Monday, June 30, 2008

pre-vacation jitters

today is the day before my vacation, so there is that knot of anticipation in my stomach. you know the one.

ive got to pack my bags and order a cab and tie up all these loose ends. it doesnt help that there are deadlines looming like buzzards overhead. things to worry about. items to pore over.

but it'll all be gone soon. ill be on a jet plane and thirty thousand feet in the air and reading a book or maybe watching Virgin Airlines in flight programming. ill have a few drinks in me. thats a given. possibly one of those mini bottles of wine or maybe a can of domestic lager or, most likely, a couple tiny bottles of whiskey and a cup of gingerale.

i wont be reachable most days. ill be at my mothers house. she lives way up north in california, among the rolling hills and giant redwoods and dry, dry patches of field that wait patiently to catch fire. the other days ill be in san francisco and ill be answering my phone most of the time, unless im passed out on the floor of some trannies hotel room surrounded by trance cd's and porno magazines and tin foil and cocaine. then it might be harder to reach me.

i plan on seeing friends, old and new, and maybe catching a movie and copping some new music. i will definitely eat a burrito and, at some point for sure, i will be so high i'll have to take a moment to collect myself.

typical san francisco shit.

i will try to avoid the hills but i wont be able to. i will try to keep my money in order but i wont be able to.

i might dj on wednesday night, but then again, i might not, i might just get drunk. either way...


in other news, after world class douchebag noel gallagher from oasis told the press that jay-z headlining the glastonbury festival was a huge mistake that would result in failure, jay-z went ahead and murdered it. that is quite impressive. go to hell noel, with your 2 1/2 good songs. youre band hasnt been good since 1997. eat shit.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

back to backs

all week ive been taking my friends to task with one simple question:

what are the greatest back to back hip hop albums ever put out?

now of course there is criteria that the albums must fulfill. for one, they obviously have to be in sequence. there can not be an album put out between them that disrupts the flow of "from great to greater" [although in special cases we can overlook EP's, though i dont think this loophole needed to be exercised]. the second album must be of equal or greater quality than the one released before it. both albums must stand up over time, they cant have been "good then, but dated now". the albums cant be too regional or nichey, they must be universally accepted as classics by all fans of hip hop. lastly, they can not have just one or two singles on them, but the rest of the album be trash, they must be good all the way through.

its not easy when you think of it, at least in terms of hip hop. i can think of ten rock and pop acts off the top of my head that have achieved this feat in their respective genres [the beatles with revolver to sgt pepper, the pixies with surfer rosa to doolittle, radiohead with the bends to ok computer, prince with1999 to purple rain, michael jackson with off the wall to thriller, etc etc] but it is a rare occurrence in hip hop. maybe because the audience is so fickle, possibly because most hip hop acts work with different producers each album, so dont get to grow musically as a unit with one person. maybe because hip hop just doesnt like to allow its artist to mature too fast and change too much between records. im not sure, but it took some serious brain racking to come up with a list of more than two or three artist/groups in hip hop that have successfully matured and grown sonically from album to album.

before i list the back-to-backs me and a couple well versed cohorts came up with, ill go over some that were considered but didnt qualify. this will give you an idea of the rigidity of the question and how we determined just what albums really stood up. also, it'll provide examples of what could be argued [and was indeed argued] and could be controversial since left out.

Notorious BIG - Ready to Die to Life After Death was thrown in the ring, but after thinking about it we had to conclude that, although Ready to Die is, hands down, a classic, Life After Death just wasnt as good. not to take anything away from Biggies second full length, it was just a little too bloated and its singles werent as strong as anything from Ready to Die. in the end it was a week link and couldnt be included.

Too Short - Born to Mack to Life is... Too Short can be seen as classics by many. and without a doubt they are. and Life is... is definitely a better, more mature album that expanded on the sound Too Short laid the groundwork on in his first major release. Born not only has the classic opus "Freaky Tales," but also "Dopefiend Beat," which would introduce the drawn out "biiiiiiitch," howl into popular culture that to this day, i still hear people hollering. and Life is... has, of course, the title track, still to be heard in clubs running up and down the left coast, as well as "Dont Fight The Feeling," probably Shorts most lyrically clever song [and no one has ever mistaken Short for being lyrically clever before or since], but outside of the Bay Area, neither album is widely regarded and many would dismiss both, if not at least one, of the albums as just mediocre. of course all us bay area kids know that both albums are bona fide classics, but for this list, it just didnt make the cut.

Cypress Hill - Cypress Hill to Black Sunday was proposed and then, upon reflection, immediately dismissed. although Black Sunday has the bigger single with "Insane in the Brain," the album itself pales in comparison to their self titled debut. Muggs is a great producer, but he never captured the sonic excitement and originality of the debut, and the lyrics of both B-real and Sen Dog just devolved into fake gangster posturing and rapping about weed.

now on to the list of albums that did make the cut. clearly some of these can be argued, but most of them just cant.

