Tuesday, July 30, 2013

PFR#5: Duality

Hi from San Francisco,

A beautiful girl (brag!) recently told me that I say things most guys don't.
This isn't groundbreaking but please humor me and break it into two parts: "Jesse says things most guys don't."
A) The first half is easy. I'm a weirdo/oversharer/clueless romantic.
B) From what I can tell- most guys don't make candid, honest, romantic statements to pretty girls and that's a shame.

I've always been in touch with impulses that are classically labeled feminine but I see no way that using flowery language* or being sensitive makes a man soft.
Too often, people have a singular focus, style, or motivation.
Where does this singularity come from? Today's "role models" can be famous for no reason at all and some of the great fictional characters are an exaggeration of one trait. Personifying one characteristic works in fiction but results in a person that lacks balance and complexity.
It's perfectly masculine to be sensitive. The guy that doesn't let himself cry isn't necessarily tough. He wants to seem tough so he's playing the part of a tough guy: cold, angry, emotionless, distant.
Most modern men don't go to war to have their toughness tested. We have questions about the depth of our masculinity, how we'd react with our backs against the wall, and whether other men share our fears and doubts. Maybe if we grew up fighting hand to hand we wouldn't be embarrassed to tell a girl (or guy(or dog)) we love her or cry during an episode of The Office. Our communication is getting less personal each time we text instead of hug, tweet instead of showing up.
There's so much beauty (and I promise, happiness) in being able to reach in both directions: strength and vulnerability, generosity and acceptance of help, beauty and heartbreaking pain, sweetness and toughness. It can't be best to be one way all the time, right?

Yoshi thinks I have a point
The past few weeks in California have been full of exploring, reconnecting with old friends (hi Annie) and hitting it off right away with new ones (hi Jenny!) I've napped on the beach, wandered around LA-thanks for the tour guiding Jason/Katie- bought some silly tank tops in Chinatown, reconnected with some family who reminded me how small I was when I was a toddler, laughed at late night British hotel humor, eaten an In and Out burger, and driven up the coast where after a while it seems like the beach (let alone the ocean) goes on forever.

One other quick rant: If you want something badly, go take it. Don't over-think how to get it, just use whatever reasonable means you have and at least try. I have tendency to put myself in a position where something could/should happen and then just wait for it. Sometimes you have to grab your courage balloons and ask for a discount or a date or a job or a favor or whatever. So much is always available but things go away when you wait too long.

One out of context laugh I forgot to write about in New Mexico. We were talking about Darcy's friend's daughter:
Glenn- She is a game warden. When people see a mountain lion or something she helps them wrangle it.
Me- Next time you see her, please tell her there's a big game problem in my pants that I need help with.
WHS '05 Sighting
Glenn- She'll probably shoot it off.

That's it for now.
SJ- the post you told me to write is coming, but it's not quite ready yet.
*I miss writing poetry.




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Confusing, Weird, Wonderful: NM, AZ, LV, SD

This morning I realized I've been dreaming much more vividly the past few weeks. My imagination is coming out of hibernation.
(Rewind Three/Four weeks) I'm in bed in New Mexico at the top of a mountain- the wind rustling against trees sounds like ocean waves. I don't want to hurry out tomorrow, but may have to for AZ is calling.
My great uncle Glenn is the coolest. He laughs with his whole body and is full of joy and pride for the life of achievement, accumulation, adventure, exploration he has led. This chapter of it takes place at the top of a mountain with a woman he loves. Talking with him reinforces the idea of independence and figuring out the way to live as an individual. We have no idea the consequence and beauty that will come out of the choices we make for ourselves, so FIDLAR?
Max- on the right, is one of my proudest additions to my social circle this summer. See you in SF brother.
The dust in the air in eastern Arizona makes the sky look like its on fire. We (Dan's friends that happily let me tag along) didn't spend too much time in Phoenix except having an amazing Mexican meal at Barrio Cafe.
It's so hot around Phoenix/Tempe that my AZ posse is eager to get out of town. The climate changes quickly- a two hour drive takes us from city to desert to pines and the temperature dropped to a managable 90 as we drove through the forrest.
First stop Grand Canyon. It's breathtaking. Go see it and howl into the air.
We spend the next two nights at the Firefly festival for yoga/music/spirituality. I don't quite fit in but am open minded enough to get along with the loving, peaceful people that feel at home here. It's easy to learn from people who are tapped into something where I've only scratched the surface.
On the way back to town we stop in Sedona. It's easier to listen to your own internal voice when you get outside of a city. We eat lunch by a creek and play and meditate. The water rushes through the red rocks and splashes around at our feet.
To my friends in AZ- you are special community and your openness is rewarded with gifts from the universe. Never change or let your hearts get too full that you can't accept more of the wonderful life that's heading your way.

Finally made it to Vegas...and had a time.
First day I get a heavy dose of perspective. After being bummed about losing a little money I see a kid backflip ALMOST into a pool and knock out his four front teeth: makes you think that money is silly to begin with and how lucky I am to have a little bit I can afford to part ways with. We arrive and leave the world without $, so for now the currency I'm more concerned with producing and receiving is love-I'll take smiles as well. By the end of this summer trip I'm going to be able to love so much more intensely than I have before (so watch out bitches.)


