Monday, September 23, 2013

"and the crowd goes wild as if Holyfield has just won the fight"

I was never going to go to bed. I was never going to get some writing done. I was never going to read. Not as long as I was playing Outkast's Aquemini, which I had been for the last couple hours. It got me too hyped up. All I wanted to do was gyrate my hips and take various selfies of myself in Photo Booth dancing around to the album. This is how I often spend my nights, getting a little stoned, a little drunk, putting on an album of some sorts, and then taking selfies of myself usually inspired (though I am only now noticing this) by the music I am listening to - some of these selfies more clothed than others is what I am trying to say. Hours pass by and I suddenly realize I should probably go to bed, get some sleep before I have to get up for work. Years pass by and I suddenly realize I am in my thirties.

At the gym today, I was on the treadmill jogging, exhausting myself of all the energy I have, and watching various afternoon talk shows on the overhead monitors. I didn't have headphones to listen to the shows playing. I was listening to the dance songs they played over the loudspeakers and reading the closed captions thats scrolled across the bottom of the screens. This juxtaposition of pop music and absurd talk shows had an odd sense of poetry that I loved. On Dr. Phil, he and a teenager's family all ganged up on the teenage girl on national television to shame her for her wild ways. She smoked cigarettes, smoked weed, cut class, drank, had sex, a miscarriage, and apparently lived in a drug house with 30 people, though the teen wanted to clarify that it was only three other people that lived in the drug house. The girl was sullen. The family was outraged. It was absurd, disgusting, and beautiful television. Then there was another tv doctor, Dr. Oz, and the only portion of the show I saw was a slightly large woman picked from the audience asked to put on a purple robe and purple cowboy hat, who was then asked about her shitting habits in front of the studio audience, and who eagerly admitted to having bathroom issues, and who was then forced to ride a mechanical bull so Dr. Oz could make some labored analogy about the impact of stress on the digestive tract. I felt stoned watching this and kind of wished that I was.

When I walked out of the gym, a chill was descending on the city, the sun got lower and lower on the horizon, and crowds of people filled the streets, everyone leaving work, most people seeming free, happy.

I am feeling pretty good today. The classy and sophisticated Charles Shaw wine I am drinking along with the weed I earlier smoked certainly have something to do with this, with this generally positive outlook on life, but there is something else happening and I am not sure exactly what to attribute this to. I am have been happier the past few days. I am more aware of what a glorious and beautiful thing it is to be alive. I am also constantly aware of what a sad thing it is to be involved with such a temporal project, and that awareness sometimes, when the light hits the windowsill just right, actually sustains a sense of joy. It's hard to explain and it's not a permanent state that I inhabit. It usually comes for brief flashes, but the flashes have been of a greater frequency lately and so the moments between them have seemed somehow brighter as well.

On my quick walk to the train this morning, running late for work yet again, dawn was just breaking and there were bits of sky on fire against the still dark night and further down Wyckoff Avenue I could see the skyline of the city, the Empire State Building and other buildings which I would struggle very hard to name the names of if someone asked.

You just have to keep that awareness of beauty with you at all times, struggle to remember that it is there. And, yes, it is definitely a struggle. On my way back from work today, I was ready to go all nervous breakdown psychopath on the skinny girl next to me, who threw me all sorts of shade when I took the open seat between us, who shortly thereafter got a seat next to me, who ate churros and dropped crumbs all over the place, who had hair that touched me (probably #1 subway pet peeve), and who then nearly elbowed me in the face about four times while she untangled her iPhone headphones. Basically she was the worst human being imaginable and when she got off at the Bedford stop (of course, she did), I really wanted to "accidentally" trip her. I did not. I did carry this rage with me though for several stops. It even increased, which I wouldn't have thought possible, as this incredibly high man (surely, he must have been) blasted various rap songs on his phone and rapped along. He was giving this other girl a run for her money as Worst Human Being Imaginable. Very loudly, he sang various radio rap songs for a train of people that were just exhausted from the various things that constitute what life is in New York and just wanted a little moment of peace as they were in transit from one annoying thing to probably what was to be another. Drake, you are not. Please sit down.

