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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Ben's LiveJournal:

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Friday, September 18th, 2009
10:51 pm
stars above
My copy of the Harmonia Macrocosmica arrived. Dozens of beautiful large format color plates. My thoughts are already ruminating on potential painting projects from this; the foam core boards of Russian icons in the house are becoming decidedly warped with sun and time. Perhaps a more literal celestial theme is in order. Replacement, and so much wallspace. I may wait until I have an actual telescope to do it though, so expensive. I'll see how far I get with my landscapes / skyscapes this winter.
Friday, August 21st, 2009
2:27 am
I'm partial to Rye, though Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish are fine by me. However, I don't see why the Canadian whiskey I got tastes like vanilla extract? is it supposed to taste like that? Anyone want to sell me on a good Canadian whiskey?

I'm skeptical but I'll listen.
Sunday, August 9th, 2009
1:53 pm
finally finished tiling the bathroom. ha! damn thing took forever, it'll be fun when we have to do the tiling x5 for the rest of the space in the studio
Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
7:49 pm
photon love electric
Spring!

March was spent in a slow drawing up of activity. Some dribs and drabs of office work with Betsey at the start then, cool mornings in the gardens raking and de-winterizing. The rest of the weeks in Royalston in the melting snow clearing brush, surveying land, and designing the formal garden we're going to put in. Work on the renovation resumes. Mud everywhere, bare trees. I hate March.

April, and back into high gear, and onward to the apex, past May to the sublime month of June. Full days with the crew, on my knees, talking with the flowers. The world and days zipping by. I wake up in the morning looking forward to work- a feeling so alien to me.

I know at darker points in the future looking back, it will be as if this time of life never happened at all. It will be as a single texture in my mind, of rooting through soil and weeds through polarized glasses, dappled light falling through fresh cut branches. The sounds of saws, bees, lawnmowers, cicadas. Little children talking nonsense, their mothers speaking to them with faux interest. Sounds of traffic, and wind through the trees. Most satisfying of all, the sound of sharp, slicing shears- the initiation of vegetative death and health. All this, condensed into one constant stream of light, ethereal and timeless. When it's over, I may not remember it at all.

In the past, my dreams were suffused with secret, dark life; blood, snake oil, and the moon. Now my dreams are of perpetual blinding sun. Life animated through electricity, in lieu of blood. A sea of sun rays, shining over the chrome of toiling robots. Electric happiness, but the soul, gone. Swept away in rays of sunlight.

Is this adulthood? College seems so far away. My troubles then seemingly more dire and as insignificant to my current life as I can imagine. I realized that I'm as different from myself in college as my college self was from my high school self. I find I don't have a problem with this. I look forward to the future, but the predominance of my interest lies in the present, the seeming lack of it. Its essence, water through my fingers.
Sunday, March 1st, 2009
11:24 am
geschichten
This past Wednesday my brother came up to visit and we attended our father's retirement dinner. It was Ned's first time staying with us at our new place, just for the evening. Before the event we were able to really talk, just the two of us, for the first time maybe in two years. This reminded me of how things used to be, of how much in common we actually have despite the radically different courses our lives are taking. But between work and his new family, such luxuries will perhaps be few and far between for the next decade or so. Such as it is.

The dinner itself was good, if rather sad. It was interesting to see my father in this context, the speeches of his colleagues, the close to 40 years of his storied career, this whole other life of his. I had only vaguely known that my father had been the longest serving professor in the entire GSD.

What stood out most was the entirely impromptu off the cuff speech given by my father's mentor from when he first started, who temporarily phased back into existence from the obscurity of his retirement and the distance of so many years. I later found out he was in his mid ninety's.

After someone mentioned his name in their speech, he turned around in his chair, as if it had just dawned on him where he was and the purpose of the dinner. Jarred back into this existence he looked straight at my father and had everyone's attention without saying a word. Then in his soft, deep, and powerful austrian accent he proceeded to detail my father's story from their first introduction, weaving this story into the changing times in society that took place in the 60's when they met and the regime change in the school that took place, with my father being the first of the new kind, contrasted with being the last today. He kept progressing further and further back, back into his own world before my father, into Viennese streets and the prevailing mindset of the Universität, then seamlessly steered right back around to the present, and then to the event which we all happened to be sitting at. And just like that, he was “off” again, totally oblivious to all the tears and applause.

