1. If I’m lucky, there are streaks. They seep through the bamboo shreds, casting a splintered shadow on the wall. The window is cracked. Three inches, approximately. Enough for a thin layer of the spring chill to lightly wrap the room. It’s akin to a fog that rolls in through the gap. Not ominous, not warm. A delicate alarm that rustles awake those present with a nippy, gentle touch. The breeze that brings about a compulsion to push deeper into your springtime bundle of blankets. The whitewashed walls reflect only those scattered rays and the bouncing shadows of the leaves just outside the window.

    The pillow has the perfect cool. James Dean if he’d been converted to a temperature in death. The feathered support neither swallows nor rebukes the head it holds. I love the feeling of lying in that spot. The warmth of my blanket palace is embryonic. Concerns of other worlds flow hastily from the conscious forefront. Replaced with an ideal balance of benevolent weather and white linen.

    There’s a part of me, stronger than I’m comfortable with, that yearns to crawl into that nest and never leave. It’s a picture of addictive simplicity.

    The first turn is a favorite of mine. It’s quick, but revelatory. A sharp, deep breath floods your lungs with the dangerously sublime cocktail of clipped lawn shavings and dogwood petals floating by the window emitting their sweetly seductive charms. I have a surge in this three-second burst. It’s the collection of data, with a stunning rapidity that slaps my senses. It leaves me floating in shock during the processing period. The passing, distant auditory cues that round out the world in which I’ve awoken. I can feel them now. The flood is all-encompassing, and grabs hold of my being for a brief second. It’s a euphoria recalled, teased, with such detail. I believe it to be my soul reaching for that contentment, aching for the reality of my life and the fantasy being recalled, to align.

    The shock of the turn passes after a moment. I’ve come to my understanding for the time being. I’ll rest on my side as my newfound perspective, fresh in the truest sense of the word, takes hold. 

     

  2. I love this. It perfectly captures the feeling of a dream that I had recently. I had just gone to see a movie, and I couldn’t get the song out of my head. 

    ——

    This is a dream. 

    I never thought of it in a rough and tumble way. The unkempt appearance it holds. I always thought of it in a delicate, ethereal sense. There would be a haze. A fog, it’s more like a fog. It’s white and it’s whispy. It undulates. I love that word. The movement it describes. The fog rolls in. It expands through the pine trees. So stiff. Crisp. Stately. Gentlemen of the Forest. This fog, it relaxes the pines. An ephemeral sedative. Drifting over your existence in a benevolent wave. Calming, cool in its embrace. The dew would be resting on the grass tips below. Subtly so. Not in the way you’ve seen in a field. These aren’t eager drops. Solemn, instead. Evoking comfort whilst dangling there. 

    The soil would be moist. The beauty of the patterns is not unlike a ski slope. The care taken in the craft is left in those ridges. Soft, rich. The soil is perched helplessly, preciously. No fear is present. The trail, the living, evolving, loving creature that it is, craves the experience. It relishes the familiar trial. 

    This is the world. This perfection, a melding of conscious, both natural and human. It’s not always like this, but I wish it would be. I see beauty in the act. It feels closer, more organic to our nature. 

    There is beauty in its simplicity. It’s obscure, and offbeat. The property of trailer park jockeys. But the beauty remains. I think that the removal from context is what allowed me to love it in this way. It allowed me to imagine it within an arena of my creation. 

    This is so strange. It’s a bike. This freedom and feeling of amorphous existence is the result of something so ordinary. The triggers for transformative thought and experience live in the nooks of normalcy. 

    Our life, it’s not fast enough. How do you interpret the world in warp drive? How does it feel to blend with the your environment in that way? 

