Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Geriatric Brain Storming

Most of the time I'll forget about how everyone spends at least some time alone.

For some reason old people always solicit their terrible get rich quick with the young people. Just this evening an old man tried to push a potentially great idea to me and a friend of mine. Most of these notions are either not complete in thought or nonsensical (so you'll have to bare with me). One of them involved producing playing cards with popular song lyrics on them. The example that he gave was Star Spangled Banner. An older man that I talked to last week told me that it would be a good idea for the airlines to introduce in flight workout equipment. Both of these ideas are pretty illogical. The amount of money you would need to pay for royalties would make the playing cards incredibly expensive to manufacture.

Post it notes, courtesy of Brad Murphy.

Speak easy,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

(That is what's real)?

On the internet it seems that people only present themselves as they would like to be presented. Every single picture or video or snippet of information or exhalation of information is displayed for one reason or another. There's a kind of digital disconnect between you and the person at the other end of the tunnel. How much does this filtration displace the person behind the screen? Inevitably technology may reach the point where you won't be able to tell the difference between a real person and a technological manifestation. Most people won't notice the difference and, if the intelligence programming is convincing enough, it might not even matter all too much. The people made of meat and neurotransmitters that revolve around you might be just as masked and distilled.

Evil sleeps with one eye open.

A few weeks ago I was waiting for one of my classes to start when one of my friends, or acquaintances (sometime these relationships can be such a blur), sat down next to me and talked about a conversation she had just had. She said that there was this guy that was talking to her about something that would not be of interest to anyone. He was basically wasting her time. All of this made me really uncomfortable. The subtext, or what I gathered to be the subtext, was that whatever she was talking about now was somehow significant. I almost made a joke about it but realized it would be a fairly awkward and uncomfortable exchange. The only thing I could do is shake my head and try to change the subject. It always seems really unnatural when conversation becomes self conscious. As far as I can conclude, almost everything is nonsense. Importance is not in the conversation but in the receiver.

Some people like bands. Some people like songs.

Post it notes, courtesy of Brad Murphy.

Speak easy,

Monday, December 29, 2008

Space, Time, and Hair

There's something special about the relationship between a human and an animal. It is something completely honest and unfiltered. People are so complicated. Sometimes I wish that I could just be friends with the squirrels.

I feel like the Hadron Collider has come up a lot in conversations I have had over the last few days. I don't know much about it but I believe it has something to do with creating a controlled big bang or black hole or something of that nature. It seems to me that this is an incredibly dangerous experiment. Brad's friends Sequoya said that the reason that the experiment is going wrong is because the universe won't let something unbalance it like that. I thought it would be interesting if maybe the Hadron Collider did unbalance the future and this event is what determines time itself. That possibly, and this may be a little abstract, pulls time in a forward motion.

Often times I'll completely lose track of things. For example, I'll simply forget the last time I took a shower. After two days I start to get a five o'clock shadow and then I'll know it's time to wash up. This morning my hair was standing up on it's own and that's as good any.

This is how it looked immediately after I woke up this morning.

Post it notes, courtesy of Brad Murphy.

Speak easy,

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Sometimes I feel like what most people want to do is to not end up like their parents. This may have to do with familiarity and how we all just want something different from what we are accustomed to. I have a feeling that my parents felt similarly about the people who raised them.

You are shaped by everyone and everything you have ever known. The rest is up to chance.

My brother and I were trying to make a list of words that begin and end with the same sounds and also relate to each other in a literal way. We came up with a few...


I was pretty satisfied with how the Yankee Swap went this year. I ended up with a used copy of Lolita and some hand lotion. Sweet deal.

Post it notes, courtesy of Brad Murphy.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Even thought we say that we know that other people are as complex as we are, people have a tendency to simplify and generalize other people. I am completely guilty of this, especially as of late. However, I do think it is a totally rationally way to think. Most people are generally predictable. Even unpredictable individuals can be predictably unpredictable.

Right now I am in Rhode Island with my cousin Brad. Foster, the town in which I am currently staying, is a painfully secluded rural area in southern Rhode Island. I was talking to Brad's girlfriend today and she mentioned that in Foster there is nothing to do but drink. This sentiment sounded very familiar. Almost any teenager, when asked what there is do in the town in which they reside, will comment on the fact that there is nothing to do in their town but drink. This leads me to believe that there is nothing to do anywhere. People are bored all over the world and when people get bored, they drink.

