Friday, June 26, 2009

Don't worry brother, this will blow over. (Day 200)

Band - The Menzingers

Song - Sunday Morning

Album - Hold On Dodge ep.

Needs more....well, some of you will get that.

This song for the past few months has been on a steady play for me. They're a mix of something new, something old and something passionate. But this song in particular cuts to the core of me. It's not very often a band can do a song with a very positive message and not come off condescending, righteous or corny. Honestly. At least to me. But these guys really pull it off.

And this song has been on repeat for months. Almost the day it was released on their MySpace, was the day I needed to hear a stranger telling me not too worry, that this would blow over.

And so I keep plugging along, and realize....oh my god, this is post 200. So much has changed in that time, for me personally and for the world at large. I never realized how much can happen day by day, and somehow counting the days gone by I realize that we may all be on collision course with something, we're just not sure of what yet.

And I think of where I was two years ago. All my old haunts in Albany. One of my favorites being a comic book shop I spent more time in than probably my own room.

It was this little hole in that wall that you almost had to know existed to begin with to find. Buried deep in the cracks and crevices of a town on a street with shops where the sings all meld into one, and there's nothing truly defining about any particular store, you just have to already know where it is you're going.

And like anything worth discovering, one afternoon while riding the bus I happened to spot it, tucked in the way near an old diner named Dewey's which I'm not sure was actually ever open. I really didn't have anywhere to go, it was a day off and I really didn't know anyone at the time.

It was early in the morning, something like nine in the morning. I'd slept like shit the night before, and all I could think of was this itch I had. Here I was sitting in one of the most glorified States in America, and I had the nerve to sleep instead of go out and explore? So the itch grew and grew as I tossed and turned repeatedly.

I hopped the first bus I could. As with many days in my tenure as a New Yorkian (is that the right term? Who knows.) it was gray, cloudy, cold and rainy. Armed with just my CD player and Neutral Milk Hotel's "Into The Aeroplane Over the Sea" (which honestly is a classic everyone should own) and Against Me!'s "Searching For a Former Clarity" (another classic everyone should own) I went to face the day and explore my new surroundings.

I was a transplant, and I feared my itch was the body of New York warning me if I didn't get out and see something, it'd soon reject me.

I really don't think I saw the sun that day, honestly. And for me those days are my favorite. Not to come off weird and all Edgar Allen Poe-y or anything, it's just that I've lived in Arizona for nearly my entire life and at least 315 days a year we get nothing but sunshine with no reprieve from clouds or rain. Sure, once in a while there's a rogue cumulus cloud sitting maverick in the corner of the sky somewhere far, far away from you but other than that, good luck.

When I stepped off the plane on May 5th, 2007 it was so chilly I had to don a jacket, something I'm not exactly accustomed to doing in that particular month in Arizona. And what's this...trees? Grass growing on its own instead of being prompted by someone's O.C.D anal retentive care several hours a day? Furry squirrels romping playfully without incinerating the moment they step outside of the confines of the shade this strange provides? And for that matter, what the hell is shade? An education in climate collision.

So I'm sitting on this bus with Jeff Mangum singing passionately about Holland in 1945, and the fuzz from the bass is seeping into my brain and flooding my cerebellum with imagery so vivid, I'm almost positive at any moment his words, his tapestry will paint a picture so vivid that my current ocular world will fade to a boy playing a piano built of flames.

A woman gets on the bus, and I've seen this particular route be so packed I'm surprised a person can even move off of the bus. But while the bus was moderately full, there was still plenty of space to be comfortable. One thing I definitely learned about living in New York, no matter where at in New York, you cannot afford to be claustrophobic. Literally. It's too fucking expensive to have your own little head space.

But at this point on a Saturday morning, the bump and grind of day to day work was a lot less, because was the weekend. Self explanatory, really.

But this very disheveled woman chose to sat next to me. It's not something I'd usually pay attention too because I'll shower the night before, wake up and just go. I've spent more time counting gray tiles in my Senior AP English floor (114...that always bugged me. It felt like there should be one more) than I've spent looking in a mirror in my entire life. So pot, meet thine kettle.

However, this woman's appearance I felt were a dramatic cause for concern. Not just her appearance, but everything about her. Hair askew in ways I thought were reserved for sensationalized portrayals in movies. Her salt and pepper hair were matted with dirt, and other material I'm sure I would've needed gloves and a laboratory to find out what they were, exactly. And that's only if I was feeling brave after drinking my liver into a cesspool of whiskey and lament.

She chose to sit next to me. And I mean, why wouldn't she? I was the only person not making snide remarks, crudely laughing or reliving a sophomoric glory, which consisted of tossing refuge at the social leper.

