Friday January 31 2014

Zeke's. Taken by Nick Vitale.[i]

Waking up around 12:15 p.m.

Strawberry Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.


Egg Sandwich with Tomato and Mayo. Black Bean Quinoa Flax Seed Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Hummus. Milk Chocolate.

Watching Man of Steel (2013).

At the Rec Center after it was closed for two days in a row. I haven't had the opportunity to play basketball in a long time it feels like. But today is my lucky day. After lifting weights in the fitness room I join in on some pickup games in the gym.

Fuji Apple.

Ana is waiting for me at home. She drives us to this art show at Zeke's off Norfolk Avenue, near the oceanfront. I've driven by this place many times but never been inside. Ana's friend Victoria works here. An artist named Igor has a collection of custom-made signs hung up around the room. I try a five-dollar cup of gourmet Coffee (Peru Blend), pricey but worth it. Stephanie and Leisa show up. I meet one of the owners, Nick, who is Victoria's boyfriend. I mention the idea of doing acoustic shows or Show N Tells here. He's enthused about the idea. We don't stay long, just enough to talk a little bit and enjoy the homey atmosphere.


On the drive back to the house I mention to Ana how I feel obligated to stay living in Virginia Beach in order to maintain the music and arts community. This was the whole reason for starting the Show N Tells at 1623 years ago. Local coffee shops like Zeke's are crucial for that reason too. 


I pull out the guitar to work out Ana and I's rendition of "You Are My Sunshine". She's still got a sickly cough; we think it might be whooping cough. Despite she's still able to sing with heart. The caffeine is running through my bloodstream and making me all jittery. At some point we have to stop. She leaves.

Spinach and Arugula Mix with Carrots, Dried Cranberries, and Balsamic Honey Dressing. Leftover Salmon and Rice.

Finishing the Superman movie.

Heavy research.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Zeke's. Image taken by Nick Vitale.

Thursday January 30 2014

Ana Noir (Jan 30 2014) (2)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

In a bedroom of some guesthouse. My mom is fidgeting with something. Stephanie keeps coming in and out of the room. I just want to take a nap in peace but I can't from all the distractions. I try to explain this to my mom.

"I can't function without sleep!"

But she doesn't hear me clearly.

"Sleep! I can't sleep!"

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up sporadically throughout the morning. Ana is very restless and still sickly – her head throbbing from all the coughing. I feel bad. I wish there was something I could do. It's cold outside of the blankets. But underneath I have my own personal heating machine – her body emanating such warmth. I feel I could lay here forever in an infinite comfort. But every now and then we have to separate from the sweat created on our legs.

Sharing Cinnamon Oatmeal with Strawberries, Brown Sugar, and Almond Milk. Scrambled Eggs. Orange Juice.

Ana Noir (Jan 30 2014) (2)

Ana and I pick up Stephanie from her new cottage off 34th ½ Street and spend a few hours at The Escape. There's a violent geese gang roaming around the half frozen lake. In the fitness center they got the hot tub running on the patio so you can enjoy the feeling of being submerged in warm water all the while being surrounded by a cold snowy landscape. Today's workout is rejuvenating.

Ana and the Geese Gang (1)(Jan 30 2014)

Ana and the Geese Gang (2)(Jan 30 2014)

Reconvening at the house. I fix up a lunch for us: Kale and Carrot Salad with Mixed Nuts, Dried Cranberries; Black Bean Quinoa Flax Seed Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Hummus; and a slice of Josh's Pizza from Brother's.

Elliott scoops Ana, Josh, and I from the house. Then, scooping up Stephanie and checking out these snow hills in the woods off 73rd Street. We brought boogie boards. I brought a Matrix-style trench coat made of leather that's so slick it doubles as a sled. There are others out here with the same idea as us. Holding onto the board for deer life – sliding down the steep slopes of sand and snow – falling on our asses – plowing into the brush. "Let's go tandem, Robert!" Elliott says. Tandem, meaning we go down together on one board. This creates a greater weight and also creates a faster speed. Deeper into the woods we locate another decent hill for sledding. Randomly we run into Amber, a good friend of Stephanie's—they each sound almost exactly like each other. It's so dark here in the woods we hardly recognize any faces. As Josh explains, "We were all random silhouettes throwing ourselves down the hill!"

Back at the house drying off and warming up. I take Elliott and Ana to Whole Foods to fill up my gallon water jugs. But we end up spending a good amount of time perusing through the aisles and admiring the variety of items.

Back home. Ana and I share the bathroom for showers and cleaning up.

Ana: "I wish people would appreciate the little things more."

This is her philosophy: appreciating all the little things – almost everything is aesthetically pleasing for her. I like this quality.

Downstairs, Josh, James, and Kevin are watching Seinfeld. Ana and I enjoy dinner on the couches with them.

Salmon with Baby Broccoli, Onions, Mushrooms, and Rice. Beer.

It feels good to have sex with her after a few weeks of none.

Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] All images by me.

Wednesday January 29 2014

China Wok Snow Mounds (Jan 29 2014)[i]

Waking up to a harsh knock on the bedroom door. Ana answers. It's Kevin. He's sick as a dog and needs me to cover his shift today. I remember hearing somebody dry heaving in the bathroom earlier. I'm reluctant because I really wanted to have a fun snow day with Ana and friends. But I have to rise up to my duty.

