20 November 2019

Uh . . . oops! I went and sliced my hand open while cleaning one of Dante’s cat food cans, AND THUS, I have been unable to write the long thing I have been thinking about writing for some time now . . . the thing about moving to Berlin, and all that, as a permanent home instead of a temporary one, and on and on. It’s coming! I just need to give this thing a day or so to heal. I am able to write a little, though hell, I reckon the thing I got to say calls for something more than that.

The gist is that I’m finally out of here. And listen: I’m not happy about it necessarily. Thing is, I love Oakland a whole lot, and I’m going to miss the hell out of it. I have been going on nine or ten mile walks every night for probably two weeks now. I feel like I need to see all of it again before I leave it. Something I do before I leave any place I have lived in is to take pictures of my room as it was just before I packed everything up. I have tried to do the same on my walks, which is to say I have been visiting and photographing all the places where I spent my life here for the last seven years. And during these walks I have tried to go to all of my favorite restaurants one last time: Koryo, Wally’s, La Mission, Tuk Tuk, Sliver, et cetera. (Quince Cafe is being renovated because a fucking car crashed into the kitchen, and Smokehouse on Telegraph literally caught on fire and has yet to reopen, so I gotta skip those for now~) Ugh!! It’s so sad though.

Next week, Dante and I are moving into Laura’s apartment in San Francisco for the last few days we’re here. We’re gonna have a big Thanksgiving thing and then watch a bunch of movies. By that time, I suppose I will have finished my final tour of Oakland. I plan to see as much of it as I can, right up until the last minute, which is at some point Wednesday night. A few days later, on Monday, being the second day of December, I’m getting on an airplane out of SFO and flying to Amsterdam for an hour layover, and then on to Berlin, where I have rented an apartment for the first few weeks of my being there.

WHAT IT BOILS DOWN TO is that all I really want is a higher standard of living. If you’re not rich in the Bay Area, or really most anywhere in the United States anymore, it’s difficult for it to get much better than you already got it. I have seen the full spectrum of my life here, and what it could possibly be, and so on. In Berlin I can have cheap rent and cheap public transportation and socialized healthcare and ancient Soviet structures and falafel at 3 a.m. and snow. It just makes sense is all! I will flee this place and become an ex-pat weirdo for the rest of my life, because even when I’m feeling rotten as hell, I can fly to London or Prague or Stockholm in an hour or so for something like €40. What do I got here? I have astronomical rent and pissed-filled BART and stagnant wages. There are a lot of good things in orbit of these bad things, but it’s getting more and more difficult to justify hanging around in the face of it all.

I don’t know! I can’t think about this anymore tonight or I’ll throw up. Really, it makes me sick to think about leaving Oakland and the people I know here. I’m terrified, though what can you do. For some reason I know like a dozen people in Berlin so I’ll probably be OK. Somehow I always end up figuring it out, so at least there’s that.

Yeah, well . . . I’ll write more when my hand has healed, and when The Fear has subsided some, hopefully twelve or so hours from now.



18 November 2019



i’ll write more later tonight~

14 November 2019

Oh, my god! How did I forget to write about this??

Listen: One night last September, I was standing by my sliding glass door with Dante. We were gazing into the alley that borders my house. Dante does this every night, and sometimes, as a sort of bonding experience, I stand there and do it with him, the two of us silently waiting to see the nighttime animals out there. There are field mice who run through the grass by the fence . . . and every now and then you will see opossums and raccoons, and the black cat who lives next door who Dante hates for some reason. But on this night we saw something we had never seen in the alley before, which was a little tuxedo kitten that I would guess was nine or ten weeks old. The kitten was chasing moths and hopping around. I managed to take some pictures:

I slowly opened the front and went outside intending to Make Contact, but he quickly ducked into the opening between the two fences he’s standing next to in the photos. He poked his head out and looked at me. I figured he had probably gotten separated from his litter and had not been socialized with human beings. As I got closer, he retreated into the fence again. I shined a light inside and reached my hand in, but he hissed at me. I went back inside and filled a little plastic container with some emergency cat food I keep above the refrigerator for the strays who pass through the alley. Pushing Dante back to keep him from charging the kitten, I returned to the kitten’s den and left the food near the entrance. After that I let him be, and Dante and I watched him eat all the food from inside.

