Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I promise.

I am working on some new posts, reader.  Yes, I just referred to you, reader.  As in singular.  As in one person.  You are one person.  You know who you are - or do you?  Do you know who you are?  How do you know?  Who are we?  Who am I?  Who we are?  What are we?  What is us being? Do you know who you or I are?  Are we?  Do we be?  Is you and I?  Why?!

Because some things are.  And some things are not.  Things that are not can't be!  Then nothing wouldn't be!  You can't have nothing isn't and Everything is!

Fast forward to 7:30 for the good stuff.  Actually, it's all good stuff.  So...err...just watch.


Do it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Photos from Michelle!

Graduation and softball games!

Yes, everyone, I still have the hots for Alec Baldwin.  This love ain't goin' nowhere.

Graduation was such a traumatizing, freezing, weird, but hysterical out of body experience.  But it really sums up my time at NYU, that's for sure.

As for the green pictures, those were taken at my older niece's softball game.  That was a good day.  Michelle and I ended up playing catch in the park and it was delightful.

Thanks, Michelle, for providing the illustrations to what has turned into an autobiographical personal (but not too personal) interweb journey!

Is it bad...

that I'm watching Grizzly Man and that I have literally said/thought the SAME EXACT THINGS as Timothy Treadwell during one of his more confessional segments?  Damn.  I get it.  And it's frightening.  And comforting.  And uncomfortable.  I felt a similar way while watching The CruiseTimothy Treadwell is much like Timothy "Speed" Levitch.  Untamed hair, passionate, lonesome...

I admire their poeticism and enthusiasm and intelligence, but I don't think I'm ever, ever, EVER going to name my son "Timothy."


Oh, Albany.

‘Misery, wretchedness, ennui and the devil — I’ve got to spend another evening in Albany. Of all the miserable, wretched, second-class, one-horse towns, this is the most miserable.’ - H.H. Richardson

I've been struggling with Albany for years.  Just as I started to think I was being a snob for thinking Albany was a depressing, desolate place I found out that quite historically I wasn't alone.  The concrete architecture, the crime, the lack of parking around the only "nice" street... man, it's a tough place to love.  Have you ever read the Lonely Planet entry on Albany?  Do it.

So far after being back in the area for 7 months or so, I think I've found my peace.  I think I'm doing alright  mostly because I don't actually live in Albany, but a nice rural town outside of Troy.  I like Troy, it's much cozier and walker-friendly than Albany.  It also has my new favorite hang-out, Footsy Magoos.

Anyway, this past Saturday a visiting friend and I spent the entire day walking around Albany.  I've never done that before.  Surprisingly it was a good time.  We went to the New York State Museum and strolled around Lark Street, and then lounged in front of the Capitol.  Just as I was coming around to maybe feeling something positive toward the city, I went into the museum gift shop.

And this is what I found:

This is a postcard of the Legislative Building.  My first thought was, "Wow, what an ugly building to put on a postcard."  And then I looked closer.

Yes, that's a homeless man with his shirt off.  

My friend and I had found this postcard a couple of years ago, but since then we haven't been able to find it.  Naively, I thought that perhaps they had discontinued the postcard since there was a shirtless homeless man on it.  "Yay, Albany!" I thought, for paying attention.  Of course on this most recent trip to the museum I had dreamed I would find a miscellaneous copy lying around, but I knew I shouldn't get my hopes up.  But, man, was my day MADE.  They had a whole new supply of Legislative-Building-Homeless-Man-Postcards!  I was excited to show my friend, but at the same time I was embarrassed and disappointed in the city I'm trying so hard not to hate.  How could the photographer not notice?  Was he in THAT much of a rush?  How did the printers and the proofers not notice?!  Okay, so I'm not "embarrassed" as much as I am baffled.  And deeply, deeply amused.

I bought three copies and asked the cashiers if they knew why I was buying so many of the same postcard.  I don't think I've ever seen a happier pair of disgruntled museum gift shop employees.  Now I'm sure that via word of mouth those homeless man postcards are going to fly off that flimsy wire shelf.  Almost as quickly as the Eliot Spitzer ones did.

