Cosmic Chronicles

semi-charmed escapades of a professional human

this is the life I chose...

previous episodes

  1. American, Eclipsed
    19 Aug, 2017
    American, Eclipsed
    Not much gets me down these days. I enjoy the most freedom I've ever had in life, trading all the required safety for it through my freelance career, transient lifestyle, and high tolerance for shenanigans...but every so often I get a grim reminder of the concrete limitations poured upon this wondrously limitless existence. The one that hit me the hardest in the past few years was--is--having to miss the best parts of the total solar eclipse set to span North America early next week. I'm not
  2. The International Space Station and You
    17 Jul, 2017
    The International Space Station and You
    You know, my fascination with all things celestial isn’t just about trippy pictures of space or idle stonerings about aliens…our nascent exploration of the infinite Universe around us is perhaps the strongest driver of my faith in our species. It’s easy to talk about why humans suck…I do it a lot myself. We’re an imperfect species to be sure, but exploration of the cosmos is one of the few things we are unquestionably doing right. For instance, let’s take the colossal orbiting laboratory
  3. So...What's It Like?
    29 Jun, 2017
    So...What's It Like?
    Okay, so I do it a lot these days, we’re all aware of it by now. No secret that I enjoy it either…no shame in my game. However, I do get asked "what it’s like" on a fairly regular basis by those who consider themselves curious and uninitiated…I guess it’s not for everybody, I can dig it. It’s intense. Colorful. Introspective. If you don’t like you, you might hate it. I’m going to tell you that right there. …but I’m having a long fling with me right now, so here goes: I guess the biggest
  4. Operation Champagne Starcruiser (or, Just My Luck)
    23 May, 2017
    Operation Champagne Starcruiser (or, Just My Luck)
    I guess to understand why I’m willing to make ungodly gambles with the infrastructure and general course of my life, you have to understand my relationship with the Universe. For some reason, often only the worst case scenarios lead to the best possible outcomes for this freelance fighter...my last post covered the concept to an extent, but an equally decent “AJ’s life in a nutshell” story unfolded just this morning. You see, my “day job,” if you want to call it that, is writing online. (I’ll
  5. Season II Shakeup (or, A Firm Kick)
    17 May, 2017
    Season II Shakeup (or, A Firm Kick)
    I recently came to the realization that I’ve been stagnating lately…”bullshitting,” in less euphemistic terms. -well, it hasn't been a total waste of time. I mean, check out that scarf.- Now, this certainly isn’t some profound self-aware discovery I’ve come down from a mountaintop with—although that would give me a decent excuse for not posting here in over a month—I’m a chronic procrastinator and I’ve known that since I was a much shorter child. Still, the Universe has always had a
  6. Your Life Has Been Disconnected
    03 Apr, 2017
    Your Life Has Been Disconnected
    I recently spent a month or so without a smartphone. It wasn’t something I set out to do, I’m not one of those guys who brags about not having a TV…even though, I guess I don’t…but count me among the majority of the modern world as someone who has long enjoyed the many everyday conveniences offered to us by these miraculous little devices. -a touching poem composed the morning after.- Anyway, I say all that as exposition for the fact that one morning after a beach party in late February, I
  7. Trippy Advice: Guadalajara
    28 Mar, 2017
    Trippy Advice: Guadalajara
    Overview As far as I know, Guadalajara is essentially a major city like Chicago in the alternate timeline where the Mexican-American War went the other way. -totally a pic I took. yup.- Surviving in various forms since the 1500s, today Guadalajara is a sprawling metropolis of nearly 5 million people that is known not only as the capital city and cosmopolitan center of iconic Mexican state Jalisco, home of timeless cultural elements such as tequila and mariachi music, but one of North
  8. UMTJ Excerpts IX: ¡La Bandera!
    24 Feb, 2017
    UMTJ Excerpts IX: ¡La Bandera!
    *the next look inside my upcoming and untitled book on the Mexican experience spotlights my deep admiration for the country's flag.* Wait…can we take a second to talk about how multidimensionally outstanding Mexico’s flag is? Sure we can, I’m writing this. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the banner I was born under is pretty damn cool in a “fuck you, look at this flag” kind of way, and as far as a basis for patterns and designs inspired by it, it’s hard to beat. I mentioned my Converse
  9. Freeman, Party of One
    07 Feb, 2017
    Freeman, Party of One
    I recently realized I’m probably going to die alone…and I’m actually okay with that. Well, as long as I get another 50 years or so. After all, dying isn’t what life is all about, living is…and with that in mind, I made the decision that I will compromise as little as possible during my time on this planet. I guess I’m writing this because a question I get about my grand global adventure on a fairly regular basis is some variety of “don’t you ever get lonely?” The short answer is “no"...but
  10. UMTJ VIII: Guacamole Galore
    30 Jan, 2017
    UMTJ VIII: Guacamole Galore
    *this excerpt from my upcoming and untitled Mexican travel guide details how guacamole actually changed my life.* I’ve loved guacamole since the very first time I tasted it less than 5 years ago. You see, I didn’t grow up in a Tex-Mex flavored family. We were more of an African-American fusion cuisine household, and so the closest I ever got to the flavors for which I ended up essentially repatriating was fast food foisted upon me by a talking Chihuahua. Even that gateway drug tickled my
  11. Writing and the Wall
    26 Jan, 2017
    Writing and the Wall