    I love that feeling. Inching closer to the edge, ramping up both speed and wonderment. The loss of touch, however momentary, with your reality. There is a physical tension. A rising heart that makes itself at home in the throat, where it resides, forever cautious. But I can move closer to the edge. I haven’t fallen. My heart is pounding in my throat, inhibiting my breathing. The stately pines go by. Noise is no longer something I can sense. There is no whoosh of the individual evergreens. They’ve long since blended into a wall of stern, green needles. Their whispering masked by the thumping in my ear. 

    Closer. Faster. 

    I can see over the edge. Not fully. I still anchor myself to the last marker before arrival. It’s entrancing. It pulls my heart out through my throat. No longer a thump, but a flutter. I have no choice but to jump fully over the edge because if I don’t see what is on the other side, I’ll leave this earth lesser for it. The forest isn’t recognizable any longer. It’s a swirl of colors, organic and wholesome. There is no more danger. I flow through a matrix of visuals. I’m guided by a magnetic pulse.

    I’ve leaped over the edge, and in taking that chance, I am infinite. 

     

  3. Excerpt from a letter to a friend.

    image

    …… I think the last thing I’d like to write about are the things that we’ve done together that stay with me.

    I don’t care if you write back. Maybe to acknowledge that you’ve received this. But aside from that, I’m not too concerned. I’d rather know that we’re thinking about the same occurrences. The same memories, even if interpreted differently. That’s the truest form of a connection I can think of.

    I think of the wheels on your family’s bikes. The whir of the spokes. It’s a quiet whizzing. It blends seamlessly with the slight, warm rustling of the eternally green leaves. A t-shirt and shorts, yours, not mine, are paired with someone’s converse. I’ve been wearing the same thing for two days, but the summer never seemed to mind such sartorial faux pas. Our only form of hygiene had been bitterly cold river water. Somehow, its harshness convinced me that I’ve been cleansed. The wholesomeness of the reservoir wiped away the salty covering from our endless basketball games.

    It’s that dirt road we’re riding down. We rolled down the hills surrounding the reservoir immersed in a capsule of infinite freedom. I think that I always had a sinking feeling that it would end. But the balance between trying to comprehend the challenges we thought we had, and feeling like there’s always something more for us to know beyond what we were capable of handling is what made me hopeful.

    That was always my resolution. We’d pull onto the bridge, rolling gently to a stop. I realized that the ride was over, and that we had so much work in front of us to get back. But I was always hopeful. That we were never going to stop growing, and building, and evolving. That’s why I loved coming to a stop on that bridge, and leaning my bike up against the barrier. We’d jump up on railing and look out on the body of water that wasn’t ours, but for the time being, we were paired. I’ve always had the same sense of contentment at that moment.

    That moment of shared understanding and contentment with our place in the universe.

    I think that I live for it now.

    What else could be worth our time in comparison?

     

  4. Pursuit

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    The closest analogue that I have is a seed. It’s omnipresence has left me no choice other than to claim it as my own. It’s a pod that rests, uncomfortably so, somewhere deeper, closer to the core. Aggressively burrowing. I can’t pinpoint its origins. It’s a quiet killer that only manifests itself in the slight, dark shadow that has wrapped itself like a vine around my narrative. 

    I can’t see it, nor can I stop it. I can breathe. Slowly. One. Two. Three. A relieved sigh escapes. But it creeps. It pokes ever so gently, as if to remind that breathing exercises don’t expel such things. 

    It’s been both friend and foe. Gifts given are not prohibited from biting the recipient. In fact, they snap and snarl. These are the things to be mindful of. The things that drive you, normally caged, are ferocious if granted their freedom. They rise, bubbling at the top until what was once a slim shadow on the horizon of your perspective is now a broiling mess.

    This appetite isn’t to be toyed with. A fire that never lets slip its sly smile. Always licking the tender fingers of those who dare ask for a dance.

     

  5. The Relationship Between Manufactured Personas, External Perceptions, and Opportunity

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    To understand style is to grasp the motivation behind the utilization of one look before another. 

