real quick I want to jot down this fun idea. You know how there are those really sticky moral issues like abortion, illegal drug distribution, etc etc? My views, obviously, are pretty god damn liberal... but it would be fun to get some authors together and write a bunch of short story scenarios describing everything from "giving granny pot for her glaucoma" to "getting elementary school kids hooked on crack by giving free samples" typa thing. Aside from it just being fun, it could be really helpful for people who don't really know where they stand on the issue, and people who are afflicted with a fundamentalist (in either direction) attitude that they just can't back up.
a dj mix Last night, I wanted to hear how two songs sounded together, then added another, then just rocked out for a while, as my girlfriend fed me bacon. Luckily, I was recording! So here it is, flaws and all, best played loud.
So there's this concept that I've been fixated on for about a year now. I try not to reduce philosophy to science, but natural stories can be as illustrative as any myth or legend, right? You'll have to bear with me a bit if you're a biologist -- I am just barely educated.
Everything about individual life forms surviving on Earth boils down to one imperative: each living cell is trying to keep other cells out (unless it's also part of the same being, and then as I understand it very rarely). Life builds walls around tiny amounts of water, cell by cell, then does its best to hang onto itself while other living things try to sneak inside and either pillage for fuel and water or take over the joint for its own purposes, like a virus does. It's not all cutthroat: symbiosis is everywhere*. But cells strive to keep their borders up, even if they're cuddled up really close, like the two species that make up a lichen. Even if they absolutely need each other to survive, there are either mechanisms that let a cell identify another cell as a part of the larger being, or the cell rejects all other cells outright. Beings like us even have hoards of cells that prowl around for cells that aren't ours and kill them.
Most of this is 'no duh'. I know. It's just a trippy realization: the whole reason you are alive right now is that all of your cells are constantly saying "No!" to all other cells. "No you may not have this water." Or, "This is my molecule of iron. There are many like it, but this one is mine."
It's fun (though far-fetched) to think about how that might affect us psychologically, or if you're into that, spiritually. We spend a lot of our lives trying to reach out to others. To make a connection, and to affect or be affected. Often, it feels as good to have our brains polluted with new concepts as it does to pollute others'. But rule number 1 is always to keep everyone else out. That's an awesome dichotomy of life.
*Did you know that the number of harmless/helpful bacteria living in your gut is almost as large as the number of human cells that constitute you? You're almost outnumbered, even now. :3
power overwhelming I went to bed early last night so I could wake early, gear up, and ride the motorcycle to work. Unfortunately I passed out before setting my alarm, and slept an impossibly orgasmic nine hours. Sleeping well and waking early makes me crackle with energy by noon; I just hate that I'm stuck at work when I'm feeling this productive and creative. My brain is crowded with all these awesome ideas and inspirations. Well, at least I have a weekend to look forward to. There's an exhibit at the Asian art museum in SF that looks interesting, plus I'll have my rear planted firmly on the bike's seat, as long as it doesn't rain. And maybe if it does.
Okay okay. Look. We're all eukaryotes here -- many of us somewhat mature. And yes, we don't know why we (as individuals) don't always take care of ourselves. And part of what makes life interesting and rewarding is doing kind and pleasurable things for others. But why depend on loved ones to take care of your own rather basic needs, and get indignant when your expectations are too great? If you're diabetic, tote insulin and peppermints in your fanny pack! Deathly allergic to bees? Keep an epi in your medicine cabinet or vagina (or penis; I certainly don't mean to make this a gender issue*). Simple god damn concept.
Your loved one would much rather spend his or her fleeting moments (we really don't live that long) working hard to give you a roaring orgasm, or perhaps composing a symphonic arrangement of a Crosby, Stills, & Douchebag song as a gift for you. Or Cat Stevens. That guy was cool.
Addendum: this is not about my girlfriend, who can actually pitch a tent faster than I can and go for longer without water. I can still outrun her, though.
* If you put an epi-pen in your penis, please take a picture. That sounds hilarious.
dance music I don't go to parties like I used to. :( But the thing a lot of my friends don't understand about electronic dance music: listening to trance and jungle, etc is like sprinting, and listening to prog house is like running a marathon. Dancing goes the same way: I loved seeing a dancefloor at 4:00 a.m., full of sweaty, exhausted people, all in for the long haul. Hey, walking through the Tenderloin back to your car is a lot safer that way. You blend in with the crackheads, what with your bloodshot eyes and your scruffy too-many-cigarettes voice.
Of course listening to most music played in commercial clubs is more like... trying to score with anorexic chicks while not spilling your plastic cup of Heineken. But whatever, I'm rambling now.
sfaljsfalksjf;alk argh! This is the last thing that should be keeping me up at 4am, but. Fuck you iTunes! Everything about you infuriates me. Even the iTunes Music Store.
