21 December 2009

Negligent Mom Sentenced to One Year of Negligence

Spotted this while being subjected to local news: A Long Island mother was arrested on Wednesday night for leaving her two kids in the car while she hit up Macy's. While this sounds pretty bad, if you take the time to consider her motives, the actual situation, and her punishment, the details paint a picture of justice gone retarded.

I'm sure the two nosy bastards walking by who called the cops were thinking, "WHAT A MONSTER! WHAT KIND OF MOTHER LEAVES HER BABIES LOCKED IN THE CAR SO SHE CAN INDULGE HER SHOPPING ADDICTION!?" And then, instead of asking the kids if they were OK or anything, they just called the cops and bounced.

Anyone who's been in a Macy's in the days preceding Christmas knows it's fucking serious. The crowd is suffocating, customers are willing to gut you for the last whateverthefuck their brat asked for, and the employees are one rude glance away from shanking everyone. It's basically Mad Max in there -- only everyone's high on Christmas juice (a powerful mixture of adrenaline, prospective disappointment, and eggnog). You wouldn't drag your kids onto an anarchic battlefield, so why would you take them into Macy's a week before Christmas? Leave 'em in the car. Plus, she was probably buying gifts for her kids.

Leaving two kids -- an 11-year-old boy and a 14-month-old girl -- in the car, at night, in 28 degree cold, to go shopping does sound pretty fucking bad. But they were only in there for 25 minutes. Not even half an hour. If you consider that the car was probably a comfortable 75 degrees before Mom left and you factor in their jackets and combined body warmth, there's no chance that they could've possibly gotten hypothermia, or whatever people are claiming was the health risk. I'll give you a runny nose; they might have ended up with a runny nose from sitting in that car. For chrissake, did everyone forget that kids play in the snow for hours on end?

For two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, Mom is now unable to see her children for a year. How does that make any sense? She fucks up by leaving her kids alone for less than half an hour, and the justice system's response is to keep her away from her kids for a year. That year without their mom is going to do more damage to these kids than those 25 minutes in the cold. Way to make a crappy situation worse, Judge.

P.S. Apparently this same woman also had a hand in another holiday season debacle:

Alright, maybe she should be kept away from children.

20 December 2009

The Purpose of the Home in Housekeeping

Yeah, essays written for class are boring (poor professors, the only thing worse than writing a paper has got to be reading one), but I'm particularly proud of this one.

I know, I know: I need to start making real achievements.


Arvind Dilawar
American Novel
Professor Aubry
December 20th, 2009

The Purpose of the Home in Housekeeping

"Through all these generations of elders we lived in one house, my grandmother's house," explains Ruth Foster, the protagonist of Marilynne Robinson's novel Housekeeping. (3) Though generations of the Foster family have indeed dwelt there, in a way each one lived in a different home. The significance of the place differs from one character to another and transforms over the course of the story. Edmund Foster, Ruth's grandfather, builds the house as a kind of frontier outpost, but beginning with his death and continuing with almost every one that follows, its purpose changes. After Edmund's demise, Ruth's grandmother attempts unsuccessfully to turn her home into a fortress, a barrier to keep the misery of the outside world at bay. After her passing and a brief stint under the hapless care of Ruth's great-aunts, the building passes into Sylvie's hands, where it loses its protective capacity. During this time the dualistic notion of the inside versus the outside that Ruth's grandmother attempted to enforce collapses completely. Ultimately, when Sylvie and Ruth decide to leave Fingerbone, the house is recognized as a storage space, a locker for keeping memories.

The Foster home was built by Edmund and initially embodied his adventurous nature, making it a sort of frontier outpost. Ruth relates that her grandfather "had grown up in the Middle West, in a house dug out of the ground, with windows just at earth level and just at eye level, so that from without, the house was a mere mound, no more a human stronghold than a grave." (3) It was this bleak, completely insular nature of Edmund's childhood residence that drove the man to haphazardly board a train set for "the mountains," then, almost as randomly, to build his dwelling in Fingerbone. (4) The town's brutal climate, Edmund's westward journey, and the home decorated with paintings of exotic locales from travel books, all suggest a sense of adventure. Edmund sought a way out of the routine, away from the tomb-like quality of the place where he had grown up. This same outgoing spirit that inspired the man to pick wild flowers and venture off into the night unbeknownst to his wife was in the walls he put up. And so, somewhat paradoxically, the house was initially established with thoughts of rejecting domestic life. It was more a homestead refusing the quotidian, looking further into the distance. To Edmund, the house is a scope.

When Edmund sails off that bridge, into the depths of the lake, the expectant, intrepid aspect of the house he built drowns with him. As a response to Edmund's death, his widow turns their home into a shelter from the outside world. The space inside becomes quotidian and Ruth's grandmother enjoys it, confusing the routine for impervious stability. She mistakes her daughters' motivations and intentions, thinking, "her girls were quiet ... because the customs and habits of their lives had almost relieved them of the need for speech. ... Molly changed the beds, Sylvie peeled the vegetables, Helen washed the dishes. These things were settled." (15) Unfortunately it becomes clear that things were not settled when Molly, Sylvie, and Helen mature, each one leaving the home and their mother. Still, rather than coming to the understanding that four walls cannot keep out the world, Ruth's grandmother falls into the same pattern when Ruth and her sister Lucille are thrust into her care. Ruth muses that, when caring for them, her grandmother "whited shoes and braided hair and fried chicken and turned back bedclothes ... And she whited shoes and braided hair and turned back bedclothes as if re-enacting the commonplace would make it merely commonplace again." (24) Ruth's grandmother clings to the delusion that keeping things inside the home constant will establish a permanent quality to their existence. In this context, the regular duties that housekeeping demands take on an insular, protective quality, as if they were part of a perpetual motion machine that would continue if only left undisturbed, and the walls of the home become a barrier to keep the miserable happenstance and chaotic unpredictability of the outside world at bay. To Ruth's grandmother, the house is a shield.

After a short period under the timid gaze of Ruth's great-aunts, the house and the two children are entrusted to Sylvie. As a drifter, Sylvie does not view the place as a sanctuary, but as just another locale. This is reflected in the lack of housekeeping she performs, and the subsequent transformation of the building is observed by Ruth. When visitors flock to the house after suspicions of Sylvie's neglect fester in Fingerbone, Ruth refutes the guests' disapproving looks by thinking that "the visitors glanced at the cans and papers as if they thought Sylvie must consider such things appropriate to a parlor. That was ridiculous. We had simply ceased to consider that room a parlor." (180) Just as Sylvie no longer thinks of the living-room as such, neither does she consider the home in a usual fashion. Whereas her mother's life was restricted -- "She had lived her whole life in Fingerbone" (9) -- and her assiduous housekeeping reflected this, Sylvie has traveled the country. She is an transient. She, at least initially, regards the house as she would regard any other place. To her, there is no divide between the unpredictable outside world and the safety of indoors; it is all one scape. The house is as impenetrable and as permanent to her as every other physical object -- that is, it is fragile and ephemeral. To Sylvie, the house is a bower.

Finally, there is the narrator's perspective to consider. As a child living in this house, Ruth is at many times seems to adopt the views of others when considering her home. But toward the novel's conclusion, in the seeming twilight of the building's existence, Ruth's own opinion is easier to infer. When explaining why she and Sylvie chose to burn down the house, Ruth says, "many household things are of purely sentimental value, like the dim coil of thick hair, saved from my grandmother's girlhood, which was kept in a hatbox on top of the wardrobe, along with my mother's gray purse. In the equal light of disinterested scrutiny such things are not themselves. They are transformed into pure object, and are horrible, and must be burned." (209) It isn't that Ruth and Sylvie wish to destroy the mementos of the past that fill the house. In fact, they seek the exact opposite: to preserve the value of those household objects as more than just that, to preserve their status as memories. They have already made the decision to abandon Fingerbone, but they realize that they "could not leave that house, which was stashed like a brain, a reliquary, like a brain, its relics to be pawed and sorted and parceled out among the needy and the parsimonious of Fingerbone." (209) Once the community realizes they've disappeared, their home's contents will be given out as charity. It isn't that the two are uncharitable, rather, they understand that a tea kettle removed from their home and given to a poor family will be reduced to a just a tea kettle. It will no longer be a reminder of cold mornings together, fighting off the numbness with short, blistering, rejuvenating sips of tea. It will simply be a tool. As Ruth and Sylvie, paradoxically, run away from Fingerbone to preserve their memories and refuse to put down roots so that they may constantly live in the past rather than the present, they similarly refuse to allow the objects that are imbued with the memory of their past to be debased. For this reason, the house becomes a place to keep sentimental valuables. To Ruth, the house is a coffer.

