Friday, June 25, 2004

Before leaving Olympia, some people wanted to know my e-mail address. I told them not to bother, because I wouldn't be getting online that much. Even when I said this, it was partly a lie, partly wishful thinking. But no, I'm online a bunch. My e-mail address is embarrassing, created as it was when I was in sixth grade, a reference to an obscure comic book I loved then. But here I am, in Philadelphia, on my brother's computer, which resides in the room I sleep in. It's his studio. I sleep on the floor. My stuff is crammed into one small corner when I am not asleep. When I am asleep, I spread sheets across the open part of the floor. Looked at people's Livejournals. Thor met Stephen Malkmus and saw Need New Body. Need New Body live in Philadelphia and I've yet to see them. I have no real reason to meet Stephen Malkmus, but I'm sure that if I did, it would be the high point of the month.

I have a part-time job working in a really shitty record store. It's owned by a fat dude. He buys things cheap from flea markets and stuff then marks them up. It's really terrible. I get paid... I guess six bucks an hour? And it's part-time... For two days work, Saturday and Sunday, I got fifty bucks. This would suck, except: Because I am sleeping on a floor in my brother's studio, I'm only paying $100 a month for rent. I also have to help him keep shit clean, but that's a good deal. Oh, and there's soon going to be a second store, so I can work full-time. It's seriously absurd that he can open a second store. His is the worst record store on South Street, and there's a lot of competition for that title. It's open late. That seems to be the only thing it has going for it. It has diversity, but mainly because the owner's retarded. Still. I'm getting paid, and it's a reference to put down. Is it weird that they don't call themselves a record store, they call themselves a CD store? Even other places that sell nothing but CDs seem to call themselves record stores if they market themselves to a very music-savvy demographic. (i.e. Tower Records) This place doesn't. It's a store for retards. Someone asked me where the oldies section was. I told them we didn't have an oldies section, but if she told me what she wanted, I could find it in the existing sections. What she meant by oldies: "like the old Biggie and Tupac." No one I tell that story to laughs at it. It's fucking hilarious. Biggie and Tupac aren't even old-school hip-hop. Ready To Die came out in 1994. But, hey, they hired me. I didn't have to fill out a job application, either. Just walked in, gave my name, phone number, and told them I was eighteen.

Every time I walk home I want to drink milk as soon as I get back. The Freudian interpretation of this is that, when I work, I feel like an adult and want to drink milk to bring me back to childhood. A more practical explanation is that I have a very poor diet, lacking in calcium, and after I do work, I need calcium. Before I got the job, my roommate said to me "Nothing like a cold one after a day at work," and I just kind of agreed in a vague sense. You know, how I do.

When I go to sleep, I dream that I'm still at Evergreen. None of my friends are in Olympia, though.

Philadelphia isn't living up to its history of being awesome. I wish there were shows to see. I wish there were independent films to see. I need to eat more food. I've been eating at Lorenzo's a lot, which I missed, but it's not the full experience. I've also had water ice once or twice. Also: the comic shop on South Street is fucking weird, too. It caters to a bizarre demographic. I believe the term is "buppies." Only they're not that young. I mean black people that seem stereotypically white. I did overhear a comment about the racial politics of an issue of G.I. Joe, but... it's just weird. It's like dads. It's probably the only shop, comic or otherwise, I've been at the same time as a uniformed cop. Oh, and their selection is pretty crappy as well. It's really generic superhero centric. If you're a black cop in your thirties/forties who really digs The Flash, it's the fucking store for you.

On the good side: TLA Video has copies of El Topo and The Holy Mountain, as well as Eraserhead on DVD. I need to see those. TLA Video is something I missed about Philadelphia. I also got to see Pedro The Lion doing a little acoustic set behind Spaceboy. I missed Spaceboy, but I haven't bought anything from there yet.