"How ya doing, ma'am?"

"My pie..."

And my initial concerns were pretty much justified at this point. She stank of cat urine, which if you've ever smelled cat know for a fact that's the smell. It wasn't just a hint, either. Almost as if she'd filled up a tub and soaked after a long day of...whatever it is.

She became irate, screaming loudly mostly mumbled gibberish punctuated by a screech for pumpkin pie. This illicited laughter from every patron on that city bus that day, sans the bus driver and myself.

She began to pace the walkway back and forth, going in between hysterical crying to hysterical screaming to just plain old fashioned hysterics. At one point the bus driver pulled over and asked her where she needed to go. At this point I decided to make my exit.

As I got off the bus, lo and behold was Earthworld comics. It might as well have been the set for comic book guys comic book store from the Simpsons.

The workers there were awesome. Honestly, if you're ever in Albany, hit up Earthworld comics. It's on Central Ave. Great selection, and really cute girls nerding out about Warren Ellis and the like. There's a select group of guys who read this blog who will understand why that's more of a turn on instead of two girls going at it.

I left with a lot of comics that day. Her name was Cheryl, and she could've sold me Snuff Manga, and I would've agreed with her that it was the most brilliant depiction of Japanese art since God knows when.

That day lasted forever. I wound up at some strip mall in God knows where, maybe it was in Troy, I don't remember, but I sat there for a while and found this really rad sandwich place. To be quite honest, I love sandwiches more than the average bear, so I sat with my newly aquired nerd trophies in a very comfortable and chic sandwich shop having one of the best days of my life.

When I got back on the bus to go back home, the same woman was on the bus still screaming, crying and laughing, all while ranting and raving about pumpkin pies. In over a five hour time span, no one had thought to contact some sort of help for this obviously distressed woman. It made me quite sick to my stomach, but even I did nothing in the end. Not that I really could...I'd have no idea whom to call or with what cellular device. What do you do though, in a city where no one really does give a shit at the end of the day.

See, ironically I feel New Yorkers get a bum rap. They get put into this little square on mentallity where they "don't care" and are all self-serving assholes. While I won't disagree they aren't seemingly the most friendly people on the surface, I think most of it boils down to peoples misconceptions about them. For example, I've lived on both coasts and the differences are so monumental, I can barely believe we all live in the same freaking planet, let alone the same country.

But it's something as simple as a going to a show that can point out the differences. Honestly, it mind seem so inconsequential, but the truth is that it really does exploit the differences. While out here in the west people are more laid back and casual, the truth is...there's so many phonies I'm surprised anyone actually knows another human being on a level deeper than what their common interests are.

And you go to these shows on the west coast, and people stand still with their arms folded and get pissy if things start to sway too much (crowd wise, I mean) and really show almost bitter contempt for the hard working kids on stage for whom they paid to see. Not all shows are like this, but a huge majority of them are.

Inversely on the opposite side of ye olden America, an east coast show...there's so much movement and energy and exuberence. There's a solidarity and commrodarie that you don't really find here on the west coast unless you have a popped collar and take turns double teaming some broad you met in a Scottsdale bar, who to her own credit is a pseudo celebrity for having been featured on "the Dirty".

The reason why New Yorkers get the bum rap is because they get misunderstood. While you can easily approach most anyone on the west coast and talk openly with them, on the east you can't. Why? Because they value actually knowing someone, and are secure enough within themselves to constantly be honest. And those who know them, that bond is stronger than blood and family. You have to earn respect and earn the right to actually know someone beyond a cosmetic level. I love that, honestly.

While I can talk to anyone, I always try to make that deeper connection. Most people don't care too the further you get west. Not everyone is like that, not at all. But many are, and it's not always such a bad thing because a lot of the time there's just nothing to discover. Sorry, but it's true. It doesn't make those people bad people, there's just no substance.

There's just more passion on the east coast, for everything.

But they deal with harsh weather...we get blessed with three perfect seasons, and one season is a bit less comfortable than it's contemporaries.

But what I took from Albany was a new sense of being and purpose. A new perspective I never would have obtained while trying to keep the sun from melting my brain. A new respect for people as a whole, and a new idea about what else lived in America besides palm tree's and melanoma.

I miss my apartment. The buildings have so much character. That's something important to me in a city, the architecture. It tells a deeper story, it's the backdrop and the people are the characters. The thing is, all the backdrop is set, and all the characters wander aimlessly without direction.

