an anti-post-departure rant.

16 June 2011 § Leave a comment

I missed my flight today. I procrastinated until the last possible moment, tried to get in too much, and made too much of what wasn’t really all that much.

Lessons every day. Learn a lesson from adrenalin, and calm down when it takes over. Focus on your heart. Memorize the map of all the places that it goes.

You’re not too much for the world, and the world isn’t too much for you. Include more quotes, a head and a deck and pull. I know how to write a story, and I chose not to. My apologies for half-assing that one. I thought it could be worked with. I didn’t want to work with it, because I had other things on my mind like the plans of another, and the not-so-subtle insinuations that I picked up on a little late in the conversation to follow up seamlessly with a comment on fate or good fortune.

I miss her like crazy, but it’s a small and tenuous connection I have to that feeling: I feel it, but won’t let it consume me. I won’t write a story of it, though I have a hundred times already. It doesn’t swallow me whole, but masticates gently, so I feel the nerves quivering before they they’re struck. I let it work its magic backstage, behind my mind’s wanderings, though I lift the curtain, just to look, to feel, when I’ve had enough of the real world.

You swear too much and smoke too much and eat too much and look at them with sly and ferocious eyes and smile at them with condescending lips and talk less than them in public, and all of it makes you pure. Pure like the ocean currents, which move like you need to, like you want to and must, in order to know you’re still breathing.

There’s some truth in there, somewhere. When I can stand on top of a mountain and see two oceans, I think I’ll know it better. For now, I’m just exploring. What disillusionment. Today is like that last day in Budapest: I thought I had a flight and didn’t, so I spent the evening wandering. I went back to that caf├ębar where Manchester United killed the other team the night before, where the guy with the dragon tattoos talked to that brunette in a language I’m confident I will never understand, and occasionally made her smile. She twirled the straw in her drink the rest of the time, and I smiled to myself, or to the refrigerator of beers I couldn’t afford, and scribbled incomprehensible notes into the book that served as my salvation, about my equivalents to this or that, or an observation about the old guys sitting behind me, sipping drinks they relied too much on.

One can’t return to an empty hostel on a stomach full of that sticky stuff that smells of someone that brushed by you in the street. He must walk it off for seventy blocks, past cavalcades and fluorescent tunnels coated in aerosolpainted elegance. These symbols can never die, especially if we never find their meaning: they are questions yet to be answered, and those cannot be destroyed until they find their counterpart, of find that none such was born.

The streets are likewise painted in candlelight. Concrete meadows stretch along pedestrianised roadways, promising fruit in summer and faraway flowers in summer, especially when unasked for. But they’ll never say they meant to and didn’t, because that lesson came with the territory of trial and error, in the garden of art and circumstance, next to the placid lake lifeguarded.

This will survive, and we will be left of it.


sacrifice forgiven: the brand new summer’s end.

15 June 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m done with that addictive garbage that is facebook, and a new lifetime begins today: I’m fishing, and thereafter traveling until the end of foreseeable time. That’s all there is for now, until that little plane lands in the roadless tundra and ships me out to sea. I don’t miss that world because it doesn’t wait for me. it’ll be fine whether I’m here or there or anywhere, and I’ll be fine wherever it is and wherever you are. change like this makes me feel alive like I never am otherwise, unfortunate. this is poetry in motion, this adrenalin of packing up and leaving home behind for a new horizon (one that changes every day) – smoke rises and suddenly the cares of this world wither away.

there’s no great philosophy behind life – we’re here, and we like to make it tolerable. because we think so much, we’d like to enjoy it and feel productive and feel a part of something – but sometimes all these requisites convolute our purpose, contradict each other, and we’re complacent with the suffering, because it’s comfortable and safe.

keep going, she said.

I intend to.

The Power of Facebook, Undermined.

14 June 2011 § 3 Comments

Facebook has established itself as the premier social profiler. It eclipsed every complaint people had about myspace – it’s easier to use, far less susceptible to useless and horrid HTML code (thus creating a sense of uniformity and equality in that the information about a person is far more important than the superficial exterior, i.e. seemingly promoting the idea that the personality takes precedence over physical beauty), and the features of the site – photos, videos, games, chat, status updates, many of which virtually eliminate the need for phone calls to find out what’s up not-so-subtly imply that Facebook is the only site on the internet that many people need visit.

