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Brain Smatterings
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Date:2006-08-20 11:01

I'm getting a new LJ handle.  I spend way too much time on LJ, and I have way too many LJ friends.  Reading my friends page consumes way too much of my time, and I'd be too uncomfortable to unfriend a bunch of people.  Don't take it personally, I just need to simplify my life.  This is a way for me to take my writing more seriously, and spend less time on LJ.

If I know you in real life, or we've had extensive cyber-contact, I'll most likely add you on my new handle, but I'm not sure what it'll be yet.  Keep yr eyes peeled.

So, goodbye to anorgasmia

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Date:2006-08-20 01:01

Oh man, my last two posts have made me seem like this bitter old crank who hates popular culture and only goes for "refined" media.  I saw "Talladega Nights" with my family today, and I laughed my ass off, and thought it was great.  So don't get me wrong, I'm not against Hollywood movies....well, I am against Hollywood I suppose, since I'm against the fact that more than half of our media is owned by a handful of CEOs....but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy Hollywood movies or mainstream music....it's just important to know what's behind it all.

I can't even really express anything I mean without a barrage of people being like "WHAT'S WRONG?  WHY WOULDN'T YOU BE ALL OVER THIS SHIT?"  Forget I said anything.  Actually, no, fuck that.  I'm not done yet.

I'm not as hateful as I may sound.  I'm mostly just fascinated.  Fascinated by way a product was sold months before it was even sold.  Think about some other cult phenomenon of a movie...let's say Napoleon Dynamite.  This "indie" film (made by MTV) was a huge success, and everyone was quoting it....then came the "Vote for Pedro" shirts, the one-liner spewing toys, etc. etc. etc.  And so now we have this "pre-emptive strike" of a movie going on.  They're selling t-shirts, CDs, catch-phrases, BEFORE the movie even comes out!  How is that anything but an ultra-aggressive marketing scheme?  They can't lose.  They've created a massive awareness of this product, across the board.  Obviously I'm not immune to it -- here I am yammering on about the movie!

The thing is, these marketing/advertising people are fucking brilliant... they know what we vaguely hip youth want to see....and what do we want?  Bad shit.  Irony.  We LOVE shitty movies.  I do.  I'm sure you do too.  And they're just playing to that....The spectacle absorbs dissent.  We're cynical, irony-driven people, and they spent millions to sell us a movie that gives us just that -- something we can make fun of.   It's the same way a store like Hot Topic can take something vaguely "counter-cultural" and commodify it, to make it seem like you're being badass by buying a 3 dollar anarchy patch or something.  They're always gonna have their test markets and focus groups and shit to find out what we like, and play right into our hands, just to land them the dolla billz. 

I repeat, I'M NOT KNOCKING PEOPLE WHO ARE SEEING THIS MOVIE.  I'M NOT BETTER THAN YOU.  BUT I'M ALLOWED TO BE CRITICAL OF THE ADVERTISERS THAT ARE INVADING EVERY MOTHERFUCKING INCH OF OUR SEMIOTIC LANDSCAPE, GODDAMMIT.  They're not just selling you a product, or an image of a product, but an image of a lifestyle of a product.  And this isn't just Hollywood.  I'm not some zany kook -- there's a handful of people calling the shots for what images we get exposed to.  That's a fact.

I should also say that much of this comes from my basic distaste for anything that's been super-hyped (because I always feel at least slightly let down) and the fact that I've been reading a bunch of Baudrillard and Deleuze & Guattari

Blah blah.  I've just been filled with misanthropy and self-hate lately....join me.

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Date:2006-08-19 15:30

Many of you seemed kind of confused as to why I was so upset about the "message" from Samuel L. on my voicemail.  It's just a movie, right, calm the fuck down.  Truth be told, this whole phenomenon kinda pisses me off, and always has.  My dear friend Emily septemberglows and I were talking about this last night, and she just wrote an entry about it that pretty much sums up my feelings on it.  Here are some right-on-the-nail

(Emily, I hope you don't mind me reposting this, I just thought it was right-on, and explains my feelings on SOAP pretty well.)

