Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Revolution Will Be Televised (on YouTube)

Small pumpkins are relatively indestructible. Last fall Lev received a baby pumpkin as a gift. On the front was a jack o lantern grin with sharpie marked stick figure arms outstretched. His rear end was branded with three bold letters (L - E - V). Little Lev, as he was known later on in his life, had drawings of his two favorite pass times on either side of him - Vodka and Techno, respectively.

Last week when we moved back to Amherst we were sad to see that Little Lev had grown mushy in his old age. Lev jammed some old fire crackers into him and we took the little guy to the sidewalk adjacent to Greenough Hall to blow him up. We decided it would be a good send off (like the kind that Pippin thought he wanted in the play Pippin). The firecrackers went off but did little damage to Little Lev. The next logical step was to throw him against a brick wall. This proved to be another fruitless attempt at destruction. Lev's friend Matt ended up throwing him up on to someones balcony in Orchard Hill.

This evening I made some Top Ramen in my coffee maker. It felt very college.

I've noticed that I stopped watching anything of national importance because of the video beehive that is YouTube. In this digital age just about everything is tracked and recorded and contained on a coded page. Windows and wallpaper are not not simply physical objects anymore. During the Obama Inauguration I was at Stop and Shop buying grapes (on sale for $.99/lb).

Speak easy,

Friday, January 30, 2009

Blog_Entry #71

A dictated blog entry due to sickness/laziness.


Stenographer: Kate

Neil is not sure whether he wants to do this whole blog dictation thing anymore. Squirrels, even though it’s snowing outside and should be well aware of snow, seem startled by it. It’s quite sad, this painful look of confusion. They don’t seem to have food, but they’re a little better off from the ducks. I feel really bad for the ducks but they shouldn’t even be in the lake {editor’s note: pond}. They should be in the South. I fed them Trix cereal on the way to Du Bois Library. I’m not sure if it’s good for them, but they sure do seem to like it. Silly ducks, it’s not for kids. For some reason some of the ducks swam away with the knowledge that Trix has poisonous properties. Oranges are really hard to peel and aren’t really worth it. Clementines are still my favorite armored fruit. Maybe that’s all for now, I can’t think of anything else.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gigantus Leprechaunus

I met a fencer today and she told me how you fence. Both sides have these little swords with balls at the end. When one person stabs the other person hard enough for the little ball to get dislodged from the top of the sword, the game is over. It is a little bit like Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots.

This evening at dinner one of the girls I was sitting with, a friend of a friend, threw up. I was starting to explain the plot of Slumdog Millionaire to everyone when her stomach leaked all over the floor. It must have been pretty embarrassing, I'm glad it didn't happen to me. At one point someone dressed as the Lucky Charms mascot came to our table to tell us about an eating competition. He was a normal sized guy dressed up as a small guy (leprechaun), who was actually larger than most guys (because of the big suite). I could smell the irony from actoss the table (the vomit didn't really smell that much).

Speak easy,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A = πr²

Generally I advocate ridding one's self of worldly possessions. Not in the Japanese extremest empty naked home kind of way, but more leaning towards the freedom of unnecessarily belongings. However, this sentiment is not confined to the realm of physical objects. The mind can carry quite a burden of misinformation, useless tidings of popular culture, and hate mongering chapter and verse.

What is more important - the knowledge you gain at a University or the diploma?

Last night I was at the super market with Jim. Clementines were on sale for 4.99 USD/.45 kg, which is a fantastic deal. I am considerably low on funds at the moment so it took a lot of persuasion, on Jim's part, to get me to purchase them. The girl at the register (poorly tanned but nice all the same) rang the fruit through. She started to say the price, and then "'s free. You have points...or had points." Great news. Apparently, if you have someone in your household working for the Stop and Shop corporation, you build up points on your card, which pile up and eventually bloom into a free box of clementines.

Lev and I were arguing today about the most effective way to do abdominal workouts. Most people do crunches or sit ups incorrectly, which can be really bad for your neck and your back. I am one of those people. At one point, I decided to take out the blue fitness ball that has been in my bottom drawer since the beginning of last semester. One of the reasons I have not used it is that I misplaced the plug that keeps the air in. After some improvisation I realized that, for some strange reason, a cotton swab actually does the job perfectly.

Something interesting about the cotton swab (if there is such a thing) is that most cotton swabs do not advertise that they are suitable to clean the ear. Technically you are supposed to buy specialty ear cleaner in order to remove excess ear wax from your external auditory meatus.

Speak easy,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mettons nos lunettes de soleil. On va avoir l'air mysterieux!

Today, instead of using my own photography, I thought I would showcase some pictures that I found while roaming through my friend's Facebook photo albums.

Taken by Lev. He entered this to be in some sort of summer car calendar competition and he got it. Lev's only regret is that the two people in the car were not attractive females.

Taken by Brooke. This photograph is responsible for making her a finalist in the 29th Annual College Photography Contest.