Strawberry Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.

Winter Storm Leon arrived in our sleep last night. The snow has fallen about 12 inches. I had to spend some extra time clearing off the tons of snow on my car.


On the down time I walk over to Bangkok Garden where Ana, Josh, and Aj are having lunch. Ana saved me a big platter of Vegetable Pad Thai and Spring Rolls. Reflections over Darren's agro episode last night – I was the last one to listen to him.

The style of driving today is slow and steady – don't go over 35 mph – don't come to a complete stop at heavy patches of snow otherwise get stuck, rather plow through it – don't drive too close to neighbor cars – stay on well-tracked road. The delivery time is doubled because of these conditions. The sight of kids sliding down the steep hills with boogie boards makes me a little jealous.

Dark Chocolate Powerberries.

Delivering an order to Sandyville Court. I notice a marking in the snow. It says "Gay J" with an arrow pointing to the customer's apartment. A guy answers the door. Right away I ask, "Does a gay Jay live here?"

Immediately he laughs hysterically and tells his buddies what just happened including a roommate named Jay.

Guy: "That deserves ten dollars!"

And right there I receive a $10 tip.

A stick of overcooked Chicken Teriyaki.

Slogging through the white ice deep into the night. At a house off Credle Road. I notice icicles frozen straight over the imitation icicle Christmas lights hung above the customer's porch.

I comment to him, "Your icicle lights blend in with the real icicles."

"Ain't that some shit?" he responds.


Finally home. I walk in and discover all the roommates in their own rooms/zones. Quiet. Supreme silence. It's strange. I guess the heavy snow created a hibernation effect on everyone. Even Darren in the living room isn't making any sounds or drinking or anything. My door is locked. I knock. Ana answers with a big warm smile on her face. She tells me it's been like this for the better part of the day. Even she stayed holed up my room reading, playing guitar, and doing yoga.

A cup of Vegetable and Rice Soup.

Settling down in the bed with Ana. She's coughing every 30 seconds so it's hard to sleep but eventually I incorporate this sound into my dreams.

[i] All images by me.

Tuesday January 28 2014

Mestre Fungo. Henrique Lima.*

Waking up around 12:30 p.m.

Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk. Grapefruit.

Running and working out at the gym.

Shivering Seagull (Jan 28 2014)

Running some errands. The snow flurries start to flutter down. Winter Storm Leon makes his grand entrance.

Double Egg Sandwich with Mayo and Tomato. Black Bean, Quinoa, Flax Seed Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Hummus. Honey Black Tea. Dark Chocolate Powerberries.

Driving around on the snowy roads in hopes the Rec Center would be open but to my dismay is not.

Back home. Darren and Aj are hanging out in the dining room. I fix up new decorations on the stairwell walls. A while back James painted some portraits of residents in the house on the back of pizza boxes. I align them on the wall like a dynasty.

1435 Dynasty (Jan 28 2014)

Ana spent about 45 minutes driving carefully from Norfolk to the house. She's here but still with a light hacking cough – she naps as long as she can.

Downstairs, I fix up a Kale Salad with Edamame and Carrots for Ana and I. I snag a few small slices of Pizza on the counter. Meanwhile, Josh, Kevin, Aj, and Darren are heavy into a debate about something dealing with game theory ( It gets supremely heated, mostly because Darren is yelling over top of Josh and not allowing any room for other opinions. This short-tempered conversation is the reason Ana and I migrate upstairs to enjoy our dinner in peace. I pick up the guitar and we attempt to work out "You Are My Sunshine" together. After switching the capo up a few frets we hear a rumble in the hallway. Darren has egged on Kevin to engage in a fight. This isn't no rasslin' match. It's serious. It's escalated to this point. BAM. THUD. POW. There's nothing I can do to intervene. Kevin is more pissed than I've ever seen. Darren claims he was just trying to prove a point. All of this has nothing to do with Kevin or Josh or anyone else but himself. Doors get slammed and relations find calm water.

Hole in the Door (Jan 28 2014)

I catch up with Darren downstairs. He stands there in the living room holding a glass with a tiny bit of vodka swaying left and right. He explains himself...and more than that he breaks down everything about everything – the judgments and the flaws in himself, in others, and in the system of society.

¦¦¦ Society has raised a bunch of boys who had their balls cut off! ¦¦¦

A man of principles. Principles are important. I understand that. But he's getting caught up in trivial matters, which represent grander problems I know, but also weaken the "MAN" that Darren so eloquently talks about. As he preaches charismatically I'm reminded of times when I was a kid sitting in the pews of a Pentecostal church listening to the evangelist or preacher yelling and hollering at me to strive for something better. I remember how convincing everything that they said would sound. I felt inspired. And I feel inspired now but it's an uncomfortable inspiration. Beyond the red watery alcoholic eyes I can see a man who is tired...tired of injustice, tired of all the inconsistencies and hardships he sees around him, but mostly he's just tired of feeling defeated. This is one of those times I regret not having my phone or digital recorder to document the delicate words coming out of his mouth. Any other time I would've found a way to grab my phone and hit record but I couldn't move from my spot. I was glued to the stairs behind the banister as he presented his evocative monologue. The banister – its black metal bars resembled a cage – and he was in a cage – of course he probably has the same perspective on me from his position – I was also in my own cage. And I was the only one listening now, I, the only one offering complete attention. If only I had a camera installed in my glasses you too could witness the tenacity of this performance – an Oscar-worthy display of emotion and sheer passion. I can only paraphrase the things he's saying.

