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Saturday, July 30, 2016

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One thing that I've found about staying away from Facebook is that it makes me feel so strange about my opinions. I don't know where to place them. I don't know where to field them. I don't know where their home is. I've watched films and TV shows and listened to albums and songs and I just don't know where my reactions and my feelings for them go.

Facebook is where I would post trailers or quotes or captions or videos of songs or news articles. And that's how I would basically feel a binary fulfillment of showing people (my friends I guess?) what I liked. What I was getting into. As far back as high school with what now would be called a blog, I was posting 'reviews' and 'reactions' to movies and music. And now without a social network, I feel like before I even start a reaction or a text message, someone else's reaction is already going to be "yeah, I know" or any variant of that. It's been a really long time since I talked about a band or a show or a movie and someone said, "What's that about? Where did you find that? What is that? How did you feel about that?" And I guess with Facebook's system of Likes or Loves or Laughs or Wows, it felt at least like a currency that was filling the empty space that was there.

I've thought several times about starting a 'review' blog, something similar to what wrankmusic began as and ended up as. Just to have a place to dump thoughts and review into. This coming from the dude who has several times thought about tweeting "No one cares about your review," but haven't because of what it might mean for someone who wrote a review with the same positive standing and excitement who happens upon it. 

It's true, though. That review isn't the point. 
The artist getting out of their head space and calling something finishing and sharing it is the point. 

So, I think to go on Facebook and write a reaction to the new Stranger Things show or the first couple of episodes of Mr. Robot or a few No Man's Sky tracks I dug up or the game Inside. And it just feels like it won't matter to anyone but me who wrote it, because I've written it. 

It's weird, man. Why does this matter to me? 

Even jumping on something like Reddit, I see the reviews/reactions there and so much of it seems so much more well thought out than how I feel about what comes out of my mouth/fingers and I wonder what the point of throwing my two cents into the pot is. In fact, I went on /r/gamestop and dropped some thought on an actual work question and gave some insight, and it got downvoted. I didn't take it personally-- wait. I took it personally at first but then realized, you know, realistically, it was just the words that I guess got to be TL;DR or just really not helpful, overall. That's fine. But still, something I know about and something that I functionally am good at, it still doesn't even get any credo. I deleted it. 

But that Reddit space... it goes both ways, right? Like I could jump on any group and just drop a thought on something, an opinion and have it shredded. At least it would be people right? At least it would be someone somewhere? Would that equal the thumbs up or the heart or the gaping mouth emoji? 

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Post script.


Had a dream a couple of nights ago that I've been lost in thought about since I woke from it.

In the dream, I had been handed a letter in some strange cursive that I haven't seen before. And the connotation was that it was a suicide not from my father. It read:

"I thought it would be better this way."

What a dark fucking omen.

In the dream, everyone was instantly in the phase of acceptance, sort of the way you act when an old dog passes or you uproot an old dead tree. Very strange overall vibe. We talked in past tense and we embraced the absence. Very void of emotion. 

My sister was the one who found his body. He had been in the bleachers at a baseball stadium, sitting alone when someone came upon him. The letter was found in his dresser sticking out of the top drawer. 

It's been a very long time since I had a dream so 'real', not in the sense of how immersed I was in it, but how close to actual context and character it was to reality. 

I often disassociate from people, relationships, humans, etc. I find a way to build them into this caricature of 
themselves, makes it easier to lose them or laugh at them or dislike them. Even make them a hero or a villain. But this one had nothing but modest over and undertones. The reality was palpable.

My father and I have the weirdest relationship and I have him built into this specific figure with so few actual details. I don't know if this will act as a wake up call or if it will be something else to any degree. But it made a lot of things very substantial.


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Ark.


Been noticing myself as someone who is easily, too easily distracted. Don't know how it started or how I became one of those people who are impossible to tie down. I even expect the weirdest things of people when engaging in media. When I'm showing you a song, I want you to listen and notice things and not talk through it. When films are on, I don't want you to talk to me about anything other than the observations you're making within the film. Save the questions until the end.

Oddly enough, while I'm watching shows or films, I can't help but find myself eager to make notes or pick up a pen or a phone and start googling things. What I need to start doing this time around, as I'm trying to make myself a more focused reader, writer, speaker, watcher, observer, is to remember to simply make smart notes for myself to come back and check later, to flesh out later. And to let myself get fully engulfed into the art or the medium or the idea that's being expressed in front of me. 

Example.