Needless to say, I was so relieved to finally get off the subway. I looked down Wyckoff Avenue at the view of the city that you can see from the DeKalb stop and again found that sense of joy, remembered it and let all those other things go.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Harvest Moon

The roaches are taking over my kitchen. The little roach motel traps I recently set up in various hidden corners of my kitchen seem to be doing nothing. I lost most of my phone number contacts when I lost my phone this summer, among those contacts my landlord's phone number. I only have his PO Box still where I am to send the rent check to each month. I am trying to figure out his number somehow so I can have him come over and drunkenly (because he's been drunk every time he has ever been over to do any sort of handiwork) spray whatever poison he sprayed a year or so ago shortly after I moved in and called him about the same problem. I think writing a letter about the roaches would be a bit much, as fun as it would be to craft an illustrated and handwritten letter describing the problem.

The recent surge of the roach population is really making me feel like I live in some crack house, which apparently I actually do. The hallways are terribly lit and creepy. There is no working light on our stoop and so various neighborhood youth have taken to hanging out on my stoop, which is already fairly annoying when they give me dirty looks because I am trying to get past them with bags of heavy groceries, but which is now starting to bother me even more as the other night I saw an awkward drug deal taking place in our foyer with some nervous teenage girls buying and someone that doesn't even live here selling. There is a huge cop presence on my block most nights and I guess since our building is fairly dark, it has become the new drug dealing spot. Despite my fondness for various drugs, I am not particularly thrilled about this. But really, the only thing I care about my landlord addressing at the present moment is these roaches. Drug dealing in the hallways, okay. No lighting in the halls or stoop, I guess. But these roaches, no. Sorry, this must be addressed.

Tonight is the harvest moon. In celebration, I am listening to Neil Young's Harvest Moon. It is one of my favorite albums of all time. I have listened to it innumerable times. At any point if you asked me to name my Top 10 albums of all time, this album would always be on there. But do people still even ask that? Is that going to be a thing that people still ask in some future time as albums become less important culturally, economically, and musically, as fewer and fewer people pay for albums, instead just purchasing, downloading, or more and more so just streaming the particular songs they want to hear, creating elaborate Spotify playlists? More and more the album holds less weight as a coherent concept; we strip its parts to makes the really badass car we have always wanted to drive. We take the party songs or the slightly melancholy and good for getting stoned songs and place them in their corresponding playlists to match that particular mood, no longer going on the journey the artist mapped out for us in their narrative's structure, that there are songs to take you from one mood to the next, these transitional ones that we so often leave off our assembled playlists but which at some point we discover are in fact the real gems of the album, the person that grew on you a lot, that you hated on first impression but whom you eventually realized was really awesome. Are we still going to get lost in albums while we spend long periods of our twenties drinking red wine and writing in our diaries about boys? Surely. Hopefully. But who knows? Think about the children!

Like with most of the albums that I have really intense and personal relationships with that have been developed over many years and through countless listenings to during emotional ups, downs, and way downs, each time I hear this album, Harvest Moon, there is a new song that for whatever reasons really reaches its hooks into me at that particular time, and which I identify with and hear shades and meanings in the song that I somehow never heard through the first several hundred listens to. Tonight that song was "Dreamin' Man," which you can hear a beautiful live version of in this video during a performance for PBS in 1992 (it's the first song he plays in the long video, so don't worry).

I'm a dreaming man./
Yes, that's my problem:/
I can't tell when my
dreams won't come true.
In the meadow dusk/
I park my Aerostar/
with a loaded gun/
and sweet dreams of you.