Over the course of Housekeeping Marilynne Robinson explores the significance of the home. Through the novel's characters, readers are offered different perspectives on what a house is: it is a launch pad; it is a fortress; it is just another place; it is museum. Whether the sequence of these viewpoints is indicative of any progressive understanding is unlikely. The arson meant to devour the Foster home and hide Sylvie and Ruth's tracks fails to do so, which may indicate that there is no definite answer; the house continues to stand so the question cannot be put away. But in a novel that is not only filled with shadows and darkness, but delves, revels, celebrates shadows and darkness, not many things seem definite. Robinson expresses an appreciation for the Mystical -- that which cannot be simply known, but must be indeterminately felt -- and in the uncertainty of the home's "true" purpose, she may be relating a larger theme: that many things are unknowable, subjective, amorphous. After all, near the book's conclusion, Ruth is unable to revisit the place, saying, "I pass again and again behind my grandmother's house, and never get off at the station and walk back to see if it is still the same house." (217)

03 December 2009

Marriage Equality Fails in New York

The vote of each state senator is below. Please call your state senator to express your appreciation or disappointment for their vote on the marriage equality bill.
  • Eric Adams (D) — YES
  • Joseph Addabbo (D) — NO
  • James Alesi (R) — NO
  • Darrel Aubertine (D) — NO
  • John Bonacic (R) — NO
  • Neil Breslin (D) — YES
  • John DeFrancisco (R) — NO
  • Ruben Diaz (D) — NO
  • Martin Malave Dilan (D) — YES
  • Tom Duane (D) — YES
  • Pedro Espada (D) — YES
  • Hugh Farley (R) — NO
  • John Flanagan (R) — NO
  • Brian Foley (D) — YES
  • Charles Fuschillo, Jr. (R) — NO
  • Martin Golden (R) — NO
  • Joseph Griffo (R) — NO
  • Kemp Hannon (R) — NO
  • Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D) — YES
  • Shirley Huntley (D) — NO
  • Craig Johnson (D) — YES
  • Owen Johnson (R) — NO
  • Jeffrey Klein (D) — YES
  • Liz Krueger (D) — YES
  • Carl Kruger (D) — NO
  • Andrew Lanza (R) — NO
  • Bill Larkin (R) — NO
  • Kenneth LaValle (R) — NO
  • Vincent Leibell (R) — NO
  • Tom Libous (R) — NO
  • Elizabeth Little (R) — NO
  • Carl Marcellino (R) — NO
  • George Maziarz (R) — NO
  • Roy McDonald (R) — NO
  • Hiram Monserrate (D) — NO
  • Velmanette Montgomery (D) — YES
  • Thomas Morahan (R) — NO
  • Michael Nozzolio (R) — NO
  • George Onorato (D) — NO
  • Suzi Oppenheimer (D) — YES
  • Frank Padavan (R) — NO
  • Kevin Parker (D) — YES
  • Bill Perkins (D) — YES
  • Michael Ranzenhofer (R) — NO
  • Joseph Robach (R) — NO
  • Stephen Saland (R) — NO
  • John Sampson (D) — YES
  • Diane Savino (D) — YES
  • Eric Schneiderman (D) — YES
  • Jose Serrano (D) — YES
  • James Seward (R) — NO
  • Dean Skelos (R) — NO
  • Malcolm Smith (D) — YES
  • Daniel Squadron (D) — YES
  • William Stachowski (D) — NO
  • Toby Ann Stavisky (D) — YES
  • Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) — YES
  • Antoine Thompson (D) — YES
  • David Valesky (D) — YES
  • Dale Volker (R) — NO
  • George Winner (R) — NO
  • Catherine Young (R) — NO

01 October 2009

The Only 36 Stories the World Has Ever Known

"In cases of absolute desperation, we can turn to the French."
-Joseph O'Connor

In my Fiction Workshop today, my professor, Mr. O'Connor, presented us with an odd remedy to coming up with an "inciting incident," the event from which all subsequent events in a story unfold. After suggesting a variety of different forms the inciting incident can take, he briefly explained the work of 19th Century French writer, Georges Polti. Polti studied all the classical works of antiquity, the sacred Judeo-Christian texts, and European legends he could find, and came to the conclusion that, essentially, the whole world contains only 36 stories, which are repeated in variation, combination, and disguise. Here are the 36:

1. Supplication: a character is desperately seeking something
- a Persecutor; a Seeker; a Power in authority, whose decision is doubtful
2. Deliverance: a character is in danger and is saved
- an Unfortunate; a Threatener; a Rescuer
3. Crime pursued by vengeance
- a Criminal; an Avenger
4. Vengeance taken for kin upon kin
- Guilty Kinsman; an Avenging Kinsman; remembrance of the Victim, a relative of both
5. Pursuit
- Punishment; a Fugitive
6. Disaster
- a Vanquished Power; a Victorious Enemy or a Misfortune
7. Falling prey to cruelty/misfortune
- an Unfortunate; a Master or a Misfortune
8. Revolt
- a Tyrant; a Conspirator
9. Daring enterprise
- a Bold Leader; an Object; an Adversary
10. Abduction
- an Abductor; the Abducted; a Guardian
11. The enigma: a problem needs to be solved by the character
- a Problem; an Interrogator; a Seeker
12. Obtaining
- a Solicitor and an Adversary who is refusing, or an Arbitrator and Opposing Parties
13. Enmity of kin or family
- a Malevolent Kinsman; a Hated or a reciprocally-hating Kinsman
14. Rivalry of kin
- the Preferred Kinsman; the Rejected Kinsman; the Object of Rivalry
15. Murderous adultery
- two Adulterers; a Betrayed Spouse
16. Madness
- a Madman; a Victim
17. Fatal imprudence
- the Imprudent; a Victim or an Object Lost
18. Involuntary crimes of love
- a Lover; a Beloved; a Revealer
19. Slaying of kin unrecognized
- the Slayer; an Unrecognized Victim
20. Self-sacrifice for an ideal
- a Hero; an Ideal; a Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed
21. Self-sacrifice for kin
- a Hero; a Kinsman; a Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed
22. All sacrificed for passion
- a Lover; an Object of fatal Passion; the Person/Thing sacrificed
23. Necessity of sacrificing loved ones
- a hero; a Beloved Victim; the Necessity for the Sacrifice
24. Rivalry of superior vs. inferior
- a Superior Rival; an Inferior Rival; the Object of Rivalry
25. Adultery
- two Adulterers; a Deceived Spouse
26. Crimes of love
- a Lover; the Beloved
27. Discovery of the dishonor of a loved one
- a Discoverer; the Guilty One
28. Obstacles to love
- two Lovers; an Obstacle
29. An enemy loved
- a Lover; the Beloved Enemy; the Hater
30. Ambition
- an Ambitious Person; a Thing Coveted; an Adversary
31. Conflict with a god
- a mortal; an Immortal
32. Mistaken jealousy
- a Jealous One; an Object of whose Possession He is Jealous; a Supposed Accomplice; a Cause or an Author of the Mistake
33. Mistaken judgment
- a Victim of the Mistake; a Cause or Author of the Mistake; the Guilty One
34. Remorse
- a Culprit; a Victim or the Sin; an Interrogator
35. Recovery of a lost one
- a Seeker; the One Found
36. Loss of loved ones
- a Kinsman Slain; a Kinsman Spectator; an Executioner

Don't know if I agree, but it sure is an interesting concept.


P.S. I guess fuck the hiatus?

14 September 2009

How disappointing.

I suppose it starts off simply enough. There's a novel that doesn't repeat a single word. There's that. There are other concepts, but those aren't ready to be discussed. That's entirely my fault. Sorry. But there's still that novel, right? That sounds cool. Doesn't it? I'll require a nod from you before I proceed. Yes, just nod. Thank you. I know you didn't nod. It's cool. Don't worry about it. I saw its description, the novel's, and it surprised me. Not a single word repeated? No, not a single one. How could there be characters that wouldn't be referred to by name more than once? There could be nicknames, sure, but still, it seems untenable. It seems that without repetition, you tend to lose meaning. That's a life lesson or a bumper sticker or something.