I got this from Tim Kelly's profile. Between the colors, the expression, and the overall layout, I think it is a great picture.

This is Andrew, unsure if he will be able to walk on solid ground.

Today I was using the restroom at the Franklin Dining Common and there was a guy at the urinal using his cell phone. This is the first time I have ever seen this happen. It wasn't as annoying as witnessing a driver using a cell phone, or as inconsiderate as someone using their cell phone at the check out counter. The most interesting thing that I have noticed is that these phone conversations never seem to be very important.

Speak easy,

P.S - I finished watching '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days'. Although it was a great film, I don't feel comfortable recommending it.

Also, the title of today's blog is something I found in my French book. It means "Let's put on our sunglasses. We'll look mysterious!"

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Blues

Since the age of 16, I have had many, many roommates. Between college, my brothers, and working as a camp counselor for a couple of years, I am have become quite accustomed to sharing my space with another person. However, there is one flat mate that has stuck out from all the rest. This would be one of the guys I lived with at Umass Dartmouth. Aside from being a hypocrite, a compulsive liar, and an opportunist, he also was one of the most annoying people I've ever met. For the record, I get along with almost everyone. I don't believe I have, have ever had, or will ever have someone who considers me their enemy. One must be a special breed to make my sh*t list. The following is a list of catch phrases that my roommate would repeat ad nauseum.

1. "Everything is going swimmingly."

Despite spending all of his parents' money on drugs and alcohol, in addition to failing most of his classes, everything was always coming up roses.

2. "You're the blues, Neil. That's something that Mick Jagger once said to John Lennon. I don't know what it means but it must be a good thing."

Yes, he repeated this explanation every single time.

3. "I'll do you one better."

For example...
RM - Sorry I ate all of your food while you were home this weekend.
Me - Don't worry about it. Just as long as you replace it.
RM - I'll do you one better. I'll get you two bags of Chex Mix.
Me - Nah, you don't have to.
RM - No, no. I insist.

This would usually turned into "I'd love to pay you back but I don't have much money and I really need to get drunk tonight."

4. Obnoxious Laughter

This is not so much a catch phrase, but more of a terribly annoying habit. For some odd reason he was constantly compelled to laugh at anything that might be construed as funny. He would never do this when he was tired or by himself. I think it was a way to show that he was enjoying himself. Every guffaw* seemed so unnecessary. Just imagine Marty McFly's laugh (a la Back To The Future) if it were spewed out by the late John F. Kennedy.

*I have never typed out or used this word in a sentence but it is really the only way to describe it.

This evening I was watching the film '4 Days, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' while making some flash cards for my French course. I was listening to Romanian, reading English, and writing French. Multitasking can get pretty confusing sometimes.

I really like Autumn and Spring, but sometimes I feel like I could do without Winter. This is how I see it. Man can not survive in the frigid Winter air overnight without an sort of clothing or shelter. If everyone were left in their natural state in these cold January days, no one would survive. Man was not meant to live in cold climates. All the other animals hibernate or migrate or simply cope with the weather. I'm sure there are plenty strong arguments against this notion. I am just being a little cynical because I am getting progressively more exhausted of this season, and the more I tell myself that it is an unnatural state for me to exist in, the more comforted I am to the idea that it is not my fault.

Speak easy,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Way I Spent The End Of The World

Since I signed up for classes so late, I didn't have a range of courses to pick from. What I did was I made a dummy schedule made up of three or four courses that were not full and that also fit into my major. For some reason I didn't bother to check what those courses were until today. It was a pleasant surprise to see that I had taken the liberty to sign up for another film class. Although I wasn't planning on getting a minor in Film, it may be stupid not to at this point since I am basically half way to a minor anyway.

The course, Comp-Lit 382 (Cinema and Psyche), is based on both the dismemberment of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The film we watched today was called 'Cum Mi-am Petrecut Sfarsitul Lumii' (or The Way I Spent The End Of The World). It is a Romanian film that takes place in 1989, the last year of the Ceausescu's dictatorship. Although the budget for the film was relatively nonexistent, on account of it being an independent film and also Romanian, it is still really good. The depiction of everyday life in the small Romanian town was very similar to what I experienced when I took a trip to that part of the world. I would definitely recommend it.

This evening Jim and I took a long bus ride around Amherst. There were two drunk girls talking incredibly loud. One of them was carrying a plastic Little Mermaid cup filled with whiskey. The girl holding the cup spilled some of the whiskey on her friend's jacket. For some reason they thought everything they did or said was absolutely hilarious. It seems kind of strange to me that some people can make room for that kind of fun on a week day.

I have decided to let Lev make most of my life decisions for me. This is something I started this morning and it has been working out pretty well.

