8.19.2016

For No Reason Other Than

Just wanted to remind the handful of people who read this blog and who may have forgotten or even never knew that this record exists and was released in another universe around 25 years ago, give or take. Really, though, another universe. Can you even imagine the culture that could imagine this to be a good idea? Wasn't this a number one record in 1994? Fuck.

8.14.2016

Maybe Only Funny To Me

I work at this place now. It's a mess, a story for another time. I must be a writer somewhere deep down in my soul because I keep finding myself in these fucked-up situations that I can only deal with through "creative distance" otherwise my head would fucking explode.

My clientele is a buch of faux-sophisticated new money-types who can't help but order the most debased shit from me with varying degrees of unearned-ostentation.

On the weekends, there is a cover band, and they dance. I am no ageist, but there is something ludicrous, still. A bunch of parochial aspiring-WASP uneducated fucks drinking crappy, sugary drinks while dancing badly to Earth, Wind and Fire.

What are they worth?

A good line, sadly unusable in most contexts:

"A dance floor full of failed skincare regimens."

An evocative image only to anyone who has ever been there, I guess.

Oh well.

I still love you, even if you didn't want me to. Maybe especially because. Sadly. Or not.

8.03.2016

Advent (3 of ?)

Maybe I Should Have Twitter... Or Not

What, with all the tiny little thoughts I can't bother to develop further.

Here's one for today.

Do you ever find yourself wishing that Rage Against The Machine was a good band?

Hasn't anti-social individualistic cynicism been the de facto American ideology since the 1970s or so?

People crying tears of joy during the recent conventions notwithstanding of course.

I guess those people still exist.

I'm jealous. I want to be re-illusioned.

All I'm certain of: I like to dance sometimes alone in my apartment. Also, eating ice cream generally makes me happy provided it's been made recently and flavored with something I want to eat. Already, a lot of caveats, but I feel like someone out there is already thinking of cardboard-flavored ice cream, just out of spite.

I wish I lived in DC again solely so I could go out drinking the night before the election at a bar filled with hubristic young congressional staffers. Pickup line: what's your pet's name and does it fit on a ballot?

I've worked twenty-five of the last twenty-six days.

I generally have less money at the end of the day than I did at the beginning. I get paid every day. I feel like my existence disproves a lot of economic theory somehow (rational choice?). Others have it much worse.

I'd like to offer a challenge to those of you who love making new words: what's philanthropy in reverse? I don't mean the wealthy stealing from those who have less but rather the word for someone of lower means voluntarily paying to make the lives of the wealthy better. I'm actually getting close to that now.

If we fail at creating new words, we fail at creating new realities.

I've given up a lot to hold on to this shrinking piece of land.

Oddly enough, of all of the things I've had to temporarily scratch from my list of dreams, what almost made me cry was shopping for dinnerware online today. I'm not buying any; for some reason, looking at pretty plates online evoked a placid domesticity that is as foreign to me as Bangladesh, even as it may exist in a home twenty feet from my apartment. I never got a car, never thought I would have a serious crack at owning a house, forgot long ago that I ever planned on living somewhere on the water in northern Europe, have become patient enough to accept that it may be a few more years before I'll have a cat again. But, man, I didn't think I wouldn't have some nice plates, you know? Isn't that what people do?

Like, it's totally out of reach right now: buy a piece of steak, season it, pan-sear it, toss it in the oven, take it out when cooked for the right amount of time (I'm a medium-rare guy), place it on a pretty plate, cut into it with a steak knife and a fork, and use the fork to place the steak in my mouth.

First off, I'd need a ride to the grocery store. Then I would have to get the steak back here, along with salt (I don't think I even have that!). My stove isn't powerful enough to really sear it, especially since I have a crappy pan that an old roommate burned accidentally and it doesn't convey heat very well, so even if my stove was powerful, I'd still probably need a new pan. Even if I had the pan and the stove, a ride to and from the supermarket, well, I'd still need a steak knife. I have a crappy fork. I have a crappy plate.