Speak easy,

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Without Them

Since I didn't update yesterday I thought that it would only be fitting for me to delve into the embarrassment of Christmas past. The first account of embarrassment I have to offer today is not something that happened to me, but of something that happened to my brother of which I bore witness. It was a cold and picturesque Christmas eve night many years ago. My mother, having just relieved herself of her annual last minute shopping, brought my older brother Ross and I to the Cotuit Federated Church for an evening mass. We arrived late, as usual, and filed reluctantly in one of the back pews. Church for our family was, and still is, somewhat of a rare occurrence. I sat patiently next to my mother while the congregation recited hymns upon hymns that I didn't recognize. Ross, being the angsty young rebel that he was, decided to take a walk. Church time flowed like school time and I grew weary. First came the smell. It was one I had recognized from the passenger seat of my mother's old Plymouth Reliant. In the car, the smell presents itself and then gradually fades off into the ether. The musk of a skunk. Heads turned and I heard the soft voice of my humbled brother. "Mom.", he whispered. My brother inched towards us from the other end of the pew. People turned their heads and moved to the front of the church. I will never forget how my mother tried to quietly shoo him out the door. The air in the church that had previously been filled with hope and Christmas joy had been replaced by that of roadkill. A man ran to the back room to vomit and for the first time I felt truly embarrassed for my family. We left early. Ross had walked through the park and kicked a rock in the direction of a dumpster. That must have got the skunk's attention. It sprayed him. He kicked it and ran back to church. That Christmas eve while everyone else's moms were tucking them into bed and reading them Twas The Night Before Christmas, our mom was driving all around town looking for a convenience store that sold tomato juice.

One of the furthest back memories I can conjure up also happens to one that carries a weight of embarrassment. I must have been three or four years old and, if memory serves, I was at my mother's friend's house for a holiday gathering. At this point in my life I had been all done with diapers and could freely do my business in any restroom I saw fit. Heading the call of the wild, I took refuge in the upstairs restroom. The bathroom was polished, white, and immaculate. The only problem, I came to find, was that there was no toilet paper. What is a child to do? I glance around the room. Dish soap. Shampoo. Sink. Porcelain tub. My eyes finally rest on the guest towels. They can serve the same function as toilet paper, I thought. I was a little Macgyver. The guest towels were hung back up, white side out, and no one would be the wiser. To this day I don't recall exactly whose house it was.

Puff has been playing with and unplugging the lights on the Christmas tree for the last few days. Today she actually climbed inside the tree. I had to wait until she held still. The tree was shaking and I felt like I was in the movie Gremlins.

My father noticed that in the bags of saltines every thirteenth cracker is a dark shade of brown. He finds this fascinating.

I apologize to my family for wrapping them into today's entry, but what is Christmas without them?

Speak easy,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bargaining and Vocabulary

A few years ago, Mike, Paul and I were sitting around eating pizza and complaining about our lack of girlfriends. After exhausting every resource of entertainment we had on hand, we resorted to playing board games. While one of us set up the Monopoly board, another complained about how he wanted to play Scrabble instead. One thing led to another and we ended up placing the Scrabble board on top of the Monopoly board. When we realized that they the Scrabble board fit almost perfectly within the inner boarder of the Monopoly grid, we knew that we had to make rules and guidelines for this incestuous hybrid. Scrabopoly was born. The rules are quite simple. The game is played just as a normal game of Monopoly is played except that every time someone passes go or free parking they must spell a word on the scrabble board. After you calculate the point value of the work, you multiple it by 10 and slap a dollar sign on it. This is the amount of money you earn. This income replaces the standard $200 that you would receive when you pass go. It is in this way that the game is not completely left up to chance. Playing the two games simultaneously, although confusing at times, ends up being a more enjoyable experience than either game on its own. Maybe this week I'll make a training video for anyone at home that would like to enjoy.

My friend Paul died earlier this year while serving time in the United States Military. Although I don't agree with the war, I am incredibly proud of those who are risking their lives over in Iraq for something that they believe in.

The composite photograph pictured below is something I threw together in my Junior year of High School. Paul modeled for me a lot during the few years of my life that I devoted to photography. Don't let the picture fool you. It was Paul who wanted to make every picture contain a hint of melodrama.

