Monday, November 29, 2004

Roommate John Samson has a subscription to Rolling Stone. This isn't a smart idea. Also not a smart idea is for said magazine to make a list of the 500 songs ever. I'm not going to talk about how bad their choices were. I will instead simply give my list of the 10 best songs ever.

1. Sweet Jane- The Velvet Underground
2. The King Of Carrot Flowers Part 1- Neutral Milk Hotel
3. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea- Neutral Milk Hotel
4. Two-Headed Boy part 1- Neutral Milk Hotel
5. Two-Headed Boy part 2- Neutral Milk Hotel
6. Holland 1945- Neutral Milk Hotel
7. Ghost- Neutral Milk Hotel
8. Communist Daughter- Neutral Milk Hotel
9. Debaser- The Pixies
10. The King Of Carrot Flowers parts 2 and 3- Neutral Milk Hotel

Yes, this post is a joke. This post is also my real beliefs.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I watched Saturday Night Live for the first time in over a year tonight. I should've seen the Modest Mouse episode, but I didn't. Was I at a party or something? I don't know. I probably just forgot what day it was, as that happens a lot. It's the kind of thing I want to be good... A lot of people involved I just think of as being funny people (Rachel Dratch's face makes me laugh, pretty much all the time. She is awesome and I want her to be my friend.) or just... Fred Armisen is on that Les Savy Fav DVD, and he's apparently also on the Wilco I Am Trying To Break Your Heart DVD. Also, in that issue of Vice I recently sang the praises of, he talked about hating the sun. So it would be nice if he was a bad-ass too. I think he was in one sketch, and he was in it as the straight man. He didn't break character by laughing though, so he had that going for him.

But what I saw... I was into it more than other people. There was a lot of the laughing at their own jokes, which is never good, but there also seemed to be a large amount of anti-jokes, especially during Weekend Update, just shit that destroyed the momentum completely so I found it funny. Ben Affleck is really fucking terrible though. Wow. He was not very good at all. They tried to get him to do characters and use him like a cast member, which is in many ways, the best tack to take. But he's not very good at line-readings. Not at all. Also, the John Kerry impersonation was sad and pathetic and missed the target completely. There's also a few people (besides the host) who are painfully unfunny and yet get a lot of face time.

I've laughed at that show in recent years, you know? The Tracy Morgan Woodrow bits were really funny. And they only did it twice, which is for the best. (Is Kel the new black guy? If so, that's a bad choice for a black guy.) (Is Rachel Dratch's Debbie Downer a frequently reoccuring bit? The last two episodes I've seen have had such sketches... And even though she's funny, and it's anti-jokes kind of comedy, and I laugh at these sketches, reoccurring characters are terrible and should just not happen. You'd think that people would know. Like, no one wants to be the next It's Pat! Or at least I don't want to be the next It's Pat! Granted, there's no danger of that happening what with me not being on television, but still... It's Pat! is a fucking punchline.)

TV is terrible. I hope the people I like make the transition to movies and the ones I don't like become swallowed by their drug habits. (Although, shit, the ones I like... They were involved with Mean Girls. What the fuck? Not even that that's a particularly bad movie, as I've heard good things, so much as it's a movie that I would never see. It's not so much a comedy so much as it is just teensploitation, so it seems marketed to an uncaring demographic. So that's why the what the fuck.)

(So many parentheses.)

Saturday, November 27, 2004

2004, Year In Review, Part 1: Music.

I could be saving this for a few more weeks, since 2004 isn't done yet. But, in terms of music, it is. Nothing's going to be released in the next month that I would be interested in, as the holiday season approaches. If it were, it would've leaked already, as I've heard stuff due for release next year already. That said: Wasn't a Built To Spill album supposed to come out this year?

Album of the year was, I guess, Liars' They Were Wrong So We Drowned. Which, come to think of it, I had heard by this time last year. I remember listening to it on someone else's stereo in the mods, on a disc burnt for me by Alex. My heroin-addict roommate at the time commented that it sounded like Sonic Youth. I think I had already presumptively called it the best album of 2004. It turned out I was right, because 2004 mainly sucked. And a lot of people hated that Liars record, thinking it unlistenable noise. They were wrong. I also saw Liars live, on March 26th, a day that is both my brother's birthday and Angus Andrews'. The show kicked ass, and kind of helped me put them over the edge.

I saw a lot of live music this year, all of which I could probably give the album of the year too in a half-assed fashion. I saw Deerhoof, and apparently Spin called Milk Man a perfect album. They're wrong. They also gave Liars their lowest rating. They are a bad magazine.

I also Mirah live... Thrice, actually, twice with the Black Cat Orchestra. C'Mon Miracle I've already burned myself out on, actually. I'd done it before it came out, due to the leak. At first I didn't like it so I kept on listening until I got it. I only get half of it, probably, the other half is dull borderline adult-contemporary. But the stuff with weird instruments? Those parts rule.

I also saw The Blow live. Her Poor Aim: Love Songs EP is pretty great, which is weird considering what it is.

