"Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
- Mark Twain
The Los Angeles influence has been running high, what with the Girth prodding me to step up to the intellectual plate and then Julia's friend Ariel tickling my fancy. I feel as if some sort of awakening is going on, tingling pins and needles all over my body and all through my soul. I suddenly remember that life (exertion, elation, rehearsal, creation, girls, conversation and peaceful reciprocation) can really be fun, doesn't have to be a struggle all the time. I've never been good at recieving, at listening, but I'm getting better, and that sort of thing is really important. The good people need to stick together these days.
September 21st A Winner at 4 am
Ah, the bipolar nature of being. Sometimes it's a long bastardly haul and sometimes you lead a charmed life. Not terribly productive today, but I feel like a big winner. Celebrated Julia's 23rd birthday (welcome to the club, sister) and did the town up tiki style. Talked with Cecil a bit about his recent breakup and as always he's a magnificently reinforcing presence, even when he's down and out. Tried my best to give him a future-hopeful outlook and made sure Julia was armed and well prepared for the birthday treatment from her (quasi-homo) "boyfriend." Walking it off at the end of the night ended up with realizing and enjoying the precognitive vibe with Julia's LA buddygirl (innocence, pure innocence) before hightailing it back to my base boro. While I didn't get a lot of work done with the day I did make it to the gym and back and forth to the city twice on bike, so it was a good day for revving the engine. Hopefully I can continue to take it moment by moment in as positive a fashion as possible. That's a recipe for success.
September 20th Exodus
Well, the Girth has left us. Sorry to see him go. Last night we really did it up right. Made the old Grandma Madeline stew, then hit the town. Pabsts, red bulls, pints, whiskeys... good old Oregon-style binge drinking. I've still got a few wild runs left in this liver of mine. Ended up on the roof, rowdy, stoned, yelling at people backed up on the BQE due to road construction, challenging them to return the gaze of our wide-eyed, hunted hysteria. Now it's all over for the unknown solder.
"I'll show you the life of the mind! I will show you the life of the mind!"
The thing I really enjoy about Nick is that he's an ardent intellectual but not effete, a real working-class hero. He's certainly got an amoral streak -- the string of foreign girls left hanging stretches from London to Romania -- but deep down he's not a bad person. He's just really believes in realpolitik. We have some great debates, what with me being much more of a starry-eyed idealist. Opinions, it's better to have them than to not.
By the way, according to The Girth, Europeans are very nice once you explain that you aren't really like George W. See, our president is clearly not very smart and people openly mock him in other civilized nations. They mock him even in Romania. That's a problem, but what's more of a problem is that despite his lack of elocution, clear strategy or solid rationale for implementing violence wherever he feels like it, the commander in chief and his hawkish cabal are outmaneuvering everyone else on the scene.
You know, sometimes I desperately despise this life, being surrounded by such an excess of bullshit at all times, bombarded by adversing, manipulative half-thought-out opinions and meaningless celebrity-worshiping distractions. Have you watched the news lately, really sat down and gave it your full attention? It's enough to drive you mad! Intelligence is such a curse. I know I aught not to wallow in self-pity, but really, I think in todays environment especially it takes a certain kind of fortitude to maintain a brain in the face of Everything, and I don't know if I've got what it takes. I'm really not looking for sympathy, but I am trying to reason my way out of this angst-trap I seem to be caught in. Lately I feel utterly powerless, confined, trapped. But is that really the way it is or am I just too afraid/lazy to get out there and do something? This painful postmodern self-awareness is crippling me!
I think it has to do with not having any allies... I have a hard time going it alone. Not many folks my age are really on my level and the adults seem painfully mired in the status quo. Guess that's what happens when you get a mortgage.
