Thursday, December 23, 2010

Going Mobile

So I has me this new phone and I gots me this app that allows me to post to my blog from the great wide open.
Point is, I am trying to expand and improve my digital footprint. A blog that is updated once a month and a dormant twitter account are hardly the way to go. But what with having little free time, the computer doubling as the tv, and the previous inability to update anytime/anywhere, things just kept failing to get off the ground.


I figure I hate deadlines and obligations (mostly because I fulfill them, I guess I was raised right or something) but if I set some up maybe it will keep me honest, as they say.

So I'm going to aim low - updates twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday (whether I've got anything to say or not).

Let's see how it goes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Consider the Stream // of consciousness*

Way haul away, we're bound for better weather, to me
Way haul away, we'll haul away Joe

Nothing is ever free, ever bound outside of position, positionality. we are bound, then. bound and gagged and starting blind with bilge switch eyes and a hunger for a farther. I stood there on the decking and beggered for a birding, I stood there on the good ship and bound my feet for home. I should have known better, should have known they were to kill me. I should have known a better but at least I know it now.

A knife, the mate, he slipped me. A knife to cut my bindings. A knife, the mate, he slipped me, into my bed he came. A ship bound for freedom, a ship bound for glory. A ship they say was bound, but bound was how they held me.

A night then, a night, when given a beggers glass o vinegar, a slip a sip a glass and grasp at the cask a rum (salt pork and peter and with the glass and gasp, the rigging and rigged, I to the sea was to call my last breath and last home). They hauled and heaved and luck would turn the storm, a jonah a jones, and honing the blade, the knife the mate he slipped me I cut finally my bounds, my binding, the rock the millstone dragging me to the deeps the depth the darkness that calls me and Davy home. And swimming and smiling and breathing free at last but hardly and ever free I made for the open for the last for the depth and the deep and the sand and the silt and the land that any would call would call it land might it be land or die here in the struggle to swim this last and this last and the list and the once more inthe breach good sirs and one

a message, no bottle, never found.

Apropos of Nothing, lacking occassion, consequence

There is so much that I don't know. Oh the years that could be spent in study. In a study. With tufted leather chairs, the gentle dust of the ages, and books aplenty. Also a computer. Because really? There is no research without the google button on the internet machine. Without wikipedia. And I am keenly feeling the lack of an institutional subscription to JSTOR. Or, to put it in a general sense, if I had the time, I keep myself occupied for damn near forever. I've never understood the people who go back to work after retirement, or stay working after the point the monetary concerns are no longer the defining issue. I've rarely needed help passing the time, as it were. Not to say that I don't get bored. I get bored very easily. Routinely and often. But I get bored because entering into new ventures that will occupy more time than I have to offer them becomes increasingly meaningless. Sure I could begin research projects left and right. Read this book or that. But I already do that. I have maybe, on the outside, 2-3 hours a day that I am not at work, eating or sleeping. Hard to get much done. I work on short stories as I can. I read, but mostly for pleasure or ideas/tonal notes for the stories. And a couple hours is easily spent. TV takes its toll. And I am no longer a single man without a care or companion. I don't want to spend all my time alone in a room that smells of rich mahogany.

Grad school (again) would certainly be a nice opportunity to move all the bookmarks a little closer to the back covers. As I get older (and surprisingly find myself thinking clearer and broader than I did in the heady days of youth) I find that time is such the rare commodity.

And it is so easy to get distracted. I've just spent the last couple minutes on Amazon. I've checked email and facebook. Poured the last of the coffee. And puttered around in general. Always the case that when time is of the essence that I often waste the most of it. I have to head out in about 30 on errands and such that will end this day of "freedom" that has mostly been taken up by sleeping in and catching up on that other lost commodity. This post is going nowhere. I was hoping that striking the keys (even though I lacked a initial idea) would lead me in a noble and notable direction. Like the discussion of architecture I was having with Gina yesterday. Or the one on Bigfoot I was having with my sister. No such, apparent, luck.

It's times like these that you feel you have to do something really important just to affirm that you are alive, that you can. To say that yes, when staring out into the vastness of the universe and infinite possibility I do recognize my insignificance, but it does not numb me to stupor but frees me from fear. And yet the arrow of time once again pierces my gentle heart with a mocking grin, implacable as ever.

We are at a tipping point in history. Of this much I am certain. Of this much I can see.

