Gettin’ by with a little help from mine.

My good friend Gillian has inspired me to make this list/fill out this questionnaire.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Deliberately and proactively commit to self-employment.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I make the same resolution every year, and always keep it: the resolution to never ignore my bladder and always pee as soon as possible once the urge strikes.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A couple old friends out west had babies this year… I wish I was closer!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My grandmother.

5. What countries did you visit?

Not much international travel this year; just a quick trip to Canada.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

A slightly larger and more stable client base, the increased self-confidence to close the sale, and a proper mobile workshop that gets better than 7mpg.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Sadly, no single date springs to mind.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Setting up house with my ladyfriend.

9. What was your biggest failure.

Follow-through in business.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Abscessed tooth removed, knee ligament strained, major lower back spasms, one bout of major bronchitis… geez, I’m a wreck!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

All the parts to build my new desk/computer, and orchids!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Janute, for keeping her chin up and not letting the financial roller-coaster throw her off the tracks.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The Tea Party and their ilk.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Housing, tools, travel, plants.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Taking my lady to Nelson, and having Cory and Jody meet us there. My new desk.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Evil Boy by Die Antwoord

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

A) the same B) the same – I lost weight, gained it back, then lost it again C) Probably richer, but easy-come, easy-go!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Ride my bike.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastinate and second-guess myself.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

A Christmas Day meal with all the available Booths.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

No more than usual, I suppose, although my relationship with Teddy really strengthened this past year.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I don’t own a TV, but then again, neither does Gillian, and she still managed to answer this question, so… Dead Like Me (which was cancelled in 2004).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


24. What was the best book you read?

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The Pithos player for Pandora radio.

26. What did you want and get?

The financial freedom and free time to choose my own course rather than have it dictated to me.

27. What did you want and not get?

More of the above.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Modern Hollywood cinema is a wasteland.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I think I turned 37, but I can’t remember a dang thing about the day itself.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A new 2010 Ford Transit Connect XLT with a complete custom storage package.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

I wear whatever my lady brings home for me from the thrift-store.

32. What kept you sane?

I stayed sane?

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Radical partisanship.

34. Who did you miss?

Cory and the peeps at home.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

Nobody new, but a did reacquaint myself with several old friends.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

I have learned the unfortunate American truth that silence, patience, and selfless effort are seldom rewarded; if you want something to change/improve, you have to speak up, make your move, and take what you want before anyone else does.

We are each, in our day, both consumers and creators. These two phases of our selves live in both flux and harmony; it is a curious interdependence.

In days past, my proudest moments have been as a creator. I have created objects, experiences, adventures, friendships, and follies. I have made music, made friends, made enemies (though not many), made money, and made love.

Still, of all the created things to have passed out of my self and into the world, the most remarkable -to me at least- have been the Monuments and the Relics. Some such creations have, in time, become both.

I was reminded of this on a recent trip back to BC. There, out back, across the field, in early-morning half-light, one of the finest monuments/relics ever devised lay waiting for my visitation. My father’s old housetruck, slowly becoming one with the landscape. It is so familiar to me and my past, and yet being just one step removed from me, allows me to breathe and move around it, observe it, and cherish the conflagration of emotion that bubbles up inside me at the sight, the smell, the sheer presence of it.

Of course, the similarity to my own abandoned housebus resonates mightily. In that, the difference between Monument and Relic is strictly a matter of perspective. My silently passionate father feels the same push and pull of history.

At our best, we each put something intangible and eternal into our creations. Only time and perspective will show them to be Monument, Relic, or anything worth remembering at all. Sometimes it is only some pervasive and phenomenal application of passionate energy that shifts the inevitable Relic towards Monumental status.

My bus is a Relic, for sure, but not so my boat. Yes, we were forced to abandon her mid-Atlantic, but she’s not a Relic for all that. Wherever she now sails or rests, she is undoubtedly a Monument.

Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing some aspect of sailing, and I contributed some anecdote about some feature of my boat something that I had long-labored upon.

