NASTY DRIVERS

Ring courtesy of Nastygal

I’ve been penning this post in my head since early this morning, because I never know quite what to do about bad experiences, except to find a way to let them out. 

Here is what happened: I was taking the highway to work and changing lanes to get to my exit ramp. You know the drill: 1) check for oncoming cars and 2) change lanes.  So I repeated this process across two lanes – I might have crossed in front of a large truck, going about 60mph, which I think is a good speed when moving into the slower right hand lanes, when this large shiny Dodge Ram starts tailgating behind me. He seemed to appear out of nowhere.  What I think happened is this: he must have been going really fast (70-80mph) in the far right hand lane, and when I entered into the lane going 60, he must have had to put on the brakes. But I’m guessing here.
Now this is where it gets good: when the exit lane splits off into two lanes, this guy in his huge truck drives parallel to me (stopping everyone else in his lane from moving forward) so that he can stick his head out his window, call me a bitch (or other names) over and over again, and gesture wildly until he can’t hold traffic up anymore. 
What is wrong with people? I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything wrong, and even so, there really is never any justification to launch into an ecstasy of profane road rage and going crazy ape-shit on a complete stranger.  What is it about being in your car that makes this behavior okay? Why do some people get worked into mouth-foaming fury over something like this? I’m sure if he was able to see himself behaving like…himself, and he was sane, he would feel deeply ashamed.
It doesn’t end there. So this asshole made it a point to cut in front of me once we got off the freeway exit, but the thing is, once you’re off the freeway, your freedom of movement in your large vehicle is considerably limited, and you can’t leave people in the dust the way you could before, and if you cut in front of me, I will basically drive behind you for a long time afterward. This is pretty much what happened. I basically followed the psychopath all the way to his place of work, not on purpose of course, but because that just happened to be the same route I take to my place of work. This was some really great long term planning on his part. Now I know where this ass works, and the make and model of his car, and I will just take this information and sit on it, because honestly, I’m not crazy.  

JUNE 2013 READING LIST

Here are a few books that I’ve been trying to read more or less all at the same time, because…well, why not?
A lot of this depends on whether or not I can get the book from the library, so sometimes I just end up getting everything at once and then gorging. I also think t’s a good idea to mix it up between fiction and non-fiction.
Dangerous Liaisons:  Classics are classic for a reason, and they’re most likely to be available. This is a really juicy read, not a period piece at all, and the author makes some excellent observations about human behavior and social manipulation, and creates one of the strongest, most interesting female characters I’ve read in a long time in the Marquise de Merteuil. Please don’t just watch Cruel Intentions and call it a day, you’re just screwing yourself – it’s not the same.
The Dinner: I’m waitlisted for this, but I’ve heard excellent things, how it’s epically suspenseful and takes place over the course of a single meal.  I don’t like to read too much about a book before I read it, but if it sucks then I will post an update. For reference purposes, I hated The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo.  The original title of that book was Men Who Hate Women, and that is a more accurate description. Since I can’t help myself, I will add that it felt like half the book had unnecessary descriptions of character’s boring outfits.  
Yes Chef: There is a good reason why this book is so thick – it’s because Samuelsson’s life is just that interesting. He never lets up; his own life won’t let him.  There isn’t a lot of fluff in this book, such as excessive introspection, extended set up, needless descriptions, etc. Samuelsson just jumps right in and he should – he has a lot of ground to cover to get where he is today. After you put the book down, you can do what I did, and watch him kick all sorts of ass in Top Chef Masters Season 2.
The Templars the Secret History Revealed*: This is my own niche interest, the Templars, but I really like the way this book is written. Frale is a good writer and more importantly a passionate one. It makes a real difference in the world of non-fiction. Many people write about the Templars, but a lot of those rely on you personally having an interest in the topic going in, and they can get by with being badly organized and kind of eye-glazingly boring. Not the case here, my friends.

* This post has been corrected.  I listed the wrong book.  Sorry!

VINTAGE SHOPPING: THE "AHA" MOMENT

I poke around used clothing stores a lot.  Some people have a retro sense of style, but for me it’s more about the thrill of the hunt and finding something perfect for dirt cheap.  A lot of the time, clothes just look used and you feel like you’re shopping around in someone’s closet, which isn’t too far from the truth. A more accurate description is that you’re shopping around in a bunch of people’s closets.  Conceptually, that’s kind of gross, so I try not to think about it too much.
But sometimes there is that moment when you see something that just inherently belongs to you, there is a spark of recognition, an “Aha!  There you are!” moment, which is a signal of success. If I don’t have that moment, I don’t go for it, and I’ve learned to listen for that instinct.    
I bought that purse shown above a while back.  I was looking for a cross-body bag in a light color, and one day, there it was, waiting for me.  

NOTES ON PERU

I’m back from Peru! While the jetlag is still fresh, I thought I would chat about things that are not Inca trail related (which I didn’t do) because that trail seems to get a lot of press, while the rest of the country may not.  The above picture is taken from a bathroom stop on the way to the Colca Valley.  I could honestly have dropped my camera on the ground and still gotten excellent shots because the landscape is so beautiful. One of the best things about travel are those moments when I seem to have casually walked into a postcard because everything looks incredible. 
As an aside, I cropped out the guy off to the side who was holding up an ugly blanket he was trying to sell me and ruining the shot.

Native Dress
Vicunas

I joined a tour group, which meant a lot of busing around, but it also meant that the tour group stopped to let us hang out in people’s homes on the fringes of Puno and hang out with domesticated llamas and alpacas. I’m not sure how easy it would have been to get to some of the farther areas without a guide.

Boat made from reeds on Lake Titicaca

The city of Puno itself isn’t picturesque, but it borders Lake Titicaca, where you can take a boat out to see Uros, a man-made island built out of reeds, and take a ride on the boat pictured above, also made entirely out of reeds.  

I don’t think I can add anything new to Peru that hasn’t already been said, so here are just some random bits that you might not have expected: 

  • You will pee like a master of champions.  I don’t know if it was the altitude or a side effect of Diamox, the altitude sickness medication, but there was not a single toilet or hole in the ground I could deny myself.  
  • Check your altitude medication, different people get different dosages and instructions for no particular reason.  I got a prescription for 125mg tablets of Diamox while my friend got prescribed 250mg.  We were both fine, but I was also told to get off it a day earlier and felt nauseous.  
  • Machu Picchu is not overrrated.  It’s a pretty photogenic wonder of the world and pictures taken from your camera will look just as good as most postcards.  You can also get a Machu Picchu stamp on your passport after entry for extra bonus points. 
  • If you take the train into Machu Picchu, you are only allowed to take a small bag or approximately 5kg with you. Those who backpack up there are allowed more, of course.
  • At high altitude, you won’t be able to eat very much because your digestion will slow down. To even things out, your metabolism may also slow down. 
  • Tour guides are great. I didn’t know much about Inca or Quechuan or Aymaran culture prior to going, and one of our Quechuan guides was able to explain how they survived despite Spanish colonization, and further how a lot of their advanced technology is now lost forever thanks to Spain.  Thanks Spain!  

IRA GLASS ON THE SECRET OF SUCCESS IN CREATIVE WORK


Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.
UPDATE:
Thanks for all your kind words guys! It’s quite overwhelming to see this shared and retweeted all over!

All sins typographic in nature have been amended, hopefully. Thanks for bearing with it the whole time. 🙂

As always, all credit due to the amazing Ira Glass.

Source audio is from this very seminal video by current.tv:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI23U7U2aUY

Made in three days on Illustrator and After Effects, for Day 6 of the #30daysofcreativity.