Facebook made it cool to have as many friends as possible again.

Facebook profits are expected to top $100 billion by October of this year. Do you know how much money that is? $100,000,000,000. In comparison, Exxon hit another record-breaking profit for the first quarter of 2011: $11 billion.

When a single entity carries this sort of power over a society, only bad things can result: things like dependence on external things to feel secure about ourselves, a lack of human connection. Someone recently told me about a friend of hers who only communicates through facebook, and through no other medium under any circumstances. No phone, no text, nothing.

Facebook has inserted itself into American culture as the new cocaine – everybody’s doing it everywhere all the time, and the very thought of stopping – of deleting one’s profile – causes bouts of anxiety! Think about it for a minute. Be honest with yourself, and tell me it’s not true.

– 48% of Facebook users aged 18-34 check their profile as soon as they wake up.
– Almost 60% of people talk more on Facebook than in real life.
– 1 on 13 people on Earth have a Facebook profile.
– More than 70% of Americans connected to the internet have a Facebook.

I don’t have TV, but I have Facebook. But hey, that doesn’t matter so much, because most young people get their news through Facebook, anyway. The word itself is a noun, verb, and is a social status in and of itself – you don’t have a Facebook? What planet are you from?

Does no one else see a problem with this?

Short example: years ago, when I was in the trenches of the metal underground, the smaller number of fans a band had meant more credibility for the band. If you’d never heard of them, I probably had, and liked them – likely less for the music, and more for their obscurity.

Luckily, I crawled out of that delusion, and I’d like to think I’ve found some middle ground – I don’t care who else listens to a band; if the music is good, I like it. However, a good rule of thumb is that people are generally dumb and lack taste in really great music, so the top-selling pop music at any given time is usually garbage. (It is important to note, thankfully, that this is not always the case – some exceptionally good music makes it to the Billboard charts, especially since the crash of the music industry.)

Here I am, part of the biggest pop phenomenon in human history, and I can feel my addiction to it in my veins. It is a burden I no longer wish to carry. I wish to communicate effectively. If I’m going to talk to people, I want awkward silences and butterflies and eye contact. I want to smile without it traveling through my fingertips. I want you to hear my sarcasm, and if I’m going to pay you compliment or insult, I need you to hear my tone and sincerity.

I’m done with you, Facebook. We’ve come a long way since I signed up that day in Asheville on that old mac, but I’m walking away now. And the ironic thing? This will post on my profile for all to read.

My note to you: If you want to contact me, I’ll be in the real world.

what’s your story?

8 June 2011 § Leave a comment

Every time I pick up a Rolling Stone magazine, I devour it. Every article on washed out rock stars and corrupt politicians, album review, and the shorts on ‘upcoming’ artists. Of course, they’re not really all that ‘upcoming’ – they were in a ton of industry rags before the downsized-but-still-elegant pages of Rolling Stone. I miss those, too.

I used to work in music. In fact, when most of my graduating class was taking Music Appreciation and History 101, I was playing on SSL mixing desks in audio engineering school and hanging out with KRS-One. A couple of years later, I landed an internship at one of the coolest studios in the Southeast US. I sat in on intimate sessions and recorded takes that you’d never hear on a record. I learned from one of the best engineers around. I drove rock stars around town to buy liquor and weed, and dumped ashtrays at industry parties until the sun came up, or until I was too fucked up to walk straight.

But none of that really matters.

When I’m pressed for my story, that five year blip in my life usually comes up. And then, I usually say, I dropped everything, let everything in my life collapse, and drove from Florida to Alaska – home, more or less – to be a commercial fisherman. Depending on whom I’m speaking with, I’ll go on to talk about my travels or how happy I’ve been since all that – how liberating it is being out on the sea, not having a punchcard or a schedule, to take that money and buy a plane ticket to go who-knows-where, to live the way I want to live, without much regard for anyone or anything around me.

There’s a lot of truth in that. There’s also a lot I’m leaving out, like how much I want to return to the music industry. I miss being a part of pop culture, of being in it, completely wrapped up in the lights and faux glamour and the sound. Oh god, the sound. It’s the music that I miss. Making it sound good, and learning how to make it sound better.