A Tribe Called Quest - Low End Theory to Midnight Marauders - This is the sequence of albums that inspired the conversation and the bar from which all other contenders were measured. this could be called the greatest back to back albums in hip hop ever, and id be willing to argue it until im blue in the face [please dont make me, blue isnt my color]. Like one of my friends said, you dont skip a track on these albums because it is bad, but only because you want to hear another track more right then. with Low End Theory, Tribe took their sound [and most all of hip hop as well] to a new level, building the songs on strong bass lines and hard jazz drum breaks. no hip hop fan could argue that it wasnt earth shattering when it came out. every single, every album cut, was perfect. the only thing more mind blowing than the Low End Theory album was that they followed it up with an album that was not only as good, but could possibly be even better. which was something no one ever thought they would be able to do.

Run DMC - King of Rock to Raising Hell - This one was another no brainer as everyone knows that King of Rock is a total classic that, because of Rick Rubins stunning rock guitar mixed with hard old school drums based production, pushed hip hop further into the mainstream than most any record at the time. to this day when you hear the term "King of Rock," you, ironically enough, think of hip hop. thats how strong that single, and album is. but with Raising Hell Run DMC took their sound even further sonically into what hip hop would eventually become. not only did it have the massive crossover hit, "Walk This Way," which single handedly rejuvenated Aerosmiths career and is still a staple on every single rock list ever written, but it made hip hop viable to brands outside of music with "My Adidas," which firmly entrenched hip hop into the corporate and fashion worlds.

Ice Cube - Amerikkas Most Wanted to Death Certificate - this was one that some people might want to argue, but i would then have to shoot them. after leaving NWA everyone wondered what Ice Cube, the groups best rapper, would do. then he hooked up with Public Enemy's sonic architects, The Bomb Squad, and made an instant classic that was revered not only on the west coast, but also the east. his mixture of south central gangster tales and black revolutionary lyrics were surprising, clever, and most importantly, smart. its incredible that he followed it up with an album even more personal, more gangsta, and more revolutionary with Death Certificate. he never matched the cohesiveness of his first two solo albums, but he never needed to. he contributed two albums whos worth still goes unmatched by any so called gangster rapper.

De La Soul - De La Soul is Dead to Buhloone Mindstate - Like Tribe, these two albums were preceded but a classic debut, but like Tribe, De La didnt really come into their sound until the second album. we had many an argument over this one. De La is Dead was too long for some, had too many skits for others, and just not enough strong singles for the rest. but as a whole, in terms of concept and one large, unifying idea, the album works, and no one would argue that. The follow up stripped the skits and just put together a tight collection of brilliant, interesting, fresh and smart songs that still sound amazing today.

LL Cool J - Radio to Bigger and Deffer - this one got some sideways glances, but no one would speak up to challenge its inclusion on the list. you would be a fool to not consider Radio a bona fide hip hop classic. "Rock the Bells" alone has stood up over the test of time [and in the past few years a major hip hop tour has co opted the line for its own title], as well as has the title track. play the album cuts at a club and guaranteed you will get a stellar reception. Rick Rubins production has never been as hard and stripped down as on Radio. but LL, as the artist on this list are supposed to do, raised the bar on his second record. the love song, and there was one on Radio as well, not only was better, but became a smash hit on the radio and at school dances [where kids were unsure of weather to slow dance or fast dance, it was an awkward time for some] and the lead single, "I'm Bad," still gives goosebumps when it is played. LL, with his second album, went from star to super star, and deservedly so.

and others that were considered that i havent written about because im either a) too lazy or b) not entirely firm on their placement. i would include the Beastie Boys Check Your Head to Ill Communication, but because they morphed so much into their own band, i couldnt say they were actually hip hop albums. Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Fear of a Black Planet were definite contenders, but i just couldnt call weather Fear matched the obvious importance of It Takes a Nation [though i will concede that both are absolutely brilliant albums and probably should be on the list]. Boogie Down Productions Criminal Minded to By Any Means Necessary was considered, but although both albums are classics, i just cant say that they were worth writing about again [please let me know if im making a mistake], and lastly, the first three outkast albums are hands down, fucking marvelous pieces of work, im just too lazy to write about them. consider them on the list.

any contributions from you, dear reader?

