Pick-A-Day

November 2020
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Archives

22: Matthew “Matt” Wayne Shepard – *December 1, 1976; †October 12, 1998

Fuck.

Twenty-two years.

Time is so fleeting – how the hell have 22 years passed?

I write this from my new home, still in Berlin, but some 7 kilometers from my old home.

One of the things about moving is that you must sort through all your belongings, even though you’ve forgotten that you own. While the process has certainly generated a certain amount of trash – with many moments of “why the hell did I keep that?” – there are also moments of, “wow! I kept that! Sweet!”

In that category falls 1 issue of Time magazine, 3 issues of the Advocate, and a page from the New York Times – all are about Matthew Shepard and his all too brief life.

Matthew Shepard 1998/1999

Finding them in a box – I had a professional packer go through much of my stuff, so I did not pack it – was quite the surprise. A moment to pause in the unpacking process and go, “wow.”

Naturally, there is a moment of guilt: how could I forget that I owned these? How could I leave them sitting on a shelf for years, forgotten? These objects that are, in many ways, so important to me.

On the other hand, it brings a bittersweet moment of melancholy – a moment to reflect and remember.

His murder affected my life in so many profound ways – it is difficult to understand its effects.

While the world has, generally speaking, gotten better, for every two steps forward, there is one back. Clearly, right now, America is regressing – with the potential to vote for a new direction.

Please.

However, that’s not what this is about – it’s about personal reflection.

Remembering how I felt, how I literally (and that’s not a figurative expression in my book) crawled into my closest on Braeside Drive in Bloomington, Indiana. It was 721 square feet (67 square meters) and I chose the smallest room. How I went to a march for Matthew Shepard at IU’s Dunn Meadow – the first time I had ever attended a candlelight march. How it took a couple of weeks for my equilibrium to return to a point where I was fully functional. How I came out via email to my boss in order to explain why I was so distracted from work. How…. Well, there are a lot of hows in this scenario.

Matthew Shepard’s murder defined how I approached a lot of my life and the decisions that I make.

R.I.P.


For historical reference, see 2004200520062007200820092010201120122013,  20142015201620172018, 2019, or any of the many times he’s been mentioned on my blog via a search for Matthew Shepard.

Time for a pause…

Now that I’ve moved, my apartment is filled with boxes – and I don’t have a reason to unpack until the kitchen is installed and other furniture delivered – a few weeks into the future.

I’ve done some basic cleaning of my old apartment – removing the shocking amount of dust that had accumulated behind furniture and in other unseen corners. The heavy lifting there is being done this coming week by an amazing handyman.

More blog posts will come along soon, I promise.

Whatchamacallit 182: Four Corners Bracelet

Four Corners Bracelet

I bought the above bracelet in 2013 while visiting New Mexico – the same trip when I bought Whatchamacallit 18: the Navajo Plant Dye Chart and Whatchamacallit 92: Navajo Turquoise Bracelet.

This was bought at a place where you really can be in four places at once: Four Corners Monument.

Surely I didn’t pay more than $10 for this? I really have no idea.

It is a very nice bracelet, but as I have observed, I am not a really a jewelry person, rarely wearing it. This come with an additional problem: my manual dexterity is sometimes rather shaky, so while I can manipulate the catch with two hands, when I try to put it on, I fail unless somebody helps me. Given that I’m single (and happy that way), it makes the occasions when I can wear this rather infrequent, which is a shame, given that this is the only bracelet I own that is legitimately light weight, so it wouldn’t slow me down while I work.

The design is quite pretty – the logo on the central element reflecting the four corners theme.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 181: Native Timbers of New Zealand (Ruler!)

Native Timbers of New Zealand

I’ve visited New Zealand twice. Once.

Both visits were part of my 2015 around the world adventure – before and after Samoa and American Samoa. It depends how you count “visit” – the first was 7 hours, the second was 25.5 hours. I could look it up, but I am too lazy to do that right now. I call it one visit, but two entry stamps in my passport.

I bought this at the Auckland Museum (as I recall). The back side of the ruler informs about the inlays, which show 13 different woods from New Zealand, with the body a bonus 14th. From left to right: Rimu, Rata, Rewarewa, Pukatea, Tawa, Towai, Matai, Puriri, Kauri, Tawhai, Taraire, Totara, and Maire. The body is Kahikatea.

For over 60 years rulers with inserts of native timbers have introduced New Zealanders and overseas visitors alike to the unique production of nature that is the New Zealand forest.

Because I am a scrupulously honest person, I admitted on my Canadian Immigration/Customs form that I had agricultural products in my luggage, items made of wood, so I had to detour to the Agricultural desk after getting my suitcase from baggage claim: the inspector took one look at it (and my Samoan Fale) stamped my form and sent me on my way. Thus, I can honestly say that this ruler is not a threat to Canada.