Guys I met at the 2p2 party or at the Rio live for poker. They are obsessed, super motivated, and committed to studying, testing ideas, and practicing as much as they are to playing. That's the way to make a living out of a game, but it's a little sad to see this many smart young people completely consumed by one thing. I'll probably never put in the time to reach my poker potential- it's not worth denying some other part of myself to create the time to do so.
Most poker players have massive egos. There's a blatant lack of self awareness that tends to trap people who have worked hard into thinking they are entitled to constant success.
Vegas is a playground. The side pieces (women watching their beaus play in the biggest games) are a bunch of supermodels. The 2p2 party is a nerdtastic good time.
Next time I'm in Vegas it will be different: more shows and fancy, romantic dinners and less poker.

I drive to sunny San Diego for a week of detoxing with the wonderful Anna Springer and Lauren Fitz.
The first few days of Pacific Beach are full of dog walks, beach cruising, and yoga. One class is themed "Rasheet Rivah" (or something like that) which is a sanskrit meditation for "I am changing, I am evolving."
Among many other things, the summer has been a reminder of how good it feels to make friends and meet people. Anna took a day off so we could go surfing. We drink bottomless mimosas and go to a Padres game. We sing the cup song and listen to her friends Joey and Alex play guitar then dance all day at the gay pride festival.

I drive to drop my car at LAX and head back to New Mexico with fam this time.
We eat massive steaks at the edge of Texas and see the world's biggest pistachio. We go to Roswell and have a picnic at the white sands.
One day I get dropped off at the side of the road miles from my uncle's with a bag of drinks and snacks and wander into the mountains to find my way back, alone. It is exhausting and at times disorienting. A pack of elk run by- they are massive and powerful. After a few hours of climbing mountains I find a path that leads me to a road that points me in the right direction. I'm back in time for dinner.
"The weakling who has refused the conflict, acquiring nothing, has had nothing to renounce. He alone who has striven and won can enrich the world by bestowing the fruits of his victorious experience."

And we're caught up to today- one more night in New Mexico then flying back to my car in Cali.
I'll leave you with a Rumi poem I saw in an art gallery "The moment I heard my first love song I began searching for you, not knowing how blind I was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere; they are in each other all along."

I miss you. Where are my snapchat replies?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

PFR #3- Southbound Curiousity

Hi all,
Time is a silly idea. I haven't wanted to leave any of my last several stops (New Orleans, Dallas, New Mexico, AZ) I could have used more time to explore each of them. On the other hand every adventure has been so full of life that it has filled me with an excitement that carries on to the next place. These good times lasts longer than just my duration in that state/city/spot. The experiences I've had this summer are not lost on me- taking a breath I think about the whirlwind past few weeks. Wanting to stay and savor all these new places and friends is a good problem to have.

Some highlights since the last post:
-It is pronounced "Lewe-vil" and not "Loo-wee-ville" and there is an area called The Highlands that is full of bars and headshops and people not pretending to be anything but themselves. Maya tried to show her ID to a crackhead guy who very clearly was not a bouncer in front of the bar (unless bouncers chainsmoke cigarettes in Louisville.) The bar had no security and $2 everything, including a claw game full of practical jokes.

-"Last time a Philly won, her name was regret" said the Churchill Downs tour guide.

-In Mississippi I started to keep track of people who brought up the Boston Marathon. First Richard aka o_richardparker at Waffle House (coolest instagrammer I've seen but I'm not on instagram so give that no credit) then Heather at hotel pool then a guy on a Bourbon tour. Instead of "Tom Brady" or "Red Sox" for now people seem to go right to the bombing when they think about Boston.

-There was an older couple in the same 3 Bourbon tours we took. Tom referred to it as his pilgrimage to Kentucky.
I am now a more educated drinker. Angels Share is the bit of whiskey that evaporates from the barrels.

-Graceland was awesome- all of a sudden the king reference makes sense. If I was between 10 and 40 in the 60's I probably would have loved Elvis. He was as big a deal as the Beibs and Fall Out Boy combined. The ribs in Memphis are no joke either.

A Quick Thought on Getting Lost:
The road less traveled sometimes goes from paved to gravel to dirt to "are we on a tractor path?"
It makes me anxious and that feeling can be an educational place.


-New Orleans is vibrant. It's easy to feel loved in places where people say "hi" and make eye contact with strangers. The city is full of art galleries and beignets and people drinking wine on the streets. The whole thing made me very Paris-nostalgic.
-When in doubt: talk to strangers, turn the music up, or take a deep breath. If none of those make sense you should probably just say "yes" and see where that takes you.

-"Datsu-Sar-Sum" is Japanese for the escape of the salary-man lifestyle.

-The drive to Dallas dragged on but I had a refreshing blast catching up with this guy.
Ty- I'm so proud of you and excited for the years that you have coming up. Your high expectations mean the world to me.

-Gratitude wins, be grateful.


In the next post:
-My great uncle Glenn is the coolest.
-An eye opening experience in AZ. "The human spirit needs places where nature has NOT been rearranged by man."

There are occasional moments of "what the eff am I doing?" but they quickly fade into something beautiful at the side of the road.
Give me a call if you want stories.
-JP