Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"The Little Things"

Calendar: November 2009
(Tom's Take Out Calendar, November 2009)

So much of what makes us individuals is actually a string of small traits and subtle interests gleamed from others. Catch phrases, shared movies, television shows and books, certain ways we like our tea or the way we dress, all of these things stem from the influence of other people in our lives, even if they are only there for a fleeting moment.

Having lived what I see now as a somewhat sheltered life, much of the little things I've gotten into, words I often use, and inspirations that have enhanced my everyday life have come from places I am almost unaware of. These are all little gifts that I otherwise would never have known if not for someone's personal outside example. These small things have brought so much joy and comfort, and thus have helped make me who I am today, that there is no possible way I could repay the myriad of people who have guided me to this path.

With Thanksgiving Day imminent, I thought I'd take a second and make a list of as many things as possible that I never liked, words I never used, or attitudes I never appreciated until someone personally influenced me. Some of these things I actively and vocally decried, disavowed, or just plain wrote-off as dumb, useless, silly, or evil for some childish notion of the past, or simply never thought about at all. They are, in no particular order:

-the necessity and over-use of cell phones and all of their functions
-the love of certain consumables, including Ethiopian food, boba tea, edamame, tofu, balsamic vinegar and oil, udon noodles, sushi, and more
-the ease and functionality of digital photography, the fixed 50mm lens, UV filters
-the awareness and appreciation of "Alternative" music of the early to mid-'90s
(i.e. Pixies, Built to Spill, Soul Coughing, etc.)
-the awareness and appreciation of contemporary "Indie" music
(i.e. The Mountain Goats, The National, Neutral Milk Hotel, etc.)
-the ability to use Photoshop, Mac computers, etc.
-shooting in "RAW"
-the appreciation of plain white (not color-gelled) lights in photography
-a slightly more open-minded perception of certain drugs and harmless, though technically illegal activities
-being forced to go out after dark to socialize
-openness in discussing taboo subjects, including masturbation, bodily functions, personal nudity and bodily issues, etc.
-appreciation for "pin-up" styled imagery
-being able to ask for and accept a hug, neck and back rub, and a little bit of help now and again
-preferring a functional pick-up truck to some sporty, fashionably smaller vehicle
-taking the time to appreciate people who my first reaction would be negative of, including those unusual or questionable interests, body modification, personal associations, etc.
-the use of laptop computers in public
-using iPod vehicle adapters
-an almost complete lack of fear about taking a financial risk versus having an amazing experience
-appreciation of alcohol in its various forms (except beer), mainly whiskey, wine and tequila
-my overuse of the word "crazy" when describing something unusual
-the spiritual guidance of gurus such as Robert Smith, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Mike Doughty, Peter Gabriel, others
-being forced to use MySpace, Facebook, and, which led to amazing things and people entering my life

I am sure there are countless others, but these are the ones that have sprung to mind recently. With that said, I still have a long way to go. I find that I'm still painfully set in my ways in many regards, but I'm trying. To those who know me really well, honestly, truly, I'm trying. To all the Americans, have a Happy Thanksgiving, to the rest of the world, Happy Thursday!


  1. Happy Turkey Day Mark!!! See you soon I hope :-)

  2. I think I have been present for the majority of these, and for that I am thankful.