Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

light sleeping

I am up late at night listening to Chuck Berry, watching ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and writing on my blog. it’s a media frenzy in my apartment right now. I’ve also made up a pot of spaghetti. I can eat up some damn spaghetti, I’ll tell you what. I am hungry tonight.
edits. so here is a video of Chuck Berry rocking the shit out of a room full of crackers in the 1950s. it’s an awful recording, but I think it adds to the song. the image is grainy. Berry looks like a ghost, and the music he plays comes in waves, and for me, courses. makes my toes tap. it’s music that I would fade to black to when the poorly received biopic of my life never comes out.
is it abnormal to listen to a lot of music that was made decades before you were born? I don’t think so. I love this song.

I would like to make an observation on the international politicking going on between the president of Iran and Obama over absolutely nothing.
nothing! Obama — and therefore the country — has been pretty reserved in his response to a violent crackdown on civilians by a theocracy. a theocracy. I think that’s important to remember.
it’s also important to remember that angry old grouch Sen. John McCain and his lackey, Sen. Lindsey Graham, made a big fucking stink about how the President of the United States needs to speak up for democracy wherever it should flourish, that he should “stand up for freedom,” or something to that effect.
the argument against the president being vocal was that the regime in Tehran, which understands that blaming the US and Britain for its problems gets a lot of mileage, would do just that: blame the US and Britain. claim their historic foils meddled. fomented trouble. etc.
I don’t know if Obama felt the glare of those who thought he should speak up, but he eventually did say something to the effect of, “I am very concerned by the response of the Iranian government against civilian protests,” and so on.
and I don’t know if the clerics who run Iran were planning on blaming the US one way or the other, but now they are. they’re arresting Iranian British-consulate staff. which is frustrating, because I can’t understand whether they’re trying to insult the world’s intelligence, or if someone out there might actually believe that bullshit. maybe I’m not an impartial observer, because I’m an American citizen. but I doubt it.
it had grown quiet. but now, the opposition is back at it. I think that is legit. it wasn’t a flash. the protest is still there.

I am now full of spaghetti. this movie is very violent, so I’m gonna turn it off. it’s dark, and quiet, and I’m done with Chuck Berry for the evening. I have a book I am reading. ‘things fall apart’ by Chinua Achebe. I’m gonna read it, and I swear, I will learn to relax.

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it’s spooky

Iran is still with the buckwilding. keep watching Youtube. you will see wild shit like straight-up riots, traffic jams, cops beating everyone in sight.

Michael Jackson died today. the reaction has been pretty amazing. one of my editors at work, she teared up. I was kind of taken aback; I didn’t realize he had this kind of pull on people. but, as Phil said today, he’s on the short list of earth-shaking luminaries. Sinatra. Elvis. the only Beatle that had anything on him, I think, was Lennon. there won’t be this kind of rumble when McCartney dies, I’d imagine. I could be wrong. and this is despite the craziness that people have associated with Michael Jackson for the last 15 years. consider: the man hung out with a chimp, named his son Blanket, allegedly was into kids and owned the goddamned elephant man’s bones. yet, was widely hailed as the slickest performer on the planet. he was his own planet. he had has his own orbit.
anyway. the King of Pop, the most famous son of Gary, Indiana, even moreso than Glenn “the Big Dog” Robinson and Richard Hatcher and Valerie Drozda all rolled into one, is dead. long live the king.

the vast majority of you will hate this. the rest of you, well … well.

goings on

Jon and Kate are getting divorced. are you bored with Iran yet?
first video on the blog. let’s see if it works:

it does! so here is another one.

Andrew Sullivan is still on this. so is the Lede blog at the New York Times.

banner

I’m kind of enamored with Iran right now. and I hope they keep with it.

some of you maybe saw the video of the young Iranian woman getting shot and dying in about thirty seconds.
it is here if you want to watch it.
now, you might not be into watching shit like this. I understand that. it’s grotesque to watch someone’s tragedy, or some act of violence; to consume it becasue it’s available. I remember a couple of years ago when that video was released online of the American contractor getting his head sawed off by terrorists in Iraq. I just talked about this with Cat the other day. that video was gruesome, and I wish I hadn’t watched it, but it illustrated an important reality that existed in that country at the time. maybe it still does. US troops are leaving major cities in about a week. we shall all see how that goes.
but, anyway. this Neda, who knows who she was, and where she came from. the details are still sketchy. all you know is: three days ago, she was you and me, and your sister, or your brother, and then she ended up at a rally against against her government, a repressive theocracy, and she was shot and killed. and now half the world has seen it, and she is an image that many will remember when they remember what happened in Iran in 2009.
she is a banner.