Actually, I have two plates and a table to put them on but only one chair so if you want to join me in eating steak one of us will be standing huddled over the steak trying to cut it with a butter knife. The seated party will be eating dinner in a decaying office chair that will roll around the floor as the steak is being cut.

Maybe only one of us should cut the steak. I'll do it for you. You are my guest. I do have manners, at least.

It's actually shit like this that makes me feel stuck in permanent adolescence, much more than anything else.

I'm ashamed of myself for not being a great artist but most people aren't, anyways. Somehow, though, I feel like many Americans can figure out how to own steak knives and chairs at the same time; they've made a better go of their exploitation, even if they have nothing particularly interesting to say. Maybe because.

It's not self-pity.

Can you really prove that Miles Davis actually made music, or that Jane Austen wrote a novel? Leave your house and walk around the streets and don't talk to anyone and prove it. I dare you.

I wonder if we are reaching some sort of breaking point with civilization.

People complain about specialization. He knows how to do this and not that, and vice-versa for her and all that. I think it's brilliant. Someone will make great pens, another will write with them, and if the writer had to make pens, or the maker of pens had to write, well, pens and writing would suffer.

Fine by me.

But what if we all come to live such distinct lives now that we'll never understand each other, even as we continue to create our self-justifying hierarchies amongst ourselves?

The hierarchies are stupid. Consumerism allows us all to not take responsibility for the social and economic systems which are created and engendered by our desires. A neurosurgeon could look down upon someone who harvests tomatoes, thinking, well, they must be stupid, they must have wasted their life, must have fucked up somehow, while eating a fine plate of penne all'arrabiatta. Ironing is delicious.

A couple came in to the bar tonight and spent about as much money on drinks as I made in the twelve hours I worked today. Admittedly, it was very slow night (just like about twenty of the last twenty-five I have worked). They only had three drinks between them; not really excessive at all. And yet the disparity. That even one cocktail, one glass of bourbon and one glass of Scotch could actually nearly exceed the income of the person serving those drinks.

It's true I should quit, and I will. It's also true that they must have presumed that there would be no consequence for tipping me $3 on $37. They were right.

Maybe I am stupid, maybe I have wasted my life, fucked up somehow, but, even if it I wasn't there, someone would be, even someone who made better choices, and that someone would be there not because of stupidity, because of a wasted life, because of fucking up, but, simply because a couple of rich people want to have a drink outside of their home.

I think I'm losing what I'm trying to say. I think it's just...

The cool thing about the world right now is that the less responsibility for the way the world works any individual possesses, the more blame they take.

But really, it's nobody's fault. 

Rage Against The Inability To Take Responsibility For The World, it doesn't have the same ring, though.

I'm back at work in ten hours.

8.01.2016

Advent (1 of ?)

Artistic Failure

I can't imagine that work of culture which would give men and women of conscience more to do than commiserate.

7.24.2016

Updated Aphorism

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man masturbates.

7.23.2016

Life Lesson, Learned Too Late

They'll only take what you are willing to give up.

7.19.2016

Not Homeless

Things have been crazy for me. I've worked the last 11 days in a row and have made less money than I would have working four of the seven days of a week at the majority of the jobs I have had since around 2004. I have two jobs. I'm supposed to quit one to go work for the other, or stay at the old one now that I have realized that the new one is no better. Soon, management of two restaurants will hate me for the crime of attempting to pay my rent and also not sell my belongings. I can't quit either nor stay employed at either should I not quit either. 

If I had the energy to write politics, I'd say that what's interesting nowadays, and, really, this has been the case for a while now, for many, many billions of people, but also increasingly-more of us privileged enough to live in the developed world, is that, for numerous reasons, including increased efficiency, globalization, and the concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people, it's really no longer necessary for capitalism to set the the minimum value of labor at the cost of the perpetuation human existence towards ensuring that there is sufficient labor for capitalism to persist. Never mind all of the sentimental or moral reasons to pay people enough to eat; if they die, they can't come to work. Now it doesn't matter.