Speak easy,

P.S - Another Romanian indie film, 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, is currently on YouTube. I haven't watched it yet but I hear it is quite good.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Turtle Racing

This afternoon I arrived back in Amherst. I am rooming with Lev again this semester and it already feels like home. Last semester I took an uncomfortable amount of classes, so this semester I am taking it easy.

The smell of the dorms, which smells kind of like a faint odor of all different kinds of fabric softener with a hint of Chinese food, is inescapable. I really love how smell is linked to memory. On a subconscious level it almost takes you back to a different time. My brother said that since he started smoking, his sense of smell has diminished, resulting in a dulled memory.

Sometimes if I think hard enough I start to smell distant places that are now just settings in my head.

When I am about town and find myself without a notepad, I will usually use the notepad feature on my cell phone. Most of the notes are just reminders of books or musical artists that I think might be worth looking up. The following is a list of notes that have piled up on my phone over the past year.

1) Restless vir
2) Brennos grill thu 8 turtle racing
3) Friendship. An Expose
4) Fine frenzy
5) Coco main
6) Adele
7) Loose girl
8) Man man. Zycos
9) Moose
10) Teenage
11) Book promiscuity
12) The acorn
13) Disturbed
14) Dark meat
15) Mstrkrft
16) my little radio

I am feeling fairly sick and exhausted so I am going to head off to bed.

Speak easy,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Naturally Genuine and Beautifully Desperate

This afternoon I took a walk in the woods. I followed paths that had been set before me. Roads paved by the soles of dog walkers and middle aged couples. Usually when I am tramping about in the frigid air, I think of how painful and unforgiving nature can be. How animals kill one another for sustenance. How the old and fat and retarded are left for dead. However, today I felt the peace of it all. Nature is truly accepting. There is no judgement. It is just you and everything else.

Around my neck was a camera bag. Although I have a halfway decent digital camera, my dad has told me to keep it in a old, torn bag (as to deter thieves). There are a lot of factors that go into taking an incredible picture. You need to be in the right place at the right time, have a camera on you, and be prepared to operate the camera properly. The great images, the historically telling, generation defining photographs were the product of ideal circumstances. Some people have lives that are like great pictures.

Once at the edge of the river, I unzipped the pack and switched on my camera. My eyes refocused, touching the surface of the water. Swimming humbly down the river was a beaver. A great opportunity for a picture. After I stole the beavers soul via my Kodak Z650 and, after the beaver had drifted downstream and out of sight, I heard a single gunshot. Seconds later I could make out two figures, human, walking along the other side of the river a few hundred feet away. I experienced ten seconds of genuine fear. The kind you don't feel everyday. A foreign kind of fear. My corduroy jacket, deer hide brown, moved slowly along the river bend and disappeared into the forest. It would have seemed strange to wave and make sure that they knew that I was not an animal, that I, like them, did not belong. I didn't draw attention to myself. The trip back was quieter still. The man made path, the path I usually follow, stood out as solid ice. I longed for hand rails, but there were none to be found. Dogs are lucky, they never have to worry about falling backwards.

I made my way to another clearing by the river, upstream. It is a place that I revisit from time to time. There are wooden support beams buried in the ground and sticking out over a ledge. I'm not sure exactly what they are supporting (possibly some telephone lines) but they sure do make for an excellent place to sit. Sprouting out from one of the beams was a root. Smooth and thin, the root resembled a woman's leg. The kind of seductive leg stereotypically attached to beautifully desperate hitchhiker's (the kind in the movies).

How do you get two cats to hate each other?

- Have them share the same litter box.
- Punch them both in the face and throw them in the same bathtub.
- Tape their heads together.

Speak easy,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Predatorial Patron of the Arts

Today I was thinking about our eyes and the movie screens. In film class I learned that originally film strips were supposed to be eyes shaped (more oval) but were produced as rectangles because it was more cost effective. I guess it goes to show you that money shapes just about everything. Anyway, people were already used to looking through windows and at picture frames, so films strips were nothing for people to get used to. We are kind of lucky that we have only one field of vision or that we don't have eyes on the sides of our heads or else focusing on film screens might be a tad more difficult. Predators, the type of animal that usually has both eyes facing forward, are designed to watch.

What we see on the screen is sometimes all that there is. I was thinking about our field of vision and how we can't see behind us and how you can easily imagine a set in front of you and a film crew behind you, capturing everything that you see and hear.

Life was a play, but we have evolved past this Shakespearean mindset. I think that, today, life is a film.

This evening I watched some of the first season of the reality television series The Mole. It seems to me that the first season of a reality program is the best because the participants do not have any predisposed expectations or archetypes. So far the show seems to be fairly good. It does not encompass a lot of bullshit and forced romance that most reality shows do.

There seems to be more reality in fiction. Writers write what they know and base characters off of real people. The world that an author or filmmaker paints is real to the audience for at least a short period of time. It is engrossing.

We only really know what we are told. Someday it could get to the point where people or news or entire species are fabricated, and we wouldn't know the difference. Frankly, I am not yet convinced that Michael Jackson is a real person.