For a while I was calling Girl Talk's Unstoppable my favorite album of the year. This was me, being insane. It's not that important. It's completely disposable plunderphonics fun. It's a collage record. Calling it my favorite album of the year is the twenty-first century equivalent of calling some garage band's album my favorite record of the year, like giving a shout-out to the Electric Prunes or something. It's just weird, even though it was incredibly enjoyable, and good for a few laughs. Not really amazing or anything.

This year I got really into the Mountain Goats, thanks mainly to the greatness of All Hail West Texas, which came out in 2002. That record's amazing. We Shall All Be Healed isn't nearly as good, as it's frequently restrained and maybe a bit too slickly produced. But I've been downloading a shitload of Mountain Goats, with iTunes currently listing me as having 237 songs. None of those are live shows.

I also listened to The Hold Steady, who John Darnielle recommends. Lyrically they're awesome... I posted a verse from an unreleased song a while back, and the ones on the album are pretty good too. The vocalist mainly just speaks and the backing music sounds like a bar band. So that's The Hold Steady. I guess they're good.

John Darnielle also likes Destroyer, who I listened to this year. Streethawk: A Seduction was quite the discovery, as was City Of Daughters. But the album that came out this year, Your Blues, isn't very good. It's consciously designed with a difficult, irritating, anti-rock aesthetic, and I didn't dig it. What-the-fuck-ever.

The Arcade Fire and The Fiery Furnaces: Overrated. Pish-posh!

!!! are rad, but the album they put out this year was kind of disappointing, although I guess it's good.

McLusky are great, and the album they put out this year doesn't seem to be getting the respect that it's due. But when I think about it, McLusky Do Dallas just has much more good songs than the new record. When I listened to them at work, I liked both almost equally, but the songs on that older record just stand out and distinguish themselves more.

Wolf Parade put out a really good EP this year, and I think their full-length should be rad. They're not to be confused with Wolf Eyes... Because Wolf Eyes are fucking terrible.

The Pixies put out two new songs this year. Hot damn. Amazing. I guess Loren didn't like Bam Thwok but then, Loren never heard the Pixies until this year so maybe he just doesn't know. Bam Thwok! Wakka wakka wakka! Oh, fuck yes.

This was the year I got to raid the KAOS record library. I guess the best things would be Silver Jews and Brainiac. Brainiac are amazing. Shit. I guess I hadn't heard Hissing Prigs In Static Couture until this year? That album owns. As do their other albums, which I didn't hear until this year. God, that kind of makes the year better.

I also got a job at a record store and it kind of sucked, which is too bad. That's the kind of fact that suggests I will never be happy.

Animal Collective's Sung Tongs sometimes seems like it should be the record of the year: I definitely liked it, and other people love it. It's one of those hippie-kid/indie rock/electronic crossover hits, kind of like Manitoba last year, but I just didn't dig it as much as other people. Most of the songs seemed kind of aimless. It's part of the overall aesthetic, and that whole freak-folk thing was big this year... And they were the only ones who did it well. Fuck Devendra, Joanna, and all the rest. Bah I say. The Animal Collective songs I liked were the ones least in that aesthetic, that were more focused and on-point. When that was the case, they owned it. I'm calling Who Could Win A Rabbit the single of the year. Leaf House might get that honor if it were released as a single, as that one's pretty damn great too.

The Go! Team also had some great singles, and an album I was disappointed by. They're kind of a singles band, but they were also mining the best aesthetic of the year. The songs are just frequently not there. There's never really songcraft in the traditional sense. The comparison to TV theme songs is apt. I liked it a lot in isolation.

Anyway, Who Could Win A Rabbit is the single of the year, but it didn't get any airplay, which isn't surprising at all. In terms of stuff that did get airplay: Modest Mouse. Their album sucked. And I bought it the day it came out. I remember in 2001, getting people into them and feeling bad as the word of their awesomeness got out to lame-asses. Now, all the lame-asses know about Modest Mouse. And I don't feel bad about it. I just feel shocked and strangely alienated from this band that was once one of my favorites. I hope their next record is incredibly weird and alienating. Not to ward off the new fans. But because I like record that are weird and alienating. Interpol got airplay this go-round too. The video for Slow Hands is hilarious: It seems like it's mainly about the one dude's hair. And Antics is mainly a piece of crap, even though it's not really that different.

Yeah, I hate to be the asshole who's all singing the praises of hip-hop radio. Because that asshole is frequently completely full of shit. But I'm calling the two best singles of the year that received radio airplay 99 Problems by Jay-Z and Jesus Walks by Kanye West. The Kanye joint is a distant second. 99 Problems is... I've only heard it twice, seriously. But in theory, it's just so damn great. The video has Vincent Gallo in it for some reason. And Rick Rubin is also in it, but that makes way more sense. I was talking to Alex about this earlier, and he said that there were the highlights of the radio this summer at his job, along with the three Outkast songs on Alaska radio. (two of them were played out by the end of 2003, the other one most people hated but I think is OK) He qualified that they were only highlights in terms of him just being glad they weren't playing the other shitty songs again. These songs got played a lot. But a funny connection between both these songs is they both make references to not being played on the radio. That's awesome. This is not to say that the radio isn't terrible, but to say that isn't to downplay the greatness of these songs either.