This is our postmodern world, folks.  The fact that people have been obsessed with this movie for MONTHS, and WHY?  Every time I'd ask someone why they're excited about the movie, the only response I get was "Come on, it's called 'Snakes on a Plane'!"  What an image-based consumerist world we live in.  Everyone thinks this movie is just another trashy action flick, right?  They're selling you a 8 dollar (or however much people spend on T-shirts, albums, or other things in addition to the movie ticket) IMAGE, and nothing more.

I've devoted a good chunk of my time thinking about, talking about and ripping on this movie, so to some degree the movie producers won over another consumer, even though I probably won't see it, (or who knows, maybe I'll download it, because I do admit, I am mildly curious) I have been become interested by the phenomenon.

Again, I'm not hatin' on y'all for seeing the movie, but I really feel like this is just a Hollywood inside job that's got us all (myself included) interested.

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Date:2006-08-17 22:08

Dear America,

I do not appreciate getting a call from Samuel L. Jackson telling me to see "Snakes on a Plane."  How the fuck did you get my cell-phone number?  I'll see it if I want to, you bloodsucking Draconian marketing fuckers!  Your hype makes me want to see it less.  Fuck you, America.  Fuck you. 

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Date:2006-08-17 11:47

I just came to the conclusion that I hate musical theater, despite the fact that I spent four years of high school being super-involved in shows.

My family keeps commenting on how thin I am.  Whatever, it's not like I'm fit.  I just smoke a lot of cigarettes and don't really eat a lot these days.  That ain't healthy.

I'll be home tomorrow night.  D.C. has been okay, but really, it just kind of reminds me of the month I lived here earlier this year, and how that was one of the lowest points of my life to date.

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Date:2006-08-15 07:45
Subject:it ain't all about the dolla bills/you could be dead broke and be a scholar still

My older bro and his special lady are in town from Portland, and I've been invited to go to D.C. with them.
I'll be back Friday or Saturday.  I'll have internet access, but probably won't be keeping up on everyone's LJ.  Don't take it personally.

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Date:2006-08-11 13:56

"People come up to me: 'Bill, quit talking about Kennedy man . . . It was a long time ago . . .' And I'm like alright, then don't bring up Jesus to me...As long as we're talking about shelf life here..."- Bill Hicks

As the United States is under "Red Alert" (Does anyone really believe that the terror level is anything but opportunism?) I've spent a lot of today reading about 9/11.

I've been watching videos and reading articles about 9/11 "Conspiracy theories" as well as the sites/videos that try to "debunk" such theories.  All I'm left with is a bunch of unanswered questions, and I doubt we'll ever really know what happened.

I do know that the government is lying about what happened, and the mainstream news media follows suit.  I know that anyone who asks questions that haven't been addressed is labeled a conspiracy theorist.  I know that the Jews are behind the attacks, and the secret cabal of Zionist bankers are complicit in the financial gains of world domination....uh, wait, scratch that one.
But srsly....
I'm a giant skeptic.  I take all conspiracy theories as well as well as all official government reports with the tiniest grain of salt.  This is the Postmodern Empire we're living in... "truth" is relative, and everything we think we know goes through a number of filters.  I dunno.  Suddenly Alex Jones doesn't seem all that crazy...  With all the appalling shit the Bush Administration (And every other American presidency) has done, at this point I'm ready to believe about anything...

A video from SNL.  Only aired once.  Hmm, I wonder why....Funny that this is called "Conspiracy Theory Rock" when almost everything in it is undisputable.

In other news, I quit smoking pot a few days ago, for a plethora of reasons that I won't get into.  This probably is not permanent, but I'm going to be completely abstaining for at least a few months.

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Date:2006-08-10 14:42

I don't know if many of you know this, but the original Star Wars script was written by liberal environmentalists, and has a slightly

Q: How many environmentalists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A:  Ten. One to write the lightbulb a letter requesting that it change. Four to circulate online petitions. One to file a lawsuit demanding it change. One to send the lightbulb lovingkindness™, knowing that this is the only way real change occurs. One to accept the lightbulb precisely the way it is, clear in the knowledge that to not accept another is to do great harm to oneself. One to write a book about how and why the lightbulb needs to change. And finally, one to smash the fucking lightbulb, because we all know it’s never going to change.