Later, I watched my mother go up to him, where his only care in the world was the flan desert he was slowly working on. She complemented him on his speech, and he dismissively told her that he remembered nothing of what he said. As he turned back to his flan, his honesty was apparent, as my mother ceased to exist before his eyes as well- the flan, after all, awaited him.

I'm not really sure what the point of this story was, other than it stood out in my mind and I wanted to record it. That, and I can only hope that if I reach such a great age, I'll get to enjoy such an aloof dignity as his, and the private world of age and memory, with the capacity of an unglued consciousness for time travel- like a switch, a spark in his muddy blue eyes, on or off, there or... somewhere else.
Friday, January 16th, 2009
3:05 am
nuke and pave
I spent the day at my parents yesterday. Borrowed the car, went to the hardware store, and when I got back spent the rest of the day in the basement building a pimpin' adjustable easel. Now that's one less thing (maybe the final thing) down on my list of mind barriers that have been preventing me from starting to paint again. All I have to do is bring my paints 7 feet over from my closet to my work area, and begin.

Before then, however, it's time to do some cleaning. I'm wiping my drives to clear all sorts of fragments of partially uninstalled windows crap, programs, etc. and am going to change my OS in the process. Good by hard drive, *sniff*. Should have done this months ago.

Then off to see my bro this weekend.
Friday, January 2nd, 2009
5:32 am
of no account
After a four month LJ hiatus, where to begin? meh, a list, easy. then some. Although I guess this will be more for my own future reference than anything.

-The move to Allston, sept. 1st
Free couches are great, moving them is a bitch. Moving was the right decision. love it here.

-The Colonel's wedding, October.
Great to see everyone. The gps leading us to the random dirt road in the middle of the woods in Nowhere, RI was a point of interest.

-Novemberfest, Royalston.
Yeehah. Was unusually warm for November. 10 people was a little cramped for the house. Will be great when the renovations are finished next year.

-Caroline's party, December.
Very nice. Was well fed and boozed. Couldn't ask for more. Got to see Worcester from train. Do not miss.

-Adam and Colin's visit, December.
First serious snow. Laughed at them for the 11 1/2 hrs it took on the bus to get here from New York. Continuous snow from Friday to Monday. Trudged to the Aquarium, favorite was the Cuttlefish tank. Otherwise, food, booz, + good times.

-Christmas, Texas
Same old. Got out to Lafonda on Main again in San Antonio. Something about that neighborhood, palm trees, unkempt victorian homes rotting into their lawns... a decadence that faded in the 1950's... and the best Mexican food I've ever had. etched in my mind, for all time.

-New years.
Wombat haus first, then to the Independent. then back. Fun at first, then annoying. Drunk. Couldn't sleep, so trudged back home at 5 am. bitter cold.

---

Work ended around Thanksgiving. This was the most Beautiful Autumn I can remember. It was made better since I was able to be outside for most of it. Beyond that, it's been one of the best years I can remember. Perhaps the best of my life.

Now all that remains is the Winter; long, cold, dark. I used to like this season, now it's only a hardship. I guess that's the way it's supposed to be, a pause to explosive life, perpetual summer. Something to be endured, a period of time that gives context to everything else. I could never live in a place where it was warm year round.

I thought about applying for some other part time job for between now and March, but first Thanksgiving came, then Christmas, and then, well... it was already Christmas and what the hell, March is just around the corner aint it? meh. Besides, I now have the luxury of liking snow. I don't have to be anywhere. Just buckle down, get out my painting supplies, and begin to work my way through the 8 gig worth of Italo Disco music I recently torrented, and melt the time away. Could be worse.

then spring, beauty, growth
Thursday, August 28th, 2008
11:00 pm
get the hell out of dodge
Finally, the date approaches. Busy getting all my shit together for the move. Living with my parents was a step up from living on my own in Worcester, but really, it's time.

Megan and I are moving into the city, a cute apt right on the border of Alston / Brighton, relatively close to BU on the green line.

It's funny that we should be moving on the 1st, that being both the day after my B-day and our anniversary. But whatever, I suppose it's a nice way to round out this year of my life and begin a new one.

My two week vacation from work ends on the 3rd. I'll come back to yet another +$1/hr raise for fieldwork and +$4/hr raise for office work for the remainder of my time there. I'm now making almost as much $ on a 24hr workweek as I did for my 40hr week as the CNC tech at 9points.

As nice as this is, I see reality hiding just around the corner, come November when the work season ends. Rent begins, and I'll need a "real" job. I'm debating whether to actually look for something serious and permanent, or to find some side work / retail until next spring and do my current one all over again. But really, how long could that go on?