And what a depressing line that is, that he is a dreaming man, a dreamer, because he can't tell when his dreams aren't coming true, that a dreamer is someone that still believes things he hopes for might come true. It's a perfect line the way it is sung and so much better than the album version of the line. Instead of "I can't tell when my dreams won't come true," on the album version you have:"I can't tell when I'm not being real." The first is so much more bleak, so much more visceral, so much more to the point, and as result so much more powerful. In all the live versions I have found on Youtube, he says the dreams not coming true line instead of the line that is on the album.

As with any Neil Young song though, it always comes down to his voice. There is so much honesty and exposed vulnerability in that voice, so much of that human quality you so rarely hear people admit to, that voice people have but which people so often try to hide out of some insane version of shame that we all have which prizes a sort of everyday falsehood. It would be so awesome if we could just do long melancholic blows, sighs really, into a harmonica throughout the day at all the sadness and mystery and beauty there is to this project of life that we are all temporarily involved with, that it would be such a beautiful world if we all could just admit to this softness that we all have.

And somehow I never heard the either suicidal or homocidal thoughts played with in that song's first stanza, the narrator with a loaded gun and thoughts of someone. Hear Neil Young sing it and you might barely hear it as well. What you hear him is, a person, an exposed human being, and the shock of that might be so much that you are only half-hearing what the actual lyrics are, there being so much emotion in his voice alone.

It is in "the meadow dusk" that he has these "sweet dreams" of the person he is addressing, a loved one or a formerly loved one. And I heard echoes for the first time of a line from a movie that I have always loved and which I am now thinking David O. Russell may have been referencing this song with. In his film, I Heart Huckabees, there is the line: "What happens in a meadow at dusk?" Through his characters, he is also asking by way of talking about the power of nature (the nature about to be wiped out by everything Huckabees represents) - asking what it is that happens there in that Aerostar in the meadow dusk. What is Neil Young doing in the car with a gun and sweet dreams of that someone? Is this some insane psycho murderous stalker thing about to happen or is this the misery of a person spurned perhaps metaphorically spinning a gun by himself in perhaps a metaphorical meadow at dusk thinking about what it is that life means, about what, if anything, a life lived alone means, what, if anything, it could mean?

The question is asked: "What happens in a meadow at dusk?"

Everything happens in a meadow at dusk.

Monday, September 16, 2013

White, 5'7'', 130 lbs, Hairy, and apparently turned off by talk of human emotions experienced during autumn

"Millions and millions of years ago we lived in the ocean. When we emerged we had to move in two dimensions, instead of three. That was painful at first. No up, nor any down. We learned to drag ourselves along without legs then with them, going faster and faster, and faster again, by any means. The lack of a third dimension is one explanation for our need to head out over the horizon. Another explanation is that we were raised up from chemosynthetic life in the deep ocean to become photosynthetic life at the top. Having ascended from the eternal night we cannot stop ourselves from heading toward the light. We are moths in the thrall of the sun and stars, shedding off darkness."
-J.M. Ledgard, Submergence, 105-106

I read quite a bit from this novel today that I had put down for a while due to school eating up all of my free time that otherwise would have gone toward reading. It was really nice as I stumbled across passages like the above one to experience that thing that occurs when you read good writing, some tingling in the core of what makes you human, some thoughts about what it is life means, and then also tied in with that some aspirational thoughts about writing something great as well.

I went to the gym. I worked out for a long time and stared at various men, this one in particular for most of my time at the gym. I assume this guy is straight from how we dresses and occasionally hearing him talk to other people. He has a perfect body that I want. He is beautiful and I probably am not as discreet as I should be when stealing glances at him. I am really glad that for whatever reason he is one the same gym schedule as me, always there usually around three or four in the afternoon. I am trying to think of what his job might be, or whether he even has one. I don't think he does.

For a while, I didn't have Scruff on my phone and I was proud of this. Proud of how much time I would no longer waste on this thing. Loneliness has gotten the better of me now however. I downloaded it a couple days ago and as I write this here I am continually checking my phone, hoping that this really cute guy continues our conversation, this boy that is some physical combination of various past romantic interests of mine. I might be projecting a lot on to him, but that's okay because it seems that he has lost interest.