So, where is the grass greenest? I want everybody to take a picture of some grass in their area. I mean "grass" in the literal sense, and you are not clever if you photograph marijuana instead. I want those photos of grass to also include that which is awesome about the area in which they're at. This idea just came to me, and I don't think anyone's actually going to do it. I don't even know if anyone else would find it at all amusing to do. I'm just typing crazy type.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

So, my thoughts over the past few hours have concerned themselves with the question of whether I should go to sleep or not. I'm going to be hitting the road at 5:30 AM. I figured I'd fit in some sleep. So I packed up the computer and hit the sheets. Sleep didn't come. I thought about my diet, of eating one hearty meal per day then coasting by on simple sugars for the rest of the day. The sugars shouldn't be found in beverages, and only water should be consumed. I call this the cheap bastard diet. It works for me, but it's probably really unhealthy. What sucks is it's not going to work for me tomorrow, due to lack of availability of both hearty meals and simple sugars. Damn you airplanes. Also thought about how I'm going to spending six hours in Chicago. If only I knew people in Chicago. I also came up with the idea that there should be bus services that run, constantly, from airports to the downtown area for people with long stop-over flights, and people who needed to get from downtown to the airport for one reason or another. I think this idea would work perfectly, and make a shitload of money for both the bus and the downtown area. For all I know, there's a bus set-up like this in Chicago, and I'll end up doing shit in Chicago. Here's hoping. Anyway, with all of my thinking, sleep didn't come, and then my upstairs neighbor turned on music. Which made me think "fuck sleep." So I got up, stripped my bed, pulled out the laptop and the ethernet cable. Of course, almost as soon as I got out of bed, the music stopped. Hence keeping up my tradition of not being a person who does smart things. And, really, this isn't facetious self-deprecation. I might be known for being a fairly intelligent person, but I'm also kind of known to do the dumbshit.

God, I hate my hair right now. I liked it nonexistent, and I liked it shaggy as fuck. But right now, the length it's at, combined with my general style of dress of wearing white t-shirts, I look very... manual labor. If I wear a button-down shirt, I look prep school as all hell. Mainly I don't concern myself with my appearance that much, but that's because I generally don't look like anything, really.

I really don't like the current airport setup that stops people from waiting at the terminal. I hate getting off a plane and just walking to the baggage claim, and just thinking "at some point I'll run into the people who are looking for me." What the fuck is with that? Oh, and having people wait with you to board a plane is nice too, as opposed to the whole set-up of just dropping you off and saying your goodbyes then.

Don't know what I'm going to read on the plane/in the airport. The food issue is a bigger one, though.

Hm. I'm thinking now that I'm going to turn off the computer, put it back in my bookbag, and start reading Invisible Man. Maybe I'll end up finishing it in 24 hours. Maybe I'll just do some writing. Maybe I'll end up falling asleep in spite of my saying "fuck sleep."

Friday, June 11, 2004

I probably won't be able to post for awhile after today/early tomorrow, but right now my mind is in that manic state it sometimes gets, so maybe there'll be enough of my witticisms posted to tide you over.

When I was looking at colleges and expressed an interest in going to Reed, I would get all kinds of shit from them. Some of the things I would receive would be little more than postcards or flyers that did little more than kill the earth. I got one of these that had a Dorothy Parker quote on it. You know, amp up the kid's excitement with a little Dorothy Parker, so they'll be more willing to give this college their money should they be accepted. I wasn't a fan of the practice, nor of the sentiment expressed in the quote. The quote was "The only cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

That's the quote I'm talking about when I think about wanting my epitaph to read "Fuck You Dorothy Parker."
A thought occurred to me last time I was flying over Pennsylvania, down to the Philadelphia airport. The cabin pressure would naturally build on the plane's decline, so there were adjustments made within the cabin. I'm not sure what exactly caused the feeling in the air. At the same time, I was leaving college, and going back home. My feelings regarding that situation were confused as well. Somewhere around 24 hours from now, this situation will be relived. And I share with you the thought I thought better than to share with my neighbor on the plane this past December:

Is this a release or a buildup of pressure?
Thought I was done my packing, everything could either now be put in luggage or thrown away. Then I remembered some other stuff, on top of my dresser. Two small speakers which are essentially dead to me, unusable, and I need to see if I can give away. Also, detergent and fabric softener, which I can pack but that might be kind of retarded. Also, now that I think about it, cleaning supplies under the sink. My hippie neighbor's listening to a mix that's surprisingly listenable. I paid attention during Beulah, opened all doors. Then Reasons by Built to Spill came on, then something that sounded like Neil Young maybe then something that sounded like Jimmy Eat World maybe. Now, Dramamine by Modest Mouse. Yeah.