Friday, June 27, 2008

goings on

this is when you know for sure that your girlfriend is out of town.

you're drunk and perusing the internet. its 3am and all the lights in the house are on. the doors are wide open and you're chain smoking cigarettes. you havent lit one stick of incense. not even the scented candle. you are blowing smoke into all the rooms. all willy nilly.

you drift into your bookmarks menu after reading (yet) an(other) article about the state of popular culture. you're looking for entertainment. you still got a buzz going, and you want a little something to excite you again. you merge into your randy folder. the one with all the ladies.

you dont close the door to your office. you dont lower the volume on your monitor.

you start watching porno clips. initially, just to watch them. to see whats new in the world of free internet pr0n. which new previews are available. which new girls look vaguely familiar. you stumble across a clip that strikes a nerve. it says something to you. to your past or your future or maybe just the fantasies in your head. you dont know. but you know that things are going to happen. and they are going to happen soon.


you dont close the door to your office. you dont lower the volume on your monitor.

you undo your jeans. you unbuckle your belt and unzip your zipper. you take it out. it. you rewind the clip a little. you put it in your hand. you shoo the cat from your desk. you take a sip from your beer. you think of lighting a cigarette first. to hold back a little. you're trying to be patient. you have all the time in the world. you take your hand from it and roll a cigarette with your now penis-ey hand. you light it. you let the clip play a little. watching it a bit. you blow the smoke into the ceiling instead of out the window.

you dont close the door to your office. you dont lower the volume on your monitor.

you put it back in your hand and let the things happen that will happen. you dont grab a towel before and dont reach for one during. and after it doesnt matter. you go to zip back up your jeans before heading to wherever and decide, fuck it, and leave them undone. then you walk to the kitchen to grab your grilled cheese and bacon sandwich so you can eat it while watching South Park with the television volume so high its stupid.

plus, you miss her.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

a second to acknowledge my cats

i dont understand cats. i guess that goes without saying for anybody though, not even scientist have unraveled all the mysteries of our feline friends. for thousands of years they have been these graceful enigmas, furry by our side. we have figured out their most basic instincts, answering the most obvious questions, but largely they go unsolved. we have yet to crack the psychology of the cat. we just know they are cute, clean, sometimes playful, and sometimes assholes.

ive read a couple books about cats. well, ive skimmed through them at least. and we sort of know why their tail moves in certain ways, and what their ear position may signal. we have a good idea of why they claw things, and a loose grasp on the nature of their purrs and mews. but other than that, we dont know much. we dont really know why they sleep so much. and we cant tell if they can ever be truly domesticated. ive accepted that we will probably ponder these riddles our entire existence, but god damn, if my cats sometimes are just plain weird.

they are brother and sister, yet, from their stark differences, you would imagine they came from totally different litters. Miles, for one, is way large. his long black body stretching almost twice the size of Sophie's. he also has a fierce killer instinct, and attacks his toys as if they have dishonored his family. Sophie, on the other hand, likes to bat at her toys curiously, never really causing much of a stir, never fully unsheathing her claws. where as when i dangle a toy in front of Miles he strikes for it with a vengeance, jaw stretched and teeth bared, talons ready for attack, Sophie will just stare at it with her head cocked, following it with her eyes for a moment, possibly take a lazy swat at it with her paw, then get bored and move on. She does not have the time for such jibba jabba.

they also have strange behavior:

- for some reason wherever i go in the house they follow me. not in a puppy dog at my feet kind of way, but in a "oh, we were going to this room too, what a coinky-dink," kind of way. they just come to the same room as me and hang out, then get kinda annoyed if i try to pet them too much.

- Sophie likes to get in the bathtub and chillax. if one of us is in there at the same time as her, she starts purring out of control and rubbing her face on the faucet until we turn it on so that just a tiny bit of water drips out. then she stands at the faucet and she takes her paw and catches the water, then licks the water from her paw. she does this for hours.

- Miles likes to fetch. he takes one of his toys and brings it to you like a trophy, dropping it at your feet, then proceeds to ravage it and anything [see: your feet] in its path until you throw it across the room. of course, then he goes and gets it, brings it back, drops it at your feet, attacks it, and you go through it all again. one time he bought his toy to me while i was on the toilet. we just sort of stared at each other, not doing anything. it was awkward.

- Sophie is way more the aloof of the two. shes generous with her love, but not too generous. unlike Miles, she doesnt like being picked up and held, and she hates being disturbed while she sleeps. she lets you stroke her fur but only at a strict, even pace and not too fast or rough. come 5:30 in the morning though, she gets the devil in her and MUST be petted. her motor goes into over drive and she forces your hands on her head, furiously rubbing against you. its sort of an alarming thing to be woken up to. but come 6 o'clock, she's back to barly tolerating your company.

- Miles has gotten into the habit of just lying where ever the hell he feels like it. no longer does he try to find a cushy spot where he can make biscuit's and curl up. if he feels like laying down in the middle of the room on the hardwood floor, then god damnit he will. he doesnt move if you are walking his eay either. you have to step over him. its his path, you are just walking in it.

