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i'd rather be sleeping, embroidered on a baseball cap

As a member of what the New York Times refers to as the high-anxiety “Doom Generation,” I listen to rain to soothe my unsettled nerves. The sound of rain can have a calming effect on the brain because:

  1. the brain naturally craves sensory input

  2. the  rain can mask out distracting external and internal sounds with its more soothing and less intrusive sound

My normal conditions are disrupted less by rainstorms and more by my general anxiety disorder because California doesn’t get much rain. As a Southern California-raised millennial, I grew up during the state’s longest (and worst) observed droughts (1986-1992, 2007-2009, and 2011-2017). When it does rain I’m torn between loving it and hating it, because I can’t relax when I know it’s going to end soon.

I mostly listen to the pretend rain on field recording albums, youtube channels, apps, and noise machines that distort the rain into an artificial and generic static. If I recorded the rainstorms myself, I could create a more meaningful audio archive that could potentially transport me to the physical, mental, and emotional place I was in during the storm.

This inspiration came too late because I just missed the last California rain storm of the season. Luckily, there are other calming sounds around me that I have started to collect, like wind blowing through palm tree leaves, the murmur of voices in a crowded museum, a long and quiet bus ride. I have started publishing these captured sounds as a project called Sounds Nice.


Here are some of my go-to sounds to help me relax or focus:

Environments by Irv Teibel: Ultimate Thunderstorm (1979)

Grouper: Bonus track on her album Ruins

A recording of a rainstorm from her residency in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011; On the actual album, she “...left the songs the way they came (microwave beep from when power went out after a storm); I hope that the album bears some resemblance to the place that I was in.”

Ultra HD Nature Videos by TheSilentWatcher:

Forest Stream

Dance with the Plants by BISCUIT

Vol i
Vol ii (excerpt)

Masahiro Takahashi:

Omnipresent Windows

Music of inside the Snail's Shell

Joanna Brouk: The Space Between


Joanna Brouk (1949 - 2017) was an electronic composer and new age artist who believed that it was “the space between the notes where things started happening...” and that “so many virtuosos want to play fast to show their technique. But you should slow it down.”

She also hosted a radio show on KPFA in Berkeley: “I was really fascinated with women’s issues: I did a show on Hildegard of Bingen, a composer of really beautiful music in the [12th century]; I did a show called Mozart’s Sister; I did a series on the Great Goddess, and women in history. I went down that path.”

Here’s a radio program from 1972 where she discusses and performs her work:

“I liked being heard, but I didn’t like being seen, so [the radio] fit my persona perfectly.”


I still have Anxiety Watches left and I’d like to sell them all so I don’t have to maintain the shop anymore (shipping is very stressful and I’d rather not do it).

Since I am grateful to be allowed into your inbox, I’m offering a 30% off discount, just use the code: EMAILBLOG

My talented friend Amanda (who took the photo of the watch above) recently launched a new website,, to exhibit her image and text poems. Here are a few of my favorite pieces:

Do You Feel What You Touch
a short film with a playful use of sound

Living Alone In My Childhood Home
an emotionally temporary piece of graffiti melting with the snow

Everywhere and Nowhere
a short film threading a collection of sentimental moments


My grandmother recently told me that if she is going to be in a photo, she puts on her sunglasses, that way it has a better chance of being a good photo. She and I are both insecure about getting our photo taken. That’s why I intentionally close my eyes. I don’t have to worry about being in the photo. I can just be. This works except that I never know when the photo is over and I end up staying in the pose for too long.

I still haven’t forgotten about the 2015 Céline ad campaign that featured Joan Didion in a pair of sunglasses. She wears sunglasses a lot, even down the aisle at her wedding. When the ad was still viral, I made a personal meme out of it:

If I can ever afford those sunglasses, maybe I will recreate the picture like I did with Susan Sontag napping in her all-gray sweats:

Since I’m uneducated in fashion, I didn’t actually pay any attention to the Céline stuff that came out that year (or ever). I’m years late and I’m sorry if it’s old news to you, but I am inspired by it now.

The SS15 show opened with Kate Bush’s, “This Woman’s Work” and the pieces are timeless, elegant, and empowering. They seem to be celebrating the garments for women rather than exploiting the bodies of women which fashion shows seem to do often. As I’ve already established, I’m not much of a fashion-head, I don’t know what I’m talking about, I just have a gut that feels a lot.

Here are a few of my favorite details:


I was recently watching a recording of Laurel Schwulst’s CCA lecture from 2015 which I found really inspiring. She talks about Oulipo, a group of French writers who believed that by imposing multiple restrictions on the writing process, they could find what literature might be, rather than what it is. The example given was the Metro Poem.

I tried it out on my way home on BART:

i'd rather be sleeping, embroidered on a baseball cap

a woman is looking at me,
no, she is just looking over me

and I’m looking over her,
we’re avoiding contact

did she see the piece of lint
float up my nose

can she see my socks falling off
from walking too hard

It’s rare to see someone on the train not looking at their phone, reading a book, or having a conversation. I assume anyone who is not visibly doing anything is doing a lot in their head. Looking at our phones is easier than thinking and the metro poem seems like a great way to acknowledge that and control the thinking.

Send me your metro poem if you try it!

thanks for reading