I guess I got more into hip-hop this year? I don't know. Still don't own any records. Mainly I just like the fact that some of it is good and there's a lot of the good stuff that I haven't heard a million times, as all my favorite records are the kind of thing I'll listen to three years from now. (Speaking of which: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain got reissued. That's probably the best thing to come out all year, but I haven't heard the bonus material yet.) So I can listen to Wu-Tang Clan and Public Enemy and finally get into all these classic records that will probably never mean anything to me, and can serve as background noise that still has lyrics to pay attention to if I see fit. And Ol' Dirty Bastard's Nigga Please is a fucking masterpiece, and one I only discovered this year. And then he died. Shit. Saddest death of the year, if it's not too crass to rate such things.

Last year I did one giant post that tied my life into the culture I experienced. This year my life was considerably less interesting. And very little dominated the culture I experienced, so there'll probably be more posts like this, that skim the plain as there were very little highlights. In future: Comics/books, my life, and movies. Movies will come last as a lot of stuff I want to see I won't be able to see for awhile, possibly until the middle of 2005. (Right now it's just Sideways, A Very Long Engagement, and The Life Aquatic, but that could change. What's sad is that those first two movies look kind of ass.) The other two ideas for posts might be condensed into one.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

I kind of hate saying this, but the new issue of Vice owns. The theme is Hate. It's not solid gold. But it's pretty damn golden. Compelling and interesting and most of it makes you feel bad and fearful. There's an interview with one little girl who kicks ass and then an interview with two older little girls who make you weep for the future of humanity.

Happy Thanksgiving America.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Every time I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my heart hurts. Surely, I am unhealthy. It does seem odd that it happens as I eat the sandwich and not afterwards, but this is not to say that there is not a correlation. My heart hurts because I am unhealthy. I am unhealthy because of my diet. I used to think that the lack of effect on my outward appearance meant that I just had the most amazing metabolism, but now I am thinking that maybe my body is just broken.

It's late. I'm not asleep. Waking up late fucks with my sleep schedule rather harshly, and now I'm thinking that maybe I should just push it. I've got some things to do tomorrow, and there's a part of me that likes the idea of doing these things before sleep. The other part thinks this is impractical and I will just end up passing out before I can do anything and tomorrow will be even less productive than today. I keep on thinking I'm tired as I write, but when I lie down, sleep doesn't come. And I'm considerably more lucid in my writings now than I am when I'm tired.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I woke up late today. After 4:30, to be somewhat less general. It's pretty terrible. I've previously said that the key to enjoying life is to wake up late, but I have to reconsider. I woke up as the sun was going down. Nothing will get done today. I feel like shit.

I've got these two short stories I'm kind of working on. One is paused as the characters don't have names. Another is just kind of stalled the way things usually go, and I reread what I have and I don't like the way it reads. I also have the beginnings of a novel which is kind of on the backburner. Then there's shit for class, evaluations and more rewrites of the Ol' Dirty Bastard paper and editing other people's work. I can't focus on any of these things. My other roommates are being productive.

Currently, my reading for class is a book of philosophy by Michael Foucalt. I don't care, not even a little bit. Class next quarter had better work out.

Tomorrow I'll bake pies. And hopefully, my amplifier will arrive, along with the new McSweeney's. Mainly I just want to make music and read things I find interesting, and maybe inspiration will strike.

It's a bad place I'm in.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Gorilla Foundation Manifesto,
by Brian Nicholson:

Art is a form of communication. It serves a different purpose than conversation, as it attempts to put forth larger, more abstract ideas. Philosophy attempts to do such a thing using the same tools as conversation, and it usually fails due to its insularity. In this and in many other ways, art is better than philosophy.

And yet, this manifesto isn't a work of art, although it is a communication. It is a conversation, a philosophical text, albeit one made by one imagining himself to be an artist. In time, the art will speak for itself. Until then, this will have to do in order to articulate a statement of goals.

Olympia, Washington, is a music town, lorded over by two twin tyrants. One of the problems created by such things is the very existence of such tyranny. The other regards the way they rule, and how they've earned it. Their policies don't speak to the interests of the people, or at least the people I associate with.

And so, Gorilla Foundation exists in the service of both democracy and good art.

Gorilla Foundation breaks down both the hierarchy of the scene, and the distinction between performer and audience. Not fully, as to do so might lead to anarchy and chaos, which is good for a laugh but not necessarily good for art. No, but a balance is struck: Gorilla Foundation exists not in a chaotic state, but it does create something of a shambolic one.

Gorilla Foundation is a band, but it is a band with a fluid membership, open to any who are interested and present at any given time. It has charter members, but that kind of doesn't matter. In interest of democracy, you being there first doesn't mean shit. Take that, scenesters. It doesn't matter how early how arrived. Saying this may downplay the importance of several rather important people, present at initial conversations. Sorry.

The nucleus of Gorilla Foundation are the songs of Gorilla Foundation, whose lyrics are penned by me, but whose melodies are crafted by Evan Hashi. This is partly because Evan Hashi is far superior to I in areas of songcraft, and partly because collaboration is a key part of Gorilla Foundation. It's all about putting your trust in another person's hands. This might undermine the songs I write, and it might confuse the audience's persepective of those songs. It will assuredly create a kind of tension which I find inherently fascinating in collaborative works.