But I'm not here to complain.

Just to share with you the joy of knowing that whatever I'm going through and whatever you are going through, it remains true that Miles Davis made some amazing music that can be listened to right now.

Unfuckingbelivable stuff from an unrecorded quintet. Shorter further out that I've ever hear him, Davis fantastically concise, and also gracious enough to realize that, for whatever reason, it was Chick Corea's night, and that he should step away and let his new rhythm section, well, yeah.

I love 1970s Miles, but sometimes, the bands get so large and, well, not unwieldy, but, let's just say that fog doesn't always conceal a mystery waiting to be solved.

Here's another band, only probably less than a year after the '69 band, larger, still coherent.

Watch and remember that there is a point even if nobody knows what it is. It has to be true, if only because Jack DeJohnette says as much. I believe him.



7.17.2016

Living Death and Dying Death

Treat people as abstractions and symbols and this is what you get.
Ask to be treated as abstractions and symbols and this is what you get.

As far as I can tell, every perspective on what the problem is and what the solution is offers no escape from the above.

6.30.2016

Hil

Hillary really seems to believe that her victory is enough of a consolation prize to negate our miseries. Sadly, there are enough people who agree that she'll never disabuse herself or her notion. If she loses, she'll blame us. We'll have deprived ourselves of the joy of witnessing her happiness.

6.24.2016

RIP

More and more I feel like we're running out of things to memorialize. At least, positive things.

Not the most Bernie but this is what touched me the deepest.

He would want us to dance. Don't be shy.






For Real This Time

Good links over at BLCKDGRD (given that virtually everyone who reads this blog comes through a link from BLCKDGRD, it's oddly recursive to bother linking there - I'm just sending you backwards, aren't I?).

FUNK here.

A decent Guardian piece here.
I wouldn't be optimistic whichever way the vote had gone. I feel oddly divorced form politics just now. Hence my sarcasm below (though, on the off chance that anyone from SSL is reading, I just want to say I do love you for real!). I didn't have to look up any of the facts in my previous post. 

I think I actually like Simon's response (a video for Kraftwerk's "Europe Endless"). Sure, the EU is not the harbinger of utopia. But, certainly, some other kind of dream seems to be dying, too.

BREXIT YESSSSSS!

Hi.

As a longtime lover of music who has obsessed over the minutiae of recording technology and legendary stories from the history of record making, I have come to desire certain parts of that history. So many of my favorite stories have revolved around one company: Solid State Logic. Solid State Logic, or "SSL", for those in the know, is a manufacturer primarily of high-end mixing consoles based in Oxford, England. They began making consoles in the 1970s, but their star really began to rise in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The advent of digital technology allowed for numerous new possibilities in the design of recording consoles, and SSL was early to recognize these possibilities. SSL's utilization of digital technology towards allowing engineers to automate and recall their mixes was a game-changing innovation in the history of recording technology, and these features, along with superlative sonics, flexible signal routing architectures, and the industry-standard master bus compressor (heard on literally thousands of singles) caused numerous high-profile studios to choose SSL consoles for their mix rooms. SSL became an industry standard in the 1980s and continues to be so today. It could be argued, at least to nerds like me and lovers of great pop music everywhere, that SSL is the finest and most important company operating in England today, a company that embodies all of the best traditions of British small-scale manufacture: creativity, innovation, attention to detail, reliability, and a certain sense of style and luxury. An SSL console is a true wonder to behold, the engine behind popular music all around the world, and still made in Oxford.

My love of SSL comes from numerous sources: Hugh Padgham's (mis-) use of a an SSL console talkback compressor to develop Phil Collins' drum sound in the 1980s, the glorious widescreen productions of Trevor Horn for Frankie Goes To Hollywood and, of course, the greatness of Timbaland in the early 2000s, whose innovative hits were engineered and mixed mostly by Mr. Jimmy Douglas on, you guessed it, an SSL console.