Speak easy,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

the seemingly employed decorates the decrepit branch

On more than one occasion I have found myself browsing a stores endless catalog of merchandise when someone approaches me and assumes that I am employed there. It's mostly middle aged women who make this mistake. The problem may be that I look mildly bemused and vaguely annoyed whenever I am shopping. I don't rigorously hunt for what I am looking for. What I do is slowly make my way through the aisles with an air of skepticism. It may also be that I look like someone who is capable of keeping a job. All of this makes me think of how easy it must be to be a confidence man. People will believe whatever you present as fact because it is always the easier route. And the easier route, as you may know, is all anyone is looking for.

Last year I celebrated Christmas three times. I had Christmas in America (Dec. 25th), Christmas in Moldova (Jan. 2nd), and Old Christmas in Moldova (Jan. 7th). Christmas in Moldova consists of exchanges gifts between friends and loved ones. On old Christmas you get together with you family and have a large feast. Instead of cutting down an entire tree, Mariana, her sister Nadia, and I went to the edge of the forest and cut down a single branch to decorate. After propping it up in a clay pot and decorating it in bulbs and thistle it resembled Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. It leaned against the wall between the threshold and the fire place in my room for about 2 weeks. Mariana said that it made little sense to waste an entire tree when you could get fine with just a branch.

I think that people in contemporary America get so depressed because they have so much time on their hands. There was once a time when one would work all day and be lucky if half of their family hadn't succumbed to the plague. These people didn't kill themselves. They just kept living...because they had to.

Speak easy,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Don't throw the baby out...

Michael and I went into a toy store yesterday and found that it was just filled with miserable adults.

Sometimes when I hear a song for the first time I imagine that someone I really trust has just popped the disc into the car stereo and revealed to me that the song that is about to play is their favorite. There have been a few occasions where one of my close friends has persisted that there is more to a given song than what I initially see. Sometimes you'll see more, sometimes you won't.

In an earlier blog I talked about my plan for my future and how my expectations change drastically over time. Recently I have had second thoughts about going to Europe to teach English as a second language. There are many other things that I would like to do besides living in a different country, but that is not to say that these things are mutually exclusive. We can't truly piece together where we are going until we have pieced together what we already have. This is sort of what I am doing now. Recently I listened to an interview with musician Ben Folds, and he said that he didn't release a full length record until he was 28 years old. This gives me some hope that I have plenty of time to clear a path for myself.

If I had to choose a path right now it would consist of a lot of labor intensive work, followed by a lot of traveling. At some point I would like to see America, Japan, and New Zealand. After that I think I will pursue my hobbies (music, writing, animation) while maintaining a job that I don't hate. Somewhere down the line I'll find a wife and have a conventional family with a dog and a house and a garden with weeds and footprints. Maybe I will do a lot of planning without a whole lot of execution.

For the last few days I have been pretty sick. I can't say that I know what it feels like to go through Chemotherapy, but I'm sure it must be terrible.

You are only as clean as the water you bathe in.

Speak easy,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

lion shaped hair hats

During the winter, the dry air results in persistent nose bleeds. Luckily for me, they don't often occur in public. I realized this evening that, after being subject to this pouring blood day after day, I have grown fairly callous to the whole experience. The sight of blood alarms most people but I see it as something to roll my eyes at. What is it that you think when you see the deep shade of liquid red? It is kind of strange when you think about all of the blood in all of the organisms in all of the different corners of the world. How it quickly moves through cold fingers and flushed cheeks. Whenever I am touching someone else I try really hard to remember the smooth skin on the surface and try desperately to forget all the blood and bones that lie beneath.

On the drive home from Amherst, Jim and I stopped at "Dave's Soda and Pet Supply" so that I could redeem my bottles and cans. For the most part Dave's looks like any other Pet Store, but beyond the industrial sized cases of cat food is a warehouse full of soda. Apparently Dave's was once exclusively a soda shop and For some reason or another they started selling pet supplies and, after a while, stopped carrying as much soda. Pets and soda are an odd pair.

The best songs end about 30 seconds earlier than you would like them to.

Speak easy,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

time's kitschy little secret

I can not stand all of these incredibly kitschy products that line the walls of shopping malls and novelty stores. Products like the electric dog that humps the disembodied leg, mooning lawn gnome, or the electric woopie cushion serve no purpose and have no place anywhere I can think of outside of a bargain bin. These are illogical, unwanted, and purposeless. It's not even something you can put with the rest of your presentable American trinkets. Every Christmas, money is wasted and people give and receive bar coded items that gather dust in shrink wrap. I think the problem may lie in man's love for a sealed box. The mystery and fascination of opportunity and possibility. There is not much to the buying and boxing or the receiving and using. With all of the crap circulating through the veins of corporate America it is amazing that people aren't more skeptical about receiving their own special secret.