The nature of Gorilla Foundation creates more tension, and undermines the songs. For the performance of the songs, the main members are also Evan and myself. Evan provides the song with their spine, the vocals, the melody, the lead guitar line, the basics of structure. I conduct the improvisational rock and roll orchestra that swirls around that structure.

And this is where the other members come in. They come bearing their own instruments, and they are then conducted. There will be a lot of percussion, a rhythmic cacophony. There may be horns, there may be strings. There may be bounding acoustic guitars, providing counterlines. There may be harmony vocals. There may be basslines, going off the guitar and imploring those not playing instruments to dance.

There is no stage, there is no center. At a Gorilla Foundation performance, there are a good number of things to pay attention to, of utmost importance is the sound.

The sound: Indie rock. Because it speaks to me, goddammit. Because I call Pavement my favorite band, but I know I can't write melodies that good. Pavement were loose and spontaneous, there is a happy energy to their records that I seek to reproduce with Gorilla Foundation, because I can't reproduce it with my other theoretical musical venture, The Art Project.

The Art Project, along with the other musical ventures of Evan and the others involved (Notable in particular is Loren Thor, present in the initial discussions, member of The Tasteful Nudes, and advocate of Olympia scene overhaul) seek to legitimize Gorilla Foundation. The other ventures are to make Gorilla Foundation seem inviting to people outside our smallish circle. We want to paint a picture of a new scene, to replace the one that currently exists. (Well, Loren and I do, Evan seems much more content) That is what the other bands do. Gorilla Foundation is a way to prevent the flaws of revolution, lest we become tyrants ourselves. We our inviting others along, for we insist that ours is a democracy. And its a democracy open to current scene participants as well: We are not opposed to them as people, because some have made some very good records indeed, and some of them are probably perfectly decent as people. We are just opposed to what we view as their rule.

Ours is an open invitation. Come to shows, bring instruments. Join us, for ours is an exciting movement to be a part of; and with your aid, the music might very well end up being exciting as well. Excitement is a very large part of what we are trying to communicate with our art. There are other things as well, but they are comparatively boring. It is exciting to be excited. In a similar vein, it is also rocking to rock. Come rock.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Our protagonist pauses the generic early-nineties indie rock (Archers Of Loaf, again) and then removes the headphones from his head. He asks to anyone who is around to hear, "Eggo makes Cookies And Cream waffles, has the whole world gone mad?" And he hears no response. So he leaves his room and wanders around his dormitory, to discover it was empty. There was no one around to hear his empty words. Don't you hate this fucker?

He was called a hipster earlier in the morning, the kind of accusation that gets his blood up, for no good reason. Oh he can argue the charges. And he would have a good point. These are not the kind of things levied at him in Philadelphia, not even a little bit. But here, at Evergreen, in Olympia, where such creatures may actually exist, there is some confusion. In Philadelphia he is just a lovable loser and no one gives a shit what he listens to, they're just surprised he doesn't like The Misfits.

But let's not defend him too quickly. Because, you know, the third person thing? Oh my god.

Clever kids are killing me. For one, they ain't that clever.

Monday, November 15, 2004

The latest in the ongoing process: The magic eightball/impending death anecdote posted here will be the core of a short story, one that attempts the "balancing magical realism with the indie-rock-kid world in which I live" ambition also posted here. Don't steal that idea bastards!
So, it's 6:19 AM and I haven't fallen asleep. And I have class at 11.

I did have a brief go at sleep, around 1 or so. It didn't take. I woke up again, laid in bed, thought about class, then did some writing. I don't want to do anymore writing about class tonight. And I don't really want to go through the trouble of writing about what I wrote about.

So why am I writing here?

Because I can't seem to fall asleep.

So, how about a quick defense of Pitchfork? It's fallen off lately, or maybe I'm just seeing the seams. I'll defend Mark Richardson's music writing, and I'll say that William Bowers' self-indulgent meta-pieces work better than most of the others. There are other people with varying taste and varying writing ability. I think that Ryan Schreiber generally has decent opinions, although his actual review-writing leaves a lot to be desired. But those first two are fucking fascinating music writers, and they both come at it from different approaches.

And suddenly I'm tired again.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

There's a magic eightball floating around the dorm. One day, John Samson, the owner, asked it some questions regarding 2012. John Samson got told (twice) that he will die on December 21st, 2012. It turns out that I won't, though. I'll die before that. A violent death, at someone else's intentional hand.

In the wake of ODB's death, we asked if the RZA will live past 2012. Yes, he will, says the magic eightball.

But earlier, when I played Magic Eightball Music Critic, the eightball said that Bright Eyes is good and The Arcade Fire's Funeral is the album of the year. What does a magic eightball know?

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Ol' Dirty Bastard is dead.


Shit just put on Return To The 36 Chambers, in the intro he just said he's happy to be alive.

Alex is next door, blasting Nigga Please, right now he's on I Can't Wait.

Dirt McGirt album drops in March. I hope it's huge.

I still have to rewrite this paper. And now it will be shot through with a melancholy I never expected it to have.

I had a dream just last night that I was working at a pizza place and Ol' Dirty Bastard came in and everything was cool until he took something about white bread badly and put me in a headlock or something. I don't quite remember what happened.

