The drop of a dubstep song and the scent of tequila: Las Vegas. A place where they pump extra oxygen into the casinos and clubs to keep you wide awake and dissipate the scent of cigarettes. I called it “home” for less than two years, but sometimes I feel I lived two decades inside them.
I like to believe that my life in Las Vegas made me a better person. It taught me so much about human interaction, the highs and the lows of life, and how you never know exactly what somebody else’s personal struggles are, no matter how perfect their makeup or how thick their wallet is. Living and working in Las Vegas was a study of the human condition – and how I can make someone’s day or night tremendously improved by my influence. Continue reading Right Place, Right Time→
I turned 27 this past Friday. The night before, I had the good fortune to attend the unveiling of the new Tesla Model D. Friday night, a small group of incredible people I am so grateful to call friends gathered for dinner to celebrate my birthday. On Saturday, I went to the premiere of a new documentary called The Culture High (which I recommend highly). On Sunday, I spent the better part of a day playing with my adorable little niece-of-the-heart. It was an amazing weekend. I am tremendously lucky for all the incredible events and people in my life.
I haven’t done a formal update about my life in quite a while. I guess now is as good a time as any. I’m calling it The State of the Avens, because we all know I’m a little too obsessed with politics and nerdy references. Continue reading The State of the Avens→
Last week, Senator Rand Paul was interviewed by David Axelrod, and spoke about the polarization in America over abortion. He talked about how he believes the country is “somewhere in the middle” on abortion and needs to be persuaded before abortion can be made illegal. His stance is surprisingly gentle considering his March 2013 introduction of the Life at Conception Act, which never made it to the floor of either the House or Senate.
The trouble I find with this whole “polarization” discussion is that there’s really just one group that doesn’t wish to compromise at all. They’re the ones who claim we want “abortion on demand” and try to ban emergency contraception. They’re the ones that hold up signs at clinics with pictures of dead fetuses, as if that represents what most abortions look like. They’re the ones that don’t rush to condemn domestic terrorism against abortion providers, even when that violence murders doctors.
But when you look at the public opinion polls and talk to people, reasonably, you’ll find that most people, even those opposed to abortion, aren’t actually like the people I just described above. Out of civility, I’ll refer to that whole group by the name they call themselves: pro-life.
In the interest of non-hysteria, let’s note that most pro-life individuals often support the option to abort in the instances of incest, rape or risk to life of the mother. And let’s also acknowledge that even pro-choice individuals speak out against things like “partial birth abortion“, which has been banned federally since 2003 (it was already illegal almost everywhere, but the “party of small government” apparently loves redundant laws), and nearly all pro-choice individuals defer to medical standards of viability when discussing acceptable restrictions.
I am tremendously lucky in my life. I’ve had some amazing loves. I’ve been passionately kissed under fireworks and under stars, I’ve been the center of somebody’s world before, and I’ve felt the smile of my lover like the sun in the sky. If I was never loved again in my life, I think the amount of love I’ve felt and given is probably more than many get to experience in their lives.
On January 13th, I attended a debate in Santa Monica between Rabbi Michael Gotlieb, Dr. Theodore Drange and Dr. Yaron Brook. The topic was “God vs. Atheism” and both Dr. Drange and Dr. Brook were representing the atheist side. The debate was engaging, entertaining and frustrating, as I have a number of other points I did not feel were properly addressed.
I walked away from that debate wanting to sit down with the Rabbi and engage in more of a discussion about religion, faith & science. I decided to write him a letter, which I will send him, but that I can share publicly to explain my own lack of faith to those who have asked me. Continue reading Stardust Spirituality→
So my resolution this year is about writing. It’s about this blog becoming an actual platform for the stories of my experiences that have informed my philosophies on life – personal & political & anything between. As I’ve said many times: the only thing I truly feel like an expert in are my own experiences and my reactions to them. By articulating them here, I may be able to find a way to share what knowledge I’ve unearthed through pursuing love, through enduring pain, through aspiring to be as fearless as possible and my ever-growing need to embrace doubt and truth as recklessly as possible. Maybe these stories will be useful or inspiring, either to others or simply reflecting back at myself.
So I promise 24 stories this year. Two a month. There are days when I feel that I could write entire novels of my life, and other days when the lake of inspiration is dry as a bone, but over this year, I can do 24 pieces of this puzzle which forms my personal picture.
Anais Nin said it best: “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” — I’m taking that to heart this year.
So I’ll start with this past year. 2013 was an exciting year of my life. To be honest, pretty much every year since 2007 has been a progressive attempt to top the previous one in terms of challenging myself, embracing new experiences or diving further into what I’m capable of. Continue reading Twenty Thirteen→
We’ve all made mistakes in our past. We’ve dated people we probably shouldn’t have, wasted time and money, hurt people (intentionally or unintentionally) and otherwise made regrettable decisions. Mistakes are lessons if you learn from them, and what matters is that you try not to make them again. If you have crappy patterns, deliberately change them.
If you want a good future, move on from your past. Give others that opportunity as well. Move forward. If others won’t let you, leave them behind. Everybody’s got a journey, and sometimes you get to hold hands along the way, sometimes you have to fight and walk in opposite directions. But never stop moving. Never stop trying. Never stop striving. Never stop doing. Not for anybody else, but for you.
I sat at a computer all night trying to find the emotional zone that makes me tell a story. I got distracted by the typical aspects of the internet, and suddenly dawn arrived and I had no words yet, despite having spent three days telling myself it was time to write it. Finally, I grabbed a pack of clove cigarettes and a lighter and headed to my porch to watch the sun rise. I don’t even smoke, I just love the smell of burning clove, the way the tendrils of smoke rise off the ash at the end of the cigarette. I listened to birds sing and the neighborhood wake up. I started talking to someone who wasn’t there, I started telling them the story I was trying to tell in written word, and suddenly it poured out. I do this a lot. I tell it like I’m a character in a movie, like every dramatic scene that’s quiet in which a character tells another the truth. Dramatic pauses, a drag from a cigarette and thoughtful sighs. It makes it so much more artful, and suddenly those spoken words travel down to my fingers and allow me to walk back inside and type them out. It’s always this damn cigarette that brings it out.
Three years ago, on Memorial Day weekend of 2010, I left New England for my new life in Los Angeles. I was twenty-two and ready for an adventure. Many friends confessed confusion as to why I would leave, and why I’d choose Los Angeles, a city I only knew three people in, a city so much different than where I was from. Once I moved, and still to this day, I get asked by people in LA why I chose to move there.
There’s a draft post here in my account on WordPress from the day I took Ender home. I never finished it. He deserved a post in life. He truly was amazing.
Ender was my baby birdie. He was hatched in late March, a yellow-sided green cheek conure (read: colorful little birdie!), and I took him home on May 21st of 2012 at eight weeks old. I named him after the protagonist of Ender’s Game, because I’m that much of a geek.
Conures have notorious personalities, and Ender was no exception. He had to be with me all of the time, constantly exploring whatever it was I was doing or cuddling on me or actively engaging in his surroundings. He was pretty quiet, especially compared to my Quakers, but he loved to make odd little noises and laugh at me. The only word I ever heard him say was “baby”. Continue reading Ender→
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anais Nin