunist era prison in the heart of the arab quarter / eat fantastic black lentil soup, sip overpriced coffee, expecting to bump into jerry seinfeld and george costanza on the street, spilling coffee on one of them and devising a scheme / feeling NY : i gotta get into a fight, play music on the subway, and go to an upper west side jewish singles event / staying in prospect park (near crown heights, headquarters of chabad, home of matisyahu, and others) with my friend shulie, checked out the art museum, saw photos and babylonian scupltures / it’s dirty, people are friendly, its not that overwhelming, the cafes are uber:cool they have a lot of bridges here that lead straight in to the heart of the beast.

gonna go find out what this whole big apples thing is all about. stay up.

heaven, i won’t leave

like a prescription drug
repairs damaged cells, springs forth new, better ones
like a reverberating drum
dum, dum dum dum, the heart beats involuntary rhythms
uncontrolled boundless free
like an overused metaphor
she shines light to the edges,
bring laughter to the sides of the square
smiles softly while i cook kosher in the other room

you’ve done it
trapped my heart
in this comfortable prison
a heaven i won’t leave
manacled, painlessly to your side,
arms twirling twisting bending shaping to be locked in yours
breathing you in like the first breath

this cell is lovely
you can throw away the key