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29 September 2005

step out the front door like a ghost into the fog where no one notices the contrast of white on white

there's something about playing music for someone who's hearing it for the first time. even if it's a song you've heard many times before, you hear it differently. the first time i remember noticing this was in the high school parking lot in my old jeep wrangler that would stall whenever you put the clutch in. i loved that car. anyway. i had just picked up the counting crows live record across a wire with the vh1 storytellers on one disc and the mtv 10 spot on the other. and i had been blown away by the version of 'round here' on the mtv disc. so i had listened to it about a million times, and i wanted to play it for my best friend dave, who hadn't heard it.

and i remember sitting there blasting music out of my parked car, hearing the song in a whole different way once i realized that in playing it for him this way, i was showing him a part of myself. it was like saying "this is something that moves me. this represents me. what do you think?"

and i started to hear some of the imperfections inherent to a live show that i hadn't heard before. and i started to think the lyrics were maybe too pretentious. i started to wonder if i really wanted to commit myself to this song, or this song to myself.

i have come to love this feeling. which is why i'm a dj now. it helps me to really listen to every song i play when i remember i am playing it for people who maybe have never heard it before. it helps me to remember why i love rock and roll. it makes me feel like everyone who listens to me on a regular basis could actually be my friend if we ever met. but i never play my own music. never ever.

because when it's yours, it's a whole new ballgame.

last night i played my new song for someone. and i couldn't even look at her while it was playing. and it's not like i didn't think she'd like it. i was pretty sure she would. and even if she didn't she'd find a way to say so really gently.

i am terrified of being present when people hear my music. this is why i don't perform even though in new york city i could find an open mic somewhere any night of the week. this is why i love these sites that i can put my music on for you to hear and i can see how many times you've listened to it and you can tell me what you think of it but i never have to look into your eyes and you never can see straight through me while it plays.

this fear is why i'm not cut out for rock and roll.

but it's also something to fight.

i'm happiest when i've got something to fight.

28 September 2005

new york city redux

i made something really pretty tonight. i can't wait for you to hear it. but i'm going to. because i want to sleep on it for a while and make sure it's really finished.

for my money, it makes my frustration last night with the recording process totally worth it. because tonight it just all came together and i found myself getting it right in one or two takes, and moving on. and with very few effects and very little mixing, i'm pretty thrilled with the results. but you'll have to judge for yourself at a later date.

i'll be taking down the "new york city demo" at the pulverradio site permanently very soon, so if you love that or something, you should go listen to it a whole lot right now.

26 September 2005

sometimes you eat the bear...

it was a shitty day at work. mondays almost always are. so go home and lock yourself in. put a pot of coffee on. mix yourself a drink. light some candles, turn off the lights. and plug in your guitar. there's a song in you tonight.

wait, no. lay down a drum track first. every time you've ever tried to start with something other than drums you've had to start over hours later and you've kicked yourself. do the drums first.

ok. now you can play guitar.

ouch. fuck. that's the third time you've unmuted the wrong track and had to rip the headphones out of the jack because of feedback. and you've still only got a simple drum beat laid down. and it doesn't sound like it should anyway and you're just going to have to do it over if you ever get the rest of the song mapped out.

why can't you get this software to do what it's supposed to? are you drunk? maybe. and you're sure as shit hungry. heat up a burrito. try again in a few minutes.

this isn't working. this isn't working. that sounds shitty. that one might've been ok if you didn't fuck up the ending. that one was good but you fucked up the beginning. why did you even bother to keep going when you knew you fucked up the beginning? this isn't working.

call it a night man. it's just not happening now. write down what you were thinking. practice it a bunch. but you're not recording tonight. it's late now and you've got work in the morning. you blew it. again. maybe you'll have the energy after work tomorrow. oh but wait there's that tv show you like on tomorrow night at 9. that's not gonna work.

maybe this weekend? maybe some time? maybe?

