Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Back in Oakland, or, as I call it, the "Center of the Mutha-Effin Universe."

For the moment I'm shacked up at the house of a long-time friend whom I met in graduate school. She was a post-doc in my 'environmental chemistry and geomicrobiology research group' -- how's that for a mouthful -- and is out of the country on personal biz at the moment. But her place has everything I need -- a full-featured kitchen, internet access, and is located a mere 20 minute bike ride from my pool -- 15 if I feel like racing the buses down Telegraph, which I almost always do since it seems to piss the drivers off.

I've been riding my buddy's single-speed fixed-gear. Getting used to it and liking it. Perhaps now I have completed the personal sub-cultural migration to "hipster." I don't care. I still won't listen to The Clash or Echo and the Bunnymen. My policy is that I don't listen to any music that was recorded after I was born, except for the Black Crowes who are so plainly derivative from music that was recorded before I was born that they don't count, so my statement is consistent and I'm not a hypocrite.

As soon as I got home I found my blue jeans and corduroys, and a few western shirts. These were hastily jammed into boxes and stashed in a friend's basement before I left the States. The two pairs of Carhartts that dominated my fashion repertoire for so long have been given a thorough washing in my benefactor's bathtub and for the moment are taking an indefinite rest on the drying rack. I had forgotten how damn hot I look in tight Levis 517s and snap-front western shirts. No wonder I was always getting so much attention from the ladies when I lived here before. And the mando playing just put things over the top.

Speaking of, this week I will re-string my very nice, very expensive, handmade-in-Idaho mandolin and try to shake the rust off my poor, tired and disused fingers. Then possibly next week I will make an entrance once again on the Bay Area elite bluegrass scene at the Alameda jam.

I have done a lot of catching up with friends. Probably none of this is interesting to re-tell here. The highlight is that there has always been good beer involved. I drank a pint of Boont Amber Ale, then saved my piss and drank it just to see and it was still better than Thai beer.

I have dropped some applications at local coffee shops and bakeries to try to pick up some hours and cash. Will have to see what turns up. Tomorrow I'm having lunch with the people at the Footprint non-profit where I used to work. Wednesday I think me and some bros will head up to Sonoma Co. for the garden volunteer day at the Arts and Ecology Center at Occidental. That place rules -- they have the first composting toilet I ever used, a pivotal moment in my life. Thursday I meet the people who run the Ladakh program. They hinted that they might have a job for me this summer -- could be cool, have to see.

And the bbqs and parties abound. Pretty much that's the story here every summer. Also I may catch the train up to Sacramento to visit some friends from grad school who have proper, respectable jobs up there now teaching and doing environmental policy for the state.

My swim coach had her baby the day I got back -- 8 lbs 14 oz, boy. A big boy. I volunteerd to cook for them for the next few weeks if people on the team bring the groceries. So maybe I will be the family's personal chef for a while. Fun stuff!

I'm captaining a team for this year's Trans Tahoe relay. Don't know the line up yet but there's a lot of interest. One of my buddies is a sick bike racer and wants in. I'm excited about that. He holds the record for the beer-mile for the whole ACC. (He was a miler at UVA.) I think my best (sober) mile time is only about 10 seconds faster than his beer mile. Ridiculous.

I've got a ways to go to be in shape to rule the open water scene and defend my position as 24th in the world. But I might start doing two-a-days at the pool until I regain a firm hold as lead Otter. Our first event is June 2 -- one mile and two mile races in Lake Berryessa, Napa county. Last year I did both races back-to-back; probably I will just do one this year, since I've been out of the water for so many months.

People back in the hollers of Appalachia seem good as well. The moms seems happy I'm back within three time zones, and interested to talk about Buddhism. Dads is getting closer to quiting his job of thirty-plus years and putting in an application at Home Depot - his dream job. And the only ex-girlfriend who still talks to me, my "high school sweetheart," if you will, recently called off her wedding because of me. I didn't do or say anything, hadn't spoken with her in months, mabe a year or more. She just thought about me and that was it, done, no wedding, dumped the guy. Poor fella.

You see the kind of power I have? Sometimes I can't believe how awesome I am. It's seems unfair to the regular humans. But oh well -- too bad for them. My intention is to keep on rocking hard, maybe even step up the intensity -- just because I can, because I am so hardcore.

In fact, I am so hardcore, I don't read books anymore -- I just stare them down until I get the information I want. Furthermore, nowadays I rock so hard that I don't need to wear a watch -- I decide what time it is. And when I jump in the pool to swim, I don't get wet -- the pool gets Josh Kearnsed.

Sure is good to be back where I fit in, where people understand and appreciate how friggin awesome I am. But what else could I expect from the Center of the Mutha-Effin Universe?


Anonymous said...


I accidentally found your blog on the net... It's awesome to travel around and those photos are really great too! I'm Thai in Aus and hope you had a great experience in Thailand in past few months. =D

Josh said...

Right on! Thanks for stoppin by.


Anonymous said...


I see you haven't changed a bit! What a blog entry! Anyway, welcome back to North America.

I'm currently staying on a csa farm run by the sweetest Quaker couple - they uses horses instead of machinery. It's wonderful - I think you'd really love it here.

Hope you're well,

Barry said...

Hi Josh.

My name is Barry Fenning. I am the webmaster of the www.yousabai.com That sounds very formal ;) but really I am lucky to be good friends with Yao and Krit. I designed the original Yousabai guesthouse website and now I am trying to update this website. I was wondering if you would like to contribute to the "About Mae Tang" section on the site? I have never been to the new organic farm and I could do with some help describing the area/accomodation/batik painting. I know you might be very busy, but I wanted to ask you none-the-less. The email address you can contact me on is yousabai@gmail.com. Please let me know if you would have any information that I could update the site with.
Many thanks and great job on your blog,

ryan libre said...

i was bustin' up reading josh talk about how great he is. its funny cause its true. Josh is as cool as he says and maybe more.

Josh said...

Thanks y'all, for the comments.

Keep in touch...


Darwin BondGraham said...

Oakland is shangra-la.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amanda said...

OK, maybe not as practical or what not as the majority of the other comments but from your sister...
If you ever decide to tie yourself down long enough to get married, just marry Katie. I mean, shes great and obviously still has feelings for you and well, you've always seemed to keep something for her. Plus she'd make for a neat sister-in-law.
OK, just think about it...no pressure.
A ;)

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