¦¦¦ I wanna be a legend. I'd rather die before I become the villain. ¦¦¦

He gets real personal too and mentions how much respect he has for me and how he looks up to me and expects me to be a "man" and how I've let him down a few times, citing a few examples of how I handled situations in the house. I'm the mediating force to his rage and as his friend I accept this role. He says I'm one on a short list of people that he actually looks up to. But he doesn't fail to point out where I could improve. He goes on and on and on – getting deeper and deeper – bringing up family history, how he was raised, and stories that put why he is who he is into perspective.


After a good hour I try to conclude this talk with Darren iterating to him that he should be strong. There are a lot of hardships to be had out there but this life is about growing and developing past those. I reach in for a hug – we slap each other on the back. Be strong, dude. 

Returning upstairs to the bedroom. Ana's in the bed reading something on her laptop. I stay quiet and type out some notes. "That was a lot," I tell her. Sharing some Maple Leaf Cookies and hot Apple Cider Vinegar Tea.

Sleep at 4:30 a.m.

* Mestre Fungo. Henrique Lima.
† Images by me.

Monday January 27 2014

Real Life Vs Out Run (Jan 27 2014)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

I suddenly have the ability to dunk the basketball. I'm totally surprised because even after working my legs out I didn't think I'd be able to dunk until later down the road. I jump up each time and give my legs an extra boost of energy to reach just high enough to the hoop. I share my excitement with the other players in the gym.

▬ ○ ☼

W a k i n g u p a t 11 a.m.

Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.

The sun is out melting away all the snow piles – a beautiful day – 54 degrees – it's hard to grasp.

Mixed Nuts with Dried Cranberries. Black Bean, Quinoa, Flax Seed Tortilla Chips with Hummus. Honey Black Tea.

While driving down Oceana Blvd I notice a couple riding an old red Corvette (circa 80's). I snap a photo and realize later after looking at it how reminiscent it is to the old Sega Out Run racing game that was so popular back in the day. It's almost dead on, brown-haired male driver and blonde-haired female passenger.

As grateful as we all were for the sunshine and the moderately warm temperature, it's all gone in a flash after nightfall – the wind picks up dramatically and the threat of snow is in the air; they say by tomorrow afternoon we'll have the official second snow of the season.

Milk Chocolate Bar.

Just plowing through the deliveries left and right while listening to podcasts.


At about 9 o'clock Ana shows up. She has zero tolerance for the cold and chooses to stay in the heated car while I wait in the restaurant for orders.

Off work and back home. Ana and I sit at the table with Darren and Devon (yeah, Devon is in town!). Sharing Vegetable Moo Shu and Soup while listening to Darren describe his first day on the job at Whole Foods; he's cynical about the system but then again he's cynical about the system as a whole.

I got another royalties check from a Tokyo song. Apparently it was used in a Japanese Nike commercial promoting the future Olympic Games for 2020...

So Stephanie has officially moved out of the house and has been replaced with a perky-hookah-smoking-down-to-earth girl named Jessica. She seems to be getting along with everybody – we all approve. I admire her pet leopard gecko.

Ana and I settle into the bed and talk about our sexual concerns and frustrations.


Ana: "I feel like lined journals are cages for my words."


Ana: "I learned my lesson."

Me: "Well I'm glad you learned your lesson before you got to me."

Sleep at 4 a.m.

[i] Real Life Vs Out Run. Image by me.

Sunday January 26 2014

Pin Power Ranger. Peniche.[i]

Waking up at 11:05 a.m. Ana's snuggled up next to me, her legs across mine.

Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.


A steady lunch rush.

Egg and Cheese Biscuit from Bojangles. Popped Potato Chips. Maple Leaf Cookie. Honey Black Tea.

Dinner is busy for a solo driver. But that's what I like about Sundays: I'm the only delivery driver on the clock besides the random help from Ming, the cook.

Apple. Fiberful Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar.

Delivering an order to Suhtai Court. It's hit or miss here; some people tip, some don't. I red-flagged this particular address as a non-tipper so I know what to expect and so I can slip in the bag one of those tipping memos that clearly states "Our Drivers Work For Tips". Anyway, this sweet and sassy black girl with the booty of the century answers the door. One of her male roommates is looking for money in the back. So I'm left waiting at the door with this girl. She's super attractive and she obviously knows it because she's wearing the tightest, shortest shorts I've ever seen. I don't even know what to say. Moving along...

This thick-accented Indian guy orders off Waterfront. I remember him ordering last night as well. The strange thing is when he answers the door his roommates are watching the transaction on the couch; one of them is recording video on their phone. The Indian guy acts overly friendly saying laughable things like, "What's up my nigga?" I'm not sure I understand what's happening here. Maybe they expect me to react or something. I guess I'll prepare a line when they order tomorrow night.

Off work and back home.

Leftover Cod Fillet. Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice. Maple Leaf Cookies.

Darren opens up a fortune cookie that reads, "Nothing happines [sic] unless first a dream."

Happines (Jan 26 2014)[ii]

Sleep at some point.

[i] Pink Power Ranger. Peniche.

[ii] Image by me.