Trite. Yeah, that's the word. That's what I am. I'm a human bumper sticker. Instead of sentences, I speak in platitudes. Or not. Nothing but aphorisms would make for an unreadable story, just like the novel that doesn't repeat a word. Oh, and it was unreadable. I mean, he wrote a full novel, some 150 pages. That takes something. It's creating something to stand out not to stand on its own. Like dedicating your life to collecting 8-tracks or knowing everything possible about obscure bands from the early 70's. Not to put that down. I sound like I'm putting it down. Some people want to stake out a piece of the universe and know everything about that corner. That's cool. I tend towards a more universal appeal. Something that creates its own context, that doesn't rely on history or culture to fill in the gaps. It doesn't require you to know beforehand. That's what I am drawn to.

And it's difficult to relate in that case. I know it is. There are other people that relate though. And maybe it's just my corner, no different than yours. So this isn't about the novel. I guess that was just an example. It didn't start off as an example. Not important. Christ, maybe it is. I should chase ideas down any corridor I can find. So the story was nothing but a bunch of lists. Outlandish descriptions of items I've never heard of in paragraph-long lists. No rhythm, no reason. I'm sure it made some sense, but it just seemed like a rambling mad man found a word processor to me. Was it an experiment? Was I supposed to read the whole thing? It's just something to know is out there. You can go to bed tonight knowing there is a novel of moderate length that doesn't repeat a single word. (Not a single word? No, not a single word.) It's a security blanket for those that find it difficult to get anything done. The uninspired and the lazy can both relax knowing that their work is being done for them.

The night surges forwards and backwards. It was at one point tonight 3 AM and I was at my laptop diligently punching keys. My roommate kicks my door down. The hinges are old as is the wood and the screws just rip the wood off. “Quick! Do you know the Heimlich?!” I respond in the affirmative, but I can't imagine if I nodded or said "yes" or what. So he grabs the cat by the hind legs with one hand as he shoves a dead bird into the cat's mouth. Luckily, the cat, which from now on will only be referred to as “it,” bites down and swallows the bird whole. “I... don't know if I know how to do it on cats though.” I lied earlier. I said I responded positively to my roommates question, when in truth I should not have. I've never had any classes or anything. All I know about it is what I learned from TV and informational pamphlets in restaurants. I could look it up, but I learn by doing.

Focus. FOCUS FOCUSOCUSFOCUSLOCUSMOCISROKEIS. Focus. To learn, one must focus. There are characters. I keep thinking about them. I guess I should call them people. Better yet, friends and family and acquaintances and people I've seen and some I haven't and there are a few that haven't happened yet. I'm talking about the unborn here. I'm talking about the American holocaust. No, not the slaughter of countless, or should I say uncounted, Native Americans, I'm talking about fetuses. We should be concerned with whether or not we are feeding our imaginary pets and dead birds. We should concern ourselves, as a nation, with the amount and frequency of geriatric bowel movements and how this swirling, ignored storm of evacuation, this uncharted land of defecation and micturation, this unwritten map of collusive and deliberate acts of pure and also by definition, meaningless, filth is intentionally (I have assigned intent! This is called anthropomorphism, also known as exhaustion and madness.) creasing our neatly folded clothes into other neat creases, simply a few inches over. How embarrassing to have a crease right next to the other crease. The proper crease. How infuriating it is to watch them dance as they draw nearer and then again further away. Staying out of reach with knowledge (Again dear reader! The crease knows something we don't. Let's listen in...) that it cannot be caught. Well then what's the point of staying out of reach?

We're getting off course. Like a member of alcoholics anonymous drowning in the lake near his childhood home. It's simply not what he wanted and it's definitely not what we want. So let's resurrect him, our little Lazarus, and appoint him king of a small nation. This nation gets invaded by a better armed, stronger, smarter and also better looking nation. Still no good? Let's drown him again. Don't kill him though! Let him breathe. Catch his breath. His eyes wildly search for you, but you don't exist and neither does he. But we drown him again. (Yes dear reader, you're doing this too. You're drowning him too. If you disagree with torture or murder, simply stop reading. Walk away. No? Fine.) Your hand presses down, the water is freezing cold. You can't feel it, but then again you wouldn't be drowning a man if you could. At least let's hope not. Of course he struggles. That's why you're doing this. To test his mettle. He somehow twists and grabs you and plunges your face into the burning hot water. It's not as pleasant as you imagined. Both of you feel your lungs begin to fill with water and he doesn't look so good. A little blue. So we end the exercise. You both bow and walk out opposite exits of the room.

As you're drying off with a towel my lovely assistant provided, you notice some writing on the wall. It uses letters you've never seen before. We both try to read it, but we just can't make it out. How disappointing.

10 September 2009

Dear Readers & Fellow Fans

Lately I've been the only person still contributing to this blog. Everyone is growing up and too busy to put in their own two cents. I no longer want to be the lonely blogger. If you like my blog posts you can follow me on my own personal blog sexoavecdulce or look out for me on streetcarnage.

I will come back when the others return, but for now my creativity will go back to its home base where it's appreciated.

Peace, Love & Sexiness like a Kitten's Purr.
Aileen Awesome :D

21 August 2009

Because We All Need A Little Reminder

Freshen Up Your Vocabulary

Cantankerous - a bad-tempered person.

Fulsome - disgustingly excessive.

Kakistocracy - a government run by the worst elements of society.

Nugatory - anyone or anything that is worthless.

Rodomontade - to arrogantly brag.

Xenophobic - someone who is fearful of strangers or contamination from the outside, or they have contempt for foreigners.

15 August 2009

Be a Music Director

Splice and re-edit old music videos to make new music videos.

Check out a fan made video for Mogwai's The Sun Smells Too Loud.

Xmas in July

Having a horrible summer? Beaches are not your thing? Are you a winter baby? Perhaps a little bored?

Well do I have a pleasant surprise for you all. Ice skating is still available at Chelsea Piers and on Sundays it's free. No excuses just go and have some fun. Hey, you can even laugh at the people who end up falling.

Mexican in Forest Hills

They call it 5 burros. A play on words, do you get it?

The food is amazing and nearly authentic, and the margaritas do not taste of tequila. It could be a sign for disaster, but who cares. The crowd that works the restaurant is extremely friendly and love getting to know new patrons who eventually become regulars. A bit pricey but it's worth it.

Welcome to Beer Garden

I gave into Brooklyn's nightlife. I never once thought Queens would catch up. Sorry, but I'm not a fan of the always running late bus and Colombians.

Until I was invited to a place, Beer Garden, I declined immediately. Of course. Already had plans in the city (as we outer borough kids call it) and as we all know the city is limitless.

Again I keep rejecting, but that stopped the night my sister went. I volunteered to babysit and by 2:41 am they staggered in. Her boyfriend who sang her to sleep that night told me I should go if I ever wanted a quickie.

From that moment I was sold and had to see this mystical place full of single hipsters.

I was presently surprised when I ended up there last Friday. Not only were there hipsters. There were all types of sausages. And they where everywhere spread across this football field. To call this place a bar would be an understatement.

Queens is finally coming around to something good.

19 July 2009

Pop Rock That Fails to Pop

I first happened upon the Lovely Feathers while listening through the soundtrack to The Vice Guide to Travel, which featured the Montreal-based quintet's song "Frantic." It stood apart from typical pop rock because it took risks: sudden, drastic changes in tempo and excited, dueling vocals that harmoniously came together, gettting damn-near silly in the process (at one point the singers seemingly collapse into giggles). These risks were taken upon a sturdy base of what pop rock should be: enjoyable hooks and a quick rhythm section. The end-product was fun and accessible, but still innovative and thus memorable.