- Miles also gets bored eating food from a bowl, so he takes his food out, bats it along the floor, and eats it from there. He also has a thing against glasses filled with liquid. they bug him, so he knocks them over.

- Sophie like to pee in the litter boxes while your cleaning them. she doesnt want to wait. when she has to go, she has to go. she saves some for each box too, ensuring it takes you forever to clean them all.

- Miles likes to sleep lengthwise facing you, so that when you open your eyes in the morning and look at each other its like an uncomfortable moment after a bizarre one night stand.

yeah my cats are a little weird, but i love em. plus, they would totally murder any big ass roaches that decided to move in.

platinum plaques

Lil Wayne's new album sold over a million records its first week. i didnt even know he was that popular. to sell a million records alone in this day and age, regardless of how long it takes, is a remarkable feat. but to sell them in the first week, well thats just astounding. it makes me wonder if he had released this record in the era before leaked albums and file sharing were normal practice, and people actually went to the store to buy records instead of downloading them on line, how many would he have sold then? 2 million? 3?

is he really THAT popular?

dont get me wrong, ive been aware of weezy since he was the novelty infant, rapping without a shirt, just a boy among men, during the unavoidable Cash Money Records phenomenon of 1998. but back then he was just an oddly underage rapper wearing jewelery too big for his wiry frame. i figured he would go the way of most child rappers, popular for a song or two, then forgotten by the masses until 5 years later when, as a young adult, he got arrested for robbing a liquor store or some shit. i mean, where is Kriss Kross now? where is ABC? Look at what happened to Chi Ali? and lets not forget Shyheim the Rugged Child. well, i guess we can forget him. most of us already have.

but thats my point, wayne actually grew more popular [and better at his craft] as he grew older, which in and of itself is pretty impressive considering the fleeting and fickle taste of hip hop fans these days. and amazingly, he seemed to put out a new mixtape or guest on a new radio hit every single week for the entirety of 2007 and half of 2008, and yet didnt succumb to the almost unavoidable backlash of overexposure. people not only love wayne, but they are more than willing to commit to him for the long haul.

how the hell did he pull that off? i mean, half the time i cant even understand what the he's saying. its just gibberish. intoxicated gibberish. he literally sounds as if he has no clue what hes going to say into a microphone, and just smokes two blunts, takes down a hit of ecstasy with a swig from cough syrup, and says whatever comes to his mind. here is a sample:

Ok you wanna zombie move instead,
Thats when you walk in ya house and everybody dead,
I can take a shit where i stand,
Where i stand...and watch you pussies piss in ya pants,
You aint a man your a hoe,
I can kill him with the flow,
And then play the guitar at the f**kin funeral

now i will agree, weezy does have a nice voice and his flow is original and sounds good over a beat, but at some point is anyone going to challenge these non-sequiturs? in one song he says simply that he liked the movie Gremlins. there was no lead in. no context. he just, in the middle of a verse, professed his love for that particular 80's horror classic. did it make sense? not at all. was it strange coming from weezys mouth? not at all. i think everyone agrees, lil wayne is not in the habit of writing long, well thought out rhymes. im sure he wouldnt argue this either. if i remember correctly, after he mentioned the Gremlins movie, he said something to the effect of, "that didnt even make sense, but whatever, i said it." indeed you did. well played, Wayne, well played.

but man, platinum in the first week? Not Usher, not Mariah, not even the High School Fucking Musical did those kinds of numbers. jesus christ! i wonder if kanye is all pissed off and screaming at his record label or if 50 cent is crying in his bathtub, lighting scented candles and trying to forget the whole thing. probably.

in any case, i wonder what this will do for waynes ego? he has said he will be the next rapper to die young, and from the amount of drugs he does, this seems pretty plausible. and i can only imagine success like this will only increase his use, at least for the next three month celebratory period [c'mon, you sell a million records in a week, youre gonna celebrate]. i just hope he doesnt start going on awards shows and saying he deserves every statue or promising the media that if he doesnt sell X amount of his next album he will retire [and then when not meeting his goal still not retiring].

oh well, i guess even if he does i wont care. it just seemed strange to me that he sold so many records. good on him for that. now i will resume not listening or understanding wayne nor his popularity. good day to you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

storm watch

i dont think ive ever been in a hurricane or tornado. if i have been, then they were too small to notice, and those dont count anyway.

i remember the first time i was in an honest to goodness storm though, and the first time i saw lightening. i was in the backseat of my grandfathers Cadillac staring out the window into the empty plains of missouri. i was going on seven years old and he was hauling me from my aunts house in denver to my grandmothers house in new jersey, where i would live for the next year.

i sat with my arms on the edge of the open window, crossed in front of me as i kneeled on the seat looking out. it was sunset. we were tearing across the barren highway, ripping through the warm, still summer air. black storm clouds huddled above but it wasnt raining, and there was no thunder. it was just this windy silence and then a jagged bolt of light splintered through the sky, crackling down and striking the earth a mile or so in the distance.