Was it my longer and longer responses talking about how this autumn chill in the air is producing various effects on me, mainly a heightened sentimentality and a desire for affection? Probably.

I drank a bit of red wine this evening, having stopped at Trader Joe's where I stocked up on the Charles Shaw. I watched Tabloid, which is yet another great documentary from Errol Morris, this one chronicling the life of Joyce McKinney, a former beauty queen who tracked a Mormon she was in love with down to London, kidnapped him very likely, and chained him down for a couple of days in which she very likely forced him to have sex with her. The movie really gets at what love is and what obsession is, and where, if anywhere at all, the line is between those two things. She is an amazing person that I, unsurprisingly I am sure to many of you, identified with a great deal.

"I did what any American girl would do if her husband vanished into thin air. I looked for him."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

the color of alcohol

Flashes of shame washed over me this afternoon as my hangover become and more intense, waves of it crashing against my barely functioning brain again and again. I remembered eating this go-go boy's ass last night seemingly endlessly while he was dancing on stage at Eastern Bloc. Yes, indeed, that apparently did happen. I may have been jerking off during this. I don't know. I do know that I was quite a mess last night.

The day started off fairly wholesome. My family was in town and I went with them to the 9/11 Memorial, rode the Staten Island ferry, went to the Met, had drinks on their rooftop, and then went out to dinner at Balthazar. It was really nice to see them, but after I left them I was already quite drunk from dinner and drinks earlier in the day with them. I went and met up with A at his house, took some Adderal and drank some more. M joined us there and then from there we went to Phoenix.

I showed some drag queen my dick for a free drink for some reason. There were a lot of cute guys there. For reasons I am not entirely sure of, we migrated to Eastern Bloc. Before I went in to that bar, I made eye contact with this really cute guy who was smoking on a stoop. He said hi. I went and sat next to him on the stoop. I was totally smitten. There were some really lustful looks exchanged while we introduced ourselves. A then came and sat next to me and started chatting this person up over me. It became this competitive thing to see who could be the more engaging person to this guy. I was very confused and annoyed by A's behavior and so I got up and went inside to the bar, not really interested in whatever competitive game was happening. I just wanted to talk to this cute boy I exchanged eye contact with, to maybe have some sort of cute, tender moment, maybe even composed of nothing more than few minutes of flirtation while someone finished their cigarette on East 6th Street. I mean all I am looking for is a nice moment of connection with another human being.

Once inside, desire took control the wheel and drove us all over the cliff. I picked up various bits of debris today from the wreckage as the day went on. After eating this go-go dude's ass for a long time, M told me he was leaving. A already left with cute boy from the stoop. I didn't want anything to end. I was sad that it was almost four because I had been hoping to stop at Metro on my way home and try to find some romance of some sort. I walked with him M to 14th Street and convinced him to stop in at Nowhere with me, where we had another drink and shut that bar down.

Today, as soon as I woke up, there were three alternating thoughts that kept cycling through my brain. They can be concisely written as: Burrito, Shame, Advil. Burrito, Shame, Advil. The burrito and the Advil did a good job, temporarily at least, of muting thoughts of the third. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair

I am little stoned, a little tired, a little lovesick. Kind of the story of my life. Throw a burrito in there, some Mariah Carey, and I'd be set. Those are absent tonight though. I ate a salad, some dark greens, which I am going to get in the habit of again now that I am on a short break from school and can resume at least thinking about going grocery shopping, if not actually doing so. I am listening to Tears for Fears, though that may soon change because it's a bit distracting. Either way, it's not Mariah Carey and there is no Mexican food by my side.