Unfortunately, great gear comes at a great price. I've always wanted an SSL console, but life has gotten in the way. Rent, bills, food, records, etc.; even when I spend very little, it all adds up anyways.

I do, however, have a little plastic container where I keep my spare change. Quarters get used for laundry, so the container is filled with dimes, nickels and pennies. 

I've been too lazy to take this change into the bank. My bank doesn't have one of those machines into which I could just drop all of the change and get credit in my account. I would have to count all of the change manually and bring the change over to the bank and then wait for them to count. Truly, a hassle. However, thanks to Brexit, there may be a solution. 

With the impending collapse of the GBP, my change may be worth more than I thought. Currently, I am working to sort all of the dimes out of the mess of change, and, soon, I hope to place them in an envelope (I'll pay postage). When that envelope arrives in Oxford, I hope to receive shipment confirmation on what I have always dreamed of owning: my own SSL console.





6.19.2016

Growing Up

I think I figured it out!

Finally!

Child: Twin Mattress

Adolescent: Full Mattress

Adult: Queen Mattress or Larger

6.12.2016

At A Loss

For what it's worth, from some small, invisible corner of the Internet, I just want to offer my love to all of the people suffering directly and indirectly from the events in Orlando.

And, perhaps too early, I want to offer my middle finger to all of the public figures who have cynically taken advantage of the primitive animuses that still divide our country for personal gain. It may be that this is the work of "radical Islam", but that doesn't give you, "good Christian", the right to distance yourself from the climate you have created.

Edit:

Rap Rap

Um...

Hey.

This is my new jam:

This is my old jam:

Contradictory, yes.

New school: OK, there's something really weird about this one. Some of the vocals are like nerdy whitely Superpitcher, of all things! Superpitcher in the ATL. Think about it!

And, old school? Jeru the gawd rocks it over Premiere who (in)advertantly samples something like Andrew Hill or Leroy Burgess with that descending chord progression coming from confusion to clarity. It's love.

6.09.2016

In Case It Wasn't Clear

To paraphrase a gentleman:

Your disillusionment is a feature not a bug.


If you applaud the pragmatism, then you are part of the 10% of the people extant for whom the world as presently-constituted exists, or you still believe you will be part of this 10% if only you can think the proper thoughts. It must be nice. Enjoy it. Pet your pets.

5.29.2016

A Few Possible Campaign Slogans

For Hilary of course. All along the same lines, but I'm not in advertising: I can't figure out the best one.

Hilary: the professional management of imperial decline

Hilary: the kindest form of euthanasia

Hilary: stop dreaming and vote

Hilary: for who you want to be, not who you are, even if you never get there

Hilary: no principles, no compromises

Hilary: Washington knows best

Hilary: when you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with

Hilary: collapse gently

Hilary: go gentle into that good night

I think my favorite is the first but the word "imperial" is a little ambiguous for me in that I don't have much desire to have America be an imperial success either... Still, it has a certain ring to it...

5.25.2016

Cats Jumping Through Hoops Whilst Making Funny Noises

What is the most Google-able blog post title?

Nude photos of your favorite celebs.

Why Donald Trump is Jesus incarnate.

Incarnate is too big a word.

The smell of oil upon the asphalt of a racetrack at 3am, hours after the race has concluded.

Vomit on a sidewalk outside a bar is an unknown story, and possibly an unremembered one as well.

Vomit on a sidewalk outside a bar is a ghost.

Who knows themselves well enough to be sure they aren't lying, and aren't they then lying even more?

I've convinced myself, but who else?

High school stoner.

CD box set.

The expenditure of theoretical money in one's head.

Analog summing.

12-bit reverb.

Insipid key changes.

When I see an acoustic guitar, I assume the worst.

I'm just fucking with you now.

Disingenuous feces.

A birdcall lacking in conviction.

A hare staring at me. Eyes reflected in streetlights, body in silhouette against a construction site.

I don't believe it either.

Mix 5% wet.