i jumped back and gasped and laughed nervously at the same time. then another bolt shattered the horizon and lit up the distance like a wild flash from some heavenly bulb.

i squealed at my grandfather, did you see it? did you see it? and he chewed his unlit cigar and told me to sit down and be quiet. i zipped my lip and leaned on the window, searching the sky for more action. when the first drops of rain began to pelt the windshield he told me to roll the window up. after that all i remember seeing were long, lashing streaks of rain and the occasional flash in the distance and about a thousand passing headlights.

of course, ive seen many rain and thunder storms since then. but never a hurricane. i have friends that have been in hurricanes that actually think they are fun. when i think about it, i dont doubt they are. some ferocious winds. maybe some rain. sounds exciting. of course, this is all granted i dont lose a house or anything.

ive never been in a tornado either, but those dont seem as fun. fuck tornadoes.

weve been having some storms here recently. i like them. i like counting until i hear the thunder after lightening strikes. i like hiding under awnings while rain roars down so violently the city stops for a beat. i like the smell of the street after one ends. i like the feeling in the air before one begins. i like that storms have to be ferocious by definition. that they cant be light. never will it drizzle so long that someone will declare it a "drizzle storm." storms are the beast of weather, they kick ass. but what i dont like about storms is they fuck up my satellite tv reception. that shit sucks.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

on how i'll spend my summer

Ive gotta start writing my memoirs. no. not in a James Frey style i hope Oprah doesn't berate me on national television way, (though i would be lying if i said the seeds of this venture weren't as vain and perverted as that), this project is much more academic. this is for a class.

yes, i have school work over the summer.

i explained the class a while back when i first started it. the course is called a seminar in autobiography. it is at once a writing workshop and an academic exercise with focus on historical context. it goes over the course of 3 semesters. to get into it you have to maintain a 3.6 grade point average for two years, then contact the professor directly to ask permission for entry. if you're gpa meets the criteria you have to send her two creative writing and academic essay examples. it was also encouraged to get a couple professor recommendations. after jumping through these hoops, i began the course a year ago.

there are obvious reasons why i would want to take such a class. anyone that has ever read five or more entries of this blog can gather that writing about myself and the life I've led is one of my "things." i get off on it. it is an intense yet abstract desire of mine to lend words to the life i lead. in a way, it makes me feel like my existence has some importance. maybe it's arrogance or just simple insecurities, i don't know. but i feel better thinking that my life is worth something to write about. it helps me cope. (i guess i should also admit that i think other people lead lives much more interesting to write about, and i get off on writing about those people too.)

but the big kicker, and the reason i signed up so quickly, was that on top of the eight credits you get for passing the actual classes, when you finally hand in your memoir, you can get another zero to eight credits for that (depending on how good it is). then, as if that weren't enough reason to scribble my john hancock along the dotted line, going with the theme of autobiography, you can also hand in a life experience portfolio* and receive up to twelve more credits. that there is the possibility to bank three and a half semesters of school in one fell swoop. (is that the phrase, "fell swoop?") how could i not pass on it?

the first semester of the course was spent studying sad, historical memoirs. we had to write a lot of academic papers, critical essays mostly, analyzing how the writer structured their life and framed it in context. there were a few personal essays as well, and we did a lot of writing exercises and reading each others work, but at the end of the day, we were graded on how well we understood structure, theme and context, and how grammatically correct we wrote.

the second semester we studied more personal memoirs, still with some historical context, but we didn't have to write papers on them. we just had to read them. i don't think i finished even one. we had to write three personal essays over the course of the semester. the focus was on editing ourselves, so the professor didn't help as much as just guided. there were some weeks when we weren't even required to be in class for lecture. i would have posted them here, but didn't think they were of reasonable length. they were long. after one thousand words, blog post can get a little tedious, so i try not to post things too lengthy. [of course i break this rule all the time. so sue me.]

anyway, only half the students from the first semester continued on to the second course. some didn't do well enough and werent readmitted into the class, and others just decided they didn't want to take on the project, which entails spending the entire summer writing your memoirs and having them fully finished and edited to hand in by October.

which brings me to here. its mid June and i haven't started them yet.

its that age old question i ask: what do we find harder, to start something, or to finish it? at first you think its hardest to start. that's your natural instinct. this is because it takes so incredibly long to get something - anything- going. but then once you start, you realize it is remarkably harder to finish. and only after time do you understand that it is this inherent knowledge, this predisposed fear, of not being able to finish, that makes it so immensely hard to start in the first place. which begs the question: whats harder, starting something, or finishing it?

Ive been reduced to the exercise of one of my stoned, philosophical musings.

