Sunday, March 18, 2007

This post is really too long to read, y'know?

This post comes out of sitting at home in a stupor trying to remember what the hell happened to me over the last week+ besides feeding a serious cereal craving. Bowl after bowl after bowl of crispix and life cereal were consumed in this week.

My plan was to go see two shows in Williamsburg. One that Acid Canyon was playing at the Luna Lounge and another that Chairlift was playing at The Galapagos Art Space. But I did not get my act together until it was too late to catch Acid Canyon's set so I opted to meet up with co-workers for dinner at the Waverly Diner. It was crowded and noisy and fun. Afterwards some of us went to a bar called the Slaughtered Lamb for a drink. The Slaughtered Lamb has a basement that is decked out like a dungeon with skeletons displayed behind bars all over the place. We played pool on a table with no cue ball in a room that smelled like a backed up toilet. TBW kicked our asses roundly at pool. I think having long fingers helps to steady the cue. The place was rocking out to 80's music. It was the second time that The South, IRN, and TBW and I have been out to a place that was busting the 80's music.

Truth be told I am a little offended by this. Don't get me wrong there's a lot to love about the 80's but there are amazing songs that have been written since then and there are all kinds of starving artists that are worthy of our attention creating music that ought to be the soundtrack of our lives in this particular slice of life.

After that drink The South and I took the train to Willie-B and got ourselves to the show. The Galapagos Art Space is this groovy four space place that has tons of event apparently happening all the time. As you walk in the front room has a significant section of the floor cut out and devoted to a reflecting pool. As you walk in there is a bar in the back with the exposed brick post industrial look. A nice touch to that is that there are tiny candle holders spaced pretty close together and attached to the wall behind the bar and the opposite side. Giving the whole place a warm cosy industrial feel. On stage as we came in were the Bridesmaids. We barely heard half of one song, sadly.

Then Chairlift. The sound was kind of fuzzy and unbalanced. I curbed an impulse to walk back there and tell the sound guy how to do his job. As a former sound girl I recall how annoying that is. Still to see them was delightful and fun. The South would later refer to them as the Postal Service. Which I can see but would disagree with due to the lack of sequenced beats and the presence of the strummy guitar.

After Chairlift's set the South and I had an argument about whether The Pixies were a way underground underground band (The South's opinion) or a band that achieved moderate commercial success (I remember that them getting some radio play while I was in college). We did an unsophisticated poll of those around us. No one was sure. But they had all heard the song "Where is my mind." Which The South said didn't count as it was in the movie "Fight Club." Whatev, try telling the Pixies that.

We also decided that we needed to buy CD's (merch victims, are we). They were very nice kids who for a brief moment mistook us for a band as we were standing next to a stack of free promotional CD's.

Then the Hylozoists from Canada. They are a rock chamber music outfit that plays instrumental music featuring xylophones (vibraphones?). They have the usual full rock band line up along with two drum kits, a violinist, and a keyboard player. I was told by one of the members that their numbers can inflate up even higher. I think there were 15-18 of them on the album. It was the music of the spheres the kind of thing you would hear during a dream where you visit Jupiter and float through its gassy clouds.
I bought the CD.

Then a band from called Pink Noise known to The South as Sonic Youth part II. He was very much digging them. I felt that they were very good at their angsty sludgy serious rock thing but somehow they sounded kind of conventional compared to the rest of the lineup. He went up after their set to get an CD.

The closing band was X-Wife from Portugal. They were the Portuguese Killers. Having been awake for 25 hours and playing their second gig of the day, they didn't seem all that happy to be there. The lead singer in particular seemed very unhappy with his vocals. And when the room is empty and the band is cranky the best thing to do is rock out on the dance floor.

The DJ's that spun between sets that evening were pretty fun too. DJ Oil, DJ Toby Rascal and DJ Gerald.

It was 3am when we got out of there. The South and I went to Oasis and had food. They will put beet salad and pickles in your kabob pita there. It was yum.
And then the L train ride back to Manhattan and again crashed Chez Du Sud. I was too tired to anything. Y'know? The South apparently made it through "the night" in one piece, but got sick in the morning. Poor fella.