No quarters to do laundry. Dirty clothes on the floor, to be thrown into luggage. Big money in my wallet, enough hopefully to cover one month's rent.

Summer reading list, growing. I've kind of given up on the Paul Auster. Invisible Man still looks likely to read. After that, I'm thinking Gravity's Rainbow. Also: Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, Something Happened by Joseph Heller. I saw that for like a quarter at a bookstore downtown, but declined to buy it thinking that it might've been the sequel to Catch-22, and fuck that action. But apparently, Something Happened is fucking brilliant, so I should check that out. I've also been meaning to read Ficciones by Borges. Also, in the realm of poetry, still want to read David Berman's Actual Air, and Maldoror, eighteenth century surrealist poem about nature of evil or somesuch thing. I think my uncle owns a copy and has read it. That one's kind of a low priority.

Have I ever declared my goal of wanting to read Ulysses before I turn 21? If not, I'll do so now. That won't happen this summer though. But it will happen eventually. I'll probably start next summer. I wonder if I'll give up and say "fuck it" fifty pages in.

Pyramid Song's playing now. I've got more cleaning to do.
So, most things are boxed up and in storage now. Everybody's gone. This is nice, in a way, because it makes it easier for me to reconcile my present status with my near-future status. When all my friends were here, it made the summmer hard to imagine. Now, it looms larger, and is easier to conceive, if not necessarily to look forward to.

I'm listening to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists right now. And you know, experimental record and a punk background aside, this dude is really fucking classic rock. Sure, there's the politics, and the literature references, but I just can't get into it that much. I can get into it easier than I can get into, say, actual classic rock, and I might still want to see him live, but my actual response to the records is one of almost ambivalence. There are some enjoyable moments, but mainly, it just doesn't speak to me.

It seems like I should be able to tie those things together, and yet I can't. I am tired, tomorrow looks to be a fairly busy day, I am anxious about the future and annoyed with music. There's a Brainiac song that's been running through my head as of late, and it sums everything up: Nothing Ever Changes.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Today, I told my friend Loren the only thing that would make me stay in Olympia, so I will now tell you all. The only reason I would stay in Olympia post-graduation would be if I opened a record store. Now, owning a record store isn't a dream of mine. It's just something I think I could do well, and much better than the two other stores that currently exist in this town. I am pretty sure I could kick their asses and run them out of business.

Oh, didn't there used to be a thing being passed around blogs about putting itunes or an ipod on random and then listing the first twenty songs that came up? Because I did that this Friday, didn't ever list the songs. I started off with the first song, then put it on shuffle, it ended up much better than I expected, being listenable all the way through.
McLusky- There Ain't No Fool In Ferguson
The Kinks- Sitting By The Riverside
Parliament- Tear The Roof Off The Sucker
Sleater-Kinney- Things You Say
Wilco- I'm A Wheel
Yo La Tengo- The Sea Horse
Ween- Sarah
The Kinks- Animal Farm
Jim O'Rourke- Get A Room
Nathaniel Merriweather/Lovage- Anger Management
Beck- Side Of The Road
Mirah- Advisory Committee
Husker Du- Dreams Reoccuring
Fugazi- Latin Roots
The Books- All Bad Ends All
David Bowie- Warszawa
Fennesz- Rivers Of Sand
Prefuse 73- Coming Into Something Better
Quasi- Repetition
Sufjan Stevens- A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Today I saw two movies at the Capital Theatre- Secret Things and Spartan. Secret Things... Not sure it had a point/went anywhere interesting. Not sure the relationship between the two main characters was that realistic. A little over-the-top. Well-photographed. Fairly pornographic, I guess, but somehow avoids male frontal nudity (even when there's an orgy scene). Basically as mediocre as any number of movies I've watched on my own, but with more nudity to make it more enjoyable, and more over-the-top than the average mediocre indie film. (could be because it's French) When I talk about it being over-the-top, I'm mainly talking about the end. After the antagonist dies (who's Very Very Evil, and in an incestuous relationship with his sister) an eagle picks at his flesh. And, like, the eagle belonged to this woman whose silhouette showed up at certain points in the movie? Was that the deal? I don't even know what that was, really. I really thought the silhouette thing would end up being awesome, but I guess it was just a woman with a bird. The thought now occurs to me it could've been symbolic, but of what, I have no idea.