This is a sad day.

Friday, November 12, 2004

You know, I don't think David Rees is funny at all. But right now there's a little letter of encouragement at his page and... it's pretty encouraging.

And I quote:

We're smarter than those motherfuckers.
We can learn more quickly than those motherfuckers.
We can be more ruthless than those motherfuckers.
We can be some six-million-dollar motherfuckers ourselves.

Chin up.
We're more American than those motherfuckers.
We're more responsible than those motherfuckers.
We're more compassionate than those motherfuckers.
Hell, our atheists are more Christian than their Bible-thumpin' motherfuckers.

There's an election in two years.
There's nothing we can't do.

Chin up.
Because it's on, motherfuckers. It is on.

Indeed. But that Get Your War On comic remains as unfunny as ever.
The latest in a string of overly-ambitious ideas, and how it got to be the size it is:

I was thinking about some kind of zine thing that would be a format for my short stories. Because of the zine format, this would also allow for commentary about other things: Music reviews and political rantings and such.

But then I thought "fuck zines" as it's too narrow. People will get sick of my voice rather quickly.

So then it grew into a literary magazine, a collection of short stories, with all the other content, the reviews and stuff, being there to serve two purposes. To show the mindstate of the people creating the art (As I wrote this I was listening to RZA and the Silver Apples, or something) and to be the voice of the magazine. Kind of like the McSweeney's online content implemented more into the print-version text. That voice would be what people could respond to, and would be the common ground for the disparate forms of fiction that made up the real content. It would also be a better music magazine than others around- most are horrible.

Then I was thinking about how most comics suck ass, made for boring old people. A few brits look back at the early nineties fondly... There were things like Deadline that were cool, bringing together music reviews and comics largely made by people who were really fucking cool... Jamie Hewlett, most notably, but I also think that Phillip Bond and Brendan McCarthy were a part of the same group of kick-ass art school kids. So then that got worked into the equation as well, with the comics being treated like short stories. Not particularly arty or literary comics, although a bit of that too, for depth. (Mainly because who's young and kick-ass? I have no idea.)

I'm thinking print it all up on cheap newsprint. A magazine, straight-up, with ads and stuff. Disposable. Well-designed graphically but not in terms of format and not to hamper with the ads. Actually I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of ads... Ads are anathema to looking good but key to keeping the cost down and again, I like the idea of disposability which ads help. Although ads also fuck with the credibility of the reviews and shit that would be the voice, which is something can't really be fucked with. I don't know. Awesome drawings and photography on the front cover, but hopefully that wouldn't be the extent of the design.

I don't know. I don't really have the money, the resources, or the connections to talented people to actually do any of this.

Still. Alex once typed "experimental music needs to be shaken the fuck up. Like now," and I was with him and it's a statement that applies to more than just experimental music. Most things need to be shaken up because I am getting bored. Who is on some next-level shit? As far as I'm concerned, no one.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The latest in the realm of things I've suddenly begun to hear about frequently is Italo Calvino, an author whose works I haven't read, but should probably get on.
It should also be pointed out that it could be argued that The Incredibles has right-wing themes. So did Team America, and Team America was more explicit. Both of these movies were good regardless, so people who bitch about things like that... Just suck it up and enjoy it. I can't imagine someone not liking the movie because of its themes. I can see people not liking it on that level, but being sold on the rest of it. You don't necessarily have to see the themes, but the argument that they're there is a pretty strong argument.
A few things I've wanted to say. Not my thoughts- these are Grant Morrison's predictions. In brief: The next big thing will be psychedelia. In the underground, and then it'll later boil over into the mainstream. Of course, psychedelia is such a vague term, it could be good or bad... I don't take it to mean jam-band shit but maybe that's my optimism. Oh and Morrison also predicts a new dark age. I don't know for how long though. Maybe when the psychedelia hits the mainstream it'll end. And of course, shortly after that happens... 2012 apocalypse. Psychedelia could be good though. The good kind. Surrealism, I'm fond of. I kind of think Arthur will be essential cool kid reading but it's a very specific kind of cool kid. I don't know. Sometimes I like to think I am on the cutting edge and will end up ruling the world, inheriting the Earth. I don't know though. I'm writing with fuzz on my brain like I'm on drugs but I can actually write so I'm not completely useless.