Anyway, back to the move. Once we're all settled, we'll actually be able to host friends (you people) at our place. Gone are the days of dealing with roommates and awkward hosting dilemmas. So I want to see all of you who still read this come by for a visit at some point or other.
Monday, August 18th, 2008
3:35 am
sleeping village
Carbon arc light cutting through the humidity. I can see it late at night, in distinct rays, on the swingset. At the pinnacle of each ascension, there it is; a beam, a razor edge of light, then down, then nothing. and again.

I'm finding it difficult to think. After the booze, ritual, pet projects, here I am. Alone, when I have a moment to contemplate. At 3 am, this town is mine.

No matter. I'm not sure if contemplation ever got me anywhere. On the swings, squinting into the dark wall of the forest, the world is as beautiful and incomprehensible as ever.
Monday, May 12th, 2008
6:16 pm
Platanus Occidentalis
Three things:

I planted a 15 ft American Sycamore tree in the backyard at Royalston, near the stream. Fifty years from now it will be 70' tall. In 300, 130' +.

Jo and I bought five gallons of white wine, distilled it, and will add various herb infusions and then re-distill come memorial day weekend. Our first batch of absinthe should be ready shortly thereafter.

Lastly, a week ago I got a +$2 / hr pay raise at work. This after never so much as getting a 0.10 raise at my last job, the entire year I was there.
Monday, April 21st, 2008
5:08 pm
gainful employment
At the time, I had my suspicions that my job sucked. Now however, it's bleeding obvious. Nothing quite like new experience to provide a reference, a context, to the past, and to future aspirations. Really, it's night and day.

Where my old job was stressful, exhausting, and draining, my new one is relaxing, enjoyable, and vitalizing. Now I can look back at my work in the woodshop with laughter instead of involuntary winces. On that, I'll take a moment to ruminate on how my last job was total crap.

Really, it's nice to no longer have to deal with assholes yelling at you because you didn't complete a job by their OCD methods (which you were just supposed to know or intuit). It's nice not to have assholes yelling at you because you didn't get something done in the impossible time frame given. In fact, it's nice to not have to deal with assholes at all anymore. No more asinine regulations, bogus training, and shop or office politics. No more meatheads, no more stupid machines that always break... in short, no more BS.

Last year was a total sacrifice. Never work in construction. Lesson learned.

Anyway, now I get to sit back, enjoy, and be out in the summer. I'm working as an assistant and a fieldman for a Landscape designer based in Belmont. I do things I know and love, like gardening and helping old people who are computer illiterate.

Instead of incompetent task masters as my superiors, I now have a kindly old woman, who says things like "good job," and "I like what you've done here"... foreign phrases I never heard uttered to anyone back at the shop. The other people I work with are all artists or former scientists or corporate worlders who got tired of the grind; educated folk, a nice change. No one breathes down my neck, I'm just given a job, and we're set loose on our own- the work gets done, the day enjoyed, and everyone's happy. That, and it's part time so I can spend an extra day or two in Royalston each week, where I can work on the house or the beerworks.

Sadly though, I'm pretty sure money will become tight when I have to leave when the season ends in November. I'll need to get a place in Cambridge and look for something to tide me through the winter. Taking on rent while losing my income is a less than exiting prospect, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now I'm going to just sit back and enjoy the summer I didn't have last year.

I'll try and update this more often, but who knows.
Friday, February 8th, 2008
5:43 pm
Tchüss! Bis dann
Short and to the point: I quit my job, two weeks ago. Finally.

More to come later- but for right now, I finally have a precious commodity: time.
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008
8:31 pm
paint
I awoke this morning from the clearest of dreams. I was taking a painting class, nearing the end of the semester. Everyone was prepping for their final project, generally most singular and epic pieces. Most took up whole walls, pure paint overwhelming. My own piece might has well have been on an 8x11 printer paper, a seeming nothingness by comparison.

At the exhibit next to all the others it wasn't even obvious that mine was visible and on display. Only when you got up close and from a certain angle could you see that my piece was there at all. At first glance, it appeared as a curious amalgam of color. Only with enough attention could a form be made out. At first, most subtle- but then an inherent complexity slowly became manifest. A form, pure and detailed in its articulation, devoid of obvious content or meaning. A raw image of amoral beauty. vivid slap you in the face- but only if one had the span of consciousness to be aware for the instant.