Spartan was surprisingly good. Almost wanted to leave early on, then got interested. Val Kilmer is a huge fucking asshole, and sometimes says some very action-movie type shit. Still, good, with lots of twists. Some people apparently talk about how political it is in that it condemns the person in the White House. Which, on one hand, is total bullshit, in that, with the exception of a reference to terror and the prescence of some muslims, there really isn't the slightest connection between our current real president and the fictional one. Wag The Dog, also by David Mamet, is way more fucking political and related to things that were occurring in the White House at the time of its release. Although, Wag The Dog serves as an interesting parallel if Spartan is viewed as being political. Wag The Dog was much more political, but it was also a satire, which seemed to fit with the time of the late '90s. Spartan's a thriller with lots of shooting, which seems to fit the modern zeitgeist. It's an interesting note, but if Spartan really did nail the zeitgeist, I think more people would've seen it. Who the fuck saw Spartan? Jason did, because Jason cares about David Mamet. Unlike Wag the Dog, I don't think anyone saw Spartan based on the press it received. Which is weird, as it really is a fairly effective thriller. Maybe reviewers were bothered by how big an asshole Val Kilmer plays. Or, more likely, people heard the retarded premise (President's daughter's kidnapped! Hey, I saw that episode of The West Wing, and it seemed cliched then, as well.) and wrote it off. But it ends up having more twists and being much smarter than that premise.

Also, yesterday I finished writing this short story, Companion, that I'd been at for awhile. I added very little to what was already there, but the little I added constituted an ending. The day before that, I began writing Get Broken.

I also started reading Paul Auster's In The Country Of Last Things, which I'm not sure I'll finish. I thought that would be my summer reading, and after that I'd start reading Invisible Man but this book isn't that great, and the tone is depressing. If a book's going to be depressing, it had better be fucking brilliant. I really don't think this is. So I might just go right to Invisible Man. I'm also thinking that after that, I'll give Gravity's Rainbow a go.

I have a bowl that I stole from the school cafeteria. I planned on returning it, but the cafeteria's not going to be open this week. I guess that means I keep it forever. C'est la vie.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

So, I've been viewing things in terms of a one-week threshold. Like, a week from yesterday, I'll be on a plane headed home. A week from today, I'll be worrying my ass off in regards to finding a place to work. Holy shit.

I'm not done my packing yet.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I woke up this morning with The Blow's cover-with-new-lyrics of Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic stuck in my head. It hasn't left. It's really good. The only thing better than women singing about fucking is women singing about fucking with sapphic overtones, I reckon. Song's not on any records, she just did two versions of it live on Monday night. So, it sticks.

I have all my CDs packed. I also had my last class today, a party at the beach followed. I packed while listening to Deerhoof's Milk Man, and the urge to jump up and down and dance and spaz out came.

Watched Rushmore again last night. I had forgotten how it ended, which is a common occurence, but I'd forgotten a lot of the film. Wes Anderson movies get better the more you watch them, funnier. I really need to watch Bottle Rocket again, as that's another one I've mostly forgotten. Ah, Rushmore. I just watched it thinking "This is such a great movie" and laughing at things I didn't laugh at the first time.

Also, if I ever get a book published, I expect everyone reading this to steal a copy. I would give out comp copies, but no, I recommend stealing.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Things are coming to an end. I had my last seminar this afternoon, finished reading White Noise, found a box large enough to hold most of my books and packed it and sealed it with duct tape.

More importantly, I found out that a really good friend, my first at Evergreen, is leaving. It was up in the air for a while there, but now it's sealed. Not only is she leaving, but two of the dudes in my class I got along with (probably the best) are leaving as well. What sucks is that this really isn't surprising: At this college, the people I befriend are the ones who are most likely to dislike it. Because, you know, there's a lot of bullshit at this college, and the people who don't see it as bullshit I want nothing to do with. I see the bullshit, but... There's a lot to like about this school as well. There's also a part of me not sure how I'd fare at a regular college anymore.