Humans are to time as alcoholics are to alcohol. When you first start off every moment is a moment to relish. Each experience new and amazing. You speak in slurs and receive help from those who care for you. As you get older, you build up a tolerance. Suddenly it seemingly takes more and more to satisfy you. You lose count. You get depressed and ask a higher power if there is anything that can be done. You become a helpless wreck. How can something so completely control your life? You can't live without it.

"You were born in pain. You live in fear. You die alone. Happy Christmas!"
- Age old Scottish holiday greeting.

Speak easy,

Friday, December 19, 2008

peach air

I love the way that the soft snow catches the light in a way that makes the ground, the air, and the sky this light peach hue. The muffled wind gets caught in the air. It puts you in a strange mood. It varies snowfall to snowfall but today it a introspective, end of the semester type of mood. I feel a strange mix of closure, anxiety, exhaustion, tranquility, and regret. The latter is more of a blanketed emotion. We all regret actions or the lack of action or maybe a choice that we've made that we have to live with. I think the older you get, the more the regret piles up until they is nowhere else for it to go. Acceptance is the only wave that can wash off your soul and make it clean.

Today I went to the campus center with Jim so he could cash in the rest of his YCMP swipes before the end of the semester. While we were in line there was a custodial worker and a janitor that kept making really simple, stupid jokes. For some reason there is this large group of individuals that just love to laugh at their own lame jokes. If you have ever worked as a cashier you know what I'm talking about. For example, if you work behind a cash register and for some reason the machine rings the price up as '$0.00', which happens from time to time for one reason or another, the person you are helping will undoubtedly blurt out something like "That means I get it for free, right?". This results in everyone in line elbowing each other and having a real generic laugh, the loudest of which always comes from the person making the joke.

I think if I ever have my own place I will buy a bicycle powered electric generator and try to see how far an electric tea kettle and a George Foreman grill will get me.

Why does terrible coffee make my mouth taste like hot dogs?

Speak easy,

Today's Playlist:
Favorite Songs of 2008

1. Noah and the Whale - 5 Years Time (Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down)
2. MGMT - Kids (Oracular Spectacular)
3. Say Hi (To Your Mom) - Northwestern Girls (The Wishes and the Glitch)
4. Time Fite - Big Mistake (Fiar Ain't Fair)
5. Conor Oberst - Cape Canaveral (Conor Oberst)
6. Vampire Weekend - Mansard Roof (Vampire Weekend)
7. Kate Nash - Foundations (Play)
8. Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart (Narrow Stairs)
9. Cloud Cult - When Water Comes To Life (Feel Good Ghost)
10. Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (We Are Beautiful...)
11. Animale Collective - Water Curses (Water Curses)
12. Hot Chip - Shake a Fist (Made In The Dark)
13. The Decemberists - Raincoat Song (Always The Bridesmaid)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."

I noticed that whenever I have no obligations to do anything, I have much less drive to do anything at all. Last week when I had finals to study for and papers to work on, I still found it really easy to find time to blog or do anything else that I consider constructive. All of my classes ended on Tuesday and I have been doing relatively nothing for days. The less free time you have, the better you utilize it.

Every year when the annual odometer hints at a rollover, I dust off my old paperback copy of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye. I feel like every time I read it, I read it a little differently. It’s kind of like how Holden visits the Museum of Natural History and realizes how he keeps changing, while the building and exhibits remain the same. My entire ENL 200 class this semester was composed of doing close readings on poetry, novellas, and short stories so I now know how to properly read a book.

Friendship is a slippery fish. When you are ten years old you have your close friends and they are really all you need. Sometimes a friend's dad will get assigned to another army base in another county and that's usually the end of the friendship. Adult friends are so much more complicated. The whole gender issue aside, you have all of these social obligations and Christmas cards and far away friends that you rarely talk to and friends down the street that you rarely talk to and the friends that you play music with and the friends that you knew from high school and the friends that you knew from college and the friends that you used to sneak out at night with and walk around the streets at night while everyone else was asleep. You'll give them a call once a year or see them at the supermarket or go out to a movie once and a while with them, but sometimes you wonder what the point .