The people and the beauty and the connections, which are mostly bland, superficial, and easily forgotten, all leave a lot to be desired, but they have an ironic, amusing charm that I haven’t encountered before or since.

If I’ve pieced together this new life with which I can do anything because everything is possible, then I should be able to say to myself ‘hey, if you want to work in music, then do it.’ But it’s not as simple as that: for me, that would be a regression in the worst way: how can I go from this state of idealistic enlightenment (which lasted about thirty seconds, sometime in the last couple of years) back to that boombox world of cellophane and love songs?

Perhaps it’s that I’ve started in on another education, having all but given up on working in music, when I still owe a certain ex-girlfriend’s parent for paying off my tuition. Perhaps it would be the starting over, from the bottom, working fifty hours a week for rice grains again, wiping spilled beer off the mixer and wrapping urine-soaked cables up to use the next night. One month, my power bill dropped to twentysomething dollars simply because I was never at home, and I remember how silently proud I was. The late Thursday nights as a freelance sound guy, working on dilapidated PA systems in fluorescent-lit bars, walking out of a gypsy extravaganza at 4 a.m. with a few free beers and a twenty dollar bill in my pocket. Sometimes, the band outnumbered the crowd they played for. Sometimes, those were the best shows.

Sometimes, they covered my electricity bill.

I biked ten miles home, always somewhere between the dark and the orange streetlights, soaking in that glistening texture of clarity that draped over the rolling hills, then vanished into the rich neighborhoods, with houses made of custom this and antique that. I geared up just past the I-40 bridge and flew down the smooth, winding asphalt with the newly painted lines. An LED headlight wrapped itself on the handlebars and showed me the way. It was forever on the dimmest setting, which for some reason shone brighter in the deer’s eyes when they crossed the road, deciding whether or not they would fight the stereotype that night. How often they had chosen in my favor I do not know, but I thanked them for the consideration nonetheless.

What I arrived to from those rides – the house where another life lived up to itself – is another story, for another time. For it was the world I was escaping from when I walked into the church cathedral that served as our _______ recording space to set up microphones that would record the earth’s rumblings.

The world of the awake, as I called it. When you know you’re in a dream, you have unlimited control, if you know how to harness it. I could harness it in at work, where I belonged, and at home I didn’t have to.

It was more necessary to me than than mere work, what I was doing. I was working for a purpose, toward a tangible goal that I could see and feel and hear and taste. Anything I did in the process of attaining it had only the best intentions, or was, at worst, immediately forgivable.

How delusional we can be sometimes.

How delusional I can be sometimes.

I was full of hope and ambition. And I knew everything. But I wonder, what would that me think of me now? Like we discussed, there’s no sense in taking stock in what others think of us, but what about our own opinions of us? Shouldn’t we mind them?

Perhaps all those lifetimes ago I was privy to something now I am not, and I must learn it again, because I lost it along the way. Maybe that’s why I feel I must travel. Who knows where knowledge lies, under rugs or manhole covers, over decadent mountains, in the off-white sea foam?

It’s time to sleep by now, certainly.

social needs.

7 June 2011 § Leave a comment

has the internet made you scared to be alone? is that it? is that perpetual feeling of connectedness addicting? how about that pang in your stomach when you hear your phone beep: you’ve got a text message. It’s compulsive, I tell you – that sound goes off, or that subtle vibrate that everyone in the room can hear – don’t be fooled into thinking that’s silent, motorola, and apple, don’t get me started with you – and someone’s hand is going into their purse or pocket to see what sort of business is happening on facebook. oh, did someone tag a photo of you? that’s cute. no, I don’t want to see it. go away.

be human, please.

I’m in that generational gap between the elder, to whom these ideas are new: they did not grow up with them, but they are the ones we gleaned our ideas from, and the younger, who are becoming people of the world fully integrated into the ‘system’ that we fought so hard against. I am of the ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…’ generation. And we’re finding out just how cool it is.

the pancake man on facebook. look at those sad eyes.

Let me tell you something: you’re better as yourself. We’ve gathered up this ideal that we should care what people think about our lives. Is this just defiance to the lifelong lesson that we shouldn’t care what people think about us, that we should be ourselves because that is what we’re supposed to be doing with our time – why waste time being someone else? We’ve only so much of it.