Oh and I didn't see McLusky. But I liked The Incredibles a lot, which isn't surprising. The next Pixar thing, Cars, looks ass though. The Incredibles: very pure superhero poetry. I don't know if anyone will get what I mean by that, or if that many people will understand the appeal. Kicks the ass of all bullshit live-action superhero movies... I was thinking as I watched The Incredibles about all the CGI and fuck it all, just go straight to animation. I mean, early Superman serials, I think I read, switched to animation for certain scenes, like where he flies, and it's a jarring distraction. So just pure animation, fuck this live-action with CGI nonsense. Other stuff... Like I said, fuzz on the brain. So I'll stand by my "pure superhero poetry" comment. For the kids, for the mainstream. And of course it looked amazing but that shouldn't even have to be said. The obvious: If you're inclined to like this sort of thing you'll love it. The only complaints I have are things that couldn't be avoided. I don't know if anyone would go into it not expecting to dig it and come out converted, but that's totally just me not understanding people from different perspectives. I'm even more inarticulate than usual right now. Sorry. My mom thought the commercials looked dumb. She doesn't get the superhero appeal. Damn I should write her an e-mail about the movie actually. She told me to tell her what I thought because she wasn't feeling the commercials. It seems to me that if you're not psyched by the commercials you're not going to be feeling the movie, although obviously it works better as a film than as commercials. It's not fucking Star Wars, you know? It's got a plot and the best parts are the big action set pieces, not the short jokes that can be thrown into a commercial. I don't know. I like superheroes and I'm kind of a moron. Aren't you the same kind of moron? Are you with me on this? Batman fucking rules, right? Dudes getting kicked, things exploding, and it all looking awesome... These are great beautiful things, yes? I don't understand people at all. I'm not as psyched on it as I was on Triplets Of Belleville, but Triplets was all french and sweet and it had grandmas instead of superheroes so it had a broader appeal to non-nerds while at the same time had this distinctively niche vibe. Anyway. Alex called The Incredibles the peak of Pixar and doubted they would ever make a finer film. Granted, he did it while drunk, and we don't know their future plans. I liked it, Alex liked it. Alex isn't as nerdy as I am but he does concede that superheroes are pretty goddamn cool and you may or may not be with us on that. I am getting repetitive. Sorry.

I am tired. About an hour ago I was talking about riding out a sleep-deprivation high. I talk crazy talk. I'm ready to pass the fuck out. You should all go see The Incredibles because maybe some of you won't like it and that would be interesting to me, as you're all friends of me and shit.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I've been really into The Mountain Goats lately, and last night, while laying in bed I realized that didn't make any sense. There's no reason for me to be feeling the Mountain Goats. It's all about lyrics, in the same way that other people like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are all about lyrics and I just don't get that shit at all. The lyrics are "literate" but straight-forward, not particularly lyrically breathtaking. And yet somehow it works. Even though the musical backing is frequently just an acoustic guitar and tape hiss. Maybe it's that where John Darnielle is coming from is closer to where I'm coming from than hippie territory. He's a music critic and not a poet. But it doesn't seem like that should be enough.

Still, it makes it speak to me... Sometimes there's humor, it doesn't seem to wallow in sadness. (although the sad songs are frequently brilliant.) Then there's the concept album type stuff, which I guess I respond to. That kind of over-arching narrative gives stuff more of a purpose. It rarely seems self-indulgent.

Yeah... I am not a critic at all. I like what I like and sometimes I can justify those decisions. John Darnielle's voice isn't annoying like Bob Dylan's. And he's not political.

Other things that might grow into longer posts in the future: Going to see The Incredibles today and maybe McLusky in Seattle if all goes well. Also: My class is deeply flawed and I am expressing more rage by the day. The other students (and the professors) don't like me. It is all very haha.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I've got this Lenny Bruce autobiography to read for class. It's not particularly good, but the fact that I'm reading it brings stand-up comedy to mind. Stand-up comedy is rarely that far from my mind, but I'm being reminded of it.

Also: apparently there's been a new shift in Catholic dogma. Women can masturbate now, post-coitally, if the man involved in the act (who still can't wear a condom, as sex is for children) didn't bring her to climax. I mention this because I could do five minutes on this that would be hilarious. But then, really, who couldn't? Lenny Bruce might've broken rules and all that, but sex and religion are a short path to comedy gold. Not a lot of effort to be expended there. I mean, fuck, he was able to do it, and he was a junkie!

Elsewhere:, to be precise, Matt Fraction reviews Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, as previously established, my favorite comic ever. This is cool because it seems like Artbomb's only violation of their "we don't review superhero comics, ever, we are for the nongeek public" rule. I could talk about why this is significant and I could talk at length about how it's only right that Doom Patrol should be the only exception (although I could also name two others that should be exceptions) but no one's reading this anyway, yes? No one gives a shit when I talk about comics. (oh fuck it: Watchmen and Enigma.)

For a while I was thinking about writing about something I love in art. Besides just "quality," there's something I really have a soft spot for. And that's this balance of the weird and the fucked-up with a very sweet and lovely core. I thought of this while arguing on the behalf of the poster insert in Jim O'Rourke's Insignificance... my roommate Loren Thor bought the record on vinyl and I wanted to take the poster and frame it in the bathroom. It's an amazing piece of art, so I don't want to describe it, but long story short, Loren didn't want it because it's not the sort of thing he wants looking at it while he poops, and he thinks it's the kind of thing that could alienate potential ladypartners. I maintain there is a sweetness but I said this to Loren in that half-ironic tone that I am known to use when I might very well be talking nonsense.

I cannot find the image in question, and I don't want to describe it to you. But I will say that the other art that comes with Insignificance is awesome too, and even better in the big vinyl format: The cover is a transvestite sitting in a chair, while the record sleeve shows the same transvestite being sodomized by an octopus. The poster isn't as good as the octopus image, but that should go without saying. As I look around the internet, the only images that are easy to find are the covers to the Jim O'Rourke albums Eureka and Insignificance. The cover to Eureka is a naked man holding the head of a bunny to his genitals. If I had a record player, I would buy the album just so I could put the cover on my door, (and the music's kind of dull on that one) so amazing is it. I am willing to entertain the notion that there's no sweetness to the artist's work and it's just my gravitation to the bizarre and alienating coming through and then I try to spin it like I'm somehow well-adjusted. I don't know, you make the call.