Saturday January 25 2014

Eavesdrop (Jan 25 2014)[i]

Waking up freezing underneath the covers at 10:50 a.m.

Strawberry Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.


Kale and Arugula Salad with Tomatoes, Dried Cranberries, and Almonds. Popped Potato Chips. Honey Black Tea. Maple Leaf Cookie.

The Narcissus Effect. From Adbusters (Jan 25 2014)

Listening to a Radiolab podcast with a theme on stress.

PB&J Chocolate Bar.

Delivering an order to the Sheraton on 35th Street. When looking for the customer's room I walk by two middle-aged guys and one lady. I can see the alcohol heavy in their red eyes. They seem to be having a somewhat secretive discussion about something, maybe a conspiracy. They don't pay me much attention. Everything is said with sheer enthusiasm.


Out of all the years that I've worked here I never once tasted the General Tso's Chicken. I realize this and decide to try it to see what all the fuss is about.

Off work and back home.

General Tso's Chicken with Broccoli and Fried Rice.

The boys are drinking hard downstairs. It's just Josh, Darren, and Kevin. I can hear their rumbles and hollering.


I allow Darren to use my computer to upload some music from his external hard drive onto his phone. In my room, he hits me with the usual questions, "What should I do, Robert?" It's mostly about this girl he says he'll never fall out of love with but the question also deals with his future. He's too smart for his own good, too smart for the world in some ways. He sees me as this wise experienced person with a positive outlook. He comes to me for life advice. Lately I've noticed a New York accent in his voice. He's obviously doing it on purpose but I don't know why. Maybe he feels it gives him more sass in his character.

I tell him how important it is that he let go of this energy sucking force he calls the love of his life. Get rid of any means of communication with her. Push forward and focus on his path. The idea of starting our own restaurant or food truck comes up. Maybe we should just do it. Either way this time I'm the one going on a rant about my observations in him.

Me: "You've got so much potential. I feel like you could do anything you wanted!"

This is a pivotal conversation between Darren and I about the state of his life, the state of things.

"It's coming to an end," he says.

Me: "Or a beginning."

Darren: "See, that's why I like you. You're always so positive."


I announce to the drinking kids, "I want to petition to have one night a week where everyone in the house is sober!"

Everybody protests, especially Darren, "Are you kidding me? I could not do that!"

Me: "Just one night, Darren, just one night every week where nobody in the house drinks. I think it would be good discipline."

Settling down in the bed with Ana. She doesn't expect much from me tonight as we didn't plan on spending time together but she wanted to be in Virginia Beach for an early meet-up with Stephanie in the morning. I'm exhausted. We briefly reflect on the day we had.

Me: "You are nothing but added joy to my life."

She doesn't believe me when I say such charming things but I always make clear that I mean what I say.

Sleep at 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Friday January 24 2014

Icicles (Jan 24 2014)[i]

Waking up at 10:50 a.m.

Strawberry Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.

I always dread my car's first moments after starting it up. It's 19 degrees outside and I can see the carbon dioxide every time I breathe. It's as cold as it's ever been this season. My body is shivering into madness. Eventually I'm able to create a cozy little oven inside my car.

Leftover Pad Thai Noodles. Maple Leaf Cookie. Honey Black Tea.

Honeydew Melon.

After 5 o'clock an avalanche of orders come in. The new driver arrives early. It's non-stop all throughout dinner.

Salt n Vinegar Chips. Banana.

There're still patches of ice on the road that I have to look out for. The snow is disappearing slowly but you can still spot snow forts, snowmen, and even snow Orcas.

Fiberful Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar.

11 p.m. I finally cash out.

Tofu with Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

I come downstairs to find Darren medicating himself with bottom-shelf vodka, nothing out of the norm except he's going through one of his heartbroken-woe-is-me kind of episodes. Earlier he told me about his failed attempt at visiting the love of his life in Richmond today. On the stereo Jim James croons the dining room air with the blues.
"Fuck you, Jim James!" Darren protests. "Fuck you and your hmm solos!"
His drunken self-pity isn't so destructive tonight but rather bright like one who has accepted his abyss. As I stand in the kitchen cleaning some dishes and prepping some food for tomorrow he smiles and says, "I see you standing there. I can tell when people are judging me." I stay silent and just keep a grin on.

"Oo. I'm silent Robert!"

I understand what he's going through and we all have our individual methods of expressing sorrow. He'll get through it and move on, just like everybody else.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Thursday January 23 2014

Note from Ana (Jan 23 2014)[i]

Waking up around 1 p.m.

Sharing breakfast downstairs with Ana: Grapefruit. Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk. Darren doesn't seem to remember much of anything that happened to him the previous night up to a certain point. He apologizes for his obnoxious behavior.

Getting groceries with Ana. We meet up with Elliott at Brother's Pizza for a few slices.

Work at China Wok for a few hours.

When I get home I find a note from Ana sitting on my computer...

"Thank you for letting me stay with you for the past couple of days. We have been spending a lot of time together this week. I'm surprised and happy that you're not exhausted of my presence. I am still happy about the way things are between us. I know that it'll get even better over time. I want to be connected to you on every level. You are an amazing person that I only want to treat well. I care about you a lot. Thank you for everything! < 3 Khrizzia

PS Let's play more music!"

Researching how I can improve my vertical jump.

Cod Fillet. Black Beans, Rice, Baby Broccoli, and a little bit of Chicken Fajita Mix from Darren.