Speak easy,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Intersection On Dry Hollow

One of my greatest fears, besides the fear of heights or the fear of bottomless seas, is the fear of falling face first onto a coffee mug. I drink a lot of coffee, so I feel as if I have a greater chance of this happening to me than the average person. The mug, hard and ceramic, would either not break and jam hard into my face, or break and lodge shards of mug into my face. My brother claims that this happened to someone on the cape, someone who died promptly following the horrific excursion*. This notion gives me mixed feelings. On one hand, I now know that this accident is possible. On the other hand, what are the chances that this type of thing will happen again on Cape Cod? Probably fairly low. I try to drink from a styrofoam cup, if I can help it.

Scientists believe that the universe was immaculately conceived and that all men exist through natural conception. Christians believe that the universe was rationally conceived and one man (Jesus) was immaculately conceived. Either way, there is a great unknown. Both sides have such confidence in their theories and beliefs. Personally, I think it might be easier if we all just focused on the future. We have so many birthday cakes to look forward to.

The following story is one that I wrote in July 2004. It eventually made it into my senior project.

The Intersection On Dry Hollow

The streets were dark. James checked his watch. 10:28. He wanted to get there early. If he was late, she would leave. She wouldn't stand for him being late.

"It's going to work out." He told himself. "Everything's going to work out."

James got to the end of Old Pine and turned down Maple.None of the street lights were on. He had a few bad experiences. After each ordeal, he would always end up alone. He had a tendency to drive people away.James got off Maple and made his way up Dry Hollow.

He checked his watch. 10:30.

He told her he would meet her at half past ten. He told her he wouldn't be late.James picked up his pace. He passed another street light. There was a couple on the bench to his left. He felt their eyes on him. He had no objections to public displays of affection, but it was another subtle reminder that he was still alone.

A bead of sweat trickled down his face, past his chin, and down his neck. He kept a steady pace. James heard his pulse, thumping, tucked underneath his left ear.

James checked his watch. 10:32.

James checked his watch. 10:32.

That fantastic feeling, that uplifting feeling, the feeling that would make James forget that he was ever alone. This was his goal. This is why he was meeting Ashley. This is why he was out after dark. James checked his watch. 10:33.

He could make out someone standing on the next street corner. It was Ashley...waiting...for him. James stopped in his tracks.

He checked his pockets, his wallet was in his right pocket. It was there. James let out a sigh of relief.

James collected his thoughts, took a deep breath, clenched his fists, and started towards the lit clearing ahead. It happened very quickly.He reached into his pocket, handed her the money, and cracked a joke. She handed him a small plastic bag. He had it in his hand. His heart skipped a beat. When he looked up, Ashley was gone.

Speak easy,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Day I Lost My Knife

In a few days I'll be going back to college, going back to live with Lev and work on school projects again. Being back on the Cape is nice but I am constantly surrounded by people, which, if you can imagine, can get pretty exhausting. Socializing can be great, but everyone needs a little down time. Sometimes when I am driving, I like to just let my mind go numb and stretch out over the landscape. Without thought, without worry. It is incredibly relaxing. When people are driving with me and talking or arguing, I get very frustrated because my mind can't expand with distractions. I can't reach a point of meditation with so much external distraction. Do yourself a favor and, once in a while, release yourself from thought. Let your mind go where it wants. Sometimes when I am freed up, thoughts and ideas just drop by to pay a visit. When you stop looking for everything, you'd be surprised how much everything will find you.

This afternoon, Mike and I were sitting around and came up with a track listing for an album that doesn't exist. It's a little stupid, but you can look through it and imagine what each song would probably sound like.

Faraway Land by Ghost Folk

1. Ancient Harp
2. I Need Something To Write On
3. Skin Graft - Beat Box
4. *~; or Snowman Bicycle Race
5. Easy Eyes, Behind Enemy Lines
6. The Day I Lost My Knife
7. Momentary Bison Fight
8. Boy Surfer (Escape Artist By Trade)
9. My Bark Is Worse Than My Byte (Instrumental)
10. Drop Tonic
[secret song]
Falling, Flailing, Fighting...Longing

Speak easy,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Looking On and Killing Babies

The other day I was standing on the sidewalk in front of a spectacle emporium, talking with my friend Mike, when I noticed a small red headed boy peeking from beyond the window pane. He seemed about three years old and looked similar to the way I looked at that age. I guess I underestimated his stage of mental development because he actually realized that I was looking at him and promptly diverted his eyes. A lot of children his age don't have the mental capacity to acknowledge the fact that they are actually their own organism, and not just part of their surroundings. Self realization is one of the qualities one must have in order to be considered a "person". Not all people are humans (some chimps are technically "people").

Not all humans are people (babies, brain dead). In the philosophy class that I took sophomore year, I learned that some of the more prominent contemporary ethicists believe that killing a non-person is not an amoral action. Basically, there are some very convincing arguments that infer the notion that abortion, as well as infanticide, is moral.