My amusement rose substantially when I walked on Hamilton St and saw this poster:

I guess I should be grateful to live near a place where they allow my face to be printed on paper and posted on a city street in advertisement for real, live, professional entertainment.  I'm on the $2 bill!!! A perfect choice.  Thanks, Laura!

Keep your eyes glued for my next post...my tattoo tale!

The Swell Season Covers NMH

Watch it here.

And on the lazy days / The dogs dissolve and drain away / The world it goes / And all awaits / The day we are awaiting ...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I got a tattoo!

I will write a longer blog post and perhaps post some video of the experience later today.  For now I must take my visiting amiga Katy to the super impressive New York State Museum (HA!) and the '76 Diner.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm getting a tattoo?

And somehow I know it won't be my last one. This one is to be not too terribly noticeably placed for professional purposes, but it's quite possible that I'll feel the need to commemorate other eras in my life with a tattoo here and there. Probably a once every 11 or 21 years event. I went to speak with Ryan, the artist at Nato's Ink I've procured to draw on me with a needle. Not only is he talented, but he's also extremely nice and facial-haired with a good handshake. Needless to say, I have a crush on him already, which only bodes well as another sign that the stars are aligning for me to get this done. I don't like to work against nature, so I often look for (sometimes silly) signs and connections to let me know I'm on the correct wavelength.  He started to tell me to relax and that it's normal to be anxious, but then realized "Actually, I'm sure you'll be fine, you don't seem nervous at all!" I told him I've decided to just accept the pain right now and not be a little bitch about it. I think he liked that.

The sperm whale is my power animal.  You may scoff, giggle, whatever, but it's true!  I drew this randomly in college.  I'm not a very good artist all the time, but every once in a while I'm struck with random skill. With this I drew two other different types of whales. I have them hanging in my apartment. Actually, I only have this and another hanging in my apartment because someone stole the original of the third while I was living at Broome Street. Who the hell would steal my whale drawing!? You're a bastard, whoever you are.

But, behold! The Great White Whale. Its quiet strength. Its not so quiet strength.  Its massive presence.  Its victory over humanity. Its losses at the foot of humanity. I could go on and on and get deeper and deeper and wax all philosophical, but I feel that if you have to spend more than a couple sentences explaining your tattoo, you're overthinking it and it's not something you have to have. To me, getting a tattoo is more visceral than over-explanations and pretty flowers and Marvin the Martian and crap like that. It should be personal. But also, it should look bad-ass.  And that is a mofo-ing bad-ass sperm whale.

Dig it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welcome to My Life

A family party at Aunt Patsy's.  No one was physically or emotionally harmed in the capturing of this precious moment.  Character was built, though.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good or bad?

If you google Nick Kinsey, my blog comes up on the first search page. I wonder if he ever googles himself.  Does this mean all my real-life chances of friendship are blown? Just askin'...

Hi, Nick. I promise I'm not creepy.  Just very appreciative and trying to spread the music, man.



Monday, August 16, 2010

Hey - Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Making music videos is harder than it seems.  But now I am officially addicted.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

This is really cool.

Love this aesthetic.  I wish we all spoke this way.  Thanks, Rob!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Original Beaver Fever

For those who were unaware...

Michael & Zeld - Episode 2

I don't understand why more people weren't as enamored with "Beaver Fever" as I was.

Michael & Zeld Episode 1

Tune in next time for Hey Arnold, Smart Guy, Angry Beavers, The Nanny and more!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm a little uncool and I'm a little uncouth

Last summer my friend Nandini and I met up at Madison Square Park to see Loudon Wainwright III at their free summer concert series.  I think this is my favorite memory from last summer, my first and only (so far) summer in the city.  It was a rough time for me, and I think this concert was one of the only nights I felt something different than the generic malaise that cast a shadow on everything I saw, did, and heard.