the internet, and my irrational dislike of it
so, I’m varaciously reading shit about Iran in the news. I’m even trying to decipher what the hell it is these people are doing on Twitter, all these feeds from people in the country, trying to get an idea of what is actually going on, to follow it a little, not a lot, but just so I can kind of observe what I’ve been reading about; this phenomenon of new media, making its mark by playing such an important role in the reporting of events of this occasion.
but I’m making this sound more academic than it actually is. have you ever tried reading a Twitter feed? that shit is ridiculous. when writing a post you get 130 characters, or some other such nonsense, so you gotta make your — sigh — “tweets”, count. the object is to be brief; the designers intentionally designed it this way.
because of the limited space there’s heavy internet slang, and now a lot of brief, random spurts of absolute bullshit flying about this Web site. constantly. so if you use Twitter, you’re in constant communication with other Twitter accounts. it’s a running blog for the thoroughly, desperately wired, and …
and I don’t get it. it just seems too much. I have a built-in aversion to Twitter, I’m wary of its novelty.
what’s the attraction? is this the natural of evolution of things? that millions of us in the first world sit at computers all day and browse Web sites and read Wikipedia articles while at work? why the fuck is everyone so plugged into the internet? there are now over a billion people in this world who aren’t getting enough food. why does Google save records of my g-chats? why does everyone have a Facebook account? why does Uncle Bill’s soon-to-be 15 year old stepson have a goddamned Blackberry? why do I think I’d be doing him a favor by smashing it? and to be fair, why do I write a blog, to be read by scores of … well, admittedly not very many people, but you get my drift: upwards of tens of you!
the question is: what is the point of all this fucking online noise that I shamelessly add to?
well. for all of the number of reasons the internet sucks when it’s used to just kill time and fuck off, it’s really something to see when it functions as an actual, honest-to-god lifeline to people trying to organize and protest. as a means of communcation, for the tangible improvement of people’s lives.
it is cool to read someone’s twitter feed, someone I imagine as an over-caffeinated teenager with a web-ready cell phone on the other side of the world, and see them use that shit for civic protest.
I think that’s really awesome, and this idea makes me smile. the internet might just win me over yet.

spaghetti dinner

here’s a little mood music: who likes Queen? come and get that shit!

Iran is getting buckwild. they’ve blacked out the media, and a lot of info coming to the rest of the world is coming via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the like. would you look at that: new media makes itself fucking useful.

Andrew Sullivan — the gay, Catholic conservative blogger with AIDS — he’s been all over this shit, I gotta say. if you are interested in seeing a decent compilation of all of these things coming in from the ether, he’s got his ear to the ground and his Web site is here
revolution is something many will only see from a distance. but you know, I’d like to think I’d be out in the street throwing rocks, too. and you would be there, too. so spread the news.

come get it

the life

I had a good time seeing relatives this week. I did a lot of walking, and running. talked a lot of politics.

I am watching ‘Fight Club’ on television. I haven’t seen this movie in a long time, but I’ve read the book about a dozen times. that’s my little staked out corner of popular literature: I’ve read a lot of Chuck Palahniuk novels. but ‘Fight Club’ is the only one I’ve really stuck to. I love that goddamn book.
the film is pretty good, in its own right. but you know what they say, about the book always being better. this holds true here.
the book describes a lot of anarchistic, anti-consumerist ideas — briefly presents them as antagonistic, but generally celebrates them. but, as I’m not living completely hand to mouth, or damaging commercial property, I suppose I’m simply a tourist, and I find all of this romantic.
maybe, maybe not.
but maybe I should draw my inspiration from elsewhere. where, oh where, will that be?

how important is healthcare?

by Mr Smith, coming to you live from the crossroads of America

Well it’s pretty fucking important to me.  Maybe because it has something to do with the fact that if I lost my government insurance and had to buy private insurance, I would be laughed at and shown the door.  Because, you know, who the hell wants to insure someone who has both a serious chronic liver and colon disease?  I’m a guaranteed medical expense, a reliable cost, and surefire red mark on their balance sheet.