Vacations to vacation spots.

A series of unconnected statements that don't even mean much to me.

Do they seem significant?

The sun/

5.22.2016

Just Sharing

Sometimes I don't have anyone else to tell.

I was watching an episode of Law and Order and they mentioned the name of a fictional bar called "Jangle's" and I misheard it as "genitals". Probably, to certain therapists, that means something, but, besides all of that, well, it's a pretty fucking great name for a bar. You heard it here first.

"I'm thirsty, let's head to Genitals!". If you want this idea, you can have it (send me cash!). You could also go for "Jenny Tall's". Probably more likely to get past the red tape, that name.

In other mildly amusing ideas.

I once decided upon the following as the best band name ever while living in New York:

Prince Playing Purple Rain In Its Entirety In A Warehouse In Bushwick

Like:

Two guys run into each other on the street.

Dude 1: 
Hey. What's up.

Dude 2:
Not much. Chillin'. You know of anything cool going on tonight?

Dude 1:
Yeah. I'm going to go see a show with my friends.

Dude 2:
Who's playing?

Dude 1:
I'm gonna go see Prince Playing Purple Rain In Its Entirely In A Warehouse In Bushwick.

Dude 2:
Holy shit, that sounds fucking amazing. Prince! Is the Revolution going to be there too? I've never seen him live. "I Would Die 4 U" is one of the best songs of all time.

Dude 1:
Great fucking song, yeah. But, no. It's not actually Prince playing.

Dude 2:
What?

Dude 1:
No, see, Prince Playing Purple Rain In Its Entirety In A Warehouse In Bushwick is the name of the band.

Dude 2:
So it's not Prince?

Dude 1:
No. It's this dude Aaron playing kazoo through a wah-wah pedal along to famous presidential addresses in front of a TV playing octogenarian porn.

Dude 2:
Hmm. Sounds intense. Does he do Prince covers too?

Dude 1:
Nope.

Dude 2:
Uh. Have fun?

Dude 1:
Yeah. Thanks.

Dude 2:
See you around.

Dude 1:
Peace.

I guess now that Prince is dead, my new band will be called A Reunited Talk Talk Playing Laughing Stock In Its Entirety For The First Time Ever At A House Party In Bed-Stuy. I hope I didn't just jinx Mark Hollis.

I'm not that much of a narcissistic asshole. I just sometimes feel like I don't particularly matter to anyone and wonder what I'm doing wrong. More than total release, I'm looking for total connection.

I do love all of you who have had the patience to continue reading my writing as I have bottomed out as a human being. I know that sounds melodramatic, but the scariest thing about my life over the past few years is that I can't remember any of it. Nothing has touched me. I guess I'm a permanent malcontent, and can't even really, to a certain extent, trust my perceptions of the present and the past and the future, but, fuck, there were, at least, at certain times, people to hug, and, to my credit, for what it's worth, I really do miss, unselfishly, the possibility of affecting the lives of others in a positive manner. I know I can be that person again. I just don't see the way forward right now. Hence the self-obsession. Or maybe it's the other way around. We'll see.

I feel like a gear spinning freely.

EDIT:
And this over-obsession with age is, well, it's a lot of things, but part of it is that I really had figured that I would know better by now. Sure, it could be capitalism circa 2016, it could be the decisions I've made, it could be that I'm somehow too in love with new experiences to ever commit to anything, but I never knew that adulthood could be as drifting as this, that everything I've done and experienced until now would not necessarily move me towards anything more certain, more stable. I guess, welcome to life, huh? But maybe it's just me? There must be more to it than managing contingency? Certainly, I look at other people and it seems to be that way.

Thanks.

New and good:


Older and good and pertinent:

5.14.2016

Untrained Eye

I feel like if I try and explain away whatever was bad about that last post, whatever's good about it will go away too. Don't take things too literally. Don't ask me which things are which.

I'll never be a good writer if you always believe me.