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Date:2006-08-10 13:02

IT'S 21+

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Date:2006-08-10 12:28
Subject:oh my serendipitous internet addiction...

I wake up at 12, find out through my friends' page that there was a Tom Waits show added to Cleveland.  Tickets go on sale at noon Thursday!  Sweet!  So I dash into action and get a ticket.  HOLY SHIT GENERAL ADMISSION.  ON THE FLO'.  I'm getting there madd early and getting as close as I can.

August 13th, Mr. Tom Waits.

When the summer is over I will have seen Acid Mothers Temple, Boredoms, Rocket from the Tombs, Dr. Octagon (maybe) and Tom Fucking Waits.  Not too bad.

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Date:2006-08-09 14:02

In Canada, you can smoke pot in public because the cops don't care.
In America you can smoke pot in public because people don't look at each other. 


1. Name:
2. Age/Birthday:
3. Single or Taken:
4. Favorite Movie:
5. Favorite Song:
6. Favorite Band/Rapper/Artist:
7. Favorite Book/Comic Book:
8. Tattoos and/or Piercings:
9. Favorite TV Show:
10. Favorite Video Game/Board Game:
11. Do we know each other outside of Livejournal?
12. Tell me one odd/interesting fact about you:
13. If you could change anything about your current life, would you?
14. Will you post this so I can fill it out for you?
15. Post a picture of you:

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Date:2006-08-03 02:13

Sometimes I have to stop and convince myself that the past 8 months or so have actually been real.  I'm coming out of a slump, I suppose.  But I'm still anti-social as hell.  Here are some things I've been thinking about, reflecting upon depression, anti-socialness, loss, and all that.

Coming back to Beloit in late December, I remember seeing the crowds of people at Commons, sitting, talking, laughing and it was like I was viewing another world.  Everyone would ask how I was doing, and I'd always shrug and say "As good as I can be."  That was the easiest response I could come up with.  Any other would be either entirely fake, or it'd sound like I was merely trying to evoke sympathy.  For months I'd be uncomfortable when people would bring up Alex's death, but at the same time that was all I wanted to talk about.  I didn't give a fuck about anything.  I stopped shaving, showering, maintaining my room and listening to people.  When I'd get drunk, I'd end up bawling, so I smoked a lot of pot -- just to feel something.  To remind me that I still HAD an imagination, that my thought train hadn't been completely derailed.  I remember the night I took mushrooms and spent most of the night laying in bed, just thinking about things.  I walked outside in my pajama pants at 2 AM to see a desolate, cold world that wasn't going to wait around for me. when i went back inside I wrote:

"sometimes we just need time to fizzle. we can't constantly explode.
the world is far more interesting than my headspace.
sometimes i need to go where there are blankets, sometimes i need to tinker with ideas of infinity.

it freaks me out that i can't give all the love i feel for everyone.
the world is not always trying to reach you.
people are walking to places, they don't have to let you into buildings.
the trees don't have any leaves yet.
the snow keeps wanting to fall, but it needs to keep on, keep moving.
the world needs to flow again."

Everything had just been frozen in those months.  I can't even believe that I had a starring role in a student film.  Sometimes I need to look at the DVD cover to even remember it.  It's a wonder to me that I was even able to interact at all, to fake it enough to function, if only just a bit.  And I was so incredibly thin-skinned back then.  Everything sounded like an insult to me, I nearly lost several friends because of it.  Everyone's words sounded fake and hollow.  When I dropped out of school, I thought being in D.C. would help, but seeing hoardes of young business people with blank expressions filing in and out of their jobs....it made it worse.  Now it wasn't just people's words that seemed faked -- it was everything.  I lived in this completely vapid world, filled with a dull rage at everything.  I'd come home from working (everyone in the office thought I was so quiet) and would lay in bed, imagining fire and explosions to sweep everything away.