Watching Escape Plan (2013).

Playing guitar.

Honeydew Melon.

Sleep at some late hour.

[i] Image by me.

Wednesday January 22 2014

Snow Den (Jan 22 2014)*

Waking up at 12:44 p.m.

The sun is shining bright keeping the snow manageable. It's beautiful looking out the window. 1435 snowed in.

Woman by the Bed (Jan 22 2014)*

Sharing breakfast with Ana: Grapefruit. Strawberry Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.

Ana: "I'm going to my car."

Darren: "You might not make it back...there's a lot of cocaine out there."

The clean up crew begins. I take care of picking up the living room and vacuuming. Josh and Ana organize and clean the record/craft shelf.

Kale Arugula Salad with Tomatoes, Dried Cranberries, and Almonds. Butternut Squash Soup. Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with Vegan Cream Cheese. Honey Black Tea.

The roads are caked in icing, but not that sweet kind of icing you'd paste on cupcake tops or coffee shop pastries, a bitter cold icing that leads unsuspecting drivers off the side of the road.

At the neighborhood gym running – working out. Ana shows up a little later. She informs me of two incidents where she fell on the ice.


Back at the house, candles are lit, mood lighting is set, and people trickle in for the Di Mi! House Show. I trek down the icy roads to pick up Rachel and Stephen. It's a humble gathering tonight. I feel like the cold weather inspires people to keep still and meditate, especially with the view of snow just outside the back patio door; it reminds us of how protected and safe we are inside. Darren takes on the role of MC and does a good job of reiterating respect and quietness during the show. After a few short performances by Megan Power, Leisa, Ken, and myself with Ana by my side, the musicians from Annapolis set up to play, Sarah Ellen and Thomas Beall – a melodic experimental acoustic sound with lots of harmonics and finger taps to the likes of Kaki King – and a soothing dark emotional electric steel guitar plugged through loop and effects pedals. As they pass off songs back and forth the overall mood of their music is tranquil and hypnotizing. Calm. Peaceful. It does something for me, as I'm sure it did for everyone else.

Ken at Di Mi! 1435 House Show (Jan 22 2014)*

Megan Power at Di Mi! 1435 House Show (Jan 22 2014)*

Di Mi! 1435 House Show (taken by Ken and Pedro)(Jan 22 2014) (1)

Di Mi! 1435 House Show (taken by Ken and Pedro)(Jan 22 2014) (2)

Di Mi! 1435 House Show (taken by Ken and Pedro)(Jan 22 2014) (3)

Di Mi! 1435 House Show (taken by Ken and Pedro)(Jan 22 2014) (4)

Di Mi! 1435 House Show (taken by Ken and Pedro)(Jan 22 2014) (5)

Between all of us we were able to donate $64 to the travelers. They were grateful to be here and we were grateful to have them.


I had a few slices of Pizza from the pies Bob Vincent ordered but I'm still hungry. After some time lingering around, saying our goodbyes, and witnessing Darren protest an enthusiastic singing of "Closing Time" by breaking a mason jar on the floor, we reconvene at Rick's Café.


Present are myself, Ana, Will, Sasha, Laron, Ken, Pedro (the guy with the nice camera), Sunney, and three other dudes I don't know. On our side of the table: Will looks up everybody's compatibility and fortunes from the Chinese zodiac. Enjoying Pancakes and Coffee with Ana.

Back home in the bedroom recollecting with Ana...

Ana: "I enjoyed tonight the most when we were just listening to the music and not having to think or talk about anything, just listen."

I mention how often she's stayed here the past few nights in a row...

Me: "Yeah it's like a lock-in."

Ana: "You're not sick of me are you?"

Me: "Of course not!"

We cuddle and talk a lot before falling asleep.

[i] Images by me. 
[ii] Images taken by Ken or Pedro.

Tuesday January 21 2014

First Snow (Jan 21 2014)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

In search of a video store I cross through a building that leads to the other side of town, the hip youthful district. I come across some late 20-somethings who ask me what I'm doing here. I tell them I was looking for a video store but I find out it's closed today. One of them hands me a cigarette that's been almost completely smoked. I'm supposed to go back the way I came but I have to be extremely quiet and stealth when passing by this classroom with the door open. Getting lost in a big store of stylized furniture and décor. It never seems to end.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up at 1 p.m.

Strawberry Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.


Kale and Arugula Salad with Dried Cranberries and Almonds. Pretzel Bread with Vegan Cream Cheese. Honey Black Tea.

At the Rec Center for adult basketball. They cut us off short today because of inclement weather, closing about an hour early. But we get about four games in. There's a cocky ball hog on my team, however we achieve a winning streak except for one tie. It's snowing steadily outside, the first snow of the season. Little kids are running around with their tongues out waiting for their parents to pick them up. I've seen snow before; I've been to Russia.


Ana comes over before the heaviest part of the snowstorm. In the kitchen I cook up Pad Thai Noodles with Mushrooms, Carrots, and Green Onions. Darren takes over the making of the spicy peanut sauce from scratch. Enjoying our meals together while Josh enjoys his Trader Joe's pizza. Sophie roams about hopping from lap to lap.

Sophie and Ana at the table (Jan 21 2014)

Upstairs in my room Ana and I rehearse songs together. Meanwhile, the snow sheds a white blanket across the city. We can hear the steady wind howl through the trees.

