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30 December 2005

new year's revolution

you've come a long way since last year but you have a long way to go. you've done things you can be proud of. you've perfected talking the talk. but you still can't walk the walk. and you've made some big mistakes and you've paid for them dearly. you're pretty smart, but far from wise. will this be the year you finally start to get it?

you've got friends shipping off to iraq and all you do is whine about dumb shit. nobody wants to hear it and all this hand-wringing is getting you fucking nowhere. it's only reaffirming in everyone's minds that you're a big crybaby which is how you landed where you did in the first place.

your hindsight is better than 20/20. try to develop your foresight, and maybe this year you'll make more good decisions than bad. try to see your mistakes before you make them instead of months after.

don't second guess yourself. it's counterproductive. think with your gut when you should think with your gut and think with your head when you should think with your head and tell all your other body parts to mind their own business.

it doesn't matter how you justify it to yourself on a case-by-case basis. you lie because it's easy. stop doing that. man up and take your lumps if you deserve them.

your dad taught you how to shake someone's hand the right way. now learn to look people in the eye and please for god's sake try to remember their names.

when a pretty girl smiles at you in the subway, just open up your big dumb mouth and say hi.

only say you're sorry when you mean it. people can always tell when it's bullshit. don't talk so much. listen. tell people who matter that they matter. stop chasing your tail you'll never catch it. it's not over until it's over but even then sometimes it isn't over.

you're 24 years old. grow up.

29 December 2005

it's not a long walk to my place from here

today is thursday, which means it's alternate street parking day where i live and my car needs to be elsewhere by 8:30 am. it's not usually a big deal because i work, but this week it sucks because i totally planned on sleeping until noon and when my alarm woke me up at 8 and it was raining i basically wanted to throw a temper tantrum.

so i hoof it to my car in the same clothes i wore last night and plan on finding a spot quickly, and returning to my warm bed where i had been oh so happy only minutes before.

but i couldn't find a spot after one circle around the block so i got cranky and just drove 45 minutes out to long island where i've been recording and did some takes on "triple deke." nailed it, dude. on the second take. at least, i think so. i'll have to listen again in a few days. but i sound tired and kinda sick and my playing is a little sloppy. if you're a dork like me, you think that's cool because the lyrics kinda lend themselves to that sort of delivery. or something.

so. it's raining in new york city, and i think i'm going to put myself back to bed now. this day has already been productive.

also in case you missed the memo sam ash still sucks.

28 December 2005

break me in half and then step on both halves with spikey shoes

today i went to a sam ash music store to buy some new strings for my acoustic guitar so i could get to recording "triple deke" finally. let me say before i even go any further that i hate sam ash stores, and every time i land at one i immediately remember why i always swear to never go back. it just feels like something is amiss in those places.

so the guy in the guitar section has a really hard time finding the pack of strings i want even though i am looking and pointing right at it. then he wants nothing to do with ringing me up (strings must do nothing for commission) which i guess if it was the only thing wouldn't be so bad because i have done sales and the guitar showroom was full of people probably looking to spend money so whatever. the guy didn't want to help me.

so i walk with my package of strings to the drums section where three dudes are standing around calling each other gay. eventually they notice me and i get one to ring me up. when the register opens he stares blankly at it for about ten seconds (seriously) then tells me he can't make change for my twenty dollar bill so i have to hang on. he comes back like way-too-long later with a fistful of bills and hands me my change. asks if i want a receipt.

the only thing i wanted was to get the fuckshit out of that hellhole and i wasn't planning on returning the strings so i just said no and split. oh and i forgot also about how they try to get your phone number and address and social security number and mother's maiden name and blood type for a $5 purchase so they can sell your information to malevolent entities for profit. i told him no for that too.

it was a few hours later when i went to mcdonalds for a double cheeseburger (i know those will kill me give me a break) and realized that he had given me change for a ten and not a twenty.

god dammit.

so my guitar is nicely restrung now (although i can't find my wirecutters anywhere so be careful not to put your face anywhere near it lest you lose your vision permanently from the sharp string ends) and sounding sweet. i did a few takes but immediately lost my voice so i stopped but by the end of this week so help me god i will have a recording of "triple deke" that was done in one take and sounds pretty rad.

fucking sam ash. i hate that place. potty.