The name of the artist is Mimiyo Tomozawa and her work is highly recommended. (apparently she's done some manga but if it exists, it's hard to find.)

As is the work of Ken Kagami, who did the art for Deerhoof's Milk Man, and drew an image I very much want on a t-shirt. It's the kind of image that would ensure I made no new friends ever and would alienate all but my staunchest supporters. It is very much the kind of thing I enjoy as one that sometimes positions myself as being different than normal people. It is also amazing. You can see it here: (Warning: not work-safe, but everyone who reads this blog is unemployed anyway.)

I wanted to talk about my attempts to write stories that balance the bizarre and the sweet, optimism with surrealism, and magic realism with the indie-rock-kid world in which I live. But I got distracted. And to make a long story short, I haven't written anything that does that yet. And it doesn't look like anything I'm working on now will accomplish that goal either. Right now I'm just focused on getting all the boring nihilism out of my writing, and trying to avoid obvious autobiograpy. (At least I've never written about high school or struggling with writing in my fiction.) But if I ever do get around to doing such a thing... Look out world! I'ma kick your ass!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog Of War, Fast Cheap & Out Of Control) made a commercial for Apple. It features cartoonist/screenwriter Daniel Clowes talking about his Mac. It's bizarre that such a thing can exist, but the reason I find it bizarre is a bit obscure.

Bush got elected. Straight-up. Culture war, good guys lost. Most of America is crazy. But then there's things like this. I don't know. I'm calling this "cultural dissonance." Like cognitive dissonance, but expressed through culture. This world doesn't make sense.

Bush's election doesn't make sense. That Apple commercial doesn't make sense, even to me. Even if Kerry had won, Clowes and Morris are rather "indie." These are things that shouldn't exist, but for completely different reasons. I'm glad that the commercial exists, because there are still good people out there. We are outnumbered. There's not enough of us to make a difference to the world at large, but there's enough of us to make a difference to one another.

Maybe I'm not making any sense. What the fuck am I talking about? I'm glorifying isolation. Why am I doing such a thing, after the democrats lost and the next four years of our lives (at least) our going to suck ass? Because I'm not a political guy. I'm just trying to live. And that's the way to do it, right now. Because if you are a political guy, and you're engaged with the rest of the world, things are going to suck even more. If you withdraw, you will survive. It's easy enough to withdraw. I did it before the election, I thought Kerry was going to win. It's the kind of optimism you need to survive. The argument could be made I've just got my head in the sand, like the president, and that's a bad place to be. Well, yes. But, I mean, Bush seems like a happy guy with his head in the sand. And since a civil war isn't going to happen, and a mass migration will just fuck up our chances in 2008, we've got to live with the fact that the majority of America is fucking crazy. And the way to do that is to do what we always do, seek solace in other things.

We are not the majority, but there's a lot of us. America is going to be hell on Earth for a while. And like any bad situation, it's only survivable when you've got friends. We've got a lot of friends.

The media isn't that liberal. The news, especially, would be better were it more liberal, if it engaged the rest of the world (i.e. the red states, the majority) and was able to convince them how shitty the world is. There has been some talk of a media elite, of a bubble. And I guess that is true now. But I don't have that much of a problem with it, because it's the same bubble I'm in, and it's a rather encouraging bubble. It's not great. I don't know, I need to work this shit out better.

Well, no, not really, I know where I stand: The media shouldn't be more liberal. It should be more vigilant in its reportage of facts. Really, the more facts people know, the less inclined they are to vote for Bush. But that's not because the facts are liberal, you know? Facts are facts. Facts don't come with points of view. I guess the main thing I want is less opinion, and less discussion of opinions, of polls, of spin, of shit that's not news. Yes. Wait. Um. I'm contradicting myself, as I said I liked the opinions because they convinced me that I Was On The Winning Side.

Goddamn it, what was I talking about before...

The rest of the media, the stuff that's not the news... That's encouraging to me. That's where my friends are.

How amazingly on-point was the Daily Show tonight (or last night? November 3rd.) So on-point. The funny that hurts, in a way I rarely feel.

This post is so goddamn unclear. This is not an essay, you know? It's a collection of stances. I stand by them all, (except for the unclear stuff) but not all of them have that much do with each other.

I'm really fucking tired. I started this blog so I wouldn't have to say the same shit to everybody as a conversation starter, engage me. If you do, I think I might be able to work out my stance and my guides to happiness for the next four years by the end of the week.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The soundtrack to November 1st was Brainiac's Electro-Shock For President. On a similar mood, last night I listened to GZA's Liquid Swords on headphones. Today, as I feel rage and disgust towards America, McLusky Do Dallas loud rock music with sarcastic lyrics is the perfect accompaniment.
Let me be the first to ask it:

So... what do we do now?