Some people I'm friends with are staying. My two best male friends at Evergreen will end up being my roommates come fall. Still, I'm going to have to make a lot more friends, and am going to have to work my ass off to find people that awesome. And they'll probably leave as well, once the horror strikes in. Fuck, I had a good program, and I had it all year. There's the possibility that I won't be as happy this time next year and will be fed the fuck up. I really don't know how the program I'm enrolled in is going to work out. Granted, I didn't know how Looking Backward was going to work out, and that ended up working out quite nicely. I blunder my way through life.

Loren and I watched The Dirty Dozen. He got it from Netflix thinking western, ends up being a World War II movie. Either way, Loren and I watched it, as ambassadors from Man Country to this here hippie college. A problem I have with World War II movies, or any war movie, is their glorification of the military, and by extension the whole "fall in line" mentality. Fuck the military. Some of you are now going "haha, you go to a hippie college and you fit in there, jackass" but: While I was bored/annoyed for most of the movie, when the Germans got fucked up and shit went BOOM the movie became all worthwhile.

During it, my mind turned to something weird to me that probably shouldn't be. That being: I'm pretty much done with my program. I have to do the whole self-evaluation bit, but that is it. The rest is packing and preparing to go back to Philadelphia. The weird thing is this: I'm coming back. Not in terms of the whole friends thing, although that probably adds to it in that it gives me less to return to, but in terms of... I'm going across the country. To the east coast. Then, come September, I'm back here. Not the same thing as last fall, where it was a big momentous move. It was an event.

All I feel now is a vague disconnect basically. Rather than taking the form of alienation from those around me, as it has in the past, it's more of a feeling of confusion as to my future. Way more than last year, when I knew where I was going. I didn't know what it would be like, but my life had a feeling of purpose and direction. It seems like a second year of college will just feel like limbo. Or at least that's how it's looking to me right now. It makes me regret how little writing I got done this year.

A life in limbo. High school felt like that too, I guess, but then I had a lot of friends, and a lot of enemies, and just basically knew where I stood. Those friends... I rarely talk to them. And I'm in a different place than they are, nowadays. Literally and figuratively.

And this summer I'll be living with my brother, probably seeing none of those friends, and probably not making any new ones either as I will not have that opportunity as I'll be living life through the filter of my brother. And most of my books and all my records will be in storage in Olympia. I'll have the laptop I'm typing this on, and a shortbox with some comics, maybe a few novels, and a notebook and a pen to call my own. I might not even have a bed. My only insistence is that I don't have the same job as last year, working with my dad. I expected the Summer to be spent in limbo, in isolation. That the fall will be much the same way is kind of a bizarre thought.

Yes: I know this is how life works. I have free will too, and that's kind of a bitch in a lot of ways.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Saw The Blow tonight. Other people played as well- Anna Oxygen, Tiger Saw, and Viking Moses. Hadn't heard of the latter two. It turned out they sucked, especially Tiger Saw. Anna Oxygen I had heard of, but hadn't heard the music... It was all really bad new-wave disco electro pop type stuff. I guess new-wave disco might not be the best description, because... imagine eighties Madonna but more avant-garde in terms of a stage show. That's my impression.

The Blow was cool though, even though she mainly just sang along to some karaoke beats. The beats were pretty nice, and there was some lyrical improvisation. In the absence of karaoke beats, there would be people either singing like "oh-oh-oh" or, for the first song, nothing but a capella. A capella but with a heavy hip-hop influence for, you know, some Olympia white girl on K records. It's more dominant live than on record... The record is good though, and although I didn't know quite where I stood at first on the karaoke beats, by the end I considered her a good performer.

Saw so many vaguely familar faces, from going to this school, riding the bus, going to shows, and eating burritos. Small scene in this town. It's kind of bizarre knowing so many people at least by sight when you view yourself as an outsider. I'm sure that I was but a few steps removed from the other people I didn't know, if I count the musicians as being people I know. (and I did in terms of my discussion of familiar faces)

I walked to the show and got a ride back, in the process of the ride back kind of meeting new people who talked to the musician people etc. (one girl got the number of the singer from Old Time Relijun) I like viewing myself as an outsider.

One of those things that I view myself as something that I might not necessarily be. Viewing myself as anti-social, or many other things along similar lines. Always kind of bizarre when I find out that people think I'm confident, as that is not how I view myself. Once it's pointed out, I accept it, rather than dispute it, but I'm nonetheless thrown for a loop.