For my whole life I never ate Chinese food.  Then one day I decided that I would most certainly like it, and so I started to get Chicken lo mein everywhere it was available.  This was one of those nights.  Nandini and I got Chinese food and ginger ales and sat in the dewy grass of the park before the concert started.  We were early enough where we got to sit as close to the stage as we wanted.  I used to always want to sit so close to the stage where I could feel the speakers' vibrations in my chest, but it was around that time that I realized I like a little distance between me and the performers.  If I don't have a chance of taking them home after the show, then why sit or stand so close as to tease myself into thinking I made eye contact,  right?  (Not that I wanted to take Loudon home...maybe in the 70s when he was all facial-hared and un-fatherly).  I try to find any way I can to cut down on the unnecessary romantic masochism.  So, we sat a little farther back and ate our various Asian chicken combinations amongst all the couples - it seemed like that's all there was in the audience.  For once, that didn't bother me.

Do you know who you are or how you'll know?

Have you ever known that something you were about to witness was going to affect you?  I mean, really hit you hard?  I felt that way about this concert for some reason.  It was a weird queasy, anxious, happy feeling that doesn't come often.  As soon as Lucy Wainwright Roche took the stage, I knew my throbbing organs were right.  If I were going to be a musician, I'd probably be a Loudon or Lucy.  Lucy is Loudon's daughter.  She's funny, but really perceptive.  Just like her father, she can capture the little moments of suburban every day life that are hyper-meaningful opportunities for a greater argument in disguise.  One song of hers particularly caught me off-guard.  It's called "Snare Drum."  It's about a teenage boy who knows that despite his parents fighting and the falling snow and world being at war and his town on the skids, he's going to do something great in the future.  But for now, he's going to "play a snare drum solo in the Friday football lights."  The image of a Friday night (for some reason I think of Texas high school football culture) game, and all the middle-school teenage weirdness and competition and importance and poignance of such a weird event in relation to the rest of the world  is really alarming.

I remember being in junior high and trying to fit in by going to the local high school football games at the all-boys military schools.   I lived across the river from the rest of the kids and it was always a hassle for my parents to get me there.  Not to mention my parents also put the fear of God in me to be careful while I was there and to make sure I was in a certain spot at a certain time to be picked up.  With what exactly they wanted me to be careful, I'm not really sure.  But I know being anxious about getting yelled at during the time of my pick-up and never being secure enough in my safety really inhibited my ability to enjoy the game.  Maybe they were afraid I wouldn't pay attention and someone would put 'ludes in my snack bar soda, or that I would trip behind the bleachers and get taken advantage of.

I have these weird memories of my jeans always fitting just a little wrong.  Or that awful feeling where you know you tried to look better than you usually do, but something goes wrong like your shirt ends up too tight or a bird poops on you or your shoes give you blisters and you bleed awkwardly from the heels (the stigmata of the stupidly try-too-hards).  It's silently embarrassing and can take the wind out of the sails of any almost-formed-ego.  It probably didn't help that I was 1-2 years younger than all my friends, and at that time in your life, those years (and even months) count.  A lot.  All I remember are the cool people walking around and around the field, passing the cheerleading teams on the sidelines, saying hi to who they knew and pretending to be interested in the conversations they had with various parents they encountered.  I'm positive that as I tried to walk around the field with the other kids, not watching the game, I hoped I would meet some fellow junior high (or high school!) boy who would stand out and approach me because he felt the same way I did and he could just tell we had a connection.  I hoped we would talk about something we saw on Comedy Central and that by meeting each other we'd both rise above the regular 12-15 year old bullshit - it never happened, as you might've guessed.  After a few of these games I set my gazes higher, admiring all of the cute dads and coaches and teachers in the stands.  There sure were a lot more cute dads to look at than there ever were non-jerky boys interested in a hyper aware youngin' who worried about the sun exploding and end of the universe.