Currently put on a film about isolation. As it's starting, begin making a list of other films I want to check out that relate to isolation. While I'm doing that, I open up the Chromebook to start googling "Films about Isolation" and start adding films to the list that started when the initial film started. And the whole time, I have my headphones on and the audio of the film is happening, and I'm peeking up and looking down and not immersing myself into the actual piece that started the whole cycle. 

Is this what I would want if someone was reading my stuff? 
Is this what I would want to be looking out at if my band was playing a show? Some other cats making notes in their phones about other bands to check out that I remind them of?

Hell no.

Trying to become more present. I think I was more present than this at one point. Maybe, maybe not. But I know I want to be.

Maybe that's why I feel my days completely slip away feeling like I've never actually done anything. Maybe it always feels like I'm only halfway doing anything.

I've also got this whole other tangent I want to go off on about how I've just been noticing that most of my time is spent trying to escape reality and the next series of things I want to do is about returning to the core of a reality without media involved at all. But that sounds devastating. It reminds me of the concept about how you're not supposed to shut the A/C off, just leave it on an average temperature all day because at the end of the day, it costs more to cool the house down after turning it off than it does to just be moderate the entire day. 

Man. 

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Shelter this birth.


Very strange habit I fall into.

Whenever I'm listening to music, watching a film or TV show or even writing something personally. I am instantly transported, at some point in the writing, to want to share elements of it. I'm almost addicted to that feeling of sharing and waiting for the opinions of others.

I'm currently in the process of writing this thing and it's not done, it's not even through the first leg, and I'm already thinking of the first list of people I want to send it to to see where I'm at. To see if where I'm at with it is okay. To see if it's even worth getting to the finish line. This is the wrong way to do it. 

I just don't want to get to the end of this and feel like Ben Wyatt when he finished Cones of Dunshire. It's probably one of my favorite moments of Parks and Recreation. He goes into this lengthy and insane explanation of this board game that he's invented. It's completely convoluted and he's spent about a week or two without a job and built this game in isolation. And he's explaining it to Leslie, and at the very end of it, faced with her silence, he comes to the realization, "...this is nothing, isn't it?"

SO GOOD.

So funny. But at the same time, is this what my writing is like? I can't get to that point. I'm trying to write in a column, in a vacuum. Just going to get to the end of it and have it stand on its own. 

Would rather be happy with it and 'defend' or 'explain' the finished project than let it be warped and changed and divided by its audience.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The mouth of voids.


At some point I got lost in the distractions of the real world. Or the distractions from the real world. They did their jobs well. I got addicted to fiction and fantasy and escapes. I disassociated. I don't know when that happened. I can't place it. But I know it's real. It happened. It still happens. And it's not painful. It doesn't hurt. But it feels like something. It feels like a missed opportunity. A life lead in a barrier.

It's the strangest thing. Given the right alchemy of time, I would swing from book to film to album to game on an endless loop until I was finally caught up. And there's ZERO catching up. This is an impossibility. I'm never going to make it. I have to remind myself that it's NEVER going to happen. I'm never going to 'be there'. Especially in the sense that I'm constantly trying to find influences and mentors and what came first. Influences. Muses. Letters. Background. More and more and more. The pile growing thicker daily.

I'm never going to make it.

I took a month writing an act of a sci-fi story. A novel is the goal. And going back to it is great. It feels really good. I shared it and a lot of the feedback was great. But what it makes me feel is this endless void. The collapse. The things that she wanted me to add or explain or throw in made me feel almost helpless. Like: "How didn't I think of that?" The real issue becomes how I don't even finish anything, maybe I never see the gaps. And maybe I never fill the gaps because I don't feel them. I never go back and reread and understand what's missing. What's lacking. What's lost in translation. What got dammed in the filter between my mind and my fingers.

I plan to go back in on the piece in July. A recommitment to the project. And I'm looking forward to it. ACT I has a lot to set up and it's a lot of emotion and coping and awakening. And there's a lot of plot that I have mentally that I don't have on paper and eventually it's going to pass through the drain. I don't want that to happen.

I have another story that takes place in the NYC/BK music underground that still has a very solid plot to me, but the more I think about it [and just don't write it] the more I question it. I should just get it down on paper. There are so many finished things out there in the hands and eyes and minds of others that are somehow swimming in the same shallow pools I could be flooding if I just set my feet into them.

I got really into the microfiction project (here) and really loved the outcome of it, even if the actual feedback was sparse. I know all of it was quality. It bothers me that I know it. The main problem is that much of who I shared it with is... 'just'(?)... a friend. That's awesome. That was the idea. It's difficult to not be able to share it with a grander audience. But I don't know the way into the auditorium. It's like a bad dream where I don't know how to find the power switch for the microphone while standing on a stage. Or even closer... more direct... I don't know how to find the unlocked door to the presentation stage. 