I was looking at porn videos on Vine earlier. In the midst of these, I came across this really tender and touching Vine of Cole Maverick recording Hunter Maverick, "his crush of fourteen years." I watch their videos a lot - them fucking other guys, directing other people fucking, taking showers, jerking off, just being unabashed pervs seemingly 24/7, which is already beautiful enough. But this video really got to me. Vine videos can have this really intense effect through their repetition, especially when the viewer is a bit stoned or a bit drunk. You can sit there and watch the thing over and over again for minutes, each time parsing out some small little detail from that six second clip that speaks to the whole of what human experience is about, and I watch it again and again amazed to see this beautiful moment, to catch whiffs of what truth might smell like, in these brief clips, that only by sometimes focusing on such a small scene, making that the whole narrative, do you really see all that can be read from such a small scene, everything there is to unpack from the tiny moments of life.

I know what Cole sees when he is filming his boyfriend sitting across from him on the train. I have known that feeling. It is one of the best feelings there is, and yes, maybe we can deconstruct why that is, root it in some concept of possession, of ownership, of a capitalist ethos, but we are not going to do so because I don't know really how far those paths lead toward anything, what if anything they have to offer other than looping diversions from the main trail, taking you through bramble and never to the summit where you can see that amazing view. I miss that feeling so bad, that looking at someone that you are so attracted to, that you love, and knowing that they are in your life, recognizing how lucky you are and how nice life can be.

I still miss Jacob a great deal, if I were to be honest. And I can be because he's going to be living in London for the next couple years so I don't need to worry about what he might think if he reads this, how it might make things weird when we hung out.

"Welcome to your life. There's no turning back."

I did not change Tears for Fears. Thank God.

But I think you know what I am saying. What I am saying is that I am more than a bit sentimental these days, that I have this deep longing within me to couple up with someone. I want someone to look at while we are riding public transportation and be able to have that feeling of comfort and joy, knowing that you have everything you want.

Tomorrow is Friday the 13th. I am not sure if that means anything. Today, at the grocery store, the items I bought cost $16.66. I thought about grabbing something else, anything, and adding it my items, thinking that this number coupled with tomorrow's date was just way too ominous for my tastes. I did a Skype session with one of my teachers to talk about a final project I turned in and am now done with this first quarter of school. It feels so good to have a few weeks without school and to get some actual sleep, to have time to eat properly and exercise, and to again have time for a social life, to have some time in which I can go out to bars and dance and look at the young and old men this city of New York has to offer, this hungry bunch of men who take themselves to bars of the homosexual variety because they have something that needs to be filled, anuses, mouths, hearts longing for connection, couch corners where someone should be cuddled up next to them, livers. You know, various things. I have time to pursue those again.

I went to the drugstore by my house after finishing this Skype session to buy some shaving cream and a candy bar. And because this is becoming a monthly thing that happens whenever my rent and tuition checks clear around the same date, my bank account is overdrawn until tomorrow. When I purchased these things, as proof of how tired I am, I paid with these things with my debit card despite intending to pay cash for them, despite knowing that I intended to pay with cash in order to avoid an overdraft fee for these tiny items. I realized my mistake as I walked home. I ate the candy bar then and it tasted terrible, like shame and regret, and I ate it as quick as possible.

Tomorrow, though, just so that things don't appear as depressing - really I am in a good mood, I just tend toward the emotional when writing sometimes, oftentimes - whatever - sue me - but, tomorrow, back to the point (or what I believe to be one) is that I am going to see Azari & III play near my house, about which I am quite excited. There will be lots of dancing on my part. This, I can already guarantee. And, as probably goes without saying, I will be looking at the boys of this city, trying to catch the eyes of one of them in order to catch the something elses that they have to offer.

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Jam

I have been listening to this song on repeat for basically the last decade or so. Bonnie, my old roommate and best friend in college, used to have this album, Bachelor No. 2. It was through her that I first discovered this person, Aimee Mann. This is one of my writing albums, one of the albums that helps get really inspired to write and yet isn't too distracting that I can't both listen to and also lose myself in writing. The other big album that I used to write a lot to is Gillian Welch's Time (The Revealator). Now, there is also Kurt Vile's Walkin on a Pretty Daze added to this list.

