7.21.2014

Part 1: Throwaway almost-genius bullshit Part 2: My headza Part 3: Po 'em

THE RULES OF BLOGSVILLE STATE THAT ONE IDEA WOULD SUFFER IF TWO WERE POSTED ON THE SAME DAYA SEW...

Part 1: 

Love me as if I were already the person I would be if you loved me.

Part 2:

It's been 32 hours since I have last slepta. The anxiety I have been feeling over the financial ramifications  of being almost completely unemployed have caused massive disruptions to my sleep schedule. Oh also not having a job to go to has played its parta.

I woke up just past midnight Sunday morning and patiently read meaningless Guardian commentary (that the Guardian knows it is a bit left of the Times somehow makes it both almost more correct and certainly more insufferable) for hours upon hours, or, to be precise, from around midnight until 2pm, before heading to the shower and then to work. After my eleven hour shift, I tested the old rule I posted here a millennia ago (pragmatism is the valuation of the body above the soul) and took the opportunity to head to the fucking beach. This was the first time I had gone to a beach in Rhode Island since I have moved here; I have actually gone to the beach in New York more times than I have gone to the beach in Rhode Island and all of the times I have gone to the beach in New York have occurred since leaving New York.

I think I like the world more when I am suffering from sleep deprivation. I am more the person I could be if I could be. 

Part 3:
My knees are bleeding and my feet are purple and black and I feel no pain.

The wounds of submerged rocks mark upon me a testament to the boundaries that prove my own existence, 

(as a feminist, I reject all notions of male entitlement,)

and yet the silence; 

of you removing your trousers against the silhouette of a cloudy sky not yet awoken to its radiant blue role of scenery, 
set against rocks so perfect they could almost be fake, of the 
little patches of redness
set against the creases of skin that could only be and will always be yours…

like those rocks

the boundaries imposed only prove that there is a body to set against them, a mind capable of overcoming them

I'll never kiss you. By (who's) design: immaterial.

I'm not in love, not even in lust, not even suffering, in any way, from the impossibility of a future I have never desired (and may never desire).

That there is a future not to be had, that the redness of your skin will never prove the result of my action, only shows: there is another future.

There is another life.

There are other beaches.

There are other trousers.

7.09.2014

Let's Start A Band

Producer Seeks Collaborator

I've been a longtime lover of music who is serious about making it, but I feel like I have hit a wall. I guess I expected to go the regular route of house/techno producer: make mostly instrumental tracks, DJ out, etc., but I am sick of my scene. And every other one for that matter. There is only one solution left: to attack.

I can make good sounds, am almost decent at arrangement, can write words, and value ideas above all. You should be able to deploy your voice in a musical and distinct fashion, and should also have musical knowledge. You should also read books. Lots. If you are an ideal match for me, you should be just as infuriated with what's going on in politics (i.e. just more of the same bullshit) and, especially, culture, which has completely dropped its oppositional stance towards drowning itself in a miasma of inter-referentiality, complacency, haircuts, and tasteful consumption.

The goal: write and perform music that upends all existing systems and causes riots. Or die trying. What else is there to do? There are no good jobs. By definition.

Let's be clear: this is a pop group. I don't mean dance moves and fake tans. I mean that the underground is dead; there's no place to hide. I want to force our poison pill down the throat of Western Civilization so that it may finally perish in senile misery.

Influences: Anger, dread, existential angst, lust, fear, melancholy, Marx, Gramsci, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Charles Mingus, Curtis Mayfield, Public Image Limited, Soft Cell, Birthday Party, Associates, Cybotron,  Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Jaime Principle, Cupid and Psyche '85, A.R. Kane, Cocteau Twins, The KLF, Public Enemy, Insides, St. Etienne, Achtung Baby, UK Hardcore circa 1993, Pulp (please note I have no interest in actually sounding like any of the above).

Fuck: indie, punk, rap, techno, house, noise, country, "experimental", Pitchfork, The Wire, Resident Advisor, FACT, The Quietus, flannel, naiveté, ambiguity, guitarists, drummers, amateurism, technical proficiency, you, me.

Success would be defined as: everything that now exists is over.

Too ambitious. Yes. But, why not.

6.24.2014

Update

Fell off the World Cup wagon for a week - have seen a few games, but I've been pretty distracted by real life. I will get back to it. Watching World Cup games, at the very least, makes me feel connected to the world at large, relieves me, at least momentarily, from my perpetual alienation, and I really need that feeling, especially now.

I quit one of my jobs recently. It was the one that was causing me the most unhappiness, the most stress, and the one that was distracting me during my free time. This job was also the one that provided me with the bulk of my income. 