I'll be honest. I'm not looking.

Years ago, someone added over 50 links to places to share my writing. My fiction, my poetry, etc. I'm planning to use July to jump on each of those and figure out how that is going to work for me. What happened there? Well, initially, I shared a piece of poetry that got 'publised' and when I shared it, instantly a friend jumped on to that same site and shared something also and also got published. That did two things to me:
  1. Made my effort seem utterly bland. It stole the unique moment from me. I felt like anyone else. Everyone else.
  2. Piggyback on that: It made my skill feel like the skill of everyman. Like all anyone needed was the link to that site and everyone would be 'published' there. 
What business did I have putting anything anywhere?

Fuck it.
Going to see what July can do.
Going to see what I can do.

Monday, May 09, 2016

it's my body for now.



Was talking about the new Radiohead album, A Moon Shaped Pool, with a friend and since he hadn't listened yet, I wrote it in a notepad to send to him later. It's posted in a Facebook post, but I felt like it would be buried there. Here's its proxy.

Burn the Witch is a cool jam, and I never realized that anyone could use the suspense and fear and building stress factor as an instrument. The video that accompanied its release is a testament to that and certainly aided my notice of that vibe, but the way the song constantly builds into this almost thrill/horror movie terror is perfect.

Daydreaming is basically what I expect of Radiohead. A perfect song by the band. Almost as if an alternate universe band was just producing songs that I imagine Radiohead would do, this is it. Great song. One of my favorites on the album.

Decks Dark has the simplicity of a drum machine clacking along to set a basic pace, to sort of let Thom Yorke perform his standards above and within it. The misbehavior of repetitious notes that float on the periphery becomes the new star, like a misfit that has been attracted by the simplicity and is teasing and taunting anyone willing to catch it. It all comes together into a swelling hymn, clearly directed and organized. The bass line on the conclusion has a familiar repetition though I can't place its origin. And the blasts of guitar rippling keep the beat in its own way. A pulse from the extraordinary.

Desert Island Disk has that Jonny Greenwood vibe to it. This is his song, his ship. There's something old and western about it, clearly an expanse that inspired the title of the track moreso than the lyrics themselves. There's such a rustic mood about it. One of my favorites throughout the record.

Ful Stop has an unbelievable build throughout it. Nonstop head bobber. The bass line is already famous. Such a drive. The sweeping whale sounds that go over the track give such a thrill ride. A groove. And the jazzy drums around 3:15 get me hype. Lose the mind. There is a flute or a drifting sort of warble that shows up, too, that is sort of reminscent of the Beatles at their coolest, most psychedelic. When this song breaks open, it's like Pandora's Box, man. What an unbelievable groove. This is the song I feel like people will be talking about.

Glass Eyes. It begins so beautifully. Almost painfully. Like waking from a dream. And the way it's produced, almost tuned too loud, like the speakers can't contain it. Like you're listening to found footage is gorgeous. Perfect. Vocals sound like they're stolen from the OK Computer recordings. Just a stoic, eyes closed and clear-as-a-bell delivery. The orchestral qualities here are pitch PITCH perfect, recorded to perfect. Such strong and singular notes.

Identikit has that weird Thom Yorke vibe about it. That untamed reverb mumble quality that a lot of his solo stuff has. And the simple drum and guitar piece over it is minimalism finesse.

It's become clear at this point in the record that even without me paying any mind to it, I've been swept up into another universe by this band. Simply by paying attention, simply by standing and listening to the Man at the Podium, I'm completely bought in and totally sold.

The guitars that stand in at around the 2 minute mark of Identikit show how their simplicity and their looping and repetitive mantras are mental tantricity at their finest. The song builds into this massive crystal tower that I can only marvel at. There's something about the ending that brings up a feeling found in the strange 60s and 70s, those weird Jefferson Airplane moments.

As a title, The Numbers reminds me of Lost. I don't know what it refers to at all. But the way it opens as a montage of sound and vocal certainly fits the bill. A nice, chill sound. The production on this track is really its finest form. A wide and pointilist spread, a real piece of work built of an army of many pieces, it comes together into a strange and beautiful mess. Lots happening, but smoothing into a controlled and warm body.

Present Tense has the same melding of minds feeling. Sort of a swept and shaved concept of seeing the canvas and the paint as it spreads across the surface, that a painting is built of time and pieces, of elements that exist on their own. The beating drum at the finale calls that to concept. That there are men with hands that have touched this piece of work. That nothing is predetermined or built without effort.