Friday, December 3, 2010

And the Worms Ate Into Our Brains: on the Roger Waters The Wall Live 2010-2011

I cannot speak for everyone. I will not. I will speak for myself. Not for the drunks. Not for the fools. Not for the douchebags who think that this is just music to get stoned to or that getting stoned is an end to itself. I will speak. I will comment.

The Wall was released by Pink Floyd in November '79. Roughly 3 years before I was born. The original tour was only 31 shows between '80-'81. (still unborn). It was performed by Roger Waters (he was no longer in Pink Floyd and they were elsewhere at the time) in 1990 in Berlin to commemorate the falling of The Wall. (Mother should I trust the government? I was six at the time.) There are/will be 100+ performances of The Wall Live. I am newly 27.

I love Pink Floyd. Or, I love the Roger Waters era, the four classics, and enjoy the rest. Those four albums resonate with me. I am not alone in this. The movie was a defining moment (in college, in Justin's room before he poured fruit punch over my head and Matt's alpaca comforter and we started drifting apart). I was late coming to music. Maybe that explains my anachronistic affiliations. It is what it is. I don't feel the need to explain myself. My guesses are the alienation and the vitriol, the madness and the quotidian. I wasn't listening to the album up until now. Rather a mix of my Recently Added folder. But maybe I should. Or maybe that's part of the problem.

The show was down in Lauderdale and we listened to Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown on the drive. I didn't want to be listening to anything too similar to the show I was about to enjoy. [I have, it would seem, lost my notes on the show - this will all be coming from memory.] The GPS kept trying to direct us down roads we didn't think were faster. I think it didn't want us to take the turnpike. Whatever. We got there fine. Early. Early enough that we walked past all the tailgaters, each and everyone one of them blaring the album from their tinny car speakers. There is a scene in PCU where Jeremy Piven reproaches Jon Favreau for wearing the shirt of the band he is going to see ("Don't be that guy." / "You are so fucking money and you don't even know it.") There were more of those guys at this show that I could count. (It got worse once people were able to hit the merch tables and then wear the shirt of the show they were at at the show they were at. Prices seemed to run ~$40 - $60 but how else do you fund a $60M production?). But those people, ultimately confused me less that the people blaring the music from their speakers that they were about to see live (and this was a show to see live). Even worse were the folks who played the album on their drive home. That perplexed me most of all.

Who are these people? was a recurring question. Tickets weren't cheap. And we were in the cheap seats. The seats where your options were having your view obstructed by projection equipment or hanging speaker towers. So who where these people?

Pink Floyd is a popular band. Was a popular band. (Hard to put the right verb in their since the band was legall battling over who could and could not use the name and doesn't technically exist anymore). Was so popular a band that Johnny Rotten had to hate them on principle. But that was a long time ago. I've seen Roger Waters live performing Pink Floyd twice now. But that's sort of the point, though.

Roger Waters, 67, is performing the music of Pink Floyd, the music that he cowrote 30 years ago.
The show was amazing. The visual effects (that we were able to see) were cutting edge. The combination of new and old animations by Gerald Scarfe were perfect. The move to increase the anti-war, anti-capitalist message over the message of postmodern alienation was on point and thus fell on deaf ears.

After all, who are these people? Kids who came to the music by chance? because their parents listened to it? because they liked drugs or the idea of drugs? The guys and gals who have loved the band since Syd was still singing about bikes?

I made a point of noting, with wry disappointment, that if this whole crowd was so anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-racist they must also be anti-voting given the recent election results in Florida. Which, I suppose, is possible if they are just pro-booze, pro-drugs, pro-sitting around doing nothing.

I'm jaded. When I saw my first Waters show I was less political and thought that he was pushing the concepts a little to serve his new message. Now I just think that it doesn't much matter. Those of us that agree already agree, and those that don't aren't coming to his shows to be persuaded to change their politics. They are coming for something else entirely.