Over the last few weeks, I've been through a lot mentally. I've been hyperactive, jubilant, relieved, relaxed, complacent, lazy, worried, and consumed by despair. This job took up a huge amount of space in my mind, and leaving it has unleashed a lot of emotion, both positive and negative.

The process of self-discovery is ultimately the process of figuring out what can be changed and what will always be the same. It's not easy. Because, theoretically, everything could be different, but so could nothing. To what extent are characteristics truly fixed, and when does one choose to try and change oneself versus changing external circumstances?

I may never know all of the answers, both generally, and specifically, but I am starting to feel sure of one thing: I am not one who can keep work and life separate. I have to do something I would do for free for money. Doing something I don't like to pay the bills... it's always the same: I am unhappy, I push myself harder and harder to be more disciplined, to stick with it, etc., and the harder I push, with more and more pressure, the more I retreat, the more I dissociate, the less I am "there". Towards the end of my time at my previous job, I was so vanished that I didn't even recognize people I knew when they would come in to the restaurant to say hello.

Ultimately, I am better off. But now I have to face the consequences of my actions. Between what was my second job and existing money in the bank, I can at least eat in perpetuity. I have at least another month of rent. I will find another job soon. There is no need to be concerned about me eating, about me facing homelessness, etc.

While I can merely survive, and will eventually thrive (relatively speaking - I'm still single, in a city I don't like, working in an industry that doesn't pay that well, far from making a living doing work that enriches my life, and far from most of the people, places and things that I care about), it will take me a long time to catch up to the damage I have done to my discretionary income by quitting a job without having another one (yes, an impulsive decision, but: see above, see the last year's worth of bitter, angry posts).

Now, "discretionary" is a hard word to define. Well, not really, but the size of a residence, the quality of food eaten, the amount expended on goods and services; the line between essential and indulgent is defined differently by different people.

This is all a preamble to the following: I have placed a donation button on this page. I could use some help right now, but the help I need is very specific and it might seem, depending on where you see the aforementioned line, that what I am asking for is too much or too little.

I have a very small bedroom music studio. I have some nice equipment, and some cheap equipment. To  some, it would be seen as an excessive amount of gear simply because it is possible to compose and record music without using all of the equipment I have. To others, it would seem to be a pitifully small studio. To me, it is almost exactly the amount of gear I need to make the music I want to make. 

Because I have never made that much money, virtually everything I own was purchased used. In some cases, it was because a certain piece of gear was the only one that would make or process sounds in the way I wanted. In other cases, it was because purchasing used would provide me access to gear that could perform at a high level without compelling me to spend at a high level. Finally, in other cases, it was simply because I didn't have the money to buy something better.

Virtually every single piece of gear I have has been in for repairs. Maintaining my studio has been like a game of whack-a-mole - as soon as something has come back from the shop, something else has needed to go back in. This process, of constant research, of bargain-hunting, of searching for parts, of endless trips to repair shops, has been emotionally draining to say the least, and I've been going through it for five years now. For the most part, I have skipped vacations, avoided nights out, etc., just to try and realize my dream of making the music I hear in my head, and this process has almost convinced me not to bother making music anymore. It's only because I am finally, mercifully, almost done, that I can even continue to hold on.

I have placed the donate button on this page to obtain assistance in finally completing my studio because completion is almost in sight. Sort of. Ultimately, I will never be finished. There will always be another cool pedal to try out, another synth to play with, etc., and yet the list of essentials, the things I simply need to be there when reached for, is almost complete.

So… what do I need?

Well, there are two things:
1. Realistically, I don't expect a lot of donations, but it would be nice if I could pull off getting the three pieces I have in for repair out of the shop. I have a synthesizer, a sampler, and a delay unit waiting for me eight miles away, and I don't have the cash to retrieve them. I also have another sampler (soon to be sold, see below) and another effects unit that need to go in. Total cost is around $450, not including the repair of the second set of devices (just the deposit).

2. In the fantasy-land that exists in my head, a world in which I actually feel like I could matter to a lot of people, I imagine myself actually getting enough money to buy the drum machine I have my eye on. Drums have always been the weakest part of my studio, and, so far, none of the machines I have used have provided me with satisfactory results. My most recent solution was the purchase of a vintage sampler which has a great sound but, besides the fact that it is now broken, it is a hassle to use. If you ever find yourself romanticizing the days of floppy disks, well, don't. The drum machine I want will make sampling and the storing of samples much, much faster. It costs… wait for it… $1,550.

I don't expect to make $1,550. There are, also, many, many much-worthier causes out there. I guess I just mentioned option two out of ludicrous hope, and also the knowledge that at least a few people out there have gotten large amounts of money together with crowd-sourcing. I'd much rather get 100 donations of $15 than a small handful of large ones. The way my mind works, if someone were to actually give me $1,550, I would feel guilty. Towards that end, of conserving my sanity, and also because I can't promise that anyone will get anything in return at all beyond a thank-you email, I want to specifically request, on the off-chance that someone would actually consider making a larger donation, that no donation should exceed $77.50, or 5% of the larger total.