Ive narrowed down what years I'm going to write about. I'm skipping all the tragic childhood shit. who needs to hear that again? no, i hope to focus on the guy those early years created. you take a boy that, for the first 15 years of his life lives with no sense of stability, his life a pandemonium of disappointments loosely perforated with the occasional moment of love and relief, then you install him into the middle class American family. you inject him into the ordinary life. who does he become? was he that person already? and how does his past haunt him? how does he handle all the ghost?

though that last paragraph was teetering on the brink of gibberish, it is the springboard for what i want to write. I've got about ten years mapped out in my head, with pretty strong bookends. and i have a loose idea of how i want to begin and end it. but i just cant seem to start. i keep making excuses.

oh, i cant start until i go to San Francisco and do some more research and maybe some interviews with people. i cant start because the sun is too high and warm and i should get out of the house more often. i cant start because i don't know what chapter i want to start on. i cant start because jamie lidell was on conan a few nights ago and i haven't asked every music geek i know what they thought of his performance. i cant start because i just finished class and i need a vacation. i cant start because i have this gas and i just cant concentrate when i have gas. i cant start because its simply not time for me to start.

really I'm too concerned with it. i need to just start and begin and power through and kinda suffer. its way too big to start last minute. i have to start it soon. I'll tell you what, if i mention that i haven't started by mid July, please start sending me death threats.

*im somewhat unclear on what this portfolio should consist of. essentially, we have to prove that in the "real world" we learned things that would equate taking some college accredited course. i.e. i can qualify that by throwing raves and clubs i learned money management and budget crap. im sure there is some class for that.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

forced entry #3

this is one of those days where posting seems meaningless. i have work to do. i have places to be. i have things that need to be confirmed, reiterated, proposed, checked up on. but at the same time. i got nothing.


i downloaded the new firefox 3.0. i guess it works better. i cant really tell. aesthetically its a bit more pleasing, but i was never concerned with its appearance. the search history has more elaborate graphics. and the bookmarks are a little easier to sort through. but after all the time i spent getting used to the old firefox, these changes dont matter. they are just changes. unnecessary improvements.

i also downloaded a chat client called miranda. which so far is pretty cool, but i still havent determined if it makes my life easier.

yesterday i played frisbee. the heat broke a couple nights ago. ripped apart by a small thunderstorm. so the weather was bearable enough to run in. afterwards i rode my bike around the neighborhood contemplating dinner. by the time i got home i was drenched in sweat.

somewhere along the line i hurt my neck, now i have a case of the frankenstein swivel. cant turn my head to the left without moving my entire body. thats not so much fun.

tomorrow i think ill post some links. today, im giving up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

imminent purge

i really have take care of my cd's. yeah, THAT "take care of."

well, not all of them, but a lot of them. most of them. lets be honest here, at this point they are just taking up space. they are everywhere. multi-level towers crowding up my desk. boxes and shelves stuffed almost beyond capacity. random bags filled up to the brim, lost in the corners of our apartments less frequented areas. compact disc fill all the small spaces in between all the books (themselves a pesky litter but in this age hold more value). they are in all the drawers. on top of every surface.

i have one area on my desk that holds cd's that i actually listen to. and even here some albums are up to question. do i listen to them? sure. but do i listen to them on cd? never. if anything, i listen to them on my computer. they are now digital files. the actual disk they are on, well, it sits on a shelf collecting motes of dust like so many cd's in my one bedroom apartment.

some i wont throw away. there are still albums and compilations that deserve their own packaging, that provide an experience beyond just the melodies that get stuck in your head. but looking at artist and titles like, Revolver, Radiohead, Nirvana, Jungle Warfare, Underground Resistance, DK Presents..., Jay Z, J Live, Prince Paul, Pink Floyd. there is just no way those cd's are going to get trashed. if anything, they might get lent out. but thats even stretching it. some albums you just dont part with.

but looking at one of the two towers of cd's directly in front of me, do i really need The Death Row Singles Collection? Do i need the last, typically underwhelming Pete Rock cd? the Henrik Schwarz Dj Kicks is cool, but whens the last time i wanted to put that cd in? who the hell is Charlemagne anyway, and anything titled Future Disco has to suck balls. and these were only the random ones i choose while tapping away at the keyboard, yet to be mentioned is the completely unnecessary Big Shug record, the smattering of demos, and the overwhelming pile of mix and promotional cd's i have stacked on top of each other.

these can all go. all of em.

and the blank cd's with no label? they can all go too. as well the doubles and triples to promos i never sent out. and anything in a font i cant read. throw that shit in the trash. also, slip covers. throw those out. i hate them. most jewel cases too, you cant put more into your packaging? you suck and you get thrown out. anything un opened? christ, if i cant even open you to give you a listen then you must really fucking suck. throw. it. out.