(I'm just writing this to remind myself that this shit actually happened.)

Today is the eight-month anniversary of Alex's death.  It's been weeks since I've cried about it, but I woke up this morning with an immense upset feeling -- before I even remembered what day it was.

I may have lost all contact with a person who I used to consider one of my closest friends, even if I've only known him for a short time.  Losing a friend isn't the same as the death of a sibling,, no.  But it evokes many of the same feelings -- namely, someone close to you dropping completely out of your life for no apparent reason.  That unanswered question of "why?"  Jessi said it best, "there's never a why"  And as Aaron said before and after the funeral, "there are no rules."  It makes me sick to think that some of the people I love and care about so much are going to fade into oblivian.   And at the same time, I see all the love and support I still have.   I look at Alina and remember her by my side the whole month of December, strong as can be, just holding me and letting me cry.  And she's never let down, and my God, I love her more than I can ever ever say.

Bottom line is, there's hope, I think.
Let's just try to figure out this whole "food/air" deal in the world, hmm?

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Date:2006-08-02 23:33

(On YouTube:)

(23:27:21) nick: and how many people put their shitty homemade videos up and tag it as like "michael jordan macarena toy story pokemon tamigotchi spice girls" so they'll get more hits
(23:27:36) Eddie: hah, pathetic werms
(23:27:39) nick: i wanted to write stuff that is currently popular, but for some reason i got stuck in 1997
(23:29:40) Eddie: hahaha
(23:29:43) Eddie: macarena
(23:31:53) nick: dude, let's have a macarena party
(23:32:05) nick: where we lock everyone in the room and make them do the macarena
(23:32:29) nick: while you and i get progressively shitfaced and scream at them to do the macarena
(23:32:40) nick: (we won't be dancing, mind you)

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Date:2006-08-02 13:49
Subject:some songs to share!

"Oh hello, America!  Y'know, this truck is like family to me...I can get all up inside it and just wiggle my pecker `round innit.  Oh yeah, and TEXAS!"
-David Cross on Wonder Showzen

Lee Perry- "Don't Blame the Baldhead"
Just about the catchiest reggae song EVER.

Revolucion X- "I'm Making My Future with the Border Patrol"
I found this Mexican hardcore punk band randomly on Soulseek.  I can't find anything about them, but their 1994 EP "EZLN" is pretty great.  This is their only English song on it, and it rawks hard.
Refrain: "I'm making my future with the border patrol/Beating Mexicans is too much fun"

Scared of Chaka- "All My Friends are Ghosts"
Pop punk.  V. good.

Iry Lejeune- "Evangeline Special"
Old-timey Cajun goodness.  I cannot stop listening and singing along in (phonetic) French Creole when I'm driving.

The Ponys- "Trouble Trouble"
I can't think of a more Trevor Angell band than The Ponys.  This is mostly cuz I miss the kid a lot.  Trevor once wrote "The Ponys are Fucking Awesome" in a bathroom stall at Beloit.  The keyboard part of this song is hot shit.

Mighty Sparrow- "Raphaela"
You may recall me saying a few months ago that I only ever listen to American folk music and Calypso.  Here's one of the reasons why I chose the latter.

The Meters- "Live Wire"
Cuz everyone needs some Nawleans funk in their lives.  I believe this is the definition of "pussy-poundin' organ" (Ermmm, the instrument.  Not that kinda organ)

Let me know if you want me to refresh the songs.

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Date:2006-07-30 20:52
Subject:we support our troops when they shoot their officers

"The reason to have a military is to be prepared to fight and win wars... it's not a jobs program."- Dick Cheney

My cousin Tim is getting shipped to Iraq.  Baghdad.  In the army for combat technology.

I don't even know how I'm supposed to feel.  On one hand, he's family, so I should be compassionate and hope for a safe return.  And of course I do.

But at the same time... He's enlisting into a murderous institution, with a very vague idea of what he's actually getting into.  My dad aptly described the military situation in Iraq as a "big playground fight with no adults around." 