My old apartment is right next to the illuminated sign that says Ralph's (to the right in front of the red molestor van). Ralph's was interesting. It was a "wink wink" pub with certain influence from a green persuasion. I can't really count how many times I barely made it to my steps which I could honestly reach over and touch from the stoop of the bar. I can say I've literally crawled home before.

I took on an army of White Russians, and they won.

I never took personal photos, though. Well, I took a few but never kept them from myself, and sometimes I wish I hadn't done that. Sometimes I just want to fade away, to be forgotten. The irony of that is that I'd never forget those I truly do consider friends.

I wish now I'd taken pictures, because that's an important moment in my life, and while I'm eternally grateful to call the southwest my home once again and wouldn't trade it for anything (except for beach front views) I just wish I'd allowed myself to enjoy the fact that I was living in the moment.

One of my final days, on my final week in Albany, I spent all day getting stoned and drunk and walking around this muesum. Standing out on that balcony and over looking the city from all angles is one of my favorite memories of life, bar none. It was so quiet you could almost hear the city breathing. I knew then that while it was time to go, it was a bittersweet departure.

For a long time I sat in the hallway next to the preperation room for the lunch room, on the bench. It was a long white hallway, and I felt like I shouldn't have been there...but no one seemed to care. Running low on funds, I swiped a few caprisuns (yes...caprisuns. Tell me you wouldn't do the same, you god damned liar) and stared at some planes they had hanging on the roof. I was there for quite a while, and no one seemed to go down this hall. I wonder how long it'd been since someone had seen those airplanes, and I wondered how the workers who had to hang those planes up there must've felt about that. Or the people who had to dust up there.

There's a section in the muesum dedicated to the Adirondacks, which are these mountains kind of near there. I wound up there accidentally wasn't so bad.

But there was a man sitting on a bench. This room was nearly pitch black. The best way I can explain it is...have you ever been in a cave? Like a natural park cave, with the tours and everything? The type of lighting they use in there. The low lighting that uses the natural reflection of the cavernous walls, that's how the lighting was here. And this guy, he was a bit older. He sat so quietly and perfectly still that at first I assumed he was part of the display. They had many lifelike displays of women, children, men and various animals throughout this room. But soon enough, I realized he was just sitting there.

And it was so peaceful and tranquil, I almost wish I'd never left at all. Something about that moment seems unnegotioable in it's posterity. Something that shouldn't be touched, and movement or further acknowledgement at the time would have only tarnished what it was.

I continued walking and looking. Maybe it was pills, maybe it wasn't, but there was a Native American Chief (of the Iriqouis tribe) and it was this almost...crude cardboard cutout of an Englishman obviously taking advantage of the Chiefs goodwill. And even though it's just the cardboard cutout, the look in his eyes just struck me as forlon, tired and drowning in sorrow.

I couldn't stop imagining what that day must've been like. She was obviously losing something that meant a great deal to her. "The times, they are a'changing" and unfortunately the casulaties don't really have such a go-getter attitude reciptive to the change.

How would you feel?

I've always really respected big cats. My cat Rizzo is huge. He's, according to Velvet, "the size of a small pony or farm animal."

But something about big cats strike me as regal. There's the cougar on display in that room, and it's stuffed. That really bothered me, because I can't think of anything worse than a taxidermied animal, especially one that's as graceful and regal as a big cat.

Afterwards I headed down Lark Street to the public library. It's a fantastic and very comprehensive library. The staff couldn't be nicer.

I love the smell of books. I really do. There's not much else I'd rather do than sit and read in a library. One of the most serene public buildings in all of modern society. If you think about it, all libraries are mosques, housing the words and thoughts of so many dead and gone.

I'd like to apologize to the Albany Public library. I accidentally packed away a copy of Augusten Burroughs "Sellevision", and "accidentally" kept the Clash' "London Calling" deluxe edition. Sorry.

I decided after that that I needed to hit up Last Vestige Records one last time. If you do find yourself there in Albany one day, go down Quail Street. It's worth the search. Burried next to houses is this hole in the wall, amazing record store. Nothing but treasures as far as the eye can see. Pornography for audiophiles.

It started to rain pretty heavily. I wound up hiding out in a Subway for quite a while, eating soup and a footlong. The streets washed with more water than Arizona see's in three years time, and while I considered building an ark with spare chairs and tables, I noticed people walking quite comfortably in what I could only describe as a torrential downpour.

I braved the flood 2.0 and walked next door to a liqour store and bought some cheap whiskey.

The rain subsided and I wound up watching the menacing clouds overheard jump to life with a riot of lightning and thunder, seeking refuge under the arms of the Lord. I nearly passed out on the steps of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Staring up at the steeple above is quite menacing, add in the thunder and lightning was eeriely remincent of the famed Zuul scene in Ghostbusters.