5.11.2016

Desire Is God

Here's the thing. I'm 35. It's not old, but it's also, like, like, I dunno, it's also like. I really want to be free from want. And I can't be. It's spring again, finally. It's fucking May and only on the last few days has the weather really broken. And the spring breeze is a siren song leading me nowhere. And someplace else. A someplace that doesn't exist that I ignore at my peril.

It kills me.

That breeze.

I really want to be done with desire. I want to leave it all to the kids, or whatever. It kills me.

I want to settle down. I'm so sick of wanting everything. I want to set my feet on every square foot of the universe, want to meet every life in it. I want to kiss babies and make cats purr and massage the ears of every dog who would look upon me with expectant eyes. I want squirrels to not face me with trepidation while guarding their acorns like mothers.

I want to kiss everyone, to bite lower lips and let our noses compete for orientation and heal the fundamental lack.

My desire is unfulfillable.

But avoiding it hasn't brought me peace.

So what's next?

I don't know.

This phase of my life is over.

I've complained plenty about Providence. There's plenty to complain about.

For instance, it's a city with thousands of Italian-Americans who walk is if their balls precede their hips by a thousand feet. And yet I can't get a good slice of pizza.

But what really kills me: the empty streets at night.

I feel like George Willard. Or Franco Interlenghi as Moraldo in I Vitelloni.

It's an odd city to live in as an adult because it's a place that, by leaving, one becomes an adult.

Instead.

All I can do is bear passive, mute witness to the frustrated dreams of beautiful people. I can never really live here, only observe.

And I need to live, so desperately.

I need to excrete, need to cultivate the formation of liquids that encase the flesh in olfactory reminiscence.

I need to fuck.

I need to kiss the oil-stained pavements drenched in yellowing light as if the perpetuation of human existence depended on it.

I need to tongue curb cuts.

I need to take baseball bats to all of the shop windows that evoke peace piecemeal, one pane at a time.

There's something wrong. About shop windows through which one can see garments that promise a glorious nightlife never to arrive. And the store lights are off.

The girls who flirt with me who won't join in the journey.

The quest.

For whatever is left of god.

I want to pick you up by whatever is between your legs and throw you through that shop window so that I can eat those garments alive.

I want you to be beside me as the glass breaks, as the mannequins stand ready to be denuded and raped.

I want to kill, but only that which cannot die.

And I want to write better than this. Only I have to go answer the door and take delivery of another sad calzone.

Yeah. That's really how this ends.

Again.

5.04.2016

Still Crazy After All These Years

This is one of those personal memories that matters to nobody but the recaller.

In college I only knew one person as crazy for techno as I was. He was obsessed with a certain Derrick May mix CD and he turned me on to it and we both listened to it constantly around the year 2000 or so. It was his mission in life to collect every single record on said mix. The holy grail was, well, a copy of the track below. It was virtually impossible to find. This is still internet 1.0 era, mind. Anyways, he added this particular record to his wantlist on an old site that no longer exists called Groovetech. Probably more as an ironic recognition of the fact that he would never own a copy than anything else.

One day, we're hanging out and he finds out that the record is available. "You want a copy"? Of course I did. Ten bucks later, the holy grail of techno is on the way. Of course, he got a copy too. I loved the record just as much as he, but I hadn't been chasing it for half a decade like he had been. So it didn't seem that impressive at first.

Subsequently, it was.

I now had a copy of possibly the best techno record ever made. One that never, ever leaves my heart or my soul.

I hate to talk money, but, man, it's now an $80 record used. Used.

Serendipity on my side for once. But fuck all of that.

Just listen. Dope. Dope. Dope!

The techno ideal, to me, at least, is to finally leave the language of formal music towards communicating at the level of pure sound. This is that. Yes.

5.01.2016

Pay In Cash

In my darkest moments, I settle on one particular thought: that the restaurant industry exists proves that the Left doesn't.

Yes. Too reductive.

And really, only applicable in the USA. Well, not "only", but it's worse here.