    Expanding further, if one takes inventory of their closet, they’ll likely see patterns emerging regarding their purchasing habits. Each item found to conform to the image the individual is looking to put forth will be considered invaluable. The items in the closet all hold true to an overarching theme.

    The purpose of any thoughtful clothing purchase is to advance a persona the purchaser finds pleasing. This is their motivation. 

    Assuming that this, at the very least, has some degree of partial truth allows for the hypothesis that personal style is the culmination of a three-tiered process that begins as an examination of societal position, moves towards the construction of goals, and ends with the implementation of a style that’s representative of those goals. It’s a medium for self expression that aims to alter or maintain external perceptions pertaining to the individual. 

    This is, admittedly, a perspective that politely declines to take into account the fact that eliciting a particular feeling occasionally supersedes the compulsion to pursue an established goal. For instance, as noted by my co-founder, a person may choose to wear sweatpants over chinos due to the feeling of comfort that comes from donning an immensely pleasing pair of sweats. This decision certainly isn’t in line with the goal of being considered sartorially conscious, but the desire for comfort in that moment overwhelmed the otherwise dominant goal. 

    However, that’s not the focus of this thought. 

    When dressing in the morning, whether consciously or not, a person has an understanding that the clothes they wear, or the manner in which their hair is styled will impact the way that other people form thoughts about them. Those other people are reacting to visual messages dispatched by this individual. I’ll refer back to the point above about the three-tiered process of finding a personal style. When the understanding expressed just above becomes conscious, one can transition into the second part of the process, or goal construction. 

    Let’s create an avatar to run through our process. 

    Greg, seen above, is a university student in the Northeastern United States. He’s from California, so this environment is foreign to him, and he’s learning to adjust and establish a recognizable identity among his peer group. 

    Greg realizes that he’s a tad out of his element. Perhaps his West Coast background leaves him a more relaxed character than his native classmates. Let’s also say that Greg is a good-looking gentleman with a friendly disposition. 

    These attributes and circumstances have dropped Greg in a very particular situation. If aware of this situation, Greg is in a very powerful position. Having pinpointed his location on both a scholastic and social scale, he can now identify where he’d like to go from here. It would conceivably be very difficult to construct a map for the purpose of finding directions from one location to another if Point A is not yet identifiable. 

    Him possessing the location of Points A & B provides him the ability to engineer goals that will lead him from one to the other. 

    Goals to facilitate said transportation can manifest themselves as varied style choices. His style selections are used to influence the people around him to accept his desired persona as a truth.

    If style is used as a way to implant a manufactured thought process in the minds of others, then the management of personal style is the controlled manipulation of external perception. 

    This is all wonderful for the short-term alteration of perception, but my thought is that all of the above work would be fruitless without much larger goals guiding Greg’s actions. 

    All of his efforts, or his preparations have led him to a myriad of opportunities. The access is the end goal. 

    When Greg has identified how he’d like to be regarded, does so successfully, and uses that perception to mingle with those who provide access to what Greg is really seeking, he is successful. 

    In summary, the relationships are linear. The overarching goal influences the desired perception that will allow for access to the goal. The desired perception is achieved by thoughtfully selecting what to wear, or when to wear it. These selections are the manifestations of goals that eventually lead to the perception. The goals are reliant upon the information one has gathered and synthesized regarding their position in the moment. 

    Style is an advanced stage of expression that falls on the map of goal-oriented behavior. It’s the midway point between situational understanding and goal achievement. 

     
  6. I have moved North. Given the underwhelming nature of the past three weeks, the move isn’t accompanied by grand ceremony and excitement as expected. Instead, I’m couch surfing in Sacramento just trying to get my bearings before I dive into this project headlong. 

    The New Year is an interesting event for the gentlemen of Partridge. We’ve been effectively feeling our way through the backside of 2012. Good things happened, but the coordination of the events was random at best. We’ve been subject to the interest of a select few individuals. The hope is that we’re able to move away from such dependency and rely upon ourselves moving into 2013. 