The kitten stuck around. Every day when I came home from work, it was waiting for me. Sometimes, if I was quiet, I could sneak up on it and watch it playing in the leaves in my backyard. But of course when I got closer, it hissed at me and ran into the opening in the fence. Still, I could tell it wanted to interact with me, or at least trusted me to some degree because I continued to feed it every day. It seemed to want to come over to me but it didn’t exactly know how to about doing this. This cat was a baby, and as everyone knows, babies don’t know how to do anything.

For some reason I decided it was a girl. I kept calling her “Babygirl”. Babygirl never left my backyard. She was always back there, or sleeping between the fences, or climbing trees and watching me from the branches. Before I went to bed, I would check on her to make sure she hadn’t run off or gotten attacked by raccoons or whatever. As long as she was in her little house, she seemed relatively safe . . . the opening was small, and there was an even smaller opening she crawled through to go sleep all the way in the back. But whenever I was away from her, I worried about her wellbeing.

I was so afraid that I’d wake up one day and she’d be gone forever, and then I’d always have to wonder what happened to her. I reckoned I had to find a way to catch her so I could socialize her before it was too late. After a certain point, if a cat gets old enough and has never been touched or held by a human, it is essentially feral. And see, Babygirl was an orphan, and cute, and all alone out there, and so I had to catch her and find her a home.

She was definitely lonely and wanted to befriend us. I noticed that when I was outside with Dante, Babygirl really wanted to come over and hang out with him, probably because he was the closest thing to a surrogate mother. She would try to approach him, but he would just sort of wander off and eat grass. Dante was totally indifferent to her existence. If you didn’t know this, adult cats don’t really give a shit about kittens. In fact they seem to despise them for reasons I can’t explain other than comparing my human equivalent experience to Dante’s, which is to say I don’t really like children either.

However! One day Dante and I went outside, and I saw Babygirl watching us from a tree connected to her fence. She was mewing and reaching out for Dante. This was in late October, so it was about to start getting cold and rainy, and Babygirl, who was a baby, would probably end up running away to escape the elements, or worse! I decided it was now or never. So with her up there making little kitten noises at us, I held Dante up to distract her. They smelled each other’s noses. Babygirl was really excited and Dante was apathetic and tried to worm his way out of my arms. In that moment I let Dante jump down from me, and I reached up and snatched Babygirl from the tree. She hissed once, and I held her close to my chest, and she put her head on my shoulder and immediately started purring. I took her inside. This was the last time Babygirl ever spent the night in my backyard.

I held Babygirl up to the light and inspected her. She had testicles. Babygirl was now Babyboy. Miraculously, Babyboy had no fleas, and he actually smelled pretty good.

In my room I had already made a nest of blankets for him, and set up a litter box, and food and water bowls, and so on. Hell . . . I even got the dude some toys. He was a little jumpy at first, but he wasn’t scared necessarily. He ran around my room purring and smelling everything.

He slept with me every night:

. . . and he loved Laura!!

I considered keeping him, but I knew Dante would resent me forever. I’m serious: Dante would never forgive me and would treat me differently if I had kept him. And so I put out a Babyboy APB. My friend Jen answered the call. She had had a tuxedo cat growing up, and so I guess you might say she has a sort of affinity for them. Jen picked Babyboy up the next day and took him back to San Francisco. After seeing a vet a few days later, she informed me that Babyboy, who she had since named Felix, had a clean bill of health, and had had all his vaccinations, and was happy and nice to her, and on and on.

Well!! It’s been a year since all this happened. Babyboy / Felix is an adult now. Jen regularly sends me pictures:

Lookit this freakin jerk! With his bat ears and his vampire teeth. As my friend Hali Palombo once said: cats are born retired. Dude lives on like the tenth floor of a high-rise in San Francisco. All he does is sleep and hang out with Jen. Apparently when she’s eating dinner, he sits in an open chair at the table and waits for her to finish.

Anyway I’m glad Babyboy / Felix, the orphaned tuxedo cat who used to live in my backyard, is safe and lazy and happy. He could just as easily have disappeared or been eaten by a raccoon, but I saved him, and so now I get to go to Heaven.

IN CONCLUSION: Animals are perfect. I love them. I love you, Babyboy. Be good!!

08 November 2019

this happens once a week:

“omg ryan you look exactly like this guy”

and then a well-intentioned person sends me a picture of some gross guy from a tv show i’ve never heard of who looks absolutely nothing like me


07 November 2019

mariah / うたかたの日々 (utakata no hibi)

wow uh

this album is incredible