So this red headed kid, this little me, keeps looking away. He doesn't turn around in his chair because for some reason he feels compelled to look out the window, hoping that he will blend into the glass and somehow become part of his environment. The discomfort on his face showed a mind in transition.

By the way, I was kind of glancing at him like one would look at a squirrel hesitant to cross paths with you. It wasn't weird and creepy.

Speak easy,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hollow, Shadow Inspiration

While idling in the rental car this evening, I heard an interview concerning Barack Obama. The man on the radio said that the less we know about someone, the more apt we are to favor them. If someone says that we they "like music", you immediately jump to the conclusion that they may like the kind of music that you listen to. Although I don't believe that this is always true, I do think that people do fill in blanks. If you want to like someone, you give yourself reasons to like them. You assume that they share your convictions and that they would enjoy what you enjoy if they were given the chance. When you meet someone that you don't like, or have heard bad things about, you see them as a shadow; the darkest and most hollow version of themselves. How we perceive celebrities is probably the best example of this.

The family car has been down for a few days so we have been renting a car. The car is a newer model and rides swimmingly. My older brother and I were talking and he said that upon buying a new car, just moments after signing the papers and receiving the keys, the blue book price drops significantly (a few thousand dollars). To consider something so new and beautiful as sub par or slightly damaged goods seems like such a shame.

My brother also said that nice things, like the car or basically anything that someone with money can afford, makes him resent those that have more. For some reason he believes that rich people are just really lucky, and he is not. The car gives me inspiration and determination to do well in life. We can both agree that life is difficult and that ladies love boxer briefs.

Sometimes I gauge how much I like something by how terrible it makes me feel. I can tell I love someone by how hard I fall after everything is said and done. I know I am not gay because I am pretty confident that I could never be hurt by a man the same way I have been hurt by a woman (as well as a lack of attraction to the same sex). Emotions are so extreme as a child that I often find it hard to understand where I stand when it comes to preference. On the other hand, there are some things that I will always hold a childish candle to.

Children can watch a movie over and over again. Adults can too. The difference is that a child watches a film and always sees the same film. Adults watch a film again and again and will often see it differently after each viewing.

Speak easy,

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Breathing New Life Into a Cancerous Past

Socialization is on a respirator, something we call the Internet. A facebook message or e-mail replaces any sort of real contact. Deep phone conversations have been replaced with dozens of half-hearted instant messages. We save time with the convenience of multi-core processors and waste it by youtube and wikipedia and other websites that connect the world, but don't really connect the world. An iron lung.

This morning I was trying for twenty minutes to put on a tie. I usually pretty good at doing a double Windsor, but for some reason, not matter how I tried, I could not get it right. The stupidest part of the situation, by all means, is that I don't ever actually need to wear a tie. My life does not call for such eloquence. Ties are completely unnecessary in my day to day. Anyway, It felt like I was repeatedly slipping off a bicycle. Like it should have been so easy. An hour later I picked up where I left off and ended up with a respectable knot on my first attempt. Sometimes revisiting something that seemed fruitless in the past is worth a shot. Things don't always work out but just because they didn't once, doesn't mean history will repeat itself. Relationships and people change (although I do not believe that knots do very often).

It seems that frequently in the news you will reveal another item on the list of things that cause cancer. After some research, I found that anxiety has been linked to cancer. That means that the anxiety that one has from fearing cancer, may actually cause cancer.

This is a bit of post production I did for a video project that I was working on with Brad. It is the audio for an exercise video playing in the background. Music done in Frooty Loops, the voice is me pitched up (but surprisingly not that much). Something of which I am slightly embarrassed.

Speak easy,

P.S - Brad and I also make some real music that isn't just simple attempts at background noise. For more information, click on the image below.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Destroy The Passion

The following is an exert from a journalish entry I did for my senior project book that I did in high school.

"Instead of working on this book I've been reading other people's work. When I'm done reading a book, I wish that I could write like the author. That if only I could be smart and creative and insightful and, most importantly, finish something I've started. I listen to music and I pick it apart and tell myself I could create something like that if I had the equipment and the talent. Which I suppose is true, but I don't do anything about it. I almost feel guilty when I go through these people's works. They slave and suffer and love what they do any they release it and they want to reach the masses and they keep doing it despite public criticism. I feel like I need to give something back so someone else could pick up something that I slaved over.