Where are my fellow whizkids? We end up stunted, blunted, twisted, poisoned and bitter. It's an anti-intellectual culture we roam in, and being at least half-bright we are all too aware of the fact that we're really not wanted around here. Nobody likes a smart-ass. I've made the observation many a time that the drink seems to be a convenient way for me to feel more at ease with my surroundings, just knock 30 IQ points off the top and get on with your life. Sedatives, temporary frontal lobotomy, a release from the burden of thought or an escape into impossibly sun-dappled fantasies.
And who's going to lead the charge for our generation? Will some crusading hero emerge to speak for us in the national debate, or will our years, our significance, our opportunities, play themselves out not with a bang, but with a whimper? Someone's got to make the myths.
And your daily link: homeless man's blog.
September 16th Made it, ma
Well, the denizens of 787 are finally legitimate hipster fucks. We're on makeoutclub.com. My apologies in advance to any poor folk [ed: women] who are harassed as a result. Didn't mean to be a contributing factor, but things just kind of got away from me.
Nick is here, and now passed out after many beers and a couple of pounds of steak. Welcome back to America, you bastard.
But he had a wonderful time in Europe and it's good to hang out with him. First time since Christmas back in Eugene. Frank put it nicely: Nick is very well thought out and well-spoken about his ideas. That's something I miss alot; seems New York is full of sloppy intellectuals, and without a sharp interlocutor I tend to get soft. We talk politics, women, drugs, friends and everything in-between, all with a very forward-looking mindset. Feels good to have a ranting partner drinking beers and cooking potatoes in the afternoon.
September 15th And Once Again It Is On
Had a good rehearsal with The Quick Fix tonight. Director emeritus and all around good guy Steve Wangh is back from Summer in Europe. Feels real good to have him there and to have the art back. Hope we can work as well without him. He's up for an emmy for his writing role in The Laramie Project. Steve Wangh at the emmys, what a trip.
Anyway, the return of Art is turning me on. I got good word on a possibility for setting up Axiom in October. Yes yes yes! Simple things are really picking me up today. I might even be switched on enough to go try and get a date with that british girl before she leaves town. Why? Because if I didn't I might regret it. Ah, the intrigue. Seriously, I'm innocent on this one. Just want to go take in a museum, cup of coffee, conversation. Let be what will be, forget the old fear.
Now I'm just waiting on the illustrious Girth to arrive at Josh's youth hostel, also after a summer in Europe. 'Cept instead of teaching experimental theater, he was backpacking it solo, playing the international mack. Still, better than the majority of mine (despite a brief flash of brilliance). Seems that summering over there is the way to do it.
September 14th About Last Night
Awoke once again at 8am in spite of staying out late and drinking more beer than was altogether necessary. Sardonic thanks to the sun and the BQE. Sitting in the bathroom emptying my guts of hop remnants, I'm feeling a little bit dazed. So I put on the MC5 and do some work, waiting for the coffee to cut into the headache. I've taken a shine to Mark's belief that advil should be avoided except when absolutely necessary, as it always seems to wear off when you need it most.
I beat myself up a little bit for having a few too many, mainly because it hurts my ability to be a good conversationalist and I wanted to impress this girl I have a crush on. I have a real hard time with them, girls I have crushes on. See, the truth is that I'm really not very confidant, so I tend to clamp down and try to control at the slightest hint of instability. I become very nervous, jumpy, skittish even, an inflated sense of importance (because this doesn't happen to me every day, dammit) leading me to overthink, the brain running way ahead of the circumstances. Tongue-tied with analysis/paralysis.
Sat there last night very tense in the shoulders, a little of the old Dean Moriarty bohemian fire clawing to get out, but it didn't break. Still slouching towards Bethlehem, depressant creeping in, fatigued spirit from too much confinement. I want to get out and run, but I'm afraid of what might happen.
Anyway, don't want to get worked up -- she's skipping the country in a few weeks. However this [getting worked up] seems largely out of my hands, which is nice. Fascinating to observe my own behavior in such situations, though not entirely pleasant. Been a long while since I've wanted anyone.