Tips are emotional blackmail. Sexual harassment is common. I'm a guy, so I have it easy. Not that sexual harassment is easy, well, ever, but, assuming we are talking circles of hell, well, if you get sexually harassed at a job where you get paid a wage or a salary, you get paid for the time up to and including the moment when that harassment happens. When you work for tips, you have to decide whether it's worth standing up for yourself, which means risking losing compensation for labor you have already performed. There's more. Maybe I'll get to it. I mean.

OK.

I've been trying and failing to write something substantial about my time in restaurants for a while now. There's something addictive about them. Sadly, what's addictive, is, well, the sadness. I've never met so many brilliant people for whom, seemingly, there is so little use. It's amazing, really. There's this odd repository of witty, passionate, intellectual, compassionate people who have decided, for whatever reason, to sacrifice themselves to you. So that you may persist in being less.

But that's for another day.

Let's try this instead.

Here's how I get paid.

The way in which restaurants handle money is always sketchy. Always.

Here's how the place I am at does it as of now.

When you choose to pay, I bring you a check. That check, of course, is a list of all of the items I have served you, their prices, and the total cost of those items, including tax. This is the amount you are expected to pay. Obvious, so far. I won't even go into what happens when you don't pay. It doesn't happen often, and it doesn't happen for malicious reasons often, either. But it does. I've worked at places where I've had to pay. But we won't go there now. Or maybe, we will.

At the bar I worked in last year, if you started a tab and left without paying, it was my responsibility to pay the house back. So, if your tab was $100, and I made $120 in tips, well, I would walk with $20. Which is why I took your card, and why I never let that happen. But I was one of the lucky ones. Yes. If you walk out on a tab, not only are you not compensating me for your labor, but you are actually, literally, negating the compensation of others.

I'm not in the situation now. And, as I said, it didn't actually happen to me. I took your card. Just understand that that is a possibility. And while we're at it, I'll say that, although I have never worked at one, there are restaurants that... Sorry. You know, right, that whenever you pay via debit or credit card, the business has to pay a fee. There are some restaurants that take that money out of the server's or bartender's tips. So that person is actually paying, well, probably only a small amount, yes, but, nevertheless, paying to let you use your card.

I've never worked in a place like that. Just know that those places do exist.

Here's how my place works. 

At the end of the night, I add up my credit card sales, my credit card tips, and my cash sales. 

If the cash sales are equal to the credit card tips, I take all the cash home. If the cash sales are higher than the credit card tips, then I owe the house money. Money that's not mine because that money is not from tips. That's fine.

It gets tricker if my credit tips are higher than my cash sales. In the case, the house owes me money. That money is the difference between my cash sales and my credit tips.

An example. I do, let's say, $1,000 in sales. $900 in credit sales and $100 in cash sales. I earn 20% tips on this particular night, which means that I receive $180 in credit card tips on my $900 in credit card sales. Since I did $100 in cash sales, I get to keep that $100 and the house owes me $80. Fair enough. Of course, since those $180 in credit card sales are declared automatically to the IRS, they take their cut. I don't get to see all of that $80. Fine. Taxes. We all pay them. I guess I could be a bit, well, the more cash, the easier to hide the money from the taxman. But I'm moral and let's assume I am too. I digress.

But I said it would get tricky, and here's where it does.

In the restaurant industry, we tip one another at the end of the night.

Rationally, it makes sense. If I am waiting tables, and you are bartending, you pour the drinks I need to take to my tables. You work for tips, I work for tips. You are making me drinks. I should pay you, and I do. I accept this. How could I wait tables successfully if I couldn't bring drinks to my tables? How could you bartend successfully if you were not going to get paid for making those drinks, especially if making those drinks takes away time you could be spending helping customers who are ready and willing to compensate you for your efforts?

So I tip you out.

And other people, too.

At my particular restaurant, on a weekend night, I tip the bartender and the host.

Now let's go back to the end of the night. Credit cards versus cash.