Sports are weird.  Suburbia is weird.  People getting all hopped up and excited about moving a ball arbitrarily up and down a field or court.  Fans are even odder specimens.  They react as if they're the actual athletes, as if they are the ones putting in all the work.  It's not that I don't like sports - I really like playing football and baseball and soccer and what-have-you - I just never got into the fan culture.  For some reason basketball is the only sport I can happily watch on television.  For anything else, it has to be live and right in front of me.  I want to hear the cracking of bones with helmets and smell the kicked-up dirt.

Okay, I got sidetracked there.  What I should just say is that the girl really knows how to strike a chord with the subconscious, communal feelings of American life.  Feelings I never knew I shared with anyone else.  And she's really humble and down-to-earth.  And her father's Loudon Wainwright III.

After Lucy came Martha.  How are there so many talented people in one family?

It's late.  To be continued.

Everyone should have access to this song.

Simple, heartbreaking, smart.

I am going to actually "write" something soon.  Having just started a new job, I must get a lot of my own personal projects started before the "busy" time in the fall.  So be on the look-out!  Also, through my friend's blog I got picked up by the online Marco Polo magazine, so hopefully you'll find a never-before-seen essay/story/memoir/what-have-you over there in the next few months!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

No explanation is necessary.

The Best of Captain Jack in HD

I decided to re-post the glory of Captain Jack in HD.  This way you can see every sweat bead, every facial expression, and every gator ear bubble.  Straight from the Louisiana Bayou!

UFOs and Cardboard Men - Roswell, NM

Museum or indecipherable 4th grade science fair?  You be the judge...

Learn an accent!

   Thanks for posting this, Meg!  Great for any language/noise geek!

Best Birthday Present Ever

Thank you, Amy Jo and Michael M. for this effing amazing painting of my power animal.  You know me well.  It will be prominently displayed in my living room.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Levi's "Go Forth" Bukowski ad parody

I love the UCB Midnight Show.

If you're going on a roadtrip, take along some Bukowski.  You won't be sorry.

Quest for Excalibur 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Drunk Girls!

Wait an hour to pee!

Check out the official music video here .  For some reason it has a block against being embedded.  The video is disturbing in a Clockwork Orange kind of way, but also kind of hilarious.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

THIS, is my body.

Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello as younguns.  

Exit 57 was a Comedy Central sketch comedy series from the mid 1990s that starred this absurd yet hilarious trio.  The fact that they got this kind of sense of humor on the air for as long as they did - and continued with Strangers With Candy - is pretty impressive.  I kind of want to be them.  All of them.  At once.  Science, can you arrange this?

New Favorite Cool-Down Zumba Song

Because I know you really, really care about my every little thought.

Yes, I'm fully aware that this is by the same guy who has that awful, awful song that repeats the word "suicidal" for about two and a half minutes.  When I worked at an urban Boys and Girls Club summer camp, the kids would sing that song and Rihanna's "Umbrella" on the bus over and over every single day for a month.  Imagine being in close quarters with a bunch of 6 to 10 year-olds drinking Powerade and shouting the words SUICIDAL and UMBRELLA-ELLA-ELLA-AY-AY over and over again in the brutal summer heat.  Frankly, this made me suicidal myself and I wished that I could stab both Sean Kingston and Rihanna with a very pointy scottie dog printed umbrella.  But, Sean, you've redeemed yourself.  And I'll let you off the hook, too, Rihanna, seeing how your man roughed you up and stuff.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Every, every minute!?

*DISCLAIMER: I got a little journal-y here, please proceed with caution!*

In 8th grade I entered and won a dramatic monologue contest with a performance of the Stage Manager's Act 3 beginning monologue. I wore suspenders and put my leg up on a chair Cap'n Morgan style to evoke small town-iness.

Last night I saw a really wonderful production of Our Town put on by Walking The Dog Theater at PS21. It's kind of funny...I saw it last summer around this time, too, but in the West Village. Both times I was in some sort of deep, existential contemplation phase of life - oh wait, I'm ALWAYS in a deep, existential contemplation. So I guess it's not a phase, but what one would call a "lifestyle"? That's kind of what I want to get at with this post, I think. Although I cried on both occasions, this summer's rendition was especially excellent. PS21 is outdoors, and the stage is called "The Tent." It is, yes, a tent. A tent that resembles that weird famous white rounded building thing in Sydney, Australia. Actually, this is what it looks like:

The Tent is in the middle of a field on a hill in Chatham, NY - did you know Uma Thurman lives there? In fact, Chatham, I'm told, is a "bedroom community" for a few NYC big names. Who knew?!