With senior year coming to a close and college coming much too quickly, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do. I'd say that high school is like the waiting room and college is like being called into the doctor's office. Your mom lets you go in by yourself because you're a big boy now and you can find your way without her. Anyway, I've realized that I don't to do anything particular. I don't want to be stuck being a musician or a screenwriter or a teacher or an illustrator, although I would love to be all of those things. I guess when it comes down to a career, I want to be free to do as I please and to change professions when one seems stale or boring or confining. In the real world it doesn't work like this. I almost want to get stuck in a white collar software writing job with a cubicle and a lunch hour and a car pool and a coffee machine and coworkers that hate their job more than I do. That way I would still love to write and play music and draw and I wouldn't have to choose just one because I could do them all and not take them for granted. I would cherish each chord and each picture that didn't come out quite the way I wanted it to, but just because it didn't turn out exactly as I wanted it to doesn't mean I didn't like it. I could stare at my keyboard and make business calls but secretly be counting down the hours and the seconds to when I could clock out and say goodbye to Harold and Margaret, who are working a later shift than me, and take the turnpike home and drive the speak limit, even if all the other cars pass me, and I would still have enough energy to put together song lyrics and find the right spot for the capo on the neck of my guitar. If I'm going to make a career out of something and end up hating it, I'd rather I didn't care about it to begin with. I would have to destroy the passion of something I truly loved.

I woke up at 10:00 this morning because I stayed up until 4:30, due to a problem I have getting to sleep. It happens once in a while. I read some and ate waffles and then just lied awake. I thought about her and how I want everything to stay the way it is, although I tell myself it would be nice to change things, but then it wouldn't be as safe. I wouldn't be able to forgive myself, so I'll leave it for another night when I'm lying awake, tossing and turning and checking the time and turning the heat on and off and on and back off again."

Speak easy,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

low tide (on multiple occasions)

The recession effects everyone in different ways. Today I asked the manager of the package store that I work at if there has been any major change in how much business they receive. It turns out that there are more individual customers, despite the fact that the store is making less money than it does on average. This means that more people are drinking, but everyone is either buying cheaper alcohol or just buying less alcohol. The store has also experienced an influx of lottery patrons. Cigarette sales are relatively the same.

The other day I was in the Gap buying some argyle socks. The woman at the checkout looked incredibly familiar but I couldn't tell exactly where I had seen her before. This experience was part mind-numbing and part head-ache inducing. She didn't look out of place behind a counter, but I knew that she was also not the kind of person that would potentially start a conversation with me. It wasn't until the next day that I remembered who she was. You can never remember anything when you want to. It turns out that she was the bank teller that I used to see once a week when I went to go cash my pay checks. There are so many people in your orbit that don't even contribute to your life in any way at all. They are like extras in your movie and, likewise, you are an extra in theirs.

I should have known better than to... an entire spoonful of cinnamon. a cat while my food is on the kitchen table.
...leave my clothes out on the shoreline during low tide (on multiple occasions).
...forget my Land Before Time VHS tape in the hot car when I was 8.

Armadillos are now officially known as 'turtle squirrels'.

Speak easy,

P.S - Embarrassment will come tomorrow. I just need to figure out the technological end of it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From Mind To Box To Shelf

Right now I am playing a computer game called Cave Story. The game was produced by one Japanese man over the course of five years. How one person can spend such a large part of their life working on something that others can enjoy is always a refreshing sentiment. This makes me think of the man who created the portable clock. He worked diligently, day after day, for almost his entire life and left behind something that we use everyday. We usually take these little marvels for granted and completely forget about the people behind them.

I sit alone in my room surrounded by all of these products, Books and DVDs and furniture, and think of how much work and time has gone into each item. My clock radio was first theorized, then designed, then built, then someone wrote an instruction booklet while another person did the box art design, and someone put the box together, and someone drove a truck and dropped off the radio at a retailer, and someone checked this item off of a list, and someone else put it on a shelf, and then someone sold it to me, and I used the money that I got from my job where I sold alcohol that was made in a building while another person designed the artwork for the label. Most of the people involved were not rich or even above average intelligence. They were probably just regular people trying to make money to pay their bills and feed their family. And you think of all the stores and all of the products with all of the labels and advertisers and lawyers and writers and laborers. It doesn't seem like there is any end in sight.


For some reason when I was in High School, I never considered all of the job possibilities. Every track always seemed so narrow. If you studied law, you would be a lawyer. If you studied medicine, you would be a doctor. Teacher, Manager, Actor. I think that, in High Schools, they should discuss all of the thousands of different roads you can take after graduation. Maybe possibilities didn't mean much because, at the time, almost every decision was made for you. My future was roughly planned out between the ages of 5 and 18. We are brought up without much serious decision making experience. Maybe that is why teenagers love to rebel so much.

I still have not heard back from my friend from Moldova and I am getting a little worried. It is starting to make me wish that I followed the news more carefully. I could tell you who won the Golden Globes, but I couldn't even begin to explain what's going on in Israel right now. The world is so big, I know that, but for some reason I choose to keep my world so small and so safe and so insignificant.

Speak easy,

Monday, January 12, 2009

Koala Head Hair

Puff jumped on top of the garbage and tried to bite a hole through the plastic bag. I tapped her on the bottom, but she just looked at me funny. Then I sprayed water on her and she just seemed slightly confused. On top of being a little weird looking, I fear that the cat is most likely inbred.