Many of those features can also be found on the Lovely Feather's latest offering, The Fantasy of the Lot, the band's second official LP that's being released on August 18th. Listening to the album's first single, "Lowiza", the sharp guitar melodies and rhythm section are pleasantly familiar. So are the two voices, although they now perform in unison, like a grand sing along chorus, or one is relegated to merely providing back-up. This unfortunate stylistic shift pervades all of the album's eleven tracks (twelve if you count the alternate version of "Family That Doesn't Know the Game"). The band has seemingly abandoned their old unrestrained style of singing for something more standard. It's a shame. The song's lyrics, which concern a man divided between the duty he has towards his wife and children and the sincere love he has for his mistress, are representative of the album's general focus on the lives and ills of the common man. The lyrics are nice, but they aren't poetry.

Although they're absent from "Lowiza", the Lovely Feather's signature tempo changes can aslo be found on The Fantasy of the Lot, although they are now much more hit-and-miss. "Ossified Homes", probably the album's best track, effectively utilizes the change in time signature. It is also one of the only songs to feature a build-up, which gives the band an opportunity to channel the excitement and passion characteristic of their earlier efforts.

There are other instances when these risky transition simply fail. "Loading Dock" is ripe with abrupt changes in tempo, but the do not pay off. Instead, the track sounds like three or four different songs poorly cut and pasted together. When the principal one ends, there is a sudden shift in both tempo and melody, with the slow, soft emergence of violins. This is overcome by a fast, resurgent drum beat, but that is quickly snuffed out, and the song switches gears back to the violins. It maybe be an example of the band's more avant-garde aspirations, but it sounds like someone messed up while they were mastering the album.

Aside from three or four standout songs, most of the tracks on Fantasy of the Lot are mediocre, suffering from a lack of inspiration and far too much focus on an uninventive rhythm section, which is featured too prominently in the foreground. Generally speaking, the band's principal mistake seems to be that they forgot what people want from pop music: addictive melodies. Pop music without hooks misses the point of pop. It's like electro that you can't dance to or hardcore that isn't angry. Lacking that necessary hook, much of Fantasy of the Lot passes by like a sunny day you spend indoors doing nothing. It's not bad, but it's kind of boring.

17 July 2009

Coney Island Whitefish

Sirenfest tomorrow/today. Headliners include Built to Spill and The Raveonettes.

Besides who knows how long Coney Island has before it's destruction.

In remembrance add some whitefish to the waters.

Hottie of the Week

With all that sex appeal it's difficult to believe she's pregnant.

Well sex does equal babies.

15 July 2009

Good Quote, Excellent Movie:

"Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully." - Maude from Harold and Maude

Apparently, Everyone Likes It

A few weeks ago while I was purging my library of tracks I no longer listen to, I rediscovered a set by my old Rutgers roommate, who goes by the handle Mikey Likes It. It's from the first of what became a monthly dance party he throws with a couple of friends in New Brunswick called "Digital Playground". Since then, I've been playing it at get-togethers whenever I can because, as an eclectic mix of electro, oldies and top 40s hip hop, I feel like it literally has something for everyone. People seem to agree since I've gotten a lot of requests for it. So here it is, y'all; download away.

Mikey Likes It - Digital Playground

07 July 2009

Pick Up Line of the Week!

As we all know I am currently disabled (i got hit by my mom's car), but for some reason guys are coming on to me stronger than ever. It could be the fact that I am unable to run away quickly enough or because I look like a damsel in distress. But this guy today, I have no words for. His pick up line made no sense.

I am walking on the sidewalk. A young blond guy looks me in the eye and says "I hope you had a nice trip" and as I attempt to limp away from him he continues "see you next fall".

What is that?! It hella left me confused trying to figure that one out.

01 July 2009

The significance of 2001: A Space Odyssey

So you know this movie is important but you're not sure why. It's one of those movies that are more fun to talk about than to watch, like Citizen Kane or anything by David Lynch. But apart from providing the soundtrack for Bob Sapp and endless monster truck rally television commercials, what does it *mean*? Of course, as a work of art it can only allow for interpretation. With that caveat, here are two stabs at it that you can borrow the next time you want to sound pretentious.

1) What 2001 means as a work of Art

Shortly after "The Dawn of Man", where the pack of apes confronts the black monolith, there is the scene where one of them discovers the use of a bone as a hunting tool. 'Thus Spake Zarathustra' plays, we see flash-forwards to its use in the hunt. In this moment we make the connection between this primitive invention and the urge of man to adapt the environment to his own ends. Then, as the bone is thrown aloft, we see it leave the screen and re-emerge; in a flash, it is replaced by the image of the space shuttle, thousands of years in the future.

Art is significant insofar as it expands our consciousness. We can chart the development of human consciousness with reference to the progress of art. For example, the Ancient Greeks invented such concepts as rational justice and democracy; they also perfected the art form of sculpture. Sculpture is a physical manifestation of the human mastery of space: in a work of sculpture, the artist's will is made manifest in a piece of marble or stone.

During the Renaissance, as Europe awoke from centuries of feudalism and barbarism, painting reached its highest form in the works of Caravaggio; the significance of a painting is that it demonstrates the ability of humans to create a three-dimensional image, in all of its depth and perspective, on a two-dimensional surface.

This might sound like a lot of ten-dollar words being thrown around, but consider this; perhaps these artistic boundaries that transcended space were necessary precursors to technical advancements. In the 1400's, the distance between Maine and Milan might as well have been the distance between either of those and the moon. Today, that distance can be bridged with a click of a button.

In a way, film continues this manipulation of space, the movement of the actors transcending the limitations of the flat screen we watch. Yet, film does something else which is unique. The linear nature of a film, with a beginning and end, draws much inspiration from another art form, the novel. When Joseph Conrad wrote 'The Secret Agent' in 1907, he made the revolutionary move of disconnecting the story from the plot - instead of following an orderly sequence, he mixed up the chapters so that one did not necessarily follow the other according to the internal timeline of the story - kind of like Quentin Tarantino does in Pulp Fiction.

Film is unique in that it distorts our sense of time - on the one hand, it creates an artificial timeline, that which the characters themselves are supposed to experience, and yet it operates within the constraints of 'real time', the time in which the viewer actually experiences the film. In this way there is a layering of time, much like the layering of perspective that takes place in a sculpture or painting.

In this sense, the significance of 2001 as a work of art can be summed up in one scene, to be more specific, in a single photo frame, the one that Steven Spielberg talks about when he mentions this movie: the cosmic leap that takes place when the image of the bone is replaced by the image of the space shuttle. When this happens, in a continuous sequence, without any warning or explanation, it is the most obvious, explicit example of how film has allowed for a reshaping of our notion of time and how it operates; in a way it is the fulfillment of the contribution of the medium of film to human consciousness. The thousands of years that must pass between these two events in "real time" are not necessary to understand the story. And if you can understand why that is so huge, then you will understand why 2001is significant as a work of art.

2) What 2001 tells us about Human Beings

Do you remember the scene in which the astronaut gets trapped in the holding bay, and HAL the computer won't let him out? What is that all about?

Human beings are creatures of adaptation. As the British anthropologist Desmond Morris has pointed out, in the wild animals do not mutilate themselves, masturbate, form homosexual pair-bonds, or commit suicide. These, however, are all common behaviors in a zoo. Although we often refer to the city as a concrete jungle, in reality it is more correctly described as a human zoo.

The roots of civilization lay in agriculture, the primary act in which humanity began adapting the environment to fit its needs. Agriculture provided a stable food source which allowed the grouping of humans into cities, which allowed for human specialization to occur, which in turn allowed for more rigorous adaptation of the environment. The result was our modern cities which are hyper-adapted to our needs, where few have had to look for food outside of a supermarket and water is available with the turn of a tap.

Yet the struggle for adaptation has developed according to the process of natural selection; this is not to jump to the hasty conclusion that only the fittest survive (a phrase Darwin himself did not use), but rather that those who are able to adapt to a situation will flourish, while those who do not will die off. How does this function in a society where our basic needs are more or less taken for granted, provided and maintained at a fundamental level?

The revelation of 2001 is that not only have humans adapted their environment to meet their needs;they have also artificially created a means of natural selection in the form of automatic, digitized systems. We are forced to compete for survival, not only against our environment, and each other, but also against our ability to adapt ourselves to an objective set of expectations. In this way we have artificially sped up the process of evolution, with the paradoxical result of a greater possible range of individual possibilities than ever before, and yet an emerging, unparalleled conformity.