For the last three years of my life I have not been interested in making new friends because I knew I would be transferring and moving a lot. The people I have become friends with in this period were just happenstance. Good friends are not made, they just happen. Good friendships naturally evolve.

Some connections are open ended. Some connections aren't real connections at all.

Speak easy,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Beards. hedgehogs, and hillsides.

Lev wanted to know how much vitamin C one would have to take before it was lethal. I did some research and some math (which may very well be incorrect) and came to the conclusion that Lev would have to ingest over a million percent of his daily recommended vitamin C intake in order to overdose.

For some reason I constantly feel the need to separate being human from being an animal. It wasn’t until I was seven years old until I really understood that we were the same kind of biological organisms as dogs, cats, and hedgehogs. Before that I had just thought of human kind as bastardized angels with stripped wings. It seems to me that humans don’t want to face how human they are. Cloth covers skin as square houses are built on hillsides. Women shave their legs while men cut their hair short and trim their beards just so. I wonder how bears feel about being bears.

Speak easy,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

cold air and silver screens

Yesterday I had my last final and now I'm done with work until February. Mental work that is. I will need to work over winter break if I ever want to see London, Paris, or Rome.

It is truly amazing that the winter air in Massachusetts can smell like the winter air half way across the world. When it comes down to it, people and places aren't as different as people may think. Sure, there are different languages, different governments and different currency, but that doesn't change the fact that people are people. They enjoy watching stupid movies, dancing like nobodies watching, and eating cake. Even the hungriest child in the poorest of nations probably has a dirty joke that he would love to tell you.

My friend Sarah recommended that I post some explanations for the terrible movies that I saw in theaters. She said it would make for a good punishment of sorts for not updating the blog yesterday.

1. She's The Man

What was I thinking?: I was at the mall with a friend of mine and we had a few hours to kill. For some reason we had our minds set on seeing a movie and the only two options were She's The Man and Failure To Launch (starring the ever so talented Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker). The deciding factor rested solely on the fact that She's The Man was based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

Verdict: Felt like an ABC Family prime time, single camera comedy (which would probably be entitled Soccer Daze). Predictable, clichéd, and boring.

What I wish I was watching: 10 Things I Hate About You.

2. Scary Movie 3

What was I thinking?: I bought the ticket thinking that I could easily sneak in to Matrix Revolutions. The theater decided to have a police officer stand guard at the door so that no underage kids could sneak in.

Verdict: By far the worst comedy I have ever seen. The couple awkwardly making out in the seat next to me didn't help with the overall experience.

What I wish I was watching: Ghostbusters

3. The Skeleton Key

What was I thinking?: I did not want to see this movie. The reason wasn't because I was worried about the quality of the film, but because I am a not a fan of the horror genre. It was not my choice. I was with a group of friends and one of them, who I didn't know very well, insisted that everyone needed to see this movie. Apparently it had the greatest twist ending in the history of cinema.

Verdict: Boring and (towards the end) laughable. I am just sorry that Peter Sarsgaard had to drag his career through this movie. The ending was alright I suppose but not at all worth sitting through the entire movie for.

What I wish I was watching: The Others

4. Spice World

What was I thinking?: I was an 11 year old boy at the time and I went with a friend of the family. For some reason I thought going to Spice World was entirely acceptable. I liked Baby Spice because she was not nearly as intimidating as the rest.

Verdict: No comment.

What I wish I was watching: This Is Spinal Tap

5. Hairspray

What was I thinking?: The critics seemed to like it. I was going on a date after I got off of work. The other movie I could have gone to for the allotted time was Rush Hour 3 (if memory serves). I tend to hate musicals but I thought this one might be different.

Verdict: Annoying and idiotic. The only redeeming qualities I could find in this film were Christopher Walkin and John Travolta (in drag). If the entire film were based around these two characters I think I wouldn't have fallen asleep half way through. (Note: only film I've ever actually fallen asleep during)

What I wish I was watching: The Producers

6. Wild Wild West

What was I thinking?: This was playing as a double feature, alongside the South Park movie, at the air force base cinema. I was 13 at the time and would have gone to see a child birth if it meant I could sink my teeth into more South Park.

Verdict: Better than watching childbirth but not nearly as rewarding. Completely nonsensical and ridiculous and the only film (to my knowledge) that Will Smith regrets doing.

What I wish I was watching: South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut

7. Evan Almighty

What was I thinking?: I was going to the Wellfleet drive-in on a double date.