I had a big bowl of noodles with Beef broth at a Vietnamese place. It was delightful. Bought a headband on the streets on the way to the subway. The vendor kept speaking with me in Mandarin, which I can't speak. I said the few things that I can: Good. Sorry. Korean person. Thank you. Good-bye.

Came home and despite my best intentions didn't make it out to S's birthday party. Instead I watched "Logan's Run" with the RM. We laughed at the stupid costumes and were slightly shocked at some of its futuristic raciness. I even took a shower and made motions intended to get me out of the house but found that my ass was lodged into the floor of the living room. I was not going to make it.

I took a Chinatown bus to Philly. Slept and listened to music and spilled a leaky BLT all over myself. Met up with e23 and went to the Art Museum to see the Silk Road Dance Company perform. Lots of colorful embroidered costumes and dances that seemed like a combination of what CKE would often demonstrate for me from Belly Dance class and a variety of motions and figures that re-enact daily tasks and celebrate life. Making silk, gathering the harvest, the blooming of tulip with the coming of spring, the expression of flirty mystery. The occasion for this was to celebrate Noruz - the Persian New Year.

The dancing confirmed to me that I need to take some Belly Dance classes or a Persian Dance class to work on my flirting skills. It occurred to me that maybe the Pussycat Dolls should consider learning on of the routines. Just to mix things up a little.

e23 gave me a tour of the city and we walked back to the home of his mother (!?) to hang out. I got to meet his mother and step father. (?!) We got groceries and made a spinach quiche and we tried to make a fruit pie with out tapioca. Good luck with that. At this point I had lost track of time and missed the last bus back and stayed the night in Philly.

I caught the 7:30am bus back to NYC. The Chinatown bus makes a stop right near my office. *whee* So I got out and dragged my carcass into work. It was a day without joy. I went home and fell asleep on the couch for 4 hours with my laptop closed and clutched to my chest and then crawled into bed for more sleep.

I was almost as dead as Monday.


I had dinner with my Cuz. He was wrestling with the question of school or work. We had vietnamese food (Different Vietnamese place) and chatted about stuff. On the way home he decided in favor of school. I am so pleased for him.

I downloaded Mozilla and I am using it now as I write this post. Having a web browser with tabs rocks my socks. I considered trying to figure out which celebrities I resemble on but I got weirded out by the part of their terms and conditions where they say that for any content that you upload to their site you grant them the right to use for whatever they want.

Meanwhile says in their terms and conditions that they will use your content to promote your blog.

Maybe by this time next year my computer will be running 100% opensource and I will be one of those internet utopians that I barely understand right now.

I had tea with LJL. She was trying to get me to articulate and identify some goals in my life but I was evasive as always. I love that she does not seem to give up on me despite this.

After work I went to a farewell dinner for a co-worker who is leaving Big Scienceville for a really neato nonprofit job helping people in poor villages in Peru. Which is so groovy. She's, like, really really cool. And it was interesting talking to her about her life in New York and how it has shaped who she is and about this new chapter of her life. She says that life in New York has given her the confidence to face anything. Perhaps it will do the same for me. Who knows.

I ate a third of a cow and evaded a night of Karaoke in favor of meeting up with RBe, DBe, and He. Two vegans and a pesca-vegetarian dug into a plate of Ethopian food while I sat there, made exceptionally awkward conversation and tried not to belch cow fumes or moo loudly in their presence. Turns out we share little in common. Besides sitting on the opposite side of the meat eating divide it turns out that they (two of them) are anti-bubble tea, whilst I am pro. Could it be that these two facts are deal breakers in this social circle? Don't know. What I do know is that "they all moved away from me on the bench, there ..." We all came out into the rain to which I said, "Yes!' while others said, "Eww!"

More likely it was me, not them. Wasn't in the most convivial of moods.

Hung out again with LJL. We had sushi in the Village and had a few drinks at a place with a 3 drink maxiumum. No joke. There is the magic number at which they will stop serving you alcohol. During the course of the evening she made a point that only resonated with me later. She asked me what I want, what are my goals. And I can only articulate them in the vaguest of ways. I would define a good life for me as a life that is useful and a life that is meaningful. I try to tell myself that it will happen someday - that perhaps it is happening right now and I just don't realize it. I try to tell myself a lot of things. I am a glass-half-empty kind of girl struggling to think my way into seeing things in a glass-half full way.