24 December 2005

i spend longer thinking of titles to these posts than i do writing the posts

there's a very specific kind of bar in which i feel at home and almost always the places i end up are not that kind of bar. and especially around the holidays, when i find myself back in connecticut like all the others who find themselves back here and we go to a bar, it's pretty much a sure thing that i'll be squirming.

an old college friend of a good high school friend is engaged now. sure, i'm game to drive all the way to mystic to meet someone-who-i-don't-know's fiance. at least it won't be my unofficial high school reunion. it'll actually be the school my school beat in the state championship football game so many years ago when all that seemed like it mattered. but whatever.

the place is called margaritas. it is a beefy dudefest, mostly. and the bartender is being shitty about my new york id. no bouncers.

oh ho ho, what's this? a pretty girl? talking to me? this might not be so bad after all. oh. yes, i have heard of jerry falwell. yes, he certainly is something else. holy crap i just remembered i have to go give myself a swirly in the men's room brb.

a bar fight. real bar fight. brawl, actually. glasses breaking on the floor, glasses breaking on heads. all the lights go on. everybody out. we're closing. good thing we had bouncers tonight so that we could control this situation. i have to pee. there is blood just absolutley fucking everywhere in the bathroom. awesome.

and then on the way home we stopped at the mcdonalds rest area in milford and i saw some more crazy shit but i just don't have the words.

if you keep a fish out of water long enough will it grow lungs or will it just shrivel up? probably it'll just learn to play guitar. i should've asked that girl how she felt about intelligent design.

hey, happy christmas if that's your deal. i hope you've been good this year. i might be getting coal.

21 December 2005

i made this with clicks.

they're more afraid of you than you are of themwhat do you think? it's a real rough draft of an idea i've been kicking around for the album art. that thing on the floor is supposed to be a paint brush.

go, lovely rose

not sure if i've ever mentioned this before, and not like you ever could guess from hearing me sing now, but when i was in college i sang classical a cappella music with a lovely bunch of folks (represent). some of those songs still pop in my head now and again, and just now in the shower one came to me that used to absolutely destroy me. i don't have a recording handy and i don't even remember who wrote the arrangement we sang, but i was able to find the poem it was set to. by a guy named edmund waller.

  Go, lovely Rose-
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that's young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die-that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

believe me when i say i don't plan on making a habit of posting poetry up here. i positively can't stand when people do that. but it's ok to break your own rules once in a while.

the thing is, i guess, that this is almost a completely different language. it could never be written today. or, if it were, you can bet i wouldn't take it seriously. but it was written long ago about a beautiful girl who by now is dust and that just kills me.

also. we're all fucked.

there's plenty more where that came from

i think i've found what will be the new carrot on the new stick that will get me through a record past the one i'm working on now.

i don't know about other people's experiences writing/recording music because i haven't spoken with enough people at length to be able to make generalizations, but for me there has always been a lingering fear that i'm running out of ideas and that i've got nothing left to write about.

but my mind is nothing if it isn't creative when filling in the blanks in the stories that i wish it wouldn't tell me over and over again. now i've just gotta write it all down and make some of it rhyme.

i'm going to resume my old practice of keeping a pad and pen next to my bed again. to scribble in the dark the things that steal me from sleep. and in the daytime to sing about them until they're gone.