I don't have a solution yet, I just wanted to be the first to ask the question. Bush has this fucking mandate from, no shit, the majority of America. And Republicans I think won some seats in the house and Senate, but I don't know. America chose this shit. The youth didn't vote. Which is fucking sad. I now see why politicians ignore the young: Because we're fucking dumb.

Anyway, now for some shit I've said on message boards:

It seems like a lot of people are saying that they voted for Bush based on "moral issues." And it's easy to mock that, to say "fuck morality, vote on policy" but... As far as I'm concerned, voting for Kerry was the moral thing to do, you know? And that's even when you take in supposed judeo-christian morals like killing dudes being bad, as opposed to just my own personal set of morals. I'm confused that people are saying moral issues are important and the majority of those then vote for Bush. I mean, yeah, vote on policy, but policy is a reflection of morals. And Bush's policies are immoral as fuck, are you fucking kidding me? See... what they could've done, I think, was to talk about morals without talking about religion. Because Kerry is morally superior to Bush, in that he's not a fucking hypocrite. That wasn't a point that didn't get out, at least from Kerry. Or it wasn't made into a moral issue. And I don't think that would've pissed off the current liberals in the Democratic party, because everybody likes to feel morally superior.

Speaking of feeling morally superior, my roommate Luke is going to riot today, supposedly. Not because Bush won, or because the way he won was corrupt. No, he was going to riot even if Kerry won. He's going to riot in downtown Olympia (where we elected Democrats) to send a message about the things that aren't being addressed in politics. It's radicalism and it serves no fucking purpose. None at all. I mean... rioting's fun. But if you're going to destroy a place, why destroy Olympia? At least when there were riots in Seattle, they were opposed to something nearby. This is just foolishness.

But again: What do we do now?
So here's the thing I want to be the anthem of the left in the near-future.

Do you have a ballsack? Because if you do, you really should be shooting your metaphorical jism all over the place?

(i.e. call bullshit. There's a lot of bullshit to be called. Why isn't Kerry calling bullshit? I want Kerry to go on TV and say "the only reason Ohio and Florida will go to George Bush is because of extreme corruption.")

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I voted. When I woke up, the morning felt better than last night. I like thinking the part of my brain connected to the collective unconscious is telling me something about how people are voting on the East coast. Let's see how I feel tonight.
It is now Election Day on the East coast, where my family and many of my friends live. The East coast, where the swing states reside.

I am on the west coast, and I am freaking the fuck out. Raw psychic tension is in the air like radio waves. I'm not where the riots are going to be. And I would almost bet money on small riots, at least in the swing states. I hope there's no reason to riot, but for fuck's sake, the past four years have been reasons to riot. Starting with the voter intimidation in Florida. That's the type of shit that I'm talking about, regardless of election results. But yeah, those results. A lot of people fucking hate Kerry. I don't encounter them ever, but they exist.

I need catharsis. I want to go vote and then go to a shooting range, partly for fear of a second civil war, partly just because I'm just going to need some kind of release. So much bad shit is in the air. So much fucking fear. I want to break glass.

This is my first election. Truly we are blessed/cursed to be living in times such as these.

If there was a second civil war, I am confident that the hillibillies would win. I don't want a second civil war, but I would fight in one.

There is the possibility that I will be ashamed of these words a week from now, no matter the outcome. I find it necessary to document the tension in the air.

God fucking dammit.

Vote Kerry, for the love of God. If you absolutely must vote for Bush, because you're a billionaire or something, and a Bush presidency would really work out for you, I suppose I don't have any problem with that, as long as you don't try to intimidate blacks. Also, if you could try to talk your yacht club buddies out of fucking with poor areas of swing states, that'd be great, I'd appreciate it.

If you're not a billionaire, and you're voting for Bush, you are fucking dumb. Trust me, it's not going to work out for you at all. (The New York Times reported that Bush told his supporters in a private meeting that he'll try to privatize social security once he's sworn in for his second term. I know that The New York Times is the liberal media or whatever- Which is funny because it's also the most respected newspaper in the country- and the Bush white house has attacked it, but the Times is sticking by this, and fuck, extremist conservatives do want more government agencies privatized, so it's not like the Times pulled it out of their asses)

Is John Kerry a tool? I don't even know anymore. Well, wait, yes, he is a tool for the Democratic party, a total piece of blandness. But what the fuck ever, that's the kind of tool you build a house with. Third parties are the kind of tool that means penis. And George Bush... he's the kind of tool that tears down a house. He's beyond being a tool, he's the fucking devil. Seriously. And that's a stance I would stand by, even if I were talking to a schizophrenic. I wouldn't even qualify it. Attention schizophrenics: George Bush is the devil.

Attention voters: Vote for Kerry, please please please.

I want to go downtown and just have shirts that say "Hugs for Kerry." And I will just hug people, no matter what their stance is. I will hug them, because a hug is something good and pure and George Bush is probably opposed. I will be the happy face for the Democrats. I'm just hugging, you know?

Although if Bush is re-elected, and the riots start? If that happens I will be the face on the bottles of poison for Kerry, the Yuck face. And I mean, I'll still give hugs, because that's just how I roll. One love!

It's going to be hard to calm me down over the next twenty-four hours without the aid of hard alcohol and hard narcotics that I am not inclined to take part in. Blowjobs won't even help, so intense will be my mind-state.