September 13th Friday The 13th
Hate to ruin the suspense. Tonight at grassroots, with the hot (and politically conscious!) brit girl, didn't heed the advice, failed to hew to the ethos. Became intoxicated and bashful. Reluctant. Lackluster. (Looser?).
Digital gifts from my man Dave: a great poem from NPR(real audio format) "9-11, with Allen Ginsburg in mind", and a hard-boiled self-portrait. Got me thinking a little bit about how we're missing a lot of those folks who really got things moving. No more Ginsberg, no more Keasey.
As I remarked to Frank last night, today might be a good day to push the boundaries, because fate don't tempt itself. I've been contemplating art and creation quite a bit lately, writing and performing and getting things to happen. Got a few projects and ideas that are starting to simmer. Will post when appropriate.
But let's skip straight to the good stuff. Where do these women hang out? Credit JT for that 20 minutes of fun.
September 12th Today is...
...the first day of the rest of your life. Strange how living here the fateful 11th becomes a charged-up new year marker. Not too proud to admit that I felt a few stabs of paranoia yesterday taking a big bike ride around the town, but overall it was ok. Lonesome, but I feel stronger. I think we are stronger.
Here at the Hotel Outlandish, things are finally quieting down. We've had two young punks staying on our couch, plus some friends they picked up at a show in NJ, but they've moved on their respective ways. Houseless friend Sam has been staying downstairs and in a few days the infamous Girth will ramble into town, back from a summer wandering alone in Europe. Hopefully I'll manage to get the place clean before then.
September 9th A Week for Reflection
It's Monday, September 9th 2002, and I am very very sad; very heavy in the heart. I see the country I call home heading in directions that I cannot follow, and I feel as if our leaders are using 3,000 ghosts to blackmail me into going along for the ride. Heavy 9-11 memorial coverage has begun in every media outlet, and although my original idea was to steer clear of commenting on this sort of thing, I've found the overall atmosphere too aggravating to stay mum.
September 7th Not With The In Crowd
Woke up at 7am in spite of being up late drinking port wine and irish whiskey. Drank coffee and made many core updates to the "life" section (story, love, vice, etc).
Nice to see that other people feel the anxiety about being inadequate in the world of online publishing. I'm not the only one. Hmm... this is sparking thoughts. Maybe time for another featurette? Nah, enough of that. I just updated my about page and officially started a new chapter in my life story. In doing so, I felt shame at all those "story TBA" slots, but pride at the amount of links I added to the body. The web of content grows, and sometimes I surprise myself.
Had a good long talk with Mark last night. Life plans, meanings, so forth. He's doing ok down there in Humboldt County, living with his old math teacher a few miles inland where the sun shines much more often. We talked about how things were going for him with Shannon traveling in Central America for some months, about how Luke was fairing as a graduate student in Berkeley, about how I want something that challenges me that I can commit to. We talked about war, how we're opposed to it, the inneffectuality of protest culture, how I've been feeling powerless as an individual lately, and how he's got lots of ideas how the individual can contribute. It was good discussion.
I ranted at my mother last night about the importance of supporting open standards and so forth on the web. I was a little out of line, but the email was fairly well put together, so I've edited it and added it to my rants list.
And in case you forgot, Hollywood wants to 0wn your mind and machine too. As the Bouncing Souls said, "fuck the industry, do it yourself." Cred to doc searls, one of the heavyweights of the net for the link. His is a good place to start a little wanderlust.
September 6th On the ball
|From JT's site. He found some subway scratchings on a clint eastwood poster that seemed to represent the four great evils: TV, religion, violence and money. I enchanced the original with photoshop.|
More folks are online. My friend (and fellow denizen of Greenpoint) JT has a website: www.imperfectpeople.com. In the 6-degrees/small world department, JT has a link to puce.org on his homepage, a girl that went to NYU same time as us. I clikzed it as I was exploring his site, and then realized that I met this woman on my second or third day in the city. She was in the Stern computer lab when I was getting my email account activated, we talked for a second. I remember because she told me then that she had a website, which at the time (1997) was something special, especially for a girl. Never saw her again, but there you go.