Downstairs, there's a quick fight between Darren and Kevin. Apparently, when a bunch of us went out to frolic in the snow Kevin grabbed Darren's expensive slippers and got them soaked. Darren, already a little irritated about other things, flips out on Kevin's incompetence and wallops him across the face with the shoe, then a few punches fly. Kevin's glasses snap and a lens gets lost. Later on, Darren apologizes and I help glue Kevin's glasses back together.

Sipping on some wine.

[i] Images by me.

Monday January 20 2014


Waking up at 1:14 p.m.

Grapefruit. Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.


Kale Arugula Tomato Salad with Balsamic Honey Dressing, Almonds, and Cranberries. Roasted Tomato Bread. Maple Leaf Cookies. Honey Black Tea.

Watching The Patriot (2000).

Ana and I go to the neighborhood gym, The Escape. Running the treadmill and lifting weights. Side by side doing sets. The fact that she doesn't like to be told what to do comes out a little bit but in a fun way.

Back at the house. I cook some Red Snapper Fillets with Rice. Darren made a Butternut Squash Soup from scratch. Ana and I enjoy dinner together at the table. Later, Will comes over. It's supposed to be Movie Monday night. Stephanie isn't attending because she's in the process of moving out. But that's a whole other story.

Putting on Charlie Countryman (2013), starring a more mature Shia LeBeouf. Darren lies on the yellow couch snuggled up with Sophie. Will, Ana, and I take the red leather couch. I'll quote a Rotten Tomatoes critic about the film: this "movie zigzags drunkenly between action-adventure and surreal comedy with some magical realism slopped over it like ketchup." Even thought the critic gave it a splat review I enjoyed the movie's mixture of genres. Charming and emotional.

In my room Ana lies on the bed wrapped up in her thick white jacket. I try to instigate a practice of the songs we sing together but her lack of enthusiasm is too apparent. This confuses me because we had already planned to do this at some point tonight as we're supposed to perform at the 1435 house show this Wednesday. Something's wrong with her and even though she's transparent I can't decipher the real issue. I know she's been dealing with a lot on her plate this month, e.g. quitting her job and getting a new one, seeing the doctor and acclimating to this hormonal medicine with multiple side effects, stress in our social circle. I understand and know all these things but she's still unwilling to really discuss them with me unless I pull it out of her. The biggest reason why she's apprehensive to sing with me on Wednesday has to do with physical appearance. The medicine is sort of draining her overall confidence. In my opinion I think she shouldn't be taking it. Antibiotics screw up the immune system and all that. I express my frustrations about her unwillingness to tell me what's on her mind. I know she understands where I'm coming from but it's hard for her to reveal that first light. Things get a little emotional as she stays curled up under the bookshelf, "Ana's Corner" as we adoringly established long ago. I comfort her with my arms. We stand up. She leans into my chest, which feels firm after the workout earlier.

I start swaying us and ask nonchalantly, "You wanna dance?"

She giggles. We slowly move left to right in the middle of my bedroom to no music or melody, like the rocking of a child in her mother's arms. She opens up and apologizes for closing up.


We migrate to the bed.

"Alright turn over," I tell her.

I thought massaging her back would help alleviate the stress. I glide my fingertips along her bareback and squeeze her neck and shoulders. After a good while of this it turns into sex. God knows this alleviates the stress also. We're comfortable now.

[i] Charlie Countryman Still.

Sunday January 19 2014

Ana's Breakfast Bowl (Jan 19 2014)[i]

Waking up at 11:15 a.m. to a wonderful breakfast bowl made with love by Ana filled with Granola, Strawberries, Bananas, and Acai Berry Almond Blend.

All day shift at China Wok.

It's a steady afternoon for deliveries.

A girl calls to place an order. After I write everything down she hands the phone over to her boyfriend to pay for the food. Both of them sound super baked.

"I'm gonna marry this woman," he explains.

Me: "Oh yeah?"

Boyfriend: "How much is it—you know what? I don't even care how much it is cause I'm gonna marry this woman."

Delivering an order to a storage unit facility. A rugged black man wearing a mechanic's suit meets me at the front gate. He's got a cigarette in his hand. I'm given exact change. He apologizes for not tipping, "Sorry, I'm broke."

I just smile crookedly and say, "Alright," in response. I bicker about it in my head as I drive off. God, that excuse gets so old! Why are you even ordering food like this if you're so broke? If you're really scraping for pennies go to Kroger and stock up on Ramen! Saying I'm broke is such a lame copout. 

Because of how busy it is I don't have time to stop home for lunch. But Ana arrives for a visit with treats. She joins me on a few deliveries.

I complain about how hungry I am.

Concerned she says, "Oh, well I could've brought something from the house for you."

Me: "Yeah but there's nothing really there and there's no time to prepare anything. It's okay. I'm going to Bojangles!"


I pick up an Egg and Cheese Biscuit from Bojangles. I can't even remember the last time I had one of these tasty greasy things.

Me: "I wonder how many other people eat in the car like me."

Salt n Vinegar Chips and a fancy Ginger Ale Soda compliments of Skipp, our food fairy.


I notice what happens whenever Ana, or anyone, visits me at work, "Part of me doesn't like you visiting because you have to see this bitter side to me. I feel like I'm always complaining and venting to you about my work problems."