Verdict: Illogical. Ridiculous. Pointless. How do you suck all of the funny out of Steve Carell? Why does the flood only last five minutes? How does Morgan Freeman (God) inevitably have nothing poignant to say?

What I wish I was watching: The Office

I thank those who have too much time on their hands.

Speak easy,

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dinosaurs that give birth

Moments ago I was walking up to the front entrance of the university Dining Common when I see, in my peripheral vision, that a girl is turning her head in my direction. Immediately following this, I hear her yell the word "Loser!" incredibly loud. My first thought was that it was someone that I knew but for some reason or another did notice (this happens more often than you would think). It turned out to be a girl just yelling into her cell phone. I was flustered and confused and she apologized. When people make rude gestures at me in public I usually don't take it personally. As I turned around to open the door I just heard her and her friend "aww" in unison, the way most teenage girls do. The sound was familiar but I can't recall the last time I heard it first hand.

Recently, on account of cold weather, I have been consistently putting on and taking off my black gloves. Every time I put them on, I do it very slowly and imagine that I am about to commit a murder. Non-diagetic ominous tones in my head heighten the mood. The laughing people in front of me, with their false sense of security, are none the wiser. Once the tips of my fingers reach the end of the glove the mood is shattered and everything goes back to regular speed.

Speak easy,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Now that's a lot of grandpa.

I have this strange desire to make a television program for children. What I have in mind is sort of a combination between Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, Bill Nye The Science Guy, The Science of Sleep and The Kids In The Hall. There are a few reasons I want to do this. First, I don't think that a lot of kids shows really respect their audience. Of course, I know that children are not incredibly smart but programs these days, such as Dora the Explorer, make it seem like the children are not only brain dead, but also uninterested in learning anything of importance. Another reason is because people of all ages watch daytime programming aimed at preschoolers. There are parents watching with their kids, teenagers home sick from school, and the unemployed who have more than enough time on their hands. If there is a program that is really entertaining for older audiences, it is bound to do fairly well. Plus there there is plenty of money in syndication and DVD sales for this kind of thing.

One segment for the show that I am thinking about doing is called "That's Probably As Old As My Grandpa."

Person 1: Pyramids are really old. I wonder how old they are.
Person 2: They're probably as old as my grandpa!
Host: Actually pyramids were built in 1300 B.C. which makes them just about 3,300 years old. If the average grandpa is about 70 years old, that would make the pyramids about as old as 47 grandpas.
Person 1: Wow!
Person 2: (matter of factly) Now that's a lot of grandpa.

Lev reminded me that I did miss one more blog than I thought, which means that I will reveal something embarrassing. The following is a list of movies that I am fairly embarrassed about seeing in theaters. Often you will find yourself in front of a Tinseltown fueled monstrosity if you are with a group of friends, on a date, or forced to waste an allotted amount of time at a shopping plaza until your ride shows up.

1. She's The Man
2. Scary Movie 3
3. The Skeleton Key
4. Spice World
5. Hairspray
6. Wild Wild West
7. Evan Almighty

Speak easy,

Friday, December 12, 2008

the ducks take a field trip

In my philosophy class I learned that most people have an overly optimistic and inaccurate self judgment. People think that they are much smarter than their coworkers. Mothers think that their children are the brightest and most intelligent offspring to grace God's green earth. In social situations the average person perceives that their interactions are far more personable, warm, and engaging than the harsh reality. The depressed, however, prove to have a much more rational perception of their every day lives.

“Sorrow is knowledge, those that know the most must mourn the deepest, the tree of knowledge is not the tree of life.”
-Lord Byron

When I was little I always found it incredibly difficult to distinguish between sins and laws. As I got older I began to notice the differences and the overlaps. To this day I have this cricket in the back of my head that still confuses the two.

The other day I passed the pond next to the library and didn't see any ducks, just wrinkles from the rain. The ducks had migrated to the grass mall adjacent to the student union. When I walked by, they didn't run, they just drank from puddles and waddled jubilantly through the field. It was almost as if the rain allowed them to take the pond with them wherever they went.

Speak easy,

Thursday, December 11, 2008

être vis-à-vis avec l'objet de votre raison d'être

I would have to say that skipping is by in large one the most underrated modes of transportation. There is really something to the carefree, rhythmic sway of a good skip. It is a shame that people shed such a negative light on the action. Granted one does look like a complete sissy when caught up in the throes of skipping so it is best to keep it a private affair. Trust me, if you find yourself in the woods on a picturesque spring day, it would be in your best interest to skip to your heart’s content. Let go!