Tim seems like a perfect recruit... A not-too-bright, apolitical Missouri farm boy with little clue of what to do after high school.  And, like so many other young people in this country, he bought into the UTTER FUCKING LIES of the recruiters.  Tim wanted to go to Australia, and the slick-ass recruiters made it seem like the Army would station him in Australia.  There are just so many questions that are NOT being asked of military recruiters.  Questions such as:

-Why do veterans earn less than similar non-veterans? Why are veterans imprisoned more often? Why are 1/3 of all homeless people veterans?
-How does getting yelled at and ordered around provide self-discipline?
-Why do 65% of recruits who pay the required $1200 into the Montgomery GI Bill never get a dime in return?
-Why do only 12% of male veterans and 6% of female veterans make any use of skills learned in the military in their civilian jobs?

Let this be said:  There is very little difference between "supporting the troops" and "supporting the war."  The only troops I support are the ones who refuse to fight.  The heart of the war machine is right here at home, in recruitment centers and high schools (shit, what's the difference anymore?) all across the country.  As long as we continue to educate kids about the pure falsehoods that the recruiters are feeding them, there's still some hope.

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Date:2006-07-30 13:07

Everyone says they're not gonna sell out, but they always do.

Who knows? In 20 years I could be a Libertarian of the "Penn and Teller's Bullshit" variety -- into civil liberties, free-market capitalism, and thinking that global warming is a massive media hoax.

Or I could be one of those New Agey dudes who lives in...I dunno, Colorado? and studies yoga and aromatheraphy, married to a woman named Chrys (short for "Chrysanthemum") who talks about your inner light and spends hordes of money on organic food.

It's rather scary. I can see the parts of myself that could very well get sucked out of me when I'm not looking. If I can fake a really good Republican argument, who's to say that one day I won't just wake up and start investing in the stock market and hating women? I don't know. Here's something to read

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Date:2006-07-24 13:20
Subject:get up, uh! (get on up)
Mood:think about it!

I really think we should bomb the entire fucking Middle East....

....with James Brown!

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Date:2006-07-23 13:24

a short clip of me throatsinging

poor quality, and i'm just kinda fucking around with my mouth and throat and tongue. but you can hear an overtone!

More on throat singing here!

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Date:2006-07-21 14:25

Last spring, when Alina and I were mere penpals and budding friends (lovers in waiting?) I sent her a mix with a live version of "Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. She told me later that the first time she heard it she cried from its sheer beauty. A similar event occurred with me just a few days ago...I was driving around listening to it, and my God, the LIFE in the song -- it's as if no one has laughed, sung, had as much FUN as the Ella, Louis and the audience are having during this song. I listened clenching both fists, and kept repeating "YES! YES!" as I welled up in tears out of sheer excitement. I got so wrapped up in every vocalization and every timbre that I nearly ran off the road a few times.

If there's a such thing as a perfect recording, this is it. Every now and then I prepare a mix I would give to an alien race who wanted audio representations of human civilization at its best...This track would for sure be included.

Ella and Louis- "Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"

Do yourself a favor: Download and listen to this song. Listen to it as actively as you can.

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Date:2006-07-19 20:14


Alex: and i also realized how much of my guilt complex stems from marxist self accusations, these ideas that there's something wrong with me, i'm doing something wrong by being interested in physics, i'm so bourgiose, etc. it all stems from that tradition of finger pointing 1. sin is the problem god is solution 2. god is the problem state is solution 3. economy is problem, dictatorship of proletariat is solution (read state still is solution) 4. state is problem, revolution from below is solution 5. foundation is the problem, here are a bunch of solutions we can call post-structuralism 6. post-structuralism contradicts itself, figure your own solution the idea that there is "the problem" feeds into itself if you believe in a giant monster you'll see one power, energy, orange juice, and other fluids circulate around and congeal or emerge in various nodes of monsters, call them capitalism, domination, whatever and sometimes interesting nodes, provided they are flexible enough to allow continued flow to quote nick simmons "there are always going to be monsters to kill"

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