Stuff about the human body that I think I understand:

- Yawning is just the body cooling down the temperature of the brain. Socially, yawning is a sign of empathy.

- Sometimes as you are falling asleep your body will abruptly convulse, causing you to feel alert and uncomfortable. This is the body jump starting itself because, although you are trying to fall asleep, your body thinks you are drifting off towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

- There are many reasons why one's pupils may dilate. When they are exposed to light, when one is on drugs, when they receives a great amount of air pressure to the cornea, or when one sees the object of their desire, their love.

- If someone is sick and you rub their back, make sure you rub down and not up. If they are nauseous and you rub their back in an upward motion, they may vomit.

- Food products that advertise the fact that they contain antioxidants will not make you any healthier. There is not enough antioxidants in food products (such as dark chocolate or green tea) to make an overall difference in the way that your immune system works. You need to take a lot to make a noticeable difference.
Most people get all the vitamins they need in the food they eat. If you take multivitamins and your body is already getting what it needs, it simply expels any excess vitamins.

Stuff about the human body that I do not understand:

- Why does the hair on your head keep growing (sans nose hair, eye brow hair and ear hair), while the hair on the rest of your body stops at a certain length? Human head hair seems like it should stop growing, just like cat head hair, dog head hair, koala head hair, etc.

- What is the real difference between male body hair and female body hair? If you do know, please do not tell me. This is something that is better left unknown.

- What are the little clouds that some people tend to have in their fingernails? Someone once told me that when you have clouds in your fingernails, it means someone is thinking about you. This does not sound like a reasonable or rational explanation.

- If we stopped bathing and using shampoo and soap would musk be outright noticeable?

- Do the small webs between our fingers indicate that we will one day have webbed hands or is it just another evolutionary leftover (like the tailbone)?

Virtue 12: "Tranquility" Don't be too bothered about stuff that happens in your life. It can just cause a lot of anxiety and stress. When I feel that my tranquility is compromised, I just imagine that I am at the base of a serene, tepid waterfall. The air around me cleans ever inch of my soul and I feel calm again.

Alternatives to finding tranquility...
- Imagine you have a gun.
- In your mind, call yourself by a different name in your head (Rick is a good one)
- Think about how cool Bill Gates' house is.

Virtue 13: "Humility". Being humble can be a great character trait. Nobody likes a smug a**hole. This virtue also states that one ought to follow the teachings of Jesus and Socrates. These are two smart individuals that apparently have quite a large following. Here are some memorable quotes from these historical gentlemen...

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
"What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul."
"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."
"Seems to me the basic conflict between men and women, sexually, is that men are like firemen. To men, sex is an emergency, and no matter what we're doing we can be ready in two minutes. Women, on the other hand, are like fire. They're very exciting, but the conditions have to be exactly right for it to occur."
~ Jesus

"An honest man is always a child."
"I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance. "
"Be as you wish to seem."
"By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher and that is a good thing for any man."
"He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature."
"It is not living that matters, but living rightly."
"I wanted to buy a candle holder, but the store didn't have one. So I got a cake."
~ Socrates

I redecorated my room last week to give it more of an older vibe (hence the typewriter, record player, and old framed portraits). It now feels warm and timeless.

Speak easy,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Batman and Mr. Rogers Alike

A few months ago I heard that most people considered to be nerds, or socially awkward individuals who enjoy their fair share of D & D and World of Warcraft, suffer from an acute case of asperger syndrome. These individuals have an inherent interest in numbers, or anything real technical. Although they excel in hand eye coordination and muscle memory (i.e. video games), nerds often stray away from any type of physically strenuous activities. I wonder if their are other sects of society that have a biological predetermination.

I am amazed that the porn industry has thrived in this age of digital piracy. Most anyone can get whatever they'd like for free without leaving the safety and comfort of their own home. This evening I went to the local independent record store and, sure enough, there were pornographic videos on the shelves (found between Horror and Anime). The industry of pornographic tapes, discs, and film reels has been prosperous for years and will be around until people are replaced with cold, unfeeling robots. Generally I don't feel strongly for or against this specific topic of discussion, so I don't need to go into too much, but I did find a site (through the Facebook ad sidebar) that proposes the many "lies" that pornographic videos tend to impose on the viewing audience.

1) Women are less than human.
2) Women are a 'sport'.
3) Women are property
4) A woman's value depends on her level of attractiveness.
5) Women like rape.
6) Women should be degraded.
7) Little kids should have sex.
8) Illegal sex is fun.
9) Prostitution is glamorous.

Although many of the arguments are generally misleading or flawed, I still think they have an interesting biased take on the subject at hand.

Eating veal is something that I just can't bring myself to do. By eating it I would only be raising demand for the continuation of baby cow torture/suffering/murder. It is kind of like watching child pornography.