ive purged my albums once. i doubt i do it again anytime soon. im not getting as much vinyl these days anyway. besides, im sitting on four thousand records. im too lazy to even go through them, and i know when i do, i wont want to throw any of them out. ill just want to play. and then we have an even bigger mess.

but the cd's? they gotta go. they gotta get rubbed out. wacked. sent a message. have met an unfortunate accident. done in. the cd's, they gonna be sleeping with the fishes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

invisible blogger

ive kept my online status message the same for the last few days. im avoiding people online, and figure if i change it they will be alerted to my presence. im virtually ducking and dodging. so far its worked. no one has discovered me yet.

i usually dont avoid people. not to say im confrontational, quite the opposite really, but if something needs to be addressed ill suck it up and address it. in this case we are changing focus in our company and i have to tell a lot of labels that we are going to be phasing out certain aspects of our business. it has to be done if we want to keep ahead in the game, but i know some labels will be put off by it. as it stands, there are a few labels we havent made final decisions on, and i dont really want to talk to them until we have, hence the cyber-hiding.

but thats neither here nor there.


today i have to clean the house and print out a letter and mail it on the way to the bank. i should probably wash the dishes and do some laundry too. im just procrastinating now. but i'll get to it.


i bought a book. the brief wondrous life of oscar wao. its supposed to be pretty good, im excited to read it. ive run into a rough patch of books lately. every one i read bores me towards the middle. i found myself re-reading trainspotting on the subway just because i knew i would be entertained by it. the crackle of its prose, the cadence of the dialect it was written in. the strong, well defined voices in each character. the humor and the sadness. its not the greatest book ever written, but its well and fine light reading that leaves a bigger impression on me than half the crap ive been subjected to recently. this new book i bought though, looks pretty good. it won a Pulitzer, but i wont let that shade my opinion of it. ill let the words on the pages sell me.


a friend called me yesterday. he has an abscess on a region of his body best left unsaid. he told me he could hardly walk, it hurt to sit, and unfortunately, he had been cursed with gas. he cant get a surgeon until thursday, and the painkillers they gave him werent working. i asked him what he scored. "glorified ibuprofen," he said.


i thought about him sitting there - no, laying there- in excruciating pain, in this heat and living alone, and decided i would do something about it. he needed painkillers. something to tide him over until he could get to the hospital. i called my friend that recently passed kidney stones. he had a full bottle of percosets to spare. i cabbed it to his house, picked up a bottle, shook hands and shot the shit, then headed to my hurting homies crib to lace him with the goods.

he was more than grateful. paying for my cab and buying us a couple six packs. we sat around in a slight narcotic daze watching the bonus features on LOST dvd's. we smoked cigarettes on his balcony and sighed about the heat. at around midnight i strapped on my ipod and headed home. i walked the whole way. it was pleasant.

Monday, June 09, 2008

heat index my ass!

its hot. new york is going through a heat wave. the last few days have been in the 90's with a heat index of above 100. i didnt even know what a heat index was until saturday, when the weather report said it was 89 degrees but felt 106. like everything else in new york, even the weather is more intense than it seems when magnified under the glass of this metropolis.

we installed the a/c and we run it all night, but during the day when im home alone i leave it off and embrace the heat. it feels good to sweat, i dont mind.

growing up in san francisco, i always felt cheated out of any real weather. its perpetually autumn in the city by the bay. no matter what time of year it is. even on the nicest, hottest days, come 5pm you will need a light jacket to protect yourself from the chill. it never gets so cold that it snows, and it never gets so hot that you need to sit shirtless on your porch and drink iced tea. its always the same, and i felt slighted because of it.

all the stories i read and television shows i watched and movies i viewed painted the picture of some magical world where in the winter you had to wear a scarf and in the summer you had to wear sandals because the sidewalk would be to hot to step on with bare feet. i never got to experience any of that.

the winter got cold, sure, but i never had to wear a really big coat, at best i would just put on a sweater under the jacket i usually wore. and even then there would be clear days where the temperature reached 60 or so and people went to the park to play frisbee.

the summer would get warm, but never fully hot. shorts werent entirely encouraged, unless you planned on switching to pants later in the afternoon. usually, even on the hottest days, i would pack a sweater wherever i went, prepared for the impending chill.

but here in new york, the weather is clear and defined. in the winter it snows and you have to wear a huge coat and boots. the streets get covered in snow and the gas bill skyrockets. you have to pack away your shorts and tshirts and sandals and sunglasses. you wont need them. that is, until summer, when the heat falls upon you like a hungry beast. then you switch the wardrobes and put away the big coats and long socks and scarves and what not. you install the a/c and your electricity bill skyrockets.

that is, unless youre me. and you want to feel the heat because for some reason it means something to you. also, you want to start writing again every day. not just fun and goofy or serious and meaningful stuff, but anything that comes to mind. like the weather and the seasons. you want to write something and it doesnt matter what. and it doesnt matter if any one reads it [although you guess its safe to admit you like when people read it] and it doesnt matter if its written well.