Papers and finals have been monopolizing my schedule for the last few days. With each finished paper and each finished test comes a sense of elation; a wave of catharsis. Normally if I am feeling spiritually burdened I'll just get a haircut or throw some stuff away. Getting rid of something that you don't really want to get rid of (despite the fact that you may never use it again) is a great activity for a slow rainy afternoon. If you don't take a load off once in a while your life starts to get buried. It's best to keep things simple. Bare minimum tastes of cinnamon.

The power just went out in my building but my computer still has plenty of battery life left. Someday I want to go into the woods with a sleeping bag, a canteen, a good book, and a frying pan and experience life like Lewis & Clark. Electricity, unlike skipping, is totally overrated.

Speak easy,

P.S - If you like podcasts and you like comedy, I would like to recommend this week’s episode of Jordan, Jesse, Go! It is a pop culture/comedy podcast brought to you by the host of The Sound of Young America, a great interview podcast and radio show featured on NPR.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

yom kippur: self reflection and atonement

After taking a poll, a group of scientists banded together to create, what they predicted to be, 'the most wanted song' and 'the most unwanted song'. This makes absolutely no sense to me. If you refer back to my blog yesterday about what one conceives as perfection, you will recall that people are different beings with different desires. There is not one thing that everyone can agree upon. Hell, there isn't even a universal consensus on the wrongness of genocide. This just goes to show you, when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. The money used to produce these tracks could have easily gone to cancer research.

I think its safe to conclude that scientists should stick to science and musicians should stick to music. A successful piece of art does not try to be successful, success is found somewhere between raw talent and flukes. Both songs are insufferable but the "least wanted" song is by far the more entertaining of the two. My favorite part is at the 8:37 mark. It's difficult to explain what it is and why I find it interesting. The brave can check it out for themselves.

The trailer for the Dragonball movie is laughable. This is probably a response to how well Transformers did in the box office. All we need is another crappy re-imagining of a campy nostalgia driven action sci-fi anime (not true, but we could use some more traditionally animated films). If this does become a trend I wouldn't mind seeing a decent live action FLCL, Cowboy Bebop or Digimon movie, but lets hope this doesn't catch on.

Speak easy,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

bagged lunches with moderately full beards

The people I went to High School with are slowly starting to look like my parents and aunts and uncles look like in old photographs from my childhood. Before I know it they'll look like parents and might even be parents. This is all very strange for me because I still feel my adolescents resonating through the core of my being. However, there is a good chance that it will never go away. I have two theories about maturation and they are the following...

1) People do not grow up. They either think they do or pretend they do.
2) A person becomes an adult the same way a person becomes bald. You simply wake up to find yourself paying bills and making bagged lunches.
3) Adulthood occurs in only certain parts of the mind.
4) That maybe it starts earlier than you think. Maybe one becomes an adult as soon as they truly identify and understand the truth about death and what mortality really means.

On a lighter note I think I may have discovered the perfect sentence. I came across it today while doing some reading for my English class...

"This blind man, feature this, he was wearing a full beard!"
(from Cathedral by Raymond Carver)

This sentence may only be perfect to me. There is a good chance that you will find this sentence far from perfection. I can not understand what is going on inside your head. I won't even say that I could pretend to out of sheer respect. Frankly I respect anyone that is willing to read more than a paragraph on a computer monitor. It is not nearly as pleasant as reading from a warm, textured page.

I got a paper back today that had a series of red marks. Apparently I am addicted to the passive sentence structure. Instead of writing "the frog represents the suffering people", I write "the suffering people are represented by the frog". This makes for boring essays. Be active with your writing and I shall follow suite. A penny for every thought and a feather in every cap.

This is by far my favorite photograph from the photo shoot I did for Ross' senior picture.

Virtue 8: "Moderation" This one is fairly similar to temperance. You ought to avoid extremes. This goes for alcohol, drugs, sex, work, etc.

Speak easy,

Monday, December 8, 2008

uncontrolled growth

Last night I started to watch the show Prison Break. I wouldn't say it is a masterpiece but it is still very entertaining. From what I hear there is a major drop in quality after the first season. This is due to the fact that the creators did not plan for the show to run any longer. With this in mind I am contemplating only watching the first season and leaving it at that.