    I was lucky enough to have been joined on my northern expedition by my Uncle. 

    Before I continue on about our trip, context would be appreciated, I’m sure. 

    I had gone home for the holidays, which was wonderful in that I was able to really spend some quality time with my family. It did, however, leave me with a great gaping hole in my stomach. Departing at the end of trips normally leads to a few pangs of homesickness. I hug my Mother, it rumbles around, but I know I’ll be back soon enough. Besides, I have things to do. 

    But I’m not feeling so hot. I have questions and doubts and concerns and anxieties relating to our project. I’m waking up because of them. I’m pushing them out of my mind because I’m not interested or prepared to handle that level of worry. 

    So leaving this time was particularly rough. I wasn’t going back to a comforting situation. I didn’t fall asleep thinking, “Well, we’ve got this.” It’s not to say that I haven’t been warned of the regularity with which I’ll experience these feelings in a start-up. It’s that the first time these thoughts begin to creep in, having a secured system of support does wonders. 

    Moving up to Sacramento, where my sole friend and confidant is my business partner, isn’t the support system reinforcement I’ve been seeking. It’ll have to do, though. 

    So the fact that I was accompanied by my Uncle meant a great deal to me. The man is nearly sixty. Yet he was willing to drive seven hours north in a moving van. He was willing to sleep on a set of mattresses in the kitchen of the house my business partner and his roommates have rented. He was willing to then drive all the way back to Los Angeles by himself. 

    We chatted the entire time. He’s a tremendously interesting gentleman with a myriad of views and perspectives that I was not privy to. It was a privilege to drive with him, and it is appreciated greatly. 

     

  7. Couches

    So, I’ve started to process of sleeping on varied couches.

    It’s a function of the amount of traveling I’ve been doing lately. I can’t say that it has been productive travel. However, it is the first time that I can say that I’ve been traveling for work.

    That, in and of itself is a whole different topic of discussion. As is the the mental process of gearing up for a situation or level of responsibility that requires one to travel for a job they themselves created….

    Anyways.

    I’ve bounced back and forth between San Francisco and Los Angeles close to five times in the past month and a half. It’s very exciting to travel with purpose.

    We’re looking for a home in Palo Alto or the surrounding area to set up temporary shop. The intention being to replicate the experience had by the Facebook crew. It’s one that has been mimicked countless times, I’m sure. Nevertheless, I’m very much looking forward to having such a story of my own.

    In the meantime, I suppose I’ll be classified as “new homeless” to reference an oft-quoted tidbit from the ever-entertaining mouth of Schmidt from “New Girl”. I have an apartment in Santa Monica. The only piece of furniture in that apartment is the twin bed upon which I sit. That’s it. It’s not quite a home.

    So, with all things considered, it would seem that my average resting arrangement would be a strangers couch. Surprisingly few heaps of trash have served as a bed. For this, I’m nothing but thankful.

    The generosity that appears, out of thin air no less, from the hearts of would-be strangers in miraculous. It’s a pattern in my life at this point. I’ve asked for help, and received it warmly every time.

     
  8. Today was probably the third day that this has felt even vaguely real.

    I awoke at a Comfort Inn in Palo Alto. There were Jack in the Box taco wrappers on the nightstand, and Sierra Nevada poured into various cups. The bottles had been broken when trying to pop the caps off.

    It was roughly 9:00 at that point. Scheduled for 11:00 was the first meeting with our attorney. I’ve never sat in an attorney’s office to begin with, much less one where the sole reason for my being there was an idea for a business I had several months before.

    That’s a strange realization.

    "Huh. Somehow I had an extremely vague idea many months ago, I chatted about it with some folks, refined it a little here and there. Boom! Now I’m sitting in a gorgeous office usually occupied by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg. That was fast."