Regardless, it is too pretty to use.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 180: Berliner Luft (part 2)

Berliner Luft

In July I wrote about Berliner Luft, the soap bubbles.

Now it is about Berliner Luft, a peppermint liquor that is best not drunken.

However, 2.5 years ago I bought this bottle to celebrate the fact that I’d purchased some “Berliner Luft,” as in a few cubic meters of air high in the sky.

Today, that air is surrounded by concrete, wood, windows, and all the other accoutrements that define a space that becomes home.

Today, I move house.

When I bought the bottle, I did a series of shots with colleagues and friends to celebrate the fact that I’d bought the idea of a home. Since then, I do believe that I haven’t had another sip.

Prost!


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 179: IKEA Postcard/Thing Holder

IKEA Postcard Holder

I bought this thing in 2010, shortly after moving into my apartment in Schöneberg.

Throughout the year, as postcards and greeting cards arrive, I fill it up – then in late November, I take everything down and start the process anew.

For reasons that will become apparent, I’ve had to undertake this process a bit on the early side this year – so it looks a lot like a bug that has been smashed against the wall.

Unfortunately, after a decade of use, the curly parts at the end are bent out of shape and it is increasingly difficult to get things to stay wedged in.

Typically I only “see” this object for a few weeks – after Christmas cards arrive, I basically cannot see it easily; when birthday cards arrive a short time later, it vanishes. However, it has brought me great joy, keeping things visible from where I sit working – I look up and cards are there.

Warm feelings ensue.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 178: BVG Hat

BVG Hat

I’ve never worn this hat.

This was a giveaway from the BVG – Berlin’s public transit agency – during Berlin’s Christopher Street Day (Berlin Pride) several years ago. Which year, I cannot recall.

The hat folds up tightly and neatly into the yellow bag on the left, along side the whistle in front.

I was standing on top of a guardrail taking photos of the parade when the BVG float came along – I begged one of my friends to grab one of the hats for me when they were being handed out – thus I was able to keep taking photos while getting this cool trinket.

Yet I’ve never actually worn it – I’ve put it in a drawer and promptly forgotten about it until I started cleaning the drawer earlier this month.

Holy cow, there was a lot of crap in the drawer.

Not that this is crap – it’s fun, but it’s also not something I would wear that frequently – even though I have a small hat collection. It’s pretty yellow, not a color I wear.

Maybe I would wear it if I happened to have it with me when it started to rain.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 177: Star punk (magnet)

Star Punk

I bought this magnet while in Berlin on vacation from a stand at the Boxhagener Platz flea market on Sunday morning.

The back of the magnet is signed, with a 2007 date mentioned.

I cannot read the signature, but there is a clear marking:

jan m. petersen
OBJEKTE
www.kunstkaufhaus-ost.de

Much to my surprise, some 13 years later, the website still works.

I’m not entirely sure why this spoke to me – but I still like it all these years later.

It is attached to my metal bookcase at eye height – I’d say that I see it a few times a week, each timing making me smile.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 176: Ghost in a Four Room Apartment

Ghost in a Four-Room Apartment

This book is not the first copy of this book that I’ve owned.

The first copy of this book I got in either kindergarten or first grade – I would guess kindergarten, but logically it feels more like first grade.

It was free, a gift from RIF – Reading Is Fundamental – a program that, since 1966, gives books to children. I have this recollection of going into the library at Park Hill Elementary School – we must have been told we were each allowed to take one book – and this is the book that I found.

Apparently I was so enraptured with the book that, as my Mother used to say, that it was difficult for her to find out which book I had selected, since I was holding it so tightly.

It is, like most children’s book, ambiguous in its meanings and the story it tells – but, in this case, what does is brings back memories of elementary school and the time spent there.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 175: Buffalo Wool Hat

Buffalo Wool Hat

I bought this hat from a shop in Laramie, Wyoming. I have no idea how long ago, how much, or which shop.

The shop did have a small selection of goods made from buffalo wool, including coasters, which I keep in my living room. The hat was also there. Given the difficulties of obtaining buffalo wool, everything was expensive, but the hat is incredibly and wonderfully soft.

Except that it never gets cold enough in Berlin to justify wearing it – I tend to wear less expensive hats when I need this kind of hat.

When I removed the hat from its home – on my metal man – I discovered that I use the hat to store three other things: two buttons from my Kent Monkman collection and a pair of solar eclipse glasses – which I last used in 2017. That was not the same trip when I bought this hat; I think I bought the hat a few years before.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.