On some of the long drives we listen to a Radiolab podcast about quicksand.

The night continues in an autopilot fashion. Not accumulating as much tips as I'd like. People just aren't as generous today. We've got a new part time driver. He says he's originally from Afghanistan and knows four languages. He seems intuitive and chill. Worked at Bella Pizza before here. Ling says business is supposed to be booming in February so I guess that's the reason they hired him.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

Off work and back home.

Fried Shrimp with Garlic Sauce, Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice.

Watching The Patriot (2000).

Downstairs, a debate gets fired up on the role of police enforcement in society. Darren, sick as a dog and coughing every minute, still manages to take the reigns over the argument. Kevin thinks we need order and without the police there would be chaos. Darren thinks without cops people would link up and defend their own communities as vigilante types and so chaos would be controlled.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Saturday January 18 2014

Another World of Bengal[i]

Waking up at 10:50 a.m.

Strawberry Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.

Just another day on the job.

Egg Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Black Tea. Maple Leaf Cookies.

Delivering on autopilot listening to talk radio. I downloaded one podcast in particular about Henrietta Lacks, a woman in the 50's that got struck with a cancerous tumor. After she died her skin cells were saved and multiplied for scientists to eventually make some of the most important discoveries, like developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, etc. The story is just incredible.

Apple. Fiberful Chocolate Peanut Butter and Oats Bar.

The orders keep coming one at a time. It's a very busy dinner rush with not only Kevin helping, but also Ming and Cecily.

After a demanding 11.5 hours I finally get off work.

Bok Choy, Tofu, Mushroom, Celery, and Rice Soup.

Ana brought over her laptop to use while I settle in and clean up. Speaking of laptops, Kevin just bought one today. I spot him on the couch using it to watch Netflix.

Darren just got back from a Craigslist sex meet-up with a couple that lives on the south end. They wanted him to be a part of a threesome for just enough time to ejaculate and then leave. He doesn't seem very enthused about the experience.

"I just felt dirty," he says disappointingly.

He vows to not use Craigslist for a long time. He admits that he was only attempting to fill a void created from being lonely and heartbroken. We think this may be a defining moment for Darren.

When giving her a hard time about her olden HP laptop taking 5 minutes to start up she responds with, "I do what I can with what I have."

Me: "That's a good quote."

Sleep 3:30

[i] Another World of Bengal.

Friday January 17 2014

Late Night Street. M-A Photography.[i]

☼ ○ ▬

With two friends of mine locked inside a large containment facility big enough for very small apartments but enclosed from the outside. We've been put here as punishment or maybe we're hostages. This place was built with limited doors and exits. We discover two guys brewing moonshine behind a few windows. After seeing us they don't seem pleased that we know about their operation. My friends and I are careful not to disturb them further. It's understood the authorities have been notified and they're here to save us. I locate a pressure sealed hatch door and open it up. Outside there's a news camera crew taking pictures and asking me questions. I manage to get away from all the commotion. There's a scramble. And now my prerogative is to avoid the moonshine men who seem to be dead set on finding me now. I run all over the place and eventually end up inside a three-story mall shuffling up and down stairwells and hiding on elevators. The situation is stressful and it never ends...

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up at 10:50 a.m.

Strawberry Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.

All day shift at China Wok.

Egg Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Popped Potato Chips. Honey Black Tea. Maple Leaf Cookies.

It's a crescendo kind of day for deliveries.

Apple. Fiberful Chocolate Peanut Butter and Oats Bar.

I'm in a daze driving around town going from one address to another. Keeping my brain engaged with talk radio.

Off work and back home.

Fried Chicken with Garlic Sauce, Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice.

Watching Captain Phillips (2013).

Nothing unusual going on downstairs, just Darren gulping down his vodka and riling up the atmosphere with his demanding sarcastic demeanor, except he asks for a hug. We lock arms. He's depressed about the love of his life again.

Darren: "Nobody loves me, Robert!"

Me: "That's not true. A lot of people love you."

Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] M-A Photography.

Thursday January 16 2014

Chocolate Woman. From Femal Fatal.[i]

Throughout the night I find it difficult to get deep sleep. Every time there's body movement I get jolted out of my sleep thoughts and I'm back to square one. Eventually we awaken collectively late in the afternoon at 1:43 p.m.

Sharing breakfast downstairs: Grapefruit. Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.

She makes up the bed as she always feels it is her duty to do so. I jump in to distract her with my affection. It's been a while since we've had sex and this is the perfect time to break that streak.

Day trip to the American Asian Market off Great Neck. She's never been there. Despite how cold it is in the store we browse through the aisles pointing out all the interesting and unconventional items. There always seems to be a taro root flavor option for anything.

Cow Penis at Asian Market (Jan 16 2014)[ii]

Across the street we sit down at Brothers Pizza for a few slices. She snacks on these Panda chocolate crackers and says, "Whenever I eat chocolate it just makes me so happy. It's like a relief."


In the car on the way home we both place our shivering hands underneath our legs.

"Where the true warmth is," she says.

Me: "I feel like you could write a book one day called, Where the True Warmth Is."

At the Rec Center for organized basketball. I get put on the wait list for the third time in a row! It's unbelievable. But it's not really a big deal cause I take advantage of the time to work out in the weight room and eventually after about the third or fourth game I get called onto a team.