At this point she asked me what I believe in. She said that believing in something would help me accomplish what I want. And the next day I realized that she had hit at the core of my problem. Something so obvious that I am amazed that I never saw it before. You have to believe in something to live a meaningful life. Your life is meaningful when lived in accordance with and as an expression of what you believe.

So me not believing or at least not knowing what it is that I believe in ... of course I feel lost and I don't know what it is that I should be doing. I can't bring myself to believe. I don't know what I believe and that is key to the equation. LJL, she is very wise, y'know?

The RM and I got decked out in green clothing, green makeup, and green hair coloring, and went to the St. Patrick's Day Parade. There are two things of note about the Parade: lots of white people and men in skirts.

Two other things: lots of police officers marching and lots of fire fighters as well. It was strangely emotional seeing all of those uniforms marching along. Especially the fire fighters. Added to that there are some really handsome men in the FDNY. Wow.

It was cold and we stood on packed chunks of snow to get a better view of the parade. At some point who should walk by us exiting the parade? None other than Mayor Bloomberg. Small world, no? He walked right by me. I could have reached out and patted his head. I imagine that his body guards would have taken me down for that but I could have.

We had this conversation on the train ride up about whether the presence of policemen made us feel safe. The RM feels safer when there is a uniformed officer around. Me, I guess I feel a little uncomfortable with individuals in authority who might shoot you for running away from them (depending on the laws of the state). Why would I run away from them? I don't know? Maybe a yellow jacket gets caught in my sweatshirt or something. Maybe the movie "Crash" just made too much of an impression on me. The conversation was pretty serious and we missed our agreed upon parade stop and opted for one near the end of the parade.

We went to a pub that was super packed. We were crushed like sardines in there and accidentally got two beers at once. So we drank our beers double fisted and received amny a compliment from the crowd around us. Then on to another one and then another one. Where we stayed because we paid a $10 cover to get in there. I danced with a couple of fellas. One of them called me "shady" I have no idea why. (Did my hand graze by his wallet or something in the midst of turn or something?) The other was probably my age. (Momentous moment of momentousness) The RM chatted with this older Irish couple who were visiting the States. I think in the end all of us ended up chatting with the Irish couple. The best part of that was when the DJ started to play some Motown and then some Neil Diamond ... they got up and tore it up on the dance floor. Drunk kids came out of the woodwork to dance with the cute old Irish couple. It was strangely wholesome.

Along the way we met up with CKE's cousin CP who once studied to be a priest and now lives a life deeply influenced by Ayn Rand. This fact leaves me a bit speechless. It is rare to meet a serious and full blown objectivist after the age of 25. Although recently, I think that I have run into more than one of them. He actually told me that he doesn't believe in non-profits because actions that are not based in self-interest are fruitless. Actions taken to make others happy will not bring you happiness. They are bad.

My reply was that a good deed is done for the doer. When a good deed is done with the expectation of praise or recognition there will be disappointment. But I think in many cases having the opportunity to give is in itself an immense gift. If for no other reason that the way it makes you realize how much you have and can open a place of gratitude for that. Some of those who set out to save the world are probably trying to save themselves in the process.

For me the evening ended with a bowl of Korean noodle soup and late night train ride home. I did not puke on a red head or any other type of person.


I brimmed with good intentions. Intentions to seek adventure in the city. I made it out of the house to get a big bowl of cheese grits. And then I crawled back into bed and passed out again. The best part of Sunday was discovering that I had a big bag of tater tots in the freezer. That's right it was not a dream. I actually did go out and buy them at some point. And then I forgot and started craving them all over again.

At last, my tater tots have come along
My fried then baked potato cravings are over
And life is like a song.


Groucho Castaneda said...

Wow, I wish I weren't so busy making music that I could actually go out and see some now and again.