    It’s been about a week since the sky fell or whatever. I’ve thought about it for a while, and now I’m going to say pretty much everything I have to contribute on the matter. I once thought racism was pretty much limited to America's Deep South and toothless cousin couples who liked to dress up as pointy ghosts on the weekends. Now, this isn’t to say that everyone who contributed to this result automatically harbors some kind of deep-seated hatred toward any class of persons. Hell, that’s the
  12. The Best Hike of My Life
    11 Jan, 2017
    The Best Hike of My Life
    Here’s kind of an awkward confession from someone who aspires to be an honored fighting champion one distant day: cardio and I are strained acquaintances at best. Not that I don’t find activities such as sports, surfing, and other forms of mutual physical exertion to be worthwhile, beneficial and very enjoyable, it’s just that long runs to nowhere and extended periods pedaling a bicycle fixed to a defined point in space sound as much like punishments from ancient Roman mythology as exercise.
  13. Making of "The Freeman" Part II: All About Anastacio
    24 Dec, 2016
    Making of "The Freeman" Part II: All About Anastacio
    *this chronologue of The Freeman's creation continues with a spotlight on the artist who will spend a week painting my face on a large sheet of canvas, because we pretty much have to be friends now, right?* Anastacio sees life differently. In his younger days, this mind-blowingly adept visual artist was, like many of us, unsatisfied with his job. His career in discreet public transportation working on behalf of a travelers’ collective seeking passage into the States offered steady pay, but
  14. Making of "The Freeman" Part I: A Stroll on the Malecon
    24 Dec, 2016
    Making of "The Freeman" Part I: A Stroll on the Malecon
    *this multi-part series will detail just how a person ends up owning an oil painting of himself, because that’s the type of shit that happens to me on a consistent basis.* -yes, this is the first thing I thought of too.- Yaknow, all I really wanted was a badass painting of Jimi Hendrix. This timeline began to unfold months ago when I was having a lovely seaside constitutional along the boardwalk that connects downtown Vallarta to the Banderas Bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The standard
  15. UMTJ VII: “Perdí Mi Tarjeta!”
    24 Dec, 2016
    UMTJ VII: “Perdí Mi Tarjeta!”
    (the next preview slice of my upcoming book shows that this ain’t some vacation...this is my life. shit happens, yeah?) Chapter 4- Vida Real Of course, it wasn’t all margaritas and madrugadas. If you stay pretty much anywhere in the world for over 3 days or so, the…logistical quirks…of the locale will begin to make themselves apparent. As I mentioned, I’m not exactly a seasoned traveler (yet, Bourdain…I am coming for your perfectly coiffed silver crowned head!), but as someone with friends
  16. UMTJ VI: Why Puerto Vallarta?
    24 Dec, 2016
    UMTJ VI: Why Puerto Vallarta?
    (the newest excerpt from my upcoming book examines just how the hell someone scientifically selects somewhere else on the planet to live.) Coast to Coast Considerations ...This isn’t to say that was the moment I decided that Puerto Vallarta, Mexico would be my new home. In fact, Mexico was one of the last places I considered departing to, in part because of widespread misconceptions about Mexican life perpetrated by American media and Taco Bell. However, that was the moment I decided that I
  17. UMTJ V: Take me to Church
    24 Dec, 2016
    UMTJ V: Take me to Church
    (the next shared slice of my life in Mexico...) Finally, there was my absolute favorite part of life in Puerto Vallarta in the early days: its selection of absolutely stunning beaches. The beauty of Puerto Vallarta’s shoreline is ineffable in my view, but since I can’t write this book without trying, I’ll just try not to eff it up. The countless footprints I left in the sand were an opportunity to truly expand my perspectives on life. I often gazed at the mighty rocks that dotted the beach
  18. UMTJ IV: My Cross (Country Flight) to Bear
    24 Dec, 2016
    UMTJ IV: My Cross (Country Flight) to Bear
    (one more slice of a book still fleshing itself out...) You know, I had always heard about how inconvenient and overall lackluster the common air travel experience is, but in my excitement to flee the country I almost forgot that I’d have to deal with it. To be sure, the whole thing started off smoothly enough. I waited until the perfect time to purchase my $238 one-way ticket, got my confirmation code, and operation ODOOVY was underway…or so I thought. It’s not that I wasn’t mentally
  19. Untitled Mexican Travel Journal Excerpt III: Donde esta...todo?
    24 Dec, 2016
    Untitled Mexican Travel Journal Excerpt III: Donde esta...todo?
    (yet another slice of a book still writing itself) I had to look more than a little crazy, fresh off a flight to Mexico in a USA Hockey jersey among the other layers I so painstakingly detailed last chapter. It was a great plan in frosty Philly, continued paying dividends in Denver, and even worked out fine during my two hours in the aggressively air-conditioned Phoenix Sky Harbor. However, I was now in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and the forecast called for an 85 degree temperature,
  20. Untitled Mexican Travel Journal Excerpt II: Leap of Faith
    24 Dec, 2016
    Untitled Mexican Travel Journal Excerpt II: Leap of Faith
    (another excerpt from a book still writing itself)  I arrived at the airport on a forbiddingly frigid Phildelphia afternoon, lugging my luggage through the revolving doors of the airport with 2 hours to spare and giving the TSA ample time to violate my every semblance of privacy as was recommended. Because I was loath to pay $60 to check two bags as opposed to the $25 for one and don’t do well in the cold at all, I elected to wear an intricately multilayered outfit consisting of the

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