I feel weird even doing this, but I need to move forward with my life. It's unfortunate that that has meant leaving another job. I'd rather work and have the money. Beyond equipment, there's travel, there's clothing that fits, there's an apartment with enough space for a sofa, there's, well, the future, and it all has to wait.

As for the donation button, assuming everything works out for the best, well, it may stay up (there are always more books and records...), but I can't foresee ever asking for a large and specific donation again.

Thank you for your time.

6.16.2014

WC2014 Days Three, Four & Five: Ghana vs. USA, etc.

Day 3 continued:
I didn't get a chance to see the Ivory Coast beat Japan, though the highlights seemed to suggest that either team could have won. Group C seems very open and possibly very weak - we'll see…

Day 4 (day off - no games watched):
France, perhaps more than any other "big" team, and regardless of who they were playing, needed a big win in their first match after the debacle of 2010, and they delivered. I don't necessarily regret not seeing this match, but I look forward to seeing them play further into the tournament, and am also excited to see the team they beat, Honduras, take on Ecuador. In my mind, second place is still very open in this group and, Switzerland's victory not withstanding, the aforementioned match will be the crucial one.

As for Argetina's victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina, well, no surprises there. It was B+H's first match in a World Cup final. They face what will probably be a tough match against Nigeria next, and it will be interesting to see who prevails in that one.

Day 5:
Iran and Nigeria played to the first draw of the tournament. I didn't see it.

Germany destroyed Portugal in another surprising blowout of a well-regarded team (perhaps everyone from the Iberian peninsula should get together for a drink and commiserate). Due to the marvels of technology, I was almost tempted to watch this one a few hours after the game actually ended but… eh.

I did, however, watch Ghana lose to the United States, and I am... ambivalent.

Clint Dempsey scored a very early goal against a defense still gearing up from a starting whistle that had blown less than a minute earlier. Not to take anything away from Dempsey, but, well, um, ok, you know?

If I had started the match rooting for Ghana, it would have been hard to keep up my enthusiasm. Ghana's countless attacks throughout the game always ended in mediocre-to-embarassing last touches that highlighted, alternately, inexperience on the part of younger players and over-ambition on the part of their elders. In a World Cup that has proven to be almost overloaded with goals, Ghana's inability to finish could spell disaster for them already.

As for the United States, they played, well, better than I would have expected. I liked the sense of control in the midfield, and I feel that the defense held up well against Ghana's repeated attacks. That being said, Ghana's lack of goals were more down to their own bad decisions, ultimately, and not the American players. The rigorous way in which America's lines were held would have provided even more opportunities for more creative attacking players, which, given how many shots Ghana took, is saying a lot. I felt in many cases that the US was a bit clumped - any team willing to spread the field against America will find the angles to beat them. All credit to Tim Howard for making some excellent saves (some of which he shouldn't have had to) and to Kyle Beckerman (grudgingly, given my prejudice against white guys with dreads). Beckerman's playing, which was physical without being meanly-so, calm, and intelligent, was perhaps the highlight of the game for me. From what I understand, he's become a regular only under the leadership of Juergen Klinsmann, and, well, more than most of the players, and the decisions they make on the field, I trust Juergen, at least so far.

Of all the reasons I don't cheer for team USA, neither knee-jerk hatred nor trendiness are on that list. I wish Jozy Altidore a speedy recovery. If I had a (nationalist) heart to break, watching Altidore clutching at his hamstring would have broken it...

6.14.2014

WC2014 Day Three: Italy vs. England, etc.

Not much to say regarding Columbia's victory over Greece, nor Costa Rica's victory over Uruguay. Because of the latter result, Group D will be more interesting. That's the gist of anything else you'll read about that game.

As for the big one, well. The first half was good. I was excited about the energy coming from England's younger attacking players, especially Sturridge and Sterling, and Wayne Rooney's assist was especially elegant. That begin said, I didn't find it an especially involving match after the initial two goals, and the second half, for all the near-misses on the part of England… well, that's the thing… were they really all that near? I would have rather seen England forcing the opposing keeper to make a save, even an easy one, rather than the litany of shots well over or well wide of goal. Ultimately, it was a confident and patient match by two teams that expect to make it out of group, and who, by the end, seemed to just want to make it out of the heat even more.


WC2014 Interlude #2: OCD and ADD and, wait, what was I talking about?

What a difference a few years make. Faster internet connections, better video archiving, no-fuss VPNs - it all means I can watch every game of this World Cup, at any time I want. I can even pause the live HD stream and take a smoke break. It's amazing. It's daunting.