Strangely, the next track didn't have much of a personality, but it seemed to gain its blood and skin when the reverb of the track dripped off of Yorke's voice for the first time and became its own splash of a wild eyed liquid. This one, Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief, feels more like a Bjork song, an exhibit to sort of walk through. And it becomes sort of apparent that most of the second half of the album (since The Numbers begun) has sort of felt all the same way, like a moving and winding museum, a trip through an aquarium. A fully guided underwater experience. A display.

And I'm not even there yet, but the final track's title sounds so gorgeous. True Love Waits. The title alone feels like a piece I'd want to frame, if nowhere else, on a piece of untouched, untainted paper.

The piano here sounds distracted. Like being swept off or disturbed for different meanings. Again, returning to the looping and descending sounds of so much of their library before them, it calls to mind an end, a true conclusion to the wilderness that built up before it. The world that it made for itself eventually collapsing in on itself. The foundation no longer with the integrity to contain its expanse.

It's a great album. As someone who only found a fanhood in the band after the previous release, King of Limbs, and then in their live show in New Jersey years later, it's the first album that I was able to see as a release, to follow to its birth and then open up when it finally landed. I can see how this is a total and complete experience, the songs taking the momentum of the build up and sweeping you up within it. This band does things no one else can do, and much of it is happening outside the lines of the music itself. I'm happy to be a part of this full experience.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

the middle place.



Standard zombie apocalypse dream, though it was set up more like The Last of Us. Walking out of this massive warehouse sometime right before it was starting to get dark and we crossed a train yard. For some reason, we thought walking on the rails would stir Them to find us. Something about that they laid their heads on the rails somewhere down the line and if anyone shook it, they would head in that direction. It was late in the outbreak and it was getting to a point where They were shutting down and waiting for the next people to cross them to engage. The biggest issue that we had [perceived] was finding other people to help us and to find a permanent residence. We were only two people and were starting to figure out that the more people we had with us, the easier it would be for us to actually live somewhere and not constantly walk from place to place.

At one point, it is getting dark and we split up because two rails go in two separate directions and I'm keeping my bearings on where she went but it's so dark that I can't see her. But I assume that she's walking in a certain direction following a certain track, so I know where she is. The more I walk, hoping to get back to her direction/rail, the more it starts to feel like when you're lost and you're driving and you're waiting for an exit or a good place to turn around. I feel that I'm getting farther off course and more disoriented. I end up in a tunnel where there is a train car that has sort of an old feel to it. I am inside of it and I look out the windows and I can't see anything out of it. I'm still in the tunnel.

When I hurry to get out of the train car, there is a feeling of a chase or the possibility of being noticed, so I am crouching down and running. I run in the direction that I came from, both panicking because of the way that I'm going to be caught or found and also because I have no idea what fate she might have met or if she's just walking, assuming everything is going to be okay. I end up at a school. The school has pull down garage doors that are slightly opened. I think to crawl under the door, and look in. There is the garage door, a small vestibule, and then another garage door that's opened just the same amount. I start to crawl under but I get this horrible sensation that if I'm found in there by people that might be inhabiting it, they will kill me or attack me anyway. So I sit against the side of the school and there's still the feeling of panic and I truly don't know what to do. So I start to get the urge to start yelling her name, but I don't because I know, obviously, that the 'chase' is still happening, They could be out there anywhere, and also the population of the school.

So I start walking in a direct line to where I think her rail may have led her. I'm walking across this huge field at this point, it's all lit up blue, kind of like walking at night on television or movies. It should be completely black, save for points of light on the horizon. I come to a point where I see her rail trails off further in another direction away from the way that I headed in the first place. So I start to follow it more closely and I follow it by looking for ahead and listening as well to hear her footsteps or any sounds.

I start to get the feeling that "combat" is now happening and I look around and there's one of Them, and they look like a scarecrow almost. There's no discernible face, just a loose body that is lunging, a head/face that you can't see and a mouth. And I fight it off with a big bar that would normally be too big to swing accurately, but there's an 'animation' that when I swing it, it starts from the furthest point of the staff and approaches the thing's head and it slows down time and I have to manage to aim it, almost like a Wii game, to hit it in the mouth. I have to do this several times and I eventually kill it.

I feel that there is nothing left around me, so I start calling her name because the battle has disoriented me, moved me further away from the rail where now I can no longer see it. And I can see the light of the school back in the direction I was coming from. And there's no response from her, and I panic again, the same feeling that I had, whether or not to go into the school or to not.