Here's a little obituary written by my dad, Ed, in celebration of the life of our most-loved family member, OJ:
OJ the cat was born on November 14, 1987 in Nevada City. He died in Grass Valley on January 7, 2009, when he failed to recover from an abscessed tooth.
During the course of his life he traveled as far a Loomis, CA for emergency services when he got into a hornet's nest. Remarkable for a cat, he received mail from Fortune 500 corporations, was elected to the position of seventh grade president at Seven Hills School, and was a distinguished guest in high school graduation pictures.
OJ was gentle, and did not bite or scratch people. Furthermore, he did not catch and kill critters that were smaller than him. He was well respected, and worked his way up to the position of leader over people who towered over him in physical size.
Preceded in death by his companion, Bandit, OJ now lies under his own color coded rock at the far end of the back yard.
OJ, we'll miss you and think of you every day. Your shiny spirit is awesome and it lives in us.
Annual New Year's Polar Bear Swim Club swim at Coney Island. The temperature was 18 degrees, with 20mph winds making it feel like 0. I am very proud to have shot this footage with my bare (definitely not bear) hand.
I mean, Dear John,
I think you're the only person left who still reads my blog on account of me being an unreliable, fair-weather blogger. In real life I purposely failed to recount the following story in your presence, knowing that it would soon be at your electronic disposal, internet access and necessary hardware permitting. Why divulge a perfectly weird story on a regular day, when it could instead be unleashed during a moment of debilitating procrastination?
I admit it, John, I waited for your finals to begin. A crap tale for you in your time of woe in exchange for that disgusting gin & tonic. And dude, every word is true.
It was Halloween and I was riding my bike home from work, as I always do, underneath the Manhattan Bridge through a field of pot holes and a never-ending construction site. It was gray and cold, and the sun was setting. A vomitous green mist settled over the empty street. I could hear cars idling on the BQE and the wind whooshing past my freezing ears (unless I turned my head sideways) as I absorbed bumps in the road and negotiated scattered gravel ponds.
In addition to me, the only person or thing present underneath the bridge seemed to be a sweatshirt and sweatpants wearing middle-aged woman hauling a bloated wheelie suitcase. She shouted 'Sweetie! It's time! Come on out!' From a large pothole to my immediate right, a tiny, wide-eyed boy of about six years of age emerged. He was wearing a brown corduroy suit and an argyle vest, and his hair and skin were stark white. If not for his reflectivity he would have been translucent. For the sake of making the story easier to digest, I would like to say that the boy crawled out of the hole. I would like to say that upon closer inspection, the hole was very shallow, and that the boy was probably lying down in it. I should say he came from somewhere. Unfortunately, he didn't. Instead, he rose out of the deep dark hole without stepping, moving his arms, or even looking around. This caused me to gasp and rely on my reflexes to steady my bike as I rode past gawking. Like monster tentacles whipping out from beneath a childhood bed, this boy evoked paralyzing fear in me that some adults can't feel or remember. Surrounded by so many New Yorker's daily commute, the impossible boy showed how the backdrop of everyday life can bring the extraordinary into stark relief... even on Halloween, or perhaps especially on Halloween?
Expressionless and nonchalant, the tiny boy trudged up the hill as the woman in sweatpants wrestled with her suitcase.
Today was my first day back to work after being holed up with the flu for an entire week. Being sick and awake sucks, but dreaming when you're sick is awesome. There's really no reason to be awake unless you're eating. Here's one of the dreams I had:
There was a huge hike going on in my hometown alongside the south fork of the Yuba River. If you've never been to the Yuba, google it. Even uncoordinated people who confront moving bodies of water with extreme awkwardness or hate the outdoors completely will make an exception for this river. It sits at the bottom of a steep canyon lined with huge pine trees. Rocks jut out everywhere and the rapids kill thrill-seeking tourists a lot, but most people go to the river to lay around. The water is clean and clear, warm in the summer, deep in some places, and it runs over gigantic granite boulders. There are tall slate cliffs wherever the surrounding mountains are steep, and the rocks and the canyon shrink as the river heads toward the Sacramento Valley. All in all, it's a good place to spend every waking hour of your life when you don't absolutely have to be somewhere else.
Annnyway... in the dream, I was wading in the river during this hike. All kinds of people, kids, old folks, suburbanites, etc., were hopping over rocks on their way downstream. Everybody was wearing visors, aqua socks, and numbers like marathon runners. They were sponsored by their friends and neighbors, and were raising money for the Sierra Club or something. The finish line was at Bridgeport, and there was a terrible BBQ and ridiculous prizes awaiting the hikers. Standing waist deep in the water, I was totally annoyed with these interlopers. In my dream I was a "riverist," and it was my job to keep all of the rocks in the river organized. This seems pretty impractical, but most days I looked out for precariously balanced rocks and settled them into stationary positions. Imbalance and disorganization might be the result of interlopers, but was usually caused by strong storms that raised the water level and pushed the rocks around. I'd figure out which large rocks had shifted with the crazy currents, and try to resettle them in safe places where they wouldn't tip over and smash people. I was out on the day of the hike because the traffic was causing debris and rocks to fall into the river, and I was there to keep an eye on things. I kept yelling at people, telling them to take it easy and be a little lighter on their feet. I enjoyed giving everyone a hard time.