You're turning into quite the Chairlift groupie, aren't you?

there's a lot to love about the 80's but... there are all kinds of starving artists that are worthy of our attention creating music that ought to be the soundtrack of our lives in this particular slice of life.

Well, all us starving artists circa 2007 are providing the soundtrack to people's lives... young people.

The "soundtrack" of most people's lives continues evolving until their early 20s, at which point they just put it on "repeat" until they die. Hence, the 30-somethings of today are all still listening to late 80s / early 90s music.

This is nothing new. In 1983 there was a really popular movie called "The Big Chill" about a bunch of thirty-somethings going through a bunch of yuppie melodrama. What was on the soundtrack? Duran Duran? The Cure? Hell no. 60s and 70s Motown.

the South and I had an argument about whether The Pixies were a way underground underground band (The South's opinion) or a band that achieved moderate commercial success (I remember that them getting some radio play while I was in college).

Depends where you draw the line between 'mainstream' and 'underground'.

Also, the scale was very different back then. Without Internet piracy, indie labels could more confidently spend money promoting obscure bands. Commercial radio DJs still had some control over their playlists, and MTV actually devoted most of its time to videos, hence a lot of obscure bands got radio and MTV play who'd never get it today. Also, people didn't have X-Boxes and DVDs to keep them home instead of going out to shows. Even "underground" bands could fill college basketball stadiums.

That said, here's how I'd stack the totem pole of late-80s college rock acts, based on their highest positions attained on the Billboard 200 charts.

- R.E.M. / Out of Time / #1
- Sonic Youth / Experimental Jet Set... / #34
- The Pixies / Bossanova / #70
- Violent Femmes / Blind Leading the Naked / #84
- Camper Van Beethoven / Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart / #135
- Mudhoney / Piece of Cake / #189
- Eleventh Dream Day / never charted
- Half Japanese / never charted

So yeah, if The South's point of reference is Sonic Youth, then the Pixies are "underground". But if your point of reference is "Half Japanese", they're total mainstream rock stars.

ldbug said...

Good lord, you did write an entire week of posts!!!

too bad about not puking on a red-head...maybe M here will let you puke on him sometime;-P

ergo said...

1.I'm a bit of a live music junkie right now. For whatever reason, of late, I find it very balancing. When I haven't been to a show in a while I start to feel walled in. I blame it on touring last summer.

2. As to the evolution and stagnation of one's soundtrack, I actually read a great article about that very thing.

When do we lose our taste for the new?

I always meant to write a post about it. But hey ... lemme jsut throw it into the comments and redredge it later. I like repeating myself.

3. The Big Chill sound track ended up being part of the sound track of my life as a result of the popularity of that movie. I am a little bit at having grown up a cultural hostage of the baby boom generation.

I just hate this pandering. Now that it's happening to me it seems so calculated. I miss that moment of discovery when I turn to the store clerk and ask them, "Hey, who does this song?" and writing
it down to look up later.

But this is all just peter pan posturing. I am pretty static. I just harbor the illusion that I can break out of my rut and grab onto something I have never heard/seen before and love it.

4. Now that the experience of culture is horizontal it does kind of change everything. I think we all get something closer to what we want and like but our experiences are so individual that we end up feeling alone or bound together as small cultural tribes.

I suppose that one must account for regional differences in exposure: growing up in the Sticks of IL or The Deep South, what is "underground" is at a very different point in the continuum.

ldbug: Heh. I think I am going through a verbose yet unhinged phase in my blogging.

I think redheads everywhere are grateful that I did not accomplish this particular goal.

keNYC said...

Ho-ly shitballs. I only read through Saturday night (i.e. the second day on here) and had so much to comment on I just could not go on reading, I had to comment. Then groucho rolls up and theres another 14 things to comment about! then ergie responds to groucho and there's more. Fuck, dude!

Well, by now I've forgotten almost everything I was going to say, but just as a broad statement I want to extend a warm thank you to ERGIE and GROUCHO for providing the single most stimulating moment of my day (even above finding out about Live Earth...).