On the rest time a talkative older guy (39 years old) I see here often approaches me and says, "Hey! I've been praying for ya."

Me: "Thanks, man."

Guy: "Really though this year is gonna be good for you."

He mentions how the age of 30 is a magical time when everything unravels for you.

Basketball at the Rec (Jan 16 2014)

Back home.

A hefty Kale Salad with Tomatoes, Almonds, Dried Cranberries, Cilantro, and Green Onions. English Muffin with Vegan Cream Cheese. Red Bean Bun.

Watching Captain Phillips (2013).

Ana texts me, "I'm really happy we spent the day together. Thank you for sharing your games, your bed, your food, your warmth, and time with me. I know that I distance myself from you, and I'm really sorry for that. All you have been is such an amazing, caring, and giving person that I don't ever want to lose. I know I have to make sure I keep you because you are a keeper! I feel like I don't appreciate you enough like I want to. I want to grow as a person, and I want to grow with you too. I do want this relationship to progress."

She adds, "Sex with you is like eating all of my favorite chocolates."

Maple Leaf Cookies and Coffee.

Learning songs on the guitar.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] From Female Fatal. 
[ii] Images by me.

Wednesday January 15 2014

Galaxy 2 Handheld Game circa 1981.[i]

Waking up at 12:43 p.m. but for some reason I just fall back to sleep even though I could've gotten up easily. Reawakening at 1:30 p.m.

Strawberry Almond Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk.


Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with Vegan Cream Cheese. Grapefruit. Popped Potato Chips. White Peach Tea. Maple Leaf Cookies.

I head to the gym to work out and run a few miles on the treadmill. It's exhilarating. I'm scheduled to help out with the dinner shift at China Wok. After arriving at the restaurant I see that it's been dead all day. I leave and tell my bosses to just call me if it gets busy. With the extra time on hand I go to the Rec Center to shoot some basketball. Kicking ass in a few pick-up games. 

Back home. I fry up some Cod Fillets, steam some Vegetables, warm up some Wild Rice for dinner. Ana arrives just on time. I set up everything for us – Darren joins us at the table. 

"It's a fish fry!"

Darren has successfully scored a new job at Whole Foods. He describes the in-person interview as him just bullshitting his way through. It doesn't feel right for him that he had to act like a person that he wasn't, essentially not being himself.

Darren: "I walked outta there and just cried and cried and called my mom."

Ana: "What?"

Darren: "No one understands."


Darren: "Apparently to be a cashier at fucking Whole Foods you have to have a master's in cashiering. You have to sit there and play Tetris for 45 minutes and you can't make one mistake so that they know you're able to stack the rich people's groceries. You have to be able to judge people based on their affluence at a whim; you have to know what strata they're in that way you can kiss the appropriate finger on their hand so that you're not reprimanded." 


Darren: "I feel like I'm just gonna be homeless. I feel like I just don't even care anymore. I want to be homeless. I don't want to be a part of this society. And I certainly don't want to be a part of a group of fucking people that are just like, Well, that's the way it is! Shucks! It's fucking depressing."


Ana: "I feel like I'm better off just being quiet and doing my job."

Darren: "Yeah sometimes I'm okay with that. Sometimes I just feel like I get into this like really fake mode and the constant blabbering to people makes me wanna kill myself."

I decide to let out Sophie to offer the ultimate distraction from the serious discussions

I announce, "Here she comes to save the day!"

Almost immediately I hear Darren start baby talking at the dog in the most ridiculous way.

Upstairs in the bedroom with Ana. She feels bloated after eating all that food. We lounge in the bed with the twin mattress propped up behind us as makeshift theater seating. I put on Revolutionary Road (2008), a tense drama I watched many years ago. Afterwards, I don't know where I get the idea from but I pull all these old handheld game consoles from the late 70's and 80's that I've had since I was a kid, most of them came from my step-dad. Galaxy II. Merlin. Donkey Kong 3. Pocket Simon. I load them up with batteries and we entertain ourselves for a little while.

Sharing a Chocolate PB&J Bar.

It's almost 4 in the morning and all is quiet in the upper half of the house except downstairs the hollering and outbursts from drunken Darren and Josh echo through the walls – the house that never sleeps.

[i] Galaxy 2 Handheld Game circa 1981.

Tuesday January 14 2014


☼ ○ ▬

A beautiful abandoned urban place by the beach inhabited by orphaned children becomes a prime location for photos. I heard about it through a photographer friend of mine. I arrive on the scene and witness the photographic moments – a roughed up kid slouched inside a shopping cart – a boy tossing a partially deflated basketball into a net-less hoop. 

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up around 1 p.m.

Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Cantaloupe. Orange Juice.

I scheduled a massage session with Leisa over at her apartment. This will be my first professional massage. To the sound of an ambient CD she rubs and kneads my neck, back, and legs. The strong scent of lavender oils fills my nostrils. I feel relaxed and sedated. This is definitely something I'd like to do at least once a month.

Assorted Sushi. Kale Salad with Tomatoes and Dried Cranberries. Honey Green Tea.

Watching Wish You Were Here (2012).

Catching up on writing.

Working an hour or so at China Wok making easy money.

Fiberful Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bar.

Practicing finger picking on the guitar.

Cabbage & Potato Skillet with Black Beans and Peppercorn Bread.

Finishing the movie.

General chores.


Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Wish You Were Here still.