19 December 2005

long distance

funny thing about phones these days. i don't have one in my apartment other than my cell phone (who can afford to pay for two when they hardly use one?). i don't pay long distance on my cell. there is no such thing as long distance anymore. or maybe now everything is long distance. i still have a providence phone number. you could stand right next to me in new york and call me and it would be a long distance call. i am 150 miles away. give or take.

i wrote a new song the other night. my first new one in a while i suppose. it won't be on the record because even though the record is hardly done it's set in stone and when it's finished it will represent exactly where i was at some point before right now because from now on i am where the new songs will be but that's not the record. make any sense? didn't think so.

turns out they'll never hear it in iran. which is a bummer because i was really thinking that'd be a good target market. but i guess i'll save my dollars and print less records now.

i am in rare form tonight. and i know exactly why but i'm not telling you no sir no way no how.

18 December 2005

much ado about something

so i started work on "doctor, these headaches" today. so far i can tell you this much: it will be recorded at roughly 110 beats per minute in the key of G major. it will have 2 guitar parts, and a drum part that kinda reminds me of "where the river goes" by stone temple pilots (but don't worry, i will never rock as hard as them). of course there'll be a bass in there too somewhere but i have no idea how it'll sound and i'm sure it won't be anything special since i'm clueless.

if i manage to do it right, it'll be the best song on the record, but i probably won't manage to do it right. i might be seeking a guest vocal, or i might not. it's probably really going to test my voice. as it stands right now it's also going to test my guitar skills. i'm uncomfortable with both of those tests. i'm unduly nervous about the whole thing, and working very, very slowly.

it only has 4 chords.

i am a big baby.

17 December 2005

were they all just lost in the flood?

i've spent all day so far today listening to old vinyl records. i have a totally sweet turntable that i never use and a really warm sounding old hi-fi amp that i probably paid about $10 for at a yardsale because some yahoo got himself an alpine. old speakers, etc.

the point is that everyone who says rock and roll sounds best on vinyl is 100% right. i have all these records on cd and vinyl. and they all sound better on vinyl. and if it totally doesn't break my bank, i am going to make some vinyl versions of "they're more afraid of you than you are of them" when i finally finish it. from what i hear vinyl is a specialty thing, but is affordable in small quantities. of course i haven't really done much homework on it yet.

but let's talk a bit about the record, since i don't feel like i do much of that anymore and as i've been recently reminded, that is why i started all this writing in the first place.

it's coming along. not without its share of frustration (i just shitcanned all but the drums for "a viking's funeral" so i can redo it in a different key that i can sing better), but it's coming. a song is done when i am still proud of it 2 weeks after the last time i tweaked it. and by that measure, 4/8 songs are done. of course one of those is the centipede song and it doesn't even belong on the album and it's been done for years and it'll probably just be a hidden track but who the f cares? the other three that are done are "if these walls could talk," "i spin forever," and "new york city." i haven't even started "doctor, these headaches" or "triple deke" yet. that leaves "the loudest man on the laugh track" which is the one i earlier intimated might end up sounding like a william shatner song. at this point that is still possibly the case.

in a drawer here at my desk i have about 10 rolls of undeveloped film dating as far back as my sophomore year in college (which is like 5 years ago) and some recent introspection has made me decide to get them developed. for all i know they've expired or something, but they've all been in lightproof cases and all that so i'm just going to hope for the best. the point is, there's going to be a lot on there that's going to hurt to see. but probably a lot also that'll be really nice. and since none of them are labeled, everytime i do one it'll be a surprise. i hope whether nice or not they'll move me forward with this record and with life in general. not that i'm living in the past or anything (not that far in the past anyway) but these film rolls represent to me a lot of shit i've avoided confronting for a long time. i guess i'll keep you posted.

lastly, i know i've linked you to the ex-girlfriend project about a million times by now, but he mentioned the other day how "mary, queen of arkansas" always reminded him of "kara" (who so far is unquestionably the most interesting of his ex's) and that just came on while i was typing all this. on vinyl the way it should be.

don't get used to it

if i could meet anyone, living or dead, i'd probably choose abraham lincoln or something, but then i'd be pissed i didn't just go with my gut and say springsteen.