What that is, exactly, I'm not quite sure. I think it has a lot to do with the sense of false nostalgia that I have referenced before. I mean, are we coming to see a show that barely played 3o years ago? Did some of the patrons miss it the first time around because it only played New York and L.A. (in America)? Is it a case of missed opportunities? I missed them because I was too young, he missed them because he lived in Florida. Maybe. And maybe that is all it is, for some of them. But not for most of us. I could never have been at an original performance. Could never been at a show from the In the Flesh Tour that gave rise to the sentiment that built the album. My parents hadn't even met at that point. So what then is this? What then is this fascination with the world that has passed before our eyes? Is it a postmodern desire to reappropriate? These are the things I have chosen to define my self and my facebook page and therefore these are the activities I will pursue. Is it a postpost concept we have yet to fully understand? This is good music, live music is good, I want to hear this good music live, fuck the chronological consequences. But then why not just go see a performance of The Machine (they're much cheaper). Clearly the show was worth seeing. The money behind it produced an amazing sequence. I would say cutting edge effects, but I might be wrong about that. The projections, though, were clearly beyond what a tribute band could afford to handle. Is it about being there? Even if we weren't able to be there before? A question of presence made manifest by the number of pictures people had to take of each other waiting in line (to prove to facebook that this shit happened, damnit).

I don't want to sidetrack the issue. The show was amazing. I would go again. I would consider paying the premium for floor seats. The experience was real. And I "was there" at one of those "you had to be there" situations. Except so were a lot of people. A lot of people who may have gone home to sober up, to wonder why Roger Waters (a Brit) is so anti-American, and to love the fact that they heard that band they liked in person (even if Roger Waters was the only original member there was still that guy from the Saturday Night Live). I can't really say what the majority opinion was after watching the show. Though, during the show, the woman sitting next to us proved to be an idiot and her husband was blazing (this was a rare moder show where audience members still raise lighters in a show of support because they have brought them in to light their joints). Their opinions were insipid and unrelated to the "message" of the show. The people sitting behind us were vocally offended by the brief nudity. So, maybe people just came for the music not the message (which though it has progressed over the years hasn't changed significantly - look at the lyrics). If that was worth the money for them, who am I to say that they shouldn't be there. That only those who believe the "true message" should be allowed into the holy of holies (because I frankly doubt my general opinions match those of Roger Waters either - though for different reasons).

It seems we come to a point, then, where we are all there because of the music, because the music meant something to us. Did it mean what the "authors intended"? Likely no. Does that make that reading of the text wrong? Again, no. I want to criticize those individuals who have such a facile appreciation of art, of music, of literature, but saying that they can't like it, can't enjoy it because they "can't appreciate it like I do" is bullshit. Especially considering that I likely also approach it in the "wrong way" and I am not apologetic about how it have reached the music. Some people like Pink Floyd because it's great music when you're stoned, some like it because it is great music for this or that occasion, because they heard it first at a defining moment, because their favorite cousin let them borrow the LP. And we like live music. We like to go out and be among the faithful. This was a church service to many. If Roger Waters is the only one preaching at the Church of Floyd, so be it. We will come. And we will sing. And we will all be there in the flesh. And the worms will eat into our brains.

I'm writing again. I'm wearing a new hat.

There were several posts that I had been planning on getting up here in the weeks (has it really been weeks) since I last posted. I have one about the Disney vacation. Another about the Roger Waters show. And the follow up to that last semi-philosophical entry. I have a lot of intentions.

There were reasons for the gap. Excuses for the delay - can't post mobile, never enough time after work, vacation, sickness, the grad school apps and requisite writings, a new Rupert Felix piece for Storied (entering final personal edits and ready to be sent off to the editors for official edits). But somehow the excuses always ring hollow when I finally do find myself in a position to write and I think back and consider that I had five minutes here, ten minutes there; what did I do with all that time? I wasted it. It is depressing.

I got the new hat at the Gap today. It was on sale. It helps complete my Aldous Snow look. The way I am shedding pounds these days, the only thing that I lack to complete the look is the hair. I've tried that one before. Not a success. Too many months of terrible middling lengths to make the effort meaningful. Pretty soon you will all be coming for my bangers, beans, and mash. JoyCan is set to be the band of the voice of the next decade of the millenium. All we need to do is learn how to pretend to play our instruments (like Paul Rudd, "I slappa de bass").

I spent 20 minutes earlier trying to figure out the best way to make wikipedia display Assyrian Neo-Aramaic. What makes less sense is that the language I'm pretty sure I want to use Old Aramaic and frankly the ability to see what the letters look like is going to affect my story almost not at all. It does remind me again of the undercurrent of my desire to understand and study linguistics and language (only to be reminded of how complex the issue is, a worthy distraction though, I suppose). Aladdin Sane. I just went back and tried to figure the whole thing out again. Still mired in the complexities of language families and history and diaspora. Still not writing the story that the research is ostensibly for. Still drinking Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau.

I think it's time to get to writing some of those other posts. Notably, Roger Waters/Pink Floyd/The Wall.