HAL is a computer, a robot, a human creation. Still, HAL has the power to control other humans. HAL is both a judge and executioner, automatic and superbly rational and yet... somehow vaguely human. When the astronaut stares into HAL's red eye (!?), he sees more than a computer; he sees himself. This realization leads to a sort of crisis of consciousness; to become aware of one's own consciousness is always a mirror held up against a mirror, descending infinitely.

In this discovery he gains an objective perspective on his situation; thus he sees himself outside of the computer deck, nominally free as a human human being although still dependent on these automated machines for meeting his basic physical needs. In this reflection, in a kind of reverse-causal link, a flight of dream-logic, he sees a man, perhaps another version of himself, eating alone in a room. The man arises to check for the astronaut, sensing his presence, but when he arrives it is gone, like a whisper of paranoia or an odd thought.

The exquisiteness of the set table, the tranquil, sanitized feel of the room, the artificial lights contrast harshly with the ordinary, mundane act of ingesting food to meet one's physical needs. This is shattered by a broken glass; a reminder of the fragility, the almost comic banality of human existence. This realization leads to an image of the man on his deathbed. Here again he confronts the monolith; a black, sleek, rectangular object, and again we hear the refrain of 'Thus Spake Zarathustra'. Its dark contents give way to a shot of space; a metaphor for the abyss of the unknown; that fundamental urge to explore and discover, in which there is a undeniable continuity throughout humankind, whether in our origins as apes in the desert or in an artificial future, compartmentalized and attached to machines to survive. Yet in that persisting consciousness, there is rebirth; immortality even, as symbolized by the image of the human fetus. In confronting the unknown, our ventures always yield some sort of truth; and in that effort, we come closer to the essence of what it means to be human.

Or something like that.

- Nelson Peters

19 June 2009

New Artist Alert: MMMatthias

Everyone's been giving me flak for not living up to the "New" in this segment's title so I've been plumbing the depths of my iPod for the unknown. And in the spirit of obscurity, I present you with MMMatthias, an unsigned German producer who specializes in glitchy remixes. Using repetitive, split-second samples, MMMatthias creates choppy, though strangely melodic mixes that ultimately bear little resemblance to their original versions. He practically eviscerates Royksopp's "Vision One," beginning his version as a quaint little dance number that dies halfway through. Left in its wake are subdued echoes, which quickly build in intensity until bursting like machine-gun fire. From that point on, the song is unrelenting.

MMMatthias isn't confined to hardcore-esq remixes though. His versatility is obvious when comparing his aggressive take on "Vision One" to his much softer approach to Sigur Ros' "Saeglopur." Although finding inspiration where not many tend to search is impressive (Who remixes Sigur Ros? [Before you smart asses get on my case, apparently all these people have, but really, who the fuck has even heard of half those guys?]), MMMatthias does lose the enormous power, drama, and intricacy of the original. Despite not working with a full orchestra, as Sigur Ros practically did in the original, MMMatthias still cultivates a quiet sort of emotion that's usually more associated with those strange electronica artists who work on actual listening music rather than the electro producers who churn out dance floor bangers.

Ultimately, MMMatthias doesn't remix a song simply by adding more bass and a few neat effects; he literally takes it apart and puts the odd pieces back together in a way that's reminiscent enough of the old version for your to see where it came from, but original enough to appreciate how far he's taken it.

Royksopp - Vision One (MMMatthias remix)
Sigur Ros - Saeglopur (MMMatthias remix)

17 June 2009

Perspiration Stolen

(571): I was getting a bj with sports center on in the background
(202): Da na na, na na naa

(402): i'm out of smokes so i just had an after sex popsicle. this might become an addiction.

(843): I think im pregnant
(803): I think you have the wrong number

Now go out there and be a good to do citizen!

27 May 2009

Creative Projects

Alright, we (Kat, Diana and I) have been brain storming all afternoon and we came up with a few ideas for summer projects. I will list a few here.

  • Parkour / Freerunning
  • Urban Exploration (ties into Parkour)
  • Cooking Show
  • Capture the Flag with homemade flags (Summer Tournament)
  • Some kind of pet service
  • Making Halloween costumes
  • Modern Art
  • Making babies (ties into Modern Art)
  • Repairing my moped
  • Fake Murder?
  • Starting a cult (already have a base, just need to formalize system)
  • Martial Arts/Dojo
  • Flash Mobs
  • Mural in my apartment/on my walls
  • Old Chocolate Projects
  • Soup
  • Restaurant based around Old Italian Women  (O.I.W.s)
  • Videogame
  • Photography Comic
  • Silent Film (get Sean to compose score)
  • Mouse(computer)/Car Bedazzling
  • Getting Jobs/Making Money
  • Arkady's Glow in the Dark Bike 
  • Comedy Troupe
  • Party on Arkady's Roof (huge parties)
  • Welding two bikes together
  • Blog about chip shapes
OK, so you guys can tell us what you think, which projects you will be interested in doing. You can also add ideas and tell us which people have skills that would be helpful for these projects.

26 May 2009

New Artist Alert: Death to the Throne

Death to the Throne is a Phoenix-based electro producer who's taken to making brutal remixes of originally toothless pop and hip hop songs. The mixes are somewhat formulaic, but nonetheless enjoyable. The melodies tend to be broad tones with the bass and distortion cranked all the way up and are laid upon equally simple kick-snare drumbeats. Samples from the original songs are chopped up and sprinkled upon this base. Luckily, Death to the Throne manages to avoid the pitfall of dissonance that makes some glitchy electro unlistenable (see the bad half of either Boys Noize's album, Oi Oi Oi, or Teenage Bad Girls' Cocotte.) Instead, he crafts intense remixes that make you wonder whether you should be dancing or throwing down.

Yet another way to waste time

Although most of us just got out of school and thus don't have anything to procrastinate from, Texts From Last Night is for those of you taking summer courses. Also for those of you who graduated and no longer know what to do with your lives. Enjoy whittling away them hours.


(817): I woke up this morning and I couldn't find my coffeetable. wtf?

(248): apparently they started giving me water shots and i couldnt tell the difference

(734): i was shrooming and she was sobbing. i was trying to be sympathetic, but i could see the veins working like worms under her skin. and then her face stripped down to the muscle. 
(1-734): what was she crying about? 
(734): i wanna say it was the lack of skin on her face but maybe she lost her job.

(972): I'm scared
(337): There's nothing to be scared of. My penis is average size.
(972): That's what I'm afraid of

(540): I just got a ticket for shitting on a sand dune.

P.S. There's a conspicous lack of 646 and 917 area codes on this site. I think we should correct that.

22 May 2009

New Artist Alert: Phoenix

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your 100th post.

Crystal Castles are my fave of all these bands though. Their songs don't get old. Crimewave & Untrust Us have been hits for like, 3 years now.

I deleted my La Roux & Ladyhawke mp3s after 1 month.

May 12, 2009 2:50 AM

Considering the above comment, I realized that judging music is a lot like judging prospective relationships. Stay with me here: basically, all musicians fall somewhere on the exact same continuum as relationships. On one side of this spectrum you have the people you would never, ever even hook-up with. No matter how many drinks you have, it just isn't going to happen. Musically, this zone is dedicated to Lady Gaga, Akon and country music. The opposite end of this is marriage material. These are the people you're picking out curtains with and giving up blow for.

According to this rubric,
Phoenix, a four-piece alternative rock band, falls into the "fling" category. (No homo.) Although there's definitely space for unflattering comparisons to other soft rock bands, like Maroon 5, Phoenix would be more appropriate alongside Chromeo because they're both so fucking smooth. Whereas Chromeo sweeps women off their feet while laying down the funk like later-day Stevie Wonders, Phoenix are a couple of white kids sitting in their suburban basement listening to soul records on repeat.

They're soon releasing their fifth album (really "New Artist," I know), and if listening through all their music featured on their MySpace is any indication, they had quite a few misses leading up to it. A few of the songs are forgettable, if not straightup bad. The songs where they really shine feature soft guitar melodies, funky bass lines, simple, danceable drum beats and swooning vocals. Sparse synthesizer and violin tones are small details that really polish off these songs. And though their smoothness might be chalked up to the fact that they're French, it's hard to believe because they don't sound French. The vocals lack even a hint of that accent that sounds like someone trying to speak while choking on a frog.