i switched to a firm-bristled toothbrush the other day. it makes my gums bleed.

i saw syriana tonight. you should see that if you haven't yet. and pay attention, for god's sake.

you know how as soon as you stop thinking about it, your tongue is poking around your teeth looking for bits of food and stuff? that's good, it keeps your mouth clean. i was thinking on my 1.5 hour odyssey from the movie theater in manhattan back to queens about how i can keep my mind off all my emo all day long while i do other shit but as soon as i have to sit and wait on a train with nothing else to do everything comes rushing back and then i was thinking how that's kinda like the tongue thing. but now that i'm writing it out it's not the same as all. fuck.

it's kinda late. what am i still doing up? nothing productive, that's for sure.

you know how when you meet someone and they seem like a nice enough guy but then you get to know them better and the more you know the more you realize the guy's a total dick? i've been getting reacquainted with myself lately. parts of me are kinda dickish. but i like some other parts just fine.

i got a tiny bit of good news today.

i am f'ing tired.

15 December 2005

lucky numbers: 41 7 12 8 38 27

i ordered chinese food tonight from the brand new place down the block that just opened up. they have a lower delivery minimum than the other places around here so i figured i would forsake yin cheng and give joy garden a go.

so the guy shows up with my $8 meal and i ask for $10 back from a $20 bill. no change. what? no change. what? no change. ok hold on.

i paid for my chinese food with $10 in quarters. the guy didn't seem that pissed though. what kind of chinese delivery guy shows up without any change?

now i am sitting here in the dark by myself enjoying some really exquisite orange chicken (with way more broccoli than most places give...extra points) and drinking a vodka/tang that i made way too strong (story of my life).

for what it's worth, my fortune cookie had this to say: ":) your home is a pleasant place from which you draw happiness."

it's like they really really know me.

it was hard to type all this without errors.

13 December 2005

storybook romance

james is in switzerland now teaching math and physics at a hippie school in the alps. which is totally bodacious even though really he should be in nyc doing backflips from amp stacks. but i was talking to him the other day and he told me a story about something that was so emo that i just felt i needed to share and i wanted to do it now before i forgot it.

so i guess there's this kid there (i didn't ask but i'm assuming around 16) who likes this girl and he doesn't really have "moves" per se. bah, i feel like if i try to insert too many details i'm just going to ruin this. here's the meat and potatoes:

so he asks his friend to go up to this chick and say to her "hey, look over there. chris* is face down in the snow because he's so crazy for you." and sure enough there is this kid lying face down in the snow. face down. in. the. snow.

in a just world, he would've gotten the girl for that. at least, i think he should've.

there was more to this story too that i can't remember well enough to recount, about how james tried to explain to the kid what "emo" was (he's swedish, i guess they don't have that there). and some other good stuff too. maybe james'll fill in the blanks someday. i just wanted to tell you about face-down-in-the-snow before i forgot.

* i don't remember his name so hopefully the name has been changed but it might just really be his name. do they call swedish kids chris?

all i want for christmas is a good night's sleep

hey. nightmares again. as a little kid when i would have bad dreams and couldn't fall back asleep, i would sneak to the kitchen and get a glass of apple juice and the mere act of trying to be quiet enough not to wake my parents (if i did i was in trouble) usually tired me out. now i get up and browse teh intarnets. which does not tire me out at all. and i don't even have apple juice. but i do have tang.

they just executed tookie williams about an hour and a half ago. i've said it before but i'm compelled to say it again: i've done all the thought experiments and read a lot of the arguments and i stand firmly against capital punishment. and reading the news story about it just now i felt sick to my stomach.

maybe you feel the same and maybe you don't but either way a man died tonight at the hands of the state of california and no man is an island and all that. it just makes me really sad.

