"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Break on Through

I feel better. The fog is lifting, the blockages coming undone. This is good. I'm headed out today to see my man Howard Dean speak in San Francisco. First time live for me, and I'm excited. I've also been trolling through friendster quite a bit in the past week or so, and I'm amazed at how many ostensably interesting people there seem to be. I almost don't believe it.

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Funny Words

Heard this morning here in The Jungle (a.k.a. Luke'n'Kim'n'Brian's house in the East Bay):

LUKE: What day is it today?

JOSH: The 30th

LUKE: No, what day of the week is it?

JOSH: Wednesday, man. It's Wednesday.

Luke has been crunching numbers for his research this fall, doing a slightly elevated level of data entry, tracking the path of several large corporations over the past eight years, 1994 to 2001 inclusive. This data will be used for a lot of thing, like looking at how mergers and acquisitions have impacted the global economy. Important stuff, but also mind-numbing I gather.

As for me, I'm working on a few things -- a site for people to meet new friends and a site for some good-guy lawyer back in NYC -- and trying to sketch out my life for the next six weeks. I'm an incorrigible planner; the desire to map the future springs from some deep well in my spirit. So I'm sweating a return trip to Oregon (gotta drop in on the daditude) and finding a ride to Black Rock City. It'll work out, but I'll feel better when the details are under control.

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Cool Beans TV

Wow! Cartoons are artsy again! I discovered Samurai Jack tonight. It's groovy; lots of amazing sound work and finely crafted images. It jumps from full-screen to letterbox and is light on the dialogue. It's mature content in the good sense.

Contrast that to the toons that pervade the "Adult Swim" programming block, which while clearly less suitable for children acually feels juvenile after watching Samari Jack. It's like watching some good modern dance piece and then watching a booty-bass video. Maybe that's a somewhat strained analogy, but you get the point.

Back in NYC we have some strange channel selections by the grace of the cable company; the majors plus the "new" TNN and Faux News. We used to get IFC, but lately that's been scrambled. Anyhow, there's a lot of media out there to which I'm simply oblivious. Broadcast isn't really my format, and I have a hard time stomaching advertising. But Luke has cable and has the tube on quite a lot; sometimes it's a bit of a distraction, and my general opinion remains that popular culture is going to the dogs, but every now and then I see something interesting and new and it gives me a little whiff of hope.

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Venting The Bad Gasses

The old blog hasn't been very cheery, and I apologize for that. Maybe this one will clarify and explain. There's been some bad stuff backed up in me, and it kind of got suppressed and malignant. This website is supposed to be about the truth, but it's a lot easier when the truth is something you can swagger about, something that powers you. When bad things happen, I'm hesitant to talk about them; partly it's just shame -- no one likes telling people they've been cuckolded, for instance -- and part of it is my neurosis of not burdening other people with my own negative baggage. I greatly fear becoming a whiner.

But supression leads to internal purification. Last night it kind of reached a breaking point. After I wrote, Luke and I had a good talk about things. Lance that boil. Here's the shot.

I had a lot of Great Expectations going into this summer. The spring was kind of a magic time for me, what with the love and all. I was looking forward to coming out west in a blaze of triumph and glory. I envisioned a summer full of plans and platforms, a time when I would connect with all the people who mean something to me and we would form some collective understanding. We would create a bold vision that would lend our lives purpose and meaning.

I imagined the disparate pieces of my self -- the art, the politics, the technology -- and of my social network -- the monkeys, the meek, the object of my affection -- all beginning to settle into a grand and holy waltz of progress. It gave me the sense that everything was about to start happening, that exciting and positive times were coming, and I really liked the way this air of possibility made me feel.

Then one by one the wheels began coming off the wagon. I don't mean to attack any of these people I love, but the summer has been an almost parody-worthy cavalcade of disappointment. Sasha quit me about three weeks before I left NYC. I arrived in Berkeley to a house full of tension and growing pains. I found my cohort in Eugene to be up to the same juvenile stuff. The Oregon Country Fair was an exercise in confusion and bad planning. No one seemed to know how to communicate. And now I'm back in Berkeley with Lucas, wondering what the hell I'm doing out here.

Not that there haven't been great moments, but a record of only the high points would be mighty short. Everything seems rigged against us. In the past week even death has been on the scene; friends of friends and a close friend's father, their lives now just a memory. That kind of puts my personal heartache in perspective.

But what about that heartache? To be honest, there's a direct connection between Sasha breaking up with me and my weak tolerance for Monkey bullshit. When we were having the talk, the breakup talk, her central theme was "I'm through fucking around." Even though this was a pretty hypocritical line to pull at the time -- she cheated on me after all -- it stuck. It stuck with me because I realized I've been feeling the same thing for a long time: I don't particularly want to fuck around any more. It's not interesting to me. It's not fun. It's not cool. I don't see any point in it. Maybe it's growing up and maybe it's my ambition and maybe it's 9-11 and maybe it's just being fed up with the status-quo, but if we aren't getting fucking serious here and starting to try to build something, what the fuck is the motherfucking point?