Overall, Phoenix has a few really great tracks, but it isn't a band to dedicate yourself to. It's a fling. So have fun with it while it lasts, 'cause that might not be long.

Phoenix - If I Ever Feel Better (mp3)

21 May 2009

Studio 3 & 4

Pete finds that his phone is a much better source for information on the events of the past few days than his mind. Text messages, photos, call logs, addresses he searched, it's all there. He tries to focus, but can't. The letters smear themselves across the screen when he attempts to make them out. Coffee. That was the solution. Some caffeine would get his brain kick started. He sets out his kettle and dumps some instant into a mug. At his table he starts going through his phone. Ok, Anjela is the first question. Who is she? He checks his voice mail. “You have one unheard message. 'Hey Pete, it's Anjela. I just wanted to call up and like... you know, thank you for this sculpture. It's really beautiful. This may be the coolest gift I've ever received from a man I've known for two days. Call me back.' Next old message. 'Peter, it's your mother. Your father and I have been getting really worried about you. You don't call and there's all this talk of terrorism and I just don't know what to think. Call me back, sweetheart.' Next old message. 'PEEEETE!! FUCKING HELL MAN! It's Jamey! Where are you? We got the- (unintelligible garbled speech) You gotta get down here man! Gimme a ring when you get this!' Next old message. 'Good afternoon Mr. Sartinger, I am calling on behalf of the library. You rented out quite a few films and they are now past due. To avoid incurring penalties-'” Pete hangs up and rests his forehead against his palm.

He almost falls asleep resting on his arm but the kettle begins to whistle. He pours water into the mug and watches black, boiling coffee come climbing up. No milk in the fridge. No sugar in the cupboard. He stares hard at the hot, black liquid and feels it stare back. Steam comes rolling of it and tiny droplets cling to his face. He attempts to absorb the caffeine through his skin. With that failing, he sips at the acidic beverage. Back at his chair, he goes through the messages. The one from Anjela, he takes another look and finds that she is not wholly unattractive. Definitely not classically beautiful, but strangely attractive. Her face is kind of round but her skin clings to her bones as if they were shrink-wrapped. If he had to guess, he would put her in the area of 5% body fat. Her hair shows signs of being dyed, multiple times and then ignored, so now her roots, which are black, are showing. Her hazel eyes stare directly into the camera and it's all done from this teeny-bopper myspace angle. A thought pops into his head: he can't really tell how old she is. She could be anywhere from 16 to 20. And he could have committed a crime by doing whatever he assumes he did with her. He blurts out, “O, fuck my shitty mind!”

Cy peaks out through his door and catches Pete's eye. He asks, “Whats the problem man?” Pete turns his phone towards Cy's direction, “I think I may have fucked a teenager.” He smiles and walks across the hall, through Pete's open door and takes the phone from his hand. Cy's eyes grow wide. He whistles a prolonged whistle that slowly trails off, the kind you hear from bystanders right after you clip a guy's fender in the local super market parking lot. “Jesus man, she looks fifteen.” Pete buries his head further into his folded arms. “Well, maybe you didn't and even if you did... well maybe no one will find out.” Pete can do nothing but groan. The room is silent for a few seconds and then Cy asks, “Pete, why do you owe Chris a new set of silverware?” Pete lifts his head and grabs his phone back, “Don't go through my messages! And I'm not really sure.” Cy turns around and starts to walk out, “Alright man, feel better, drink some of that coffee and think about laying off the booze for a day or two, this lifestyle is getting right on top of you.” He closes the door behind him and Pete is left alone in his kitchen, a phone in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other.

The phone shakes in his hand and Pete almost throws it to the table. He composes himself and checks the caller. The screen reads “Unlisted Number” and nothing else. He clicks it on and warily asks, “Hello?” A deep male voice that suggests advanced years responds, “Hello, is Mary there?” Pete looks at the screen again and puts the phone back to his ear. “Um, no, I think you have the wrong number.” The older man says, “No, no, no, this is the right number, I'm sure. Could you just tell her that I was at the pharmacy and... and my insurance was turned down and I can't get my prescriptions.” Pete says, “Uh, sir, listen, I don't know any Mary, well, I mean I do know a Mary, though this probably isn't your Mary... What I'm trying to say is that you called my cell phone and there's no Mary here.” Notes of desperation come clawing through the phone speaker. “Could you please just tell her that I need to get this fixed? She knows I need my prescriptions.” “Ok, sir, I'll tell her.” “Thanks, just tell her-” The phone is off and lying on the table. He stares at this reminder of his inability to remember, this fountain of fucked up. He leaves it on the table and takes his coffee to the living room. After sipping at it for a few moments, he is overcome with the need to sleep. Within a minute he is snoring soundly, curled among dirty clothes, a throw pillow and a few magazines at his feet.

A streetlight shines directly into his window and onto his face. He rolls over and faces the back of the couch, but it was enough to get him thinking in a vague way of waking up. Thoughts roll around in his head as if they were made of cold, slightly congealed soup. Eventually they collect at the bottom and he might be able to fall back asleep. One thought stands up in the back of his head, the nagging recollection that he has no idea where he's been or what he has been doing for the past few days. A rush of energy and determination flows through his limbs and chest. He sits up, the dark corners of his apartment seem to beg his eyes to adjust to the light, to discover their secrets. He knows they hold nothing enlightening, no revelations, but his pupils grow wide anyway.

He walks in the dark attempting to remember the location of everything in his house and stubs his toe on a laundry basket. With the light switched on he grabs his phone, determined to discover what the hell is wrong with him. He calls Chris, “This is Chris, leave a message.” “Hey, what did I do with your silverware? I may have been a bit drunk.” He calls Anjela. “Hey, Pete. I thought you weren't going to call me back.” Pete shifts in his seat. “Yeah sorry about that, what's up?” “Oh nothing, drinking a gin and tonic, reading this book. I was thinking about what you said the other night.” He winced, “You're going to have to be more specific than that. I say a lot of things. Or at least enough for that to not be enough information to identify the exact thing you're talking about.” She said, “Oh no, I guess nothing specific, just what you said about art and love... and age.” Pete thought to himself, “Shit,” but said, “Hey, I have a weird question. When did we first meet?” Anjela was silent for a while, Pete imagined what the question might suggest to a normal person, “Hmm, three days ago. Monday. Why do you ask? You can't remember?” “No, no, nothing like that. Say, we should meet up for a drink.” She asks, “The same place?” He says, “Mmm, I don't know.” “I thought you loved Walker's Pub.” “Ok, fine, Walker's. Meet you there in half an hour?” She says, “Sure Pete. See you soon.” She makes what could be interpreted as a kissing noise and hangs up.

Pete stands up and takes stock of himself in a mirror. His filthy, greasy, bruised and cut face stares back at him through the mirror. His lips turn down and he walks to the bathroom. Undressing, a large blotch on his stomach catches his eye. A gasp leaves his lips as he looks in the mirror. Arabic. Half the Koran seems to be written on his stomach. He stares at his stomach and back into his own eyes. He does goes back and forth for about five minutes until he remembers his meeting with Anjela. He gently washes his belly even though there is no real tenderness in the area. Washed and dried he dresses and steps out of his building. The night air is hot and slightly humid. The water he missed with the towel now clings to his skin for dear life. Walker's is only a few blocks away.

Entering the pub, silence falls on the normally lively, if not raucous, establishment. Pete looks around at familiar faces, “What?” Walker, whose real name is Carl Sampson, says, “You have a lot of balls walking back in here. Tell me why I shouldn't kick your ass right now?” Pete stares back, “Because... because we're friends?” Carl, who only let's you call him Walker, steps out from behind the bar and slams the bar top back down when he passes through. His thick arm slides behind Pete's back and walks him to the game room in the back. There is extremely sloppy (though he can only real compare it to his tattoo) Arabic scrawled across the walls in red. Tables are broken and there seems to have been a camp out on top of the pool table. The smell of burnt plastic permeates the air. “Walker, now I didn't... I mean who did this?” Walker's eyes pierce Pete's very soul, “You. You and some fucked up Middle Eastern-looking mother-fucker. You two did this. Now tell me why I'm not ripping your balls off and force-feeding you them? Tell me that, Petey.” Pete stammers out, “Because we're old friends?” Walker responds, “Not no more, Petey. Not no more. Now do you want to pay for this damage in cash or flesh? I'm flexible, and since we're old friends, I'll let you decide.” “C-c-cash. Definitely cash. I'll pay you back for this, Walker. I swear it. I fucking swear it.” Pete is learning quickly to handle these little shit storms his drunken self has left around town. “Walker, man, I can't remember anything. I think someone slipped me some PCP or some shit.” Walker is incredulous, “You can't slip someone PCP, Pete.” Pete steps back, “Listen, I'll pay for this. Don't worry. Did you by any chance catch the name of the guy I was with?”