Monday, June 02, 2008

bloody knuckles

i got into a fight.

it was in front of the bar. it started out as an innocent confrontation that turned into a shoving match which then mutated into a beat down and finally evolved into an all out brawl. i dont think i started it, but i guess, in a way, i did.

it all started with a cigarette, or more to the point, my desire for one. i was at the bar having an animated conversation with my friend CT when the very familiar urge to inhale nicotine swept through us both. we put napkins on our drinks and headed towards the door. no one was fighting yet.

the door opens outward and in front of it, preventing our exit, was a kid, about 20 years old, shirtless and in sagging shorts, pushing a girl around his age into the door. it looked as if they were playing - one of those aggressive, sexual games that involve a lot of contact - and i just said to them, "you cant do that here, you have to move out of the doorway."

thats when the kid freaked out. i dont know what his problem was, maybe he and the girl werent playing, and he was really angry at something she had done. maybe he misheard me and thought i'd actually said, "i fucked your mother." maybe he had taken some bad steroids and they'd just kicked in. maybe he has father issues and i look just too damned similar. i dont know what it was, but the kid was furious.

he's screaming at me unintelligibly. angry, hateful gibberish that im sure we have all spouted off at one time or another. at first im kind of shocked, then confused. remember, i'd initially figured he and the girl were just having fun, so the change was so sudden it seemed like i had hit some dreadful switch in his psyche that indicated BRING THE PAIN. i had to stare at him a moment and gather if he was serious or not. i'm not a small man, and although he had his shirt off and could act extremely peeved, i wasnt as afraid of him as i was bemused.

he was pushing up against me with his chest, a torrent of curses and challenges roaring from his mouth to my face. i pushed him away from me and i think said something to the effect of, "you better back up off of me kid." he didnt. his tirade just grew in fury. he was pushing me, still wild and screaming. i stared at him a second, hoping maybe he would calm down. he didnt. he pushed me a few more times. i waited for him to throw a punch but then he just pushed me again.

so i socked him in the jaw.

the next two seconds were long and somewhat dramatic. the first second was filled with us looking at each other. he looked confused that i had hit him and i looked confused that he looked so confused. the next second was filled with a gasp. then someone said "ooooh."

then they were upon me.

the rising sounds of grunts and yells swelled in the street. voices heading my way. an army of growls. i look and see about ten kids storming my way. fist clenched. all baggy clothes and screwed up faces. a herd of angry teenagers barreling straight towards me. thats when i think "ok, im gonna get my ass kicked. i better just brace myself for it."

i move from the doorway so as not to be trapped.
i push someone, i dont know who, away from me, and three kids are already at me. i cant remember if they are punching or shoving or what. i see a long arm come at me from over the top them and it connects with my temple. there is that ringing white light you see and hear when getting hit hard. more yelling. hands everywhere. i'm pushing people away. shoving. not throwing punches, trying to keep my arms close to protect myself. more kids are on me. fist rain down on my head and body. my shoulder slams against a wall. i continued shoving and pushing, keeping my arms close. my friend Griddy comes from no where and punches a guy whose hand is clawing for my face, connecting squarely with his jaw. i see the kid crumble a bit. then half the kids go for Griddy. then im backed in a door way with 5-7 kids on me and im pushing them away. someone is pulling kids off of me and someone is saying whoa! whoa! whoa! and arms are flailing everywhere. it is pandemonium.

there is a small moment of calm while everyone assesses the situation. i am in front of a door and three kids are in front of me. one of them being the kid i hit. he makes his approach and then a foot flies from no where and kicks him back. i wonder where it came from and i realize im standing behind CT, towering so far above her i dont even realize shes in front of me. she says, "you better get back!" and the kid steps back. i just stand behind her, waiting, when
i see some guy on the ground getting kicked. its Griddy. so i race over there and start pushing kids off of him and lift him from the ground. he is a little hurt but he stands firm, adrenaline firing on all cylinders. fist still clenched. we look around, prepared, but the kids then scatter. all of them. they leave. up the block. under cars. behind bushes in the shadows. suddenly they are gone.

the police come and ask questions. my hand is bleeding where i split my knuckle. i tell them what happened and we all just shrug our shoulders and say, "kids." i go back in the bar and we talk more about what happened over whiskey shots and beer and cigarettes. a complex rush of violence, fear, and testosterone shivers through me. i ask myself over and over weather or not i should have hit the kid but can only come to one conclusion: what else could i have done?

now i have to be wary of the neighborhood i work in, which is unnerving to say the least.
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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at