13 February 2008

shit from an old notebook # 483,607 (reprise)

I've said it before; I must send myself about ten or twenty emails and text messages a day. Ideas, reminders, To Do lists, grocery lists, lyrics, whatever... most of them, though they seemed so important at the time that I had to write it all down, wind up just sitting in my inbox for weeks, if not months, unopened. anyway, i was going through my AOL and came across some stuff I figured I'd purge.

5/6/2007 10:32:36 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
the breeze is cool and its early may
its that kind of in between breeze
it could be September and the dawn of fall
or it could be may just after a rain shower
its like the time in the very early morning or very late at night
when dusk and dawn look exactly the same
the sun could be coming up or going down
its that same breeze
and i'm laying there in my car
near the shore
in and out of sleep
streetlights like a sun lamp
not sure about so many things
no time
too much time
it all feels the same
i'm running my hands through the pines at the fernery in new zealand
i like the way the needles tickle the insides my of fingers

5/4/2007 10:10:14 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
A: No, no, no, bad idea, don't do it, real love is what it's about, somebody to read the Sunday papers with, you know?

5/7/2007 12:31:26 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
We are surrounded by it. The older we get the more it blindsides us from every imaginable angle. We’re all sick of the stuffy smell of roses and “I’m so sorry for your loss.” What the fuck does that mean anyway? You have no idea until hits you and it hits us all differently. My dad was 53 when he died and I still cannot truly relate to anyone else’s grief. Everyone deals with things their own way. We are surrounded by the signs.

Yet still we live like there are tomorrows of endless supply. A good part of my life spent preaching lyrics in bands to live everyday like it’s your last. I’ve never found words easier to say and harder to follow through on. It’s a romantic concept and something to strive for but for most of us, it is impossible. We spend our days working to make money to live and afford the life we have or want. So I came in to work today and heard a woman weeping, sobbing. Found out a dude I share an office with was shot Saturday night. A few blocks from his house at a bar. 25 years old with 6 year old son. Dude busted his ass in the mailroom for two years and got a break upstairs with the suits.

They shot him 5 times and stabbed him in the chest. Gone. A few weeks ago my friend’s wife was killed riding her motorcycle. She was hit by a truck that just kept on driving.
5 foot tall tornado of passion and creativity ripped from this mortal coil like a blink.
We hope there’s a reason for it but we have no idea. I questioned my beliefs when my father died. I don’t believe there is a god or a heaven or a hell. Did that just mean my dad would rot in the ground? His body sure, but not his spirit. I don’t need a god to know that peoples’ spirits and souls live on forever. There’s just too much energy there for a soul to just vanish. They must somehow transcend; leaving the fragile mortal vehicle and finding a new home in the ether. Sometimes I smell my dad’s Marlboros; my mom has smelled his cologne. Sometimes I just know he must be somewhere watching and I see his beaming smirk. We are surrounded by death. We are surrounded by reasons; reasons to let go of our bullshit; yet still human nature returns us to zero and we resume life like there’s an eternal supply. My parents may’ve been hippies but I’m not gonna get any more lovey dovey or new age on you. I just wish I could summon these same warm feelings during the heat of battle when all is fair and the sharpest swords come so easily.

5/7/2007 12:31:26 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
If you're in debt you're not a loan

3/9/2007 3:05:09 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

I learned more from Napalm Death than I ever did in school - Part One

I remember being 13 years old and running wild on 86th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I had a sanctuary called The Record Factory. They sold CD's back when they came in those giant long cardboard boxes in addition to T-shirts, posters and cassettes. At the back of the store was the hallowed metal & punk section. No one else I hung with was into music like I was. I used to sneak off and go peruse the cassettes under glass like a dog staring quizzically at a new toy, just out of reach. I saw names like Angry Samoans, HR, Corrosion of Conformity, Cannibal Corpse, Biohazard, Skin Chamber, Minutemen, The Dead Youth, Entombed... it was not unlike learning a new language, except I was 13 and actually interested in paying attention to these new words and sounds.

One day, for whatever reason, probably because I found the name on the spine intriguingly sublime, I purchased the Napalm Death "Scum" album on cassette. It was like I'd been handed the golden ticket to a secret world, literally. That tape changed my life. The eerie purple & black layout, the fucked up lyrics, they were from England, one side of the record was recorded in 1986 or something and the other in 87 by two different line-ups, it was all VERY VERY fascinating to my little brain. But what hit me hardest and what wound up changing my life was being able to see what they looked like.