SOMEHOW, fucking bullshit this band that I like a lot, Four Tet, assraped one of their best songs before putting it on the iTunes Music Store. The song is Unspoken on the album Rounds. I god damn paid $1 for the song that I ALREADY OWNED ON CD just so I could have the privilege of paying ANOTHER $1 to make it into a fucking ringtone so my phone doesn't sound like every other asshole's phone out there, only to find out that it's a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SONG! Holy shit what the fuck!
Okay, I'm sure that it's the band's fault somehow, but. Now I'd have to jump through hoops to get my $1 back which is a tremendous waste of time for me and the Apple company. It's just a ringtone, you greedy fucks. It should cost me neither time nor money.
shape notes and earnest old white men with big noses I was raised Christian in Appalachia -- Missionary Baptist. My parents were modern, I guess, in that they actually allowed their ability to think interleave with their faith instead of just blocking logic out. They defied my dad's family by bringing my outcast gay great-uncle (and his adorable partner Larry) over for Thanksgiving dinner every year. My mom, I think, endangered her status in the church by asking our minister so many questions about Saint Paul and wtf was up with his attitude on women. Still, she played organ or piano for services, and directed the choir sometimes. My father was a deacon and would sing sometimes in the choir because he had a nice voice, but not an especially good grasp on pitch, since he was raised Methodist. Insert lol here.
Anyway, I was pretty devout for a lot of my childhood, then started realizing that, hey, I've been missing out a lot on life because of some of these weird beliefs, and experiencing a ridiculous amount of guilt. I realized one day that I just couldn't believe a god so kind could have these cockeyed opinions about whose desires were more okay when they were equally well-meaning. So I quit going to church services around 16... hilariously, about two years after I discovered Ozzy Osbourne and Schlitz malt liquor. That was fast!
The one thing I've always missed, though? The music. Our church used the Broadman Hymnal, which I guess was made of part Southern slave hymns, with some dignified white people manners mixed in. It was neither the jumping up and down screaming "praise Jesus" thing, nor the super-solemn Catholic strategy. Like... if an old man was feeling particularly worshipful while singing, he might raise his hand in the chorus, and perhaps be saucy and say "amen brother" when it ended. It used at least four parts of harmony, and would sometimes stray to six or so, if an enthusiastic old tenor reached up for a higher note. And -- I wish I knew anything about music theory -- it had a very unique way of harmonizing and progressing through chords. I've heard a little bit of influence through older bluegrass, but I'm not sure where else it came from. We sang from "shape notes," which I always figured was pretty widespread, but it turns out it's largely a Southern, Baptist thing. The crowded harmonies and minor keys made it sound kind of... haunting, at times, but hopeful and joyous.
It's frustrating because, well, I don't think many churches sing like that anymore. In some cases it's even the same songs, except with cheesy synthesizers and electric guitars (here's a sample), which makes me throw up a little in my mouth. That's like members of N-Sync getting plowed in their butts by hairy gay men while covering Nat King Cole. I wonder if I could just start calling local churches and asking what they do for music. I'd like to hear some of it again, but I'm even having trouble finding recordings on the lazytubes.
remorseful bill cosby Am I to understand that Bill Cosby never, in fact, actually stated, "People think I'm Bill Cosby... but I'm really tooth decay," in reference to his Pepsi endorsements? Is sounds like a sample when listening to Negativland's album Dispepsi, but. Maybe it's a little audio mosaic they fabricated. Regretfully, a query on Google for "remorseful bill cosby" returns no results, which is a pity because I like the rhythm and color of the phrase.
Here is a link to the song if you'd like to evaluate for yourself. It's a bit arduous out of context, and not exactly the band's magnum opus, but. If found-sound "plunderphonia" is fun for you, check out the album.
music and the ability to enjoy it as a community Something has been on my mind for a few weeks. I think it all started when I heard, on the radio, a home recording from the late 1940s of a bunch of folks singing some holiday songs. Some singers were hilariously lacking in tune, but they were all laughing and having a grand time. I was skeptical of its authenticity, or at least its historical value, since I imagine only a really wealthy hobbyist could have a sound recording device in the parlor...
But then I started thinking back to my own family, and how my grandparents would quite often just start a song up by playing it on the piano. An aunt would join in, grabbing another family member to sing bass or tenor depending on what the song called for, and they'd go at it for a while. Granted, many were religious songs, but not all were. Sometimes my grandfather would just pick at the banjo or guitar and sing some of his own songs during family gatherings, and take requests.
Gauging from how many pianos I've seen in the homes of older people, and how often I've read about that kind of casual musical collaboration in fiction set in their time, I'll have to assume it was commonplace. What happened to it? Did the phonograph kill it, or was it the walkman? Maybe the internet is to blame?