So I've been thinking about all of these things.

She wrote me the other day to inform me that she's gone ahead and gotten together with the "other woman." This stings. I knew that band-aid was going to have to come off, and I was about half-way there myself, but having my paranoia validated like that... Josh Koenig was a nice guy, he didn't need this shit.

The upshot is that it's moved me right into the anger, a necessary stage of the grief process. I'll have to get mad before I can let anything go. She admits being selfish, and good for her, but having the courage to admit you're selfish doesn't make it any less hurtful to other people. I know this. I've been on the opposite end of this equation before, so this is clearly something in my karma.

But things are looking up. Now that this particular bubble has burst I'm starting to sense that movement is going to happen. I'm not getting back into the expectations game any time soon, but the wind is picking up and it feels good. Trust in the divinity of your forward momentum.

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I can't believe you quit me, you bitch

Dying. Death. Fucked up shit. There's been too much of it for my liking lately. You realize the good times might not be coming back around. It's fucking scary. Was it just youth that hid the carrion call from my eyes in days gone by, or has the reaper really been something more of a force upon the earth this year?

On Crashing

Crashing is a function of loosing control. Unless you're deeply fucked in the head, you don't crash on purpose. Say what you will about the sub-conscious, but I still don't think you run it into the wall unless you've either got a screw loose or a load on.

I crash when I'm drunk, intoxicated in one way or another. That's the only time. Sailing home though the cold February night after a long road and many beers, someday you might hit a pothole and the required reaction time, the foresight, the planning, the ability to deal -- it's all impaired. You hit the ground hard, bounce, hit, slide. At first you feel fine. There's a vague burning sensation and you're a little shaky, but you think you're ok. Rub your nose, maybe a little blood, maybe a few tears. No big deal.

It's only when some other poor late-night soul comes by and reacts in shock, offers you some napkins from his pizza that you realize you're bleeding all over the street. That's when it dawns on you: you face is bleeding and one of your teeth is about to fall out.

That realization is sobering, and you head home slow. Stop in on your friends who are expecting you; wash up, get high, garner a little sympathy. Then, feeling good with comfort and adrenaline, you coast on home to bed. You sleep the whole night through, and only in the morning does it come clear what's happening.

Your face is all fucked up, swollen. Your tooth is loose and sore. You can't eat. You've got a headache. Your eyes hurt. It's the aftermath, and it's a bitch, lasts a long time. Much longer than you want. Much longer than you think is needed to learn your lessons. Aftermath is always the worst part of any blunder. The fall itself is exciting, liberating even. It's the healing process that burns and aches.

So there's this period of languishing that has to occur. A time you have to go through alone. No one can help you with that original pain. No one can scratch the itch that grows inside your face as it comes back together. Friends are a blessing, but this is a thing that must be bourne largely in solitude. It's in you, and no one can take it out of you. It's there until you can digest it.

This is just like getting fucked over in a relationship. I'm making an analogy, see.

Looking back, it's all clear. You'd let go of the handlebars at some point, for we all know this is where insanely good things happen, when we relinquish total control. But then the asphalt reached up and grabed you with its sweet caresses, took some skin for its own. These things happen, to good people and bad. It can't be avoided; potholes are a part of the terrain. Don't drive drunk if you can help it, but if you move fast accidents will happen. Goes with the territory of speed and ambition. It was just your time to take a strawberry kiss. Take it up with the Buddha if you've got a problem.

So you swallow your pride. You bleed, you scab, you swell, you heal. It takes a while, and it's not fun while it's happening.

And on nights when it gets stirred up in lonesome Berkeley you drink a bottle of wine and try to forget about death and dying and all those other bad kinds of loosing; try to forget that injustice exists and that people are the most eminently fallible parts of any plan, of any dream. You try to forget that you've let people down and that people have betrayed you. You try to believe in the basic goodness of humanity. You drink yourself to sleep and hope a new day dawns full of promise and manna from heaven.

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Hot Dean Bits

As you may or may not be aware, I've been deep into my Howard Dean thing for a while. I fear sometimes I've lost all perspective on his chances. Dean seems to have the momentum nationally (polls consistantly point upwards) and every time I catch him on the news, on the radio, whatever, he's sounding good. I can't help but love all the stuff that shows up online for him. For instance:

This snagged from the People-Powered Graphics page. There's also a brilliant automagic poster generator. It's all quite heartening, the participation. In other news, the campaign has been running a "Beat Cheny" counter fundraising drive today. It's all over the Official Blog. The story is that some time today Dick will chuckle his way to $250,000 for W's re-election run; selling $1,000 plates at a closed-door luncheon in Columbia, South Carolina to 250 lucky adherants. Over the weekend Dean's supporters have given close to $400,000. At this time there are more than 7,500 contributors, 30x as many as are filling W's coffers.