Before "Scum" I still thought musicians were these ethereal, intangible, untouchable, magical comic book gods. I equated Michael Jackson to Guns N Roses to Black Flag all the same, this was all music made by these insane creatures from a different dimension, by grown men I assumed, completely out of my league and skill and creativity, or so I thought. When I stole "Damaged" from Sam Goody at the Kings Plaza Mall and brought it home, the words and music spoke directly to me. The lyrics and the anger and the frustration, it was a soundtrack to my teenaged life. I thought Black Flag was tapping my phone and reading my mail. How the fuck could they know SO well what I was going through? I could relate to the music and the message but still had NO idea what they looked like so it perpetuated the image that they were these immortal untouchable divine deities. The music didn't sound much different than the din I was starting to create with my own basement bands but still they were somehow far removed because I couldn't look at them while the tape wheels spun in my stereo. I couldn't imagine what they looked like. I couldn't Google "Black Flag images", I had NO idea which just added to their mystique; never for a moment thinking maybe Black Flag were kids just like me and THAT's how they were so good at writing the soundtrack to my teenage years.

For whatever reason a lot of the early album to cassette releases were very bare bones back then, sort of like the first VHS to DVD's. If you got lyrics you were lucky, usually it was just the album cover shrunk down to fit on a cassette cover. There were NEVER any photos of the bands. The Angry Samoans played this insane, frantic, clever and tight as a mosquitos ass punk rock and I had no clue who they were, I couldn't even imagine the creatures that came up with this shit. Same went for Corrosion of Conformity and The Minutemen and so on...

But then I picked up that creepy purple "Scum" cassette with the grimy, furry acidic band logo and inside was a fucked up black & white snapshot of the band !!!!! Napalm Death standing in a hallway?!?!?! Making stupid faces??!! And they looked like kids, they looked like...well, ME!!! My mind RACED. What the fuck? This sonic derailed freight train was being created by a bunch of goofy English teenagers?!! It was the eureka moment to end all eureka moments.

Suddenly it all came flooding in, faster than my teenaged mind could comprehend, faster than the songs were going by in breakneck speed on the cassette. These dudes wrote songs? These dudes have an ALBUM out? It unlocked a whole new world to me, completely unveiling everything that had mystified me for so long. Suddenly it was making sense...

I was excited but pensive and maybe a bit puzzled still. I vividly remember sitting in Mr. Knudsen's history class at McKinley thinking, "Fuck, I kinda play guitar and pick up songs by ear but I can't read music and if I can't read music, I'll NEVER be in a band. How can I write songs if I can't write out the music like Mozart and the gang. What if I go to try out to play guitar for a band and they hand me their songs in sheet music?" It sounds so funny to me now, but then, this was my biggest fear and I felt an obstacle that would prevent me from ever achieving rock stardom... little did I know, a few fuck ups from Great Britain were releasing records for years and theres no way they were writing their songs down with a quill and parchment. They sounded like they were making shit up as they went along even. It was just madness, a ruckus, total sonic destruction somehow captured and put to tape, this was NAPALM FUCKING DEATH. This was UK Hardcore, more primal than a bunch of naked agalu dudes in the pine barrens banging on cowskin drums with their dicks swingin. "Scum" blew out the back of my head like it was Dallas, November '63.

My mind was completely blown. I went numb. I heard only white noise, a ringing in my ear, I couldn't feel my legs... I was paralyzed with thoughts, ideas, inspiration... I couldn't move, it was all hitting me at the same time, I saw band names and logos and flyers and songs and lyrics... Little did I know, this day would change my life forever. Theres no way I'd have found the inspiration to really do a band if I hadn't been so sparked by that tape. I was determined and confident, suddenly charged. And all it took was a photo and looking at the photo while the music roared, and reading those lyrics over and over and over again, I folded that tape layout open and closed so many times it started to tear apart like perforated baseball cards.

I'd truly found the Golden Ticket, except it was purple and black and fucking loud. It was in my hands, glowing like the Holy Grail. This tape would take me around the world and consume my life for a solid decade...

Anyway, this wasn't even the point of this blog at all, this was a just very long divagation by an artful insomniac, but its late now, so more tomorrow...

4/12/2007 10:51:01 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
i got my mom a bouquet of white french tulips for easter
they smelled french and looked like a painting
should've came with a frame instead of a vase
they were the most perfect flower i'd ever seen
they almost looked faux
but the smell was intoxicating
i felt like a bee
an addict for that smell
they're starting to die now, wilting and leaning
but they're even dying dramatically and beautifully
like a real french romance
throwing up their petals like arms
down on their knees in the middle of the street under the streetlights
falling apart in full bloom
take me i'm yours they say
don't save me just watch me wilt
with beauty and style
french tulips are so that they even die with grace
and glory
like a movie or a flipbook

5/20/2007 9:04:34 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time

"Corporate Cafeteria Confessions, part one "