It has been a little over a month since I have posted any of the virtues of Benjamin Franklin. Although I am fairly sleepy, I would like to post some while I have them in mind.

Virtue 9: "Justice". Cause no pain and do no wrong. If it is at all possible, use Batman or Mr. Rogers as your moral guides. These men generally uphold strong codes of ethics. Being imaginary or dead does not stop them from being great men.

Virtue 10: "Cleanliness". Keep everything clean and neat. Why do you think Pig-Pen was such a minor character in the peanuts cartoon? No one wants to have to deal with dirty people. This goes for smelly people as well (Pepé Le Pew, case in point).

Virtue 11: "Chastity". Although Benjamin Franklin had clearly drawn focus on the concept of moderation, he still thought it necessary to reestablish the importance of limiting sexual exploits. Yes, there is a time and a place for everything. Yes, humans are sensual beings that enjoy carnal pleasures, but limited consumption leads to elated experiences. Out of all of the virtues, I've heard that this one was the hardest for Mr. Franklin to follow.

Speak easy,

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Ripples That Contort Reflections

The other day I was at the super market with my friend Mike. Instead of walking through the OUT door, he walked up to the IN door. It didn't open and he laughed. He said that he wasn't thinking and for some reason he thought the IN on the IN door signaled people to walk IN to the outside world. Sometimes you're tired and don't stop to think. The most obvious things are sometimes only obvious to you.

I heard that Russia cut off its oil supply to many eastern block countries. At another time in my life, not even that long ago, this information would have meant nothing to me. However, I do now know people in Moldova, which I believe is affected by this. Its strange how your world can open up in such a way. How the thousands of miles of ocean and land unravel and being important to you. Not just as a star on a map, but as a home to people that you care for. The distance doesn't change. You change.

This afternoon I was talking to my brother in the car, driving home from getting a cup of coffee. He was talking about alcohol and told me that as you drink, your brain starts to shut down. The numbness starts in the frontal lobe and slowly works its way all the way back to the occipital bone. The occipital bone is the little nub that you run into if you trace your spinal chord up past your neck. Apparently your brain peels back kind of like a banana peel. Past a certain point of intoxication, he said, people become like animals. He believes that this is where the term 'party animal' originated. For some reason this topic took an odd turn to the topic of rape. A malicious act that is oh so commonplace in the animal kingdom. Humans, on the other hand, are logical and should know better than to put another human being in such horrific circumstances. I do not condone any form of rape, be it human on human, cat on cat, or anything in between.

This evening I received the news that this summer I will be the Arts & Crafts Department Head at an summer camp. It will be interesting to be in a position of power and importance. My voice is not very assertive and does not carry well in large crowds, which is why I have decided to invest in a bull horn.

Speak easy,

P.S - I will try and construct a list for the contemporary gentlemen at some point this week.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Shutter Speed

Sometimes I feel homeless. I mean, yes, I do always have a place to sleep and someone to talk to, but that doesn't always make a home. It's like instead of trying to find the home I left behind, I just want to start from scratch and make my own home. A new, different home that is my own. Maybe that's why I am going to college. Maybe that's why I feel the need to segregate myself from my childhood and adolescents.

Everyone is always talking about how you only have one life to live, but I don't think that's true. I am not talking about reincarnation or heaven or anything, I am talking about the various phases of your life. Most people seem to follow the three phase process. Childhood, work, old age. We can branch out from this. One could probably have as many different phases as they want. Or maybe not. This straight line, this time line, doesn't sit well with me.

The pictures that I am using for today's blog are from a kind of photography series I am working on. What I do is lower the shutter speed on my camera and take picture of bright lights as I move the camera in different directions. It is almost like spin art, maybe. Although I don't enjoy the pictures as much as the ones that I took of Brad with his corn cob pipe, I still think they're pretty cool.

Speak easy,

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Today I bought a record to play in the record player that I recently set up in my room. It seems kind of strange that they no longer produce tapes or eight tracks, but they still make records. If they've lasted this long, I think they may be here long after compact discs are nothing more than a memory. When DVDs came out it (good storage space, clear picture, smaller case) seemed like the end all for the home video market. Now we have the Blu-Ray Disc and in a few years, everyone (even your grandpa) will convert over to the new format. It occurs to me, in all of this progressive technological pondering, that what really matters is the content.

Books are one format whose longevity never ceases to surprise me. They have been, and they will be. No matter how much technological advances, I am sure that books will remain on the shelves for years to come. Pixels can not beat the warmth and textured pages of a Bukowski anthology.

It seems to me that humans advance and die and advance and die and advance and maybe someday we won't have to do either.

If everyone knew everything would anyone want to do anything?

I'm getting pretty tired and should probably head off to sleep before I get anymore abstract. Although I am kind of in the middle of my winter vacation, I feel this looming discontent that is school monopolizing my thoughts. Life without dangling carrots can be pretty annoying.

Speak easy,