It's possible that once most people could afford a record player, the act of recreating music by performing it was demoted to hobby. Even then, though, I don't imagine record libraries were huge, and it's likely that a family or friend group would know most of the words of most popular songs. So a game of musical "pick up" would be easy. If one person in the group didn't know the song, he or she would learn eventually.
I guess audio cassettes made it easier to distribute and own more music, so as tastes diversified, people knew fewer of each other's favorites. That, and production values got higher and music got more complicated... Now there is so much good music available, I'm sincerely shocked when I have similar tastes in music to anyone, anywhere. As a population, we humans have gained a lot of really worthwhile experiences because of all the available music, but... what have we lost as communities?
As I DJ, I became acutely conscious of how fun it could be to experience music with someone who enjoys it in the same way. Participation by dancing is good too, but participation through performance is more so.
Maybe I'd like to sing Auld Lang Syne with my friends, one year. Do people even do that, anymore?
This year, work and school have been... unique. I'm coming up on finals, next week, which will bring to a close what is essentially a Monday-Thursday school week crunched in with 40+ hours at my day job. I don't know how I managed to keep up with it all and still maintain a decent GPA. Work has also been muy loco, and the project I've been assigned to has been rough going... I survived another round of layoffs, though, and while I was conservative with my annual self-assessment, it looks like my boss still really likes me.
It hasn't been all work and no play, but it has been a lot of of the former. My badass girlfriend (she does have an LJ, in case some of you don't know it: bastekk) and I have attempted to continue our Californian adventures despite our busy schedules. She's carried a full load of credits in school, plus started work as a professional costumer... and a really talented one. Not only is she god damned gorgeous, but that woman is sharp. Earlier this year, after we installed upgraded brakes on my car together, she fixed the convertible frame while I ran some new gauges. All that, as they say, and a bag of ability-to-proficiently-think-in-abstracts. O hay, on the subject of my project car -- I'll probably write another entry about it, and just filter it to people who are into cars.
This January, she and I will be driving halfway across the country so vulgaris, an awesome and dear friend, can adopt the dog Bastek is fostering. I'll miss Dutch like a limb, but I know he'll be really happy with her and her boyfriend. I've wanted to meet Wez for hella days1 anyway, and what better place than Nebraska2? Don't answer that.
Last weekend I went to a random house party; the first in a long time (that wasn't held in my own house). It was so spur-of-the-moment, I didn't even meet (or discover the identities of) the hosts. XD I haven't been all that social for a while, so it was fun to bump into all the people I haven't seen in ages, even if I was a bit too occupied to make any new acquaintances.
What else. Um. I haven't spun records in a long time, but my homeboyosaurus dj_mixer (more like homosaurus) and I have always been awesome at tag-teaming. He has a slot at the FC dance (I was too lazy to sign up, but I do fancy myself as a bit of a pro), and he offered to split it with me. Maybe I will spin at FC if the urge strikes. I do my best DJing when tipsy and armed with new music that I'm enthusiastic about; tipsy is easily enough achieved, but precious few new records have impressed me, lately. I may swing by a record store this weekend and see if anything jumps out at me.
1I did not just say "hella days" 2I have an irrational dislike of Nebraska
daily altruisms Go vote today, and for you Californians, remember NO on 8. And while I'm at it --
Please clearly communicate your position on organ donation to your family. It doesn't matter what your driver's license says; it's ultimately your family's choice when you die, and a few words to make your position known now could save another (maybe more than one) life.
Women younger than 26 who have had or plan to have sex: please consider getting the HPV vaccine. Even uninsured, $375 is a bargain for all the prevention (e.g. most cervical cancers) it buys you.
Take a moment to bask in the astounding improbability and wonder of the experience of being alive and aware, and resolve to give someone important to you a good slap, laugh, or fuck.
aural spit-take Have you ever picked up a glass of 7up and expected it to be water? I was just listening to my music on shuffle, and the first couple of seconds made me think a new track was Neubauten's song Wuste.
wow, i'm talky tonight I slept well last night, got errands done today, and am making good progress on the homework I need to have done by the end of the weekend. I'm missing a bitchin' party tonight (happy birthday Jag + Rachel), but I have to admit: it's nice to have some free time. I can do things like listen to music.
The (re)discovery of this evening is Last.fm. This site is fucking awesome. Does anyone else use it?
... when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. --Alan Watts
Probably Rev. Watts' most well known quote, and not exactly an arcane one. But the most important ones rarely are.
weekend Last weekend Bastek and I totally went to Fort Bragg. We will eventually see every mile of coast in California. The beach there was totally saturated with sea glass, check it out: pic
Dutch came with us. He tends to make himself comfortable wherever. X) Pit Bulls are constantly leaning on you, which is tres cute. I swear he's my canine doppleganger; big head, bright blue eyes, and has no idea what's going on, ever. pic
Also here is a delicious glass of tea that an equally delicious Bastek ordered at an otherwise mediocre restaurant at the harbor. pic