I realize it looks peaceful and serene here, but the truth is...this photo is a fucking lie.

There will be a part two to this tomorrow. I realize this is a bit long, but hey...there's lots of pretty stuff to look at, and's my 200th post. I can't just sluff off, can I?

-Until tomorrow.

I never saw the good side of the city til I hitched a ride on a riverboat queen. (Day 199)

Artist - Ike & Tina Turner (cover song, originally done by Creedence Clearwater Revival.)

Song - Proud Mary

Album - Proud Mary: The Best of Ike & Tina Turner.

This song is what music should embody at all times. Unbridled passion and soul. Tina turner has one of those voices that can cut you to the core of your being, and she could probably do it singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

This song gets me to thinking. I've lived in this city most of my life, and I've pretty much written it off as a small town trap not worth an ounce of salt in the ocean. But so many people have made this town an extension of themselves. Generation after generation resides here, and everyone knows this history of everyone else.

While I know this country was built on that very ideal, it's that characteristic that drives me to the brink of insanity.

I want to live in a city you have to work hard at to get to know anyone.

I want life to be that way. If I were to meet someone and we struck it off well, I'd want to keep that person in my life until one of us croaks quite honestly.

See I'm lucky to know people who can encounter the darkest trials that could possibly be thrown at them and still march forward defiantly and claim their lives back.

Welcome to the river, we're gonna keep on rolling on a river.

Despite what currents can be thrown at someone, it's almost an art form to be able to look life directly in the eye, and spit in that same optical receptor.

You look across the world and right now a lot of people are hearing about places they never realized truly existed. Take Tehran, Iran for example.

For the past 8 years most American's have kept a hairy eyeball on that country because we were told to believe that there was nothing there but sand and terrorists. Yet these people now flood us with images of heroic beings, everyday people (Such as Neda) and it stirs something deep inside a lot of us.

There's not much difference between Iran and America. Both lived (and in Iran's case) lived under a Presidency that was spotty at best. Our representatives have given us black eyes, and we've both strived for change. And seeing images of bloody descenders wakes up the ire in a lot of us American's because we can relate. Enough so that we'd take to the streets. A principle we have deeply imbued in us, to rise up and fight when things disgust us on a level so unimaginable that we'd collectivley march with people who are pretty much strangers...

And that makes me wonder why so many people, Conservitives especially, wish to shut down the boarders to keep people from escaping a dreadful life to build a new one in a land of opportunity, where as the land prior was one that might as well display a caste system as it's main tourist attraction. Where else can you go and barter for a donkey show, chicklets and an 8-ball for under 50 dollars? You can sell people for colorfull blankets.

And that surprises me that we'd turn down people floating on a raft in tretourus waters to escape a land that doesn't provide a future they feel is bright.

"They're taking our jobs."

Probably not. But if that's the case, why shouldn't we shut down every border between States as well? How many people transfer to new positions in Cleveland after having worked in Biloxi for x amount of years? Is it that improbable that someone already in that city is more than qualified for that position?

But we fight. Some battles we shouldn't, some battles we should. It just takes so much time to discover which battles we should fight. Following your heart is the most romantic idealization of the fight, but the thing is...sometimes our hearts don't know jack.

So it boils down to the human condition, spirit and will to survive. Mixtures of both heart and mind (while often favoring one more than the other) and knowing when to take a calculated risk versus taking a hasty risk...

You just have to fight. Despite differences, most people have one thing in common: the desire to rise above and be something better than the generation before them and lay a better path for their predecessors than what they had.

So keep on rolling.

-Until tomorrow.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Its just not me to wear it on my sleeve. Count on that for sure. (Day 198)

Band - Jimmy Eat World

Song - Work

Album - Futures.

This song sums up my whole mentality at the moment. "Can we take a ride/get out of this place while we still have time."

I'm 23, pressing 24 and I don't have much to show for it. I realize most don't at this age, but to be honest I've always held myself to a different standard than I would others. "Be the change you want to see" kind of thing. I've hit a few road blocks...well, actually plenty. But now I'm looking for those open roads, and given that chance, I'm gonna keep running til I'm out of gas, and then I'm going to keep pushing that car.

I keep thinking back to high school. They always say that's the best time in your life, but for me it really wasn't. If I'd had the chance, I would've applied myself more, because the truth that I've learned in life is this: the only tickets your going to be given out of the town your in most of your life, if you so desire to leave, is education and talent. Fake one until the other becomes apparent if you have to, but don't think for one second that drive is just enough to get you out.