America has a big problem with keeping television programs on long after they have hit their prime (i.e. The Simpsons). Other countries, such as England and Australia, have the right idea when it comes to the longevity of a televised comedy/drama. The original UK version of The Office only ran for 13 episodes (including the Christmas special). This left the audience always wanting just a little bit more. Another show that exemplifies this type of programming is Summer Heights High, an Australian mockumentary about public school.

I have a theory that the skinnier someone is, the better chance they have at evading cancer. The reasoning behind this theory is that a person with a larger volume has many more cells in their body, and therefore there is a larger likelihood that one of those cells may make a coding error.

Speak easy,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Miss Lonelyhearts, Help Me, Help Me

There are still a few ducks in the pond by the Fine Arts Center. They move kinetically on the surface of the water as if they are trying to prevent it from freezing over.

The thesis paper I am trying to piece together is on Miss Lonelyhearts, a novel by Nathanael West about human suffering during the great depression era America and also the namesake for this blog. Originally I was going to do it on the deep seated homosexuality and gender confusion of the title character but after doing an archaeological excavation of the book I have come upon much more interesting subject matter. The trouble is that everything I want to write about can not thematically fit into the same thesis paper. I have tried and tried but I don't think I can gerrymander all of my favorite parts of the text into one coherent thesis statement. It is really reminiscent of the paths we choose to follow within our own lives. After much deliberation and after weighing in all of the options, you will find that it is impossible to cram in everything that you'd like. Some actions are sacrificed for others and there is no way to really see the importance of anything until it is brought to fruition. In most cases, what you had in mind is a far cry from what you end up with. All of this gives me a headache, which reminds me of the suffering and disillusionment of society in depression era America; subsequently reminding me of Miss Lonelyhearts and his Christ complex. The man gets sick and stays in his room for three days straight. This is an allusion to the three days that Christ spent in his tomb before the rock was moved only to reveal that Christ's body had risen to heaven. This kind of thing, however, can not fit in with the the part of the text where Miss Lonelyhearts gets aroused by a story that Mrs. Shrike tells him about how her mother died of breast cancer.

The composite photograph at the top of this post is the view from the back porch of the house I was staying at last winter in Lozova, Moldova. This other picture is the circuit box (or whatever it is called) that is on the side of the house. I find things more interesting when they are slightly out of the ordinary. The problem is that once you are too familiar with that which is different it looses its charm. "Silver turns to gray."

Speak easy,

EDIT: This reminded me of this.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

more theremin, less hockey

I believe that there could exist a perfect sentence. One that contains just the right amount of words, perfectly crafted, and with more meaning than any utterance could ever hold. My only worry is that I may have already come across it.

Lev told me that I should post something embarrassing on the blog because over Thanksgiving break I was unable to update. It's hard for me to figure out what I should post because when I sit down and think about what I find embarrassing about myself, I come up short. One thing that I guess is embarrassing about me is that my bottom teeth are all jumbled up. Most people don't notice because when I smile I don't show my teeth. There is a tooth in front of my incisor that probably doesn't need to be there. Lev said it looks creepy.

These are two images that I made a while back that I am thinking about silk screening onto T-shirts.

Right now I am checking to see how much it will cost to fly round trip to London. The price of the tickets aren't too bad but the fees and taxes are ridiculous. The cost for tickets is about $450 and the total, which includes all additional costs, is around $900. It will be worth it. Europe is like Montreal but without all of the hockey.

Speak easy,

Today's Playlist:

1. Bing Crosby - Happy Holidays (Beef Wellington Remix) (Christmas Remixed)
2. The Ravonettes - The Christmas Song (The OC: Mix 3)
3. Vince Guaraldi - Christmas Is Coming (Charlie Brown Christmas OST)
4. Sufjan Stevens - I Saw Three Ships (Song For Chirstmas: Vol. II)
5. Ben Kweller - Rock of Ages (The OC: Mix 3)
6. Bright Eyes - Blue Christmas (A Christmas Album)
7. Kay Starr - I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (Stuhr Remix) (Christmas Remixed)
8. The Eels - Christmas Is Going To The Dogs (The OC: Mix 3)
9. Matt Pond PA - Holiday Road (Winter Songs)
10. Bright Eyes - Silver Bells (A Christmas Album)
11. Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas (The OC: Mix 3)

*This was a picture I took in Foster, RI. Someone actually had this display in their front yard. Someday I may make it into a Christmas card.*


Here is a video I found fairly entertaining. It is of a cat playing a theremin.