The other day, I called out of work so I could work on this project for school that I became totally sucked into - a choose your own adventure work about a guy post-breakup guy done in InDesign (What flavor of ice cream will he choose from his freezer?) and presented as an interactive PDF. Who knew InDesign could be so fun?

I listened to this Aimee Mann album over and over all day long as I lost myself in writing this thing. The one song that I would occasionally play on repeat though as I cycled again and again through the album was this one, "Ghost World." So fucking good! It takes me some place, everywhere, to every place I have ever been as I have thought about being some place else, some time else.

I still can't get enough of the song, days after writing this project, a decade or so after first hearing it. The song does make mention of my birthday, which I think is why I first was really drawn to it, but since then, so many layers of emotion have been discovered in this song, and so many layers of emotion have as well been added to the song, the countless times I have listened to this in some emotional state each reconjured in some small way with each relisten.

I played it this morning on my way to work, found myself moshing around to it at seven in the morning at Union Square waiting for my connecting N or R train to arrive. It put me in the best mood. I just played it again and again this evening. Very similar effects.

Monday, September 2, 2013


A connection was lost in a taxicab yesterday. It had probably been lost well before then.

When I "lost" my phone a month or so ago at the beach, I bought a Windows phone as an interim phone since it wasn't that expensive to hold me over until I could buy the new iPhone when it came out or until I get my iPhone back in November. This Windows phone proved comically frustrating. Yes, I am aware that bitching about a brand of smartphone reveals some jarring level of privilege, but trade in your iPhone for a Windows phone and let's see if you don't want to throw the phone against the wall. I had troubles figuring out how to make phone calls every time I tried to do so. I couldn't figure out how to set up voicemail - I am not even convinced it was possible on this phone. Everything about it made me angry. I no longer had the numbers of most of my friends. People would tell me that when they called me they would get a weird message saying that the subscriber could not be located.

I felt frustratingly disconnected from things because of this phone. And so yesterday when I lost it in a taxicab and the taxi driver called my friend I was with to tell me he had my phone and wanted to return it, I told him not to bother, that I hated the phone, and he could keep it, that I never wanted to see the phone again. It should also be added here so that I don't seem like the type of person who just loses his phones casually in taxis and then tells taxi drivers trying to return them that I don't want them, that I was insanely drunk by this point in the day.

I had gone to an all-you-can-drink brunch at Intermezzo with some friends to celebrate Nick's birthday, had gotten quite drunk there, and then had gone to the Rusty Knot, drank some more, and was on my way to Metropolitan to drink some more.

Jacob left for London today. He is going to school there for the next couple of years. This was on my mind yesterday in the taxi ride from one bar to the next. I texted him that I was going to miss him. This was the last text that phone ever sent. Hanging out with him quite a bit over the last month or so reopened some still not entirely healed part of my heart. I still have a great deal of affection for him and enjoyed very much seeing him.

Nick let me borrow his old iPhone. Once I got home from Metropolitan, I ordered a burrito and went about trying to set up this iPhone as my new phone. Apparently the last time I backed up my phone was sometime in the fall of 2011, or for some cruel reason this was the backup that my phone decided to install last night. The background image of my home screen was a picture of Jacob. There were a ton of photos of Jacob. My call history was nothing but calls to either Jacob, Erica, or New Mexico (the burrito place that was by my then house). There were a lot of beautiful moments that I had forgotten about. There were photos where I was smiling a lot, where Jacob was. I laughed because I think my phone was intentionally trying to fuck with me last night.

I brought in the phone to the AT&T store this morning on a break from work to get it activated and commiserated with the guy about having to work on Labor Day. He looked at the older model phone and with a bit of shade said, "Oh, you're going back to this."

"It's a long story. Just for a little while. Until the new phone comes out."