You’re a great person, facebook user. But you needn’t type ‘teehee thanx :)’ to your friend’s affirmation of that when you’re driving and about to hit a moose. Trust me, they can wait.

How did you get here?

Just pay attention to what you’re doing, will you? Analyze everything, and see what you come up with. You might be astounded at what you find out about yourself.

lazy sunday

5 June 2011 § 1 Comment

Oh, what an awkward day. Surely it’s worthy of some tragedy to befall it. I need some Calvin and Hobbes perspective.

The UK stepped up to the plate and said that they’re tired of Gaddafi’s bullshit in Libya. Get out, Colonel, said Britain’s foreign secretary from Benghazi, you’re no longer the leader. The writing on the wall says so.

And I’m certain the graffiti decorating the rebel city said it first. English is but an echo in those parts of the world, and the West claims false lordship over them no longer. We cannot handle their history, as we fumble and repeat even our own. Let the drawbridges fall from their welcoming embraces, for they divide neighborhoods and cities into warring nations, and we cannot allow these divisions and call for peace on the same day.

On quite a different note, I’m going to a wedding next weekend. It will be the first one of my generation that I’ve been to, and I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to it or not. I imagine it being a ten year reunion of 9th grade, and who wants one of those?

Of all the places I’ve lived, Kenai somehow drew the Home card from my hand, and where I once considered it an honor and a blessing, I feel now that it is some annoying pest that refuses to let go of my pant leg. But I continue to love it, for sometimes I know I’m not quite willing to let it go myself.

Anyway, the wedding. The first girl I had a legitimate crush on (you know, the kind that start innocently and eventually become burdens) is marrying one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met within a thousand miles of that little fishing town in southcentral Alaska. And he’s the mature kind of cool – the person whom you most want to be like for his charm and virtue – both of which are seemingly authentic. I don’t know him particularly well, but I have a feeling that if they ever talked about me, he might call me his friend. Those are the things I’m honored by these days.

And all I keep thinking about is how I don’t have anything to wear.

Will June second that motion?

4 June 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m going to keep writing this until the end of time, which at the moment seems upcoming: the middle of June this year is as good a time to all it as any. The old man was wrong about the apocalypse last month; I’m okay with a subtle schism before solstice.

I sent out my scholarship paperwork a couple of days ago. There were a few sheets of paper in it – as much as they asked for – nothing more, nothing less. I had put a stamp on it – one of those first class stamps with the Liberty bell on it. It took the postal service three days in the middle of the week to get it back to my mailbox with a sticker covering the delivery address (in Texas, half a continent away) saying that they need an additional $0.20 of postage.

Three days it took them! The post office is just up the street. Even if they sent it to Anchorage, a whopping twenty miles away – how long could it possibly take? Couldn’t they just make an exception? It was addressed to a very important sounding name (International something something Education something) Did they not know that this important sounding organization had told me they’re going to give me a fistful of hundreds to study in Costa Rica, and that this important sounding organization told me this just a week before they expected paperwork from recipients back in their hands? Could you not just have put it on the plane?

I threw a couple more Liberty bells at the envelope, took off the denial sticker, and stuck it back in the mailbox. I even put the red flag up, which catches on the number on the box every time. The postage deadline is tomorrow, a Saturday. People are generally pretty lazy on Saturdays. More on Sundays, the reckless sloths, but still, on Saturday people seem to take it easy. Cartoons in the morning, a bowl of Frosted Flakes or some other sugar-infested box of enriched wheat flour and niacin and a glass of orange juice. Maybe a trip to the park and ice cream afterward. Go to work in high spirits. See the envelope that needs to be stamped. Smile simply because they love their job, and they stamp my envelope.

(I’m actively contributing positive energy to the world – see this, god? …jesus? …allah? …spaghetti monster? …don’t fuck with me – is anybody out there? Speak up, already. Fuck.)

That’s my story.

Here’s another one: I danced today, and looked at art. I walked around and made excuses to not skate. I drank a good amount and drove home too soon. But I danced today. Twice.

That’s a good day.

Where Am I?

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