12.22.22 [on the D, 6, and L trains]

i had what i hope is a solid jolt of inspiration for rounding out holiday gifts for my little nephews. i always have a lot to unload when i see them, given that i consistently shit the bed on dispatching packages out to california in a timely-for-birthdays-and-holidays manner and only see them once or twice a year, but i always want to overcompensate for the unreliability and above all to make sure everyone feels i've thought of them as often as i've thought of their sibling. not always intuitive when their interests don't dovetail with mine - like, man is it easy to shop for a friend's kid who shares my feelings about bats. anyway, i am a monster, but i found a bunch of holographic animal portraits in chinatown, and i think T will appreciate the illusion of a wolf leaping into his bedroom. (this is a kid who asked his mother for a door for christmas a few years ago.)

i filed my last piece of the year last night and am on my way up to central park in search of owls. there's a northern saw-whet somewhere (that someone managed to photograph mid-pellet), and a great horned owl, and a barred - who won't dislodge barry (RIP) in my affections but might help me heal, or something. it'd be pretty great if i spotted some mushrooms as well, given how long it's been since i've made a meaningful fungal foray. the mighty patch of wine caps up at stuyvesant park that i picked this summer, DNA sequenced at the president of the mycological society's apartment, and presented at one of the society's weekly identification meetings with an explicit "i am interested in eating these. can any of you think of any reason why i shouldn't?" (A: dogs might have peed on them, but otherwise, no) before sautéeing is long-demolished, thanks to the ongoing climate-change resilience project fucking up our bank of the east river. this is all bill de blasio's fault, is what i'm saying. "he" texted me during primary season to ask for my support and i replied that i would sell my organs on the black market to fund his rivals. he dropped out of the congressional race soon afterward; you're welcome.

speaking of jokes i tell myself, a morning newsletter from the new york times last weekend solicited personal, offbeat year's-best nominations, and i got an email yesterday asking me to confirm my name and location for my submission. will the times shitpost to america's inboxes on my behalf this saturday? we'll see.


no owls - no owls that wanted to reveal themselves to me, anyway. in making my way up to the pinetum i wandered into belvedere castle, where a docent who happened to be a birdwatcher told me the barred owl was in the ramble for a few weeks before the great horned owl came and bullied it from its branch (and eventually decamped as well). i defaulted to meandering around the park in the rain as the light drained out of the clouds, which was as goddamn delightful as it was a decade ago when i would slip out of my midtown office on my lunch break to wallk out my feelings. no mushrooms, either, but i wasn't looking very hard. maybe a couple of ancient dryad's saddles 20 feet up a tree trunk? i could have pulled out my binoculars to be sure - yeah, i brought my fancy binoculars - but i am fundamentally a lazy person. i left the park via bethesda mall and a guy in the terrace arcade was playing "can't help falling in love" on his erhu in the gloaming. way to break my heart again (again), new york city.

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