Erg, this post is just crazy prolific. I would never have the motivation to write something like that for other people to see. For my own personal uses, that's a diff. story, but wow. Also, glad you wrote about Fri, because I didn't. Or, actually I did, but no one will ever see it but me =D

One thing I wanted to comment on:

Don't get me wrong there's a lot to love about the 80's but there are amazing songs that have been written since then and there are all kinds of starving artists that are worthy of our attention creating music that ought to be the soundtrack of our lives in this particular slice of life.

Two things--one is, as a very, very general statement I think there is more happy music from the 80s. There is always happy music, but nowadays mainstream pop is stuff like FOB, DCC, My Chems, James Blunt, John Mayer, the Dixie Chicks, etc. And they're all's just if you're even remotely sad, listening to that shit could easily push you over the edge into the realm of suicidal, so it's not really something to put on as the soundtrack of your life, assuming you like to be happy. Of course that's a huge overgeneralization and there are plenty of counter examples (mainly, any hip hop song), but overall, 80s music vs. 2000s music, 80s just feels better as a life soundtrack. Shit man...I feel really bad for whoever has "the Black Parade" as a piece of hyper-nostalgia like 10 years from now...

The second thing is personally I tend to be very slow to catch on to good music. Inevitably I will always be buried in the musical past and will rarely to never recognize or appreciate great music while it is happening and cutting edge and stuff. I mean, I just bought two Police albums for Christ's sake. And two Guided by Voices albums. And I honestly have not given My Chems or Fall Out Boy or any number of current artists anywhere near a fair chance. That's just me though...

OK. What else....on GROUCHO. On hitting repeat around age 30 or whatever, this is something I have noticed around me and am completely terrified of. I know for a fact that I will slide into this same death trap but what can you do? It's probably biological. The same shit is happening with my political and religious beliefs too....well, at least with music, you can attempt to listen to as much shit as humanly possible so that your repeat is nice and diverse/extensive.

On the whole Pixies thing. I agree with GROUCHO's point that the times mattered, and I agree with ERGIE's point that the place mattered. I also agree the 'undergroundness' is a relative term (which makes sense given that I'm a foaming at the mouth relativist and want to get a tattoo that says "It's all relative.")...I wouldn't base my scale on the Billboards though--it's so indirect (sales? plus maybe radio airplay?). Instead I would base it on a shoddily performed survey of about 10 random people in one club that I happened to be drinking, but on the real, the point is I would be willing to bet a large sum of money that the number of people that know the Pixies is far, far larger than the number of people that know Sonic Youth...and the number of people that know the Violent Femmes is like astronomically larger than both of those combined.

It's not like it matters, and it's not like anything I've written makes any sense. It's just fun as hell to think about. And I'm spent.

keNYC said...

sorry I can't resist after reading the beliefs part. AB and I had some convos about that a few times, with varying degrees of formality and seriousness. I have no fucking idea what I believe. Or, I do, it's just that it changes minute by minute (though I guess it is a little comforting that it at least just shifts among a certain bunch of the same beliefs, for the most part). That's why I love that Dostoyevsky quote I put up on my geocities blog. And I had many equally agnostic quotes posted up on the walls of my WV place too.

I think AB and I determined, though, that a few definites for me are:

1- it's all relative

2- the grass is always greener

3- sonic youth RULES

ergo said...

kenyc: Perhaps people feel comfortable liking cheesy music of the past. Older people can use the nostalgia angle as an excuse to like songs that they used to be too busy pretending to be cool to admit to liking. Young people who are too cool to like the current pop music swill can indulge in catchiness, cheesyness, and clichees of crap from the past and even admit publicly to liking it because it's sooo retro to like that stuff and retro is cool if done with attitude and conviction.

Tangential intergenerational music story: he RM told me a story today about how she hates Neil Young, Neil Diamond and Billy Joel because she was forced to listen to that stuff on repeat on family road trips (the music her parents liked).

Meanwhile Momvee and her father would do record exchanges where they would hand each other albums that they each thought the other really needed to listen to and might like. (am I getting that right, MV?)

Re: agnostic relativist beliefs. Well if you keep rotating through a familiar set perhaps you'll narrow in on a subset or maybe you'll eventually find the underlying concept that is shared amongst them all and have that be the basis of your beliefs.