It's too much. It's just the group stage. I don't need to see all 64 games, do I? Do I? I don't. 

Calm down. Relax. Relax. Relax.

6.13.2014

WC2014 Day 2: Spain vs. Netherlands, etc.

First off, I didn't see Game 2, during which, as you know, I'm sure, Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0. My impressions from the highlight reels are fairly straightforward. A few more controversial calls to be added to the list, two of which disallowed goals. It looks like Cameroon had a few good chances, but, ultimately, Mexico prevailed after one clean goal around halfway into the second half. I could read someone else's commentary and then comment on that, but there's no point. Ultimately, the highlights are just that, and it really takes watching a full game to understand what actually happened; the pace, the rhythm, the sense of control, or lack thereof, exhibited by both teams. Sometimes goals are aberrant in relation to the actual feel of the match, sometimes goals are logical outcomes.

The real story so far today is, of course, Game 3, which matched defending World Cup champions Spain against the team they beat in the finals back in 2010, the Netherlands.

At the risk of using up all my cliches early in the tournament, I'll just say it now: it was a tale of two halves. I doubt anyone could have imagined going into the second half, with the score tied 1-1, that Spain would receive the drubbing they did by the end. But let's not get too far ahead.

The first half was a masterpiece of tightly-played and unforgiving European football. Each time a pass, or even a touch, was done less that perfectly, possession seemed to change, yet it was hard to tell at times whether both teams were holding out for a draw or if both teams were simply playing patiently, waiting for their opportunities. The ball, the pace, the use of space throughout the pitch, all first-rate on the part of both teams, with the edge in terms of time of possession and self-posessedness going to the Spanish.

A few early fouls by the Dutch reminded me of why I found them so disappointing 2010:  even as they advanced all the way to the finals, I couldn't quite get over the brutish, hard-fouling way in which they did so. That year's final included nine bookings of Dutch players.

The tension of the first half was finally broken by yet another controversial call, as Costa's well-sold reaction to a tackle granted Spain a penalty kick and their first (and only) goal of the match.

At this point, the tone began to shift, albeit slightly. The Netherlands attacked more, but it was still the same two teams, playing the same game. That is until the Dutch broke free of Spain's seemingly-impenetrable midfield and Blind, racing down the field, heeded Van Persie's skyward-pointed finger and fed a beautiful ball to the head of the latter, resulting in one of the more perfectly-excuted goals likely to be seen this year.

Heading into the half, the score was 1-1, but all of the momentum was on the side of the Dutch.

During halftime, the commentators at the CBC wondered whether the two teams would play for a draw and noted that it would be a result both teams would be happy with. Of course this line of thought made sense, but, when one really thinks, not at all.

Simply put, the Netherlands: lost to Spain 1-0 in the final four years ago, totally fell apart at Euro 2012, knew they were facing Brazil in the round of 16 should they place second in their group, and had finally broken the rhythm of Spain's passing. If you were them, why not win?

And so the second half. I won't recount it all, or even any of it, really. Suffice it to say, the Netherlands came out of the locker room with the right sort of aggression and the Spanish fell apart. Towards the end, it was hard to tell the difference: were the Dutch trying to run up the score, or were the Spanish making it too easy on them?

I've inferred from the in-game commentary, that the big concern for Spain, who have dominated international football for a few years now, is the advancing age of many of their players. It may be true, but I don't think that the flexibility and stamina missing from the Spanish side today was physical, but rather mental. The Netherlands broke the Spanish style, and the Spaniards never bothered to try and adapt. They kept playing their game, waiting for mistakes that never came, expecting that they'd get the ball back, and that they'd be able to keep it. They came off like a DJ with his head down, playing records to what was a packed dance floor, who hasn't noticed that everyone has left.

Edit:
I've decided to do the posts by day rather than by game. More on that later.

Suffice it to say, I'm now watching the last minutes of Chile vs. Australia. I didn't watch the whole thing, and, to be honest, it's a bit much to watch every game. I don't have a lot of better things to do, just not nothing else.

Chile has just scored, making the game 3-1 in their favor, and the match is now over over.

Initially, Chile came out of the gate with such intensity and speed that I began to feel as if I didn't really know much about football, that if a team could play like that, well… I was amazed, almost inspired. Of course, I wasn't taking into account Australia's relative inexperience, and, eventually, when Chile slowed down, well, I realized that for all their training (and all the pizza and cigarettes I consume), our lungs are still the same organs on some level.

The match itself was well-played, though a bit frantic at times. The energy of young teams trying to prove themselves now burdened by the knowledge of the Dutch assault on Spain, and that, yes, this will be a tough group. It will be interesting to see Chile come into contact with a more deliberate style. Spain vs. Chile will be a good one to watch.