It's time to start painting again. 1.5 years now.
Sunday, January 6th, 2008
11:22 pm
fly away
My Christmas trip to Texas was rather short this year. I was in Houston for 2 days and in SanAnton for just one.

While there I noted that my Aunt's lovebird was absent- the little thing up and gone for good apparently. I can remember that little bugger ever since I was tall enough to poke my head up to its cage. Whenever I was lonely, bored, or needed something to talk to I'd go over and whistle at him. He would stare back with rapt attention, tooting every so often as if in agreement with my tune... our discourse.

Then I'd go stick my pinky in between the bars and he'd flutter over to try and bite it. I'd pull it back just in time, then whistle some more or walk away. I'd swear that it always gave me a certain look as I would leave.

The absence of his little presence behind the dinner table this year seemed oddly large- it made me feel out of place, as if I didn't belong there anymore.
Monday, November 19th, 2007
12:14 am
there and back again
I got over my bout with mono at the start of this month. I pretty much took the entire month of October off, with the doc's note being my get out of jail free card. And man, did I need a break. Now that I'm back, I think a permanent one is in order in the not so distant future. But anyway, I took the time to check out some jobs, start writing my resume, etc. and that was that.

Now it's back to the same old, but I fortunately get both Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving. yay. I'll be going up with Megan and the 'rents to Royalston Wednesday night, doing Thanksgiving there, and then we'll head on down to NYC to visit Ned. Johanna just gave birth three weeks ago to my new niece, hence they won't be comming up here.

Now I'm just awake since I slept all day. Alec, Andy, Megan and I were out at the movies last night, and Megan started feeling really light headed. When we tried to help her out of the theater, she collapsed twice and lost conscioussness. I rode in the ambulance with her and we spent well into the morning at the hospital. Fortunately she was ok, it being a combination of dehydration and low blood sugar. Still, it scared me while I was at the theater, so I'm glad everything was all right.

So yeah, that's pretty much all I have to say for the past month or so. Can't wait for the holliday. That is all.
Tuesday, October 16th, 2007
12:20 pm
Rhymes with guano...
I'm back from the weekend in Baltimore. Physical ailments aside, it was a great weekend. I'm glad some of you got to meet Megan, and it was great to see some old faces again, and re live college for two days- and oh how very, very different it is... I had almost forgotten. Now I'm back in the real world. I miss Boman's antics already.

I took today off of work too. That brings the tally to three days off this month and one in September. But hey, I still feel like total shit so what can I do.

But yeah, about that. I got the call this morning, and as everyone was speculating, my blood tests came back positive for mono. joy. Things are strained enough as is, so I can only imagine how this will go over at work. But really, I'm passed caring.
Thursday, October 4th, 2007
5:25 pm
Death. Death has come! Tremble, and despair
So my one and only buddy slash minion at work passed me along his stupid cold virus... My head feels like it's going to explode. Now if I can just get the foreman and the boss sick, I may be able to satiate the plague gods. blaach

fuck it, I'm not going in tommorow
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007
6:45 pm
one step and then another
Royalston was great. Myself, Austin, Jo, Alec, and the Megans went up there two or three weeks ago, and the leaves were just beginning to change. I had gone up there the previous Wednesday after work to prep the house and stock the bar, which payed off big time once we all arrived. A $275 bill for food and booz definitely ensured everyone had a good time, and despite the hole in my pocketbook it was fun to treat everyone. Austin, who's parents are both chefs, cooked and we had a delicious dinner, and we mixed all manner of cocktails later on. I posted a few photo's of our Saturday hike on facebook.

For the past month pretty much all of my weekends have been great and all of my weeks continual drudgery. My job search, brewery building, etc etc. have all been pretty much put on hold as things have gotten more serious with Megan. For the time being this is Ok, as it means even though work sucks I can at least tolerate it now that I have other things going on in my life. I may even be able to get my full year in after all.

Two things happened of note just this past weekend, which I spent in Davis. After weeks of fooling around prior, I finally decided to give Megan my virginity this past Saturday. And really, it was about friggin' time, now that I'm 24. I feel like a huge unseen block in my life or my mind has finally been lifted, and I no longer have the feeling of being weird, strange or somehow untouchable. The experience itself was both less and more than what I was expecting. Pleasant, casual, normal. I feel normal, like I'm a normal person now. And that's what really feels good.