Billbo Baggens has a new entry on Brie's adventures at the track. I need to get back there and win me some horse-money.
In continuing my lately political driftings, here's an interesting list: "chickenhawks," those who advocate war and yet have dodged actual uniformed service. With all the warmongering going on I just count my blessings that we don't have a draft anymore. Of course, on the other hand, if we did there might not be any war because public involvement would be too high. Another shot of Huxleyan paranoia: if you can get enough people willing to serve your war machine and don't have to inconvienence the alphas, you can wage war much more easily.
This online world of ours never ceases to amaze me. Reposting from good old slashdot:
The Warriors Stood in the Shape of a Heart
"Here's a picture of Warsingers funeral. Warsinger was an in-game persona in the rather good MMORPG [Massively Multplayer Online Role Playing Game] Dark Age of Camelot". and generally well-liked. The real person behind Warsinger was a 32-year-old with heart trouble, who really died. So the players on his server organized an in-game funeral. At the funeral, players from the three realms of Camelot, who normally kill each other gleefully on sight, stood in the shape of a heart (check the pic above); the two figures in the center of the heart are Warsinger's real-life sister and girlfriend."
So you either think this is pathetic, just plain weird or a wonderful sign of humanity springing up in the most unlikely places. I opt for the latter, but I'm a believer. Check the picture.
September 5th Riptide/Dashed
This is genius.
Been swinging on an upward trajectory for a while, so a little down draft was inevitable. Just to forewarn, I'm going to whine about it. A little of the old Brave New World paranoia hit me last night in the back yard. I've been reading Richard Fariña's "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me" and feeling energized, but the book makes me painfully aware of how crafty the spirits of oppression have become. Rather than pushing us down outright, now they manipulate us with a sinking tar-pit of freedom: you can do anything you want, but unless you play our game you're irrelavant; why not just get fat and happy, tell the rest of the world to go screw?
The ever-present stock-chart a daily reminder of the score card of nations. Yankees results coming right up after the Wall St. report. Mollock! Maybe I should start charting my moods. Did that once in high school, highly illuminating. It's a much harder box to get out of, Huxley's. At the time people thought Orwell and 1984 was the big deal, totalitarian Soviet Communism was the bugaboo to fear. Turns out corpulent, dissipating mediocre excess is really much more of a bitch. Fights guerilla style.
So I'm debuting my politics section in an effort to influence people and society. You can get rants, values and essays as well.
I've got a couple of house guests staying on while Frank is out of town (St. Louis road trip), John, a friend of my sister's, and his buddypal from back home. John's a neat guy, thinks outside the box, real punk. When my sis was in high school I dropped her off at his place once and he had me come look at the underground room he'd built in his back yard, little bunker for poker and other clandestine activities. I also recall he drove a home-made convertible, meaning a normal car with the top sawn off. Outside the box. Him and his friend are having a blast, cutting loose in NYC, staying out all night every night. How long has it been since I've been that wild and crazy? That believing?
That old lovin' feeling has been on the rise as of late. Got the itch for something with depth, if you know what I mean. Jeremy dashed my hopes of romancing his pretty/smart brit co-worker last night, telling me she'd be leaving the country soon enough. That put my heart on a bum trip for a bit, but it's good to know the muscle still works. I had my doubts. Thankfully they were unfounded.
But that leaves the void, the ever-present crisis of meaning. I'm making my way out of living hand-to-mouth, and I got a pretty good stereo set-up going, but I'm a long way from feeling fulfilled. I want things that are challenging and significant. I know that's partly about me and my attitude, but there's an external component as well. Where do I go looking? Cornflakes and coffee do not soul satisfaction make.
Back in time to August: For Those About to Rock