Walker lights up a cigarette, “No, I didn't catch his name, you two ran out the back and hopped the fence when I came in. It was fucking 5 AM. You two broke in here and set my god damn bar on fire. If you didn't make all that god damn noise, I could have burnt to death in my sleep upstairs. If I knew his name he wouldn't be alive, and you would be in jail, you little fuck, if I hadn't known you for the past three years.” He exhales a cloud of smoke dramatically and Pete becomes weak in the knees. The room spins clockwise and he slumps against the wall. “Pete, you ok?” Walker's sausage-like fingers reach out for Pete's shoulder, but he slumps further down until his ass smacks into the hardwood floor. “Pete? Pete, are you -”

The world flashes in an out, two or three times a second as if the bar was suddenly a rave or a shitty basement party. Walker's giant, round face is hovering above him and his mouth forms a crooked smile, “Pete, it looks like life is beating the shit out of you for me.” He hands Pete a glass of water. Most of the bar patrons stand around him in a circle and watch him drain the glass. Pete doesn't even try to talk. He stares at the ground and notices red paint splatter all over the floor. His stomach is performing acrobatics in his torso. The world is way too bright. He vomits on someone's shoes. Someone grabs him under the arms. The floor moves underneath him. He's dropped unceremoniously at the curb.

Once Pete collects himself, he sits up and scans the street. Cigarette butts and candy wrappers. He groans out something that sounds like “Shit.” From behind him a high-pitched, feminine voice says, “Hi, Pete.” He spins around and sees what must be Anjela. She looks different with a majority of her clothes on. She's wearing pink and black striped thigh-high socks, short black shorts and a black Devestaor's t-shirt. Her hair is a short, messy bob with several colors running through it. She's wearing too much eye-liner and black lip stick. Her face betrays obvious concern, “Pete, you look like shit... and I mean worse than usual. Are you ok?” Pete stands up, falters, and leans against a post, “Yeah, no, I'm good.” She asks “Are you drunk?” He shakes his head emphatically, “No, no, just feeling a bit... I don't know, sick, I guess.” When Pete stands, he notices that maybe she's five feet tall, if that. Her tiny hand reaches up and massages his shoulder. She could be his daughter. Pete's mind races, how the hell can he get rid of this girl as soon as possible? She says, “Let's go inside and sit down.” Panic flashes across his face and quickly disappears, “No! No, I mean no let's go somewhere else. This place cards. I mean let's just go somewhere else.” She smiles, “I have a fake ID if that's a problem.” He shakes his head, “No, it's not, I just don't want to go here.” Her face, posture, the air around her seems to grow angry, “What are you embarrassed of me? I'm going in.” He grabs her arm and pulls her back. She says, “Listen, I'm going in there and there's nothing you can do to-” He kisses her on the mouth and instantly regrets it. After a few seconds he begins to enjoy it. Then regrets it again. He starts enjoying it again but she pulls away before he can cycle between lust and disgust a third time.

“Did you just throw up?” Her eyes are accusatory. “Mmm, kind of, sorry.” She smiles, “It's ok. You want to go home and clean up a little bit? You really do look like hell.” He doesn't want to think about what he looked like before the shower. “Yeah, my place, sure.” He was all too pleased to get out of that situation, but now he's bringing a teenage girl to his apartment. He prayed that none of his neighbors were around to see this. They crept up the stairs to his apartment and he stuck his key into the already unlocked door. He let her in and shut the door quietly behind them. “Oooh, nice place, Pete. Is this your studio?” She goes skipping into his studio. Pete mutters below his breath, “Oh please, for the love of God, please don't skip.” He speaks up, “I'm going to shower and change, ok?” From somewhere in the back of his apartment he can hear her practically sing, “Oooh-kaaay.” He grabs some reasonably clean clothes and steps into his bathroom. The front of his shirt is covered in watery vomit. As he scrubs himself for the second time in an hour all he could think was a single word, fuck. He would repeat it as a mantra. After a while of cursing, he hears a knock on the door. “Pete, what are you doing in there?” He shouts back, “Nothing, I'm almost done.” She replies, “Want me to help?” “No! I'm fine. Really.” He washes off any remaining soap and starts drying himself off. His mantra runs through his head at incredible speed. He should be planning an exit strategy, but he's too nervous and to be honest, horny, to think of anything else.

He steps out of the bathroom and she's sitting at his counter, sipping at a beer she found in his fridge. He hates himself for feeling attracted to her. She stands up, walks over to him and wraps her arms around his neck. He feels how small she is, how fragile, and can't bring himself to throw her out. She kisses him, which he enjoys despite himself. He pushes her off. “Listen, I don't know if this is right.” She rolls her eyes, “What? I'm too young? I'm turning 16 this month.” He almost vomits again. He looks her in the eyes, “Anjela, I'm 29.” She stares back, “So? I like older men, the boys in my school are so stupid. I think that painting in the back is awesome by the way.” He smiles, “Well, I mean I got the idea from- No. I am twice your age. This is illegal.” Her eyes light up, “So I guess you don't want anyone finding out about us.” Pete's brain scrambles, “I'm not going to be blackmailed by a 15 year-old.” “Who said anything about blackmail?” Pete grabs the beer off the table and begins to drink it. Soon, the bottle is empty and he looks back at Anjela. “Ok, I want to talk, I just want to talk.” She nods, “That's fine.”

18 May 2009

Studio Part 2.