The second thing of note was that Megan said she loves me. I have yet to say it back to her, which I think might have hurt her. But really, as I'm not sure what love even is or if it's what I'm feeling, that makes the question of whether I love her back decidedly difficult. I didn't want to lie so I didn't say it- I hope that wasn't a mistake. I really like her, and I think I may be falling in love with her. I just need to figure this all out. Give it a little more time, perhaps.
Tuesday, September 11th, 2007
10:55 pm
so...
Ok. It's official. I hate my job. I'd like a new one, but I've fallen into the trap of being comfortable. Just being able to spend money on whatever, and not worry about scrimping pennies when I go out, or if I want to buy a camera, or whatever, and just getting it. That's a new experience for me, but the novelty of that is wearing off as well. I feel like I need more of a direction in my life, and I've been seriously thinking of grad school or starting my own business. The timing of it all, of my dissatisfaction at my current employ, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Right now I'm just taking it one week at a time; I don't know if I'll last through the year. Maybe that doesn't matter.

My two best friends just moved into Davis square. As I was hanging out with them this weekend, and just walking through cambridge / Somerville, I realized that's really where I want to be- lots of bars and restaurants right in walking distance, people relaxing and hanging out in the parks, things to do, places to go, all right there- vibrant and active. Not Worcester.

This weekend was crazy. I feel like I've gone from having absolutely no social life to... well I'm not sure, to being in the midst of things again, the social fabric having a certain vitality to it, like senior year. A good thing.

A few weeks ago I was feeling real low. In a particularly looserly mood I signed up for a match.com account. I didn't think anything would come of it, just something to do to kill time. But life has a few surprises in store. Megan, the girl I met, being one of them. Last weekend, after talking online for a while we decided to meet up for a date. We had a fun dorky afternoon at the museum of science, caught a show there, and then went out to dinner. Then a bar after that.

Honestly I was kind of surprised. I didn't think the date was going that well, it being chok full of awkward silences and moments. But at every juncture, when I asked if she was up for going to dinner after the museum, she said yes. And then, one awkward dinner later (at this great indian place in davis) when I asked if she wanted to go out for drinks, another yes. So I figured I'd just go with it, and we caught this live show at the bar, and things got decidedly more romantic.

Then this past Friday, she invited me and my friends (the ones who also just moved to Davis) to her roomates Bday party. Way too much beer later, and we were making out by the keg in the basement. The next morning was spent... cuddling, talking, and otherwise distracting ourselves from our hangovers. Later, we went out to dinner and then on to Jo and Alec's housewarming party, only a few blocks from her place, for a repeat of the previous evening. When we woke up Sunday morning we went out for brunch, and that was that. I'm still catching my breath.

We had a long phone conversation last night, and I invited her out to Royalston for one of these upcomming weekends, whenever the weather is good. Do some hiking, or apple picking, perhaps. Drop by the ale house, maybe. It's weird saying this, but I think this might be the first attractive and single girl with no glaring red flag issues who's really shown an interest in me. After Katia, and certain... weird scenario's at school, that's really, really nice. That, and she just has a great sense of humor, personality, and likes good beer. I know I'm probably jinxing myself by writing this, but, I'm so so ready for something to work out for once. We'll see.
Monday, August 13th, 2007
10:28 pm
time
A few weeks ago I ordered an Oxy-Acetylene welding setup, with a selection of torches for cutting and brazing. The gas tanks and various components finally all came in, and I'm itching to get my hands on it. That said, I got it "for my Dad's Birthday" so I have to wait 2 weeks until I can set the damn thing up. Not sure what I'm going to make with it yet, but I'd like to get back into working with copper and steel wire.

If I can find the time, or the energy, that is. I've been tired, lately- I feel as if I'm just killing time. weeks, months, waiting.

I will have been at my job for a year come the start of December. With a year on my belt, I can move on to other things. What that is exactly, I'm not yet sure- but it's coming together, slowly. By December my brewery will be pretty much complete. All I'll need are just a few thousand more to get a few conical fermenters, oak barrels, bottler, full sized kegs, glycol cooling setup, and labeler. I'll be building my cider press in a month as well.

The bigger question is where I'll be putting all this stuff. I've had no time to do the planned renovations on the top of the barn in Royalston, so it could be a while until I can install the brewery up there, especially with winter coming. I'm debating taking next summer off entirely. Quit my job in the spring, travel, then work on the house, get things in order. Do some trial runs, see if self employment is possible. I don't need much. not to start. But for now I wait, in this seemingly sacrificial year.
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