24 September 2005

everything is alright

today, on the 24th of september, i turn 24. a friend says that makes this my "golden birthday," which i suppose means it's supposed to be extra special. and so far, it has been pretty fantastic, with the real tomfoolery yet to begin in earnest.

birthdays for me have always been less a celebration of myself than a point to check my splits and make sure i'm staying on track. this year i'm not sure there is a track anymore, but if there is one i'd say i'm doing pretty ok. i'm mostly happy with my life, and after a whole year of living in new york city, it's finally starting to feel like home. and when i think about my circle of friends, i can't help but grin.

surround yourself with good people in a city full of good, cheap food-for-delivery options and even if you're broke as a joke, things will fall into place.

tonight i'll be drinking with some of the best people i know until i forget my name and i forget where i live. but they won't forget either one. i'll be fine.

i also should mention since it's a bit of a personal holiday for me but i didn't post yesterday, that yesterday was bruce springsteen's birthday. 56 years young. rock.

and thanks to my brother for finding the most disturbing picture of a really fat naked person he could and making an e-card out of it.

also, i've been meaning to tell you about something else. completely unrelated. but go read the Ex-Girlfriend Project. this guy is a pretty great writer. and the story he's telling, if you're like me, will keep you pretty enthralled. it's honestly to the point where one of the first things i do in the morning is check if this guy has put up anything new. start at the beginning and get caught up. you won't be sorry.

and thanks to everyone who's been listening to "a viking's funeral" and giving me feedback (publicly and privately). especially thanks to a few superduper people who have told all their friends to listen, too. you guys give my heart wings.

21 September 2005

don't be a hero, kid

thank you all for the comments you've had about the new song. i really appreciate the feedback (which has been mostly positive thusfar) and you should keep them coming. according to the surgeon general (and i'm fuzzy on the details here) commenting on lame blogs that emo kids write about their music may prevent aging. common side-effects include erect nipples in public.

so do please keep listening to that song and telling people that you know. i know nobody's heard of watched pots, but tell them to just give a listen.


tonight on the subway i almost saw a stabbing. i had headphones on so i'm not exactly sure how it started, but once it escalated to screaming i could hear it well enough and see it just fine (since i literally could've reached out to touch it).

the aggressor just pulled his shirt up to reveal a sheathed hunting knife on his belt and screamed "you see this? i'll fucking stab you. get out of this train." and he kinda chased the other guy (who looked scared shitless) into the next car. then he just sat right back down right next to me. and stayed there for about 4 more stops. nobody else in the car said anything. or moved.

the social psychology of the event is what really stuck with me. the fact that nobody moved, or even really looked worried. hell, i kept my fucking headphones on and was enjoying the music again within a minute of it being over. we're talking about a packed train here. and plenty of dudes that were bigger and badder looking than this punk kid with the knife (who wasn't any bigger than me, and if you know me, i'm not very big).

i mean, i'd like to think someone would've done something if the knife actually came off the belt. but shit. i know i sure as hell wouldn't have. it was just a sort of reality check reminder that i'm a big wimp and so is everybody else.

20 September 2005

don't pull the trigger, squeeze the trigger

i took the plunge and posted "a viking's funeral" today. i've been working my ass off on it for a while now, and i guess i just started to feel like i was making it worse instead of better, so it's up there now for a very tiny fraction of the world to hear and judge.

if you are super-fan-numero-uno you've already heard a demo of this song. it sounds way better now, so give another listen or two.

it's at all three of the usual music sites, all of which stream mp3's differently. for some reason it sounds like pottycrap on purevolume, so i'd recommend myspace or pulverradio instead.

here's the deal:
i really want to know what you think of this one. you can get in touch with me about a million different ways, just pick one and go. you can leave a comment here on this post, or you can email me (, or you can leave a comment right on the myspace or pulverradio page. even if you hate it. especially if you hate it. thanks dude.

19 September 2005

believe it or not

i will be posting a newly finished song tomorrow to purevolume and myspace. in preparation, i am taking everything that's up there if you'd like to continue to play some of the old stuff, you are welcome to do that at pulverradio (i'll be putting the new one up there too a little later). all clear?

so that means 2 new ones in the bag. in case you're keeping track.

and now for some run-of-the-mill dumb stuff:

preface 1: mikey loves mozzarella sticks. loves.
preface 2: the mcdonalds near where mikey works has mozz sticks on the $1 menu.

today i went to mcdonalds for lunch because i was feeling at once frugal and self destructive. so i got a chicken fajita, a double cheeseburger, and mozzarella sticks. totalling $3 and change. good deal, right? right.

when i got the stuff back to work (i was planning on eating at my desk) i dropped my bag getting out of the car. everything was fine, except 1 mozz stick that landed on the parking lot. let's do the math here. $1 for 4 sticks means that stick is worth $.25. which is 30 mins of parking in most commercial areas of queens. not that that matters even a little bit. i'm just saying. today i put 2 quarters into a meter around 8:10 and then a lady told me they don't start reading meters until 9. she waited until after i put them in to tell me though, which was kinda potty of her, like she was gloating over my lost fitty cents. anyway. i ate the mozzarella stick. end of story.

18 September 2005

what i did and didn't do today

i went to the hardware store today because one of the 2 bolts that holds my toilet seat onto the toilet broke a few weeks back and i am sick of it slipping and sliding underneath me whenever i need to sit down (you know...for pooping). i've been having these terrible visions of coming home drunk one night, slipping off the broken seat, and hurting myself bad enough that i couldn't get up. with my trousers about my ankles.

anyway, i went to the hardware store nearest me on queens boulevard, but they didn't have toilet seats. that's the only hardware store i know of that i can walk to. which means my toilet seat will remain hazardous for the time being. it's like a booby trap that i set for myself, and then continue to cleverly avoid. kinda like how the x-men go into that room and robots try to kill them. you know, just for practice.

everything i do can be boiled down to honing my ninjitsu skills.

one song is DEFINITELY done now. but it still needs a title.

15 September 2005

nightmare on 143rd st.

as a kid i would have this recurring nightmare. i was driving a car on a dark road, no other cars in sight and woods to either side. and behind me was a man with a bloody axe, chasing me, screaming at me. and no matter how fast i drove, however many corners i took at breakneck speeds, he could run just as fast. and i knew that eventually i would crash, or run out of gas, and he would get me.

the best way i can describe him is this: think of how you thought god looked when you were a kid. with the white hair and the flowy beard. then put him in a red and black flannel shirt and some bloody jeans, and hand him an axe. and illuminate him with only your tail lights. that's what i used to wake up from in a cold sweat.

i guess as we grow up, so do our nightmares. i have them four or five times a week these days, and i wake up so upset over them that i can't fall back asleep. which is why i'm posting this right now after 3am on a work night. but now there is no car. no axe. no crazy man. there is only a couch.

and i sit on the couch, and people come and talk to me. people from the past, people from the present, people i've never met. it doesn't really matter who they are. what matters is that they all know my deepest insecurities. and it's all they want to talk about.

in the waking hours, you can run and hide all you want. they all know where to find you while you sleep.

13 September 2005

if heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied...

i've had death cab for cutie's "i will follow you into the dark" on repeat for about thirty minutes now. and then i was just watching house m.d. on tv and it closed with jeff buckley's "hallelujah." christ.

you hear songs like those two, and you think about the songs you write. and how they're not beautiful. maybe they say something. maybe they'll make someone smile, or tap their foot, or reach over and turn the volume up.

but you hear songs like that, and you know you are not worthy. and it only makes you want to try harder. but you think when these songs were written, they just came. they sound so effortless. and therein lies your insecurity. you have been writing songs and writing songs and after a number of years you have only written a few you think are any good. you think the harder you really try the further you're getting from the place you need to be to write like that. is that a cop-out? or laziness? or just reality?

this might be what it feels like to play minor league baseball until you're forty years old and never really get a shot at the big time. but you do it for the love of the game. but the game doesn't love you back. and then all you have are a few homerun balls and a dusty mit and your whiskey-scented glory day stories.

expect a record in the springtime.

11 September 2005

sundays are for moving slow

i've often said that it's not a good weekend unless somebody gets violently ill on some cedar mulch wood chips. but don't even worry about that man, because it's taken care of. i rule.

also. remember when i told you i was done with a song? well i listened to it today and it needs to be re-equalized. but it's still pretty much done. this is a mark of my maturity in not rushing things out anymore when they aren't ready to be. we'll see how long it lasts.

i am going to spend some time today messing around with because i have time to.

congratulations to mike and katie who were married this weekend. it was lovely.

06 September 2005

one in the bag

i'm finished with one song. for the record i've been talking about. for now i'm just going to sit on it though. but i thought you should know i don't just fart around all day thinking about stupid shit to type on here. i am working on songs for real.

also today i bought the fountains of wayne record out of state plates which is a collection of b-sides and rarities and it's great. and it has little stories about each song. just like i said i was going to do! so yeah. now i'm definitely going to do it.

there are more italicized words in this post than in any other post i've ever done i bet.

05 September 2005

another day another dollop

nathan's of coney island. a beacon of light to all those whose desire for immediate umami (umamory? umamatory? umamological?) satisfaction far outweighs their aversion to the resulting gastrointestinal anomalies and (on a longer timeline) hardening of the arteries.

i'll have a large chili cheese fries and a classic dog with sauteed onions and sauerkraut. better make that to go. see you in the bathroom and in the hospital. this was so worth it.

some news that doesn't matter:

i've made a few hardly noticeable changes to the layout of this site. basically to make blog syndication work more smoothly. who cares, right? well, me. i care. which is why i did it. and i guess if you're one of the few people who syndicate this with a reader, you care too. so i did it for me and you, bucko.

also, keep your eye on the song lyrics, i'm thinking about adding a little anecdote under each one to clear up some confusion about where i was at when i wrote each one. in reality this will probably only create more confusion. i am really only doing it to have something to do.

04 September 2005

baptism by fire

last night i ceremoniously burned all the leftover checks from my old sovereign bank checking account. that's the bank i used to use in providence. i had just reordered checks before i moved to nyc, so i had hundreds.

don't ask me why i waited a whole year to dispose of those...i'm sure i've got older and even more useless things sitting in drawers in my apartment somewhere. and besides, why i waited isn't really the point.

it felt like a bittersweet farewell to the fair city of providence.

wow. overdramatic? yeah probably. it's not like i'm never going back there. it's also not like i really have any hard feelings. i guess what i'm getting at is that it felt like reclaiming a small part of myself that never really left providence. which was at once quite liberating and minorly wrenching.

but really i just burned a bunch of books of useless checks.

02 September 2005

the only thing we have to fear is fear itself

yo. remember when this happened? potty.

anyway, just today i got around to replacing that thing. only before what i had was one of those body scrubby scrunchie things. this time i bought a real loofa. and i just exfoliated the shit out of myself. the real thing is a whole new ballgame.

three posts in one day. put me in front of a firing squad.

and your long weekend

happy labor day weekend. i will do a lot of things. none of them, however, will even resemble labor. some may resemble alcoholism. some may seem foolish. many will probably seem slightly pyromaniacal. but fear not, oh ye faithful. i am none of these things. i'm just a squirrel trying to get a nut. (hey, that sounds like a good song lyric. i should try to remember that.)

the weekend starts right about now. tonight it's out to dinner, then to see the fabulous zox at the knitting factory. where to after that? wherever the winds of fate should choose to sweep me away too. but there's a good chance it'll be my apartment. where there was a cockroach in my bed last night. that i was not fast enough to kill.

party on wayne.

do it

01 September 2005

bon voyage, my friend

whoa. i just found out james, schnoodler extraordinaire and original member of watched pots, is heading to switzerland to teach math and physics for a year in the alps. god damn. they grow up so fast.

while this temporarily puts the kaibosh on a wp reunion stadium tour, it is not out of the question when he returns (and i've finished a record).

good luck buddy. godspeed.