    Anyway. I met the guy. He looks nice enough. His wife picked out his outfit. He said as much. Apparently he’s the shark in the room. I suppose that I’m the bleeding duck in the water.

    "Tell me about your idea."

    "Sure."

    Pitch. Pitch. Pitch. Pitch. Pitch. Sit back and wait for critique.

    "I love it!".

    "Huh, OK."

    We then went about reviewing the in’s and the out’s of start-up law and procedures. I remember roughly five percent. Single biggest reason for a co-founder.

    "Let’s go to lunch."

    That sounds fine to me. Everyone else is really excited. I’ll keep smiling, and probably stop talking altogether.

     

  9. The bloating of the ego

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    Alrighty.

    So, I did the required one year of schooling within the confines of the home.

    It was terrible and lonely. I sank into myself. I lost the ability to communicate with the outside world due to the infrequency of my interactions with it.

    On the positive side, I became incredibly close with my dog. So, so close.

    I looked at my mom one day. She said, “You’re bored”. “Yes”, I said. “Terribly”.

    What followed was the most important conversation I’ve had to date. 

    Mom: “How about college?”

    Me: “Sure”.

    And the Boy Wonder was born.

    I mentioned previously that I was more reserved. What I meant to say was, “I was more reserved prior to attending college classes”.

    When the professor does a roll call of the class based upon date of birth, and you’re 1993, guess what?

    Everyone’s head quickly snaps around to gawk at the one hand raised in the back corner of the room.

    The whispering follows.

    Then the one outgoing girl sitting across from you leans over. She looks into your eyes, smiles, and asks:

    "Are you some kind of genius?"

    All eyes are anchored on the poor, shy soul in that back corner.

    A match is lit. If inspiration exists, it was in that room. The anxiety melts like an ice cube in August. But instead of a puddle, all that’s left is a newly minted ego.

    The eyes are still locked. They’re bored. There’s nothing shiny to look at. In that way, they’re hungry.

    This is the most powerful realization you can have. It washes over you. It’s a performer’s orgasm.

    A wry, impish smile replaces the anxious scowl.

    You’re probably locking eyes with that one girl. The incredibly cute one. You shivered when thinking about approaching her not fifteen minutes ago.

    She’s still watching, and you’re still smiling. Trump Card.

    That smile doesn’t fade. It’s a knowing smile. You’re the smartest guy in the room because they say you are.

     

  10. Once upon a time.

    Ok. 

    Let’s begin.

    I was sixteen when I started college. That was a tad strange. I’d been an extremely quiet young man. Reserved, frightened, unusual, unremarkable. School was not my strong suit.

    I was a horrible student. I was lazy and apathetic towards the material. Despite the prodding of my parental figures, I never had anything resembling a remote interest in my education. I was bored, I was drained. I left a traditional environment in favor of a haven constructed solely for the socially challenged. Home school. 

    You have a lot of time on your hands when engaged in the home education experience. I normally rolled out of bed at nine. I meandered from my room to the toilet, from there to the other toilet, and then down the stairs into the kitchen. I would run through the curriculum my mother had established.

    9:30 - Math

    10:00 - More Math

    11:00 - English

    11:45 - History

    12:30 - Science

    …and done for the day.

    Now what would I do?

    Oh, that’s right.

    There are only two scenarios in my experience that are associated with this schedule.

    1. Child becomes incredibly bored, seeks entertainment and stimulation. Finding none, child descends into incredible depression and never leaves room. Musters strength to masturbate. Occasionally.

    2. Child takes large quantity of time on hand, develops interest and passion for a hobby or idea. Idea takes off, and transforms into a business. Child is suddenly on track to become a millionaire by 21. Practice skepticism.

    Now, if your child happens to be in this situation, it is completely acceptable to run away as fast as possible. What will follow is a continuous stream of remarkable and largely frightening events that stem directly from birthing a child that fits in nowhere, so they create a category of their own.

    I make sure to thank my parents for staying put every time I see them.