I get a real, good, old fashioned kick out of watching investment bankers in pinstriped powder blue French cuffs toasting muffins and carefully spreading jam like two-year olds; gingerly slicing bread with fragile clear plastic forks. I enjoy watching other big shots hovering by the toaster, anxiously anticipating their English muffin and bagel. They sort of sit there like proud parents watching their kid play ball at the park. They care about that bialy very, very much. They hope it'll be OK for the few moments that it's out of site rolling through the broiler. They fidget like excited parents in an airport arrival hall waiting for their daughter, home from college for the first time to celebrate a proud Thanksgiving. They wait for lightly toasted bagels like tired tourists at the baggage claim carousel. Mesmerized by the motion of the steel coils and coveting others who's bags (read: bagels) have already reappeared and off they go. Patiently they furrow their brows, looking into the broiler quizzically as if they're waiting for their bowling ball to return. They're very maternal with their breakfast spreads and breads. I watch them in their odd rituals and in my head I hear the warm voiced narrator of a nature special discussing how they care for their young only to devour them in a moments notice; watch closely as they surreptitiously, almost sadistically, spread the butter slowly, grooming their rolls for its imminent death. Finally, the young chick (read: corn muffin) reappears from its lonely journey through the evil conveyer furnace. "Ahhh, there's MY bagel, my baby, I missed you so…Did you have a nice trip through the toaster? Was it too hot? Oh, my baby, look at you… here, let me put some cream cheese on you to cool you off." The bagel recoils, trembling in fear. Some of them will make a run for it and dive off the counter, seizing the reigns of fate rather than be controlled, others, such as the bialy and bran muffin, are more defiant, refusing to sit still for the jams and jellies, the massacre of grapes and strawberries. They slip and slide on the counter angering the spreader, hoping he or she will surrender and just go for a small box of cereal. One thing is for certain, breakfast breads do not go quietly. You've been warned.

5/20/2007 9:04:34 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time

"Detox Anonymous"

"Hello, my name is J and I'm addicted to irrigation of all kinds."

"Hiiiii, J."

I'll admit if they had a Draino® for your body, I'd have a tall glass with ice on a hot summer day. Enemas have always intrigued me; the idea of a fresh, clean start is detoxicatingly hopeful. But Americans have become absolutely obsessed with irrigation. Whether its a cleansing liquid diet fast, an enema, or a handful of horse pills to help keep your intestines moving - spooking us with statistics about 40 pounds of undigested meat in the average mans guts. I'm guilty of it, too. I've swallowed giant plastic coated pills that resembled like those instant sea monkey capsules, hoping they'd clean me out. Was a tiny spongy sea monkey going to get to work pressure washing my insides once the capsule dissolved? In other forms of emblematical irrigation; we're obsessed with oil changes, credit reports and debt dissolution - bankruptcy - we need to clean it all out. Engine flushes, transmission washes - clean it out, make it like new, we've gotta flood it with water like a groundhog's burrow and make it clean - chase out all the debris - "smoke 'em out" like John Wayne would say - turn the lights on the bugs and swab the decks. But why are we obsessed with irrigation and detoxification? We all crave the confidence and a peace of mind of a "fresh start". Programs that'll clean out the small intensines of your computer; an virtual enema for your hard drives... viruses RAUS! Skin care products, peel that dead skin off and clean those pores, people! If there were a cream that could clean your skin, leaving behind only smooth bone and skull, I bet some of these loons would spread that shit on like jam on a crumpet. Ah, so fresh, "Julie your cheek bones are so smooth and, well, exposed!" Are we're so bogged down with responsibilities, bills, paranoia and fear that something wired animal inside us inherently attracts us to a morbid fascination with self-cleansing, resurrection and sweat lodges? Even I've been to the Russian Bath Houses. A friend of mine took me behind an old school house and sold me on the idea like a pusher and a bag of drugs. She said how great my skin would feel afterwards, how you could really feel all the toxins leaving your body as you laboured inside these barbaric wooden furnaces. And I sat there like a nut, in a toothpaste turquoise robe and laboured, thinking only of the finish line. And, she was right, I left that place glowing. My skin had a shine to it I'd never seen before and my spirit felt like it'd been through a brushless car wash. That reminds me, I've only been alive about 30 years, but when did these oil change franchises pop up? Were people in the 50's haggling with grease monkeys about a $90 transmission flush and a $100 engine wash when they went for their oil changes? Are our lives so fucked and caught in such a tailspin of upheaval that we're crying out to get off the ride? Think about "3 wishes"; about cats and "nine lives"... fuck it all up; eat fifteen chocolate cannolis, do some heroin, fuck your fiancees sister, steal a Rolls-Royce, drive it off the Brooklyn Bridge and wake up the next day like nothing happened. Think about your boy Jesus, and the rebirth and resurrection, maybe that's why we're all so into that dude. He was the first guy to get a fresh start. Why do we find such solace in these restart buttons? Why are we intrinsically drawn to cleaning ourselves out? Are we drunk on the pregnant promise of an endless new day always at our fingertips? I think so. I'm sure theres a search for the fountain of youth buried in these words somewhere but I'll save that for another blog.

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