I've always wanted to leave it all behind, and now I'm going to put forth every energy I can into this. The time for fucking around stops when you realize you've been unemployed for the better of two years, and in that time you could've been going to school and actually nearly be done with it and ready to move on...

But there's still time.

Honestly, what keeps me going some days is a friend in particular, who's drive is inspirational. A few months ago she learned she had a brain tumor, and due to where it's located and the potential risks, she can't just have it removed. She has to cope with it, and take medication for the foreseeable future. That's enough to turn anyone into the antithesis of what they once were, and quite rightfully so.

Last night she wrote a blog which I think you should go check out. You can do so by clicking this link, and honestly...spread it around. It's inspirational in the way she handles it. She doesn't ask for a pity party, but rather like a true fighter turns it into something that anyone could benefit from. In a sense, it's one of the most pure forms of art in an unpretentious manner I can think of, period.

So I think about that. Knowing for the rest of your life there's something daunting in the way, and that something hinders your day to day. The human spirit is a miraculous thing when it's all boiled down. You can fight with grit and determination and even if you come up short, and succumb to that war, people won't remember the victor...they'll remember the valor and that helps aide the spirit and soul for their own trials and tribulations.

See, it could be anyone anywhere at anytime, and in the end of it all you might night be the same person. Sometimes that's not such a bad thing. But if you can crawl out of the depths of Hell with the fire in your eyes and the piss and vinegar still flowing through your veins, you're untouchable. Even when you're touched, there's something immortal about wearing your wounds like a portrait. It's your painting, so what colors are you gonna use when all your favorites are gone? Make something new and vibrant, or rely on dull colors?

That's inspirational, to see her still be the same amazing friend I've had all this time. I'm not one to take anything for granted, and I really think she could walk through fire holding a ten gallon can of gas and not get burnt.

So I think about futures, and what they mean to me. One day things are going to be so vastly different, that when I go back and reread this, I'll be struck with a certain amount of nostalgia. I hope I make it through, and I know I can.

Futures won't wait for you, so why bother waiting for them? I think I'm finally starting to grasp that concept. I'm terrified of failure and falling. I come from a place where it's been a struggle my entire existence, and I don't know if I could handle falling any lower on the totem pole. But the thing is, I just can't. I don't want to settle for that, and I won't. I hope you choose not too, either.

One day I'm gonna have a story to tell. I'm still on the introduction now. Every time I think about death, or get depressed, I have to remind myself of that. I'm still on the introduction...we all are. It doesn't matter if you're 55 and looking towards retirement. We can be whomever we want. No one has the right to tell any of us any differently. You get lied too, and get force-fed shit about how it's always better to play it safe as opposed to taking risks.

Risks are half of what life is. I don't know much, but I know that. If you settle for hiding in the corner all your life, then yeah you'll always feel frustrated at not being able to dig your way out.

Wallflowers don't get laid, so come on and take a chance at dancing.

We still have time.

-Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Like a whisper I'm imagining, but now it's screaming inside my head. (Day 197)

Band - Tilt

Song - Libel

Album - Till It Kills.

I started registration for school today. I have no idea what I'm going in for. Maybe an RX tech, or an xray tech or who knows. Radiology? I just want minimal responsibility with a decent pay rate. Hello white collar.

Just something that will allow and afford me the time to keep writing books so I could do both at the same time.

I'll be honest, I have no idea what I'm going to do. Maybe I'll knock out the pre-req's and just go to a University. I'm just sick to death of sitting in purgatory, and fuck this...I'm taking it. I'm sick of waiting, and I'm sick of being patient.

I'm just terrified that I'll fail. What a waste of loaned money...

But I'm going down swinging, that I promise.

Placement testing happens this Friday at 2pm, and I get my ID card the same day.

Bring it.

-Until tomorrow.

Monday, June 22, 2009

When the new actor stole the show, who questioned his grace? (Day 196)

Band - AFI

Song - ...But Home Is Nowhere

Album - Sing the Sorrow.

I'm tired of running in these circles of trying to find a job, and move out of this place. It's getting to the point where it's make or break...and I'm not too sure I'm not going to break.

Fuck this piss poor job market, and fuck my inability to even get an interview. As many applications as I turn in a week, you would think something in the very least would turn up...and yet nothing does.

I want to move on with my life. I want to do something besides nothing all day long. I know that sentiment is echoed from my family, and on those rare occasions I do in fact get an interview...they won't exactly help in any way possible.

These past two years have been bullshit. It's not cute anymore...I'm pushing 24, and it's starting to push back.

I just need a fresh start.

-Until tomorrow.