Let's say, for fun, that I do $1,000 in sales and get my 20% and therefore earn $200 in tips. Here's the catch. It's all credit cards. So I have $200 in credit card tips. None of which I will walk home with, and none of which I can hide from the IRS. Blah. I don't want to hide anything from the IRS. I want them to know everything.

Everything, though?

Since the credit card records are official, the IRS knows I have made $200. Except, well, I haven't. The total amount of my tips that I tip to other employees varies from restaurant to restaurant, but, in the present case at least, the percentage is close to, amusingly enough, 20%. So, hmm, what's 20% of $200? $40. So the actual money I have made is $160, with the other of the $40 going to others. Except that's not how the accounting works. I was tipped $200, and that's what I have to declare. Even if $40 is getting paid to someone else.

Stated clearly: I am paying taxes on income I don't actually receive. But only on my credit card tips. Since cash tips are reported voluntarily, cash gives me the chance to lie, which I don't do. But cash also give me the chance to report the money I am actually taking home, as opposed to the amount I am paid. which is not the same.

Does this seem like a big deal to you? Are you outraged? Probably not.

This is why I'm having a hard time really writing about the industry.

Until I figure it out, until I can write the words that make your feet hurt as much as mine, all I'll say is, pay in cash.

4.17.2016

Only Normal People Want To Be Weird

And please quote me on that.

Because I am right.

I don't have any tattoos or a trendy haircut or anything.

I wish I could actually fit in, figure it all out.

Because I was born alienated. It's not an affectation.

There's a million prospective accountants running away from their fate and I am jealous.

Here I am, thirty-five years old, intelligent, no career prospects, no romantic prospects, no home-ownership prospects, no nothing-prospects, and instead of going to bed early, trying to do something, trying to be something, I am obsessing.

I had superlative SAT scores, a year's worth of AP college credits, time at CTY, everything, and yet, here I am, resume-less, degree-less, career-less, future-less, everything-less, trying to figure out why the chord change that occurs at around 1:35 in this track is a thousand levels above my intelligence.

And all I want is for you to be, just for a moment, obsessed too. I am alright with being alone, but not alright with being unique. I hope you get it, even in your solitude, a solitude that I hope is not as permanent as mine.



3.15.2016

A Small, Quiet Thought, Possibly Incorrect

If anything characterizes a civilization or a society as decadent, surely it is this: it feels immature to be principled.

3.14.2016

"They Still Haven't Figured It Out"

I don't know much about what happened in Chicago and the Trump rally and all of that. Someone showed me a video of it at work.

I think I was supposed to be all excited that Sanders supporters were protesting Trump's "fascism" or whatever.

But what I really saw was a lot of people who have suffered the most from decades of "failed" economic policies fighting amongst themselves.

And what I imagined was many wealthy people somewhere sighing with relief: "they still haven't figured it out".

2.21.2016

If I move Back To New York

It's only because.

Um.

As a 35-year-old single Marxist-Jewish-Catholic lover of Freestyle music, where else could I possible go?

Miami?

I don't know how to drive.

So.





Oh, also,

RIP

1.11.2016

I Wouldn't Even Know Where To Start

Every expletive ever.

RIP.

A Poem About Self-Hatred

"Hello. I'd like to place an order for delivery."

1.03.2016

I Know You Were (The Poetry of Bullshit)

I know you were staring

at the wall, at the ceiling, empty bed, cold comforter,

the regrets of a lifetime

traced by eyes
upon the cracks in plaster,

the shoddy drywall work of a now------------forgotten Guatemalan

who spent a day
in your future bedroom

thinking about a wife back home

unseen in almost a decade

doing subpar drywall work (but only on that day)

in YOUR future HOME.

Where was I?

Regrets, cracks in plaster,

you staring
and I know what you are wondering about.

According to the NEW YORK TIMES,

it's ok

turtlenecks are "cool" again.

The next Juan will fix your paint job.

You don't have to regret that impulse purchase

made at Lord and Taylor

so many years ago.

No longer a vague shame.

Another soul is saved.