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the boy has to learn

the Festival of the Photograph was this weekend. one of the cooler things Charlottesville puts together every year.
every June they hold a handful of photodocumentary screenings, and host speeches and exhibits by featured photographers. tonight I saw, with friends, this presentation of about two dozen mini-documentaries. some better than others, I gotta say, but definitely worth the watch. it’s intesting what you pick up on, what music suggests, what they choose to film, to frame, how much of it is left to interpretation. what others get out of it.

I’ve been reading about Kim Jong-Il, and in turn North Korea, as his story is its story. just a little something nice to fall asleep to. or to give you nightmares. and I think:  it’s ludicrous, really, when you think that someone, right now, is living in a closed state. how unimaginable a reality that would be, to see and experience the world in such a way.
I once saw a BBC documentary called “A State of Mind” on the mass games, these giant propaganda exercises put on by the North Korean government. they militarize the youth, or rather, the youth militarize themselves in their preparation, in these impressive group gymnastic displays, all for the chance to perform for the party leaders. who may, or may not, bother to show up. it’s kind of terrifying, and awe-inspring, and I think I’m gonna get it again through Netflix …
and I think my neighbors are having noisy sex.
okay. going to sleep. with commas, with commas.

crescent moons on the hood of your car

it’s late.
it’s always late. this is nothing new.
had an eye exam this morning. my sight’s growing worse, but I’m getting new specs, and they are good looking. I’m pumped. I also came across the Ray Charles sunglasses I’ve always wanted. they cost a boatload. but I’ll start saving change, and maybe I’ll come around to buying them.
while I’m on the subject of money: I ended up paying about $150 for that trip to the optometrist, and that’s including the free frames that my vision plan includes. that’s fucking ridiculous. what do I have health insurance for if I’m still paying exorbant amounts of money every time I go to a god damned doctor? 

anyway. I have two days off. that’s tomorrow — or today, technically — and Sunday. and then I work monday, and then I have Tuesday and Wednesday off.
the original plan was to take four days off in a row, get up early tomorrow morning and drive to Bloomington. I like road trips, or at least starting them out, before your back gets stiff and your face feels windblown and you’re hungry for things that aren’t fast food. but if you gut it out and drive with purpose toward Louisville and then turn north, you’re really almost there. 
I like to think I could get most places in this country without a map, but Bloomington I could do with my eyes closed. and me and Mar would kick it. we’d go swimming, we’d maybe rent a canoe, and I’d buy a hoagie from Dagwood’s and we’d probably get half-cocked drunk one night. god damn, would that be fun.
but I have put the kibosh on that shit for a few more weeks, because I forgot, I forgot, I forgot that Uncle Bill is coming to Washington next week. my brother told me that about a dozen times.
Uncle Bill is a good uncle, and I haven’t seen him in a while. he’s bringing his fiance and her son out to look around the city for a few days, and though nothing is planned for Bill’s visit, something materialize, whatever it is will be amusing. I think my family’s very funny. it’s probably a learned humor, but we’ll all be speaking the same language. 
as for Indiana, I was looking forward to it. but that’s okay, I’ll get out there soon enough. I was able to string together a few days in July that will allow me to travel. I’ve got five days. or, more specifically, five and a half days. so, what, let’s count: you gotta give about 18 hours to driving back and forth, but the rest is free, and I’ll be able to plan this trip a little more wisely. it’s gonna be between the 3rd and 8th of July. lock that in, everyone, commit it to memory.
until then, I am here. here is Virginia in June, and it’s muggy, and dark and quiet. tomorrow it won’t get much louder. I’m making cookies, and I like my company. there are worse places to be.

also: it turns out that it’s good that I’m in town on Monday. I have stumbled ass backwards into a job interview with a financial news service based in Charlottesville. it’s looking for copy editors.
truthfully, I’m not especially excited about furthering my copy editing career. but the job, if I were to get it, is secure, it pays well, and I could walk to work. all of that might not mean much if you’re indifferent about what you do for a living, and I’m fast approaching that, but it’s worth an interview, at least.
my, my. what a world away from Kabul copy editing for fuckin’ SNL would be.

doing work

eyes closed, arms up