Anyway, I just wanted to take a post to discuss Our Town in general. This play rocked my world from a very young age. I have no idea why this play is read in middle school. (I also have no idea why the Holocaust is learned in middle school and then pretty much left alone, at least in my schools.) Maybe the curriculum designers of America just assume that, like with all other literature read by bratty kids who don't realize they have to shower every day yet, it'll go in one ear and out the other. It's a good, blunt play about life, they think. They obviously did not foresee children like me reading it and being thrown into wild depression, doomed to have an existential crisis every 20 minutes or so for the rest of their lives. In fact, I'd like to blame Thornton Wilder for my passionate appreciation and arduous search for meaning in every little moment of life, as well as the isolating anguish that closely follows. I think I remember being a somewhat happy-go-lucky over-achiever until I set my eyes on the Gibbs and the Webbs. Since reading, I have found myself constantly stepping outside my own behavior and thoughts to focus on how important and hyper meaningful every. single. second. of human interaction is. Is every single second really all that important? Maybe not. But this play altered my emotional instincts to assume they are.

I am so intently focused on how significant every person, place, and thing is. I think that's why I choose very carefully who I continue my interactions with, as I am fully aware just how much power and influence each person has over me (and over others?), for better or worse. It's also probably why I loathe small talk and hate wasting time with obligations and activities that don't seem meaningful enough. I want to get to the big issues, and I wanted to get to them yesterday. Maybe I take things too personally. But, if more people thought about how they were affecting those around them without even knowing it, would they act the way they do? Or would it waste even further that same precious time to think about every possible outcome and consequence of every single action and word, and then attempt to appreciate it? I can tell you from experience, the latter can make you a Debbie Downer, fer sure. This outlook removes you from situations that others seem to be able to enjoy or pass through without much thought. But, I can also tell you from experience that I get a lot out of everything, even the mundane, by simply "keeping a weather eye out" for opportunities of appreciation and contemplation. Ponder this quote from Simon Stimson, the drunken choir director, who is speaking to the deceased Emily Webb after she relives a small bit of her Earthly life:

Now you know! That’s what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those…of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years….Now you know—that’s the happy existence you wanted to go back to. Ignorance and blindness.

While doing things like driving alone in the dark listening to music, snuggling with XYZ, or watching my nieces dance and sing to Cascada, waves of intense emotion crash around and shush all other thoughts in my mind. This either results in a complete blankness and calm of mind, or a clamoring of images, words, and ideas that make me want to explode with creativity and affection and pretty words. Sometimes, depending on my mood and current situation, I am moved to tears by the simplest and littlest events of life (not the snuggling, of course - that'd be the most unattractive thing EVER). Am I too serious? Are there many people who live this way but they just don't talk about it? I want you all to talk about it! Human existence is so goddamn painful! We need to talk about it!

I'm going to be dramatic here and admit: I am Emily Webb. From the very beginning of the play until even after she dies. I feel as though, every day, I live Emily Webb from Act 3, when she watches herself live and is devastated by how thoughtless and unconscious all humans are, including herself. It's exhausting!

For some reason, Act 2 struck me more so than usual this go around. The scene where George and Emily sit at the counter at the drug store and have ice cream sodas - as well as what turns out to be "a very important talk" - brought me to a weird place that I've never accessed before. I liked being in that place, but I also realize that it would be easier if I didn't know it existed. So there's the rub. Are the short bursts of elation and creativity and intense connection and awareness worth the isolation and strain and torment that accompany them? Especially when 90% of people saunter through every day without even giving a nod to any of this? Or do they? .
You tell me.

I have no frame of reference here, as Walter Sobchak would say. Goodnight!