He slowly smiled, and said, “You lost a lot…”.

I smiled back. “Yeah, I guess. But I learned a lot too.” It was a fair trade, a Monumental one.

Back at the housetruck, my sailing-companion and friend Cory and I shared a moment. Without much else to say on the matter, it is quickly agreed that friendships are greatest Monuments of all.

And so too, without much else to say on the matter, I agree with myself that many of the Relics of my past were once Monuments I had erected, and can be so once again. They should be.

In the meantime, I shall keep on creating.

In college, I knew a woman named Wendy Martin who owned a local business, Rooftop Futons. In her high-ceilinged 2nd-floor south-facing office, she had a magnificent pot of giant papyrus growing, at least 6′ tall, the image of which has stuck in my head ever since. I can’t be certain, but I’m reasonably sure her plant was an “Umbrella palm”, Cyperus alternifolius. Now that I have my own ridiculously-high ceilings (16′!), I’ve bought a few papyrus plants to try my own hand at.

After an afternoon spent trolling garden centers and nurseries with my amazing gardening friend Kent Russell,  actually ended up with five plants. In addition to a pair of great Cyperus papyrus “Giganteus”, I now have three smaller varieties: Cyperus involucratus “Baby Tut”, Cyperus albostriatus “Variegatus”, and Cyperus isocladus.

Being late in the season, I bought them all root-bound in 4″ pots. I re-potted into 6″ clay pots with a good gunky potting soil, with a little fish meal worked in for good measure. I aggressively cut back any stressed stems. All five pots were then placed in a large plastic tote, which was filled with water up to within an inch of the tops of the clay pots. I top up the water every three days or so, dosing once with a teaspoon of 15-30-15 fertilizer.

Growth in just the last two weeks has been fantastic! The C.  papyrus and C. involucratus have been putting new stems up at about 1″/day. The C. papyrus is showing crazy root development, already snaking little white rootlets around and over the edges of the pot. The C. isocladus isn’t so much growing up as it is growing out. The poorest of the bunch is the C. albostriatus; It was well into seed when I bought it, so it may just be a phase. The existing growth seems stagnant, but there are quite a few new shoots starting out!

I had at first envisioned an indoor water garden, in a large tub or ideally a small cast-iron slipper-style bathtub. Researching more thoroughly, I see that these plants would do best with summers outside, so I’m trying out more portable ideas. Also, the small varietals really seem to want to spread out; they might share space with the very vertical C. papyrus, but don’t play as well with companions of their own stature. I think I’ll leave them in standard clay pots, which I will in turn submerge inside sealed larger pots, preferably something nicely-glazed. The bathtub idea might still happen, but probably as a strictly outdoor feature.

I’m not exactly sure why I find these so fascinating. There is something neat about these primitive old-world sedges, that can look like both grasses and palms, with leaf-like flowers and flower-like leaves. And of course, the attraction of a plant that is practically impossible to over-water!

I’ve had a long-standing interest in traditional sailor life, art, and culture. This style of artwork has an amazingly wide appeal. In the popular media, artists such as Sailor Jerry and Ed Hardy have been really capitalizing on this as well. The culture they promote is, to my eye, an idealized expression. George S. Eisenberg’s cultural expression is not so idealized; it’s the real deal.

I’ve recently begun working with George, looking through his massive collection of letters, drawings, and memorabilia from his time aboard a WWII destroyer from 1942-1945. In the coming weeks, we will be bringing a new and exciting presentation of his work to a fresh internet forum. It’s a thoroughly fascinating and compelling look at naval wartime through the eyes of a lifelong artist, explorer, collector, and sailor.

George S. Eisenberg’s website exhibits a broad, if shallow, slice of his artwork and writing throughout the years. There’s some of the sailor work, as well as illustrative pieces from magazine and book covers, original paintings, lithographs, production studies -he drew the first drafts of GI Joe for Hasbro- and much more. Take a look!

« Older entries