another thing. when i said nightmares. it's not nightmares, really. they're actually kinda nice dreams. but when i stir from them and realize they're just dreams, i get myself so worked up that i can't fall back asleep. for a few ficticious minutes the mistakes that i dwell on in the waking hours are undone, and when i wake up it's like i have to get mad at myself all over again for them.

i guess when you get older and you realize monsters aren't really what you should be afraid of in life but rather you should fear yourself and your decisions and your consequences then that is what constitutes a nightmare. i think i've talked about this before too. it's hard to keep track.

and then i guess the next step is learning to learn from your mistakes.

and then and then and then...

i could stay here and type bitter nothings to you all night long, but i'd regret it tomorrow (which, by the way, is shaping up to be a real hum-dinger). i'm going to try to go back to sleep again.

11 December 2005

if you're gonna spew...spew in this.

i just wrote a pretty long post about how i barfed into a cup on the subway this morning but then i read it over and it was totally gross so i axed it. sorry.

life is about learning lessons, right? today i learned not to get onto a crowded train for a long ride if your stomach feels like a timebomb and whatever you're planning to do could be easily rescheduled.

i am going to spend the rest of the day in bed. i planned on recording, but that was then and this is now and now i'm sick.

the whistles go wooooo.

10 December 2005

open up your mouth and sing.

recording vocals is really hard. with guitars some mistakes are ok, sometimes they even sound good. and it's easy enough to fix them with a little production magic if they don't. with drums (in my case anyway) they're just programmed so once you've figured out how you want them to sound it's pretty idiot proof. just a little compression and you're golden.

but god damn. vocals. i can stand in front of a microphone and sing (read: scream) for hours and hours and come up with nothing usable. and even once i finally sing something right, the battle has just begun. i've gotta make it so you can understand the words over the music, and make sure all the s's and p's and f's and t's aren't too loud so that they hurt, but are audible. and it's important (most of the time) that it sounds natural, not overproduced (even though almost always it is overproduced).

also it doesn't help that i use pretty shoddy equipment.

i wish i had other things to write about, and i'm sure i will again soon, but really this has been occupying all my thoughts lately. i'm making progress. really slowly. i hope in the end all this fuss will be worth it.

...oh, and in case there was any doubt in your mind that i should be considered in the running for potty guy of the year, i am now a proud owner of one of these bad boys.

07 December 2005

many's the lad fought on that day well the claymore could wield

the doctor and the nurse had developed a silent language. there was no use for words when everything could be communicated through glances. and in a combat zone, too often the words were better left unspoken. this doesn't look good. no. not good at all.

he had been in a few weeks ago, this one. it was just a flesh wound. a glancing shot. lucky. a few stitches. good as new. oops.

it was worse than that and no one had known. no. he had known. but he had soldiered on, as soldiers do. it's nothing i can't beat. i've seen worse. i'll be fine. i need nothing.

and now, left neglected and untreated, it might be too late. and only now does he understand the gravity of his situation. because doctors and nurses are not the only ones whose eyes can speak and read this language that has no sounds.

i am i am i said i'm not myself

i guess it doesn't happen often, but once in a while i can think myself into such a mess that i'm basically paralyzed. and it takes forever to calm down. i was trying to sleep just now. wanted to get to bed early tonight, it's already been a long week and i was really hoping for a good night's sleep.

but instead i lie there and nothing i can do or think can prevent these scenes from looping through my mind. things i never should've known about in the first place. mistakes i made and knew i was making. water so far under the bridge that by now it's surely reached the ocean. he said she said you said i said and none of us were right.

and none of it can be changed and i probably wouldn't want to even if it could but i'm sure i'd think long and hard.

it's probably the impending holidays. and it's definitely the other thing that i can't even bring myself to talk about yet but i'm sure i will soon.

more and more i feel like a fish out of water.

maybe it's time to head west. or just go home. is that where the heart hides these days? maybe it's time to pick up the phone or maybe it's time to lose the number.