He makes a left and continues down the street, straddling the little strip of nature between the sidewalk and the curb. As cars zoom by he's reminded of the Doppler effect, which in turn reminds him of his high school physics class, which reminds him of his friend Andy who helped him out sometimes and moved away but who was supposed to keep in touch, which got him a little more depressed and as all this was remembered he walks back into his building.
The first door, apartment A, is occupied by an older woman, she seems to be an old 50, like someone who has lived far too much life too quickly and was now, simply worn out. Her hair is a slightly graying blonde which probably isn't even its real color anymore. Her name is Janice. Pete couldn't stand the sound of that name. It seems like the kind of name you would give to a daughter you despised for being born. He doesn't know anything about Janice's personal life, but he assumes it was filled with pain and heart-ache and children who now despise her. Pete would have time for this when he grew a bit older.
Apartment B. First floor just to the left as you enter. Pete hates the fact that A was to the right of B. It didn't make sense. In English we read from left to right, why is his apartment building any different? Perhaps the person who put the letters on he doors was from a culture with a language that read right to left, maybe that person simply did not care and nailed any old letter on any old door. Apartment B was the residence of a woman he knew only as Erika. She often has parties on the weekends and Pete throws most of his get-togethers just to show her that he has a life as well. He is in a desperate struggle to not appear desperate to Erika. He doesn't even know if she does spell it with a k, he just assumes she does because she seems like that kind of girl.
She has a floor mat outside her door that has “Welcome” spelled out in a weird mix of Gothic and cursive lettering that is bordering on unreadable. Again he assumes it says Welcome, what else could it say? Her rain boots stand next to her door at attention. She calls them galoshes and he finds that incredibly endearing. They stand there as if she were raptured up, right on the spot and her boots were the only part of her left behind. If the rapture did happen, Pete was pretty sure he wasn't in that select group that would be taken. And if he was, well, he would probably wind up getting drunk and hitting on Mary Magdalene or beating up Jesus or some other unforgivable faux pas that would get him banished to hell for the rest of time.
Erika's muffled voice sounds from the other side of the door. It sounds like an argument. “...well just tell him that...” Pete stands there dumbfounded, enjoying that slightly nasal voice traveling through a door and into his ear. “...I know! She is such a bitch for doing that, I really can't believe...” Pete considers his position and decides to stop eavesdropping before one of his neighbors finds him. Although, what could they say? “Hey, stop standing around in the hallway of the building in which you live?” They would probably use a less awkward construction, now that he thinks about it. And they probably wouldn't say anything to that effect at all, now that he thinks about it more. His stomach grumbles to remind him of his mission. Self-preservation comes before reproduction! Plus, Erika just hung up what sounded like an old fashioned telephone. Why would she have one of those? He can't help but imagine her entire apartment is decorated in a gaudy, roaring 20's style.
Pete raises a leg and his foot lands on the first step leading to the second floor. As he reaches the top he notices his neighbor from across the floor has left his door ajar. His name is Cy. Pete is pretty sure it is short for Cyrus and he has no idea where he is from. “Cy, you there? Buddy?” Pete pushes the door open an inch wider and sees Cy cooking a gigantic omelette in a wok while listening to his iPod. “Yo! Cy!” Cy spins around, clearly startled, with his right arm cocked, ready to fling burning hot egg in the faces of his attackers. Pete dodges back behind the door and yells, “It's me! Pete! Your neighbor?” He rips an earbud out of his right ear and says, “Peter! You scared me the hell out of me, you little shit!” Pete peaks out from behind the door and Cy approaches with a hand out stretched to greet him.
“Get in here, Pete, I was just cooking an omelette, would you care for some?” Pete looks at the wok and what must have been a dozen eggs frying inside it. The eggs are covered in peppers, onions, tomatoes and a few other items. “Mmm, yeah, sure, cut me in on that.” Cy grabs two paper plates and divides the eggs onto them. He gives Pete about two or three eggs' worth, while he shovels the rest of it onto his own. “How can you eat that much? Where do you put it?” Cy's eyes glisten with a knowing twinkle and he whispers in hushed tones, “You should see my B.M.s. Simply glorious.”
“I really don't need to hear about your bodily functions before eating.” Cy smiles and reaches for his camera, “Are you sure? I've got my greatest hits on this thing.” He starts thumbing through the functions and his eyes grow wide when he finds a certain photo. “Check this one out, I named it the boa constrictor.” He flips the camera to face Pete and suddenly a chunk of egg is sucked into Pete's windpipe. The sight is indescribable. The longest and largest contiguous piece of feces Pete has ever seen is being displayed on a 3.8” screen on his neighbor's digital camera. Pete sputters and coughs while Cy pulls back his camera to his chest and dejectedly looks at Pete. “I... *cough* What is that? I mean... *cough* That... Why would you show me that?!” His eyes water as he tries to force more words out, but decides against it. “You really shouldn't be so sensitive. It's natural.” Pete swallows hard and says, “There is nothing natural about that.”
Cy sighs and puts his camera back on the shelf next to him. “Whatever, the guys on the message boards are gonna love this.” Pete starts thinking about what kind of internet communities Cy is a part of and before getting too far he refocuses on his eggs. “You washed your hands before making this right?” Now Cy looks genuinely hurt. “Listen, you barge in here, I offer you a delicious omelette and you question my personal hygiene? I have to say, I'm pretty offended.” “So you did wash your hands, right?” Cy looks to his sink and says, “Yeah, I did.” They sit quietly, picking apart their eggs. Pete remembers that he doesn't remember what happened last night. “Cy, what did we do last night?” Cy looks at him questioningly, “I haven't seen you in like three days. How much did you drink last night?” Pete sits in silence, poking at the eggs, mentally poking at the big gap in his memory. “Not sure.”
Cy tries to change the subject, “So it looks like the thing on the Mexican border are heating up again.” Pete perks up, “Yeah? The thing with the drug lords?” “It's not just drug lords anymore, from what I hear it's human trafficking, sex slavery, all that good stuff. There's a lot of money to be made buying and selling people.” “Hmph, I bet.” “Yeah, I mean some people are already calling it genocide.” “They're killing civilians?” Cy leans in, “Where have you been man? They're razing entire villages! People are dying trying to cross the border into the U.S. and if the desert doesn't get them, bullets from both sides tend to find them.” Pete looks out the window, the sun is shining through light clouds and creating that effect where you feel like you can see individual rays. Like god's fingers, slender and bright, are reaching down to warm the cheek of a little girl skipping down the street. He would prefer to think about beauty and innocence. Pete stands up and thanks Cy for the breakfast. “Any time, Petey.”
He walks across the hall and inserts a key into his already unlocked door. It opens and swings lazily, stopping short of hitting the wall. He hears a buzzing he recognizes as his phone ringing. He runs over to his phone and grabs it just after it falls silent. Missed call from Anjela. “Who the hell is Anjela?” The phone buzzes again and a voice mail notification pops up. He stands there, combing the recesses of his mind, trying to locate this girl. He thumbs trough his phone and finds a message from her with a photo included. Apparently, Anjela likes to send extremely suggestive photos of herself to other people's phones. “What are you doing tonight?” The message is dated April 14, 1:32 PM. That was yesterday. Now Pete tried to recall the day before or the day before that. Every memory is vague and random and absolutely soaked in alcohol.

17 May 2009

Sunday Blogging.

I start off on a lighter note. One man's idea of what is hip, why it's hip and why it secretly might not be. How to Impress a Hipster.

Ok, with that out of the way, I would like to say that Rachel Maddow is the most informative, principled news person on any network. This isn't saying much when you look at her peers (Glen Beck, O'Reilly, etc.) but she is pretty much in a class of her own. In case you haven't been watching recently, she had a segment on Thursday about all the new information about torture coming out. Watch it here. If you don't feel like watching one of the most important 15 minutes of television to be aired in the past month I'll break it down for you. We tortured. We tortured people who were already fully cooperating with the American government. We tortured people who were already fully cooperating with the American government in order to get Iraqis to lie so that the Bush administration could score some political points and not be outright lying when they claimed that Iraqi officials had said there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. People who had knowledge on this subject (the people we ignored) knew that this connection was simply illogical. No one who interviewed these people wanted to torture, no one suggested it could be useful, the order came from Cheney's office that they should be tortured and asked specifically about this connection. There is still no clear reason why America invaded Iraq. It is clear that the invasion was extremely desirable for extremely powerful people. Was it oil? Was it corporate greed? Was it revenge? Was it a misplaced sense of duty as the world's policeman? Perhaps it is simply what this country does. This is an extremely dark and shameful chapter in America's history. It already happened, but the regular people, the citizens of this nation, are just reading it now. The saddest part, the most shameful footnote may be that most people don't even care enough to pick up the book.

66Sick Once More!

What better way to start summer than with free fun? And now that we've gotten to know the hosts maybe there'll be more free champagne. Most of you have already been here so you know the draw, but for those that haven't...

Tuesday, May 19th to Wednesday, May 20th.

Time: 10 PM to 4 AM.

Location: Happy Ending
302 Broome Street

Price: Free.

Drinks: Free house vodka cocktails from 11 PM to 12 AM; $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon all night; easy to sneak in booze, dark enough on the dance floor to enjoy it.

Music: No-names (DJs Micprobes, Peter High, and Dimitry) spinning sets heavy on the electro with some pop thrown in for good flavor. A few of songs I've heard there are...

The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop
KiD CuDI - Day N Night (Crookers remix)
Cut Copy - Lights and Music (Moulinex remix)

Crowd: A mix of young hipsters and Euro-trash; free booze means they're drunk as Hell, but doesn't ensure that they'll dance; downstairs tends to be a fire hazard as midnight (i.e. last call for free vodka) approaches; after that the crowd thins out a little, but things never really die down; in the off-chance that the lower level doesn't please, just walk upstairs to Disco Down on the ground level and discover a whole 'nother party.

ID: 21+, but they are more harsh with guys; the first time I went Olek almost didn't get in because the photo on his ID was taken ages ago and doesn't really look like him anymore; on the other hand, Kat was using a friend's ID and got in no problem; government issued only.

Coat Check: They actually started forcing you to check your coat and bag if either is too big. I think it's like $4, but save yourself the trouble and just leave all that shit at home. What the fuck are you doing going out in a jacket anyway? It's summer, bitch.

Directions: F train to Delancey; walk four blocks West on Delancey until you hit Eldridge; walk one block South to Broome; turn East on Broome; Happy Endings is near the corner; it still has the red awning of the location's former Chinese massage parlor.

Is Lazy Catfish still closed?

A few photos from last time: