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29 May 2006

and try one, and try two

i guess you could say i did it because i had to and not because i wanted to, which may or may not be true. the bottom line is that i did it i guess. and i saw what i needed to see, and i turned around and i drove to a street where i could find a parking spot and i slept behind the back seat of my car. covered in laundry so no one could see me.

there are things that need to be done when you return to places you used to have been. things you need to see, places you need to drive, food you need to eat and things you need to remember that sometimes you wish you could forget. i wrote some days ago about providence. but i don't think that at the time i wanted to come out and say it felt like home.

this weekend i did a lot of things in providence. i ate my favorite foods and i walked the old paths and i saw the old friends and some things never change even though most things eventually do. and when a city can make you feel like you just lost a fight and like you just won the lotto in the same weekend, then i guess you can say it feels like home.

there's a lot more to say that i'll leave unsaid. and there was more to do that i left undid. but it was a great weekend. and here are my congratulations to all who deserve them. and here's a handshake and here's a nod and here's a raised glass and here's one more look back over my shoulder. and here's one foot after the other. day by day by day.

25 May 2006

heinz 57

i've been busy. let's catch up, shall we?
  • congratulations to michelle and gil, who were married last weekend. gil is the kind of man legends are made of. he played softball the morning of his wedding and yanked his hamstring and then had it wrapped so tight so that he could dance that he claimed not to be able to feel his toes. bad ass. and michelle is one of the greatest people i know. so...cheers.
  • i still haven't caught up on my sleep and i still walk around every day like a zombie. and i still really want to go back to stockholm.
  • i've been playing a fair amount of video games and i'm not proud of it.
  • people in providence (the wedding was there) always ask me why i don't come "home" more often. i won't say providence never felt like home, and i won't say i don't miss it often, but it's always strange to hear other people refer to it as my home. it's something about the people that live there. or the city itself. if you live in providence, it owns you. where i grew up in connecticut, it seemed like everybody couldn't wait to leave. and in new york everybody seems to be sticking it out for a while but nobody thinks they'll be here forever, even though they might want to. providence is the kind of place people go to be home.
  • i'm going there again tomorrow.
  • tonight i have tickets for a midnight showing of x3. things like this are the reason i'm always tired.
  • i'm mostly pretty happy these days.
  • which means i'm not writing much music. but we've been over this. it's still nice to wake up in a good mood sometimes.
  • i don't really know when this blog evolved into a this-is-what-i-ate-for-breakfast diary. i didn't ever mean for that to happen.
  • i haven't had a haircut in a really long time. i'm starting to look like frodo. when it gets this long it's hard to decide to get it cut simply because it took so long to get this way. you know? like how when your favorite pair of jeans is finally worn out and it's time to buy a new one. i can put off things like that for weeks.
  • here's a joke i just heard: mailman walks up to a door to deliver a package and rings the doorbell. a little kid answers in a diaper, holding a lit cigarrette and a martini. mailman goes "whoa kid. are your parents home?" the kids says "what the fuck do you think?"
  • shut up. it made me laugh.

20 May 2006

as you were

ruby left a pretty insightful comment the other day about how life just picks up right where you left off when you get back from a long trip, and how discomforting that can sometimes be. i guess because so many things can happen to you when you're far away (and how...) and then you get back and your friends are the same and you do the same sort of dumb things with them.

today it was really nice out in new york. we wanted to have a beer on a porch. but neither of us have a porch.

my friend, however, does live in a building that has a roof. a roof that's strictly off-limits to tenants, but a roof nonetheless. so, ignoring the sign that said the roof was off-limits except in emergency situations, he began to climb the rickety ladder with a plastic bag full of 2 large asahi cans. i mean these cans are big.

so he's about 15 feet off the ground on this ladder when the bag somehow breaks just enough to drop one but not both of them. i'm lucky it didn't break my head, i guess. i pick up the severely dented can, and carry it up with me as i follow him to the rooftop.

it's some serious shit up there. i guess the reason it's restricted is because the tenants of the top floor have staircases that go up to it and it's basically divided into two private porches for those two apartments. so there's one that's all fenced in with a hot tub and a garden and signs warning about trespassing and security cameras and lasers and guard werewolves.

the other one appears to be under construction. there's some 2x4's nailed together in what will eventually be a really nice deck, and some bricks in patio formation as well. and a bunch of ladders and supplies everywhere. so we're standing on this unfinished deck and just as my friend opens the beer he just dropped 15 feet (he was decent enough to volunteer to take that one) and tries to catch the firehose-volume spray in his mouth only to soak his entire face and head, the owner of the apartment comes up the stairs with this crazy-man look on his face like "what the fuck are you doing on my roof."

so he says "what the fuck are you doing on my roof," and my friend apologizes profusely and begins to clean up the huge amount of spilled beer from the outdoor wooden porch with his shirt (i think that was an unneccesary gesture, but to each his own). then the guy goes back downstairs and we decide to cut our losses and leave before he calls the cops or something. so back down we went, and instead of enjoying a beer in the sun on a new york city rooftop, we enjoyed a beer in his apartment and played video games.

usually i don't bother with stories like this because there's no way they could be as funny to you as they were at the time, but this time it just seemed indicative of the way life so quickly goes back to "normal" (hah!) when you return from a long trip.

everything is different, but still a lot is the same.

19 May 2006

stockholm four

i'm home now. already a part of me feels like i never left new york and another part of me wishes i never left stockholm. i think i slept for about 10 hours total the entire time i was there, and i'm about to start trying to catch up, but i wanted to jot down a few last things i thought of that i'd like not to forget.
  • almost all the swedish folks i flew close enough to notice ordered two drinks every time the stewardess came by. i didn't even know you could do that. and always black coffee. the coffee there is almost an entirely different experience from the coffee we drink here. very strong and thick.
  • my last night out there i got to see some non-touristy spots and they reminded me of some of the bars i like in new york city. i guess cool places aren't that different anywhere you go. i still chickened out when it was my turn to order drinks though and even though i was told how to do it in swedish i still did it in english. i'm ashamed to admit that.
  • it is impossible to know how old people are there unless you ask.
  • i guess they have a fashion thing right now that sorta imitates the roaring 20's. which is kinda cool.
  • i mentioned before about the baffling lightswitch in the hotel. i eventually figured out that when you first enter the room you're supposed to put your keycard in this slot near the door as the master switch. but now that i'm home i can show you this video i took.
  • i also mentioned the music before, too. well, they have a show there (i think it's called eurovision) which is kinda like american idol in that it's mediocre pop talent that you vote for with your cell phone, but it's also kinda like the olympics in that each country is represented by a band. it's mostly pop music, and mostly in english. i watched it for a pretty long time while i was getting ready to go out one night. the finnish entry was not only not pop, but it was something i had heard before. i think i even may have linked to it from here before. watch this video for lordi - hard rock hallelujah, and then imagine the shitkicking elation i felt when i got to see these guys do it live with roman candles and sparklers shooting out of their guitars and them in full demon costumes, before and after eastern european kelly clarkson wannabes. oh man.
so that's all i can think of. it's long past time i hit the hay.

update: i found a vid of the lordi performance i saw. well, the bbc broadcast of it, anyway.

18 May 2006

stockholm three

the back of the keycard to my hotel room says the following (only in english, which is just about the only thing that's not printed in both english and swedish. i thought this was worth sharing:

"if you find this key card, please read below. until 12 o'clock tomorrow, this card is valid in one of 532 rooms or in one of 17 conference rooms at the clarion hotel stockholm. however, if you are a thief do not even consider visiting us, as we have very good security both inside and outside the hotel and our front desk peronnel (sic) have eyes like hawks. if you are a guest or potential guest and would like more information about some of the different benefits we can offer you whilst staying at clarion hotel stockholm, please contact the front desk at telephone number (blahblah), and they will be happy to share with you all the great arrangements we have with our partners

then it goes on to list some partners. but how weird is that?

in other news, i hate to keep saying the same thing over and over, but it's basically the only thing i can think about. i am absolutely the most exhausted i have ever been in my life. between the jetlag and the 3am party nights and the fact that the sun rises at around 4am, it's been a long week.

16 May 2006

stockholm two

  • apparently tipping a cab driver is the most confusing thing you can ever do in sweden.
  • there's been something i wasn't able to put my finger on about this place, until a nice british fellow named nigel that we've been spending time with pointed it out. people stare you in the eyes here. according to nigel, that's true about all "scandies." but coming from new york (or london) where people would rather poke their eyes with a fork than look into yours with them, it's rather unnerving.
  • the toilets here have two flush options. from what i can gather (based on the size of the buttons) one is your standard flush, and one is for when you really mean business.
  • the money here is strangely sized. like coins in the us, all the different denominations for the paper money are different sizes. and the exchange rate is roughly 7.5 kronos to a dollar, which is tough math to do on the fly in your head. so i have basically no idea how much money i've been spending.
  • last night i went to a bar made totally of ice. you drink out of glasses made of ice. they give you a parka and mittens. it was awesome, but also basically a commercial for absolut vodka, which was the only liquor they served. also it was etched into the ice walls in a bunch of places.
  • i am so tired that i am having trouble remembering things. this happened to me the summer that i worked at a golf course and had to wake up every day at 4am, too. when you don't sleep you don't remember.
  • i haven't been taking as many pictures as i should.

15 May 2006

stockholm one

I’m writing this at around 11am Stockholm time (which is somewhere in the middle of the night in dear old new york. I haven’t figured out the wifi in this hotel yet, so i won’t be posting immediately, which is why I mention it. In fact, I haven’t figured out the lightswitches in this hotel yet. They are baffling. Here are some initial impressions of Stockholm.
  • Even from the airplane, this place looks a lot different than anywhere I’ve ever been before.
  • People here are attractive and well dressed to the extent that it’s intimidating. i expected that, but I didn’t expect that.
  • The fonts on the highway signs are blockier. Everything is cleaner.
  • I am really tired.
  • So far everyone’s been really friendly. For my part, I haven’t been very talkative.
  • I realized on the plane when the guy who I sat down next to greeted me in Swedish that I know less than nothing about this place. Not even how to say hello. or whether they’d drive on the left or the right side of the street here. (it’s the right.) who just gets on a plane to fly across an ocean with absolutely no idea what he’s getting into? This guy.
  • There is no bureau in this hotel room. And not enough hangers. But the bathroom is majestic.
  • The pop music isn’t bad when it’s not in English. Or at least, I can’t tell it’s bad. The pop songs in English are pretty awful, although i guess american pop songs are just as awful. The tv in the room was on when I got in with a message welcoming me by name, and a pop radio station on. I’ve left it on while I unpack because I like listening to the dj’s. I don’t understand a word of it but I’m pretty sure they spent 3 minutes talking about transsexuals.
  • the cab took me past a bunch of american football fields, so i guess they play that here.
  • I am in over my head.
Ok. I should change my clothes and get over to the convention center and meet up with everyone. No idea how I’m going to do that. I always thought it would be cool if you could commission a catapult to just launch you wherever you wanted and there would be big foamy landing cushions everywhere that the catapults were programmed to hit. I know they don’t do that in new york, but maybe I should inquire with the concierge. You never know, right? Or I guess I could just take a cab.

11 May 2006

i really ought to be packing.

i should be packing. funny thing about graduating from college is that you almost forget what a huge procrastinator you are until something like packing for a business trip to sweden comes along. then it's like "oh yeah."

there's this guy i worked with. he just quit because he got another job, and i salute him. he's basically the nicest guy in the world, so when everyone took him out to lunch every day during his last week, he didn't have a chance to eat the last couple frozen lunches he was storing in the freezer. so he gave them to me.

the other day i had this healthy choice beef thing, and it was pretty tasty but when i was done i was still way hungry. i guess that's the point. healthy means one of two things (sometimes both): it's gross or you'll still be hungry.

today i had crab soup. first of all, it took 20 minutes of very involved microwavery, which is far too labor intensive for a frozen work lunch. second of all, it was crab soup. the only reason i didn't try to pawn it off on someone else was that my buddy tapped the box a couple times when he handed it to me and said "this is good stuff."

dude, the crab soup was not good. it was stinky. there's nothing worse than carrying your lunch back to your desk from the microwave and having people go "ugh...what is that?" also it's not great when by the time you're halfway done you wish you were dead. so juan, i bet you don't read this, but if you do i just gotta ask you what you saw in that frozen crab soup.

this is the kind of story that's only worth telling when you have something important to be doing instead. like packing. the worst part is about thirty minutes ago i thought of a really clever line about the crab soup which is the whole reason i sat down to write about it and now i can't even think of it. shit.

now i am crabby. rimshot!

the soundtrack to my not packing tonight is the new snow patrol record. so far i like it a lot.

10 May 2006

rumble rumble

so here it is. i am not very good at playing this. but i do own it now, and i guess when you suck hard the only way to go is in the direction of sucking less hard. so i've got that going for me.

it's got a bit of a buzz, which is pretty much standard for any new guitar that got shipped across the country to you in a cardboard box. i really wish i knew how to fix that myself so i didn't have to take it to some music store and pay to have it all tuned up, but well, i don't. other than that, i'm happy with it and i did get it for a decent price so i'm not complaining.

in other news, (i don't think i've mentioned this on here yet) i'm going to sweden for a few days next week for work. when i went to get my passport picture taken, the nice old man who owns the photo store near my apartment said "like that?" which pretty much sums up my entire life.

i think the last time i cut my hair was in november. maybe earlier. actually i have no idea.

i know i don't talk about it much but the music is coming along. ever progressing. slowly. and like i said before, when it's ready it'll all be free. a bunch of it already is at myspace. more of it will be soon at purevolume.

here's a list of 5 things i'm scared of:
  1. an elevator door opens up and a werewolf eats my face.
  2. girls. everything you can think of that has to do with girls.
  3. in my hometown there are always bats flying around at dusk. (i am from transylvania.)
  4. being locked in an airtight room with my brother (i think you know what i am talking about).
  5. the oozinator.

07 May 2006

a lightswitch on my brain

one of the amazing things about living in new york but not living inside new york is that by nature of the fact that you spend so much time on the subway, you develop the ability to shut your brain down and then fire it right back up again at a moment's notice.

i can't sleep at night. i feel like i've spent a fair amount of time writing about this on here. i have nightmares (still the same shit) and the people who live below me never stop screaming at each other and slamming doors. but for some reason i can fall asleep like a baby on a 45 minute train ride full of crazy people and crying babies and (almost) always wake up just in time to get off at my stop. in fact, i think if i didn't take all these little naps on the subway i might have a real sleep deprivation problem. or maybe i'm being overdramatic.

03 May 2006

main street, johnstown

i have been writing and deleting sentences for thirty minutes. i haven't been able to shut my brain down lately and although i've had plenty of time it's been impossible for me to corral my thoughts into anything i think is worth reading.

remember that band dynamite hack that covered "Boyz-N-The-Hood" and had a little radio hit a bunch of years back? well, i bought that record. it was an impulse buy. so impulsive, even, that i didn't look closely enough to realize i was buying a version that had all the fuckwords bleeped out. (holy shit apparently they have a record coming out this year. i didn't know that until i tried to find them on myspace. maybe they will be my friend.)

well they had a song on that record called "switcheroo" (i think it was the first track) and it had a line that went:
you do the same thing
to someone else
that someone did to you
switcheroo switcheroo
and i've had that line running through my head a lot lately. for a bunch of reasons.

none of which i guess i'm prepared to air out right here. which begs the question: why did i bring it up in the first place? for intrigue, suspense, vinegar, and piss. what?

monday and tuesday nights i went to see endless mike and the beagle club play shows in williamsburg and the lower east side, respectively. they've got some new stuff almost ready to be released and it's even more amazing than their old stuff which is already arguably too amazing for words.

usually when i'm smacked in the face with songwriting as great as what mike's been doing, i get a little bit discouraged. i guess it's natural. like when you walk into a bar full of guys that could benchpress you. this time though, it's more inspiration than envy. mike consistently writes some of the best songs i've ever heard. and talking to him and the rest of the guys in that band just makes me want to get back to something i've been neglecting for months now.

so today i bought a bass (since i've kinda been needing one) and i know it's still just talk until i buckle down and do it but here's to hoping i can finally finish recording this batch of songs and move on with my life to bigger and (hopefully) better things. stay tuned.

oh one other thing. last night i tried to go to my favorite indian restaurant on e.6th st and it was all closed up so i had to eat at an almost identical one right next door with comparable selection, prices, and service. i am outraged. i really hope someone was just sick or something and that my favorite place to eat in all of nyc is not closed for good. i've got my fingers crossed for you, panna. (note: that site provides a phone number but i am loathe to call lest i learn a truth more horrible than i could handle in my fragile state. please, let me stay in the dark just a bit longer.)