maybe if i sit here writing for long enough something'll occur to me and all the pieces will fit. like the puzzle on my coffee table that i'm sick of looking at but it took too much effort to just dismantle. or maybe i'll just get so tired that i'll be able to fall asleep.

tidbit: the fastest mile i ever ran my shoe fell off during the first lap.

there's a word i can't think of (david?) for attributing human emotions to inanimate when you feel bad about throwing a rock into a lake because now it's gotta sit at the bottom of the lake when it had a nice place on dry land. whatever that word is, i do it a lot.

this is almost definitely the most rambling, pointless, and discombobulated thing i have ever written for public consumption but i'm not sorry.

i'm gonna go lie in bed some more.

maybe i need to move. this place is haunted.

05 December 2005

i feel my luck could change

you know, with all the obsessing i've been doing (and make no mistake, it's obsessing) about my silly record, i can't remember the last time i've just picked up my guitar and played some old radiohead songs in my bedroom for no reason other than the pure joy of it. which is how all of this really started years ago.

so tonight that's what i did. unplugged and by candlelight. it was pretty emo.

it's going to snow tonight. i'm a lot more jaded than i used to be, but i still think the air before a snowstorm is electric.

not sure if you knew, but brooklyn lager is just about the best beer known to man.

mortal kombat

i don't know how to say this so i'm just going to say it.

i was just in my kitchen doing dishes when a cockroach scampered across the counter from under the microwave. a pretty big one. so i did what i always do, attacking with whatever weapon was available. which in this case happened to be a fork.

by some karmically twisted miracle of physics, its guts shot me right in the fucking eye.

now i've had some really disgusting things happen to me in my day. anyone who was with me at woodstock '99 can attest to at least one chart-topper (don't even bother asking). but this really takes the cake. i'm not sure i'll ever recover.

04 December 2005

will the thrill and boogaloo shrimp

did you ever watch the fresh prince of bel air? i watched that shit all the time when i was a kid. the episode i remember most clearly (which is still pretty fuzzy) is the one where carlton and will got stranded somewhere with no transportation and needed something like $300 to get home and conveniently there was a dance competition with a $300 prize. do you remember yet? they did this totally retarded dance (and didn't win the competition) but uncle phill bailed them out.

anyway. the point is that the dance scene is one of the times i remember as a kid laughing until it hurt. i was in a bar last night on avenue b and the song they danced to came on and nobody i was with would even admit watching the show (liars) so i couldn't reminisce with anyone.

03 December 2005

i got a wolf's mouth and it suits me

it came and it went just like they all have and just like they all will until one day when maybe one won't leave but don't hold your breath. and a piece of you went with it and a piece of it stuck on you. and sometimes in the shower you remember what she said in the stop and shop parking lot like it was no big deal. or what she said at the international house of pancakes and what a big deal it was and how you dropped the ball on that one, man.

and sometimes it hurts a lot still and other times not as much and sometimes you're sorry and sometimes you're not and sometimes when it's dark everyone looks the same.

a phone call from an old friend who still lives in the old place. guess who i saw tonight. but why guess when you already know?

it's cold

raise your hand if you fell asleep and missed your subway stop tonight and then decided to walk home through a pretty shifty neighborhood up a really steep hill in the blistering-tits cold rather than wait for another train going back your way.

oh! me! oh oh oh! pick me pick me!


glass half empty glass half full glass shatters.

01 December 2005

bedtime stories

just a few things i thought of in the shower that i've been meaning to tell you. first. i found this on my old roommate's site (where i am always finding awesome crazy things) and it's too good not to share with you. this is easily the weirdest thing i have seen in at least a week. watch the whole thing. it's worth it.

also. i know i told you before to buy the moves' record and i know you didn't. that's ok, i never do shit when people tell me to either. especially when it involves money. but i would be remiss if i didn't tell you one more time to check them out. at least listen to this one song. it's pretty awesome. tell 'em mikey sent ya.

ok g'night.