If I were Team Bush, that might cause me to break a sweat. The barbarians may be at the gate.

And here's your bittersweet bonus link of the day: the words of a member of the Iraqi governing council who has resigned.

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In a fit of ego I checked my site stats today. Averaging about 400 visits a day: yee-haw! I also found out some guy who works for John Kerry has a picture of me up next to an email from "Wayne Carter" (scroll in the little window until you see this), which is odd. I also found out that I'm #2 in a google search for "Outlandish," outranked only by this Danish rap group who look pretty cool. I wish they had audio samples up.

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It's Happening...

Well, it's not even August and I'm starting to miss NYC. I miss my bike. I miss riding in Brooklyn; tooling around the burnt out husks of old-time industry, the old waterfront on West street. I miss powering over the 59th street bridge, sweating like a savage beast, listening to loud rock and roll and churning through the tides of midtown, freaking people out on the Upper East Site. Sweat dripping down my nose, wild eyes flashing animal promise.

I don't miss the heat and the stink, but I do miss the action. I miss sex and sweat and moving my muscles like an adult does. I miss the engagement that just fucking permiates the air back there; thin layers of oily ambition all over everything. Every now and then it gets to be too much and I need to leave, but after about a month away I start to miss it. I miss the life, the density, the grind of it all. Hymns for the city.

I like San Franciso. It's got a lot of the same qualities, plus hills and wind and even some palm trees. There's also no bitter old-world archie bunker contingent that I can see. White trash instead, like most of the West. The fantasy of being a bike-messenger and a computer guru and an artist sweeps my mind every time I pop my head up from the BART. Fresh baked utopia, just around the corner.

Sometimes I think of the old NYC : Brooklyn :: San Francisco : East Bay analogy, and I think it could happen out here for me. Don't know if it's real of just imaginary, but maybe just crazy enough to work. I don't know much these days. Tailspin on the long-term vision as Everything I once banked on now seems dubious. The dream is mutating -- maybe a new thing, maybe fatal dream-cancer -- and I'm bored sitting around waiting for something to happen.

Part of my ennui springs from the fact that I'm broke right now and here in 'Merica there's not a lot you can do without spending money. Damn shame. Last night Luke and I were wasted -- cheap red wine and california weed -- and trying play Hearts with friends Mike and Emily. It was pretty fun, but I kept feeling self-conscious about how out of it I was. When dealing with friends of friends, I'm still pretty much a socially awkward person, uncomfortable with myself, afraid I'm going to fuck something up.

But I'm going to proj on. There's no point in knuckling now. It's going to be a hell of a month. Anyone got any tips for Burning Man?

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Welcome to Paradise

I've spent a lot of the past couple days in San Francisco -- a beggar bum outside the BART with a cardboard sign: "another day in paradise" -- slumming around various nice places to eat downtown with Britt Blaser and talking about how we're going to turn the screws and take the Dean Campaign all the way. It's heady stuff, talking about what might be and what it might mean for us if we're a part of making it happen. Sometimes I think it's a little too heady, my internal speed warning light goes on. Is this all real?

When I first started working on this, talking with Zack about the possiblities, one of the first things we hit upon was that our effort, though bold and ambitious, was profoundly anti-ego. Or at least, it's non-ego in the classic GodKing kind of sense. It's non-ego in the we don't get paranoid sense. It's non-ego in that we're looking for friends and not followers.

So hang on to that notion kid. It's going to be an eventful year. There's a need for me to make sure my own house is in order. Rule number one is take care of yrself, stay grounded and so forth. Gonna be a challange.

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Breathing a Bit Easier

It seems I'll be able to pay the rent, which I was worried about for a while. I've never had to ask my folks for support of that kind, and I'm rather proud of this. In spite of looming debt and suchlike, I'm still supporting myself. I could probably do a lot better when it comes to money, but then it turns out I really don't care as long as I have enough to get by and have a little fun.

Coming up in NYU, it was a definite difference between me and most of my peers, where we got our spending money from, how we paid the bills. The whole experience made me a little classist, and I've continued to carry that consciousness with me outside of college. When I go back home, it strikes me only now how class played into the social dynamics of my earlier years. Back in high school, I really didn't know or care who was rich and who wasn't. I didn't really know who was a Republican and who was a Democrat. Now I go back and I see who was and who is, and I wonder if it was really all that idylic, or if I was just oblivious. Not that it takes up a lot of my time, but it is something that I notice.

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